By Phil Hecken
One of the things I’m very grateful for as the Weekend Editor is the chance to bring you a look at projects being undertaken by Uni Watch readership. One of the projects of which I’m the most proud is the Gridiron Uniform Database — the joint project of Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko. If you’re not familiar with that, you will be.
The Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD, for short) eventually morphed into the Diamond Uniform Database (DUD — a project still under construction)…both of these ambitious projects seek to document every uniform worn by the NFL and MLB since the inception of these leagues. The GUD, at first, didn’t have enough data for the “early” years, and the DUD is still lacking a satisfactory graphical element, but both are well underway to becoming the premier databases of their kind (not that anyone could ever outdo Marc Okkonen’s “Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century”, but their project seeks a more complete documentation of uniforms). What is, or rather was, still lacking, was a similar basketball uniform database.
Shortly after I feature the launch of the DUD, Jim Vilk said something to the effect of “I’m waiting breathlessly for a Basketball database,” to which I sarcastically quipped, “Don’t hold your breath.” Little did I realize throwing down this sort of gauntlet was all the crazy guys at the GUD and DUD would need … so, today, they boys from over there have some huge updates and want to announce the beginning of their newest project. And on that note, and with enough of my yakking — I’ll now turn this over to Rob Holecko (with Bill Schaefer), who’ll clue you fine readers in on what they’ve been doing:
New Developments with the GUD, DUD & BUD
By Rob Holecko, with Bill Schaefer
One year ago this week, we launched the Gridiron Uniform Database here in a column at Uni Watch. As you all have heard here many times, this site is the wonderful culmination of the collaboration of Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer and features the most complete collection of NFL uniforms (presently all the way back to 1933) anywhere on the internet. While we have some news about some new research being added to our wonderful football site that many of you have been waiting for, which Bill and I will be telling you about in a moment, today’s column is about a new site that we are launching today. While Tim & Bill continue to hammer out the details on the earliest years of pro football uniform research, I have teamed up with Tim O’Brien, Jim Vilk and Matt Beahan on a new venture.
A little over a month ago, on April 28 here at Uni Watch, after a column in which we announced the creation of the Diamond Uniform Database, discussion in the forum turned towards the lack of a comparable site for basketball. I can’t say for sure how much impact the last comment there by Phil Hecken had to do with us getting this off the ground, but I can say that the fact that there were doubters towards whether this could be done did, for myself at least, steel my resolve to at least attempt it. Off-line discussions ensued, and for this project instead of a triumverate, like the GUD, a quartet emerged of O’Brien, Vilk, Beahan and myself.
We now present the Basketball Uniform Database. We faithfully present to you within this site the uniforms worn by every NBA team in every game of the 2011-12 season, and we are just now embarking on the 2010-11 season and beginning our quest which will take us all the way back to the 1946-47 season of the Basketball Association of America and the beginning of the modern era of professional basketball.
And this is where you can help. In the forum that we use with the football site you will now find a section dedicated to the new basketball site. If you have any dated pictures of past NBA uniforms in game action please post them in this forum. Over the coming months we will be undertaking research to add these older years to the site, and as many of you know basketball hasn’t always been the popular sport that it is now and photos and coverage of pro basketball in the 1940s, 50s and 60s didn’t parallel that of the other sports, so therefore finding basketball information from the 1940s is about as difficult as finding pro football information from the 1920s.
Speaking of 1920s pro football…. well, that in a moment… first I want to mention a little bit about our baseball site that David Taub and I launched in that April 28 column. It is still alive and kicking, we are still tracking the uniforms that have been worn in every game so far this year. Each team added Mother’s Day variations with a pink ribbon and Memorial Day variations with camouflage logos on the caps, and the Chicago White Sox are leading the pack with 14 uniform variations (as they twice added memorial patches this season) and the Minnesota Twins decided to pair the “M” cap with their various combos and are now up to 11 variations. The graphics I am currently using on that site are not meant to be permanent nor complete (nor even entirely correct — the beer-colored Brewers jersey should say “Cervacervos” instead of Brewers, and many of the jerseys do not have the correct patches) . Although I have tried to re-create a few of the throwbacks (with varying levels of success), I do not have the patience nor the talent to create these graphics, at least not at the level that I would like. I have seen many of the tweaks and concepts that members of the Uni Watch community regularly display on this site and I am convinced that the graphics guy that we need to complete our “triumvirate” is still out there waiting to be found. We had a few discusssions with people but they fell through. If you have the necessary graphics design talent and would like to make the uniforms for the Diamond Uniform Database, please get in touch with us.
What we are looking for is someone who can create nice, simple 2-D recreations of the uniforms using a template similar to that used by Justin Myslinsky in the Cleveland Indians rebranding contest. What we don’t want is to be another Dressed To The Nines, while it is a great site showing the year-to-year baseball graphics, the 3-D templates they use which depict the uniform as draped on a batter holding a bat generally have too many folds and undulations, we’re shooting for a baseball version of the GUD and BUD with a nice clean, crisp depiction of the uniforms taking front stage.
And now finally, the news you’ve been waiting for… the Gridiron Uniform Database is proud to finally announce a timetable for the release of the 1920-32 NFL uniform designs. While they are certainly not exhaustive nor complete, they are the most complete collection of this information you will find in one place on the internet. Our Tim Brulia went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month for research, and we are now ready to present what we can of these earliest years of pro football history. On Tuesday, June 12, our exact one year anniversary date, we will be releasing the 1920 NFL uniform designs, and throughout the summer on successive Wednesdays, we will be releasing additional years in chronological order, so on June 19th, we will release 1921 and so forth. We hope you will make Wednesdays your day to check in with us each week and see the latest research as together we pass the summer waiting for the new season to kickoff in September.
Now here’s Bill Schaefer to tell us a little more about the GUD’s 1920-32 project:
“As we roll out the first offerings from the 1920s, I need to go through a few ground rules that Tim & I have set for these earliest thirteen years. Despite variations in the pants during this time, we are (no pun intended) uniformly sticking with one model. We are sticking with the black belts even though we have observed nearly as many brown belts in extremely close-up photos. Sanitary socks have been noticed as early as 1925, however, they didn’t become a regular part of the wardrobe until 1932 so they will not be included any earlier. Many shades of khaki/canvas for pants and helmets are based on whether they appeared darker or lighter than other clearly shown aspects of the uniform.
“What I’d like to see is the Uni Watch / GUD universe pull together and help us fill in the remaining blanks. We’ve all but exhausted Google newspapers searches, and Tim has dug through the Library of Congress and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, there is still a lot that is missing. Readers and contributors, especially those of you who are in the northeast and midwest, dig into your local newspaper archives and locate traces of those teams and the seasons that we are lacking. Post some dated photos in the forum. Let’s finish this project at the back end so we are no longer fighting the battle on two fronts.”
Thanks, Bill. Well there you have it, if you live near Rochester, Muncie, Akron, Hammond, Dayton, Providence or any other city that had a 1920s pro football team, hit those local newspaper archives and help the GUD’s quest.
We hope you enjoyed the first year of the Gridiron Uniform Database, we hope you will continue to enjoy it as we enter our second. We also hope you will enjoy our new baseball and basketball websites, and as always your input is welcome and your enthusiasm is appreciated.
Thanks Rob (and Bill, Tim B., Matt, Jim, David … and Tim E — who himself said, “I learned some things about the 2012 season while working on BUD, waa waa wee woo”). And this is why TimE had no time for timeobrien.
Now that the NBA is (mercifully) heading towards its inevitable conclusion, I may end up watching. As much as I goof on hockey and basketball (due to my woeful lack of current knowledge of the sports), I used to be fond of both leagues back in the day — and I know there is many a Uni Watcher for whom hockey and basketball are their favorite sports. With the launch of the BUD, I may really get back into it now. Plus, I gotta bone up for the Olympics, right? Right!
by Rick Pearson
“You got, like, three feet of air on that”…N.Dynamite
Click to enlarge
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.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We start off today with Matt Egeler who has some new looks for New Mexico
So I’ve decided to start picking a random school and giving their unis a makeover. Luckily, the first school I picked happened to be New Mexico, whose uniforms are nothing to brag about to begin with. The design on the helmet and back of the jersey is from the state flag, and was modeled after their helmets in 1964 and ’65. Hope you like them, I’ll continue to do more.
Next up is young Ray Cato, who comes from the MoVi/Engle school of design:
Im Ray, been checking out the blog since middle school (only 17) and I love it. This is my first submission (hopefully more to come) and I hope you guys like it. I was going for a Pistons re branding and this was my take on the old meets the new. Thanks.
Thanks gentlemen. Back with more tomorrow.
London Calling…Olympics Uni Reporters…
As many of you are no doubt aware, the London Summer Games are about a month and a half away.
As many of you also know, Paul takes his UW hiatus towards the end of July (give or take, depending upon my availability to come off the bench to pinch hit for his weekdays). As fate would have it this year, both the Olympics and Paul’s hiatus will take place simultaneously.
So — I’m calling upon the Uni Watch faithful who have an interest in the sports of the XXXth Olympiad (scheduled to take place between the 27th of July and the 12th of August) and would like to serve as “uni correspondents” — please drop me a line. Specifically, I’m looking for those of you who’d like to take a look at the uniforms for a specific event — whether it be a team sport or an individual one. I’d love to do both breakdowns of what the current teams (if a team sport) will be wearing for the games AND what teams have worn in past Olympics. This can be for an entire sport (for example, basketball) or a historical look-back at uniforms worn by one nation throughout the 100+ years of the games.
I’ve already got a correspondent for men’s football (soccer) — one Mr. George Chilvers, who will be attending several matches (sorry Mr. Vilk — I have to give the hometown lad preference) and one Mr. Morris Levin, who’ll be looking back at baseball (no longer a sanctioned sport). But that leaves about fifty-cajillion other disciplines to be covered, including such favorites as basketball, synchronized swimming and sprint canoeing.
If you’re interested in covering a sport in an article to be featured during the games — or have an idea for an olympic angle — let me know. OK? OK!
And that will do it for today. Interplague is in full swoon, the French Open Women’s Final is
probably already over this morning, and you’ve got the Belmont (sans triple crown chances) this afternoon. Perhaps “I’ll Have Another” is a more apropos name for his stud future now. Damn shame for the scratch — Belmont, like many horse race tracks around the country, is not doing so well, and not having a triple crown possibility will probably cut expected crowds from well over 100,000 to less than 70,000. I’ve probably been to about 8 or 9 Belmont Stakes in my life (I live less than ten miles from the track), and it’s waaaaaay more fun when there is a shot at the triple crown.
Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow. If you’re interested in being an UW Olympic Correspondent, give me a shout.
“I’d be interested to know how you feel about transgender natural born males entering beauty pageants that had always only been open to thin, ‘conventionally attractive’, natural born women in the past.”
– the Hungry, Hungry
non sequitur Hipster