As usual, the best part of Jackie Robinson Day was hearing all the broadcasters going out of their minds because they couldn’t tell the players apart (“The Rockies have a left-hander up in the bullpen, and I couldn’t tell you who he is, but he’s wearing No. 42”). Such pleasures notwithstanding, there were some uni-notable developments that had nothing to do with the number on everyone’s back. Por ejemplo:
• If you look at that Yankees photo above, you’ll see that A-Rod now has logos on his socks — something I hadn’t noticed before. A quick check reveals that he’s been wearing this mark on his hose throughout the young season, although he didn’t have it in spring training. Does anyone recognize the logo? Looks vaguely Umbro-ish, no? Whatever it is, it sure looks like shite.
• Speaking of logo-branded socks, Orlando Hudson came up with a brilliant way of tributing Jackie Robinson: by wearing Phiten socks and white cleats. The cleats were apparently MLB-approved for use yesterday, complete with Jackie’s number on the back, although it’s not clear to me what white cleats have to do with Jackie. Anyone..? (Thanks to Casey Common for the screen shots.)
• Several Dodgers honored Jackie by wearing stirrups: Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, and James Loney (or maybe they were just honoring former teammate Juan Pierre). Loney also went the extra mile with a 42 wristband. (Screen shots courtesy of Alex Higley.)
• The Padres and Braves wore throwbacks, which added a weird twist to all the 42-based activities. Nice to see that San Diego included the Ray Kroc sleeve memorial. Too bad about all the pajama pants, although a few players took a different approach.
And now back to your regularly scheduled season.
(Thanks to Phil for the headline.)
’Stros Update: It’s been a very Houston-centric week here at Uni Watch HQ. For starters, in case you missed it yesterday, I wrote an ESPN column about the original Astrodome staff uniforms. Here are some follow-ups on that:
• I neglected to mention in the column that several of the linked photos came from Trevor Williams, who attended last Saturday’s throwback game. You can see his full slate of photos here.
• One of Trevor’s photos provides a good view of the orange star on the throwback stirrups. Astros authentication manager Mike Acosta, who oversaw the throwback uniforms, told me the stars were supposed to be a tad larger, but he was still happy with them. They were woven in, not printed.
• I didn’t realize this until yesterday, but apparently the throwback game also featured throwback ushers’ blazers and a throwback lineup card in the dugout. I got those photo links from David Stagg, who also pointed me toward this shot of infielder Tommy Manzella picking up his stirrups for the game.
• John Weghorst sent me a bunch of early Houston baseball photos. Among the highlights (use the zoom bar on each page for a better view): an interesting vertical placket insignia (note how the button breaks the word into “Hou” and “Ston”); an early stadium shot with a white scoreboard; a Mexican team with what looks to have been an amazing jersey (again, use the zoom bar to get the full effect); a company team with a very odd “Levy’s” insignia; the minor league Houston Buffalos wearing shorts (which we’ve seen before, but it’s always fun to see more); and a great Colt .45s fan club membership card.
• Whether by coincidence or design, two new Membership Program enrollees have just requested tequila sunrise treatments (including Clayton Lust, whose card is shown at right). As always, you can sign up to get your own card here.
• And in a quasi-Astros-related item, Frank Mercogliano sent me this photo of Preston (Idaho) High School wearing the tequila sunrise motif.
• Even more quasi-related: I’ve mentioned several times that the new playing surface in Toronto has an AstroTurf logo printed on it in foul territory, and here at last is the visual evidence. Not good, MLB, not good.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Tremendous old NFL poster available on eBay. This really belongs in the home of a Uni Watch reader — someone snap it up now (great find by Brinke Guthrie). … The Indians are giving away caps made from plastic bottles (with thanks to Marc Swanson). … Two contributions from Matt Beahan: First, he made himself a DIY Nets Dr. J-ersey. ” It’s just a basic cotton tank top with felt twill numbers, letters and stripes, heat-pressed on (the stripes are also sewn along the top and bottom edge). Total cost was under £10, and it took less than three days from start to finish. The front numbers are slightly crooked, and the blue stripe could be neater, but it was really only for practice before I attempt my next project.” Plus Matt found some footage from the 1977 Slam Dunk Contest, which features Alex English wearing this uniform. I don’t think the Bucks ever wore that design in a regular game, did they? Anyone know more? … As had previously been rumored, the NCAA is banning messages on eye black, among other rule changes (with thanks to Al Stone). … Oh baby, check out this awesome curling patch (tremendous find by Chris Kralis). … Gio Gonzalez had “VM” written on his cap on Wednesday night. Why? His girlfriend was in a car accident (with thanks to Brandon Davis). … Also from Brandon: Andre Ethier isn’t the only one who likes to take the scissors to his undershirt collar, as you can see in this shot of Dallas Braden. But that doesn’t appear to be a Nike shirt like Ethier’s (and yes, I’ll announce the winner of yesterday’s Either-related contest soon — still looking through the literally hundreds of submissions that came in). … I’ve always said I couldn’t never get a tattoo on my foot — just seems like too sensitive an area. And that goes double for what this idiot got (blame Kyle Hanks). … Really nice throwbacks on tap for Iowa football. There’s video of the unveiling on this page, and here’s a huge-ass photo. … Tricia Bradley spotted this Capitals-esque cap at a Sheetz in Frostburg, Maryland. “Have the Capitals ever used this logo even as an alternate?” she asks. “Maybe this is a prototype? I wish they’d used this as their main logo.” … The Jazz retired No. 9 for late owner Larry Miller (it was his softball number) and renamed their court for him (with thanks to Brett Crane). … I love the color-block simplicity of these striped stirrups. That’s Gustine High in California (big thanks to Bryan Justman). … Scott M.X. Turner tipped me wise to a new blog devoted to Oakland’s baseball history. In addition to that uni-delicious banner at the top of the page, there are some excellent photos, including this Negro Leagues shot — note the uni numbers being bisected by the pants piping! … It makes sense that a school called Stetson University would have a jersey logo based on a hat, right? (Great find by Stetson alum Paul Gloersen.) … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Love the pinned-on uni numbers in this amazing 1908 Pitt football shot. … Kevin Wright attended Monday’s home opener in St. Looey and was surprised to see that the giveaway magnetic schedule was formatted to look like a 1980s pullover road jersey. Weird. … Good spot by Josh Fisher, who noticed Brandon Marshall wearing a shirt with the old NFL logo at yesterday’s presser. … Ben Isaacs notes that Jay Cutler was wearing a serious throwback cap the other day. Here, take a closer look.