Got a package a few weeks ago from reader Steve Russell, who wrote:
Back in May of 1991, my father took me to Raleigh, North Carolina, to see the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks of the World League get smoked by the New York/New Jersey Knights. (The Skyhawks were winless in their only season.) Enclosed is the program from that game, which I found while cleaning out a closet at my parents’ house. I’m not sure why I saved it all these years, but you seem like a more fitting custodian. Hope you enjoy looking through it.
I never paid any attention to the WLAF while it was operating, and I can’t say I’ve studied it very closely since it shut down except to say, “Yup, that Orlando Thunder uni sure was something.” So flipping through this program is probably as much extended exposure to the World League as I’ve ever had. And it’s pretty interesting — did you know, for example, that all of the WLAF logos and uniforms were designed by David Boss (the same guy who did a classic series of NFL poster illustrations)? The WLAF program has an article that explains the league’s design process, which you can see here and here.
The program also features a series of really nice uni illustrations for each of the league’s 10 teams. Boss didn’t do these — they’re by a guy named Peter Winter, who I haven’t heard of before. Whatever the merits of the individual uni designs (some are clearly better than others), these images are how football’s supposed to look, no? Reasonable sleeves, proper-length pants, good white height on the socks — all very tasty.
A few other details from the program:
• The very first photograph in the program is this one. Couldn’t they have gotten a real football shoe for the photo shoot?
• Here’s an ad for licensed WLAF caps, T-shirts, and so on — but no jerseys. The whole “big bucks for polyester shirts” market hadn’t been invented yet.
• If your team is called the Skyhawks and based in Raleigh, North Carolina, what should your cheerleaders be called? Take a look. Pretty clever.
Big thanks to Steve for this excellent addition to the Uni Watch library.
Be my guest: As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ll be appearing next Wednesday, March 7, 6pm, on WFMU’s excellent Seven Second Delay show, which is broadcast live from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea. They’re giving me a nice-sized guest list, and I have a few slots open. So if you’d like to attend, gratis, shoot me a note and I’ll hook you up. (Details: You’ll need to arrive at the theater before 6pm. Show should be over by 7pm. I’m told that one of the other guests will be New Yorker writer Susan Orlean. Okay? Okay.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: In keeping with the protocol established by the Red Sox in 2005, the Cardinals will wear special championship uniforms for their first home series of the season (April 13-15, against the Cubs). The “StL” cap logo will be gold instead of white, and the jersey will also have gold trim (from Caleb Yorks). … Remember how the New York Times magazine was soliciting ideas for Jeremy Lin T-shirt designs? Here are their 11 finalists. Were any of them submitted by Uni Watch readers? … “I was in Snowshoe, West Virginia, and really liked the bear on this security guard’s patch,” says Sam Belk. I’m not sure which I like better — the patch or that there’s a place called Snowshoe, West Virginia. … Josh Exline notes that Kevin Durant was wearing different-colored shoes during the three point shootout. … Check out the very interesting concept that won a hockey medal design competition (thanks, Kirsten). … Not the least bit uni- or design-related, but it’s worth mentioning that Hamilton Nolan of Gawker is turning out some of the most incisive, most devastating, and absolutely the most hilarious cultural commentary that’s currently available. Every time I read something of his, I think, “Damn, I always sort of understood that on an intuitive level, but I’d never spelled it out like he just did,” or “Damn, I really need to raise my game as a writer,” or both. If you’re not familiar with him, this short piece is a good place to start, but it’s nothing compared to this masterpiece. Highly recommended reading. … Nine grand is a lot to pay for a uniform, but it might be worth it in this case. … Love the red devil logo patch on this old jacket. … Also love the lettering on the back of this jersey. … “Texas A&M just renovated its baseball stadium thanks to a sizeable donation from Aggie-owned Blue Bell Ice Cream,” writes Ryan Levy. “The new park is gorgeous and the renovation was welcome, but our beloved Olsen Field is now Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park,’ and the Olsen part of the name has almost vanished from signage on the stadium. I’m calling it Olsen.” … How pathetic has Fred Wilpon become? So pathetic that he recently distributed Underdog T-shirts to Mets players, at least one of whom isn’t too happy about it. … I feel like we’ve seen this before, but once more can’t hurt: Here’s an infograph showing the progression of every NFL team’s logo (from Tom Farley). … Congrats to Giants equipment director Joe Skiba, who’s been nominated for Equipment Manager of the Year. … Brian Cox notes that the Pirates’ 40-man roster has seven players whose names start with “Mc.” … More shoe shenanigans from Tim Lincecum, who’s been wearing New Balance on one foot and Nike on the other (from Matt Paver). … Unusual scene at Orioles camp, as Buck Showalter signed autographs for some Amish men who were visiting Florida from Indiana (from David Shank). … New throwbacks for Mississippi State baseball. … New alternate cap for the Durham Bulls. … Looks like Daniel Winnik, playing in his first game for the Sharks after being traded from Colorado, was still wearing his Avs gloves and breezers (from Sean Robbins). … Very amusing note from Peter Christian, who writes: “On Tuesday’s Connecticut state bar exam, the contracts essay was based on a St. Louis car dealer who ordered 40 red sports cars but received blue ones instead. She had ordered the red cars, to be delivered before Opening Day, as part of a baseball promotion ‘because the St. Louis Cardinals’ uniforms are red.’ I noted in my response that the uniforms are either white or road gray (I didn’t get into BP jerseys).” Peter is clearly going to make a great attorney. … It’s an embarrassment of riches for soccer fans, as new kits have been revealed for Peru, New Zealand, Turkey, Spain, Italy, and Russia. … Bat knob update: At least four Cardinals — Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay, and Daniel Descalso — will be using these designs, plus there are new designs for UNC baseball and UCLA softball. … The Clippers and Timberwolves wore throwbacks last night.
Emancipation Day: With Leap Day once again making its quadrennial appearance, I’m reminded that sixteen years ago today — Leap Day, 1996 — I walked out of my office at Billboard Books for the final time. It was the last time I had a regular job (or health benefits, or paid vacation, or any of the other perks that come with being an employee, but of course I knew what I was getting into in that regard). The next day I started life as a full-time freelancer, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. Can’t believe it’s been 16 years — time really does fly when you’re having fun, and I’ve had a lot of fun. Thanks for coming along for part of the ride.