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Most of you probably know that Benito Santiago wore No. 09 during parts of his career. Reader Joe Owen was apparently curious about this back in 1991, when Santiago was with the Padres, so he wrote to the team and asked about it. What you see above is the completely charming handwritten response he received. How awesome is that?! Might’ve been nicer on company letterhead, and/or if the Padres staffer had signed his or her name, but it’s still pretty adorable.
The Padres weren’t the only team that Joe wrote to in 1991. He and his brother and sister sent letters to all 26 MLB teams, and most of them wrote back. “They mostly included team photos, schedules, and stickers,” says Joe, who was 11 at the time.
Stickers and skeds are nice, but that letter with the little drawing — that’s pure gold. I bet it made Joe’s day. It just made mine. Yours too, I hope.
By Brinke Guthrie
Here’s one of those “Never seen these before” auctions, submitted by reader Michael Clary: a set of MLB cap plaques, anyone? Has anyone ever seen these little plastic 3-D gems? I’m not clear what you got with these packs, though — did they come baseball cards and gum too? Here’s another 1969 item from Fleer: iron-on strips!
As for the rest of this week’s eBay finds:
• Reader Adam Brodsky let us know about these NFL blue jeans. [This definitely fits the "Never seen that before" profile for me. Anyone else know more about these? — PL]
• If I wasn’t saving my money to buy some 007/Skyfall goodies, I’d surely look seriously at this lot of 1970s NFL gumball-style helmet buggies. They all look to be in great condition except for the Bills.
• Very cool cover design on this 1972 Dolphins yearbook.
• This 1970s NFL Lunchbox has seen better days, but the graphics are still cool.
• The KC Chiefs could use some help from these guys this season. Notice the ad says “Black Shoes,” presumably because the Chiefs actually wore white shoes and red shoes throughout most of the ’70s.
• Finally, some guy wants to sell a 1972 TV Guide article on NFL teams changing their logos. Key quote you can see in the ad, “I’ll wear that when you change the name to the Cleveland Fairies.” [This actually looks really interesting. Maybe I'll bid on it. — PL]
Fun with pumpkins: Working on a sports-themed jack-o-lantern? From now through Halloween, I’ll happily post photos of any uni-related pumpkin carvings you folks come up with. We begin today with the following three examples:
• Christopher Falvey tried his hand at making a Chisox jack-o-lantern. “Didn’t work out perfectly, but I tried,” he says. Kinda sums up the team’s late-season collapse, no?
• Dustin Lepla had more success with this Tigers design, just in time for the start of the World Series.
• And Brian Watts did a nice job on these Utah State and Oregon pumpkins, although purists might object to him etching the artwork into the pumpkins with his Dremel instead of carving a hollowed-out jack.
Got more? Send them my way. Sports-related only, this year’s projects only, things you’ve worked on yourself only. Thanks.
PermaRec update: The Permanent Record project is all about using artifacts and objects as the springboard for investigating family histories. But I actually have very little interest in my own family history. I discuss that in the latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog.
Party reminder: The next Uni Watch party will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, 3pm, at Sheep Station in Brooklyn. I’ll be there, Phil will be there, Catherine “Five and One” Ryan will be there, Ryan Connelly’s coming in from Pittsburgh to be there, a few other out-of-towner readers will be there, and there’s a chance that a fairly important figure in the uni-verse will be there. And for those of you who’ll be running the NYC Marathon the following day, I’ve asked Sheep Station’s managers to have pasta available, so you’ll be able to carbo-load. Hope to see you there.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Really interesting article about a legal challenge to a law that forbids wearing masks in public. No word on whether it would apply to goalie masks or tinted visors. … Late-breaking item from Saturday: Toledo wore throwback-ish helmets with their new gray alternates against Cincinnati. According to this article, the helmet logo was originally used in the 1980s and ’90s. “But it doesn’t match anything from that period on the Helmet Project site, but it’s similar to what’s shown for 1967-72,” says Drew Van Ness. … We’ve seen NFL players wearing white crew socks over colored leggings, we’ve seen leg warmers, we’ve seen socks sewn into the pant cuff, and more. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular lower-leg format before. That’s Vincent Rey of the Bengals, from Sunday night’s game against the Steelers (screen shot by Gabe Ortiz). … In a related item, check out the awesome program cover from that game (big thanks to Matthew Wolfram). … Yale has started using merit decals. … Hey, you drew that swoosh backwards! (Good spot by Ben Marciniak.) … This article about Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson includes an interesting uni-related passage: “On campaign finance: Johnson says he is for unlimited spending but 100 percent transparency. ‘I like the idea of me having to wear like a NASCAR jacket with logos commensurate with the size of the contributions of the companies that back me,’ he said.” “As a libertarian and supporter of Johnson, I hope he’s speaking metaphorically,” says Gregory Koch. … Deron Williams of the Nets may wear a temporary tattoo of Betty White for the season opener against the Knicks (from Leo Thornton). … New women’s basketball uniforms for St. John’s (from Dylan Jenkins). … Preston Feiler notes that UNC’s football uni combo on Saturday was one we haven’t seen before. “Judging by some message board chatter, this combo was not enjoyed by the Tar Heel faithful,” he says. … Another late-breaking college football item from last weekend: South Dakota and North Dakota State went color vs. color (from Nate Heinrich)…. We’ve all seen NFL games played on a baseball infield. But look at this shot of the Colts warming up before a 1978 game in Baltimore — home plate is still there! “I’m sure that wouldn’t happen today,” says Robert Jordan. … The NFL’s latest “Evolution of the Colors” video about the Vikings (from Kawika Asuncion). … Also from yesterday: UConn has forced a Connecticut high school to change its logo (from Dan Madigan). … Here’s a story from last week that we missed: A Kentucky high school football player has been punished for wearing pink gloves (from Matt Mitchell). … Very interesting article about the color blue. … The 49ers recently donated some gear to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including a pair of Frank Gore’s shoes. Note that they have no maker’s marks, plus they have slits cut all along the front (from Josh Hunsucker). … The prexydential candidates went back to party-appropriate necktie colors for last night’s debate. I’m now convinced that this is a coordinated thing — no way they just happen to wear different colors each time. Must be one of those things that the campaigns arrange beforehand. … Also, Phil noticed President Obama wearing a pink cancer bracelet. It spent most of the debate tucked inside his shirt cuff. … “I noticed that the ‘Staples’ on the Lakers’ new Staples Center floor now uses the company’s logo,” says Paul Lee. “In other words, the ‘L’ is now a half-open staple. Prior to this season, it was just a regular ‘L.’ The Clippers switched to the stylized ‘L’ last season; they used a regular ‘L’ two seasons ago.” … Make sure you’re viewing this photo at its maximum size — i.e., don’t let your browser reduce it to fit the size of your window — and then look at how the stripes on the right sleeve are flaking off. “How many times do you think a jersey needs to go through the wash for that to start happening?” asks Phil. “And it’s only Week 7!” … Rocky Lum came across an absolutely killer highlight video from the Broncos’ 1964 season (and there’s more where that came from, because the guy who posted it on YouTube has tons of great old NFL and AFL content). Enjoy: