[Editor's Note: Today we have a guest entry from Kyle Kendall, who recently got the opportunity to redesign an entire team. Enjoy. — PL]
By Kyle Kendall
I’ve been reading Uni Watch every day since the beginning. I wanted to tell you about a pretty large project I’ve been working on for the Dubois County Bombers, which is a good example of the influence that Uni Watch can have on design.
At first glance, the Bombers look like just about any other summer collegiate wood bat team. For years they’ve worn softball tops and long pants, and have lacked a visual identity. The one thing that makes a Bombers home game memorable, at least for me, is that they play their home games in Huntingburg League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana. It’s a great old stadium whose original grandstand dates back to 1894. It’s had various expansions and additions, the biggest of which was in the early ’90s, when it was renovated to be used as the home stadium for the Rockford Peaches in the movie A League of Their Own.
I’ve attended quite a few Bombers games over the years, and it’s always driven me nuts that they didn’t embrace this beautiful stadium. Yes, they played in it, but just because it was there. As a graphic designer and baseball collector, I always saw this as a missed opportunity.
Well, the past two seasons my younger brother worked for them, first as an intern and then as the assistant GM. At the time, I was working for a small marketing firm, and we were able to kick a few ideas around. We did a few small projects, the gameday programs, some photos, etc. Nothing major, but it planted the seeds for the bigger ideas that my brother and I wanted to pursue.
A year later, my brother has moved on to full-time work, and I’ve changed jobs as well. But I’ve continued to work with the Bombers as a marketing and design consultant. And this is where it gets fun.
Bombers GM Gary Freymiller and I have become pretty good friends, and he’s completely bought into our ideas. We’ve decided to embrace the stadium and the name “Bombers” to rebrand the team as a 1940s-era squad. Essentially the idea is that every night should feel like a turn back the clock night. With a limited budget, we couldn’t get everything done in one year, but we did bite off the first few big chunks this season, including the following:
• New uniforms: Obviously the biggest key. I proposed a few different throwback designs, and the one we settled on is a real beauty. It’s somewhat based on the red-sleeved KC Monarchs of the ’40s, but with beautiful striped stirrups (I’m a Cardinals fan). We also added the “Health” patch to the sleeve, to give it the authentic feel of the era. And I was thrilled that we were able to get Ebbetts Field Flannels to make the uniforms — they’re supposed to ship this week. I’ll definitely be sending photos when they come in. If all goes well this year, we’ll add the road uniform in 2013.
• New team bus: In A League of Their Own, there’s a great old bus that the Peaches use, so we got an old school bus and renovated it to capture that feel. It turned out beautiful. It’s not an exact reproduction of the movie bus — more of a faux-back — but we put the Bombers logo on one side and the Peaches logo on the other. We figured it’s good advertising as a rolling billboard and will be a nice photo op for tourists who still stop in to see the field.
• New stadium branding: The City of Huntingburg commissioned me and my former employer to create a new logo and brand identity for League Stadium. We also added bunting to the outside of the stadium. We have other signage ideas, but they’ll probably be tabled until 2013.
• Scoreboard: We are only using the old manual scoreboard in left field. The new digital scoreboard that the local high school team uses is going to be covered up for Bombers games.
There are other things we want to do — have our beer maids dressed in Peaches uniforms, maybe add a turnstile to the main gate, cut a dirt path from the mound to home plate, you get the idea. But we’re on a budget, obviously.
As an aside, the Bombers’ GM and I took a field trip down to Louisville about a month ago to see uniform designer Todd Radom speak to the Louisville Graphic Design Association. About a 90-minute drive each way, but well worth it. We got to speak to Todd, show him what we were working on, and even talked Uni Watch a bit. A great story for another day.
By Brinke Guthrie
You know when you search eBay and you come across something you’ve never seen … ever? That feeling of, “Whoa, what’s this?” A lot of those make it into CC, and that’s what this week’s entry is devoted to — eBay firsts, all from the 1960s. So we’ll lead off with this gem: a set of Heinz NFL pins — er, Booster Buttons. A lot of bids as of this writing, so expect this one to go to the moon.
Here’s the rest of this week’s haul:
• I love the box art on this Wilson uni set, featuring Griese, Sayers, and Brodie.
• Can’t resist this terrific set of Green Bay Packers drinking glasses.
• Rams fans will dig this “Acrometal” L.A. Rams plaque. Note the NFL shield has just two stars!
• Looks like ol’ Herman Weiskopf had a free ride for Red Sox games in 1963.
• Here’s a nice heavy-duty 1960s Chicago Black Hawks mug in pristine condition.
• This one’s for Paul: a New York football Giants sideline jacket. Love the label from Thorp Sporting Goods on W. 40th St.
• This cool NFL lamp has the old “Officially Licensed Product” logo on the bottom, and it totally has the Sears NFL vibe, right?
• I included this basketball jersey in this week’s listing simply because the college is called “Tougaloo.”
Stirrups Club Update
By Comrade Robert Marshall
Greetings comrades in looped hose,
While the Revolutionary Stirrup Party is as committed as ever to holding back the heathen hordes and their pajama horrors, I realize news from the front lines has been long overdue. First and foremost, the revolution must announce that we are packing up the trucks after a year and a half in Kansas City and moving the underground bunkers of right proper lower-leg aesthetics back to the City of Broad Shoulders on June 15th…huzzah! huzzah!! While the City of Fountains has proven to be a wonderful place with even better people, the revolution just misses those wunderbar Chicago winters. Because of the impending move of the stirrupburo, I have already ordered and in some cases already procured the latest batch of hose. And what I do not already have in the revolution’s armory, I expect this week, so turnaround times for new orders will be much faster than in the past.
Let’s begin with this month’s à la carte re-releases, which consist of magnificently striped stirrups from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, and Orioles. Since these have already been ordered for quick shipment, there are limits to the number of orders I can fill, so act fast. (A quick note on other à la cartes: I realize that stockpiles of the revolutionary armaments are low, but I’ve had to do that because of the impending move. Please be patient — I will start replenishing the stockade soon, and I already have some fun stuff running through the old brain-pan for future orders, so stay tuned.)
Now on to the latest new offerings. The first one, as you can see there, is listed as “TCK oops,” and therein lies a tale: The knitters of the revolution — Twin City Knitting — sent central offices a load of stirrups that had never been ordered, took the money out of revolutionary accounts, and said, “Well, we sent them, they are yours.” Does that make any kind of sense on any level? I didn’t think so. Nonetheless, they are pretty great stirrups, so I wasn’t too disappointed. They’re like the 1967 Sens stirrups we did a couple years ago, but the navy is black this time around. A pretty swell hose, and I have to say it was well made and sized correctly, so it is a real winner.
The other new offering was designed by Comrade Chris Lamping of Minneapolis, who plays baseball for a team representing the Wobblies. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Wobblies, you owe your eight-hour workday to them, among other things.) The stirrup is a takeoff of the Oakland Oaks’ design, except in black, and I imagine the single red stripe represents the IWW creed of one big union. Whether you agree with the politics of this baseball team or not is really of little consequence; the fact is that the concept jibes with the concept of this very stirrup revolution, in that we are united in one big union to further the cause of the proper aesthetic, so I decided to stock Chris’s design for the madcap revolutionaries here.
From each according his stirrvp, to each according his strype,
Yours in aesthetic solidarity,
PermaRec update: I was recently provided with an amazing document: a 1930s promotional brochure from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls (or, as it had just been renamed at that point, Manhattan Industrial High School — shown at left). I’ve written an entry about it for the Permanent Record blog.
Also, I don’t mind saying that last week’s full-length PermaRec feature on Slate was really, really good. Try it — I think you’ll like it.
Uni Watch News Ticker: New football uniforms apparently on tap for Arkansas, and holy fuck are they ugly. … Last week Vinnie Dinolfo proved, despite my initial skepticism, that Joe “Turkey Joe” Jones really did wear a nickNOB. His other NFL nickNOB claim, which I also doubted, was that 49ers RB Kevin Cunningham wore “Goober.” Still no photo of that one, but Vinnie has now provided contemporaneous confirmation. Excellent work! … Baseball Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber has written a good blog post about how the Babe Ruth jersey that recently sold for $4.4 million was authenticated. … Good video clip on how Brazil’s soccer uni design came about (from Jeremy Brahm). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: In Saturday’s Giants/Cubs throwback game, Sergio Romo apparently cut the bottom strap of his stirrups — or maybe just untucked them from under his feet — and let them flap in the breeze. … Good story about Liverpool’s new deal with Warrior (from Lucas Ravenscraft). … “I was wearing an old Washington Senators hat on a tour of Nationals Park a few weeks ago,” writes Alan Chewning. “On my way out, some staffer in a suit walked past me and said, ‘Nice hat.’ Then she said, ‘The Nats are going to wear something similar in July when they play the Braves. Actually, they’ll both be wearing throwbacks.’ I tried to get more details, but she wouldn’t budge.” … Back in 1966, fans were suggesting names and designs for new teams, just like we do today. Check out what one New Orleans fan suggested as a helmet concept for the Saints. “One Chris Creamer member said the logo design reminded him of a nuclear blast,” says Russell Goutierez. … This is pretty cool: bracelets made from baseball stitching (thanks, Kirsten). … Title IX-themed uniforms on tap for the WNBA (from Kevin Brown). … The Nats have begun listing their players’ Twitter handles on the Jumbotron (from Aaron Rich). … Rob and David Arnold note that this year’s Stanley Cup finals match-up was foreshadowed way back in 1991 by the box cover photo of this hockey video game, which featured the Devils and Kings. … With this year’s Mets/Yanks subway series about to get started, Dunkin Donuts has started running a commercial featuring Terry Collins and Joe Girardi standing around a batting cage. I understand that they didn’t want to pay to use a real player’s NOB on that batter in the cage, but couldn’t they have either (a) invented a fictitious NOB to slap on that jersey or (b) just used a Yankees batter instead? Also, one of the skips should’ve been wearing a road jersey (screen shot by Dave Rakowski). … John Moist recently attended a Pacific Coast League reunion event and took a bunch of cool jersey photos. … Here’s a sport I hadn’t previously known about: blind tennis. No, really! … Cool find by Jake Greenand, who scored this old MLB windshield screen at a garage sale for two bucks! … Remember that red Arizona helmet from yesterday’s Ticker? According to Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, it’s not the real deal (from Kevin Wos). … Lots of new soccer kits from Jon Forbes: Liverpool away; LOSC Lille home and away; West Hame United away; Paris Saint-Germain home; Real Madrid home, away, home keeper, and away keeper; and Everton away. … Funny article on 10 embarrassing pieces of UConn merch (from Gregory Koch). … Kudos to Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports, who came up with a great lede graf for his story about Caroline Wozniacki’s new line of underwear (thanks, Brinke). … Sam Lam spotted Jemile Weeks wearing the old A’s helmet logo last night. I sent a note to A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, saying, “I thought you got rid of all those old helmet decals!” He quickly responded: ” So did I! Turns out we had to get him a new helmet today and had to dig deep into storage to get the correct size (dreads and all). It has now been changed!” … Intriguing find by the Hungry Hungry Hipster, who writes: “I was watching highlights from the 1980 Falcons/Cowboys playoff game in Atlanta and spotted a banner with what looks like a combination of the original and current Falcons logos.” … There’s something really sweet and understated about this faded snapshot of a teenage girl posing in her softball uniform. … Here’s a story I missed from a few weeks ago: The Jags have fired longtime equipment manager Drew Hampton. Hampton often posted uni-notable news on Twitter, so that’s a real loss (from Robert Lim). … While looking for something else, I came across something disturbing: Former Angels pitcher Frank Tanana throwing out the first pitch at a game last year in sandals. Ewww. … Indie-rock-o-rama tonight at Le Poisson Rouge, with the Clean and Times New Viking on the same bill, whoop-whoop! I’ll be there. You too, I hope.