If the endless see-sawing of the opinion polls is any indication, Republican voters just can’t make up their minds regarding who they want as their party’s standard-bearer next year. With the Iowa caucuses now just a few days away, it’s time to assess the one variable that GOP voters obviously haven’t considered yet: Who is the most uni-reputable candidate of the bunch?
Here’s a breakdown, with the candidates listed alphabetically:
If there are any photos of Bachmann in uniform floating around out there, I haven’t found them yet. Check that, reader Dennis Couvillion just provided me with this shot of Bachmann wearing a custom-made Iowa/Iowa State hybrid jersey:
Herman Cain: Okay, so he isn’t a candidate anymore, plus I haven’t found any photos of him in uniform. But this shot is too good not to include:
Newt Gingrich: Gingrich’s pictorial history appears to be uni-barren. In fact, the only vaguely sports-related photo of him I could find was this one:
(As I’ve mentioned previously, Gingrich still raises some interesting aesthetic issues, because he’s the fattest serious presidential candidate in several generations. Is America ready to vote for a fat man? Then again, about one-third of Americans are now fat, so why not?)
Jon Huntsman: Another no-show in the uni department, although it’s worth noting that he once tried to compare Mitt Romney to an old, beat-up baseball mitt, a metaphor that prompted some amusingly nit-picky backlash about the difference between a mitt and a glove.
Ron Paul: You’d think a libertarian would be opposed to uniforms, right? But it turns out that The GOP’s professional irritant has a rich uniform history, beginning with this photo:
So much data there to process! The perfectly bloused pants are a definite plus, but they reveal bogus two-in-one faux stirrups. Similarly, major points for a grown man being willing to don the tequila sunrise uni, but the number font is wrong. Then there’s the FNOB (always interesting to see, although I doubt it was necessary in this case) and the adjusta-strap cap (boo!). Quite the bumper crop of uni-formities!
There are additional shots of Paul in uniform in this slideshow:
Rick Perry: You’d think a big, strapping Texan like Perry would have played a lot of sports over the years (plus he was an Eagle Scout). But the only photo of him in uniform that I’ve been able to find is this one, from his days at Texas A&M:
Unfortunately, almost everyone who’s seen that photo has immediately thought, “Hey, that looks just like Niedermeyer from Animal House.”
Mitt Romney: Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, so there are a few shots of him in Red Sox gear:
But the real prize is this shot of a six-year-old Romney in a (Little League?) baseball uniform:
That’s pretty great — the super-baggy pants, the loose belt flap, the ill-fitting cap, the bat that’s obviously way to big and heavy for him, the joy emanating from his face despite it all. There’s more emotion and humanity in that photo than he’s shown in his entire campaign. And hey, are those dress shoes? Adorable.
Rick Santorum: Santorum participated in one of those old-timey base ball games a few months ago in Iowa (click to enlarge):
Looks like he could’ve used some blousing lessons from Ron Paul. Speaking of which, just like Paul, Santorum has suited up for the annual Congressional baseball game. This shot is from 2005:
All in all, not the most uni-inspiring slate of candidates. Unfortunately, the party’s most uni-savvy presidential aspirant was the first one to drop out of the race: Tim Pawlenty, who plays hockey and has left a huge digital trail of photos for our consideration:
Hmmm, can we get the candidates to show up for one more debate in full uniform? They can just shut up and stand there for our appraisal, which most folks would probably consider to be an improvement on several levels.
As you’re probably aware by now, Nikegon’s Rose Bowl uniform was unveiled yesterday. One the plus side: The new non-tapered number font is a big upgrade; the TV numbers are a good addition; and I suppose we should be thankful they went with SNOB instead of just putting “Nike” on the back. On the down side: I hate the new helmet (wings on the shoulder make sense, but wings on a helmet don’t [unless you’re going for a Nordic theme, which they obviously aren’t]); the two-tone facemask sucks; the new shoulder wing pattern looks like an oil slick. Jury’s still out on the color-shifting numerals (could actually be cool, but let’s wait and see).
Eh, whatever. I’ve been saying all along that Nikegon’s basically using a superhero comic book aesthetic here, and now each Ducks game is like the new issue of that comic book. So it all kind of makes sense, but it’d be a lot stronger if Nike hired
John Buscema Gene Colan Will Eisner Jack Kirby to do the visuals. Okay, those guys are all dead, but Steve Ditko’s still alive — someone slip his phone number to Phil Knight, pronto.
As the year winds down, a few December offers are also about to expire. To wit:
• From now through the end of the year — i.e., for the next few days — if you order two sheets of stickers based on your membership card design (that costs $26; ordering instrux are here), you’ll also get a free sheet of Uni Watch logo stickers (a mix of all three colors).
• Speaking of the circular Uni Watch logo stickers, the end of the year will also bring an end to the deal I’ve been offering: You can get three stickers (one of each color) by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. If you want to enclose a coupla bucks or a barter offering, that’d be nice, although it isn’t required.
Research query: Tim Robinson makes some really cool NBA infographics. The other day he sent me the following note:
I’m currently trying to assemble a larger chart of the history of the NBA All-Star Game. The most ambitious aspect I want to include is the designs for all jerseys worn. I’ve tracked down a lot of the old ones, but I’m having trouble finding sufficiently detailed photos for 1985 West, 1976, 1974 East, 1973 East, 1971 East, and most stuff before 1970 (only black-and-white photos seem to be available).
I’m shocked at how hard this has been. The NBA’s site isn’t helpful at all, and Getty Images has been disappointing for anything earlier than the mid-1980s. Grey Flannel auctions show some pretty old ones, but finding both teams for each year is difficult.
Tim’s note is just the latest example of how poorly documented the NBA’s visual history is. Even the league itself is in the dark regarding much of this stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything materials or leads to help Tim with his NBA All-Star search, but here’s some advice to him (and to anyone else trying to research NBA history):
• In addition to Getty Images, other wire photo resources include Corbis, US Presswire, and the Associated Press. The SI cover vault can sometimes be useful, and there’s a gallery of old NBA uni designs at Dick’s Courtroom. Each of these has its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you’re looking for, but all are worth a look.
• In addition to Grey Flannel, other auction sites worth investigating include Lelands, Legendary Auctions, Robert Edward Auctions, and probably a few more I’m forgetting. They tend to archive their listings for at least a few years but not indefinitely, so the sooner you start hunting, the better.
• Don’t forget about eBay. Photos, programs, even uniforms can show up there. Worth investigating.
If anyone has additional tips for NBA research, let’s hear ’em. And if you have anything that can help Tim with his NBA All-Star research, feel free to contact him directly. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Giants were hoping to wear white at home against the Cowboys this Sunday, but the league put the kibosh on that. … The Yankees and Red Sox will apparently be wearing 1912 throwbacks to celebrate Fenway Park’s centennial on April 20. … Condolences to Blake Pass, whose grandfather passed away on Christmas Day. “He played on the Piedmont College (Demorest, Georgia) basketball team in the early 1940s,” says Blake. “He’s #11 in that photo. He used to brag about the perfect season his team had when he played for them — they didn’t win a game! He also told numerous tales about the gym, which was at one time a barn. He said that there was nothing between the boards to keep the wind out. And how about that coach with the cardigan and the pipe!” … “After seeing a few Chrysler commercials and watching the Lions again make the playoffs, I felt the need to do something with my feelings of Detroit pride,” says Caleb Borchers. “I decided to do a sports-themed version of the Detroit flag, using stars, fleur de lis, and stripes to represent the Tigers’ four World Series, the Pistons’ three titles, and the Wings’ 11 Cups.” … Michael Orr has whipped up a rundown of all the Euro 2012 kits that have been released/leaked so far. “I’ve also created the @KitNerd Twitter account to accompany the #KitNerd hashtag I’ve been using for a few months,” he says. “I had a gathering a few months ago where everyone came wearing their favorite soccer kit, not unlike your Uni Watch gatherings. Planning another one here in Portland for January 6.” … The Knicks have removed the black from their logo and Madison Square Garden has just undergone a renovation, so you’d figure the center court logo would be updated, right? Wrong. Inexplicable, especially since they did update the logo under the scoreboard. In addition, the league has added its Twitter handle to the backboard support, and the Celtics have added their to the sidecourt (all this from MJ Kurs-Lasky). … “The Tokyo-Hakone Ekiden is a two-day relay race covering 217.9 kilometers,” says Jeremy Brahm. “Sapporo Beer, a sponsor of the race, has released a special beer with the color of each of the 20 participating universities on the can.” Hmmm, beer and universities — what could go wrong? … The Rangers have been wearing a “94” helmet decal in memory of Derek Boogaard, but Marian Gaborik has an additional decal for Pavol Demitra (good catch by Ryan Dowgin). … Here are Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads for the Winter Classic (from Enrico Campitelli Jr.). … Rich Friedman follows a Miami Hurricanes football newsgroup and says someone just posted this. No idea if it’s legit, though. … If you’re a Chiefs fan, you’ll want to check out this neon sign. … Tons of cool Sabres memorabilia showcased here (big thanks to Tim Tryjankowski). … While looking for something else, I stumbled across this absolutely sensational NFL Properties ad from 1974 — which originally in Women’s Day, of all places! Sensational stuff. … Also very nice: a 1932 ad from Spalding, extolling their role as the outfitter of the U.S. Olympic track team. … Baseball Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber was doing a bit of research when he came upon the earliest reference to undervisor colors he’d ever seen. It was in the Baltimore Sun of August 5, 1872, which contained the following passage: “The Peabody [Base Ball Club] appeared in their new uniform — white hats, covered under the brim with dark green to shade the eye; white shirts, with the name Peabody in red across the chest, white pants and red stockings.” So green undervisors date back nearly 140 years! … If you choose to believe conspiracy theories, here’s a good one: Dwight Howard’s new team will ultimately be determined by Adidas. … Jeff Brand was watching last night’s Blues/Wings pregame and noticed that Evgeny Grachev didn’t have a front helmet number. “Interesting, because Adam Cracknell, who was just called up for Monday night’s game, has a front number, while Grachev was called up last week before Christmas.” … Check this out: a Kellogg’s poster showing the evolution of the baseball uniform. I’ve never seen this item before. Anyone else..? … Wanna see something amazing? Check out these incredibly unattractive 1979 Iowa Oaks uniforms. “Could that be the ugliest ever worn on a minor league baseball field?” asks MJ Viquez, not unreasonably. … And here’s a great video segment showing Michigan’s equipment crew setting up the team’s practice gear at the Superdome (courtesy of Aaron Rich):