By Phil Hecken
And now, for Volume II of “Baseball Cathedrals,” which details the wonderful twitter account (@MLBCathedrals) maintained by Mark Anderson. If you missed the first part, please click here. And if you haven’t already begun following that account, at least give it a look right now. You won’t be disappointed. Below, please click on any image to enlarge.
Uni Watch: Where do you find your photos, and is there any limitation due to the fact that Twitter requires brevity?
Mark Anderson: I’ve had the same formula from the beginning: start with a high quality photograph that I dig out of archives, like this, by famed photographer Leslie Jones, at the online Boston Public Library. I try describe as much as possible about each photograph within the 140 character limit (less with the photo).
UW: It seems like you tend to focus on the older (and sometimes … well oftentimes) defunct or demolished parks. Do you like the older ones, or is there a reason for this?
MA: If you’ve followed @MLBcathedrals long, you’ll notice about 90% of the posts are from ballparks in the past or long ago photos from current parks. There are a multitude of reasons for this.
UW: Such as?
MA: While I do cover newer parks, photos of those are easy to come by. Baseball fans may see hundreds if not thousands of images of them a year. My favorites are rare high quality photographs of past significant events. I’m particularly fond of the classic ballparks because of the upper decks that were right on top of the field, the uncontrived quirkiness that was forced upon them because of the limited space they had to build within a small city block, and the evolution of the classic parks (most of which started small and kept expanding).
UW: I totally agree!
MA: Photos from classic ballparks are more than just photos of ballparks but, are a time stamp in American history. If you pay attention you can learn about how people dressed in a particular era. The significance and evolution of the automobile. The history of Advertising. The evolution of construction techniques, machinery, and materials. Ballpark priorities (more parking in the 50’s and 60’s, suites, domes, artificial turf, multipurpose stadiums, back to grass, baseball only ballparks) to the evolution of the scoreboard and video displays. There’s plenty you can learn from a ballpark and its history.
UW: And you try to incorporate all those things into your tweets…
MA: At @MLBcathedrals I try to point all these things, for instance, people might not know that there were a handful of ballparks that higher wall than the Green Monster at Fenway Park. They might not know that the Green Monster itself at one time had seats in front of it, an incline in front of it and, was plastered with advertisements. Wrigley Field didn’t get it’s famed centerfield bleachers and ivy until 1937.
UW: Ah, Wrigley. Celebrating a century this season.
MA: The Cubs will be celebrating Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary this year. As you know already this is their logo and patch they are going to wear for the event
The problem I have with this patch is that the Cubs did not build Wrigley Field. They didn’t even move in until 1916. Wrigley Field was built by the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League. They really should have honored the Whales on this patch too.
UW: Good point.
MA: I came up with this idea to honor the Whales by placing a subtle Whales logo in the left hand corner (bottom logo) @AsFanByDesign put the whale in there for me. The Cubs, of course, ignored me, because like most baseball clubs they stupidly put out merchandise the same day they announce a logo or uniform change, without waiting to get some feedback.
UW: Wow! Cool idea. OK, lets get into some of your “favorites.” What pictures would fit this description. You’ve sent me some pics, so I’ll post them below and I’ll let you describe them.
MA: I like to highlight photos that are not only of high quality and that are rare, but show a period of ballpark history that were not seen before or will not be seen again, for example, the shot above shows Polo Grounds during the 1923 season in which they expanded the grandstands all the the way around to centerfield. It was also the the same year that the Yankees moved out of Polo Grounds into brand new Yankee Stadium which can be seen, for this brief period of time from Polo Grounds (righthand corner).
MA: Some of the most popular photos are the ones that not only show something unique but, one that show people something they may not known about or seen before like this shot of the old San Diego Padres dugout in Qualcomm Stadium. It still exists however, it’s now buried under permanent seating built for the NFL’s Chargers.
MA: Some people don’t realize that a lot of the “quirky” features we see in the newer retro parks are inspired from classic parks that don’t exist anymore. If you you look closely at this late 1960’s shot of Crosley Field in Cincinnati you’ll notice the slope in left field that existed the entire life of this park (1912-1970). Fenway Park also had a ten foot embankment, in front of what is know known as the, “Green Monster,” (called, “Duffy’s Cliff”) until 1933. It is no doubt that Tal’s Hill at Minute Maid Park in Houston was inspired by these.
MA: Over the years there have been some funky proposed ballpark/stadiums. This one* over the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh probably takes the cake. (*1960’s multipurpose proposal to replace Forbes Field and be the new home for both the Pirates and Steelers.)
MA: Sometimes a photo just speaks for itself, like this one of Oakland (Pittsburgh) in 1968 two years before the Pirates abandoned Forbes Field (pictured above) for Three Rivers Stadium. This photo is also a good representation of how ballparks used to be settled into neighborhoods and not the suburbs or even downtown. It also shows a now demolished Pitt Stadium, the now demolish Igloo (Penguins) and the Cathedral of Learning where this famous photograph (below) was taken during the 1960 World Series.
MA: These two shots show the overhang at Tiger Stadium (10 feet) and the Left Field overhang at Polo Grounds (21 Feet). There’s a slight overhang at Chase Field, Minute Maid Park, and Target Field. There was one at Citi Field until they brought the fences in. None of them compare to (Tiger Stadium and Polo Grounds). The new retro parks surely got their overhang inspiration from them too.
MA:This 1970’s photo shows Camden Yards when Camden Yards was a railroad yard and not ballpark. The current Oriole Park at Camden Yards sits just to the west of the B&O Warehouse which has been there for decades.
I like to show photos of places where ballparks sit before there was a ballpark there, construction photos, and, sadly, demolition, photos.
MA: This is Busch Stadium II, the year it opened, 1966. Most of us agree that it’s a good thing that the era of the multipurpose, cookie cutter, artificial turf stadiums are over, however I always get a huge response to these. Not many in our audience went to Ebbets Field or Shibe Park, but, many did spend time in these cookie cutters and have fond memories of them*.
*I hear all the time how people grew up in these ballparks. How they spent time with their parents, how they spent time at these with their children. So far this has been the biggest benefit to doing this account. Hearing these stories of loved ones that might not be here anymore. How the photos I tweet out remind them of those good times they shared.
UW: Wow! Thanks (again) Mark. Super, super stuff.
Readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview/exploration with Mark Anderson of @MLBCathedrals. Please make sure to thank him below in the comments, and even better, give him a follow on Twitter!
Queens Baseball Convention
As I’m sure most of you are aware (and if you’ve read Uni Watch at all in the past two weeks or so…you are), yesterday was the First Annual Queens Baseball Convention, held at McFadden’s in
Shea Citi Field. As promised, it was a gathering of I’d say 1,000 or so Mets fans, despite the rather crummy weather, and it was great. Although he’s not the sole person responsible, a HUGE HUGE tip of the cap has to go to Shannon Shark, friend of UW (and purveyor of Mets Police), who really did an outstanding job with the whole she-bang.
Paul’s portion, of course, was one of the highlights of the event, and he assembled a crack panel of uniform experts that included himself, Todd Radom, Jon Springer, Russ Gompers and Mike Cesarano. I was lucky enough to join those guys. Here’s a better look at the panel:
Our discussion, which was (shockingly) on Mets uniforms and uniform history, lasted just over an hour and it could have gone on for a good three hours — it really was a spirited conversation, and included a bunch of give and take, plus Paul engaged the audience with a goodly amount of Q & A.
Todd had a BIG surprise for the audience, which even the Mets weren’t aware of — he’d found an archived article from The Sporting News that noted the original Mets logo might very well have ended up being rendered in PINK AND BLACK. Below is the article and a rendering Todd whipped up to show how that might have looked (click on either to enlarge):
Pretty neat, huh? You can read all about that and more on Todd Radom’s blog (you should probably just go ahead and bookmark ToddRadom.com anyway). Following this discovery, Todd gave a spirited talk on logos, prototypes and other uni design features.
Russ next discussed his work as the head of “Sticthes,” the shop that does all the Mets’ sewing and embroidery, and his bit was both interesting and informative. Jon had a segment later on discussing Mets numerology.
The rest of the panel was spent discussing topics near and dear to any Uni Watcher’s heart (or at least those of us who are baseball fans), and included a discussion on whether or not the Mets’ original uniforms, in particular the pinstripes, were either an “ode” or a shout out to the Yankees. Both the panel and the audience were mixed. Mike was the strongest in his belief that the pins were, indeed, ‘taken’ from the Yanks. Most of us disagreed, and as Paul pointed out, about half the teams in 1962 had home pinstripe unis. Personally, I think the idea that the pins came about because of the Yankees wore them is almost an urban myth, much the way some still think the Yankees added pinstripes to make Babe Ruth look thinner. We also had a great discussion on whether NNOB or NOBs are preferable — and should the Mets return to NNOB (as they were originally and as they did on the home unis in 1999). Again, Paul polled the audience and they were split about 50/50 on that as well. Other topics included pullovers versus button-fronts.
Interestingly, and again, not shockingly, many of the audience members were wearing Mets jerseys from pretty much every year in their history. Several wore the 1993-94 jersey, which marked the only time in their history when the “Mets” script had a “tail.” That jersey ended up being discussed in no small detail. Also discussed were the 1978-82 jersey, which was the first pullover the Mets wore, and which also was the first time the Mets wore nameplates, a practice that continued through 1986 (as opposed to being directly-sewn). Needless to say, Russ had a LOT to say in this area (and he also weighed heavily in the NOB vs. NNOB discussion — obviously he favors NOB because it “means more work for me” — that line got a laugh).
The discussion, and the Q&A with the audience easily could have gone on for another two hours, but after our allotted time, we had to exit the stage. Paul did a MAGNIFICENT job as moderator (and he continues to awe with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things uni). As we were about to depart, one of the audience members, Mark Healey, asked about the famous “prototype” that Paul had unearthed and posted on UW a while back. It’s worth a repost now:
You will note that the design being held by Casey Stengel actually featured a “tail” on the “Mets” script (much like they ended up using in 1993-4), and the stirrups had stripes. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that picture at our disposal at the time, but we mentioned it would be posted on UW so anyone who was curious could see it.
OK. I’ve rambled on LONG enough about the QBC and Paul’s panel. I was both flattered and honored to even be considered for such an amazing gathering of uni minds. Each one of those guys really REALLY knows his stuff, and it was awesome that Paul was able to put it all together. Great stuff, buddy.
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 Paul Lee, with a teensy weensy tweak:
Shouldn’t the Brooklyn Nets jersey have red numbers?
Next up is Bryan Moss with some Arizona Cardinals concepts:
Here is my Cardinals Redesign Project. I have three uniforms red (home) white (away) gray (alt). I did mean for the gray on the alternate to be darker than the regular gray. Also since there are no red pants there will be no blood clots on the field! Thank You!
We close today with Josh Escobar (who you may remember for his wonderful drawings), who is back with a Stanford Cardinal concept:
Hi it’s Josh. It’s been awhile since I sent in a uni-concept. This uni is a modern version of the 1930 Stanford football uniform. Since the NFL has the one helmet shell thing going on, I tried doing a college one.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Leo Strawn, and like a couple he has sent in the past, this one is simply too good (and a bit too long) for the ticker. Here’s Leo, with a preview of the modified NFL logo in 1967 NFL Championship:
I was watching a video on the Ice Bowl, and noticed something peculiar on the Lambeau Field turf. The NFL shield in 1967 had vertical stripes behind the “NFL” lettering (which was dropped in 1969 for the anniversary logo, and in 1970 for first full year of the NFL/AFL merger). The “NFL” letters were made thicker beginning in 1969.
At about 6:06 of the aforementioned video, there is a shot of the NFL shield with the blue field of stars, but rather than a blue outline around the lettering and stripes, the outline is red, while the stripes are missing and the placement of the stars and thickness of the lettering appears to be much closer to the after-merger logo of 1970 than the pre-merger logo still in use during the 1967 (and subsequent 1968) season.
At about 6:13, just prior to the end of this video, as the camera has panned back, some unusual Packer and Cowboy logos can be seen on either side of the NFL shield. This yellow elliptical Packers “G” is among the unusual Green Bay logos I’ve come across with the past few months, including two instances of the football shaped “G” in green.
Sweet find, Leo. OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker: Not a lot of submissions from yesterday, so it’s Old School ticker today.
We’ll have a bunch of stuff from Brinke in this ticker, but he’s doing “this story for Cute Overload. It has jerseys and helmets!” Also from =BG=, here’s a set of photos of the new Levi’s Stadium, as it’s being put together. … Regarding the ticker item on the transparent hockey boards the other day, the old St Paul Saints of the WHA had those in the St Paul Civic Center back in the 1970’s. Here’s another shot (thanks to Tom Pederson). … The Ice Flyers of the SPHL are celebrating their 5th anniversary this week and this is what they are wearing. “It looks great right?” says Ryan Bohannon, “But then they smear feces all over the back with mirrored numbers. Why God? Why?” … New shoes for Radamel Falcao and Sergio Aguero. These should be the ones they will wear at the world cup (nice find by Fernando Cardenas Sanchez). … Here’s another nice size fan picture of the 2014 Cubs throwbacks, taken at Friday’s fan convention (submitted by Dave Flapan, who didn’t take the pic itself). … Unable to contain themselves, Nike has already set up sales for jerseys of the NFC Champion (whoever that may be). … Unsurprisingly, there are some NBAers who don’t like sleeved jerseys, but they’ll trooper-on, saying they’ll just “take some getting used to.” … There are good jersey mashups, and bad mashups, but with HDIC in Lloydminster, Alberta (The Border Town, Alberta/ Saskatchewan), host Ron MacLean is wearing an Edmonton Oilers/Saskatchewan Rough Riders frankenjersey. Says John Muir, “My god.” … More on the Raider glare. Brian Molinet says he found this on UW a while back. “It’s Ben Davidson’s helmet. I’m a lifelong raider fan and never noticed this. I felt miserable.” … Ryan Perkins sent in these two photos, with the line, “From the game that never was.” And what was that game? Read this. … “The Giants are doing this giveaway on 4-10,” writes Brinke. “And good riddance, I might add.” … Kevin Warby writes, “Don’t know if ya saw these, thought I’d share. Teams in a Alberta Junior League. Don Cherry inspired.” … The UMd flag cleats in the lower left of this photo are “pretty wild.” (h/t Matt Aber). … Check out the unis Youngstown State University wore last night (thanks to Joseph Gerard). … OOOOoooohhhh — check out this “Minimalist Ballparks artwork (great find by Marc Viquez). … Um — Edmond Wilson asks, “What do you think about this uniform look?” … The Charlotte Hornets haven’t even revealed their unis yet, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing the merch (thanks to Mark Collins). … And finally, there was some question yesterday as to the “bobblehead” (and other giveaway) schedule for the Cubs. Thanks to Matthew Robins here it is.
OK, boys and girls, that will do it for today. Sorry for rambling on about the QBC, but it was really a great experience — thanks again to Paul for including me on his panel. Hopefully I didn’t steal any thunder for something he’ll probably want to follow-up on tomorrow.
The best Sunday in the NFL is here today — the Conference Championship games — which are usually better than the Super Bowl, and certainly with about 1/100th of the hype and drag. Pats & Broncos (have Peyton & Brady ever faced each other?) get the 3:00 (ET) game, followed by the Seahawks & 49ers at 6:30.
You guys have a great week and I’ll catch you next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“That uniform worn by MacLean was pretty much the worst thing I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of bad uniforms.”