As you’ve no doubt noticed in the left sidebar, our friends at Grey Flannel currently have a catalog auction in progress, and I’m happy to report that it’s a doozy. Here are some highlights:
• Most of you know that the Braves briefly wore nickNOBs in 1976 (or, in Andy Messersmith’s case, an ad for Ted Turner’s TV network). But it’s not often that you get to see one of those jerseys. That one, of course, was for Jimmy Wynn, the Toy Cannon (full listing).
• Here’s a new one on me: This Paul Dean jersey had a little tie-down thingie on the inner-rear shirttail. According to the listing, this was “a drawstring professionally sewn in the back tail with holes sewn in the front bottom tail to tie the shirt tail down to keep the jersey tucked inside the pants when worn.” In other words, it was a very low-tech version of the crotch-extension “diaper” attachments sometimes found on football jerseys (full listing).
• The listing for this 1974 Astros jersey says it’s from “the first part of the 1974 season before the names on back were added.” I hadn’t been aware of the ’Stros making a mid-season addition of NOBs, and Bill Henderson’s guide specifically states, “Names used on back in 1972-73. 1974 uses no names.” So I checked with Bill, who said, “I suppose it is possible that they’re right. I have only three photos of 1974 game-worn home jerseys in my archives, and none have an NOB.” Getty and Corbis don’t have any ’74 Astros photos in their archives, so that’s no help. Anyone know more?
• This is my favorite item in the entire auction catalog: When the Mets won the World Series in 1969, stadium namesake Bill Shea gave the players’ wives special championship necklace pendants (full listing).
• Everyone knows I love Princeton’s old striped sleeves. But what I really like about this sweater is the magnificent Spalding tag.
• I love love LOVE the beaded collar and armhole trim on this jersey. Also, this is another example of vertical arching and block-shadowing, but the letterforms haven’t been vertically extended like the ones on the previous jersey, so the effect isn’t as extreme (full listing).
Want to see more? You can browse the entire auction here.
Hats of many colors: Yesterday’s post about coaches and managers wearing special headwear prompted lots of good responses:
• Photos from yesterday’s post showed that the Indians’ coaches wore piping-clad caps in 1973. But it looks like they also wore them in ’74, at least judging by this photo, taken on 7/19/74.
• Reader Joe Delach reports that the manager of the Lakeland Flying Tigers — that’s Detroit’s single-A affiliate — wears scrambled eggs on the bill of his cap.
• And Robert Brashear reminds me that at least one Yankees coach has worn a white cap in spring training on at least one occasion.
• I had mentioned that football coordinators often wear red caps on the sidelines so players can quickly spot them from the field. But as many readers pointed out, coordinators often wear red shirts as well as red caps (or sometimes gold shirts, or some other bold color).
• In a related item, I always thought Jerry Glanville wore black to look bad-ass or whatever. But according to this 1989 article, he did it so he’d be easy to spot on the Oilers sideline. “Ironically,” notes Doug Brei, “when he moved to Atlanta, he encouraged Falcons ownership to switch to black helmets and jerseys. Wouldn’t that make him harder to spot on the sideline?”
• I had asked about the full range of years when the Oakland brain trust wore white caps. The consensus appears to be 1965 through 1980.
• Speaking of the A’s, you can see all of their white-hatted coaches — along with a certain other team wearing glorious blue — in this video of the 1973 World Series Game 1 lineup introductions, which reader Joe Hernandez was nice enough to send my way. (As an aside, there’s something very interesting toward the end of that video: The first ball was thrown out by Henry Aaron, who had just finished the ’73 season with 713 career homers. Pretty unusual to see an active player throwing out the first ball, no?)
• This isn’t quite the same thing, because we’re moving from coaches to players, but reader Stetson Pevear told me something I hadn’t heard before:
At various times in the 1960s, eligible receivers for the Alabama football team wore white helmets while the rest of the team wore standard crimson helmets. This was so the quarterback could distinguish the receivers from the other players, obviously. This was one of Paul Bryant’s idea’s that was eventually outlawed by the NCAA. I have not been able to find a good picture of this, but it is documented on the uniform history page on RollTide.com, and my dad personally witnessed games where this occurred.
• And in a similar item, Fred Fisher says Navy receivers wore Day-Glo helmets for some early-’60s games so they’d be easier to spot.
I hadn’t been aware of either of those last two examples. But I do know of at least two other college teams that had non-matching helmets: (1) In the mid-1980s, Iowa State wore gold helmets, but players who exhibited outstanding performance were given red helmets (coach Jim Criner thought this was better than merit decals), leading to an interesting spectacle on the field. (2) Washington reportedly had a similar protocol in the 1960s, when the team wore gold helmets but standout defensive players were given purple helmets. I’ve never seen a photo of this, however.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Which choice sounds better: hand-to-hand combat at the mall for that last whatever, or point, click, and buy that special uni-themed item on eBay? Here are some options to make that second choice even more appealing:
• The cover of the Texas Rangers’ 1974 media guide cast Billy Martin as a movie star.
• How about a set of MLB All-Star Game baseballs?
• Really like this: a 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics snowglobe and mug.
• Oooh, a neato 1970s NFL Cardinals mini-helmet buggy!
• I remember these NFL helmet pencil sharpeners. Very cool to see one still in its original packaging.
• Here’s a classic: a New York Giants Christmas LP!
• If you’re gonna knock off the Cowboys’ helmet, at least get the stripe right, eh?
• Wouldn’t this 1974 Detroit Wheels poster look great on your wall? (What, you forgot about them?)
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: We’ve seen decals coming off of helmets and paint knocked off of helmets, but this might be the first time I’ve seen both at the same time. I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen an Under Armour chinstrap, too (major thanks to Alan Chewning). … Two soccer-related items from Jeremy Richardson: Maryland’s kit feature’s a state flag motif on the left pant leg and right sleeve, and here’s a great slideshow of players who’ve worn masks on the pitch. … New road uniforms for North Dakota State hoops. The homes are apparently unchanged (with thanks to Daniel Tharp). … Now that all the NHL alts have been unveiled, the alt-jersey code for NHL 11 is now available (with thanks to Jeff Morris). … Here are the latest rankings of NBA players by sneaker brand (with thanks to John Muir). … Steve Johnson of the Bills apparently wants the team to wear their throwbacks full-time, although not in quite those words (with thanks to the other Mike Hersh). … Here’s Sporcle’s latest uniform quiz. … Here’s a good shot of White Sox equipment manager Sharkey Colledge in 1956 (nice find by Warren Humphrey). … And hey, speaking of Warren, it’s been a while since I mentioned his sensational site, Both Teams Played Hard. Click on the red navigation tabs at the top of the home page to see some extraordinary old jerseys, and be sure to click on the “Photo Archives” tabs for a mother lode of dynamite imagery. … You wouldn’t think there was more to learn about the 1958 NFL championship game — greatest game ever, overtime, Alan fucking Ameche, blah-blah-blah — but Alex Higley just noticed that the officials were wearing super-cool jackets with uni numbers and patches prior to the game’s start. … Saddest, most pathetic uni-related story ever: During Pat Burns’s funeral, someone stole a bunch of his autographed jerseys. … Nearly three years ago I wrote a profile of Packers stitcher Marge Switzer. Here’s a video about her preparations for the debut of the Pack’s alternate jersey. About halfway through the video clip, there’s a segment with equipment manager Red Batty, also talking about the new throwbacks. Highly recommended viewing (big thanks to Ryan Diestler). … The old Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota has its own Facebook fan page, which is loaded with great photos and video clips (with thanks to Jeff Flynn Jr.). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Johnnie LeMaster’s 1984 NOB featured a superscript “e” (although he’ll always be better known for another NOB). … Do Reebok and the NFL know that the Broncos’ cheerleaders are wearing the swoosh? (As noted by Mike Vamosi.) … Remember this photo, which I ran in a recent wire photo entry? Phil has done a truly magnificent job of colorizing it. Hot damn, is that gorgeous or what? … Color-vs.-color alert: Illinois/UNC last night (as noted by Matt Harris). … I don’t have an iPad. But if you do, you should probably buy this helmet decal app and let us know if it’s any good (with thanks to Joe Nocella). … Derek Jeter as a Royal? Don’t hold your breath. But it’s no more unlikely than all the other Photoshopped images on this page (thanks, Brinke). … A post-game celebration after a dramatic victory resulted in a stolen jersey for a member of the Michigan soccer team (with thanks to Joseph Lichterman). … Paul Lee notes that the D-League appears to be using a new ball design.
Yes, Virginia, there is a dreidel: Tonight marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the ancient Hebrew celebration of Christmas. Yes, I stole that joke. And if you know where I stole it from, that means you’ve been spending too much time on another web site instead of this one. That should fill your heart with guilt and shame, which means you’re practically an honorary Jew right there. Mazel tov!
Anyway: My best wishes to all who’ll be celebrating tonight, and don’t forget to leave out some cookies and milk for Santa.