Mike Hersh recently sent me a bunch of new wire photo submissions. I’ll be cobbling them into the latest installment of our wire service series soon, but today I want to focus on three of the photos Mike contributed, which are interesting enough to merit their own entry.
Some quick background: I’ve been following football for nearly 40 years. During that time I’ve occasionally heard proposals to come up with some sort of electronic gizmo that could definitively measure whether a team has made a first down, similar to the Cyclops gizmo used in tennis. “Bringing out the chains takes so much time, plus it’s inexact,” goes the argument. “So we’re developing a device that will be faster and more accurate.”
I didn’t realize someone had already come up with such a device way back in 1954! Granted, that device isn’t electronic — it’s more like a sextant or a surveyor’s tool. The caption mentions that the device was used in 21 games that year and that officials were considering using it in the East-West Shrine Game the next day.
That leads us to this shot, which shows the gadget in use. This photo has the same date as the previous one, but this time the caption says the gadget will be used in the Shrine Game. This caption also tells us that the device is called a Pere-Scope, after its inventor, Lou Peresenyi — the guy shown in the previous photo. (Four tangential points: (1) I assume the linesman removed his cap to get his head right up to the eyepiece. (2) Kinda unseemly for his undershirt to be showing, no? (3) Striped whistle lanyard! (4) I know I always say this, but it’s so weird to see a zebra wearing a shirt with a button placket, button cuffs, a shoulder yoke, a collar, etc. More of a standard men’s dress shirt than a jersey.)
I wanted to know more about how the device worked, and I figured Peresenyi probably patented his invention, so I poked around and found the patent. (Interestingly, he didn’t even apply for the patent until the fall of 1955, a full year after the device was used in those 21 games.) Patent wording is always dense and difficult to slog through, but I recommend clicking through the document and reading as much of it as you can handle — it’s a clever device.
Was the Pere-Scope ever used after the 1954 college season? I haven’t been able to turn up any other references to it. Anyone know more?
Meanwhile, there’s this shot. No caption, no date. I’m guessing this is a component of another first down measurer, right? Like, there’s a scope or a beam on the other side of the field that coordinates with the thing shown here — or is this something else entirely? If anyone knows more, fill us in.
It’s interesting that the NFL, for all its high-tech radio helmets and instant replay, for all its control freakitude, has stuck with something as old-school and inexact as the chain gang. Imperfect as it is, it’s one of my favorite aspects of the game. Here’s hoping it never gets superseded by a gadget.
Update: The Pere-Scope was indeed used in that Shrine Game — here’s an article about it.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
We begin today with a message from Greg Stamps:
“My mom occasionally mentions the wax Astrodome souvenir my grandpa bought for her. I thought it would be cool to try and track down one of these wax Astrodomes down for her. I’ve looked before but never been able to find anything like what she’s describing.”
If anyone knows more about this, please contact me. Meanwhile, here’s another treasure hunt, from Matthew:
“Desperately trying to track down the old Hutch little pro uniforms from the late ’80s — the ones with the two-barface mask. I search eBay every day,but almost always come up empty. I want to collect one from each team, box or no box as long as the helmet, jersey, and pants are there. Of course, I am willing to buy them.”
If you can help out Matthew, you can contact him directly.
Now on with the show:
• Interesting font on this 1960s Eagles decal.
• Here’s the elusive old Broncos logo — but not on a helmet.
• Another NFL button, this time for official Atlanta Falcons boosters.
• How to watch hockey, circa 1951.
• This 1947 booklet called “What Men Know About Women” (must be a quick read) includes a Cincinnati Reds schedule on the back.
• Ryan Connelly passed along this bowling photo especially for PL. [Very cool. Thanks! — PL]
• Finally, in light of this week’s events, a signed George Steinbrenner 8×10 with Billy Martin. Those were great commercials.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
A lot of mileage from one listing: Brinke originally had this eBay listing included in his “Collector’s Corner” rundown, but I’m hijacking it, because there’s a lot to discuss here:
• Man, major separation between Al Oliver’s helmet and cap.
• Look at the guy in the background — low-cuffery alert! Based on the sleeve patch, this photo is from either 1978, ’79, or ’80 — very early in the low-cuffery timeline for someone to be wearing his pants that long. I realize it’s probably a spring training shot and doesn’t necessarily indicate that the player in question ever wore his pants like that in a real game, but it’s still intriguing. Anyone care to speculate on who the player might have been?
• This looks like a really interesting eBay item — over 300 Rangers photos from the 1970s on a CD. I’d bid on it myself, but the seller says it’s intended for viewing on Windows PCs, not Macs, which means I’m out of luck. I strongly urge someone out there to snap this up and share the results, which I’m sure will have lots of uni-notable treasures.
Attention NYCers with a clue: For years I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen (and quite a few people who won’t) that white meat is for suckers and that the only part of a chicken worth ordering is the thigh. I figure those biotech guys will genetically engineer an all-thigh chicken one of these days. But until that happens, there’s a new restaurant that’s the next best thing.
The place is called the Commodore, and it’s on the corner of Metropolitan and Havemeyer in Williamsburg (the old Black Betty space). They have fried chicken, described on the menu like so: “Three thighs and a biscuit, $10.” That’s it — thighs only.
None of which would matter if the chicken weren’t good. But I had a batch of it last night and am happy to report that it is good. Crispy, juicy, and slightly salty, it’s everything fried chicken should be. Very respectable biscuits, too (my order came with four of them, not one — cool), accompanied by some nice honey butter and a vinegar-y hot sauce. I mixed a bit of the latter into the former and got some serious sopping going with my biscuits.
The restaurant itself is a Billyburg nightmare, so get your order to go and eat it outside (but ask them to include some napkins, because they didn’t give me any). It’s a lot of food for ten bucks, so you could even split it with someone. Just promise me you won’t waste it on someone who likes white meat.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Major news on the Gazoo front, as Justin Morneau has announced that he’ll wear the new slimline S100 — or whatever it’s called — when he returns from the DL next Friday (big thanks to Aaron Kusch). … Here’s a page with quotes and video about the new Man U kit (with thanks to Richard Grossman). … Here’s the latest article about minor leaguers adjusting to the S100 helmet. I’ve put in a call to my Rawlings contacts regarding the redesigned S100 that was used in the All-Star Game, but no response yet (article link courtesy of William Beebe). … What do the Islanders have that no other team has? An official cupcake supplier (thanks, Brinke). … Pretty cool Gordie Howe Hockey School pennant. … Very cool item that Brinke somehow missed: a Shea Stadium seating chart typesetter’s block (great find by Roger Faso). … Also from Roger: Rare shot of Dock Ellis as a Met. … The Packers have announced that their throwbacks will be worn on December 5th (with thanks to Jeff Ash). … We’ve seen pics of the Play-O-Graph before, but check out this — sort of similar, but not as much fun (thanks, Vince). … Pretty cool photo of the Fighting Sioux’s ice being painted (with thanks to Kelly Hellman). … That’s some radial arch! (With thanks to Ed Stenfeld). … Remember those groovy little NHL cartoon patches we were discussing a few months back? Tris Wykes was poking around on eBay and found some old NFL decals in a similar vein. … Late-breaking all-star item: Rafael Soriano was wearing some sort of Rays-branded sleeve during the home run derby. Here’s another view (with thanks to Darin Nelson). … Bet you’d forgotten that the Angels used to wear logo stirrups (but Charlie Shields didn’t). … Phil found a photo of Bosox outfielder Darnell McDonald wearing Mueller-branded eye black back on July 4th. … The Penguins will release their Winter Classic jersey later this fall. … Speaking of the Pens, Terence Kearns recently DIY’d a couple of Penguins varsity jackets for fellow Uni Watch readers — this one for Ryan Connelly and this one for Rob Ullman. … Austin Blom says someone at the Phoenix Suns team store told him that all NBA teams will be using a new fabric this fall. Anyone else heard anything about that? … Possibly the most frightening thing any of us will see today: diminutive songwriter Paul “It’s Not Easy Being Green” Williams and friends in basketball uniforms (I’ll never sleep soundly again, Kevin Walsh). … The Niners are expected to retire Jerry Rice’s No. 80 at their home opener (thanks, Brinke). … Very interesting checkerboard-patterned socks for Aston Villa. Too bad about the swoosh, though (with thanks to Coachie Ballgames). … Unfortunate uni match-up last night in Minnesota, as the White Sox and Twins went black vs. navy.
You asked, I listened: Some of you have complained about my critiques of a certain radio broadcaster. Fair enough: There will be no more critiques of that broadcaster on this site. Instead, those critiques will now be published on this site.
Never let it be said that I don’t respond to the will of the people.