Mears Auctions recently sold a bunch of old Sporting News photos, and the increasingly indispensable Mike Hersh singled out a bunch of uni-notable shots, all of them baseball-related. Let’s take a look:
• Major find here — check out the pants striping. I’ve see rear-leg stripes on football pants before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it on a baseball uni. Meanwhile, dig the thickly textured chenille chest logo (full listing).
• We’ve often mentioned how Brooks Robinson had a sporting goods company (which, among other things, made the solid-orange uniforms that the Orioles wore in the early ’70s). Here’s Brooksie himself at his retail shop. Photo is dated February of 1969, which means Robinson was still a few months shy of his 32nd birthday — sure looks older than that in the photo, though (full listing).
Time warp, continued: Yesterday I mentioned that the lowercase Padres logo that appeared on the team’s uniforms beginning in 1978 had actually appeared on the cover of the team’s 1969 program. Now Jon Helfenstein reports that it was also on the ’69 yearbook and media guide, plus Robert Walker says it was used on the team’s letterhead from from 1969 to 1984.
“It might also have been used in the latter part of the ’60s while the Padres were in the PCL, although I cannot verify that,” says Robert. Either way, it’s still fascinating to see that this logo — which is generally considered to be the very epitome of late-1970s design — actually predates that period by at least a decade. Just goes to show that we sometimes project assessments onto things to suit our preconceived notions.
Research project: As most of you know, I’m not a sneakerhead and am not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to footwear. So here’s a question for you: When did it become common for MLB players to wear logo-branded cleats, instead of plain black (or other solid colors)?
Looking back at old photos, I can see that certain teams appear to have been consistently footwear-branded, like the 1972 White Sox. But I think that’s because the Sox wore red cleats, which were still uncommon then — they probably wore Adidas because it was the only brand available. I’m more interested in knowing when individual players started wearing footwear logos (presumably as part of their endorsement contracts). If you know about this chapter in MLB history, please speak up. Thanks.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
Great time of the year for sports, with NCAA hoops, the Masters, and the start of the MLB season. But it’s always the perfect time for fun items on eBay. Let’s take a look:
• Here’s a 1975 Southern California Sun pocket schedule, featuring what I consider to be one of the best sports logos ever.
• This 1940s baseball wind-up catcher was supposedly made “in occupied Japan.”
• Love the typeface on this 1971 Giants media guide.
• Want a uniform with a little more flair? Try these striped baseball pants from the ’60s.
• Volvelle alert: You’re always on the ball with this 1969 NFL Penalty Spotter.
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Ridiculously short notice: The 2011 edition of Maple Street Press’s annual Mets magazine is out now (with a contribution from a certain uniform columnist), and the occasion is being marked with a gathering tonight. I’ll be there for the early stages of the evening, although I’ll have to duck out by 7:45pm or so. All are welcome, the $10 buffet can’t possibly be overpriced by more than, say, $8, and I hear the LaGuardia Airport Holiday Inn hookers are still charging off-season rates because the Mets haven’t had their first homestand yet (that’ll be all over once the ballplayers are around and start paying them big league money), so come on down. See you there!
cholesterol pleasure: It turns out that the great borough of Brooklyn will be hosting two beefsteak events over the next three weeks. The first one, which I recently mentioned here on the site, is the latest installment of the Brooklyn Beefsteak, which will take place in two seatings this Sunday at the Bell House. But now it turns out that the folks at Sheep Station — the site of several Uni Watch parties over the past few years — are doing a beeftsteak of their own, on April 21.
Both events are all-you-can-eat and -drink, and I believe both are including a free apron to take home as part of the admission price. The Bell House beefsteak will be a boisterous mass feed in a large space; the Sheep Station event will be considerably smaller and somewhat more refined (patrons are being asked to wear a jacket and tie, nice dresses, etc.), although it should still be plenty festive. Sheep Station tickets are a bit more expensive — $70, as opposed to $50 for the Bell House — but the higher price gets you roasted potatoes and, I’m fairly certain, a higher level of service. On the other hand, the Bell House event will have a live band. In short: Both shindigs should be plenty of fun, and good values to boot.
I’m friendly with the people putting on both beefsteaks and can safely say that they’ll all do a fine job. Can’t decide which one to attend? The obvious answer: Go to both. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Uni Watch News Ticker: On Sunday I went down to check out the new Williamsburg Flea. Wasn’t planning to buy anything — just wanted to check out the scene — but ended up dropping $20 on an old All Detergent bucket that was too Warholian to resist. Then yesterday I got myself a nice palm plant and put it in the bucket. Not bad! … Oops, the Nats have done it again (with thanks to Andrew Cosentino). … And maybe they even did it again. Can that typo on Laynce Nix’s jacket be real? Maybe it’s a Photoshop prank, or maybe the missing letter is just folded under. Or maybe it’s jus the Nats’ latest snafu. … Good to see that illustrator extraordinaire Joe Petruccio has revved up his daily Mets sketchbook blog for another season. … New uni set for TCU football. “The new uniforms have a frog skin print on the numbers and an interesting collar (though you can’t tell from those pics),” says Jeff Gdula. “The helmets have also been changed: The frog is gone, leaving only the arched ‘TCU’ on the side, with a black stripe down the middle. Also, the helmets have frog skin. The number font will be exclusive to TCU as well.” … Nike has come out with green-soled golf shoes for the Masters (with thanks to Dennis Reid). … Elena Elms sent in two items relating to UNC baseball: First, this tequila sunrise jersey was worn by B.J. Surhoff in the mid-1980s. And the Tarheels did the pink-for-cancer thing the other day, but with a unique twist: pink sannies! “OK,” says Elena, “so it looked like someone threw a red T-shirt in the wash with all the whites.” … Speaking of UNC, here’s a slideshow of all of Roy Williams’s ties from the past season. … Interesting interview about Nike’s sweatback designs. Key passage: “We had to actually get some rules re-written to allow having graphics on a uniform and the amount of contrast that we were hoping for.” In other words, Nike is the tail wagging the uni-rulebook dog. Lovely, just lovely (with thanks to Cody Van Ryn). … Yesterday I ran a team portrait of the 1875 St. Louis Brown Stockings in pullover jerseys. Now Peter Nash has sent in a photo of a late-1880s Buffalo squad that shows two players in similar attire. Almost looks like the guy at top-left is wearing sansabelt pants, too! … There are lots of things you could say about this photo, but I’ll just say this: Great socks! (Big thanks to Mark Kaplowitz.) … Some Little League belts have dangerous levels of lead (thanks, Brinke). … Jan Danbom sent along photos of some interesting college softball stirrups, as worn by Cal Baptist and Concordia-Irvine. Also, look at this game between Dickinson State and Hope International — two teams with nearly identical uniforms. … Easton has entered the lacrosse helmet market (with thanks to Jeff Brunelle). … TicketStubCollection.com is on the verge of hosting its 5,000th ticket, and site founder Russ Havens is offering a prize package to the person who uploads the 5,000th stub. … “I noticed the webbing of Koji Uehara’s glove during the Orioles’ home opener,” writes Sam Cat. “A little Googling brought up this 2009 article, which mentions that the webbing includes a silhouette of his pitching motion.” … “Nike’s really stretching now,” says Nick Schiavo, and it’s hard to disagree after seeing this. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Good photo showing how the Brewers’ grounds crew uses lighter-colored dirt to stencil the team logo onto the back of the mound. … Hey, look who’s Breathing Ethier: Nick Swisher (good spot by Shaun Tunick). … Here’s yet another jersey based on the White Sox beach blanket design.