As longtime readers know, ’tis the season when I give something back to all of you who help make Uni Watch such a special project. Or, if you prefer to be more cynical, it’s time for me to clear out all the free swag that’s accumulated over the past year. Either way, more than 30 of you stand to win something for free, and that’s always fun, right?
As in past years, some of you may recognize a few of these items as gifts that you thoughtfully sent me over the past year. I realize regifting may seem tacky, and but sometimes I have duplicates on certain things, or I don’t have room for everything, or something is too big or too small for me to wear, or I’ve gotten some enjoyment out of an item and am now ready to let someone else enjoy it. No offense intended, and I hope none taken — thanks for understanding.
Okay, enough preliminaries — here’s what’s available (all apparel items are brand-new and never worn, except as noted):
1. A free Uni Watch membership, including a custom-designed membership card.
2. Any non-autographed college football helmet from the vast Gridiron Memories inventory. (Note that multiple designs are available for most schools.)
3. Eric Stuckenschneider’s 16-letter nameplate (Tucker not included), which would have been the longest NOB in MLB history if he’d ever gotten into a game. The nameplate was lettered up by A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich during spring training of 1999, but Stuckenschneider hurt his shoulder that spring, and that was that.
4. A vintage game-used baseball jersey from Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, circa mid-1980s. Appears to have once had an additional stripe on the left sleeve that was later removed (a memorial band, perhaps..?). Polyester double-knit. Tagged as a size 42; measures 22.5″ pit-to-pit.
6. Everything you need to make your own Great Lakes Loons batting helmet — well, except for the helmet itself.
7. My media credential from a Cardinals game back in May, complete with the customary misspelling of my surname. This was the game at which I watched Patti White as she did the stadium captioning for the hearing-impaired.
8. A copy of Gary Cieradkowski’s Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball. This issue is devoted to Jewish ballplayers. 20 pages. Cover is lightly scuffed.
9. A Washington Capitals throwback pom-pom ski cap from last season’s Winter Classic. One size fits all.
10. A Washington Capitals throwback ski cap from last season’s Winter Classic. One size fits all.
11. A Caps/Ovechkin T-shirt. Distressed graphics. Poly/cotton/rayon blend (but feels very cottony, I must say). Tagged as a large but measures 20″ pit-to-pit, which means it’s really a medium.
12. A Washington Capitals throwback scarf from last season’s Winter Classic.
13. A Pittsburgh Penguins throwback pom-pom ski cap from last season’s Winter Classic. One size fits all.
14. A Pittburgh Penguins throwback ski cap from last season’s Winter Classic. One size fits all.
15. A copy of Rob Ullman’s wonderful Old-Timey Hockey Tales. 34 pages.
17. A Baltimore Orioles 2012 Brand Style Guide, outlining all of the team’s new logos, wordmarks, etc. for the coming season.
18. An assortment of NFL, MLB, and NCAA helmet decals, including a Louisiana-Lafayette primary logo; an Ohio State merit buckeye; an NFL logo; an MLB logo in Oakland A’s colors; and an American flag.
19. A really nice vintage Durene jersey with a gorgeous chain-stitched chest patch. Blank on back. Tagged as an XL but measures 22″ pit-to-pit and only 22″ long, which means it will fit someone rather short and stout.
20. A set of over 240 MLB stickers, circa 1990, still in their original plastic packaging.
21. Seven sheets of AFC helmet stickers, circa 1997.
22. An assortment of NFL helmet stickers, various years and sizes.
23. A pair of vintage NFL “mini-posters” (actually 5.5″ by 8.5″), circa 1981.
24. An Under Armour “charged cotton” T-shirt. 95% cotton, 5% some kinda stretchy stuff. More day-glo-ish than my crappy photo indicates. Rubberized UA logo on chest. Blank on back. Tagged as a large; 23″ pit-to-pit.
25. A genuine Cubs throwback undershirt with striped sleeves, just like the one worn by Sean Marshall and a few others during the Dodgers/Cubs game back on May 4. This one was made for that same game, although I don’t think anyone actually wore it on the field (it was a warm day, so many players didn’t go long-undersleeved). All-polyester with sewn-on stripes. Tagged as an XL; measures 23″ pit-to-pit.
26. A mirror-image Mets jersey, DIY’d by David “Frosty” Frost. Just the thing to reflect the current state of the franchise. Cream base color. Polyester double-knit. Zip-front. 23″ pit-to-pit.
27. A set of three Iowa minor league baseball caps (from left to right: Quad City River Bandits, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels). All barely used, all size 7.5.
28. A Brian Wilson beard poster, by McSweeney’s. 11″ by 17″. A teeny bit scuffed.
29. A Jose Reyes uniframe by PhotoFile. Professionally framed. 20.5″ square. Equally suitable for staring at wistfully or throwing rocks at, depending on your feelings regarding Reyes’s departure. (This item is kinda heavy, so it would be nice if the person who wins it could throw in a few bucks to help with the shipping charges.)
30. A Portland Timbers limited-edition box, containing the team’s 2012 third jersey and a scarf, plus an Adidas press release and a short handwritten note to me from an Adidas publicist (it begins “Hey Paulie”). One corner of box is slightly dented, thanks to a mishap involving a certain very naughty cat. Jersey is tagged XL and measures 23″ pit-to-pit.
31. A deck of Chicago Football Heroes playing cards. Never used. Perfect for a game of strip poker (as long as you’re not playing against Mike Ditka).
That’s what’s available. Here’s how to enter the raffle:
1) Send one e-mail, and only one, to the giveaway address.
2) In the body of the e-mail, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 10 choices, in order of preference, by number. If you’re only interested in, say, seven items, then just list your top seven choices; if you want to list more than 10, you can do that too, all the way to 31, but I don’t really expect anyone to go that far. I’ll do my best to accommodate everyone’s choices.
3) Entry deadline is 10pm Eastern next Thursday, December 22nd. The winners will be announced on either the 24th or the 25th.
Again, my thanks to all of you who contribute in various ways to Uni Watch. I wish I could provide gifts for all of you — honest.
And speaking of holiday traditions: One of the nicest Uni Watch rituals that’s developed over the years is the annual arrival of a package from reader and diehard Cardinals fan Elena Elms, who sends me a carefully packed box of homemade uni-themed cookies each December (you can see some of her confections from previous years in this slideshow). It’s something I’ve learned to look forward to every holiday season.
This year Elena has whipped up a batch of “Jew-niform” cookies, as she calls them — eight cookies honoring eight Jewish ballplayers (one for each night of Hanukkah, don’tcha know; click photo to enlarge):
Here’s Elena’s identification and explanation for each cookie:
The Dodgers cookie and the two No. 5s are for Hank Greenberg (Tigers), Lou Boudreau (Indians), and Sandy Koufax (Dodgers), the only three Jewish players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Boudreau’s mother was Jewish, though he was raised Catholic by his father after they split. But he “acknowledged his Jewish identity” to New York Times columnist Ira Berkow, so the American Jewish Historical Society included him in the updated version of their Jewish Major Leaguers baseball card set (which makes a lovely Hanukkah gift).
Nos. 20 and No. 21 are Shawn Green (as a Met, for Paul) and Jason Marquis (as a Cardinal, for me). Green has the second most career HRs for a Jew, after Greenberg. Marquis had a baseball-themed bar mitzvah, and his parents gave him a 15’ x 15’ replica of the scoreboard from his Little League World Series no-hitter against Canada. I loved to listen his “exotic” (to a Southerner like me) Staten Island accent in postgame interviews when he was a Cardinal. He got his 100th career win in 2011 — first Jew in 31 years to achieve that, since Steve Stone.
No. 30: Ken Holtzman. Most career wins for any Jewish pitcher (174). I picked his A’s uniform to add some color to the mix. Obviously, I ran out of room trying to add his NOB. If only his family had shortened their name to Holt, like Shawn Green’s family shortened theirs from Greenberg (“for business reasons”).
Nos. 8 and No. 12 are Ryan Braun (Brewers, chosen before his recent troubles) and Ron Blomberg (Yankees). Picked for their nicknames — the He-Brewer for Braun, the Hebrew Hammer for Blomberg. Blomberg was the first DH in MLB history and still jokes that he thought DH stood for Designated Hebrew.
Thanks, Elena — you’re the best.
On the road again: I’ll be working on a story in Cleveland in a few weeks (Clevo in January — I can really pick my getaway spots, eh?), so let’s have a Uni Watch get-together. It’ll be on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7pm, at Prosperity — the same place where we convened the last time I was in town a few years ago. Looking forward to seeing all the regulars, meeting new people, etc. And hey, maybe the guy at the next table who had Bernie Kosar’s uni number tattooed onto his hand will show up again.
Uni Watch News Ticker: New navy alt for the Mavs. Further details next week in my NBA season-preview column on ESPN. … Tom Shieber has tipped me off to a sensational photo resource: freelance photographer Brad Mangin, who has two sites of sensational (and searchable!) images, here and here. First-rate stuff. … Reggie Bush was wearing an unusual sock style last Sunday, and now he’s been fined for it (from Matt Saunders). … Speaking of NFL sock styles, anyone else think the players going with solid whites look like their legs are mummified? … A few days ago I mentioned that the ref in the Peterson/Khan fight was wearing purple gloves. That prompted several commenters to note that many health care professionals are switching from latex gloves to nitrile, and that the most common nitrile dye is purple. Sure enough, when I went for my bi-monthly blood donation appointment yesterday, almost all of the technicians were wearing purple gloves. Not sure if this was a new thing or if I’d just blotted it out of my mind until now. … DC-area fans apparently buy more Bullets merch than Wizards merch (from Jason Mott). … Check out this shot of Coyotes goalie Mark Visentin wearing three different team logos. “His mask is from last year, when he played for Canada at the World Juniors; his jersey is from the team that drafted him, Phoenix; and his pads are from his junior team, the Niagara Ice Dogs,” says Donnie Gould. … Good spot by Mako Mameli, who points out that it’s very unusual to see an NFL player with two distinct small caps in his NOB. … Did Ndamukong Suh lose his shit on Thanksgiving Day because the Packers were untying his shoelaces? Maybe (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … Rich Rutherford found another photo of Brad Marchand with a white upper-right spoke on his jersey logo. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New logo for State Farm. … Also from yesterday: A bank robber in St. Louis has been dubbed “the logo bandit,” because he tends to wear brand-name sportswear. … Chris LaHaye reports that Church Point High in Louisiana has managed to poach logos from the Indiana Pacers and the U. of Cincinnati simultaneously. … I’m not sure which is more remarkable — that someone has compiled a list of the top 25 arena league uniform, or that said list was published someplace other than Bleacher Report (from Justin Mulhollan). … Seats from the old Bush Stadium in Indianapolis are being repurposed as bus stop seating (from Dan Cichalski). … Chris Flinn notes that the orange gloves worn by the TV timeout guy at Texans games have the old NFL logo. … SK Slovan Bratislava, a small Slovakian soccer club, has a jersey that’s made by Adidas but they have have Nike as a sponsor — or at least that’s how it looks. Obviously, niké, the sponsor, is not the same operation as our friends in Oregon, but it’s an interesting coincidence, especially since the jersey logo looks a bit like some of the original Nike logos developed by Carolyn Davidson back in 1971 (great observation by Mark Emge). … New kit for Santos Laguna (from Janssen McCormick). … Good-bye, Hitch. Thanks for always making me think a little bit harder. R.I.P.