It all started back on Oct. 5, when Robert Marshall sent me the photo shown at right and asked, “What the heck is that on this Kentucky Wildcat?” I had no idea, so I forwarded the photo to Hemet Hut honcho Curtis Worrell. He said the jaw contraption looked familiar but he couldn’t turn up anything definitive. So I ran the photo in the next day’s Ticker and that was that.
Now, with the help of several readers, I’ve pieced together the story behind that photo, and it’s a good one. Bear with me while I explain.
The breakthrough came when Curtis Worrell figured out that the player in question did not play for Kentucky. He was looking through The Sports Illustrated College Football Book and found these photos, along with a caption that identified the player as Frank Sinkwich of the 1941 Georgia Bulldogs.
I ran those photos in Wednesday’s Ticker. That prompted Becky Taylor to do some additional research, and she came up with a wealth of information:
• Sinkwich was originally slated to wear a different kind of facial protection. That facemask was the subject of considerable curiosity (check out the last graf for a priceless example of 1940s sportswriting), but Sinkwich refused to wear it.
• If you look at that last clipping, you’ll see it says that Sinkwich wore “a chin strap of metal, covered with leather.” That is apparently what we see in these photos. Sinkwich wore that fairly simple rig on Oct. 11 against Ole Miss. With his jaw wired shut, he had to take oxygen during the game. (A side note: Two days before this game, Sinkwich apparently received headgear help from Tennessee’s equipment manager, although it isn’t clear if the “brace” referred to in that article is the facemask rig that Sinkwich ultimately refused to wear or the reinforced chinstrap he eventually did wear.)
And while Becky was digging up all that great info, reader Brent Hardman was digging into his photo archives to find these photos of Sinkwich’s actual helmet, which he took a few years ago at the Butts-Mere building on the Georgia campus.
But here’s the thing: If you look at the forehead and crown areas on that helmet, you can see it’s clearly not the same helmet Sinkwich was wearing against Columbia, or in this shot (also on display at UGA), or in the photo that started this whole ball rolling.
In fact, the helmet on display at UGA doesn’t match up with any of the old Sinkwich pics. Which means he either wore more than one sling-equipped helmet or else the one on display is bogus. I suspect someone will dig up the answer to that one shortly.
San Francisco treat: Back in Monday’s Ticker I reported that something had been slightly amiss with Edgar Renteria’s helmet decal in Game 6 of the NLCS. I was watching intently to see if it had been corrected in the first game of the World Series, but the camera never provided a clear enough shot.
Last night, however, it became clear that the decal issue persists. And given Renteria’s performance so far in the Series, I think it’s safe to say they won’t be fixing it anytime soon.
Sponsor Shout-Out: As you may have noticed at the top of the left sidebar, the cool autumn weather has brought Stewart & Strauss Varsity Jackets back into our advertising fold. As a varsity/letterman jacket collector myself (I’ll feature some of my jackets in an upcoming entry), I’m particularly happy to have S&S on board. They offer a wide variety of stock designs and a near-unlimited range of customization options, genuine felt lettering, and worldwide shipping. If you’re a fan of Glee, you’ve already seen S&S product, because they provide the jackets on that show. I hope you’ll check out their site.
One person who’s already checked it out is reader Dwayne White, who was monkeying around with the customization features and came up with this (I’ll cut him some slack for misspelling my surname and leaving out the space between “Uni” and “Watch”). As it happens, the S&S folks have mentioned about the possibility of creating a Uni Watch jacket, assuming there’s enough interest in it. If you think you’d consider purchasing such a product, give me a shout so we can gauge the degree of interest. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Remember when a little birdie told me the Penguins’ Winter Classic uniforms would look like this? Turns out he was right. Love the fat, scarf-clad pengy, like the numerals, not so sure about those stripes. Someone has suggested this revision, which I agree would be an improvement. … KNBR, the Giants’ radio flagship, had just a few uni details wrong on its web site the other day. “FNOB for Lee, incorrect font for both teams, and oh yeah, we’ll give Nolan Ryan’s retired #34 to Cliff Lee,” says Stuart Greenlee. “Jeez.” Indeed. … Chris Wright reports that Ole Miss will wear white at home against Auburn this Saturday. “The Rebels are celebrating the 1960 team, and the rumor is that they will be wearing light blue helmets like they did in the past,” he says. … Yogi Combs notes that the Thunder’s court artwork, which I posted yesterday, includes the Ford Center wordmark, but that mark isn’t on the actual court. “The arena was originally named the Ford Center when it opened but has since put its naming rights back up for auction, so it is currently operating under the name ‘Oklahoma City Arena,'” he says. “I guess that isn’t catchy enough to put on the court.” … Similarly, Mike Delia notes that the Celtics floor artwork doesn’t include the NBA logo at the check-in line. … Peter Nash has identified another jersey in the Hall of Fame’s collection that may not be authentic. … Canton McKinley High School in Ohio has a black jersey, made by Russell, and a red jersey, made by Nike. Aside from the two different manufacturers, the lowercase “c” is styled differently on the two jerseys (good spot by Tom Pachuta). … I don’t care about sneakers, but I was still really fascinated by this post about how to spot fake Nikes (which I learned about via No Mas). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s the best Halloween costume of the year, hands down. … With all due respect to Brinke, Mike Hinkel has come up with the eBay find of the week: a WFL coaster set! … There’s a new baseball league in West Texas called the Pecos League, and Jeff Meyers found some mock-ups of their uniforms. … New court design for Florida State (with thanks to Cameron Norris). … Buncha cool hockey submissions from Jake Doyle, including Brett Hull in Cooperalls; Hull again, this time in a Blues “Alumni” jersey (do other teams do this?); a Nordiques jersey with a very unusual “1”; a good shot of the mid-1920s Pittsburgh Pirates sweater; and some spectacular Saskatoon Crescents shots (that one on the right really needs to be revived as a throwback, no?). … Third jersey schedules are now available for the Blackhawks, Avs, Bruins, Wild, and Kings. … The Dolphins are planning an “aqua-out” for Nov. 18, although it isn’t clear that the team will necessarily wear solid aqua that day (as noted by Kurtiss Dilley). … The state of Illinois is now offering Blackhawks license plates (with thanks to Jimbo Huening). … If you go to this site and click on the swoosh tab, you’ll see Iowa State’s football equipment manager giving a tour of the team’s facility (with thanks to Matt Strum). … Nike has made some pretty rad-looking new soccer shoes for Cristiano Ronaldo (with thanks to Alberto Sanchez). … Yesterday was “Wear Your Team’s Logo Day” at the school where Marty Hick teaches, so he got with the program. I ran the photo super-big so you can see the little Cards helmets on his necktie — a nice touch. … New hoops uniforms for Portland (with thanks to Leondrus Thornton). … Dan Cichalski reports that Notre Dame will be wearing a memorial decal this Saturday for a student who died earlier this week. … Neon signage and pork: two great tastes that taste great together. Baroness Karen McBurnie tipped me wise to that one, which is located in Queens. I’ll be making a visitation soon. … Mako Mameli found some awesome photos of the Illinois Athletic Club. That shot’s from 1924 — is that chest logo awesome or what? Here it is again, on the club’s 1919 basketball team. … Very odd officiating situation in last night’s Caps/Wild game, as AJ Brandt explains: “Apparently the airlines lost linesman Mike Cvik’s equipment, but another linesman, Thor Nelson, was on layover at the MSP airport, so he taxied over and joined the game in the second period. The weird thing is since Nelson was on layover, they couldn’t find his equipment either, so he used extra equipment the Wild had on hand. Cvik wasn’t able to use that equipment because he’s 6’8″, while Nelson is a more traditional build.” … Two more NBA alternates have leaked: Hornets in gold and Timberwolves BFBS. While these won’t be officially unveiled for another month or so, I can confirm that they are legit.