I’m always flattered and humbled when anyone shows up to a Uni Watch party. When someone — or, in this case, three someones — drive nearly 400 miles just to spend a few hours making the Uni Watch scene, well, that’s pretty special. So here’s to the Steel City troika of (from left to right) Jason Bernard, Jenny Sweet, and Ryan Connelly, who drove all the way from Pittsburgh to Brooklyn for Saturday’s gathering at Sheep Station (and you should’ve seen the look on my face when I saw them). Thanks, guys — you’re the best.
So who else was on hand? Let’s take a look-see:
• Here’s Keith Goggin and his lovely wife, Kathleen. Keith said he wore that Knicks warm-up “because there’s no NBA right now, so I thought I don’t know when I’ll get to wear it again.”
Keith also brought me three wonderful gifts. He said he scored Mets yearbook and the baseball rules mag (which is wonderful — I’ll feature it on the site soon) at a yard sale for 50¢ apiece. As for the “CH” patch, that’s an official varsity letterman’s patch from Holy Cross High School, where Keith teaches math and coaches golf. “I know you like those colors, and you like chenille patches, so I thought you’d get a kick out of it,” he said. And how! So now I’m an honorary Holy Cross letterman, and I couldn’t be prouder.
• This is Matthew Brotman, who took the train in from Patchogue — one town over from where I grew up! He’s wearing a mid-’90s Miami jersey, which had an interesting detail I hadn’t been aware of: The “U” logo was ghost-stitched into the shoulders. He also wore that Brooklyn Dodgers cap because, as he put it, “I always wear that every time I come to Brooklyn.”
• My favorite jersey of the day was worn by Matt Powers, who DIY’d himself this awesome Johnny LeMaster jersey (a reference, of course, to this epic moment in uni history). Matt said he had just made it just a few hours before the party, so it still had some loose ends, which just made the whole project more endearing, at least to me. Great concept, great execution. First-rate!
(As an aside: While I was taking photos of Matt, some random guy walked by and totally knew the LeMaster story. He also said lots of old Giants players, including LeMaster, showed up for the last Giants game at Candlestick — and that LeMaster was wearing a “Boo” jersey for the occasion! If true, that’s a great story. Photos, please!)
• It’s not often that someone wears baseball pants to a Uni Watch gathering, but that’s what Alex Rabens did. Nicely done.
• Alex brought along his pal Hillel Kipens, who wore an old youth XL Reggie White jersey with a very cool jock tag.
• I was very happy to see so many people wearing my favorite color combo — green and gold — including Manzell Blakeley, who looked sharp in his Gary Payton jersey.
• Jay Braiman actually designed the jersey he was wearing back when he taught at Frank Sinatra High School, which obviously owes a certain stylistic debt to a certain National League baseball team.
• Nice layering job by Marc Rivlin, who wore a Mets cotton button-up jersey shirt, a Mets sweatshirt, and — remember these? — a Uni Watch charter member T-shirt. A rare item!
• Uni Watch parties usually feature lots of soccer gear, but the only piece of soccer apparel this time around was Matthew Solly’s 2002 Portsmouth FC jersey. The Ty Beanie Baby sponsorship is a nice touch.
• Back in the summer of 2009 I wrote a piece about a guy who custom-paints designs on baseball caps. That guy is Chris Giorgio, and I was really excited when he showed up on Saturday, wearing one of his own creations. He says they take about 15 hours to execute.
• I was totally jealous of Marty Buccafusco’s Notre Dame logo socks. His DIY Braves sweatshirt — sewed by his Mom, he sheepishly admitted, not by him — included an excellent detail: a phantom 1991 championship patch.
• Marty brought along his buddy Jon Zelenak, who kept it simple with a Phillies ski cap.
• Our own L.I. Phil looked sharp in his mirror-image Mets jersey (a David Frost DIY special, don’tcha know), nicely accessorized with a Uni Watch Deep Freeze tee and your humble host’s favorite stirrups.
• Speaking of stirrups, a bunch of us gathered for the obligatory hosiery hoedown shot. The guy third from the left is Terence Kearns, who I somehow neglected to photograph on his own.
• As for me, I wore my 1941 Lane Tech varsity sweater. Perfect for a crisp November afternoon.
So that’s who was there. I brought along the helmet from the Notre Dame promo box, which everyone had fun looking at (and a few people tried on).
I also brought the Notre Dame jersey and noticed a small detail about it that I hadn’t initially picked up on: It was made in Israel. As you may recall, the first super-stretchies — worn by the Giants in 2009 — were Israeli-made. (I reported that myself here.) That one Israeli supplier must still be the only source of the super-stretchy fabric. Wonder if a particular mill has a proprietary exclusive on it — I’ll try to find out.
Hot stove uni action: Lots of MLB developments in the hopper over the next several days. Here’s a rundown:
• The Mets will present their 2012 uniforms on Wednesday, but various sources are already reporting what we’ve already known for a while now: no more black drop shadow! Looks like a very nice 50th-anniversary patch too (designed by Todd Radom, incidentally). There are still some questions to be answered — will they wear blue caps and sleeves on the road, will the blue caps have a blue squatchee, etc. — but this is a very good start. Having campaigned against the black for many years, I don’t mind saying that I find this development very, very satisfying.
• The Royals will announce their own 2012 uni updates a week from today at noon Eastern. According to a little birdie, the changes will be minor: the All-Star Game patch and possibly — wait for it — powder blue pants.
By Brinke Guthrie
NFL helmet/goalpost kits are fairly common on eBay, but you rarely see the ones with the footballs, not so much. I absolutely had one of these, even remember when and where I bought it (August 1971, Oxmoor shopping center in Louisville), but I don’t recall all 13 balls being on one base.
In other eBay finds:
• Two words for this gem: Oh. My. I’ve never seen this 1974 NFL IHOP board game before.
• Check out the embossed wings on this 1960s Eagles bobble.
• This New York Giants Fran Tarkenton shot is for Joe Skiba. Ad says 1960s but no way- look at all those Puma shoes. Definitely early 1970s.
• Look at this Boston Bruins tankard. I guess you flip back the top of the helmet..?
• The NFL should bring back helmet buggies, but you knew that already.
Bidding is now open for the Notre Dame promo box charity auction. The minimum bid today is $1000. If nobody bids today (an unlikely scenario, methinks, but anything’s possible), the minimum bid will increase to $1100 tomorrow.
Full details on how to bid, and everything else regarding the auction, can be found here. Have fun, guys.
Holiday Gift Guide reminder: I’m now working on the annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide column, which will run on ESPN in early December. If you know of a good uni-related gift item that I can include (or if you produce such an item yourself), don’t be shy. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Coupla leftover college football items from Saturday: Louisiana-Lafayette wore white at home, and Texas Tech wore its Wounder Warrior design with a stars/stripes helmet logo (from Jacob Kubuske and Susan Freeman, respectively). … New uniforms for the San Rafael Pacifics. … UGA basketball wore — of course — gray uniforms on Sunday. “I’m told Coach Fox only breaks them out to honor the football team, paying tribute to the ‘silver britches,’” says Parks McLeod. “The last time we wore them was after National Signing Day last year.” … Pens goalie Brent Johnson is a huge Led Zeppelin fan, but the “Stairway to Heaven” lyrics on his backplate misspells who’s (good spot by Nolan Petote). … Several readers have noted that Northwestern’s new basketball court appears to be the wrong shade of purple. … New home kit for Italy. … The Marlins’ new jerseys are already being worn in the Arizona Fall League (from Brett Crane). … Speaking of the Marlins, here’s an interesting note from Roy Bellamy, who sent me this photo of these two orange Marlins caps: “I purchased the one on the right, with black in the MLB logo, at the unveiling on Nov. 11. The one on the left, with blue in the MLB logo, was purchased by an intern in our office the very next day, Nov. 12, at the Marlins stand at Dolphin Mall.” … Here’s a first, at least for me: the NCAA authentication mark on an undershirt sleeve (good spot by Leo Thornton). … Jeremy Brahm reports that one of the two basketball leagues in Japan, the BJ League, has unveiled a really cool all-star game logo. The other one, the JBL, has released its all-star uniforms. Naturally, I like the green outlining on the West design. … Larry Bodnovich found some old Rice photos with interesting uses of owl iconography. I really like this cape and these basketball jerseys, but there’s something a bit disturbing about the mascot in this football team portrait. … Here’s a weird one: Shane Canup reports that Radford’s basketball jerseys all have “RU” above the NOBs. Okay, so “RU” stands for Radford University (duh), but those letters aren’t a logo — they’re the same typography as the NOB lettering. Anyone know more about this? … Pat Sharon scored this nice oil painting at an estate sale for $12. Anyone know who the artist was? … Batting glove pioneer Irving Franklin has died.