We all know I love stripes. So you can imagine my reaction when I saw this.
Those are the Duryea (Pennsylvania) High School Wildcats in the 1950s. Their uniforms were recently brought to my attention by football photo-archivist Robert Harvell, who came across the Wildcats on a web site devoted to Duryea history. It features a bewildering array of old photos, news clippings, yearbook pages, etc., including lots of photos of those amazing football uniforms.
As you can see from the last two photos in that set, Duryea’s colors were blue and white, so the stripes in all those photos were blue. Although it looks like the stripes in this shot were lighter than the base color, Robert has been in touch with the site’s administrator, Bernie Stiroh (basically Duryea’s self-appointed historian, and also the guy carrying the ball in the first photo of the set), who has confirmed that the school used only one shade of blue.
A few other notes from Robert’s interactions with Bernie:
• “According to Bernie, opponents were always in complete awe of Duryea’s dazzling uniforms, including the painstakingly hand-painted helmets and the high-top cleats that were spit-shined to a high gloss on game days. This was seen to by Duryea head coach Tom Kelly, who was one of the first to run single wing and split-T formations at the high school level.”
• “Bernie also says their football pants were unlike any he has ever seen before. He said that the inner thigh fabric was almost transparent, that you could see the players’ leg hairs, although it’s not evident in the photos.” Hmmm, maybe it’s better that we can’t see that.
• I had hoped that Bernie might still have an original helmet on hand, but Robert asked him about that and reports that no original helmets have survived. Too bad.
• If you go a few decades further back, Duryea had really interesting jerseys with the uni numbers inside a “D” logo.
As for the rest of the Bernie’s site, it’s a bit of a pain to navigate but there are tons of great photos lurking inside, including shots of Duryea’s striped basketball uniforms; pics from a clambake where at least one guy wore a baseball jersey and socks; some nice Little League imagery; and let’s not forget those ox-tail supper snapshots. I don’t want to over-romanticize it (good luck finding a single black person in mid-century Duryea, for example), but it’s still a pretty fascinating time capsule.
Meanwhile, it’s hard not to wonder how these uniforms looked in color. I mentioned that to Phil, who has gotten the ball rolling. Anyone else want to try their hand at colorizing some of the Duryea images?
“FBS” stands for “Damn, I sure missed a whole lotta changes”: The late-breaking college football uni changes continue to roll in. The latest batch:
• Oklahoma State has a “55” memorial decal for Bob Fenimore.
• No photo, but Marshall is apparently wearing a “29” helmet decal for the 29 miners who died in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
• UCLA has a “JRW” memorial decal for John Wooden.
• USF has changed from black shoes and socks to white.
My thanks to Mike Harris, Eric Yesner, Taylor McGillis, and George Lane for bringing these to my attention.
Uni Watch News Ticker: If you’re into marching band uniforms, you might wanna bid on these catalogs. … Found some sensational women’s bowling shirts on Etsy. Look here, here, here, and here. … Check out these great early-’60s shots of Cal wearing striped sleeves (big thanks to Larry Bodnovich). … Check it out: Sparky Anderson as a Toronto Maple Leaf (courtesy of Terry Proctor). … Hung out yesterday afternoon at the Sand Bar in Rockaway. The guy next to me was watching the Mets/Nats game on the teevee, and at one point his galpal says to him, “Look, they’re losing 12-3 in the 7th inning — it’s over!” … “I know this is a year early,” says Kevin Wilson, “but I was talking to a friend who plays football at Northwestern and he was saying how the team is getting black jerseys next year. I assume they will resemble the jerseys of the mid-’90s, because that is when head coach Pat Fitzgerald played at NU.” … Michael Princip has made some updates to his Bulwark football helmet site. “Just click on the thumbnails for larger versions,” he says. “In the coming weeks I’ll reveal some more technical renderings explaining the main components of the helmet.” I plan to do an ESPN feature on the Bulwark later this fall. … Andy Rawlings found some cool video clips showing behind-the-scenes details at the Pontiac Silverdome. Look here, here, and here. … Tony Bibler recently took part in a promotion that allowed him take some hacks of off former MLB pitcher Len Barker at Jacobs Field — and look what he wore for the occasion. … Gotta say, I don’t remember the Three Rivers end zone being plastered with hypocycloids, but it sure looks cool. That’s a screen shot from roughly the 0:45 mark of this video (with thanks to Bill Kellick).
The audacity of “Nope”: Saturday’s dust-up in the comments section, along with many of the e-mails I received that day, revealed that many Uni Watch readers are just as prone as the rest of the American public to become so emotionally invested in preconceived narratives that they disregard anything to the contrary, even when it’s right in front of them.
Judging from the e-mails I’ve been receiving, for example, three of the narratives some of you appear to take as gospel are as follows:
1) “Lukas hates anything connected to Nike.”
2) “Lukas hates anything connected to the military.”
3) “Lukas hates any uniform design that deviates from the traditional look.”
Most of the people who cling to these narratives presumably read my college football round-up column on ESPN last week. I wonder if they recall which uniform I went out of my way to single out as my favorite new design of the year.
That uniform is worn by Army.
It is a modern design that replaced a much more traditional, old-school design.
It is produced by Nike.
I realize some of you are already typing, “That’s just the exception that proves the rule!” I also realize it’s much easier to see things in black and white, so hey, have fun with that. Back here in the real world, though, there are lots of shades of gray.