Mike Hersh, the longtime Uni Watch contributor who recently passed away, was a big collector of many things, including uniform catalogs. That’s how we met, in fact — he would frequently outbid me for old uni catalogs on eBay. In the weeks since Mike’s death, I’ve been in touch with his widow, Allison, who’s looking to sell off his collection (she could use the funds) and asked if I might be interested in acquiring some of it.
I figured I’d be proud to add some of Mike’s uniform catalogs to my library, so I recently went over to Allison’s place in upper Manhattan to have a look. Obviously, there was a sad cloud hanging over the occasion, but it was still great to see all of Mike’s old stuff, which reflected his great design sensibility and his obsessive collecting habits. In the end, I went home with nine catalogs, which I’ll periodically be sharing with you here on Uni Watch.
The one I want to start with, whose magnificent cover is shown above, is a 1935 Umbro soccer uniform catalog from the UK. I’ve never owned a soccer uni catalog or a British uni catalog, so this is a unique item for me.
The first thing that’s apparent upon opening the catalog is that the colors really, really pop. It’s hard to believe this thing is nearly 80 years old. Check out these pages (for all of these images, you can click to enlarge):
The lack of sponsor logos (or any other graphics) is striking, right? In fact, if I didn’t know these were soccer jerseys, I’d guess they were thoroughbred racing jockey silks. I also love the names of the various quality levels: Nipper, Kudos, Tangeru, Bulldog (“Tenacious British quality”), etc.
The catalog also includes rugby jerseys, as you can see in these next three spreads:
If you look at the top spread in that last batch, you can see that the right-hand page has a little inset about the jerseys’ “non-tear finish.” Here’s a close-up of that great little graphic:
There are also some listings for “Hockey Shirts” and “Ladies’ Hockey Blouses.” But as you can see on the next two spreads, these don’t look anything like 1930s hockey sweaters (and besides, hockey wasn’t popular in the UK in the 1930s, was it?). I believe these jerseys were for field hockey. Take a look:
Naturally, I’m particularly geeked out about the hosiery page, which looks like a row of Christmas stockings hanging from the chimney:
And as a bonus, the catalog included this spectacular poster insert, which was apparently designed to be used as a souvenir of a big match:
Gorgeous, right? I don’t even care much about soccer, but I still love this catalog. My thanks to Allison, and of course to Mike, for the privilege of being able to have it in my collection.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Wanna win $1000? It’s easy: Design a winning sock. … Looks like a possible slight adjustment to Ohio State football’s number font (from Chris Connelly). … UCLA is set to roll out a white version of its Fruit Stripe uni (from Chris Cruz). … In a related item, the Fruit Stripe uniforms are prompting a Zubaz revival. … Ladies and gents, your 2013 Tour de France yellow jersey (from Julien Papachristou). … Ladies and gents, your 2013 WNBA uniforms. “Tulsa and Indiana have added uniform sponsors, while Los Angeles, New York, and Phoenix no longer have theirs,” notes Kevin Brown). … Here’s the latest chapter in the debate over NHL visors. The league wants to make them mandatory, but the players’ union is resisting. … Here’s something I’ve never seen before: a T-shirt-shaped frame (from Ryan Perkins). … I’ve previously featured lots of old photos of MLB players bowling — look here and here — but I hadn’t seen this shot before. Here’s all info on the back of the photo (big thanks to Todd Radom). … “I was watching this video previewing the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament and noticed a few things I wanted to point out,” says Tony Tengwall. “At the 0:35, you can see the Breck School ripping off the Bruins. At 0:54, St. Thomas Academy has two different white sweaters going on at the same time. Then, at 2:06, you can see Champlain Park using the Flying Elvis patch on their jerseys.” … A man in Topeka was arrested and booked while wearing a Spurs jersey (from Bob Beatty). … New uniforms for Rutgers lacrosse (from Jared Buccola). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New mask for Flames goalie Joey MacDonald. … Here’s a good shot of the Upton brothers’ NOBs, neither of which has an initial (from Preston Feiler). … For reasons mere mortals can only guess at, the Spurs are getting on the rally towel bandwagon. Further details here. … USRowing (which might be better known if they put a space between “US” and “Rowing”) is letting fans vote on a new logo (from Kevin Mueller). … Interesting article on whether white goalie pads provide an unfair advantage (from Roch Smith). … Big League Chew is changing its packaging to feature active big leaguers instead of cartoon drawings. Note that the Dodgers script has been airbrushed off of Matt Kemp’s jersey, presumably because the product isn’t MLB-licensed (from Josh Claywell). … Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the Cardinals adding uni numbers to their jerseys, and the team marked the occasion by posting this photo. Look at those socks! (Tasty stuff from Sam Leverenz). … Mmmmm, mud (from Jerry Wolper). … “We are doing a murder mystery dinner fundraiser at our church,” says Aaron McHargue. “One suspect is a baseball player who has recently been traded to the ‘Chicago Wet Sox.’ I was charged with designing a logo to be printed on a shirt for the actor playing the suspect. This is what I came up with.” … Michigan basketball wore last year’s uniform style last night against Purdue (from Matt Bernini). … Lots of good info on the uniforms from Rollerball here (from Timmy Steffes). … Someone at the Oklahoma/WVU game was wearing an Adrian Peterson frankenjersey — half Vikes, half Sooners (from Garrett Holt). … “I was watching the Blackhawks game tonight and noticed that Brandon Saad was wearing mismatched gloves,” says Ryan Mandel. “After looking at photos from past games, I see he has done this multiple times this year. Maybe it has something to do with the streak?” … Here are the most popular Padres, as based on the jerseys chosen by San Diego Little Leaguers (from Jeff, who didn’t give his last name). … I’m making a guest appearance at an NYU journalism class this morning (maybe I’ll talk about the great pay scale in our industry), so I’ll be off the grid for a few hours. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes.