By Phil Hecken, with Carl Schneeman
Way back in January, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting a great bunch of folks at the Uni Watch Gathering in Minnesota, affectionately known as the Deep Freeze. One of those fine folks I spoke to at length was sporting this fantastic untucked Marquette hoops jersey. Turns out, he’s a hockey fan (in Minnesota? Go figure), but that’s only one of his loves.
Intrigued, we struck up a conversation, in which we discussed, at length, the wonderful history of Marquette’s basketball uniforms. That fine gentleman was Carl Schneeman, and as the evening progressed, I mentioned I’d love for him to compile an article on the history of those unis. Now that we’re approaching “tourney time,” it’s a perfect time to take a look at the beautiful, and in many ways, groundbreaking sartorial style that is a signature element of the Marquette basketball program — their distinct uniforms.
So, without further ado, here’s Carl with his rundown:
As the Madness of March approaches, this hockey nut must confess to his aching Achilles heel — college basketball. Winter in the great white north is long and by the time March rolls around my thoughts turn to playing another game, one where heavy sweaters and toques aren’t needed, but where shorts and calls of shirts or skins is possible. Similar to soccer, the games concept is simple and thus accessible to most everyone. Yes, there’s something pure about basketball at the collegiate level. Something about watching the finest amateur, scholar-athletes in the land compete in basketball that ties so many hoops fans to the game. Fine, maybe it’s just another excuse to feign illness and watch eight consecutive hours of Southeastern mid-major State face off with you-can’t-remember-if-it’s-in-Virginia-or-Nebraska College when you should be working, but it’s a great spectacle.
So somewhere between the pond and ball fields in summer, I followed a wise uncle’s advice and wound up attending Marquette University to expand my athletic viewing expertise and discovered a great tradition of innovation in uniforms.
Many people know of Marquette for the years Al McGuire coached, and many know of their famous “untucked” jersey of the late 70s. Few, however, know of the wide range of uniforms Marquette has worn over the years. All are iterations and combinations of blue, gold, or white but in the nearly hundred-year history of the program, there have been no less than a dozen substantially different uniforms and styles worn by the Golden Eagles/Warriors/Hilltoppers et al. (athletic nicknames of the school are an entirely different and as colorful story).
1916: Marquette University starts basketball wearing fairly standard uniforms for the era — a navy blue tank with a familiar collegiate font displaying the name of the university across it. Great socks of that era, also here’s a 1922 shot with kneepads being worn.
1920s through 1940s: a white home uniform with navy trim to compliment the solid road uniforms and a front numeral was added to the jerseys.
1950s: 1951-52 team displays the classic look (check out those belts!) and coaches looked swell too. Notice the navy numerals, which were worn predominantly with the white jerseys. Gold numerals with navy (road) tops and sweet shoes, but here’s a curious 1959 example of gold numbers on white with Don Kojis’s signature.
1960-1967: Much of the same for the first three-quarters of the decade with the same unis. Here’s a particularly good example with Coach McGuire. Little details changed (like adding/revising arm & neckline trim) but big changes were in store.
1967: The first big uni-change in school history added a horizontal stripe across the chest and a gold home jersey. The navy aways sported the stripe and similar styling.
1968: The horizontal stripe wasn’t solo on the court for long, and the home whites were given an asymmetrical vertical side stripe and offset numeral. Personally, I can’t help thinking about auto racing of that era when looking at that one. Pretty classic.
1969: Now, when Al McGuire was hired in 1964 I doubt anyone thought that he’d be as involved with the look of the team as the on-court performance. Looking for post-season inspiration (and possibly turning up their noses to the NCAA in a disputed tournament locale), McGuire and the team’s equipment supplier, Medallist Industries, unveiled the bumblebee jersey specifically for the 1970 NIT. They ran the table in 1970 and kept the jersey on the road through the 1971-1972 season, when the NCAA banned them citing opponent’s complaints that the stripes were disorienting when players jumped.
1973: The home whites returned to the more traditional layout, but with two unique touches — a gothic font and zigzag side stripes.
1974: Following the ban of the bumble bee, a Marquette classic made its debut. Yes, the baby-blue checker jersey, from which the current unis take inspiration. The squad wore the zigzags and baby blues all the way to the NCAA final – great footage of the final four is found here. I love the team warm-ups and coaches attire. Plaid-a-riffic!
1976: Birth of a legend – the Untucked jersey. Bo Ellis, then a star player who had dabbled in fashion design, asked McGuire to consider a new jersey design that was more comfortable. McGuire liked it enough and Ellis worked with Medallist to develop the concept and the rest was history. The home whites had ‘Marquette’ on the front lower hem and sometimes featured an arrowhead side panel. Fun sidebar – note that in this shot the Wisconsin players have Bucky Badger on their shorts! The roads were a baby-blue variant without the arrowhead. The team went on to win the 1977 NCAA Championship and Al McGuire retired at the pinnacle of his coaching career.
This national championship team photo summarizes the attitude and swagger of McGuire’s era at Marquette. Following McGuire’s departure, the school wore variants of untucked jerseys through the 1983-1984 season when they were, again, banned by the NCAA.
1980s: After escaping the from camouflage uniforms the pendulum swung over to the more conservative side of the uni-spectrum, adopting a more ‘collegiate’ look for a number of years. Variants of the arched school name (and sometimes the nickname) with front number included gold, blue and white jersey sets throughout the decade.
1991-1993: Dropping gold from the outfits entirely, the 90s were an era of navy and white with period-consistent shorts. I always laugh with the swooping, asymmetric lines of the 80s and 90s. Totally dig the shorts, although I wouldn’t get caught wearing them.
1994: After a few years of bi-tone experimentation, the traditional unis returned with only minor piping, armhole opening and minor graphic changes. The shorts underwent a number of revisions starting with adding color to the swooping lines, and eventually morphing into a side panel reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls famous shorts. The unis held all the way through the 2003-2004 season, with Dwayne Wade’s era ending the collegiate block look.
2004: After the final four run, the jerseys received a redesign changing the uniform font and redesigning the side panels and subsequently the shorts. A good classic look with distinctive lettering, but again big changes were in store.
2007: Whoa baby. That’s a neo-throwback that everyone can appreciate. The inspiration clearly is from the early 1970s design and is to most appealing. Again, Marquette’s innovations in basketball uniforms lead the way in the constantly changing landscape of collegiate athletics. Or at least the hardwood landscape.
Thank you Carl, for the fantastic look back at the wonderous history of those uniforms. Truly a unique look in college hoop, and a gorgeous one (I especially love the current uni set) at that. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of tiled stripes, and with Marquette, we get that in spades. Of course, it approaches overkill when Marquette matches up with DePaul, but still…that’s a fine looking matchup. And how could you not root for a school that has this set of unis in their history?
I don’t know what “formula” I’ll be using to pick my NC2A Tourney Pool pics, but you gotta think I’ll be weighting my formula heavily towards Marquette. That is, assuming they get invited to the dance. Right now they’re a bubble team but did pick up a nice upset win the Big East tourney. Keep your fingers crossed — this uni set deserves to be in the Tournament.
From The Squiddie Files: For the first half of the 20th Century, the Brooklyn Dodgers were a somewhat nomadic bunch when it came to their spring training home. In fact, prior to 1947, they trained in the following locations: Charlotte, N.C. (1901); Columbia, S.C. (1902-1906); Jacksonville (1907-1909); Hot Springs, Ark. (1910-1912); Augusta, Ga. (1913-1914); Daytona Beach (1915-1916); Hot Springs, Ark. (1917-1918); Jacksonville (1919-1920); New Orleans (1921); Jacksonville (1922); Clearwater (1923-1932); Miami (1933); Orlando (1934-1935); Clearwater (1936-1940); Havana (1941-1942); Bear Mountain, N.Y. (1943-1945); Daytona Beach (1946); and while they remained in Florida in 1947, they would also hold spring training in Havana (1947); and Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic (1948), due to the racist atmosphere pervasive in the American South at the time, since 1947 would be the year Jack Roosevelt Robinson would break baseball’s color barrier.
In 1948, however, the Dodgers would then settle into their new home (“Dodgertown”), located in Vero Beach, Florida, where they would remain for the next sixty years (61 seasons). That is still longer than they played in Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn, or have yet to play at Dodger Stadium, in Los Angeles.
When the Dodgers finally left Florida for the “greener” pastures of Arizona in 2009, the New York Times opined, “Vero Beach was the last vestige of the Brooklyn Dodgers and a tangible link to those legendary teams of the 1950s. After all, the Dodgers spent more years here (60) than they did at Ebbets Field (45) or Dodger Stadium (48) — two pillars of Walter O’Malley’s empire.
“Dodgertown was the third. Though O’Malley, the Dodgers’ former owner, was reviled in Brooklyn for moving the team west, he is remembered as a hero here. O’Malley took spring training baseball and his money to Vero Beach in 1948 when it was a swamp-and-beaches town of 3,500.”
Lance “Squiddie” Smith is here to take us through the Life archives as they documented that very first spring training in Vero Beach, when it was still that “swamp-and-beaches” town of 3,500. Here’s Lance:
One of the innovations Branch Rickey is often given credit for is the development of the modern farm system in major league baseball. In 1948, the Dodgers had twenty-six minor league teams in their farm system. This included two each AAA, AA and A teams, five B teams, five C teams and ten D teams. (Of the 26 teams, 10 were league champions.) The D league teams were the equivalent of the modern Rookie league teams. This was where most players entered the Dodgers system and got their introduction to minor league ball.
With this many players you’d need a pretty big complex to handle the spring training and starting in 1948 Dodgers had one at Vero Beach when they took over an abandoned Naval air station. Life magazine sent George Silk to check out the new Dodgers camp.
Let’s look at some photos.
The coaching staff (at least most of them have clipboards) can put the players through timed dashes, sliding drills, stealing drills, bunting and hitting off a tee. Pitchers can work on their strike zone location.
All the players come running when the equipment man turns up. (Reversed photo)
Since it’s a Life feature there are some photos of what the players do when they’re not practicing. There’s shuffleboard, croquet, horseshoes, checkers and pretending someone can play the piano. Plus Vero Beach is a beach.
Finally a reminder why it’s the Grapefruit League.
Some of the unis on display: Kingston (1947 North Atlantic League D), Danville (Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League B), 3 Rivers (Canadian-American League D) and I think this is Newport News (Piedmont League B).
Fantastic work, once again, Lance. Thanks for the wonderful look-back at that first Dodger spring in Vero Beach.
And all this time, we thought Mick was a stirrup devotee. We was wrong. Here’s Rick:
All that stuff you might hear about it being “your generation’s turn in the batter’s box”? It’s all true. A good rule of thumb, though, is to be aware of WHEN it’s your generation’s turn and, y’know, not arrive late.
And with that, enjoy your full color, 6 panel Sunday Benchies.
Shortened to 3.14 of course. (3/14, get it?). So, today being March 14th, it’s also “pi day.” March 14 is also the birthday of Albert Einstein and the two events are sometimes celebrated together.
Sometimes Pi Minute is also celebrated; this occurs on March 14 at 1:59 p.m. If pi is truncated to seven decimal places, it becomes 3.1415926; making March 14 at 1:59:26 p.m., Pi Second (or sometimes March 14, 1592 at 6:53:58 a.m.).
There are a large variety of ways of celebrating Pi Day and most of them include eating pie and discussing the relevance of pi.
Why celebrate pi day? Meh, why not.
Math was never my strong suit, and I’m not real good with numbers, so I won’t be celebrating. But I wonder if Ben Beck and Greg Goletz are? They’re two Uni Watch members who have chosen pi as their number of choice.
So, to all of you who observe March 14th as your sacred time — Happy Pi Day To You.
Happy BK Jersey Appreciation Day!
Reader Brent O’Hara informs us that today, March 14, is “Burger King Jersey Appreciation Day,” and it’s not a gimmick. Brent explains:
I figured you would like to know about this, a group of fans plan on having a Burger King Jersey Appreciation Day on Sunday March 14th. They are trying to get everyone one they can find to wear the old “Burger King” styled 3rd jersey from 1995. Here is a link for that. By the way, I used to own that Blake jersey in the picture, but I had to sell it to pay for a car, which also broke down less than a year later…go figure.
So, yeah, if you’re in LA, and you’re attending today’s game, the good folks behind this promotion have this simple message: “If you have a BK Jersey please wear it proudly to the game this Sunday against the Preds.”
And in the LAST of our PSA’s today…
Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour ahead, if you haven’t done so already.
Unless, of course, you’re already in the cult
What’s better than a long weekend skiing?
A long weekend skiing in Michigan. With Sausages.
That’s right, while Uni Watch stalwart and pollster James Huening was at Indianhead Mountain in the UP, he spotted these familiar figures just milling about. Obviously, it’s good to be in the sausage suit.
And of course, no weekend would be complete without finding yourself surrounded by sausage.
Says Jimbo, “I’m not quite sure what the deal is with the sausages. I was under the impression that they’d be racing on snowboards or something. Apparently they were just running against kids.”
A quick look at the calendar reveals that indeed, March 13th would host “Klements Sausage-fest-Cookout featuring Klements sausage, fun and games with the famous Klements racing sausage guys!”
OK, Jimbo…what have you done with The Chorizo?
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Leading off today is Rocky Canonica, who has some changes for his hometown Phillies:
I can’t stand my hometown Phillies uniforms. Too much red…kind of retro…don’t like the pinstripes. Anyway I tried to come up with a variety of looks that refer to some of the teams older looks without looking too dated. I decided to keep the Liberty Bell as a common motif in each uniform but to incorporate it in a different way.
Our next submitter is introducing a new twist — “a tweak of a tweak” as it were. Here’s Matt Lukk with his creations:
Just wanted to send this along — I realize the contest is over (and what a great group of submissions!). These are based off of the REALLY COOL submissions of Todd Eizikowitz — I just took his great concept and tweaked it (tweakin‘ a tweak, I guess..!!)
Thought you might enjoy!
Next up is David Ebright, who brings us an interesting concept for the Cardinals … the Arizona Cardinals:
I think it’s obvious that the cardinals are in need of a uniform overhaul. I actually designed these about 5 or so years ago but lost them, so I decided to draw them up again. The concept is basic, but incorporates some colors that I don’t know if i’ve ever seen in a pakage on a uniform. I think the look really embodies Arizona. I’m a nut about “consitency” throughout uniforms so I made sure all the stripe patterns match. The colors might be a little distorted because I made it on paint (which took forever!) but they should be deep red/burgandy, black, marigold, and carolina blue. Enjoy!
Closing down today’s concepts section is Dan Martell, who has a whopping 19 MLB tweaks for us. Here’s Dan:
I hope all is well. With the MLB season right around the corner I have been working over the last month or so trying to put together some MLB tweeks. I have about 19 done. I figured it’s easier for you to view if I just uploaded them to Flickr so here is the link to my MLB set.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my pics.
OK. Great stuff today, yes? Back next time with more of your concepts, revisions and tweaks.
Two Reminders: Don’t forget, you can still vote in the Uni Watch Design A Uni Poll, which will remain open until next Friday, after which time, the winner will be announced. If you’ve already voted, sorry — one man, one vote — but if you haven’t, be sure to check out the 11 finalists and pick your choice for the best contestant.
Also, I believe former Bench Coach Vince Grzegorek will again be running his annual “Uni Watch March Madness Pool” so be sure to check back often this week to make sure you lock in your selections.
In the words of Mets Radio Man Howie Rose, “Put It In The Books.”
Help one kid at a time. He’ll maybe go back and help a few more. In
a generation, you’ll have something. — Al McGuire