Ah, the Teletype machine — the gift that keeps on giving. Some of these were submitted by Mike Hersh, but I found most of them myself (imagine that!). Here we go:
• We begin this batch with a major discovery: Check out the cap being worn in this 1965 shot of Astros manager Lum Harris. I’d never seen that cap before, so I showed the photo to my usual suspects — designer Todd Radom, Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber, and photo archivist Dave Eskenazi. Todd quickly responded: “I have seen this — it came up when I designed the Astros’ history wall for All-Star Fanfest in Houston in 2004. Here are some additional examples. Spring training only, so far as I can tell.” Remember, the winter of 1964-65 was when the team was in the process of changing from the Colts to the ’Stros. So this cap was apparently a provisional design that was used in spring training of ’65 and then replaced by the more familiar orange-star cap when the regular season started. Interesting!
• Until I saw this shot (and double-checked with Bill Henderson’s guide), I hadn’t realized that the A’s wore a Liberty Bell patch in 1976.
• We’ve often seen NFL teams with their own basketball squads, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen one before for the Bears. That photo’s from 1963.
• Two notable things about this 1957 Chicago Cardinals shot. First, those aren’t players — it’s the coaching staff. Interesting that they wore game pants, socks, and cleats. And second, dig those sensational T-shirts!
• That ballplayer really had a gun — literally. That’s former Pirate, Phillie, and Cub Claude Passeau in 1948, one year after his big league career ended. Looks like he took his Cubs stirrups with him when he left.
• Have I ever mentioned how much I love texture? That’s from a Columbia football practice in 1943.
• This 1942 photo shows Dit Clapper taping his stick, but the black outline on the sleeve “B” is so thick that I wonder if he added some tape to that as well.
• My god, those Packers jersey numbers used to be huge!
• The caption tells a sad story. What’s with that helmet at upper-right — did they have the logo printed on the top of the helmet? (As an aside, that has to be the best-dressed equipment manager in football history. Joe Skiba, clean up your act!)
• This 1963 shot raises several questions: (1) Was this the first time a first initial appeared on a baseball NOB? (2) Did Hank also have an initial? (3) Look at the base of his left stirrup — is that a Frank Robinson-style extender strip? If so, it marks the earliest example of that trope that I’ve ever seen.
• I must have all three of these speed-skating sweaters. Like, yesterday.
• Check out the super-stylized initials on Kenny Norton’s sparring headgear. Never seen anything like that before.
• Speaking of boxing, I watched Earnie Shavers fight at least half a dozen times in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and he always had a bald head (Muhammad Ali once called him “the Acorn”). So it was kind of startling to find this 1973 shot of him with a full head of hair.
• I’ve always thought there’s something a bit off about a manager who insists on wearing No. 1. Like, if you need a uni number to tell people you’re at the top of the food chain, you probably don’t belong there in the first place. And if you also need a big-ass chair with No. 1 painted on it, maybe you should just take your Napoleon Complex and go home. That’s Rollie Hemsley, who had a 19-year career as a big league catcher and then managed for several years in the minors. That shot is from 1964, when he was skippering in the Reds’ system. (And for the record, I think it’s okay for a manager to wear No. 1 if he had already worn that number as a player, like Billy Martin did. But that wasn’t the case with Hemsley.)
• You probably know that Charles Finley had a mule named Charley O. But did you know that the mule had his own A’s cap?
• Here’s as good a view as we’re ever likely to get of the 1960 Senators’ sleeve patch.
• And here’s a final thought to go out on: Chet Morgan and Laverne DeFazio — separated at birth?
Giveaway reminder: Today’s the last day for the Gridiron Memories giveaway. Full details here.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
Are you making that list and checking it twice? Santa is. Head over to eBay and check out these terrific uni-themed items:
• About the only game the Lions could win these days is on this 1970s electric NFL game.
• I’ve always thought the Cincinnati Stingers had one of the best logos ever. See for yourself on this pennant.
• Here’s a very nice 1970s Philadelphia Eagles gym bag.
• Check out this 49ers/Rams program from 1968. Clean, retro, and not a sponsor logo in sight.
• Holy puck, look at these great NHL puck stickers.
• Here’s something you don’t see very often: a Cleveland Crusaders (WHA) drinking glass.
• Hard to believe that the entire American League once consisted of only eight teams, all of which are represented in this 1950s pennant set.
• Finally, I just wanted to include this guy ’cause his name is Wahoo.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Snafu for the ages last night in Champaign, where Illinois and Oakland played the first seven-plus minutes of their basketball game with a women’s ball. Here’s a photo of the offending orb after someone finally recognized what was going on and had it taken out of play (finder’s fee to Jonathan Mayer). … The Mets have signed D.J. Carrasco, and I for one couldn’t be happier. Why? Guess. … Latest investigative work from Hauls of Shame: Some fascinating analysis of some very old Red Sox jerseys. … DIY design project from Mike Hasselbeck, who writes: “I’m a graphic designer in Cincinnati. Not too long ago I decided I wanted vintage posters of the local teams to hang on the wall. When I quickly found out that I couldn’t find anything for the old NBA Royals or the WHA Stingers, I decided to design a set of posters myself, along with the non-Cincinnati Colonels/Pacers poster you see there.” Some of the vintage graphics that Mike used for visual reference can be found here. … Soccer news from Casey Hart, who writes: “Very notable tidbit out of London on Sunday, as Everton debuted their gorgeous new third kit, as scheduled, at Chelsea (and got a great result, to boot). There are a few photos here.” … Longtime Uni Watch contributor Mike Hersh has launched a new blog called the Design Morgue. “Basically, I’m just gonna fill up the spot with things that I collect and that inspire me,” he says. “Thinking about doing theme days, too — maybe on Mondays it’ll be things I’ve acquired over the previous week.” Sounds promising, Mike — keep us posted. … Very nice socks being worn by Knappa High in Oregon (big thanks to Skyler Archibald). … The Nike glove concept has apparently spread to Under Armour (with thanks to Mike Padgett). … Here’s the definitive story on the “82 Betsy” Dymo label on Jason Witten’s helmet, in his own words (big thanks to Mark Contreras). … Lloyd Davis was looking through a bunch of old Ottawa Rough Riders pics and came up with a bunch of interesting stuff, including sideways TV numbers, spectacular pants piping, and a ridiculously deep V-neck. … Gilbert Arenas is apparently the first NBA player to wear Dolce & Gabanna sneakers — in a game, at least. … A Jerry Lawler jersey promotion for a minor league hockey team? Sure, why not (with thanks to Brian Schulz). … Is this next year’s Boston College football jersey? Possibly. The guy who sent it to me asked not to be named but says he took the shot in an Under Armour rep’s office while there on other business. I do know that Under Armour has developed its own super-stretchy fabric for next season, which would seem to jibe with the paper towel-like texture in this photo. Hmmm … Oooh, gotta love this Pele lunchbox (great find by Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s our first look at Big Ben’s new visor (as reported by Jerry Wolper). … Really nice throwbacks on tap for Oregon hoops (with thanks to Leo Thornton).