By Phil Hecken
You folks may remember way back to August of 2010, while I was filling in for Paul during the weekdays, I ran this column on the “Bumblebee” period for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you scroll down, you’ll note the second part of that column featured Uni Watch’s resident “BucTracker,” Jerry Wolper, who at the time was undertaking a tremendous research project to document every uniform combination the Pittsburgh Pirates wore from 1977 through 1984 — not just their mix-and-match jerseys and pants, but also caps, sleeves and stirrups/socks as well.
I’m pleased to announce that Jerry has now completed that project, and I have the pleasure of now sharing that with you all. Jerry’s done yeoman work here — and although the final product is almost complete (we hope to be able to host it in the “Research Projects” section of Uni Watch), it’s now ready for prime time. So, I’ll shut up now and let Jerry take it from here:
The Buctracker Project
By Jerry Wolper
This is a listing of what colors the Pittsburgh Pirates wore during their multi-colored uniform period of 1977-1984. Most of the information comes from photographs, especially from newspapers. Some gaps were filled in from the “rules” described below. There’s something for 93% of games, and everything for 90%. In the underlying database, about 80% of fields are filled.
The primary source is the Google News Archive, which includes the two daily Pittsburgh papers of the time (the Press and Post-Gazette). Some suburban Pittsburgh newspapers are also archived. The only other major daily from an NL city they have is the Montreal Gazette, which was useful for Pirate-Expo games. (There are also some French-language Montreal papers.) Many random papers also have occasional helpful wire photos, and every now and then I would find one in something like the Press-Courier from Oxnard, CA which features wire coverage of the Dodgers (and Angels) the same way the Youngstown Vindicator features the Pirates (and Indians). I could then use the Press-Courier as a source for Pirate-Dodger games.
There are, unfortunately, holes in the Google archive. The Pittsburgh papers are on microfilm at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which includes the editions that Google doesn’t have. The library also has the New York Times, which was useful for Pirate-Met games. While traveling, I had the chance to visit a couple of libraries. The Multnomah County Library in Portland was especially useful for the Oregonian’s coverage of exhibition games when the Beavers were the Pirates’ AAA affiliate.
The online AP, Getty, and Corbis archives had several photos with dates and too many more without. There are also some Ebay sellers of wire and press photos who had useful pictures. retrosheet.org was invaluable for matching players and game situations to the correct dates.
What They Wore
The Pirates always wore black caps and sleeves with gold jerseys and gold caps and sleeves with black jerseys. (I’ve only seen one exception,
when they wore gold caps with gold jerseys on September 12, 1977 at Philadelphia.) Similarly, they wore black stirrups with gold pants,
and gold stirrups with black pants. Helmets were always gold, which was a holdover from the gold-capped days of the early ’70s.
1977: No names on backs. The Pirates would mix and match any combination of gold, black, and (striped) white shirts and pants, both at home and on the road. Either color of cap or stirrup was worn next to a white jersey or pants.
1978: Like 1977, except that they didn’t wear white shirts with white pants on the road; they’d still mix the (striped) white with black or gold, though.
1979: Names appeared on backs. The striped white jersey and pants were only worn with each other, and only at home. I’ve seen a couple of games with gold caps and white jerseys, but black caps were much more prevalent. Black and gold shirts and pants were still mixed and matched, both at home and on the road.
1980-84: Names remained on backs. The stripes were dropped from the white uniforms, which were now worn at all home games with black caps,
sleeves, and stirrups. Black and gold shirts and pants were still mixed and matched on the road.
September 1980: In September of 1980, the Pirates did mix and match black, gold, and white shirts and pants at home. According to the September 4, 1980 Pittsburgh Press, “For the first time all year, the Pirates did not wear their all-white uniforms with black hats at home. ‘The players wanted to do it, so I figured “Why not?”‘ explained equipment manager John Hallahan.” I’ve seen one game where they wore gold caps with white jerseys. After 1980, it was back to white jerseys and pants at home.
Please send additions, corrections, and questions to BucTracker@gmail.com.
Thanks to Paul and Phil for all their help and support. Thanks also to Tim Brulia, Dan Cichalski, Rich Loup, and Jerry Reuss for their contributions.
Thanks Jerry. And just what exactly, do Jerry’s herculean efforts show us? Well, here it is: www.Buctracker.us.
I’ve run out of superlatives to heap on Jerry for this undertaking. But this was beyond a labor of love, and truly one for the record books. OK, dear readers, please let Jerry know just how great his efforts are.
New NCAA Rundown
In what is now a regular Sunday feature during the NCAA season, my buddy Terry Duroncelet is here to give us the uni machinations and assorted athletic aesthetics for Week IV of the college football season. Here’s Terry:
• Oklahoma State Co-Defensive Coordinator & Linebacker Coach Glenn Spencer lost his wife Angela last week to complications from a heart transplant from a year-and-a-half ago. The Cowboys team has added a memorial decal with Mrs. Spencer’s initials in the back of their helmets. My condolences go out to Mr. Spencer and his two teenage sons. Another uni-notable moment from that game is that the Cowboys wore their grey helmets with white jerseys and grey pants. Are we ever going to see any orange in the Cowboys’ wardrobe this season? And I think it’s safe to say that Texas A&M doesn’t give a single f*ck about the Longhorns’ or the Big XII’s feelings.
• Virginia Tech not only broke out the orange pants for the first time this season, but they also broke out the orange helmets from last season’s Orange Bowl, complete with truncated helmet stripe. The game also gave us a good look at the new Marshall home uniform, which looks a lot better than their current road uni (read: I HATE screenprinted numbers as a whole, but especially in a tackle sport. It’s called “tackle” twill for a reason).
• I think we found Movi’s worst uni-matchup of the weekend in TCU vs. Portland State.
• Minnesota wore maroon helmets and jerseys with white pants. Not a combo that I usually see from them. The dark helmet/dark jersey with secondary color numbers/white pants-look works well for the Rams, but not so much for the Gophers, IMO.
• Hard to tell in this photo, but Southern Miss changed up their helmet striping to a 1-and-a-half-inch? single-stripe. You can *barely* see the differences in that helmet and the one shown in Paul’s ESPN college uni rundown.
• Kentucky wore white helmets, blue jerseys, and white pants for the first time since… *to self* When was the last time they wore white-over-blue-over-white? On a side note, I caught a video of a Kentucky food goodie during the game.
• Boise State wore their 2010 Maaco Bowl Pro Combat uniforms against Tulsa (keep in mind that the “No-Mono-Blue-Crap-At-Home rule” only applies to conference games). I think it’s safe to say that the File Tab unis have been laid to rest, which is a good thing.
• Terrible screengrab, but Arizona State went mono-maroon (complete with maroon helmets) in their third straight monochrome game this season. They actually looked pretty sharp this time around because — *gasp!* — they’re wearing an actual school color! And luckily, Lame Kiffin only mandated black socks at home, because the Trojans were wearing the proper white socks in their road game.
• Arizona wore a new combo that I’ve never seen before: blue helmets with red jerseys and blue pants.
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 Bret Ayres, who (prior to the introduction of the flag costume) decided to fix Maryland:
After your Maryland update on August 23rd it took me some time to pick up my jaw from the floor, and finish questioning the existence of God, but I decided to take a shot at making a non-horrible set for the Terps. Despite the garish nature of their new uniforms I found two redeemable design elements in the helmet stripe inspired by the state flag, and the shell patterned helmet. I wanted to use the flag striping a little more, and make the shell pattern a little lighter. No gradient numbers, no rainbow stripes, and I’m relegating the black helmet to a black third uniform set.
Next up is Michael Sullivan, with a tweak for the NFL Panthers:
I decided to take on one of the NFL’s great uniform challenges. The Carolina Panthers. I made a home and away that I’m pretty pleased with. The tweak is here. Thanks.
And closing down the show today is Matthew Donnelly, with a few different ideas:
I had a bunch of tweaks that I wanted to clear out and send in:
-A Pro Combat uniform for my Alma Mater, Ithaca College
-a Bengals helmet made by playing with gradients
and 2 from OBrien’s template:
-The inevitable Blue Mets Jersey
-New jerseys for all of the Mets’ NY state affiliates
OK — thanks to all the tweakers. Back with more next weekend.
by Rick Pearson
If you’ll all open your playbooks, please…
And, of course, the full-size.
Jim Vilk’s 5 & 1
And now for the part of the post that
I wait up all night for you’ve all been waiting for…
I don’t even want to look (but lets see if Terry was correct about the worst game):
Honorable Mention to USC/Arizona State – Just enough contrast to put them in the running.
And to Virginia Tech/Marshall – Nothing rhymes with what I like about this photo.
5. Colorado/Ohio State – Don’t worry, Robert…it probably won’t be the only time for the Buckeyes.
4. Florida State/Clemson – Orange you glad I picked this game?
3. Eastern Michigan/Penn State – Any fries to go with that B1G MAC special?
2. Tulane/Duke – Been waiting for you, Tulane!
And the bad one: Portland State/TCU – I don’t like alliteration, but…it’s the BFBS/Bad Font Bowl!
2011 Duck Tracker
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Jake Hurley has stepped up to the plate and taken over the “Duck Tracker” for 2011. What is the Duck Tracker? Quite simply, it tracks each and every uniform combination the Ducks have worn for the 2011 season. He steps in for former tracker Mike Princip, whose non-Uni Watch activities will preclude him from tracking for 2011.
Last week Jake wasn’t quite ready for primetime, but we’re good to go now. He says, “So I finally have the site up and running, it is ‘live’ now. It is extremely low key at this point, it will look better by the time Sunday rolls around.”
So, ready or not, here is the new 2011 Duck Tracker.
Please let Jake know what you think and if you have any suggestions on how to improve or change it.
And that’s going to tie a bow on this Sunday. I’ll be pinch-hitting for Paul tomorrow, so if you have any good NFL uniform news, screen shots or other assorted items of interest, you can sent them to the usual uniwatching address or send them directly to me.
And if you happened to miss yesterday’s post, we began voting on the Seahawks Uniform Contest, and the voting will continue until this coming Friday. Make sure to check it out and to cast a vote (or 2) for your favorite unis if you haven’t already done so. OK? OK!
“Mono-gold for my Mounties is a guaranteed L. These damn kids. They call this a ‘Gold Rush.’ I’m afraid it’s going to turn into a ‘Golden Shower’.” — Coleman Mullins