Click photos to enlarge
Over the past few days I’ve made repeated mention of the three-part New York Times series on the life and death of NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard. (If you haven’t read it already, start here, and then you can use the links at the top of the page to access Parts Two and Three.) The series includes some uni-related notes, including the disconcerting revelation that Boogaard’s helmet sometimes wouldn’t fit because of the welts that had been raised on his head.
Boogaard was a huge guy — 6’7” by the time he was 17, in 1999. That year he played for the Prince George Cougars. According to the Times series, “[The team] was not quite prepared. Boogaard’s jersey had to have extra bands of cloth sewn to the bottom and at the end of the sleeves.”
Rather incredibly, Uni Watch reader Shane Barnes owns that very jersey — or at least one of the jerseys Boogaard wore that season. Here’s what he posted in the comments on Tuesday evening:
Amazing reading about Derek Boogaard. When he was traded here (Prince George is my hometown), I remember the jersey he had to wear, and that it did need some tailoring. A year or two after he was traded, I noticed that his game-worn jersey was for sale. Since I am a big guy (6’4″), I bought it. I still have it, and the stitching is pretty good, considering that they had to extend the sleeves and the length of the jersey to accommodate him.
What are the odds, right? I asked Shane if he could take some photos of the jersey, and he happily obliged. First, here are some basic shots of the front and back of the jersey:
The jersey was plenty big, but not big enough for Boogaard. Here are some shots showing where they had to add some extra material:
Just like Shane said, they did a pretty clean job. If you’re looking from a distance, there’s no hint that the jersey has been altered, except at the lower-left hemline, where a diagonal stripe was interrupted by the additional panel of fabric:
Big thanks to Shane for sharing these photos with us, and for providing such an amazing coincidence.
Boxing Day: I’m happy to report that my limited-edition Notre Dame promo box arrived yesterday at the home of its new owner (let’s call him John McDoe). John says he’s very pleased with his new acquisition, and the folks at Doctors Without Borders, who were on the receiving end of his generous donation, are extremely pleased too. Thanks again to everyone who participated in that auction.
In a vaguely related item, remember that Portland Timbers alternate kit that was unveiled on Tuesday? Reader Nick Orban got in touch yesterday afternoon with some additional details on that: “That kit is only available in a limited-edition boxed set with a new scarf that the Timbers have made. They have only made 2,012 boxes, all numbered, selling for $175.”
As if on cue, the FedEx guy showed up at my door about an hour later with my very own limited-edition Timbers jersey/scarf box:
What, no gold-plated chocolates? No Timbers-branded iPod? What a gyp! On the other hand, I’m a sucker for green and gold, so I guess I’ll let it slide.
Not sure what I’m gonna do with this one, although I think the scarf would look really cute on Uni Watch co-mascot Tucker. Hmmmmm….
Culinary Corner: Growing up in a nonreligious Jewish family that usually lit Hanukkah candles (reflexive cultural obligation), sometimes had a Christmas tree (suburban assimilation, plus I nagged for it), and always celebrated on Dec. 25 (it’s my brother’s birthday), I found myself awash in conflicting signals each holiday season. Contributing to the confusion, deliciously so, were the tree-, moon-, and star-shaped cookies that my Mom made each December — sweet, buttery, and topped with colored sprinkles. She always called them Christmas cookies, which I never questioned. The cookies were just one of those annual holiday rites that I learned to take for granted.
A few years ago I was writing a story on holiday treats and interviewed my Mom regarding these cookies. Here’s what she told me:
They’re actually Danish vanilla cookies. Or at least that’s what the cookbook called them. It was the first cookbook I bought after getting married in 1948 — The New York Herald-Tribune Cookbook, I think. I don’t have the book anymore, but I saved a few of the recipes, including that one.
Honestly, I don’t remember how I ended up deciding that they’d be our Christmas cookies. I think I liked the look of the recipe, but it called for cookie-cutters, which I had to buy. And if you go shopping for cookie-cutters, you end up with, you know, all the Christmas-y shapes. So I guess that’s how they became Christmas cookies.
By any name, they’re delicious — simple, elemental, addictive. Here’s how to make them:
1. Put 2-1/2 cups of sifted flour, a cup of sugar, and half a teaspoon of baking powder into a mixing bowl and whisk them together. Using a pastry blender, cut two sticks of room-temperature butter into the dry mixture, making sure the butter is well distributed throughout. At this point, you should have something resembling coarse cornmeal.
2. Add two egg yolks (reserve the whites — we’ll need them later) and 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the mixture. Using an electric mixer set on low, combine everything until you have a workable dough — it shouldn’t take more than about 45 seconds with a hand-held mixer, less than than with an automatic mixer. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc about an inch thick, and pop it in the fridge for half an hour.
3. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375 and line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper. Also tear off a few large sheets of parchment, and dust them with flour — you’ll use these for rolling out the dough.
4. After half an hour, remove the chilled dough from the plastic and place it between the two floured parchment sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s about an eighth of an inch thick (it may crack around the edges; if so, crimp the cracks). Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you like, transfer to the papered baking sheets with a floured spatula, re-roll the dough scraps, and repeat until you’ve all the dough is used up.
5. Beat the reserved egg whites slightly, so they’re more liquid-ish and less gloppy. Use a pastry brush to paint each dough cut-out with the whites and then add sugar sprinkles, nonpareils, chopped nuts, or whatever. The egg whites will help the toppings adhere, and will also give the cookies a shiny glaze.
6. Bake the cookies until the edges are just beginning to turn brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans once about halfway through. Smaller cookies will cook a bit faster, so it’s best to cook similarly sized shapes together. Let them cool for about 15 minutes and then dig in.
Congratulations — you’re now an honorary member of my family, at least for the holiday season.
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, the annual Uni Watch
Holiday War on Xmas Gift Guide is up and running.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Jazz will unveil an alternate uniform on Friday. … Major League Baseball has announced a dress code for members of the media. No word on whether pajama pants are allowed. … This video clip about the Cardinals Hall of Fame talks about Albert Pujols’s shoe design, which is also worn by Yadier Molina (from Caleb Yorks). … Lots of great old Browns/Steelers video footage embedded in this article (big thanks to Jerry Wolper). … Yesterday I asked about the history of championship belts. Marc Cavelli obligingly provided this article. … Look at this completely amazing chain-mail Sharks jersey. A new standard in DIYing! … Oooh, here’s a very cool magnetic NFL standings board. … New court design for the Wizards. … Check out the uniforms for competitive snowball fighting (thanks, Kirsten). … George Mason’s black alts debuted the other night (from Paul Barrett). … Too late for my gift guide column, but still pretty cool: a desk made from gym flooring (thanks, Kirsten). … As we all know, there’s no “I” in team — or in Miami (from Geoff Loughton). … Ryan Dunsmore notes that Texans quarterback TJ Yates was wearing an odd-patterned undershirt last Sunday. … Here’s a slideshow on the history of Princeton basketball. “It’s interesting that their uniforms didn’t have a wordmark or logo as late as 1950,” observes Eric Falcon. “Also, the accompanying article states that the Tigers alternate wearing their white and black jerseys during the conference portion of the season, both at home and on the road, to avoid the rush of having to wash them between Friday and Saturday games.” … Andrew McKillop found some pics of Stanford wearing 49ers-style pants in 1998. “I did a quick search in the newspaper archives but couldn’t find any reason for the pants,” he says. “I thought maybe they were doing a tribute to Bill Walsh but couldn’t find anything pointing to that.” Anyone know more? … Michigan State let a few walk-ons play at the end of last night’s game against Central Connecticut. Colby Wollenman, a freshman walk-on, scored the game’s final points — the first of his college career — in an NNOB jersey (screen shot by Matt Nuiver). … Monkey See, Monkey Do Dept.: Latest college hoops team to go gray is Missouri State. “It was part of a ‘Gray Out’ promotion that was led by the athletic department,” says Zach Brady. A gray out? That’s very, uh, original. … Mike Kramer has decorated his dorm room with a shitload of hockey jerseys. … A special shout-out to sporting goods historian Terry Proctor, who’s undergoing knee-replacement surgery today. Hang in there, Terry — hope you’re back on your feet soon. … I’ll be running errands for much of today. Everyone play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes.