In last Tuesday’s “Collector’s Corner” column, Brinke Guthrie mentioned that he’d created this Bengals illustration back when he was a kid. As soon as I saw that, I asked him if he had any additional artwork from back in the day. He initially said, “I don’t think so,” but then he poked around and found something. And then something else. And something else. Soon he’d flooded my in-box with a ton of material from his childhood.
Let me stop for a moment here to say that Brinke has been doing “Collector’s Corner” for well over a year now and had been a steady Ticker contributor for a long time before that, so I have a decent sense of what he’s about. On the other hand, however, I’ve never met him in person and am pretty sure we’ve never spoken on the phone either, so the truth is that I probably have no sense of what he’s about. That’s how it is when you know someone exclusively via e-mail — you end up with a very limited, almost cartoon-like version of that person. In Brinke’s case, I kind of like it that way, because the cartoon of him that I’ve assembled in my mind is a very entertaining one — a cartoon that draws Bengals illustrations and obsesses over Sears catalogs and such. In other words, a cartoon that has been obsessed with athletics aesthetics since boyhood. I almost prefer not to know the real details that would flesh out the cartoon into a real person.
So when Brinke sent me all that childhood artwork the other day, I was intrigued, because it enhanced the cartoon and gave me a better sense of him as a real person. Let’s take a look at that material, beginning with this excellent Reds illo (you can click on all of these images to see larger versions):
How great is that?! I love how one of the hitters is wearing batting gloves while the others are bare-handed. Details, baby, details! Also love that Brinke signed his work with a little monogram, but he mistakenly made his middle initial (J) bigger, instead of his last initial (G) — a very endearing little goof.
Here’s another Bengals piece, apparently from Brinke’s psychedelic period:
Yes, I realize this was probably just cribbed from a poster (ditto for the Reds illo), but it’s still pretty great. I especially like the way he handled the letters and numerals on the scoreboard.
Next up is this soccer program cover that Brinke designed during his time at Mariemont High in Cincinnati:
The blacked-out eyes are a little weird, but look at those stirrups! Even as a lad, Brinke understood that the lower opening faces front, with the larger opening in the back. Clearly, the boy was destined for greatness.
Ah, but Brinke didn’t just do sports-related artwork, as you can see from this mixed grill of Brinke-ness:
“That’s my Senior Art Show display from high school,” says Brinke. “I was one of two ‘Best Art Student’ winners by senior year. In the middle is the logo I did for the Village of Terrace Park’s bicentennial.”
That’s when Brinke stopped sending artwork and started sending sport-y photos of himself as a kid. As you may recall, I’ve run other childhood photos of Brinke in the past, like this one from when he attended the 1972 NFC championship game. Turns out he’d been holding out on us, because here’s another shot of him from that same day:
Nice, right? Note that although the game took place in Dallas, the Cowboys gave the 49ers their own end zone. Of course, this was a quarter-century before Terrell Owens shat all over the midfield star, so the folks in Dallas were a bit more favorably disposed toward the Niners back then.
Speaking of the Cowboys, it turns out that Brinke didn’t believe in the blue jersey curse:
Of course, that isn’t really a Cowboys jersey, but Brinke says he chose it “due to a vague Cowboys look.” The photo was taken in Canton, at the Hall of Fame, circa 1975.
But enough of these “Just stand there” photos — what about action shots? Ask and ye shall receive:
But wait a minute — how was a kid able to dunk? “We took the balance beam, about a foot high, and laid it across the foul line, then put a spring-board mini-tramp thing on it,” says Brinke. “Get a running start and you become Dr. J. I got the idea to go get my dad and his camera. I wasn’t a very good player, but in these photos, I did indeed have game.”
Brinke apparently liked the tennis court as much as the basketball court:
“All Adidas, all the time,” says Brinke. “Made the brutal mistake of having a milkshake and then going out onto the court. Unwise.”
That’s enough of Brinke for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know him a little better, as I have. Thanks for all the cool photos and scans, buddy.
The Habs and the Hab Nots: As most of you know, Phil and I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the USA Curling Nationals in Aston, Pennsylvania, and I’m happy to report that there was a great uni-related moment during our time there.
Here’s the deal: On Friday afternoon I was catching up with Craig Brown, a world-class curler who was my skip when I curled at the House of Hearts tournament two years ago. He introduced me to his wife, Lynn, who I hadn’t met before, along with a few other people. Somehow we all ended up talking about NHL logos (wasn’t my idea, honest), and somebody said, “What does the ‘H’ in the Canadiens’ logo stand for?” Lynn immediately said, “Habs!” Craig beamed at her, all proud-like, and Lynn said, “Ooh, I’m gonna get laid tonight, aren’t I?”
Naturally, I had to ruin everything by informing everyone that the “H” actually stands for hockey, not Habs (which may explain why I haven’t been getting laid much lately). Later on, it occurred to me that it makes sense that curlers would be into the Canadiens, given the design similarities between the house and Ken Dryden’s old mask.
Big thanks, incidentally, to all the readers who said hi during the curling tourney and also to those who showed up at Saturday night’s Uni Watch party. I’ll have more to say about that later this week.
You’ve gone all sad, so I feel sad too: Amelie Mancini, the Brooklyn artist who’s previously produced postcard sets devoted to baseball injuries and ballplayers with food-based names, has now produced a limited-edition Gary Carter poster. “His passing touches close to home for me, because my boyfriend’s aunt also had brain tumors and passed away a few months ago,” she says. “I am selling the Gary Carter tribute prints for $20 each and will donate all the profits to the National Brain Tumor Association on his and her behalf.”
Amelie is giving Uni Watch readers first crack at the Carter poster, which is available at the bottom of this page.
Meanwhile, speaking of Carter and the Canadiens, those two themes came together yesterday in Montreal, as the Habs honored Carter on their Zambonis and pregame warm-up jerseys.
One final Carter note: His former teammate Wally Backman, who’s skippering the Mets’ triple-A team in Buffalo this year, has announced that he’ll wear No. 8 this season.
Too good for the Ticker: I can’t even begin to express how much I love this old Russian hockey poster that Robert Marshall recently turned up. So, so awesome. That is all.
Uni Watch News Ticker: New Fenway Park centennial patch for the Red Sox. … Just what the world’s been waiting for: his and hers Yankees fragrances. “Oh barf,” says Kirsten. … “According to Rutgers football Coach Kyle Flood, the team is due to receive a new uni set for the 2012 season,” says Stephen Dahl. … Some truly outstanding pics of the Boston Braves wearing white satin unis here (big thanks to Mark Sullivan). … Speaking of satin unis, you almost never see vintage satins for sale, but check this out — what a beauty! … Matt Konrad notes that Bemidji State goaltender Dan Bakala has Bob and Doug McKenzie on his backplate. … Here’s a weird one: Former NFL defensive lineman John Randle had Harley-Davidson mudflaps on his shoulder pads (from HHH). … Odd college hoops game on Friday night, as Loyola Marymount and Valparaiso went light gold vs. white (from Terry Mark). … Meanwhile, yet another school has gone gray: San Francisco. “USF was originally nicknamed the Gray Fog instead of the Dons, so that might explain it in this case,” says Mark Lum. … I dig the socks that Rajai Davis was wearing at Blue Jays camp the other day (from Marc Bauche). … New logo for USA Basketball (from Leo Thornton). … Speaking of USA Basketball, here’s a rare sight: Michael Jordan wearing Adidas (from Jordan Evans). … A few months ago I linked to some photos showing that the Indians’ coaches had worn white piping on their caps in 1973. Kenny Crookston has now DIY’d his own version of that cap. “I bought a blank all-blue fitted cap and hand-stitched the piping onto it, along with an original crooked-c patch,” he says. “I couldn’t be happier!” … How come nobody ever sent me a photo of Chris Hamnurger and Coy Bacon standing next to each other before? (Thankfully, Matt Barnett has now done so.) … Mark Prusinski was watching the movie Invincible and noticed a player wearing an upside-down Eagles headband. … In a vaguely related item, Joe Hollomon was watching Rudy and noticed this NOB. “As you may know ,Jon Favreau appears in the movie as the cast member ‘D-Bob.’ Maybe this is no big thing. But as I looked deeper, I’m now finding Notre Dame player NOBs that correspond to the film’s producer, the camera operator, somebody called a “swing gang,” and perhaps the costume designer. … Nike is apparently shutting small shops out of the replica jersey biz (from Tom Tell). … I think we’ve mentioned this before, but just in case: Tim Hardaway, Jr. has a comma in his NOB (from Caleb Borchers). … This is definitely the best Jeremy Lin jersey I’ve seen so far (from Phillip Garza). … Here’s a site specializing in those baseball cap-style backpacks that I’d first mentioned a few weeks ago (from Clayton McGrady). … Bizarre numeral design on Ohio’s black basketball uniforms. “Is that supposed to be computer circuitry?” asks Tim Burke. … Got a spare $1500 lying around? Then you can score this nifty Denver Rockets practice jersey (from Robert Silverman). … The Seahawks are preparing for the Nike changeover by selling a bunch of old game pants and related gear. “As a former gridder, I was surprised to see the variety of pants worn by players, even in this small sample,” says Jake, who didn’t give his last name. “There were some traditional pants with belts and pockets for thigh and knee pads, some that must have been for kickers or punters were basically just winter cycling knickers with a drawstring waist, and some pants even had socks stitched in to the top of the pants themselves. It seems like there are any manner of inseams, lengths, internals, etc. There were assorted numbers inside the pants, but they didn’t seem to correspond to any particular player(s) or positions. They appeared to be using more of a type/size matrix. Also: I was quite impressed with how the white pants looked in person.” … Terry Duroncelet was watching a college baseball game and saw a Prairie View A&M player step up to the plate high-cuffed, but then one of his pant legs fell down toward his shoetops as he ran toward first base. … Johnny Flanagan is a big Tottenham Hotspurs fan. In a crazy coincidence, his parents were recently on a Caribbean cruise and befriended a couple that happened to be the parents of Hotspurs player Kyle Walker. They all got on so well that Flanagan ended up receiving a game-worn autographed jersey from Walker. … Someone has paired up each MLB team with a character-appropriate beer (from Laren Richardson). … The Florida baseball team is wearing striped stirrups with orange sanitaries (from Josh Coney). … Been a while since I showed one of those magnificently hideous early-’70s Yankee Stadium food vendor shirts (from Joe D.). … Yet another pink-vs.-red women’s hoops game, this time featuring Florida and UGA (from Kevin Wright). … When Miller Park was being planned, it was originally supposed to have a classroom area and a Hall of Fame. Both of those got scrapped for budgetary reasons, but an employee has been quirreling away important bits of Brewers history — including the bullpen buggy from County Stadium — in the hopes that they can one day be displayed (big thanks to Nicole Haase). … MLB has a logo, but the sport of baseball does not have a flag. A century ago, however, someone tried to create one. It’s an interesting story, which Tom Shieber tells here. … Pepperdine baseball wore tequila sunrise jerseys yesterday. Nice, but that Under Armour logo creep is a major turd in the punchbowl (from Jake Moorhead). … Coupla new uni number assignments for the Yankees (from Matt Harris). … We’ve talked many times about how the Lakers’ old purple shorts didn’t match their jerseys. But check out this shot: Byron Scott’s uni matches, but James Worthy’s doesn’t (from Paul Watson). … Speaking of color inconsistencies, check out this shot of the Blue Jackets’ helmets (from Tim E. O’Brien). … Here’s a really interesting interview with the president of New Era. If you can get past all the corporate-speak (“Directionally, we’re looking to add 100 jobs”) and the endless repetition of the word “story” (as in, “At our retail shops, we try to tell a New Era story”), there’s some solid info in there (from Matthew Robins). … Good spot by Mark Bauche, who notes that the Reds and Orioles are wearing gray pants for spring workouts — except for the O’s coaches, who are wearing white (a classic Showalter move).