Got a package in the mail yesterday from A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich. Inside was the nameplate you see above, which clocks in at 16 letters — that’s two letters longer than Salty (and, as you can see, a few inches longer than Tucker).
The player in question was Eric Stuckenschneider, a Dodgers prospect who was later claimed by the A’s in the Rule 5 draft. That nameplate is from a jersey that Steve lettered up for him during spring training of 1999, but Stuckenschneider hurt his shoulder that spring, was later farmed out, and never made the bigs. So why did Steve hold onto the nameplate for over a decade? “Because it was so unusual and I thought it might have some historical value someday,” he says. Which of course is precisely why I’ll now be holding onto it.
This isn’t the first time Stucky and I have crossed paths. He’s mentioned in this 2006 ESPN column, and the Ticker of this 2007 blog entry featured a link to this photo, although I didn’t remember either of those instances and only stumbled across them when I googled Stuckenschneider’s name.
New ESPN column today — look here. As for me, I’m off to Shea to catch this afternoon’s Mets/Cards game. See you tomorrow. — Paul
And they didn’t even hire me as a consultant: Did you know they’re shooting a movie of Moneyball? It’s true — with Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe. Major mis-casting there, since Howe obviously should’ve been played by Gavin McLeod, but whatever.
Anyway, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous (read: He signed a non-disclosure agreement) is working as an extra on the film and recently wrapped up an all-night shoot at the Oakland Coliseum. The scenes that were being filmed took place during the final game of the Athletics’ 20-game winning streak in 2002. Did the filmmakers get the uni details right? Here’s our anonymous reader’s report:
I watched every game I could during the 2002 season, and I have to say that the wardrobe and research departments for this film absolutely nailed it. Gray underbills on the caps, the logos on the bases, the ads on the outfield wall, Eric Byrnes’s yellow shoelaces and impossibly tight pants, the Royals’ sleeveless jerseys with sleeve patches, the backwards American flags on the warmup jackets — even the out-of-town scoreboards were updated for each shot.
The only real error I noticed was that the bullpen ballboy had a cap with a black underbill (as well as sneakers that weren’t released until 2006 or 2007). He wasn’t wearing a helmet, though, so points for that.
The actor playing Mark Ellis was wearing low pants cuffs, and I have a suspicion that Ellis switched from wearing high cuffs to low cuffs after the 2002 season, but I haven’t found any solid proof yet. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt, though, because every other player wore their uniforms exactly as I remember. [Some quick photo research indicates that Ellis began the 2002 season high-cuffed but switched to low-cuffery midway through the season. — PL]
Unfortunately, they didn’t film any A’s players at bat, so I didn’t get to see if they got my favorite detail: The A on their batting helmets is a unique variant of the logo, and replica helmet manufacturers consistently use the A that appears on their caps instead. [We’ve discussed this many times here on the site. Steve Vucinich has tried to make all the headwear logos consistent since the issue was brought to his attention. — PL]
Based on what I’ve seen, the people involved in the film have done their homework, so hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy a historical sports film without any glaring mistakes.
Membership Update: The latest batch of membership kits will mail out this morning (including Robbie Pesek’s Philly Eagles treatment, shown at right). As always, you can see all the designs we’ve created in the membership card gallery and get in on the membership scene yourself by signing up here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here are more shots of the new Pac 10 logo patches, although that logo apparently won’t be used for long, because the conference will be changing its name next year. … Appalachian State has a Pro Combat altnernate that they’ll be wearing against North Carolina Central. … Andy Chalifour notes that switch-hitter Jed Lowrie has been going double-flapped since recently returning to the Bosox. “In the past, he was always a two-helmet guy,” says Andy. … Giants equipment czar Joe Skiba has hooked up Keith Bullock with a new custom facemask. … I spotted a guy walking around Brooklyn in this amusing T-shirt the other day. … Remember last year’s ESPN column about Bruce Richards, the LSU fan who tailors his tailgating menu to LSU’s opposition? He can’t wait for Maryland to show up on LSU’s schedule now that a friend sent him this turtle-ish tailgating concept. … We all know the Browns deviated from their usual uni design in 1984, when they worn this design. But what I didn’t know — or if I did know, I’d forgotten — was that they began the preseason wearing orange uni numbers outlined in white on the home jersey, instead of the other way around. That photo, turned up by Jerry Wolper, is from 8/5/84. “As I understand it, the Browns were going to wear that jersey for the whole 1984 season, but fans couldn’t make out the numbers from the upper deck, so they scurried to change them,” says Tim Brulia. … Photo gallery of new Bundesliga 10/11 kits at the bottom of this page (with thanks to Patrick Runge). … Cool DIY project by Michael Candelmo, who made this Bob Sheppard memorial tee for himself. … Gabe Greenbaum notes that Rick Ankiel has been wearing gray cleats, at least on the road. … Robert Marshall‘s latest ingenious project: this T-shirt, which I believe he will soon be making available for purchase on Zazzle once he’s satisfied with the design. We definitely need to send one to Bob Brenley, who coined the use of “squatchee” to begin with. … Brian Wilson was fined $1000 for wearing his orange all-star cleats the other night. … SI is running another slideshow of NFL photos from one specific season. This time it’s 1975. Among the highlights: Charlie Sanders wearing high-tops and Bud Grant in purple slacks with a white belt (oof). The full gallery is here. … Hey look, Nike is doing something that doesn’t suck. … Michael Korczynski was trying to tell me something about Boomer Esiason’s cleats in this photo, but I’m more interested in the little Bengals wordmark on his socks. … The UFL unveiled a bunch of new uniforms yesterday. Phil will have in-depth coverage of this next week. … Warning: If you start clicking through the spectacular gallery of Depression-era color photographs, your productive day will be over. But it’ll be worth it — jaw-droppingly good stuff (major, major thanks to Matt Dubroff). … Uni number news for Auburn football (with thanks to Jeff Hunter). … Latest NFL team to add an advertising patch to their practice jerseys: the Packers (as reported by Jeff Ash). … Chad Bengal had fun on Twitter yesterday, showing off his four helmets, three pairs of gloves, and three pairs of cleats. … Mets reliever Raul Valdes got a rare at-bat last night and apparently wore Mike Pelfrey’s batting gloves for the occasion (screen shot courtesy of Cory Lewis). … If you scroll down a little bit on this page, you’ll see a 1910 Popular Mechanics item about football shoulder pads (wonderful find by Larry Cauley). … A SABR member who simply goes by “K.B.” sent out the following post on the SABR listserv yesterday: “I’ve been researching Marlin ‘Mott’ Stuart, who played in the majors from 1949-1954. Something I found particularly interesting about him was that in the last game of his first season in the minors, he pitched barefoot for the Mayfield Browns of the Kitty League. It was the way he had pitched as a semi-pro, saying it felt ‘natural.'” Interesting. Would that even be legal if someone tried it today? And if Brian Wilson wanted to do it, would he spray-paint his feet orange? … I don’t watch Entourage, but apparently the storyline lately has involved trying to bring an NFL team to L.A., and they’ve been using the old NFL logo (screen shots courtesy of Brandon Schwartz). … Check this out: German soccer players, circa 1986, wearing red leggings! Bernd Wilms says the Germans often did this in cold weather back in the ’80s.
Vacation Reminder: Tomorrow will be my last day on the site until September 1st. For the month of August, you’ll be in Phil’s capable hands on the weekdays, and webmaster John Ekdahl will be handling the weekends. Ticker contributions will be forwarded to Phil, but I’ll still be on the lookout for new college football unveilings. If any of those hit your radar screen, you can alert me at this address. Thanks.