Harmon Killebrew continues to cast a long shadow on the week’s events. For starters, I neglected to mention yesterday that the Twins have added a “3” patch for him. As had previously been reported, they’ll also be wearing their throwback alts for all their remaining home games, and the “3” patch will be added to those jerseys as well. I’m fine with the patch on the road jerseys, but I’m a bit disappointed to hear it’ll be appearing on the throwbacks. Wearing the throwbacks was a unique and powerful gesture, but doubling up on the memorial by adding the patch cheapens it a bit. Would’ve been better to leave well enough alone.
Speaking of Killebrew, did he ever coach for the Rangers? If not, what’s the story behind this photo that Gary Olson found? Anyone..?
Meanwhile, all week long I’ve been hearing assorted people — on the radio, on the web, etc. — repeating the myth that the MLB logo was based on Killebrew. It’s even mentioned in this AP obit that has appeared all over the world. It’s a great story; Killebrew believed it himself. But it simply isn’t true. Yesterday morning I brought this to the attention of Dave Campbell, the AP writer who penned that obit. “We had the obit written years ago, and the logo story must’ve slipped through the fact-checking machine,” he told me. Then, to his credit, he tracked down MLB logo designer Jerry Dior, confirmed his story, and set the record straight with a follow-up piece.
It’s interesting to see how many people prefer to cling to the myth, though. When I tried to nip the issue in the bud on Tuesday by posting a short ESPN item, I got quite a few nasty comments and e-mails from Twins fans. I saw similar comments posted on message boards where a few brave souls had the temerity to suggest that the myth was untrue. I’ve also heard from several people who’ve more or less said, “Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but it’s a nice story, and the guy just died, so why not just let it go?”
Fair question. And here’s the answer: As a journalist, I’m in the information business, the truth business, and the truth of the matter is that Jerry Dior told me three years ago that the logo design wasn’t based on Killebrew. I’m also the only person who covers the sports uni/logo beat on the full-time basis, and it pains me — personally and professionally — to see and hear so many people perpetuating a false story related to my beat. I’ve worked hard (and so have many of you) to get the uni-verse taken seriously as a legitimate corner of sports journalism. A story like this one damages that effort, just like those Nike NFL mock-ups that people mistakenly believed were real, or that bogus Tiki Barber story about the Packers’ helmet logo standing for “Greatness” instead of “Green Bay.” We’re supposedly detail-driven sticklers, right? There’s no bigger detail than the truth, gang.
One person wrote to chide me, “You should never speak ill of the dead.” But I haven’t said anything bad about Harmon Killebrew. On the contrary, I’m happy to say (and have been saying all week) that he was one of the nicest, most gracious men I’ve ever interviewed. It’s no knock on him to say he wasn’t the basis for the logo. He also wasn’t the Tooth Fairy, but there’s no shame in that either. I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t want something on his tombstone that was untrue.
Incidentally, you know who else is one of the nicest, most gracious men I’ve ever interviewed? Jerry Dior. He deserves better than to have people dismissing his word and essentially calling him a liar. Maybe now they’ll stop.
Meanwhile: New ESPN column today — enjoy.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Chris Wallace of the Lexington Legends — that’s the Astros’ single-A farm team — is wearing a pretty heavy-duty facemask. “A little research reveals that he’s been wearing it since college,” says Paul Barrett. Further details here. … The Astros’ red alternate cap is usually worn only with their white Saturday jerseys. But as many readers have pointed out, they paired the red caps with the road grays on Tuesday night. … Here’s more info, including an artist’s rendering, about that Veteran’s Day college hoops game on the aircraft carrier. … This is so fucking great: Uni Watch for Petraeus (thanks, Kirsten). … Also from Kirsten: a site that shows what people would save if their houses were burning down. … Having clinched the Saudi Premier League title, Al-Hilal is wearing this shirt as a one-off for the season’s last game this Friday (with thankst to my ESPN colleague Donnie Kwak). … Remember those high school football officials who got in hot water last fall for using pink whistles? Now they’ve been officially disciplined (with thanks to Matthew Robins). … What if they played a ballgame and nobody came? That’s last night’s Mets/Nats game at Shea, which was played in less than ideal conditions. … A.J. Burnett had to pinch-run during last night’s Yanks/O’s marathon. Naturally, they didn’t have a helmet for him, so he wore Ramiro Pena’s helmet (screen shot courtesy of Avi Miller). … If you know anything about apparel design and are willing to live in Dallas, the Cowboys are hiring (if you get the job, send a thank-you note to Alan Borock). … “On Tuesday night, the Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw bobblehead night,” writes Chris Cruz. ” The Dodgers web site had shown the bobble wearing a home Dodgers uni. When I opened up the bobble, I was happily surprised to see that they’d updated it to include the Duke Snider memorial patch. To top it off, during the game they showed Kershaw on the jumbotron explaining that his favorite prank was when one of his teammates switched jerseys with him as a rookie and he wore the incorrect jersey during warm-ups. I had never heard of this before, but it’s described here.”