As we delve into yet another round of fantastic wire service photos, let’s take a second to acknowledge all the great photographers who took these shots, along with all the other photographers whose work makes Uni Watch possible. Mostly uncredited and often unknown, these shutterbugs are the unsung heroes of the uni-verse.
• Oh. My. God. That’s the 1929 Toledo Redmen. Note that the basketball on the floor appears to have been positioned so as to hide the fact that one player wasn’t wearing black sneakers.
• Coolest blocking sled photo ever. That’s the 1929 Princeton football team.
• This shot is from the Cowboys locker room prior to Super Bowl V. Man, couldn’t they have sprung for something better than cheapo wire hangers? Today, of course, the jerseys are fitted over the pads before being put on by the players.
• Here’s a bizarre one: John Havlicek creating a bit of abstract art with a paint-covered basketball.
• Coupla interesting things about this 1929 boxing shot. First, look how almost everyone in the crowd is wearing a tie. And second, the fighter who’s just delivered the knockout blow is Art Shires, who was also the starting first baseman for the White Sox at the time. By the time of this, his first bout in the ring, he’d already gotten into plenty of fights without the benefit of padded gloves. To learn more about his rather colorful life, look here.
• Speaking of boxing, I love this undated post-retirement shot of Jack Dempsey, mainly because the waitress in the background is just priceless.
• So many interesting details in this shot of Ebbets Field moments after the Dodgers clinched the 1956 pennant: the groundskeeper with the Dodgers script on his back; the necktie-clad umpire scampering off the field; the usher in the middle of the frame; the cops trying to maintain order; and so on. It’s funny how it used to be taken as a given that fans would storm the field on such occasions — when exactly did teams and cities start increasing the security presence to prevent this?
• So amazing that pro athletes all wore Chucks back in the day. That shot is fro mthe 1951 NBA finals — Celts vs. Knicks.
• Here’s a shot from the 1956 Olympics gold medal basketball game. That’s Bill Russell towering over the Japanese players. Interesting that the American jerseys didn’t have “USA” on them. Nice satin shorts, too. But what really strikes me about this shot is the side paneling on the Japanese uniforms, which looks a lot like today’s uni designs.
• Speaking of Bill Russell, look at his huge legs folded up in this golf cart. Not sure who the other guy is.
• You don’t often see wire photos that are set up as concept pieces like this one. That’s Pop Warner asleep under the tree. The three guys in football helmets are three players he’s dreaming of having on his team, as you can see in the caption.
• People forget that Steve Spurrier briefly played for the 49ers. That shot if from ’73. Note that the team’s pants piping was still at a reasonable width back then, as opposed to the ridiculous proportions it later achieved.
• All stirrups are lucky, but some stirrups are apparently luckier than others. Coupla weird things going on here: Note that the date is October 3rd — why would a team be issued new socks (or new anything) at the very end of the season? Also, I love that the caption describes the “crucial” series the Mets are playing — right, as if the Mets played any crucial games that year. (Yes, I realize they probably meant the games were crucial to the Cardinals, who were in a down-to-the-wire pennant race at the time, but if you re-read the caption you’ll see that they made it sound like the games were crucial to the Mets.)
• And here’s a nice cherry on top for this batch: Robert Clemente, just lounging around in his stirrups. Sweet.
In case you missed it last night: Actually, I missed it last night, because I didn’t have e-mail access from about 6pm until I woke up this morning and found that the Cardinals are now the very definition of black for black’s sake. The great thing about this alternate look is that it retains all the worst aspects of their regular look (the extraneous piping, the stupid-ass sleeves, the awful pants horns, the unnecessary logo above the nameplate, etc.) while adding a new color that has nothing to do with the team’s color scheme. Well done, Cards — it’s a lose-lose! And will anyone really be surprised if they come out with a set of matching black pants before the season is over? Additional coverage here, if you really feel the need.
Research project reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the pajama-pants mindset. Details here.
Uni Watch Stirrup Club Update: Despite the research project mentioned above, let no one doubt my commitment to the glorious hosiery revolution. It therefore gives me great pleasure to surrender the floor to comrade Robert Marshall, who’s ready to deliver his latest report on the progress of our epic struggle:
Sheathed in striped hose, I cheerfully receive news daily from the Uni Watch pulpit about the increasing numbers of ballplayers and teams eliminating their pajamas in favor of the proper aesthetic. Yet we cannot relent, the fight is not yet won, so let us engage the propaganda ministry to forward our ideology and win the hearts and minds of people. The Revolutionary Stirrup Party recognizes the power of cinema (not to mention sex appeal), so we will disseminate our message on the big screen, showing heroes and villains of the aesthetic. Perhaps young influential minds will be won over when these partisan moving pictures hit the theaters.
Since the propaganda machine is in full celluloid swing, let us begin this month’s Stirrup Club offerings with a choice from Hollywood: the all-time classic Bad News Bears design. This stirrup was a must. Feel free to doctor it like Amanda Whurlitzer.
Next up: Of course, when you move from the cinema to real life, revolution can sometimes get messy. And things were messy indeed on June 4th, 1974, which is when the 10¢ beer night riot took place in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. I cannot find a clear picture, but Dressed to the Nines shows that the Tribe was wearing this stirrup [the red one] on that day. And since the riot took place in 1974, this stirrup will have a 7″ opening, to be truer to the era.
In honor of the hope that the San Francisco Giants provide for the future, it seems that their new striped hose would be a logical choice for our next big league design. It was also worn by the ’54 Orioles among other the late-’40s Giants, among others (including a very young Robert Marshall).
Our final stirrup is the first purely conceptual design of the revolution, so I suspect it will be universally dismissed by those not observing the spirit of Stirrup Fridays. Sure, the Oaks stirrup is groovy for Christmas, the Salmon Bellies (among others) will play on the 4th, but what about other holidays? For the love of fried dough, what of Pączki Day?! If you don’t know what a pączki is, it is more or less a fancy jelly doughnut eaten on the last day before Lent. But if you get one that resembles a factory-produced jelly doughnut, you’re doing it wrong — go to a decent bakery. Let’s celebrate this fine holy day of doughnuttery with golden brown (i.e., old gold) hose stuffed with a powidła-esque filling (maroon). Ta-da: paczki stirrups. (Truth be told, I wanted to go with a more purple-ish shade of powidła , but the Supreme Leader threatened to have me shipped off to the labor camps as punishment for counter-revolutionary thoughts.)
Let us conclude Party matters with the issue of sanitary socks. I want to offer colours to supplement the standard white, but there are the usual minimum-order thresholds. So in order to keep these inexpensive, I need to roll them out a few colors at a time. Why are these important beyond the possible on-field combinations? Because of Stirrup Fridays, naturally. I am sure dress socks work, but i imagine they fall down, so it might be nice to have an olde school knee-high. While much of the spirit of this Friday ritual is akin to a lady wearing fancy Underroos that nobody sees, dress pants do blouse for a photo even better then modern baseball pants. When is the last time you saw a ballplayer who looked that perfect?
From each according his stirrvp, to each according his strype,
Robert Marshall, Cadre RSP
Thanks, Comrade Marshall. Your valiant efforts will be duly rewarded, if not in this life then certainly in the Hosiery Hall of Heroes.
Tying up some loose ends: I’ve been remiss in addressing a few things that have been piling up. To wit:
• I never got around to announcing the winner of the contest to name Andre Ethier’s collar modification. The 200ish submissions included some excellent suggestions (Into the Ethier, Reduce the Douche, Ethanize), but two ideas really jumped out: E-Section, suggested by Russ Chibe, and Breathing Ethier, submitted by Scott Lederer. They can even be used in tandem: “David Wright is Breathing Ethier, thanks to his E-Section.” Russ and Scott both get free Uni Wach Memberships for their efforts and should get in touch with me with the info for their membership cards.
• Speaking of the membership program, a bunch of cards mailed out on Wednesday, so new enrollees should watch their mailboxes. If you want to get on board, here’s how.
• I’ve only shipped out about half of the prizes from the NCAA tournament pool. Why? Because most of the prizes are MLB BP caps, which are annoyingly odd-shaped items. I usually have a bunch of boxes and mailers floating around the house, but at the moment my box stock is depleted. Next week I’ll just buy a bunch of boxes and ship out the remaining caps. Sorry for the delay, and thanks for your patience.
• Finally, remember those striped-sleeve undershirts that Bob Halfacre was gonna have manufactured for us? He’s had a hard time finding a suitable material for the sleeves (I rejected one fabric he same up with), but we still hope to make this happen. Further details as they become available.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Chicago Fire are “going green” by wearing a white jersey (with thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … “Just moved to North Carolina and bought my first house,” writes William Wallace. “My wife decided to surprise me with our very own Green Monster in our extra bedroom. You can take the man out of Fenway, but never the Fenway out of the man.” … Jeff Scott recently came across this photo of Red Schoendienst in an old Cardinals desk calendar. “Note the blue and white are reversed on the logo,” he writes. “I’ve never seen the Cards wearing that style of cap on the field. Based on the jersey and Red’s tenure with the team, I’m guessing the photo was taken between 1961 and ’65. The team wore navy caps in the early ’60s before wearing a red cap at home in ’64 and then red full-time starting in ’65. I’m wondering if this is some kind of prototype made in ’64 when they migrated to red.” Anyone know more? … Sam Cat notes that Josh Hamilton has his uni number handwritten onto the insignia tail of his BP pullover, plus he spotted David Murphy wearing “those goofy ZigTech Reebok things that Chad Ochocinco has been hawking.” Here’s a closer look. … The Astros did the Earth Day thing yesterday. And the A’s wore their green alts at home, even though they’re technically the road alts. … DJ Carrasco can’t pitch for shit, but he sure wears some my-t-fine stirrups (thanks, Phil). … The Canadiens are cracking down on fake jerseys (with thanks to Sean Walker). … Pitt is suing an Ohio high school for using Pitt’s logo — and the school can’t remove it from their field because it’s sewn into the turf (with thanks to Rich Eakin Jr.). …