Reader Roger Faso recently tipped me off to something really wonderful: a 1974 Canadian documentary called King of the Hill, which follows Ferguson Jenkins and the Chicago Cubs through the 1972 and ’73 seasons. It’s far from perfect — the voiceover script oversells many points and glosses over others, all in a failed attempt to sound literary, and there’s no narrative thread to speak of — but the film is a visual smorgasbord of early-’70s MLB visuals, plus it includes some tremendous on-field audio (including a priceless spring training bit that finds Joe Pepitone calling the first base ump “a sissy fag umpire,” among other things).
You can watch the entire one-hour film here, and I strongly recommend watching the whole thing. If you don’t have time for that right now, at least check out the trailer. Here are some uni-notable screen shots to wet your appetite:
• I was really struck by the diagonal slant on the back edge of Ron Santo’s helmet. At first I thought it was just a Santo thing, but this Phillies player appears to be wearing the same design. I hadn’t recalled single-flap helmets looking like that in the early ’70s. (And as an aside, how about those massive Philly uni numbers!)
• Here’s an excellent shot of Bert Campaneris’s NickNOB.
• At one point in the film there’s a bizarre shot of Cubbie infielder Carmen Fanzone playing the national anthem on his trumpet while in uniform.
• There are several locker room scenes, including one that shows Jenkins running around in magenta boxers.
• The film provides several good views of the handwritten uni numbers that the Cubs used to wear inside their helmet logos.
• Love the font that was used for the distance markers on the Cubs’ spring training outfield wall.
• When It Rains, It Pours Dept.: Here’s yet another shot of the Astrodome’s space-suited grounds crew.
• Those 1972 Cubs road uniforms, with the centered uni numbers, looked so weird.
• Speaking of Magic Markered numbers on helmets, check out Clemente and Sanguillen. Plus you can really see the difference between Manny’s flocked helmet and Roberto’s shiny one.
• And speaking of Sanguillen, there’s a great sequence where he’s rounding third and his cap and helmet fall off separately.
• A little too much information from Cubbie coach Pete Reiser.
• Man, that original Expos uni was such a pretty little thing, no? I miss it.
• At the very end of the film, Jenkins gets traded to the Rangers, and there’s a quick shot of him and Don Stanhouse in the team’s early-’70s home uni. The Rangers were largely invisible to me during that period — they got very little media coverage, had no stars to speak of aside from Jeff Burroughs in his MVP season of 1974, and always seemed like a lower-echelon team. So I confess that when I saw Jenkins and Stanhouse, I didn’t know what to make of the little white spot at the base of the “R” on their jersey insignia. Had to look it up to find out the sad truth. Is that the worst-conceived design element ever or what?
Oh, and in case you couldn’t guess, there film is a total stirrup-fest. Enjoy.
The movie is hosted, by the way, by the National Film Board of Canada’s web site, which also features lots of hockey movies. One of them is Just Another Job, a 27-minute film about the Quebec Nordiques. Frankly, it’s pretty much a snooze, but at the 13:08 point there’s an interview with the guy who designed the team’s logo and uniforms, describing his creative process. I believe this sequence was once featured in the Ticker a long time ago, but whatever — worth checking out.
How come Vince never mentioned this?: Jason Whitt has found an inconsistency in the Indians’ identity program. The key is the “s” at the end of the team’s logo script. In the MLB style guide, the line of the script lettering ends with a little point inside the “s,”, and then the tail sort of emerges from the side of the letter out of nowhere. The style guide also shows that same interior point on the depiction of the jersey, and the point also appears on the team’s scoreboard. But the point isn’t shown on the actual jerseys worn on the field — instead, there’s a loop that then connects to the tail. Same thing on the navy alternate.
I haven’t yet gone back to check whether the jersey script used to include the point. Anyone know if it did? If so, when did it change?
Still more Houston stuff: Last week’s ESPN column about the uniforms at the Astrodome and Colt Stadium prompted a great contribution from Jon Helf (better known as the genius behind the Fleer Sticker Project), who sent me a buncha pics relating to Colt Stadium. Among the highlights: uni/costume designer Evelyn Norton Anderson making some last-second adjustments to a busboy and waitress at the stadium’s Fast Draw Club; color photos of many of the stadium staff uniforms; an additional color shot of a Triggerette; a shot of the suit worn by the team’s TV and radio broadcasters (plus it was also supposed to be worn by players when they were making personal appearances); and a dynamite 1962 newspaper article that covered the staff uniforms in considerable detail.
Incidentally, did you notice something about Colt Stadium in several of those photos? Its seating was mostly — maybe entirely? — folding chairs.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Rays skipper Joe Maddon can no longer wear his hoodie in the dugout. … More about those khaki Indians caps from last weekend: According to an item on this page, “While the Indians got the hats from a distributor in Cincinnati, the hats were actually manufactured in China. With the giant carbon footprint created by the trip from China to Cleveland, the hats are green in color only” (thanks, Vince). … The 1935 Cubs had three different uniforms, but I don’t think I’d ever seen a photo of the one in the middle until now. Note that the bat boy is wearing the more common “Chicago” jersey (awesome find by Bruce Menard). … Also from Bruce: a bunch of sports-themed tobacco ads. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The U.S. Presswire archives include some shots from Ted Turner’s one game as the Braves’ manager (additional images here, here, and here). … Rudy Gutierrez noticed something I hadn’t been aware of: The helmet depicted on the Raiders’ helmet logo used to have little glints of reflection, but not anymore. … Nice set of old basketball uniforms available here. … Dana Czerwinski sent some good photos showing how just how bad the Adidas “Power Web” straps look on Nebraska’s football pants. … Fairly comprehensive assessment of UVa’s new football uniforms here (with thanks to Justin Eller). … Yesterday I mentioned that I’d love to see what was inside tnis Shea Stadium dedication magazine, and Paul Wiederecht promptly obliged. Tons of great stuff in there — I suggest clicking through all of it. … In addition, Ed Ra sent along a different Shea dedication publication, plus he also sent along the program for Shea’s groundbreaking. I love that the music was provide by the Sanitation Department Band. … Lacrosse note from Nick Coppola, who writes: “Interesting uni match-up this past weekend, as Army and Navy battled in Baltimore — a neutral-field game — with both wearing their home colors, which turned out to be silver vs. gold.” … You know what’s really ridiculous? Doing the 42 thing all over again just because it’s your first home game since April 15th. … You know what’s even worse? The road team doing likewise. I’m on record as loving the one-day 42 routine on the 15th, and I can even live with it on the 16th for teams that didn’t play on the 15th, but that’s it — enough! It’s called Jackie Robinson Day because it’s one day! … Disappointing scene last night in San Diego, where Matt Cain went high-cuffed but wore solid black socks — no orange stripes. Boooo! (As noted by Alex Moggridge). … What’s up with the old-style uni diagrams in the header to this web site? Dan Cichalski explains: “The Pittsfield Colonials are an independent team in the Can-Am League. Used to be in Nashua, N.H., but now they’re moving to Pittsfield, Mass., and into 91-year-old Wahconah Park. And because of the town’s baseball history, they’re going to wear early-1900s unis, home and away, all season. I don’t know of any pics yet, other than that header. Can’t wait to see the real things!” … Here’s a weird one: Yogi Berra, Rickey Henderson, and others wearing old jerseys from the Barry Halper collection. For the full effect, be sure to scroll down to the photo links in the bullet list toward the end of the page (great stuff from Larry Granillo). … Larry Wiederecht says the Baseball Tonight chuckleheads were discussing Bobby Valentine’s 1970 beaning last night. Key quote from Bobby V.: “I wasn’t wearing a earflap back in 1970. They really didn’t have them yet” [emphasis added]. Uh, right. Also, as Larry points out, “the implication from his statement was that he would have worn one if they’d been available” — so how come all the photos of him from the 1970s show him going flapless? Ah, Bobby V. — I’ve missed your slippery ways. …