On Friday I noted that Robert Griffin III is wearing the Roman numeral as part of his NOB and asked if any NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL players had ever worn a Roman numeral. The answer to that question appears to be no (although it’s worth noting that Acie Law IV did something clever while he was with the Hawks, using his uni number to stand in for the Roman numeral).
I also asked if anyone could come up with an example of a professional player who’d worn an NOB that included “Jr.” or “Sr.” (This is another case of something that shows up semi-regularly in the college ranks but to my knowledge has never happened in the pros.) That prompted several readers to send me e-mails claiming that Ken Griffey Jr. wore the generational suffix while playing alongside his father with the Mariners in 1990 and ’91. Hmmm — I don’t remember it that way, so I did some photo research. All the 1990 and ’91 photos of Junior Griffey that I found show him wearing “Griffey,” and that includes two photos showing father and son together. So until I see visual evidence to the contrary, my position is that Junior never wore “Jr.”
As long as we’re talking fathers and sons, there are two other cases worth mentioning, both involving the Orioles:
• I am fairly certain that Cal Ripken Sr. and Jr. both wore “Ripken” during the period when they both wore O’s uniforms. That was certainly the case for at least part of their time together.
• Tim Raines Sr. and Jr. were teammates in Baltimore for a few days at the end of the 2001 season. Unfortunately, I don’t recall their NOBs, and I haven’t been able to find any rear-view photos. If anyone knows more about that situation, please fill us in.
In any case, even if no professional player has ever worn “Jr.” in the Big Four, that’s about to change, because Roy Helu Jr. of the Redskins will be wearing “Jr.” this season. Helu wore “Jr.” at Nebraska but not during his rookie season with the ’Skins. According to that article, he’ll now be allowed to add the “Jr.” due to an NFL rule change. I’m trying to find out the specifics of that rule, especially since I’m wondering if it also pertains to Griffin’s Roman numeral.
Shin-anigans: Marlins pitcher Randy Choate has been switching back and forth between stirrups and pajama pants for a while now. But he upped the ante yesterday, as he took the mound wearing stirrups with orange sannies. Has he ever done this before? If so, I wasn’t aware of it.
First let’s get the historical markers out of the way: Throwback games notwithstanding, Choate is the first non-Oakland player to wear colored sannies since the ’84 Padres, and the first to wear orange sannies since the 1980 Giants. So this is a pretty big deal.
Phil, who brought this one to my attention, says Choate is now his new favorite ballplayer. Me, I’m a bit more conflicted, because Choate has essentially created a new uniform element out of thin air here, and that’s kinda fucked up. It’s bad enough that some players can go high-cuffed while others wear pajama pants, and that some of the high-cuffers wear stirrups while others wear solid socks. Now there’s no rule for what the stirrup-clad players wear under their stirrups? It’s just the latest example of why MLB needs some sort of lower-leg regulations. It’s chaos out there, Mr. Selig. Pure chaos.
Cubee update: Friday’s post about how to make NFL Cubees was such a hit that we overloaded and crashed Justin Hinds’s NFL Cubeemaker site. He’s now arranged for it to be hosted by another provider, so if it didn’t work for you on Friday, try it now.
Among those who managed to access Justin’s site before it crashed, at least two readers wasted no time in creating their own Cubees. Mikhail Herrera is a Raiders fan, so he made himself this excellent Tommy Kelly Cubee. And Jeff Worthington likes the Bills, so he made himself a Cubee version of Fred Jackson. Keep those photos coming.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Very thoughtful of MLB and New Era to consolidate the worst aspects of two miserable design tropes in one convenient package. Efficient! … Cyclist David Zabriskie wore a Captain America helmet during the Tour of California last week. “Maybe there are some other Avengers cycling out there,” says Carlos Ahmed Jalife Ruz. … More alternate uniforms in the works for Michigan football. … Judd Allan reports that there’s a football team in Israel that has the star of David on its helmets, but of course that’s been done before. … Someone on Kickstarter has raised a ton of money for his “baseball horror graphic novel,” whatever that means (from Joshua Pryor). … Tim Frederick asks a good question: How are uniform numbers assigned to MLB umps, NBA refs, and NFL/NHL zebras? Like, is there any rhyme or reason to it? Is there a protocol based on seniority or something like that? In the NFL, do the various officials have specific number ranges, same as the players? If anyone knows, do tell. … Here are some good shots of the Nats’ new bat knob decals. … New kits for Valencia and Queens Park Rangers (from Jon Forbes). … The Packers played a charity basketball game the other day, and James Jones wore argyle socks for the occasion (from Jon Meerdink). … Whoa, look at this awesome Rangers sweater (big thanks to Jon Springer). … UGA softball has been wearing striped white stirrups over black sannies. I like it, although the effect is ruined when viewed from the front, for sadly predictable reasons (from Greg Trandel). … There was a delay before the 2nd inning of Friday night’s Mets/Jays game. Why? The umpires’ equipment hadn’t arrived in time for the game, so the umps had begun the game wearing borrowed pants. But their gear arrived during the 1st inning, so they went in and changed after that. According to ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin, “There are extra umpire uniforms at each major league stadium, but ump Wally Bell had to borrow black cleats from the Mets.” … Check out J. Edgar Hoover in an FBI baseball cap (from Bruce Menard). … Also from Bruce: A satin uni — with a satin cap to match! … Robert Griffin III attended some sort of function the other day and wore a Reebok ’Skins jersey (from Eric Arnold). … Here’s an oddity: FNOB with a mix of all-caps and upper/lower. That’s the South Korean women’s volleyball team (from Jeremy Brahm). … Check out the Thousand Oaks High School football team — the defensive team in this photo. As you can see, some players are wearing white helmets and others are wearing dark green. “The green helmets are awarded for the best defensive players,” explains Dom Lewis. … “As a gift to her, I digitized a number of her family photo albums (a gesture that frankly means more to me than her),” says Andrew Levitt. “This photograph was taken in Atlantic City in 1921. There are several family members in the photo, but we have no idea who the gentlemen in the ‘DC’ uniforms are. If anyone in the Uni Watch community has any insights regarding the sport or club, I would appreciate knowing more, just as a nugget of family history.” … Jake Hurley, who’s been lobbying the Rockies to wear stirrups, got some exposure on Friday’s postgame show. “My biggest success of the night came after the game, when I was able to get Josh Outman’s attention when he was walking off the field,” says Jake. “I threw him a folded-up card [like the one he's holding in the postgame screen shot] and gave me a smile and thumbs-up when he saw the picture of himself. Even though this project is completely quixotic, I really think some of these pictures sum up what it is to be a uniform nerd. Most people gave me strange looks at first, but then they liked the idea after they asked me about it.” … Aussie rules footy news from Leo Strawn, who writes: “The Richmond Tigers and Essendon Bombers played at the ’G (MCG), as is customary during the AFL’s Indigenous Round. For the second year in a row, Richmond had a special jumper for the occasion. Also, both clubs wore commemorative patches, but each patch was different. (No idea why, can’t find any info on this.) Here’s Richmond’s patch and here’s Essendon’s.” … Mystics center Ashley Robinson, who normally wears No. 43, took a shot in the face during Saturday night’s game and had to switch to a blood jersey that was No. 00 on the front and blank on the back (big thanks to Stewart Small). … Speaking of the WNBA, the Lynx got their championship rings yesterday. You can see the design here (from Kevin Brown). … The U. of Michigan golf course uses these tee box markers (from Britton Thomas). … Excellent site devoted to old ballparks here. Well worth investigating (big thanks to Chad Todd). … Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire suffered a torn jersey during yesterday’s match against the Portland Timbers (Jeremy Brahm again). … Can anyone identify the logo on this hockey jersey? It’s part of Jack Schendorf’s collection, but he has no idea what team it’s from. … Everyone knows Mariano Rivera is the last 42er — at least in MLB. But did you know there’s also been a 42er in the minors? You can read his fascinating story here. Highly recommended reading (big thanks to James Ashby). … Here’s a bunch of NFL rookies singing and dancing in their new uniforms (from Thomas Filip).