By Phil Hecken
OK, I’m back after a one-week illness-induced hiatus — I’m not quite sure what afflicted me, but it sure felt like the flu, which is quite odd since I got a flu shot back in September. Now, I know one can still get the flu even after receiving a flu shot, but whatever it was, it was about five days of hell. Big thanks to Paul for pinch-hitting.
Today, I have a very special treat for those of us who love uniform histories and tracking. You’re all (or should be) familiar with Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko who’ve created the Gridiron Uniform Database (GUD). That’s been a tremendous undertaking, and their research efforts have been nothing short of ground-breaking. Rob has branched out with two more: the Diamond Uniform Database (DUD) and Basketball Uniform Database (BUD), and he’s gotten some helpers with those. With the baseball season now just around the corner, there is more great news on the horizon — a big update to the DUD. I’ll now turn this over to Rob Holecko, who will introduce you to the DUD’s newest addition — graphic artist Jay Jackson. So, without further ado, here they are …
Updating the Diamond Uniform Database
By Rob Holecko, with Jay Jackson
Well, it is time again for an update on the goings-on at Uni Watch favorite set of Uniform Database websites. As you know it’s been almost two ago since I teamed up with Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer and launched the Gridiron Uniform Database. That site is the flagship of all our sites.
For those of you new to the party, you can read about how that project came together here, here and here. It is a work in progress, and we have recently begun adding week-by-week graphics for the 1970s, as well as 1960 and the NFL’s 75th anniversary season of 1994. We also have a neat little trick regarding that game where Minnesota and Detroit both wore white for the first quarter.
And then last year, we announced we were launching basketball and baseball websites. Those two projects have been a little slow to get off the ground, but they are coming along. I guess we have all been spoiled by the example that Tim and Bill set in building the Gridiron Uniform Database.
For the Basketball Uniform Database, Tim O’Brien and Matt Beahan are working with me on constructing the most complete collection of NBA uniform images anywhere. And on the Diamond Uniform Database, last year I was joined by David Taub as we tracked the uniforms worn by teams in every 2012 MLB game. But we didn’t have suitable graphics, like the football and basketball sites.
After many false starts and communications with people who wanted to work on the Diamond Uniform Databases’s graphics, but for one reason or another fell though, we finally came in contact with a man who we felt was a good fit to be the graphics guy for our website. Let me introduce Jay Jackson. Jay is working on picking up where Marc Okkonen left off with his Dressed To The Nines project. Without further ado, here is Jay:
I was in Iraq in 2008 when I ordered ‘Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century’ by Marc Okkonen. I had recently discovered Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net and I wanted to expand my knowledge of the uniforms worn by the players of my favorite sport. The book went with me everywhere until I came home for good in late-2009. When I got back I tracked down Mr. Okkonen so I could talk to him about his book. After a couple of e-mails and talking to him on the phone two things were very clear to me. The first was that he was not going to continue his work; and, the second was that I would be. He got me in touch with Tom Shieber of the Baseball Hall of Fame. When I got to Cooperstown in late 2009, I met with him about the project and began my research there.
So far, Dressed to the Nines is the most complete baseball uniform database available. Although a valuable resource, it doesn’t come close to documenting every uniform worn on the field. Mr. Okkonen did not include batting practice uniforms in his database. He told me himself that trying to keep up with all of them would have driven him crazy! Then After Okkonen’s drawings ended in 1993, there are no alternates shown on Dressed to the Nines. Alternate uniforms and batting practice shirts are just as important as the home and away, especially now when you will always see teams wearing alternates. But I wanted to take it a step further. I want to include All-Star game warm-up jerseys as well as World Baseball Classic uniforms and one-off promotions. I want to show every uniform ever worn on the field.
Finally, after four years (and three different templates) I settled on something I wanted to use to display baseball uniforms. The template differs from Mr. Okkonen’s significantly because we agreed that anything I came up with should not resemble his original work. When it was all settled, the image of a pitcher is what I went with. After that, all that was left was getting the word out. I talked with Paul Lukas briefly about the project about a year ago, and he mentioned me in the Uni Watch ticker. I took to Twitter where I have found many more people who are interested in the uniform history of baseball. I started using my website, Diamond-Uniforms.com, to display the new template and all of the uniforms I have made so far.
The template was created by a skilled artist by the name of Kaleb Hazen. I worked with him over several months with the design. There are two reasons I wanted to work with him. I saw some of his amazing work and his drawing style is much better than my own. My previous two templates were done by me and I found that I spent more time trying to fix my mistakes than working on the uniforms. I also wanted to give something to the uniform geek community that has helped me so much when I needed it. So I commissioned a front and a back template. For now I only use the front for my own presentations. Trying to do the back is double the work and I’m a one-man show. So I will save the back displays for after I’ve finished the front parts.
Many people have asked me why I want to do this. I have a strong desire to see a complete database and I truly believe others do as well. The lack of batting practice and alternate uniforms on Dressed To The Nines is as good a reason as any to put this together. I chose to team with Rob Holecko because they are doing with football exactly what I want to do with baseball. Now I get to concentrate on the uniforms and getting everything right.
My 365 Days of Uniforms project is something I came up with because in the past I have had a hard time keeping everyone informed on the project. I would almost never post on my blog and although I was working on uniforms almost every day, I was the only one who knew about it. Now that I have this project going on, I can show off new uniforms every day while keeping everyone informed on what is new. I always tell people that baseball season lasts all year for me. This is sort of a representation of that. I will post 365 days worth of uniforms. So far, I’ve been able to post one every day. Once I get to 100 or so, I’ll post a few times a week instead of every single day. I will still get all 365 in by the end of this year.
Well, thanks Jay. We have begun to add graphics from select past years to the website, and in the coming months we will be adding much more. As I remind you, while even the Gridiron Uniform Database is a work in progress, the basketball and baseball websites are in only the neophyte stages, and we are adding material to these sites as fast as we can. Thanks to the addition of Jay and his wonderful graphics, we are now a step closer to putting these sites together.
One nice thing about Jay’s graphics is he doesn’t just display home and away team game uniforms (and alterates and throwbacks), he also displays batting practice uniforms, All-Star game uniforms and we are presently also displaying the World Baseball Classic uniforms as well. Follow along all season as we update the 2013 MLB uniforms as they are worn in real time like we do with the other sites.
Join us all in congratulating Jay and all his helpers on his wonderful graphics and check out his site (diamond-uniforms.com). You’ll be glad you did!
Thanks Rob and Jay! That’s a tremendous undertaking, and one we’ll all be the better for. I am hoping at some point down the road to interview Jay about his working with the one-and-only Marc Okkonen and HOF Senior Curator Tom Shieber. That’s gotta be some backstory — so stay tuned!
Readers, make sure you give huge props to Jay (and Rob) and be sure to check out their sites.
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 begin today with Roger Morrow, who has some tweaks for your Tampa Bay Lightning:
Here is my concept for the Tampa Bay Lightning uniforms. I add yellow to them, to make them more alive.
Next up is Mark Medinger, with neat-o Titans concept:
Dear Uni Watch:
I attached a Tennessee Titans concept. I really like my favorite teams uni’s (All Wisconsin big 3 teams,) so when I wanted to try a concept, I chose Tennessee because they are the worst of the worst of the NFL teams in my opinion when it comes to uniforms.
And today we close with Mitch Barbee with some ideas for the Brew Crew:
I’ve been a long time reader of Uni-watch, and thought I should submit a concept of the Brewers I put together about a month ago. I thought it would be appropriate considering the Brewers unnecessarily released their sixth and seventh jerseys. I limited it to one softball jersey (its the Brewers).
Also forgot to thank gsehersportsunidesigns, I used the templates of his redesigns for the brewers.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
Being that I was under the weather last weekend, we are going to have two weeks worth of ruppage today — so there are a couple of repeat ruppers, but that’s ok because one can never have enough stirrup-wearing Uni Watchers … Here we go:
Here’s a kinda’ unintentionally “inappropriate” switch plate of Carlton Fisk showing off his sweet Red Sox stirrups; I found it on ebay and am almost tempted to buy it.
Rockin the Florida Gator ‘rups with orange sani’s on my first Stirrup Friday as my guys try to get back in the right direction against Miami this weekend.
Only when it is cold out can I break out last weeks and this weeks stirrups. Just something about the old wool stirrups though…
I wore my red little league stirrups to school on Friday.
I’m wearing the Seattle Pilots’ stirrups today because my son recently got word that he will be on the Mariners for his final year of little league this year.
The daffodil is for St. David’s Day and the Welsh (I don’t have any leeks handy), and in honor of my late Grandmom Griffiths’ birthday. She took us to many games at Memorial Stadium when we were kids and, as a contemporary, had this to say about Babe Ruth: “A lovely dancer, very graceful, very light on his feet for a big man.”
Stylin’ in my new ‘Stros ‘rups. Thx Comrade Marshall.
Today’s stirrups were picked out by my son who is home sick today. My little buddy wanted me to wear these while I stayed home with him.
I wore my red little league stirrups on Friday to school.
Today I’m sporting the Chicago Bears stirrups. Only a few days out from NFL New Years 2013.
Wearing the Red Sox stirrups today for no particular reason–besides that they are a classic look.
p.s. I may be backing off the Stirrup Friday entries since I will probably be wearing the Pilots for 2 LL games a week for the next few months. I will send in a shot of anything out of the ordinary, though. -JK
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ‘em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
And now…here’s …
It has been three weeks since I ordered a baker’s dozen of the one-off 1954 ChiSox so it’s time put that up as the “new” offering for $14. With the typical spring TCK delays, they should be here within a week or so. Let’s look at the glorious 1954. Notice how low Alfanso “Chico” Carrasquel brilliantly cuffs his pantaloons (drool), well I know people no longer cuff so low so the pattern, as you can tell by the mock-up, is elongated to reproduce the feel of Chico’s stirrups. Have a problem with this not being perfectly up to right proper 1954 specs? Stand in line.
In other hosiery war news, as far as revolutionary stocks, I am doing my best to have what we need before the holiest of holy days stuffed in the china cabinet this year, round two of three has made it in this week, and I am ordering the final round Monday. In addition, giveaways will also start up again soon for summer “in action” shots, and those participating in stirrup Fridays.
from each according his stirrvp, to each according his strype!
That’s going to be all for today. Huge thanks to Rob & Jay and make sure you let them know how great this project is going to be in the comments down below. I’ll be back tomorrow with more baseball, more concepts and a big set of colorizations. Till then, everyone have a great Saturday.
“It really pisses me off when the Hokie bird tries to act tough, the absurdity of it is off the charts. 1) you’re a turkey, 2) you are wearing no clothes 3) you are supposed to be messing around doing mascot things not walking with ‘swagger’ 4) you’re a turkey).”