Back with another great set of football photos from Robert Harvell’s collection (if you missed the first installment, look here). Most of the ones in this batch are facemask- and helmet-related, including some killer stuff I’ve never seen before. Dig:
• We’ve all seen those U-shaped nose guard, like the one Larry Csonka used to wear. But I’ve never seen one positioned up high like this. Seems like it could do more harm than good, no?
• But that’s not the weirdest configuration of a U-guard that I’ve ever seen — this is. Never seen anything like that before. The player is Niners lineman Ron Singleton, from 1979. Looks like he was using two U-guards to protect his eyes from getting poked. Visors hadn’t yet made their on-field debut.
• This is, hands down, the thinnest, flimsiest-looking Lucite facebar I’ve ever seen.
• Speaking of Lucite, check this out: a full-Lucite backfield!
• Great shot of an executioner-style leather helmet/mask combo being worn way back in 1925. The player is Doug Wyckhoff of Georgia Tech.
• Awesome shot of Joe Perry wearing one of those plexiglass masks. That’s from a preseason game, though (8/15/54) — not sure if he ever wore that in a regular season game.
• Here’s a doozy of a view of Otis Taylor’s double single-bar.
• And wait, it gets better: a two-bar plus a single-bar.
• I’m not familiar with this odd accessory, so I asked Helmet Hut guru Curtis Worrell. “Oh my, very standard in those days,” he wrote back. “The reason for the brackets was to keep the sides of the softer helmet shells from caving in and damaging most likely an already broken jaw.”
• Speaking of broken jaws, after Dan Dierdorf broke his, he needed a special facemask. “That’s actualy the Cardinals helmet and facemask he wore during the regular season that was refitted with all-star stripes and decals for his trip to the Pro Bowl,” says Robert.
• These facemasks don’t quite reach Dierdorfian proportions, but they’re still plenty interesting.
• There is some seriously weird shit going on in this 1979 photo. The guy in the foreground is Rams lineman John Williams. I knew he wore two facemasks at once, but I’d never seen it all taped up like that. Meanwhile, check out the dude behind him — a different two-mask job, with its own tape job! Amazing.
• I knew Eddie LeBaron had worn this duck-like mask. I also knew it was actually two masks — a single-bar and an upturned bar (the latter of which had been worn on its own by Joe Perry). But I’d never seen a good photo that showed the separate components of of LeBaron’s mask until now.
• Most people have only seen the NFL 50th-anniversary patch being worn by the Vikings in Super Bowl IV, so here’s a bunch of shots of it being worn by other teams from that season.
• Here’s something I didn’t know: For that year’s Pro Bowl, the players wore the 50th-anniversary logo as a patch and as a helmet decal (instead of wearing an NFL logo helmet decal, which was the Pro Bowl protocol at the time).
• I believe this is from that same year’s AFL All-Star Game, with the AFL 10th-annivesary logo on the sleeves and helmets.
• Not sure I’ve ever seen a close-up of an AFL football before. Love that “Cushion-Control” logo!
That’s enough for today. More of Robert’s photos coming soon.
Prince of Vests? There was some interesting uni-related chatter by the Angels’ broadcast team during yesterday’s game. Here’s the relevant back-and-forth, as transcribed by reader Seth Moorman:
Victor Rojas: Halos bustin’ out the vest jerseys today. The sleeveless. I got to think this is the first time we’ve seen ’em this year, right?
Mark Gubicza: Not too often. It’s a good look, really. Very comfortable if you are either a batter or pitcher to have sleeves like that. Reminds me of the old Pittsburgh Pirates back in the ’50s and ’60s. Mazeroski time. Back when you used to watch games, Victor.
Rojas: I go back even further — Ted Kluszewski. He used to just rip the sleeves off.
Gubicza: He was big enough to do so.
Rojas: He was a large man. Think Major League Baseball would allow that now? Some dude just, come out, just, “I’m Hot” — rrrriiipp — just go sleeveless?
Gubicza: Uhhh, don’t think so. No sports teams allow that anymore.
Rojas: Might get a phone call from Bob Watson.
Gubicza: No doubt. I think Prince Fielder tried to do that at one point, I thought he tried to rip the sleeves, and they end up making sure he didn’t do that any more. Too many games on TV now. Can’t get away with it.
Hmmmm, can’t say I recall hearing anything about Prince Fielder trying to perform a sleeve-ectomy on his jersey. Hell, he actually wears extra-long sleeves. Anyone know more about this, or was Gubicza just having an old-timer’s moment?
And I made a C-note, not bad: Big thanks to all the readers who came by my stoop sale on Saturday (and double-thanks to Ross for the six-pack). One guy — alas, I’ve forgotten his name — was actually in town from Boston for the weekend and decided to swing by. Others traveled much shorter distances, but I was glad to meet all of you. As I never get tired of saying, Uni Watch readers are the best. Thanks, gang.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As you know, I love old catalogs. And as I’ve mentioned several times in recent months, lately I’ve been collecting old pencil sharpeners. Those two passions recently merged when I came across this old brochure on eBay. It’s really, really wonderful, so I’ve scanned the whole thing for you to see here. … Interesting memorial gesture, as reported by Jack Krabbe: “Notre Dame Prep in Towson, Maryland, recently paid tribute to a Virginia lacrosse player who was killed by wearing orange ribbons in their hair and painting her #1 on their legs.” … Not that anyone cares, but the UFL recently posted an interesting Facebook update (big thanks to Parick Runge). … Larry Brunt reports that he was in Seattle for a recent Mariners/Angels game and encountered an Angels fan who was going around handing out these DIY memorial pins for pitcher Nick Adenhart and announcer Rory Markas. … Also from Larry: “I’m reading Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season by Jonathan Eig. There’s an account of a Dodgers/Cards game in which ‘a ground ball by Carl Furillo somehow rolled up the sleeve of shortstop Marty Marion and got lost in his shirt.'” … That Maryland baseball team sure knows how to wear stirrups (with thanks to Kevin Hastings). … New logo for the Pac 10 (with thanks to Jerry Gardner Jr.). … Gumball helmet king Bill Jones has added two very special designs to his collection. First, remember Todd Asselin, the Chiefs fan whose helmet prototype was briefly shown on the air over 20 years ago (as I detailed in this ESPN column)? His helmet has now been gumball-ized. And remember when Packers lineman Ken Ruettgers added some jack-o-lantern decals to his helmet back on 10/31/94? That has now been immortalized as well. “The artwork for both of these was done by a fellow collector, David Jingo,” says Bill. “He is really good at creating these odd helmet designs.” … I don’t usually buy used footwear, but I made an exception the other day when I saw this totally rulin’ pair of Pro Keds at a local vintage shop. Are those magnificent or what? … An ad at the Angels’ stadium is apparently causing problems for some of the hitters, but hey, it’s just business, right? … Awesome contribution from Greg Zagorski, who writes: “Here are some mid-’80s NFL figurines that I got growing up. The cool part is that they’re also rubber stamps.” I’ve never seen these before, and I love them, in part because it’s so endearingly incongruous to have a bear wearing ram horns or eagle wings. … Chad Todd figures this kid‘s father must be a Uni Watch reader. … Anyone know why the Astros were wearing red ribbons on Saturday? And no, that’s not a leftover Mother’s Day ribbon — those were pink. … Brad Penny’s been wearing striped stirrups lately, but yesterday he went with striped socks. … Loads of Steelers “Batman” football cards here (big thanks to Michael Thomas). … Fox Sports misspelled Ivan Nova’s name when he made his MLB debut the other day (good catch by Grant Goldman). … More and more base coaches are wearing those flapless Wilson helmets (screen shot courtesy of Alex Higley). … Also from Alex: Never seen the “Slugger” logo that appears on these helmets. Note the manufacturer’s name on the box, too. … One more from Alex: Slugger Bird on a white helmet! … According to a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, the Giants’ pregame radio show is reporting that “there’s a contingent of Giants players who are petitioning management to get orange sannies to wear under the black stirrups. Possibly paired with the orange jerseys only.” … There was a see-thru effect on Dontrelle Willis’s jersey the other day (Alex Higley again). … “The organizers for the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) have released their logo and mascot,” writes Jeremy Brahm. “The logo looks cool, but the mascot is just dorky. Turtles don’t need goggles!” … Also from Jeremy: “On ESPN’s SportsNation on Friday, they had video of Michael Jordan breaking a backboard in 1986 while playing in an exhibition in Italy for Stephanel Trieste. I have found other shots of the uniform, including one of James Worthy.” … My very favorite contribution from last year was a highlight video of a Texas Tech throwback baseball game, complete with old-timey newsreel-style commentary. Here’s this year’s version — I heartily recommend listening closely to the whole thing (blue-plate special from Kirk Heard). … “I was just watching the season premiere of Friday Night Lights and noticed that one of the East Dillon players was wearing a jersey that clearly had a swoosh covered up by a white patch,” writes Mike Rich. “At first I thought this was odd for a show that seems to allow quite a bit of corporate branding on the air, but then I remembered that Under Armour makes the West Dillon uniforms.” … Carlos Gonzalez has something written on his cap, but it’s hard to see exactly what it is. “Might have something to do with his uncle who recently died,” says the very Ticker-active Alex Higley. … Saturday’s junior welterweight showdown between Paulie Malignaggi and Amir Khan featured something you don’t often see: Reebok gloves. … Back in November I mentioned that Dock Ellis wore a very odd batting helmet in the 1971 All-Star Game. Turns out he wore it in the ’71 World Series, too. That shot is from an outstanding Fleer Sticker Project entry about the ’71 Series. It’s chock-full of great screen shots and observations — dig. … The Brewers are once again doing some All-Star Game campaigning on the field. It would be bad enough having this on the grass in foul territory, but there’s something really unseemly about having it on the dirt right behind home. Total bush league move. … I normally wouldn’t bother to show NBA draft caps, but it’s worth noting that they show the new logos for the Warriors, Jazz, and Cavs (with thanks to Mike Rowinski). … A Texas high school is in trouble for poaching the U. of Hawaii’s “H” logo.
Four-titude: Four years ago today, I posted the inaugural entry on this site. Wasn’t sure I’d be able to provide fresh content on a daily basis, or if there was an audience for it even if I could, but I hoped for the best. Four years later, the site has proven to be more durable and rewarding than I ever could have imagined, and that’s largely due to all the fantastic contributions and support from you folks. From the daily commenters to the lurkers, I’m grateful to all of you, and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved here. Hope you are, too.