There are good uniforms and bad uniforms, but what most of us like best are the oddball uniforms. The typos, the incorrect fonts, the nickNOBs. The inconsistencies in number style, number size, or insignia. The familiar players wearing unfamiliar numbers. For the serious uni-watcher, these are the type of images you live for, am I right?
Our friends at Grey Flannel Auctions recently approached me with an interesting proposition: They’re trying to compile an archive of as many of these photos as possible so we can have an archive of them all in one place. Anomalies, aberrations, oddities, flat-out errors — basically anything out of the ordinary. We’ve obviously run lots of those images here on the site over the years, and I’m sure there are more of them out there. The Grey Flannel folks would like your help in compiling them.
To make it worth your while, Grey Flannel has set up a contest: The person who submits the best photo will receive a $100 gift certificate that can be put toward any O.T. Auctions lot or the Grey Flannel web store. A second-place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate.
Here are the rules:
• All photos other than the ones already linked or shown in today’s entry are fair game. (I wouldn’t bother sending in any “Natinals” pics, either.)
• All photos should be submitted to Grey Flannel (not to Uni Watch, please) via this link. Please include your name and quick description of the aberration(s) in the photo(s) you’re submitting.
• You can submit as many entries as you like.
• If multiple people submit the same photo, the first one will take precedence.
• Judging will be completely subjective and will be done by Grey Flannel Auctions. Extra consideration will be given to photos featuring Hall of Famers, championship games, etc.
• All entries must be received by next Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 7pm Eastern. The winners will be announced shortly thereafter.
Okey-doke? Now get crackin’.
Research query: One of my ESPN editors, Matt Friedrichs, asks an interesting question: “Once a coach is fired, what happens to all the free apparel he wore to work and on the sidelines each day? You have to figure RichRod’s closet had enough Michigan gear to outfit a small country. Do any of these guys hold onto some of it for sentimental reasons?”
Hmmmm. I’ve put out some feelers on this. In the meantime, if anyone knows, kindly speak up.
SMU BFBS — WTF?: Yesterday I linked to a black SMU helmet, which I suspect will end up being worn next season with the BFBS jersey that the Mustangs wore in the Armed Forces Bowl. That prompted the following note from reader Jay Shelton:
The idea for a black SMU helmet originally came up during the coaching tenure of Mike Cavan (1997-2001), who was notorious with uniform tweaks and changes. He wanted to change the helmets to black but was met with resistance by then-equipment manager Ed Davidson (a friend of mine), who insisted that the Mustangs retain the blue and red as much as possible for a classic SMU look. They eventually went to a navy blue in Cavan’s fourth year (2000), a look that became prominent during the coaching tenure of Phil Bennet.
Upon the hiring of current coach June Jones, SMU returned to a royal blue and red color scheme and re-introduced the white helmets that had become so popular. Still, under Jones, SMU wears black socks and shoes at home and on the road, which is a travesty.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
New year, new stuff on eBay. Let’s take a look:
• PL Alert: I like this 1930s baseball uniform with a Chevrolet logo patch. [Way ahead of ya, Brinke — I actually featured this in the Ticker a while ago. But it’s definitely worth another look. — PL]
• Reader David Friedman sent in this listing for a 1951 football photo featuring both teams in dark jerseys.
• Check this out: a felt Dodgers logo from the 1950s, to apply on anything you want.
• The seller is calling this a football sweater, but it’s obviously a track and field item. Whatever — looks great. [Wow — I’d snap this up, but it’s too big for me. Grrrrr. — PL]
• I bet Kobe couldn’t dunk this this old lace-up Spalding basketball. At least he could afford it, though.
• I always liked this patch that all MLB teams wore in 1969. [It’s interesting that this is touted as an original patch, not a repro. If you compare it to the Jerry Dior-autographed repro patch that I raffled off last winter, you can see some definite differences in the stitching patterns. Of course, that doesn’t mean the eBay version is genuine, but it’s still interesting to see the differences. — PL]
• Reader Paul Ricciardi sent these in: home and road versions of the prototypes that the Nordiques supposedly would have worn if they hadn’t moved to Colorado in 1995. [I’ve seen mock-ups of this design before — it was included in my 2007 ESPN column on prototypes — but had never seen one of the actual jerseys until now. I strongly suspect these are reproductions, since the actual protos would no doubt sell for a lot more than $159. — PL]
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Too good for the Ticker: Wanna see a really great uniform? Check this out.
I found that photo on a site called Good Old Sandlot Days, which is devoted to an extremely arcane niche: old semi-pro baseball teams from northern California. As you can tell from that first shot, many of the teams were sponsored by, and/or comprised of employees from, local businesses, including bars, restaurants, liquor stores, olive oil producers, police departments, and my favorite, butchers.
There’s a lot more to the site than team photos — there are programs, newspaper clippings, box scores, and a lot more. The site’s navigation isn’t ideal, but it’s definitely worth exploring. To check out the photos, start here. Enjoy.
(Special thanks to reader Eric Sun, who first told me about this site more than two months ago.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Dwayne Roloson was in goal for the Lightning last night but was still wearing his Islanders mask. And he shut out the Caps! … Scroll down to see the script chain-stitched NOB on this baseball jersey. … Regarding the Olympics logo plagiarism controversy, Brady Phelps points out that if Henri Matisse and his relatives don’t mind, neither should anyone else. … Patrick Woody found a 1981 issue of Pro! magazine in his parents’ attic and photographed a bunch of the pages for us. … Here’s the best view I’ve ever seen of the facemask that Charlie Manuel wore after breaking his jaw in Japan back in 1979 (great work by Ben Roth). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s Paul Henderson (1972 Maple Leafs/Team Canada) wearing a football facemask. … Here’s something you won’t see very often: Cooperalls vs. Cooperalls, and clear boards to boot! “That’s from the 1984 Minnesota State High School hockey tournament, Hill Murray vs. St. Paul Johnson,” says Brian Schulz. “It was played at the St. Paul Civic Center, which sported clear boards.” … Lots of good bits about cycling uniforms and gear in this Q&A piece (with thanks to Sean Clancy). … Joe DeAngelis spotted someone wearing a very odd Rangers/Flyers mash-up shirt. Why would anyone put those two teams, who’ve had a longtime rivalry, on the same garment? … Reminder for those of you in the Pittsburgh area: Doug Keklak is organizing a Yinzer Watch gathering this Saturday. Details here. … Who are these gun-toting chicks? They’re the U. of Maryland rifle team, one of many excellent sports photos to be found in the school’s photo archives (with thanks to Nate Stewart). … Japanese baseball note from Jeremy Brahm, who writes: “The Chiba Lotte Marines will be bringing back the pink uniforms for interleague and summer this season, to mark the 20th anniversary of the team moving across Tokyo Bay.” … “Got an email ad from the FansEdge on Tuesday morning, advertising NFL playoff gear,” writes Bob Dlotkowski. “The original ad image included a Rams sweatshirt to represent the NFC West. Someone obviously realized the error at some point in the afternoon and swapped it out for the correct ad image with a Seahawks sweatshirt.” … Here’s a fun site that lets you make your own personalized virtual Twins jersey (nice find by Chris Flinn). … “I have a minor collection of Oakland A’s bobbleheads but have always wished the A’s would do bobblehead promotions featuring the gang from Peanuts,” says Sam Lam. “The Giants have done it and it got me thinking about making my own.” So that’s what he did — first he took a Lucy bobble head from a Giants promotion and repainted it with a 1981 A’s uni. That inspired him to do a second bobble project, which is described here. … Here’s a new one: The Charles Drew High School basketball team, from Riverdale, Georgia, has “Defense” printed on their butts (good spot by Benn Wineka). … Also from Benn: a UNC hoops sneaker roundup. … With the Hall of Fame announcements slated for today, there have been several articles about Jack Morris, one of which featured this photo. I did a serious double-take when I saw that shot, because it seems so weird to see a button-front jersey paired with sansabelt pants. It’s one thing to have pullovers with belted pants — that was uncommon, but I think it looked fine. The Morris photo, however, looks utterly bizarre to me. The Tigers weren’t the only team to do this during the 1970s and ’80s, but it still strikes me as a very incongruous look.