By Phil Hecken
By now, most of you are well aware of the “Gridiron Uniform Database,” the joint project between Tim Brulia, Bill Schafer, and Rob Holecko which is, as the name implies, a database which tracks all of the uniforms worn by every NFL team, by season, beginning with the 1933 season and continuing up through the present day. Truly an herculean undertaking, the GUD is the go-to resource for all football uniform reference.
Not merely satisfied with the GUD, I’m joined today by one of the founding troika, Rob Holecko, who wants to bring all you fine readers an update on the GUD, and the embarkation of a new project which seeks to do with baseball uniforms what the GUD has done with football unis. Can anyone ever outdo the foremost baseball uniform historian, Marcus Okkonen, whose work Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century appears on the MLB Hall of Fame site, “Dressed To The Nines,” is the gold standard in uniform tracking? Only time will tell, but Rob hopes to try. And after what he, Tim & Bill have done with the GUD, there is no reason to think they can’t succeed.
Uniform Database Expansion
by Rob Holecko
As most of you regular Uni Watch readers know, a little less than a year ago, I teamed up with Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer to build the Gridiron Uniform Database. Those of you who don’t know the backstory behind our website can read about it here, here and here, but basically Tim’s NFL research and Bill’s artwork is the backbone of our site which right now features the uniforms that every NFL team has worn since 1933. Work on the website continues, as Tim is fond of saying, “it is always a work in progress.” We were mentioned in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week when our research showed that the recently unveiled Steelers’ 80th anniversary throwback billed as being from the “1934″ season wasn’t actually worn during that season.
Initially for our site, we have used a free host, imageshack, to host our images, but there has been occasional downtime with them. We are now hosting the images ourselves. There are advantages to doing so — less down time and the graphics should load faster. Personally it will be much faster for me to update the website. Whenever a web visitor to our forum or an email notifies us of information that leads to a change, I can update it practically instantaneously as soon as Bill sends me the new graphic. For example, I only have to replace the 1945_Philadelphia.png graphic, instead of uploading the new graphic to imageshack and then replacing an address like this: http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/2402/1945philadelphia.png with an address like this: http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/5844/1945philadelphiab.png everywhere it appears on the website. (Although a program I have used – Windows Grep – has been invaluable in this respect, it is still a laborious process.) The thumbnails are now a little larger and the site as a whole should just run a lot smoother. But enough about the ‘behind the scenes’ details. Now on to some new features:
When we launched last June, we had the uniforms worn by each team every season, but not what each team wore broken down by specific week. We updated the 2011 season as it was played, week-by-week, but we never got around to adding the past seasons’ weekly uniform combos. Today, however we would like to announce (first here on *Uni Watch*) the addition of much of this research that up until now has not been available. Now you can view the specific week-by-week uniform breakdowns for every team for each season since 1950. While the pages that graphically demonstrate each team’s week-by-week combo (like for 2010 & 2011) aren’t available yet, the information is there, albeit in text form. Just click on a team’s “Week-by-week” link below its’ thumbnail, either on a year or a team page, and then you can view this data. Soon, as we continue to compile our research, we will be adding the same for 1933 through 1949. Also, under our research tab, you can see Tim’s breakdown of referee and Pro Bowl uniforms, and someday we hope to add graphical representations of those to the site as well, and also still on our radar are plans to tackle the 1921-1932 season someday.
In addition, a couple weeks ago here at Uni Watch, Tim & Bill published their 1960 AFL NOB research, and now on our site you can see, graphically, the week-by-week breakdown for each 1960 AFL team as indicated in that article. Eventually all years (1950-1959 & 1961-2009) will be broken down as 1960 (and 2010 & 2011, for that matter) is.
While we enjoy the upgraded website and hope you do too, there is a down side to hosting our own images. The monthly costs are higher, and we have been adverse to adding too much advertising to our site to keep the visitor experience enjoyable. While we have no intention of ever becoming a “subscriber” site or trying to make a profit off of this hobby in any way, there have been those of you who have asked us how you can help support the site. So purely to give those of you who would like to help defray our costs a way to do so, we have added a PayPal tip jar. We are certainly not actively asking for money here, just providing an avenue for anybody who wants to contribute to do so. If every *Uni Watch* visitor that really likes and gets some enjoyment out of the *Gridiron Uniform Database *that was so inclined to, were to throw us a dollar every now-and-then, it would definitely help defray our website and hosting expenses. (I was going to say something about “less than the price of a cup of coffee, but I’ll forego that.)
Now onto a new venture. While I love the work I’ve done on the Gridiron Uniform Database, and am thankful to Tim & Bill for giving me the opportunity to work with them, I am to some extent as much of a fan of baseball as I am of football. (Well, I guess that depends on the time of year, actually.) To that end, since last year I have tossed around the idea of launching a sister site to the Gridiron Uniform Database, a baseball version, the Diamond Uniform Database
Dressed To The Nines is a great site, but it pretty much only tracks each years’ basic home & road version and the occasional alternates, and not which ones were worn when. When you throw in additional alternates, throwbacks, Latin Heritage (“El Dodgers”) jerseys, Civil Right Game jersey, World Championship gold trim jerseys, and the different mix-and-match specific combinations that have begun to proliferate throughout MLB in recent years, the Baseball On The Nines site doesn’t really tell the complete story.
I think I have found our “Tim”, the historian who keeps track of the uniforms worn, in David Taub. A few days after Opening Day Paul mentioned his blog in the ticker and I contacted him shortly thereafter and asked him to join me in this venture. David has agreed to join me and will keep a record of what teams wear each day in our new site’s blog.
Now this is where the *Uni Watch* faithful can help. We have our “Tim” to keep track of the uniform combos (David), and we have our “Rob” to run the website. (again, me) Now all we need is to find our “Bill” to whip up the graphics. Right now we are simply using some basic team jersey graphics I…err, got off of Wikipedia. While they get the job done, in some cases they are last year’s unis and they also have the annoying habit of hiding some of the alts behind others, like Dressed To The Nines does.
Also I need someone who can whip up the throwbacks and special uniforms along with adding the correct anniversary patches, etc. Whether you want to use the same template as the Wikipedia ones I have on there already and just fix the ones that new fixing and make up the additional jerseys to match those, or you want to whip up a new batch based on a different template is entirely up to you. The only requirement is they have to be somewhat narrow so I can put seven across for a whole week. The 109px x 314px size seems to work fine, but anything comparable will work. The most important thing, though, is that they all match each other and are all based on a particular template.
The Diamond Uniform Database is still in “beta” version — still working on a banner graphic with the gentleman, Mark Young, who did such a phenomenal job on our Gridiron Uniform Database banner graphics, and also not all of the links might be particularly correct yet. Depending on who becomes our “Bill Schaefer” we hope the uniform graphics will look a lot better. When it is “ready for prime time,” it will look, we hope, as nice and be as useful as the football site is. Invariably it will be pointed out in the comments that, “you have the wrong Rockies” jersey, or “your Texas jerseys don’t have the 40th anniversary patch,” etc. We are aware of that and right now we are just concentrating on having the correct uniform combos.
So if you think you have what it takes to become the “Bill Schaefer” of the *Diamond Uniform Database* and would like to make up the team uniform graphics for this new site, get in touch with me at RobHolecko@gmail.com and send me some samples and we’ll talk.
For right now we have no plans to do anything beyond just track the 2012 season, past years will be quite a daunting task with 162 or 154 games and of course something that could never be completed with 100% accuracy. (However, of course back in the old days it was mostly just home-and-aways, but still…) That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t consider some past years in some form at some point in the future, or perhaps just World Series and postseason games… or maybe a special research project from time-to-time, like working with BucTracker Jerry Wolper to do a graphical representation of the Bumblebee era Pirates research he has on his site, or something of that nature.
Thanks Rob. As you can see, the folks at the GUD (and now the DUD, although I’m not sure that’s quite the acronym Rob will be wanting to use) have been busy. Great stuff, and I want to be the first to wish you all the best with the new venture — and concepters — can you answer Rob’s challenge? You’d be doing a great service to the uniform tracking world by assisting in this venture. Readers? What say you?
by Rick Pearson
Speaking on behalf of dedicated fans everywhere…
Click to enlarge
Got lots of great feedback from readers about the contest to rename the Cleveland Baseball team, and tomorrow I’m going to open up the voting to you to narrow it down to THREE (3) finalists, out of TEN semi-finalists — now, I’ve assembled a small crack staff to help me narrow it down, but I’m also going to give very heavy weighting to you readers. I’ve gone over the comments in the past week, and I have a pretty good idea which ten will make the cut, but here’s your last chance to weigh in. If you didn’t get to look at the nominees, you can review them from last weekend by clicking here for Saturday’s entries and here for Sunday’s entries. In the comments below, list your top three candidates to move on, and I’ll see if those match up with the tallies I’ve done so far.
On another note, the contest entries have gotten a decent amount of attention across the Interwebs. So, all you aspiring concepters, you should feel good that your designs are being seen by more than just the Uni Watch readership. Some of the mentions the contest has gotten include:
So, be sure to weigh in one last time, and tomorrow we vote!
In case you missed it yesterday, the Brooklyn Nets, who aren’t set to unveil their logo (and possibly their new unis) until Monday, have merchandise on sale already in the adidas shop in Manhattan:
Those aren’t shot in black and white — those are the new Nets colors — Black & White.
Now, I’ll wait until we see the full package, including the official logo(s) and uniforms, but I like it — a LOT! I know many of you, especially those of you with an article preceding your name, will think the black & white colorscheme is boring (and indeed it may be), but boring doesn’t mean bad. In fact, if done well, this could be one of the all-time classic uniforms in the game. Of course, it could not only be bland and boring, but lame as well, so I’m not getting my hopes too high — but I laud them so far on what appears to be minimalist restraint in a league that thrives on “Look At Me” players and fashion statements. Time will tell.
Also, in case you missed it yesterday, a story appeared on ESPN by Chris Mortensen indicating that the Pro Bowl has likely come to an end. Now, I’ve written about the Pro Bowl before, and waxed whimsically about how much I enjoyed the game while growing up, but how it’s morphed into an unwatchable spectacle in recent years, with players bailing, not caring or trying, and generally making a mockery of the event. The NFL recognized its days were numbered a couple years back when they proposed moving it from its (almost) permanent home in Hawai’i to Miami, with plans to have the Super Bowl host city play host to the Pro Bowl as well, but those plans were scrapped after just one year. But viewership apparently didn’t approve, and now it’s probably gone.
In yesterday’s comments, late in the afternoon, Our Esteemed Leader whipped up a post for
Page 2 “Fandom” on ESPN’s Playbook, which offers a great retrospective on the uniforms of the game. Make sure you give it a read.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
And so, lets begin:
We start with David Firestone, who saw the new Seahawks unis, and like many of us, thought they could use a little work:
Hey guys, love the site.
I took the new Seahawk design, turned the colors back to the first Seahawk uniform, removed the black, the number pattern, and the alternate and came up with this, which I think looks so much better than the current uni.
Next up is Marcus Hall, who loves him all things Baltimore, and who thinks the new O’s unis can use just a slight tweakin’…
I’m liking the new O’s unis, but I think there are a few tweaks that should be made. For the Home and the Orange Alt, since we are now using the clown bird, I think it looks best to remove the tail on the Orioles script. Speaking of the Alt Orange, pair it with a black and orange hat. For the Black Alt, I added a neck spoon. And for the Road (and more so for shits and giggles, I changed the color from a road gray to a road cream and added a neckspoon too. I think the O’s could handle a cream colored roadie.
We conclude with the very formal Tyler Johnson, who has some ideas for the Ducks of Anaheim:
To Phil Hecken:
This was an idea I’ve had for a long time. I like it quite a bit, but i don’t know how other feel about it. I took the current template and merged it with the previous (better) jerseys. If you notice, the stripes on the socks and the jersey match that of the previous when dealing with the order the colors go. I was actually surprised when doing this how similar their currant uniforms are to the previous ones. I left the orange stripe in there though to represent the one Stanley Cup Championship they have. They won them in the Black & Golds (& Oranges). I always liked the idea of showing off your championships on your uniforms (Islanders), so I decided this would be a good way to give a nod to the past as well as show off. This leaves room to add stripes in the future.
You will also notice that the orange stripe is in the shoulder patch. This is for the same reason. The two shoulder patches are for the two different jerseys. The “Eggplant” oval design belongs on the white jersey and the “Jade” oval design belongs on the “Eggplant” jersey.
I hope this is all the information that you need from me and I hope this is good enough to make the webpage.
Love the site,
That’s it for the uni concepts for today. Back with more next time.
And now a word from the Hockey Wing…
A number of you are participating in Teebz’ Playoff Hockey Pool. I am not among you, as I no longer have a hockey team.
However, for those of you who do, here’s a friendly reminder:
That is all.
Is the Mets/Rockies 5th inning still going on?
On that note, folks, that’s a wrap for your Saturday. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Clevo Baseball concepts for the poll tomorrow, see if there is someone out there who can become a baseball uni guy and maybe toss a paypal buck into the GUD/DUD pool, make sure if you’re in Teebz’ Puck Playoff contest to check oot the new spreadsheet…and generally have yourselves a great day.
Catch ya on the morrow.
Gibbon teaches us that Roman gladiators began wearing black and neon green just before the end of the republic, so these are perilous times indeed. — Robert Scott Rogers