By Phil Hecken
As we head into the end of interplague and the wonderful days of the
flag desecration beautiful S&S cap promotions, for one gorgeous evening, two teams got it right…or about as close as we can expect these days.
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays, who were playing as the 1951 Tampa Smokers, put on a bee-you-tee-ful uni display in Tampa last night. OK, so both teams took liberties with the unis. Perhaps most egregiously, the Rays, decided to nix the stogie (and the zipper) from their duds, while the Cardinals eschewed the proper cap, stirrups and zippers as well.
But that’s OK, because the game, despite being played in the most depressing stadium in the bigs, looked GREAT!
The Smokers looked fantastic with their collar and sleeve piping, repeated down the legs, and devine white-red-white featheredge striped stirrups. I’m pretty sure teams in 1951 went NNOB (another anachronism), but I still won’t complain. Take another look at that photo. You see BJ Upton and David Freese making the stretch, but who’s that dude behind Upton (also known as the first base coach) sporting high pants and stirrups?
It’s none other than the patron saint of long pants, George Hendrick! (That screengrab comes courtesy of Tim Burke, who said this to Paul in an E-mail exchange, “apparently the Smokers uniforms only came in short-pant versions.
Awesome stirrups, and George Hendrick forced to show them off.”) Indeed, that was awesome.
Speaking of Paul, he got some great early screen grabs which you can see here.
I actually preferred the Cardinals in their two-tone cap (and I don’t normally like contrasting crowns and bills), although according to Okkonen, their road uniform should have had a solid cap. I am upset at their decision to go with solid red socks instead of the period-appropriate stirrups — and it’s not like they don’t have a few pairs lying around either. A matchup of those rups versus the Smokers’ rups would have been the greatest hosiery matchup of this season, bar none.
About the only other complaint I have is that the MOTB was so so ubiquitous. It’s actually even more annoying than Majestic’s maker’s mark, which is also everywhere. Well, that and Tony LaRussa’s two-in-ones. I’d rather see solid red socks.
I know I complain a lot about throwback games, but this one made all those other ones totally worth it. Great job (even with the errors and omissions). I really would love to see some team bring back sleeve piping like the Smokers wore last night. It’s a great uni element that hasn’t been worn since, I believe, the 1994 Tigers (although it needs a headspoon, not torso piping, to actually look good).
What about you, Uni Watchers? Did the Smokers and Cards look great or what?
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Lets get right into this week’s submissions:
First out of the blocks is George Chilvers, once again, with a beautiful footy pic and a story:
This is a Wigan Athletic “name” from the days long before we were in the Premier League, in fact from the days before we were even in The Football League (we only became a League club in 1978).
The year is 1964 and we are playing Oswestry Town. Funny to think now we are playing Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Harry Lyon is heading goalwards in a 3-0 victory.
Harry Lyon was the club hero, and in one FA Cup game against Doncaster (a League club) was carried off with a suspected broken leg. However, it was found not to be so, and he took some pain killers at half-time (legend says a swig of brandy too, but that’s not verified). He cam eback in the second half, and most people thought he’d be a “passenger”, maybe just helping out where hge could hobble to (no substitutes in those days). So what did Harry do? He scored three goals – that’s what he did. Real “Roy of the Rovers” stuff – and if your readers don’t know who Roy of the Rovers is, get Googling :)
I tell his story in a little more detail here.
Next up is B. Smile from the Baseball Fever boards, with a couple baseball beauts:
I thought I’d pass along a colorization I just did of Babe Ruth at Fenway Park ca. 1931-34. The Babe is a bit small in the pic, but it’s a beautiful shot overall…lots of outfield grass. It’s presently residing as my desktop picture. The original came from the Boston Public Library site on Flickr, found here.
The BPL baseball pics are a treasure trove of images that would be perfect colorization candidates.
I don’t remember if I’ve sent you some of my older colorizations in the past, so I’ll attach those too (Lou Gehrig, 1939 and 1937 All Star Game, in Washington). If you decide to run any of them this weekend, you can credit them to “BSmile” (my Baseball-Fever user name).
And finally we have Gary Chanko, with an All Star Game shot of Big Klu:
Last week I discovered a great image to colorize while browsing the 25 Nov 2008 Uni Watch posting covering great baseball photos from Life Magazine (The National Pastime, as Captured by the National Magazine.)
There are several more great Fifties baseball images in this collection, particularly this shot of Ted Kluszewski. (Link action) They weren’t called “guns” back in the day, but Klu certainly had a set.
The photo credits mistakenly placed the action during a 1956 Reds-New York game. Uni Watch faithful, however, quickly noted the error and correctly identified the photo from the ’56 All Star game. The stripes on the stirrups worn by the catcher Sherm Lollar was the first clue this wasn’t a Yankees player. Proving once again it’s really all about those stirrups.
A brief technical note: I decided to crop the B&W original a bit and removed the on-deck batter that shows in the upper left hand side of the image.
Thanks to the G&G Boys and B…great stuff as always. This will be the last “Colorize This!” weekend edition for a while (I’m off weekends until August), but since I’ll be steering the ship while Paul is on sabbatical in July, I still plan on running a few “Colorize This!” during that time, so keep them coming. If you have a great shot you’ve colorized, or you find a great black and white that begs for colorizing…you know what to do.
We have another new set of tweaks today.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Cal Nelson, who has a Pistons concept:
My name is Cal Nelson. I have been a fan of your website for a few years now. I love sports and I love designing sports logos. I never new that such a niche idea of having a website that posts information and media coverage of uniform altercations and uniform history would ever exist, let alone a professional version of that cockamamie idea . With that being said, I would like to submit a logo and uniform overhaul I have been working on for the Detroit Pistons. I am from the Lansing, MI area and love the Bad Boys. It’s not that I think anything is “wrong” with their current logo and uniforms; I just think they are boring. I have also recently read an article (who knows how accurate it is) that Pistons are considering changing their uniforms in the 2012-2013 season.
Welp, here’s my redesign. It includes elements from past Pistons’ logos. I also tried to capture the general optimism within the Detroit community with a “speedometer” accelerating toward “full-throttle” in the primary logo.
Keep up the good work, sir.
Next up is Walter Helfer, who has a new twist for the Astros:
Here’s a home uniform for the Astros using sublimated twill (a nod to the rainbow guts) for the team name. The rest of the suit is pretty subdued, with the exception of the striped stirrups. Orange tackle twill looks pretty good against the white background, right?
And finally, we have Kevin Miller, who has a tweak for the Amazin’s:
My name is Kevin Miller. I just recently discovered your Uni Watch site. Great stuff. I see that you sometimes post fan concepts/tweaks of sports uniforms. I too am an avid Mets fan, an avid aesthetics fan, and strongly anti-Black-for-Blacks-Sake. I have a Mets concept I’ve been working on for a while, I was wondering if you would post it on your site (or if not, maybe you could give me some feedback). If for some reason you can’t/don’t get e-mail attachments, I also uploaded it here.
I want the Mets to use orange more than they have in the past (a la the Knicks), but still keep blue as the primary color. The alternate cap on the home jersey is because two-colored interlocking letters are awesome (a la the Twins and the 90s Padres). The road script is from the incredibly underrated 1987 road uniforms (seriously, why did they replace those with an exact duplicate of the Yankees roads in 1988? But I digress). The home alternate uniform could also be used as a batting practice uniform, I guess. I actually used to own that orange cap (they no longer make a fitted version of it, unfortunately mine got ruined).
Anyway, hope to hear back soon!
Thanks so much!
Everyone keep the tweaks coming, since I’ll have lots of space to fill during Paul’s sabbatical.
by Rick Pearson
One does not give up on a perfectly good ball from the truck stop…
And here is your full-size.
And that will do it for me…and this will also be my last post until July 11 — when I take over for Paul and handle the weekdays. Like last year, I’ll try to keep the weekly posts as “close” to Paul’s style as possible (and shorter than the weekends usually are). But, I need you guys to all help me out, if possible — with work being actual work, three summer classes and my pop in failing health, I am hoping a few of you will have some column ideas. A few of you have already contacted me, but I can always use some more ideas. If you’d like to work on a column with me, please give me a shout and lets see if we can’t come up with a column idea for July-August.
Everyone have a safe, healthy and happy Independence Day, and I’ll see you on July 11th.
“If a team is not attempting a true TBTC (Turn Back The Clock), we really can’t fault them for not accomplishing it.” — Rick Pearson