I was busy Mother’s Day-ing on Sunday, and you probably were too, so we didn’t see the day’s most significant uni-related moment. Fortunately, reader Andy Kanzer is a thoughtless son who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Mother’s Day, so he was parked in front of the teevee at the crucial moment and saw what we all missed.
Here’s the deal: As the Mets/Giants game was about to start, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen briefly removed his cap, revealing a Mets yamulke underneath (not sure if the logo is using the Classic Script or the Wilpon Script). This prompted an absolutely surreal exchange between broadcasters Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen (the latter of whom, presumably, is Jewish):
Hernandez: Was that a Met yamulke right there?
Cohen: That’s exactly what that looked like.
Hernandez: How about that.
Cohen [apparently unaware of Warthen's chosen personhood]: It’s a bit of a surprise.
Hernandez: Well, it’s Sunday. [Painfully awkward pause follows.]
Hernandez: Did you, did you go to temple today?
Cohen: Not on Sunday, Keith. Saturday.
Hernandez: Oh! Excuse me, I’ve got it wrong, don’t I. I’ve gotta get my facts straight.
Cohen [cracking up]: We’ll have the course in comparative religion right after the game.
Hernandez: No no no, we don’t have to. I had my catechism when I was young, please.
This was actually Hernandez’s second noteworthy incident of the weekend, although the first one wasn’t uni-related. The amazing thing about all this is that Hernandez was always known — and is still thought of, in some circles — as a cerebral guy, which just goes to show what doing the daily crossword will do for your image.
Meanwhile, does Warthen always wear a kippah, or was it just a one-day thing? I asked former Mets batboy Matt Harris, who said, “Wow, I never saw that the whole time we shared a clubhouse in New York. Not even when he came in for the day and was wearing street clothes. Never saw him wear it when they left in suits for a road trip either.”
Hmmm, so is Warthen even Jewish? Is he studying to convert, or maybe he has a case of Jew envy? Has he been talking about more than pitching with Fred Wilpon’s pal Sandy Koufax? Or is he getting current Met Sean “Not a Jew” Green mixed up with the former Met Shawn “Very Much a Jew” Green? We’ll have to see if Warthen leaves a space on the dugout bench for Elijah.
Meanwhile, I want to make it very clear that I was kidding about Andy Kanzer being a lousy son. He even posted a Mother’s Day note on his blog — and his mom left a comment! Nice.
Rolls Reuss: Bruce Menard informed me yesterday that Jerry Reuss, the former pitcher and current broadcaster, has a Flickr account, and he’s posted some interesting old photos. Among the highlights: Ruess with the 1969 Tulsa Oilers (note the straight NOB and also the MLB centennial patch — I didn’t recall that minor league teams had worn it); Reuss and his Little League All-Star Team (I especially like that Jets jersey); and a rare shot of Beer Barrel Man batting left-handed. Lots of good old stadium photos, too.
But my favorite shot is this one — note the wildly inconsistent uni number fonts, and how the double-flap helmet at lower-left has a much smaller logo. But what intrigues me the most is the flapless helmet at lower-right: Looks like there’s a cap already fitted into the helmet! I’m assuming that was for Eddie Murray, since he wore his cap under his helmet. But was it a special cap that he only wore while batting, as opposed to the cap he wore in the field? Possibly, at least judging by this photo.
Meanwhile, Reuss appears to be a more interesting cat than your average professional athlete. He’s a decent photographer and has provided informative commentary (some of it uni-related) for most of the photos — recommended clicking. I’ve never heard him broadcast. Is he good?
By Brinke Guthrie
That’s me during the Rangers’ first month in Arlington — April 1972. The cap hid my bowl haircut nicely.
Now then, today’s featured item: 1970s helmet plaques. There are two types from the period I’m aware of — this kind and this kind. We also have entries from the Bills, Redskins, Dolphins, Cowboys, Bears, Pete Liske-era Eagles, Cards, Chargers, Bucs, and just about everyone else. Meanwhile, what is this kinda plaque? The helmet looks too small for the head.
In other finds:
• Whenever I see one of these LA Rams hats, I think “Chuck Knox.”
• I just bought one of these NFL thermal mugs — love it, use it all the time. But I only paid $16, nowhere near the $40 they want for this one.
• Staubach wearing Brooks cleats. I know at one point in the late ’70s Brooks owned MLB. Rare in the NFL, though.
• This game is a new one, at last to me. But if it’s the “VCR Quarterback Game,” how come both players are wearing non-QB uni numbers?
• I remember NFL Strategy, though. In fact, I wore that game out.
• I believe this Nate Colbert card came from cereal, no? [Yes indeed -- that's from the Kellogg's "3-D" series. They always curled like that. -- PL]
• Always thought the Spirits of St. Louis was a great name and logo.
• Crane Potato Chip discs?! Complete with Charlie Sanders afro.
• I collected baseball cards in the ’70s — I’d just order the whole set from an ad in the back of The Sporting News, then get a pack or two at the local King Kwik for the gum fix. These “Traded” cards really bothered me. It was like a big disclaimer across the front. “Not good enough.” [Similarly, they always reminded me of the FBI "Wanted" posters down at the post office. -- PL]
• These NFL medallions are just too cool to be believed. I still have two of ’em.
• And finally: alien electric football players!
Uni Watch News Ticker: Paul here again. An addendum to Brinke’s picks: Some interesting retro-style jerseys from Warner Bros. film projects have shown up on eBay. I particularly like the one with the fractional uni number. … The Nippon Ham Fighters have released their We Love Hokkaido Series uniform for July (with thanks to, of course, Jeremy Brahm). … Some cool items recently floating around the auction world, including a killer Bears jacket, an AFL officiating jersey, and — get this — a game-used Oakland Invaders equipment bag (great stuff from Mike Hersh). … New football uniforms for Arizona. Better photos to follow shortly, I hope (with thanks to Kenny Abbey). … I can’t fully wrap by brain around this World Cup chart, but it sure is purty (thanks, Kirsten). … Georgia Tech baseball will be wearing these 1985 throwbacks on Saturday (as reported by Tim O’Meara). … The Toledo Mud Hens wore really boring throwbacks last night (with thanks to Jeff Cohen). … Greg Stamps reports that the Texas Rangers have a small gift shop where they sell game-used stuff and related memorabilia. “It’s kind of like a garage sale at the equipment manager’s house,” he says. “On Saturday I was thumbing through the racks and came across a mutilated undershirt with sweat stains all over it for the bargain price of $5. We all know Tom Hicks is hurting for money, but c’mon!” The best part: They’re trying to sell the phantom two-tone helmets! … You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me Dept.: Russell Martin wears his mother’s initial on his NOB every day, but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters wasn’t allowed to wear his mom’s name on his chest protector collar — on Mother’s Day. So everyone’s wearing pink, the hitters are swinging pink bats, but a little inscription on a chest protector (which nobody but readers of this blog would ever notice anyway) is out of bounds? Yet another case of MLB failing to have a ticket on the clue train (thanks to Mike Rich for the tip). … MLB batting helmets aren’t supposed to have manufacturers’ logos on them. But Shane Victorino appears to have two Rawlings decals, one of which has been covered up, on the back of his lid. They’ve been there since spring training, but they weren’t there last year, and they’re not on his alternate helmet (with thanks to Clint Glaze for spotting the decals).