By Phil Hecken
When I filled in for Paul for a month of weekdays this summer, I put out the call for readers to pitch stories and send me articles, and the response was overwhelming. So much so, I actually had more submissions than days to fit them in. Most of what I didn’t get to was football (and “Timelessly Representing” related), but today’s article is actually on baseball caps. Since we’re now in our final month of the regular season, today is as good a time as any to get to it.
Mike Styczen, who has collaborated with me several times before, really needs no introduction. Well, other than the fact that he’s Canadian, which will explain all the spelling mistakes you see below. You can click on any of the images below to enlarge (usually, sometimes the pics are full-size). So, without further ado, here’s Mike as he takes a look at…
Ten Design Features We Don’t See Enough of on Ballcaps
By Mike Styczen
In my opinion, we’re in a bleak, dull period of ballcap design. Once you get past the logo, cap design these days is limited to (1) picking the colour of the crown and (2) picking the colour of the bill. That’s it. Of thirty teams in the league, most of whom have multiple cap options, one (!) is doing something different this year.
It wasn’t always that way. Baseball uniform history is full of examples of interesting cap designs beyond the logo. Here are nine of my favourites.
Popular early in the century, these should be first in line to make a comeback.
Okay, these were only used for one game by Tampa, but they’re so good looking I wish we saw more of these
3. Scrambled Eggs
Used for one year by the Seattle Pilots… actually, I don’t think we need to see these ever again
Also popular early in the century, the last team to wear these was the 1945 St. Louis Browns. The recent Cleveland Bronchos throwbacks showed just how amazing these could look
5. The Panel Cap
Currently used by the Orioles, this is a favourite of mine. I’m including the fabulous Expos pinwheel in this group, though it really deserves a category all its own.
6. Contrasting Edge
I can’t believe this has never been used in MLB – a bit of contrasting colour on the leading edge of the brim. Look at that Yomiuri Giants cap – couldn’t you see San Francisco rocking that look. And the Nippon Ham Fighters go a step further by having a strip of gold on the brim and using light blue on the underbrim, using both of their team accent colours to great effect.
7. The Halo
Unless another team with an “angel” theme comes along, I don’t see this one coming back anytime soon either.
8. The Pillbox
Used by a few teams in 1976, the Pirates made this look famous in both gold and black (including after 1976).
9. Glow in the Dark
Another favourite of mine (I got to see them in person a few times at Mike Lansing Field), the Casper Ghosts used a glow in the dark logo for a few years. Gimmicky? Yes. But very unique.
10. Pirates Banded Cap
This is a bonus entry, because I only saw it yesterday for the first time. It looks like the Pirates wore this beauty for two years, 1940 and 1941, when they were still in blue and red. I can’t find a colour picture of the original. Okkonen seems to show that the band was red on the home cap and white on the road cap (matching the colour of the logo) – but who knows if this is correct.
The photos above clearly show that the band is made up of some kind of double braid. The MLB shop sells a version of it made with a waistband from an old pair of underwear. This style would be a great candidate for revival, as long as they can make it look good and not like that monster in the MLB shop.
Outside of throwback games, which of these are we going to see on a regular basis? I don’t think we’ll ever see the halo, plaid, scrambled eggs, the pillbox or glow in the dark on a major league field – but I’m predicting a major comeback for the panel cap and I would not be at all surprised to see teams add a contrasting strip to the brims à la the Japanese League teams.
Follow Mike on Twitter @mstyczen.
Thanks, Mike! Well readers…what say you? Any cap designs Mike missed or that you think should be “brought back”?
The Good, The Bad AND The Ugly…
Of the “known” special uniforms to be hitting the gridiron today, we have two diametric opposites. The Iowa State University Cyclones will be throwing back to the Jack Trice-era, with a gorgeous uniform offering. On the other side of the coin, adidas has created a special jersey (with helmet & pants featuring a black stripe) for the normally red-and-white Nebraska Cornhuskers in their game today against UCLA (also an adidas team, so who knows if they’ll have special uniforms as well).
While I’ll need to see both in action and on the field of play to offer a proper opinion, at least from what we’ve seen pre-game, one will look great and the other, while not quite BFBS, is about as close as you can come.
And here’s an article containing a little video of the ISU throwbacks.
Now, while I absolutely LOVE throwback uniforms for football, I’m often disappointed when teams throw waaaay-back because today’s modern cuts, padding, helmets, etc. pretty much make the throwback look nothing like what it is supposed to be representing. But I have high hopes for these Cyclone unis. I hope they don’t disappoint.
The Huskers black unis? Really. This sort of thing was played out in 2006. But lets see how they look. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Of course, it’s the guys wearing them that matter, so if they cover (4.5 point favorites) and beat the over/under (70), then I won’t complain.
Also, both teams playing in the Huskers game — UCLA and Nebraska — will be wearing tributes to Nick Pasquale, a “beloved” freshman receiver at UCLA who was killed last weekend, and who wore #36 for the Bruins. The Cornhuskers will wear a helmet sticker, while the Bruins will have a jersey patch and helmet sticker.
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 James Spera, with a tweak for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets:
My first attempt at this.
A moss green for the jets with an accent of the green they use now.
Next up is Collin Knudsen, with some new jerseys for Rip City:
As many of us know, the Blazers are in dire need of a new look. They either need to commit to a modern look or classic look. I took the classic approach and wanted your thoughts on these jerseys. I think it would be a great new look and solidify a classic look.
We close today with Levi Buck who was amazingly prescient with this concept — It is for a GRAY Tennessee Vols uni — and it was sent to me on JULY 6th, well in advance of Tennessee’s August 15th unveiling of their “Smokey Gray” unis:
Here’s an alt I slung together one evening while reading speculation about an alternate for Tennessee this season. The jersey’s inspired by an early-1900′s look Tennessee used to wear, and the helmet is inspired by UT’s 1960′s look. I feel all of it kind of falls in line with adidas’ thing for the retro-throwback-esque look. Speculation has Tennessee wearing a grey alt this season, and the jersey that I’m replicating was apparently not black but dark grey.
I’ll attach a couple links to the images on here, one with just the jersey, and one with ideas for entire ensembles. The pants are a bit sloppy, but I made those late at night the other night. Here’s the link for just the jersey.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
By Rob Holecko
Players on teams in the UWFFL were surprised this week when they came back into the locker room after pregame warmups to find special 9-11 anniversary commemorative uniforms ready for them to change into (click photo to right to enlarge). It was a league-wide (and apparently without the knowledge of individual team owners) effort as the twelve teams donned uniforms, as seen above, which featured one side of the helmet painted dark blue with white stars to represent the upper-left of our flag, along with either special uniforms or pants. For the uniforms, the teams that were wearing white paired with their usual pants a jersey made up of two of four quadrants red-and-white striped, with numbers in their uniforms usual style. Their opponents, the teams wearing the darker jerseys, wore their normal jersey, but with similarly striped red-and-white pants. All twelve UWFFL teams were also wearing the commemorative 9/11 patch logo in place of their UWFFL league logo, and alongside any sponsor logos they may already be wearing. It was definitely quite a sight, quite a tribute to “‘Murica” as we remember those we lost twelve years ago earlier this week.
Speaking of sponsor logos, we have two new team sponsors, as well as two expansion teams. The Seattle Superbeasts, of the UWFFL, have come to terms with Starbucks* brand coffees for a .65 gazillion dollar, 3 year sponsorship arrangement, while Shecky Green’s Intergalactic Sportsbook and Cantina will become the title sponsor of the Las Vegas Lightning. The Starbucks sponsorship patches will begin appearing on Seattle’s uniforms immediately, while the “Shecky’s” patches will be coming along soon, because although Shecky’s has handled over 40 trillion wagers across many dimensions and galaxys, Shecky himself lost the rights to his own company’s logo in a poker game five years ago. (A true story.)
*-Any actual entities mentioned as sponsors or possible sponsors are possibly entirely fictional, and/or any other disclaimers which may get me in trouble with a billion dollar NASDAQ-traded coffee company.
Finally we also want to recognize two new expansion teams as well. The New Orleans Lions, based on the EPL Aston Villa team, with sponsor ‘dafabet’, an Asian online gaming company (see also Starbucks disclaimer above), will begin play this week in the Central League. This is one of the better looking uniforms we’ve seen so far, the combination of powder blue and magenta really makes for a nice set, IMO, and along with the home uniform seen above they also presented a nice road and alt uniforms. What do you think, Aston Villa fans, does this tweak of a soccer kit get your approval as an American Football uniform?
Our other expansion team is the Goldsmith Gulch Alchemists, based in Denver, which also joined the league this week and will begin play in the Pacific Coast Conference. The get a lot of their insignia from symbolism of the Holy Roman Empire, according to team owner DenverGregg.
Rumors are that another expansion team may be headed to the PCC next week. In other UWFFL news, the Sacramento Scorpions will be wearing their camo alts in their PCC game, the aforementioned Alchemists will be making their debut against the Portland Gamblers who will be wearing one of their very unique alternate uniforms, and the San Antonio Black Knights will also be wearing a 9/11 tribute themed uniform.
Well, for more coverage of the UWFFL, too see last week’s results as well as to vote to help decide this week’s winners, go to www.uwfantasyfootballleague.com.
Gridiron Uniform Database:
College Football Uni Tracking
Meanwhile, Rob’s other project, the College Football Uni Tracker, has been back doing its own tracking. Here’s Rob to describe that:
Now on to another project – The College Football UniTracker.
Last week Tim O’Brien told you how you can join him and his Duck, Indiana, and Northwestern unitrackers (scroll down) and track your own favorite major college football program tracker in a blog and join his movement. Well starting a tracking blog is great, but that’s only half the movement. Guys like Tim, Paul Sullivan (who added to his last year’s Mississippi State contribution with Ole Miss — above — and Southern Miss) and Johnny Bruno (who supplied much of the MAC conference graphics last year) as well as many others we don’t have room to mention, have contributed team uniform graphics for the tracker itself and we will soon be hopefully tracking all of the Top 25 teams and many of the major conference schools in the tracker with graphics submitted by people like yourself.
We’d prefer to get as many teams as possible in the Andrew Harrington/Tim O’Brien template, however we’ll take whatever we can get for teams we don’t have. Rumor has it that Coleman Mullins is working on WVU’s new 2013 unis, what team would you like to see added to the College Football Unitracker next?
Oh, and by the way, a little thing called The Gridiron Uniform Database started it’s third season covering the NFL uniforms recently and Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and myself would like to thank everybody for their continued interest on that project as well as we close in on a half a million page views since we launched in 2011.
Have a good weekend enjoy the football, and Yay America!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
NFL News: Interesting Moyers and Company article entitled, “NFL Concussion Deniers See a ‘Liberal Sports Media’ Conspiracy.” Says submitter Ben Fortney, “I’ve never heard that term used before (but I’m sure you’re a part of it!), but apparently concussions aren’t an issue it’s just those damn liberals again.” … A Riggins/Ovechkin jersey? Hey fans are strange (thanks to William F. Yurasko). … Check out this elementary school logo from Mesa View Elementary School which bears a close resemblance to Jacksonville Jags logo (nice spot by Tom Gerrity). … Are the Broncos going GFGS? No, but that’s an ESPN article/ad for the Manning Bowl III, and it sure looks like a gray jersey (in last year’s style — notice the collar horns on the Nikelace) — that comes from J Fletcher. … On Sunday, not only will the Buffalo Bills be throwing back to those gorgeous 1960s uniforms, their Wall of Famers will be presented with commemorative jackets.
College Football News: The Nebraska Blackshirt tradition is turning 50, and here’s an article on it with the logo (nice find by Mike Vamosi). … Interesting article on UMass-Lowell’s blue turf (found by Jim Pericotti), with this pertinent section: “Part of a $2 million facilities upgrade over the summer (UMass Lowell’s soccer/lacrosse fields simultaneously renovated), the blue surface – one of only a handful in the country – was a perfect match. It is the university’s primary color. The blue field surface was licensed to UMass Lowell by Boise State University for free and in perpetuity.” So, Boise State owns the rights to blue turf, eh? “I didn’t know all blue turf was trademarked by Boise, even for schools without football,” says Jim. “I don’t remember hearing New Haven having to license through Boise. Or even for the blue turf at the London Olympics.” … Check out these custom hotel keys for Tennessee for the night before their game with Oregon (thanks to Trey Hicks). … The same thing happened for the UCLA Bruins in their night before the Nebraska game. … And here’s one for the Beavers. I guess this is a thing.
NBA News: This is pretty cool (and not really NBA) — A Calvin and Hobbes-esque baskeball logo! That’s an actual logo of a Belgian professional basketball club that is located in Charleroi, Belgium (thanks to Robert Silverman).
Hockey News: For the first time in Canadiens history, an accent grave will appear on Daniel Brière’s jersey (it’s the first accent of any kind on any Canadiens’ sweater). Thanks to Patrick Guay for the submission. … Terence Kearns has seen the New York Rangers wear NNOB on practice jerseys before, but not in this font/nameplate style. “Looks like Vancouver’s,” he says. … Good post on Icethetics yesterday about the NHL supposedly enforcing their uniform and equipment rules more strictly this year, including minor penalties for certain infractions (thanks to Bobby Pinkham). … The Calgary Flames are going to get a new alternate sweater (thanks, Paul).
Soccer News: Ross Hazlett saw this custom jersey on a supporters’ page for Newcastle United. “Most of the team’s fans are none too pleased about the payday lending ad on the front of the shirts,” says Ross. “This was one fan’s solution. ‘Ashley’ is a reference to the owner, Mike Ashley.”
Grab Bag: What exactly is Binghamton’s “Bearcat Green”? Why it’s Pantone 342, of course. Not sure what #Pantone342 is? Check out this video (with thanks to Bob Nolte). … BBC News reports on God’s Own Junkyard, “probably the largest collection of neon signs and sculpture outside the US,” which is relocating (great find by Tom Mulgrew). … If the “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” category, Ron Deal presents the logo for a local Nashville HVAC company (which is an obvious play on the interlocking “ND” of Notre Dame). Says Ron, “The family that owns the company are well-connected area Catholics with, obviously, a love of that school in South Bend.” … In the “no good deed goes unpunished” section, a high school will will have to decide whether to accept a gift from the National Football League if it wants to put in artificial turf (from Tommy Turner). … Check out this awesome War Bonds newspaper ad from September 1943, with Uncle Sam as American football player stiff-arming Hitler and Tojo. That was posted on old photo Tumblr from Wausau Daily Herald, submitter Jeff Ash’s hometown paper. … “The first time I looked at this picture, I was interested in Lincoln Southwests helmets with the feathers on them,” says Jason Johnson. “Then, the 2nd time I looked at it, I noticed the Justin Tuck inspired facemask in the background.” … The Today Show has got a new orange logo to go with their new orange studio (thanks, Brinke).
That’s going to do it for today. Thanks again to Mike Styczen (Follow Mike on Twitter @mstyczen), and Rob & the concepters too. Remember, if you see any good candidates for the 5 & 1 tomorrow, you can shoot Catherine an e-mail at UW5and1@gmail.com; you can also tweet at me for any crazy or unique uni happenings or shenanigans (and I’ll forward anything you send to Terry D. for SMUW). OK? OK! Hope you guys are enjoying the weekend ticker … have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I have a pair of scissors that fit perfectly in my wall outlet. Pictures coming soon!”