Click to enlarge
Arizona unveiled new football uniforms yesterday. As you can see above, the most interesting thing about them (not to be confused with the best thing about them) is that the numbers and sleeves have a color gradation, sort of like the Astros’ old tequila sunrise uniforms. You can see more photos here.
Leaving aside the question of whether the gradation is a cheap gimmick (it obviously is), don’t these numbers violate the NCAA’s new rules about numbers having to contrast with the background color of the jersey? The lower portions of the numbers on the red and blue jerseys would seem to fail that test, no?
[Update: Shortly after posting today's entry, I received an email from reader Kenny Abbey, as follows:
They received a waiver from the NCAA to have those numbers. If you remember, I e-mailed you awhile back saying that the unis were to be unveiled around the middle of April. It turned out because of the new rule UA had to file a waiver to be able to have the gradient numbers, because the uniforms were already made & in UA's possession before the rule was made, which delayed the uniforms being shown. We were granted the waiver to have the numbers this year, but I'm not sure what will happen with them for the 2014 season, when the rule goes in to effect.
So there you go.]
To see more, check out this video:
Follow-up No. 1: Yesterday I wrote about Astros first baseman Carlos Peña’s armbands and mentioned that he had also worn armbands while playing for the Rays. That prompted a note from reader Cork Gaines, who runs the excellent Rays Index blog. Here’s what he had to say about Peña:
Peña actually changed his armband pattern every few games with the Rays last year. For the most part it was something we tracked casually (“Hey, look, he’s wearing white now”). He wore a different-colored undershirt with each of the Rays’ four different jerseys, so I assumed at first that there was a pattern, but I tracked it for the first two months of the season and there was no obvious pattern. So I chalked it up to how well he was playing. If he was playing well, he’s keep the same armband format for a week or so. But as soon he had a bad game, he switched it up.
In the first two months, he had a 14-game stretch with the same pattern, and an 11-game stretch. However, he also had a bunch of stretches where a pattern only lasted two or three games.
Also, how he created the stripes varied. Sometimes it was two bands with space between. Sometimes the two bands were pushed together which made it look like a single thick band. And other times he wore one thin band on top of a single thick band.
Attached are his banding patterns for those two months with all his combinations in chronological order [click to enlarge]:
Note that on Mother’s Day he wore pink. There was also a stretch of three games in which he didn’t wear undersleeves but still worr the armbands. And finally, there was one game that he didn’t wear arm bands. During that game, Pena wore a protective shield on his elbow while batting. Only time all season I recall him wearing the shield. And it was also the only time I recall him not wearing the armbands, even in the field.
Good stuff — thanks, Cork!
Follow-up No. 2: Yesterday I asked if anyone knew anything about Sid Gillman pioneering the use of NOBs on football uniforms, as is claimed on the Wikipedia entry for Gillman. Here’s what I wrote yesterday:
[T]he first pro sports team to wear NOBs was the 1960 White Sox, and then most AFL teams — including but not limited to Gillman’s Chargers — followed that fall. I’ve never heard of this being attributed to any specific AFL exec and always thought it was one of many initiatives that helped differentiate the new league from the NFL.
That led to a note from longtime reader/pal Chance Michaels, who sent along the following passage from this recent biography of Bill Veeck:
Another Veeck innovation, for which fans have been grateful ever since, was the labeling of players’ uniforms. As the  season got under way, White Sox players’ last names were sewn onto the backs of their jerseys in sizable black letters — a radical departure from tradition that had been sparked by nothing more than Veeck’s noting that the increasing numbers of women coming to the ballpark wanted to know who the players were. Veeck had gotten the idea at a basketball game in Minneapolis, where he noticed that players had their names emblazoned on their warm-up jackets. When the newly labeled Sox played the Yankees in New York in early May, the spectators seemed amused that Ted Kluszewski’s name appeared with the letter Z sewed on backward. Overall the fans were quite taken with Veeck’s novel idea.
Veeck got an immediate call from an official of the emerging American Football League (AFL) who had seen a newspaper photo of the Kluszewski jersey and wanted Veeck’s blessing to make player nameplates an AFL rule, believing they and other innovations such as the two-point conversion would give the nascent league an edge over the National Football League, especially as it tailored itself to television. Veeck was toying with the notion of attracting an AFL team of his own to play at Comiskey Park and said the idea was fine with him.
Lots of great info in there, but it appears to confirm my belief that football NOBs were a general AFL thing, not a Sid Gillman thing. I mean, maybe Gillman is the “official of the emerging AFL” who placed the call to Veeck, but even so, it would still be a stretch to say football NOBs were Gillman’s idea. Maybe one of you Wiki-savvy types should go and remove that claim from Gillman’s entry.
Follow-up No. 3: In case you missed it yesterday, take a look at this:
For further details, look here.
By Brinke Guthrie
Want one of those 1970s NHL posters that are so popular here, like the two shown above? Found a bunch of ’em, along with some cool MLB posters. Go! Now!
Here’s the rest of this week’s featured items:
• Speaking of the ’Spos, check out this funky little Expos decal.
• Volpe alert! How about a set of 1971 Indiana Pacers thermal cups still wrapped!
• From reader Nicholas Schiavo, here’s a great miniature Mets bullpen buggy!
• Here’s a new one, at least to me: 1960s-1970s Adidas hockey skates. [Wow. I have to say, I really like that design. — PL]
• Remember those 1970s team rulers? Had a Reds one. This 1970s Sprite promo model is for the Astros.
• Here’s a 1970s Cricket table lighter decorated with American League logos of the time.
• Figured Paul would be intrigued by the weird sleeve inserts in this vintage football jersey of unknown origin. [Good call, Brinke. I like! — PL]
• Finally, Scott Hord sent a note relating to last week’s Collector’s Corner:
I saw your link for the Roger “Skipper” Staubach poster on eBay and it reminded me of a shirt I had as a kid that my mom got me. I believe it was from Sears, and it had a pic of Bob Griese (glasses and all) and the words “Cool n Easy Bob Griese.” It was a light gray shirt and I cherished it as a kid, ’cause it was tough to find Dolphins items in the middle of central Pennsylvania. Seeing that Staubach link made me do a search on eBay for Griese, and sure enough, they have a poster in the same style as the T-shirt.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Redskins have posted an interview with an Inuit chief who says he’s fine with the team’s name (from Patrick M. O’Neill). … Meanwhile, a DC sports radio host says politicians who’ve advocated for the team to change its name should be voted out of office. … The Packers will be wearing their throwbacks this fall. … The Maple Leafs hosted their first playoff game in nine years last night and wore their throwbacks for the occasion. … The Rangers created a blue-out last night by draping blue T-shirts on the seats (from Robert Silverman). … The Spurs wore their gray alts last night, creating a color-vs.-color game against the Warriors — if you count light gray as a color, that is. … The Boston Canons (MLL) had mismatched helmet designs the other day. “The one on the left is a Cascade R with a Sandy Hooks memorial decal, a U.S. flag, and two unidentified helmet stickers worn by Chris Boland,” says Rob Stukenborg. “The one on the right is a Cascade Pro 7 with no helmet stickers worn by Paul Rabil.” … Here’s a pretty enjoyable article about the USFL. Key passage: “Because the league struck equipment deals with grade-C companies, the players were stuck with Pop Warner-esque helmets and clunky Pony shoes. ‘God, those Ponys were awful—wearing them was like walking on the moon, they were so heavy,’ says [former New Jersey Generals noseguard Tom] Woodland. ‘Nobody was happy about that'” (from Brice Wallace). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s a ranking of the NHL playoff series by uniform. … If this jersey is legit, it’s one of the most unusual FNOBs we’ve ever seen (big thanks to Eric Stangel). … Jaromir Jagr was once again practicing in shorts and a pom-pom hat yesterday. Guess that’s his new look (from Mark Kaplowitz). … Check out the awesome outfits worn by the guys who’d just broken the 24-hour roller skating record 100 years ago (nice find by Jeff Ash). … Dan Cichalski won this game-used Notre Dame baseball jersey at a charity auction. “The listing said winners had the option of having the player or the entire team autograph the jersey,” says Dan. “I didn’t plan on either, but then today I got an email that said: ‘Congratulations on winning #20 Charlie Markson’s game-worn throwback jersey. Due to NCAA regulations, the jersey must be multi-player or team autographed. Please let me know which of the below options you prefer: (1) Have the team autograph the outside of the jersey. (2) Have two players autograph the outside of the jersey. (3) Have two players autograph the inside of the jersey.’ That’s news to me!” … The newest Korean baseball team will be called the Wiz. “I think the last Wiz in sports was the KC Wiz in ’96, before they changed to the Wizards,” says Dan Kurtz. … Speaking of team names, I love this: a high school team called the Cavemen. “That’s in honor of the Mount Timpanogos caves, which honeycomb the nearby mountain and were being touted as a tourist destination at the time of the school’s opening in the 1920s,” explains Cort McMurray. … Check this out: Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor — a veritable Murderer’s Row of black film and comedy talent — in softball uniforms. “This would appear to be from 1990, when Ghost Dad came out,” says Scott Crawford. … Check out this completely awesome Pitt logo photo (big thanks to Phil Johnson). … Entertainment Watch: Saw the Ricky Jay documentary, Deceptive Practice, on Sunday night. It includes a brief glimpse of Jay wearing a softball uniform. Also, saw a tremendous triple-bill rock show last night: Tweens, Parquet Courts, and the Breeders. Nobody was wearing a jersey.