To Tuck or Not to Tuck: That Is the Question

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Last week I mentioned the excellent new “30 for 30″ documentary, Untucked, which is about Marquette’s untucked jerseys back in the late 1970s. As a companion piece to the film, I’ve examined the history of uniform tucking and untucking (the latter of which is nicely exemplified by the late-1970s UMass hoops squad, shown above) in this new ESPN column, which went up yesterday afternoon. It was a blast to work on, and I don’t mind saying it’s one of the better ESPN columns I’ve done in a while, so please check it out, share it with friends, etc.

One thing I mentioned in the column is that some early football jerseys used to have that crotch extension that looped under the groin area to ensure that the jersey stayed tucked in. I’ve occasionally seen those crotch extensions used for other types of jerseys, but here’s a place I’d never seen one before — on an AFL referee’s jersey:

AFL Ref 1.jpg

Reader Brian Codagnone sent that in a few hours after yesterday’s column went up. He works at the Sports Museum at TD Garden in Boston, which is where that jersey is displayed. Never seen that accessory on an zebra’s jersey before. Seems like overkill, sort of like the belt-and-suspenders combo, no?

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

The WFL’s 40th anniversary is this summer, but why wait until then when you can score this great poster. Brings back memories of my eighth grade year-end project, which consisted of going to downtown Cincinnati to watch the Bill Bergey trial and then making a video report on it with some other guys.

Here are the rest of this week’s finds:

• Reader Lydia Devine sent this item in: “While searching for fanny packs on Etsy, I came across this Syracuse U. hand warmer.”

• This 1969 NFL 50th-Anniversary thermal mug looks to be in good shape! (With a black Saints helmet, too.)

• Reader Michael Clary wanted this Detroit Lions watch as a kid, and adds, “I remember these batting gloves making it harder to hold onto the bat.”

• Nice mini-lot of mid-1970s New York Giants helmets in different formats and from different eras. If you check through the seller’s other auctions, you’ll see he has similar vintage sets for most NFL teams.

• Keeping with Big Blue, I sure like the look of this ski cap.

• Back before there were computerized football games, sometimes you had to break out toys like this vintage Wolverine Football Pinball Game.”

• The Reds didn’t do a ton of stadium giveaways in the 1970s, but I always looked forward to the poster game. Decades after the trade that brought him to the Queen City, Tom Terrific still looks strange in a Reds uniform.

• Wonder if Jerrah keeps all his money in one of these early-1970s Dallas Cowboys ceramic football banks? Eh, probably not.

• Here’s an indeterminate-era Canucks windbreaker from Shain of Canada. What ever possessed them to go to this design?

• And here’s an SF Giants dugout jacket from the 1960s with no “SF” anywhere! Just a small “Giants” script on the sleeve.

• I gave away these Q102 Bengals stickers in sub-zero weather! The Enquirer’s Jim Borgmann did the artwork, and I think we had OTTO printing — the company that does all the backstage passes — make them up.

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I’ll keep showcasing you folks as long as you keep sending in your photos and quick bios.

Today we have a reader who posts comments under his own name — Joseph Gerard. That’s him on the let in the Steelers bumblebee throwback (click to enlarge):

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I’m a 28-year-old graduate of Youngstown State University living in the Pittsburgh area and obviously in love with Pittsburgh sports teams. (Well, except for one.) With college teams, I’m a fan of my YSU Penguins and the West Virginia Mountaineers, and I also root for Ohio State in “The Game” for Jim Tressel-based reasons. I’m a partial season-ticket holder for the Pirates and am planning on going to all 20 games I bought tickets for. If there’s one uni change I would like to see, it’s the Steelers going back to block numbers on their jerseys.

I’m a lifelong car fanatic, with my favorite car being the original Ford Mustang. I currently drive a 2009 Kia Rio, which is more reliable than any other car I’ve ever owned. Since I was four I have followed professional wrestling (that’s multi-time WWE Tag Team Champion Matt Hardy standing next to me in the photo) and am more interested in the backstage politics of wrestling than in what’s happening inside the ring.

Joseph actually wrote considerably more than that. But as Bob McAllister used to say on Wonderama, it’s only a three-hour show — sorry, Joe! But thanks for sharing your story with us, and for your many excellent comments over the years. You help make Uni Watch a better place.

Do you want to be featured in “Unmasking the Commenters”? If so, send me a photo and a quick paragraph about yourself. You don’t have to reveal your real name, and the photo doesn’t have to show your face, but you must include a photo to be considered. Send everything this-a-way.

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1927WesternUnion

PermaRec update: The latest entry on the Permanent Record blog has a bit of a Uni Watch theme and also features an endearingly racy telegram from 1927 (shown at right). Get the full scoop here.

Bracket reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, we’re once again running a Uni Watch NCAA bracket pool. For details, look here.

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’Skins Watch: Remember the Indians fans who had removed the Wahoo patches from their jerseys? Another fan did something similar with his cap. … Some people continue to insist that the Cleveland Indians were named in honor of a Native American ballplayer named Louis Sockalexis. The great baseball writer Joe Posnanski — who happens to be a lifelong Indians fan — has thoroughly debunked that myth (thanks, Phil). … Here’s the latest on those last three high schools in Maine to use Native mascots (from Paul Dillon).

Baseball News: St. Paddy’s Day uni that didn’t make it into yesterday’s entry: a green cap for the Braves. … You know how so many ballplayers wear their sunglasses across their cap logos? The Braves apparently forbid that. Never heard about that before. I contacted Scott Miller, the journalist who tweeted that, and asked where/when he heard about this policy. He said, “In Braves camp last spring. Was a Bobby Cox thing. Unofficial rule, but well-known by players. They just follow it!” (From Stephen Walker.) …. 100th-season patch for the Syracuse Chiefs (thanks, Phil). … So here’s a sentence I never expected to be typing: The Nationals have stopped the use of unauthorized drone flights. … Nice DIY project by commenter Roccot, who recently did a nice custom paint job for his son’s catcher’s mask. … I’ve mentioned Dice-K’s number- and swoosh-emblazoned socks several times. But yesterday he went low-cuffed. Pretty sure that’s the first time he’s done that as a Met. … Wow, look at this absolutely killer 1950s Yankees usher’s jacket (from Matt Malinoski). … Some interesting news about the Opening Series cap patches.

Hockey News: St. Paddy’s Day omissions from yesterday’s entry: Green warm-ups for the Bruins and Caps. … The Devils didn’t play on St. Paddy’s Day, so they did their annual wearing of the green-trimmed throwbacks last nght. … You know how the “Order your custom jersey” web pages always show a jersey with double-zero and a “Your Name” NOB? Some guy at a Sharks game apparently took that idea rather literally (from Don Diaz).

Basketball News: St. Paddy’s Day omissions from yesterday’s entry: The Clippers wore green shooting shirts and the Jazz wore green unis (from Joe Nocella). … Who’s winning the NCAA tourney? Nike, of course (thanks, Phil). … New March Merch Madness sneakers for Oregon.

Grab Bag: The National Federation of High Schools has approved the use of wider zebra stripes for high school football officials. The current shirt can still be worn for 2014 and ’15, as long as everyone on a given crew is wearing the same stripes. All officials must switch to the wider stripes by 2016 (big thanks to Joe Schmeltzer). … New logo for Lipton Tea (thanks, Brinke). … Kudos to Jim VIlk, who shot videos that showcase his cool new DIY tabletop bowling and a very Reynolds Wrap-esque design. … Lots of new lacrosse gear, including a flag-desecration helmet decal for Duke, new everything for Syracuse, and new gloves and helmets for Jared Buccola). … If you win the Italian cycling race Tirreno-Adriatico, you get a monster trident trophy (from Sean Clancy). … Here’s something you don’t often see: a varsity jacket for pole vaulting. A real beauty, too. … Latest TV show to use ancient (well, 30-year-old) USFL footage: The Game (from Marc Viquez). … WR Brandon LaFell, newly acquired by the Pats, engaged in a Twitter discussion last night regarding what his new uni number should be (from Tom Adjemian).

 

95 comments to To Tuck or Not to Tuck: That Is the Question

  • DenverGregg | March 19, 2014 at 8:20 am |

    Guessing you meant to describe Roccot as a commenter rather than a commener.

    The CotD depicted two different items I remember my Dad using. Very nice.

    • Connie DC | March 19, 2014 at 8:59 am |

      Yep, fine COTD. I produced many mediocre college papers on some of this babies…

      • arrScott | March 19, 2014 at 9:45 am |

        I missed fall semester finals my sophomore year of high school with an illness and had to come in Christmas week to take them. I had a typing class that semester, and as I was taking my exam in the typing room on an IBM Selectric, a maintenance guy was removing the typewriters from the room one by one, and another maintenance guy was following him, setting up brand-new Macintoshes on the empty desks. I was literally the last person to use a typewriter at my high school.

        Play some Bell Biv Devoe or maybe “Pump Up the Jam” over that memory, and it’s the very distilled essence of 1990.

  • leo strawn jr | March 19, 2014 at 8:23 am |

    50th NFL anniversary mug (from ’69) has 1966 Broncos helmet on it?!

    • The Jeff | March 19, 2014 at 8:28 am |

      I thought that was weird too.

    • mild bill | March 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm |

      NFL stickin’ it to the AFL?

  • The Leprechaun | March 19, 2014 at 8:33 am |

    To get the full zeitgeist of the Green Sabres St. Patrick’s Jersey you need to see the back — Gaelic o’NOB and a shamrock on the number:
    pic.twitter.com/e3E7TI8G99

  • girard31 | March 19, 2014 at 8:47 am |

    The NCAA ban on untucked jerseys took awhile to come about, because here’s a link to a 1982 Marquette yearbook where they were still wearing untucks long after McGuire left, and as you can see, it evolved into a more conventional look.
    http://cdm16280.cont...

    • Rob S | March 19, 2014 at 9:16 am |

      You wouldn’t happen to remember the page number, would you?

      • Rob S | March 19, 2014 at 9:41 am |

        Never mind, I found it… coverage starts on page 270.

    • Perry | March 19, 2014 at 10:38 am |

      IIRC, the 30-for-30 doc says the ban came down in 1984.

  • Connie DC | March 19, 2014 at 8:55 am |

    “… Here’s something you don’t often see: a varsity jacket for pole vaulting. A real beauty, too. …… ”

    Fabulous.

    • Chris Cruz | March 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm |

      The pole vaulting jacket appears to come from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA, the home of the Mira Costa Mustangs.
      http://www.miracosta...

      I grew up a couple towns over, pole vaulted in high school, and graduated in 1998 (the same as the original owner of the jacket unless his “98” refers to his wrestling weight or something else). The thing I find unusual about this jacket is that there are no patches for being a varsity track athlete. In our area at that time, people would earn a patch for each varsity sport they played and an extra bar for each additional year they competed. A crazy example is found here:
      http://www.embroider...

      I earned a football patch and an extra bar for two years of varsity football but never got a track patch because I didn’t receive enough “points” in competition to earn a patch (I sort of sucked as a pole vaulter).

      Anyone on the board from Mira Costa who could answer whether they too had individual sport patches? Anyone else from a school where you had to earn “points” to earn your patch?

  • scottrj | March 19, 2014 at 8:56 am |

    Let me make sure I have this straight: the Posnanski article linked to in ‘Skins Watch debunks the Cleveland Indians naming myth propagated by (among others) the author of the op-ed decrying the use of Indian mascots/nicknames linked to in the very next sentence in ‘Skins Watch?

    What do you call that? Irony? Serendipity?

  • Larry | March 19, 2014 at 9:01 am |

    Wow, a shout out to Bob McAllister and RomperRoom! Now THAT brings back memories of the early 70’s! And to think most readers have no idea…….

    • Paul Lukas | March 19, 2014 at 9:06 am |

      Not Romper Room — Wonderama!

      • Rob S | March 19, 2014 at 10:11 am |

        I had to look up Wonderama, and it seems it was only syndicated in four markets outside of New York. I’d say that’s a fairly limited reference pool.

        Me, I can’t recall anything about watching Romper Room (though my family can attest that I did), but I do remember the Hot Fudge show.

        • scottrj | March 19, 2014 at 11:50 am |

          Well, count me in that reference pool. I actually won a contest on Wonderama, probably 1966 or ’67. The prize? Tickets to a live stage performance by none other than The Three Stooges.

          Even at the tender age of 6 or so, the event filled me with nothing but sadness.

      • Thresh8 | March 19, 2014 at 11:14 am |

        Wonderama! Channel 5 carried a fair ways into Connecticut.

        Wasn’t Romper Room on channel 9 in that era?

    • walter | March 19, 2014 at 9:17 am |

      I date back to the Sonny Fox years.

    • Will S | March 21, 2014 at 11:17 am |

      Some one just put up some local (to me) Romper Room pics from back in 1962 on an open Facebook page.

      Here’s one for them:
      https://www.facebook...

  • LT | March 19, 2014 at 9:02 am |

    Ned Yost and the Royals also forbid players from wearing their glasses on the front of their hat. I couldn’t find the article where it was mentioned, but it was one of the things that Yost implemented at the time he was hired.

    • just Joe | March 19, 2014 at 10:44 am |

      Not surprising with Yost being another Bobby Cox graduate

  • Rob S | March 19, 2014 at 9:06 am |

    Last night was the second time the Devils wore their red-and-green throwbacks this season, as they wore them in their Stadium Series game, unaltered (despite the speculation that they’d use the chromed logo, the only modification for the Stadium Series was the added shoulder patch).

    • walter | March 19, 2014 at 9:19 am |

      I sure wish the Devils would wear the red helmets with their regular uniforms.

      • JTH | March 19, 2014 at 11:02 am |

        Nah.

        But green helmets would look great with those throwbacks. Historical accuracy be damned!

  • Tony C. | March 19, 2014 at 9:09 am |

    i too have meet Matt Hardy on a few occassions. He use to come into the Lids i ran in NC when he was home on his breaks or out due to injury..

    • Tony C. | March 19, 2014 at 9:40 am |

      he seemed nice enough, but this was well before his whole getting in fights with his gf/wife

  • KC | March 19, 2014 at 9:53 am |

    I hate the Yankees, but I still covet that usher jacket.

  • Robert Eden | March 19, 2014 at 10:01 am |

    Having had a Tom Seaver-as-a-Red poster on my wall for the past 30+ years, he looks totally natural to me in that garb. I always pause uncomfortably whenever I see him in the uniform of any team other than the Reds.

    • Phil Hecken | March 19, 2014 at 11:55 am |

      ” I always pause uncomfortably whenever I see him in the uniform of any team other than the Reds.”

      ~~~

      Um…even in a Mets uni? I could see anyone getting uncomfortable with him in a Chisox or BoSox uni…but Mets? C’mon man.

  • Mike | March 19, 2014 at 10:04 am |

    My favorite line from the article about native american mascots in Maine: “Something as innocuous as a mascot should never provide a platform for showing disrespect to a culture and for being offensive to anyone at all.”

    • arrScott | March 19, 2014 at 10:14 am |

      Kind of echoes this recent XKCD cartoon, which boils the whole debate down to its most important essence:

      http://xkcd.com/1332...

      • Mike | March 19, 2014 at 10:33 am |

        Nice cartoon. I guess I just don’t understand falling on your sword for a mascot. Because keeping the mascot is status quo, the anti-mascot crowd are seen as the unreasonable troublemakers. Mascot supporters decry “political correctness” (sorry Paul I know you hate that term — I do too). The author of the article turns this around, however, when he describes the mascots as “innocuous”. So who’s being unreasonable, then?

        • The Jeff | March 19, 2014 at 11:01 am |

          I hope somewhere there’s a newspaper with a cartoon showing a Native American and Redskins/Indians fan both sharing a speech bubble with “It’s just a sports team, why do you care so much about changing the name?” in it.

        • Mike | March 19, 2014 at 11:28 am |

          The Jeff, You captured this perfectly. I think you missed your calling. Maybe you need to take up cartooning as a profession

        • DenverGregg | March 19, 2014 at 11:58 am |

          Forget putting it in a fishwrap. Put it on a t-shirt.

        • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 1:45 pm |

          “So who’s being unreasonable, then?”

          I don’t know about unreasonable, but I think you’re misreading “innocuous”. The author isn’t saying that the Indian-themed mascots are innocuous, but that a mascot should be innocuous, but with cultural misappropriation, it’s not.

          “It’s just a sports team, why do you care so much about changing the name?”

          Likewise, if it’s *just* a sports team, why care so much about keeping the name?

        • Mike | March 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm |

          Yes, I understand that the author wasn’t calling the specific mascots innocuous, but that mascots should be innocuous. I guess I find the “leave well enough alone” argument to be faulty. Chief Wahoo, the Redskins and the others are the “unreasonables” (upsetters to the status quo)… It has just taken us, as a culture, a while to realize it.

        • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm |

          My bad, I misunderstood your comment completely.

  • jrod3737 | March 19, 2014 at 10:05 am |

    Note on the NFHS officiating shirt change, the NCAA shirt is eerily similar. However the NCAA is a patented/trademarked 2-inch stripe. The NFHS had to go with a 2-1/4-inch stripe so as to not upset the financial gods.

  • quiet seattle | March 19, 2014 at 10:17 am |

    When I played high school basketball, my jersey always came untucked minutes into the game. Not deliberately. It just did. I guess my frame and nature didn’t take kindly to that fashion rule.

    I’ve always felt uncomfortable wearing a shirt tucked in. The rare hour or two when I have to wear a suit is miserable. The shirt just begs to be released from its suffocating prison.

    My socks, too, never wanted to stay up when I played.

    Yes, I am a disheveled mess.

    • DenverGregg | March 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |

      You could keep both shirt and socks in place with something like this, were you so inclined.

      • BvK1126 | March 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm |

        That looks uncomfortable.

    • Wheels | March 19, 2014 at 10:25 pm |

      Pistol Pete Maravich’s socks were like that too.

  • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 10:39 am |

    re: Posnanski article is a great, fascinating read and it certainly debunks the myth that Sockalexis was the sole inspiration fro the Indians name. But I think there’s still a possibility that the nickname was partly inspired by Sockalexis, even if they were simply picking a name that was in vogue at the time – those things aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Yeah, they’ve sanitized Sockalexis’s biography to fit the “honor” narrative and it’s certainly a self-serving, disingenuous one, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as Posnanski went. Then again, I’m probably just picking nits here.

    • Perry | March 19, 2014 at 10:51 am |

      Posnanski says in the article that “the truth is somewhere in the silence between the notes.” His actual conclusion is that while the team being named to honor Sockalexis is certainly a myth, the name “does have something to do with him.”

      As Pos says several times in the article, “things are always more complicated than you think.”

      • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 11:21 am |

        You’re right – I think my issue is that it was a liiiitle bit oversold, and it’s less a through debunking than a well-researched de-mythification.

    • BvK1126 | March 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm |

      One of the things I found most interesting about Posnaski’s article is his use of historical newspaper articles and book excerpts about Sockalexis. Anyone who reads those accounts of Sockaelexis being a “wild” “redskin,” and “just one more drunken Indian,” can’t possibly make a straight-faced argument that teams adopted names like “Indians” and “Redskins” with the intent to honor a group of people they admired and respected.

  • BlueScare | March 19, 2014 at 10:50 am |

    Paul,

    Joe Posnanski’s article doesn’t exactly debunk the Sockalexis story. As he says, “Everything is more complicated than you think.”

    It goes on to state that the fans of the team were eager to be rid of the name “Spiders” and began calling the team “Indians” due directly to the presence of Sockalexis on the team.

    While the myth that the team was later named Indians to honor Sockalexis was shown false, it seems that it is also proven that the Indians name was directly related to him and not a slur then or now.

    • The Jeff | March 19, 2014 at 11:16 am |

      I don’t think anyone is claiming Indians is a slur. The issue with Cleveland is that some people feel that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature, rather than just being an attempt at a fun cartoon logo similar to the Swingin’ Padre or the Orioles’ bird.

      • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 11:24 am |

        Can’t it be a racist caricature AND an attempt at a fun cartoon logo? I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I mean, when people went to see minstrel shows, they didn’t say, “Let’s go oppress some negroes with the soft yet insidious, race-based comic tropes.” They just wanted to be entertained.

      • arrScott | March 19, 2014 at 11:51 am |

        TH has the right of it – of course Wahoo is meant to be a fun cartoon. And obviously it fails in light of modern sensibilities and is in fact a completely racist equivalent of Little Black Sambo. There’s all kinds of Indian iconography I’d totally approve of the Indians using while keeping the name.

        But if one follows Paul’s ethics on this, then the Indians name itself is problematic, in that it’s an appropriation of “culturally intellectual property” (for want of a better term).

      • scottrj | March 19, 2014 at 11:59 am |

        Actually, The, that Maine op-ed linked to immediately after the Posnanski link does precisely that viz a viz Skowhegan HS. The curious thing being (1) that there’s at least some historical basis for use of the name,
        http://www.roadsidea...

        and (2) the logo at least is a relatively dignified one (can’t speak for any mascot they might use).
        http://www.msad54.or...

    • BvK1126 | March 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm |

      There’s a difference between stating that the Cleveland Indians were named in reference to Louis Sockalexis and claiming that they were named to honor him. It sounds like those who referred to Cleveland’s baseball team as “the Indians” in the late 1890s and early 1900s did so not so much as an admiring tribute to Sockalexis, but more from a sense of amused curiosity.

  • Jim Gregg | March 19, 2014 at 10:55 am |

    The reason a lot of pro golfers wear their sunglasses on the backs of their hats is to not obscure the sponsor logo. Didn’t know baseball teams had this same rule since the logo is not a sponsor logo.

    On another note, Paul, Loudmouth Apparel is opening a grill in Orlando and it is where the Perkins Restaurant of Tiger Woods fame was located. First time for a golf apparel themed restaurant?

  • Jim Gregg | March 19, 2014 at 11:08 am |

    Link to story on Loudmouth Grill. Opens 22 March complete with John Daly.

    http://www.golfdiges...

  • Joseph Gerard | March 19, 2014 at 11:08 am |

    So I see I finally got profiled. Funny that I said that my car has been reliable, because since I emailed Paul my car has actually started acting up.

    With regards to the untucked Marquette jerseys–I’m sorry. Regardless of the sport (except hockey), tucked-in jerseys are better.

    • Mike | March 19, 2014 at 11:23 am |

      All of the tuck/untuck talk reminds me of the BW3 commercial that has been airing recently during college basketball with a “trash-talker” making fun of someone for wearing their jersey tuckedin http://www.youtube.c...

  • Diddy | March 19, 2014 at 11:52 am |

    what an idiot to do that to his hat… just want to get attention

    • Paul Lukas | March 19, 2014 at 1:20 pm |

      Sort of like trolls who sit around posting nothing but negative comments on websites, eh?

  • sam | March 19, 2014 at 11:52 am |

    My theory with the 00 YOUR NAME HERE guy is that was a sample jersey from a shop that does custom lettering. Probably got it at a big discount.

    • The Jeff | March 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm |

      You’re probably right, but it’s much cooler if we pretend he actually ordered a custom jersey instead.

      Slightly related, I once wore a YOUR NAME HERE nametag at work for 3 months once before management noticed and made me get a new one. Damn their lack of a sense of humor. The customers loved it.

  • Ben Fortney | March 19, 2014 at 12:22 pm |

    Supremely impressed with Roccot’s DIY catcher’s mask. That’s a beauty, very nice job.

    • RoccoT | March 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm |

      Thanks Ben. It was fun to dust off the skills after 20 years of inactivity.

  • Ben Fortney | March 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm |

    I bought an old Swedish Navy peacoat years ago from a surplus shop in London. I had absolutely no idea what the “tail” sewn into the back was for until my uncle saw it one time and said “It’s to keep your jewels warm.”

    Who knew crotch extensions were a thing?

  • timmy b | March 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm |

    May mean next to nothing to a lot of folks here, but John Moynahan, the most knowledgeable man or woman about the history of sports broadcasting history, has passed away. Apart from being a uni geek, being a sportscasting history nerd is a major passion of mine. John’s knowledge in this field was beyond incredible. We have lost a treasure.

  • mike d | March 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm |

    The Yankees should replicate that jacket for the ushers today.

  • Ed Hirsch | March 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm |

    Paul..do you have a source for the NFHS announcement? Curious if they are including position placards on the back as part of the uniform.

    Also…since I’ve seen it used on this site before, I thought I’d mention that the term “Zebra” in reference to referees and officials is actually offensive to those of us that actually take the field and take the rest of the abuse that comes with being a good official. Since we’re sensitive to other “offensive” names on this site, I’d appreciate you not using that term anymore. Officials and/or Referee is fine. Thank you.

    • Paul Lukas | March 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm |

      Source: Email that was sent from NFHS to a ref who then forwardd it to me. Not in a position to find the original now.

      “Zebras”: I use it because (a) “ref” is too broad a term (doesn’t apply to hockey linesmen, football back judges, etc.) and (b) “official” is too often mistaken for an adjective.

      • Ed Hirsch | March 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm |

        It is offensive. Capitalize the word official then, as in “Football Official” or “Hockey Official”. Heck, even “guys in stripes” would be better. I’ve had parents and coaches try to address me as “Zebra” and they’ve been immediately corrected, “My name is Ed, or Mr. Hirsch or Mr. Official” we are not “zebra” or “blue” or “hey ref”. Show some respect.

        • Paul Lukas | March 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

          I’m not sure how a fan is supposed to know your name, and I understand that refs/umps/officials/zebras/etc. take a lot of abuse, but please don’t take that shit out on me. You want respect? Don’t implicitly compare yourself to a historically marginalized race.

          Jeez.

        • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm |

          Capitalizing a common noun like “football official”, unless it’s a departmental title, is just poor grammar.

        • Mike V. | March 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm |

          I ump softball and prefer to be called “Blue”. If anyone called me Mr. anything I would wonder who they were talking to. It’s a ballgame, not a social gala. Let’s have some fun. I call the pitcher “pitch” the catcher “catch” and such, it’s part of the game and why I love it.

        • Graf Zeppelin | March 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm |

          I’ve seriously never heard this before. When I coached baseball I always referred to the umpires as “Blue;” when I coached football, “Ref.” I’ve never had a sports official tell me they were offended by that.

          When I officiate games, I actually prefer to be called “Blue” or “Ref” rather than by my name, and this is especially true when, e.g., I’m at camp during Color War and I know the kids and counselors personally. When I’m umping or reffing, my job is to ump and ref and the players and coaches should think of me as the ump or the ref, not as “Graf” (not my real name, but stay with me here). Whatever happens in the game should stay on the field; I don’t want them taking it personally during, or especially after, the game.

          Now, in that context it’s a little different; I’m not a professional or trained ump/ref. I do my best, but it’s hard and I’m not as good at it as I used to be, because I don’t do it very often.

          I can understand bristling at having spectators yell “Hey, Ref!” or “Aww, come on, Blue!!!” from the stands, but I think I’d rather hear that than hear people shout expressions of derision using my actual name.

          I just think that officiating sporting events should be a very impersonal affair. I’m sure not everyone agrees.

        • arrScott | March 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm |

          If you are acting as an umpire – ie, you’re officiating a baseball game, not a soccer game – then it is correct as a matter of common courtesy to address you as “umpire” or “ump.” Just as it is correct to refer to a police officer, when addressing her in her professional function, as “officer.” And so forth with “referee” or “judge” or whatever, if that’s the title of an official in a given sport.

          The more idiomatic terms like “blue” or “zebra” are fine when speaking in the abstract or the third person. When speaking to an individual, they’re a little less up to the highest Emily Post standards, but if they’re inappropriate, it’s a matter of manners, not of offensiveness. It’s akin to “cop.” “The cops showed up in two minutes” is unobjectionable, as is, “My new neighbor is a cop.” But when addressing a constable directly, “Hey, cop!” is less than ideal. “Officer!” would be more polite.

        • scottrj | March 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm |

          So do you address the coaches as “Mr. Coach” and the players “Mr. Quarterback” and the like? :)

          That said, it’s unfortunate that as a referee you have to have any interaction whatsoever with parents.

        • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm |

          Rugby’s more formal – we had to refer to the ref as “sir”, and only the captain was supposed to talk to him.

        • Padday | March 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm |

          Or if you’re French, referring to him as ‘tu’ is a big nono. http://www.irishtime...

        • Curt | March 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm |

          Ed, if “zebra” offends you, then you’re probably way too uptight to be a real referee/umpire/official. You’re probably one of those guys itching to throw the “excessive celebration” flag in football when some kid blinks too quickly.

          I’ve been reffing multiple sports myself for more than a quarter-century, and it generally takes something that starts or includes a four-letter-word to offend me (which I thankfully hear only on rare occasions.) And I think that’s true with most sports officials worth their salt.

          Don’t be so sensitive.

  • LarryB | March 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

    Hey, Joseph Gerard a fellow Youngstown State Penguin. Good to know more about you Joe.
    Are you from Pittsburgh area or just living there? Or from Youngstown area?

  • Perry | March 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm |

    And now a commenter on Posnanski’s website has weighed in with this excerpt from a book published by the club. It was allegedly taken from page 8 of the Jan. 18, 1915 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

    “Many years ago there was an Indian names Sockalexis who was the star of the Cleveland baseball club. As a batter, fielder, and baserunner, he was a marvel. Sockalexis so far outshone his teammates that he naturally came to be regarded as the whole team. The “fans” throughout the country began to call the Clevelanders the “Indians.” It was an honorable name, and while it stuck, the team had an excellent record.

    “It has now been decided to revive this name. The Clevelanders of 1915 will be the “Indians.” There will be no real Indians on the roster, but the name will recall fine traditions. It is looking backward to a time when Cleveland had one of the most popular teams in the United States. It also serves to revive the memory of a single great player who has been gathered to his fathers in the happy hunting ground of Abenakis.”

    May be bogus, of course, but that’s an awfully specific citation if it is. Pos claimed his search showed no mention of “Sockalexis” in more than 300 national newspapers in 1915.

    • CortM | March 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm |

      For what it’s worth, a profile on Sockalexis appears in the Sunday, August 11, 1912 edition of the Buffalo Courier-Express. It’s datelined “Old Town, Me, August 10.” The lead sentence: “This is a story about Louis Sockalexis, from his own home town, written because thousands of baseball fans are asking, ‘Whatever became of Sockalexis?'” It describes him as better than “your Ty Cobbs, and Wagners, and Bakers” in his prime, and reassures fans that Sockalexis is neither “dying in poverty” nor “a ghost of his former self.” Quite the contrary: “He is just a fat, smoky, lazy Indian. He lives with his tribe on the Indian island reservation of the Penobscots…He doesn’t work much because he doesn’t have to….[his] tribe is, in a way, the ward of the state of Maine.” The “close to 200 pound” former star is given high marks for his baseball knowledge and his “quiet dignity.” Echoing Posnaski’s research, the article claims that Sockalexis’s downfall “dated from his first pay day. The lights of the big city dazzled him…He simply would not listen to managerial advice or recognize any discipline. He was given every chance, but there was the aboriginal Indian thirst for firewater, which was unquenchable.” Socklaexis was considered a bust; “when the great book of baseball is written there will be a short but graphic chapter on ‘Sockalexis: The Man Who Might Have Been.'”

      Louis Sockalexis had a cousin, Andrew Sockalexis, who was a marathon runner of some repute. The article closes with a comparison between the ruined Louis and his clean-living cousin: “Andrew never tasted liquor, and has never used tobacco. He has more of the Indian traits of stoical silence, dogged determination, with a physique that made him a world contender. The old tribesmen say: ‘Andrew Sock um good boy. Louis Sock-ugh!'”

      Clearly Our Enlightened Ancestors had nothing but respect for the man they knew as “The Abnaki Adonis.”

    • scottrj | March 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm |

      Specific that citation may be, but per this scholarly article a September 1914-March 1915 review of the sports sections of all four Cleveland newspapers whose sportswriters participated in renaming the club reveals not a single mention of Sockalexis. Even more interestingly, it gives the date on which the cartoon posted in Posnanski’s piece was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and says it was accompanied by an article referring to the “Indians” moniker as “temporarily bestowed” until the team “earn[ed] some other cognomen which may be more appropriate” – January 17, 1915, i.e., precisely one day prior to the day cited by the commenter to Posnanski’s article.
      http://www.aistm.org...

      I

      • Perry | March 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm |

        Is it possible it wasn’t in the sports section? It kind of reads like it might have been on the editorial page.

  • RoccoT | March 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm |

    I see I picked a bad day to skip the baseball news section. Thanks for those that commented.

  • Curt | March 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm |

    For those non-Memphis-Tennessee residents, you may not know that our fine city’s name sake is Memphis, Egypt…hence the Pyramid Arena (soon to be reborn as a Bass Pro Super Center…no joke). But Memphis, Egypt is also the inspiration for what the Memphis Redbirds (AAA affiliate of the Cardinals) will be doing on June 7th. I don’t know if this is just bad, or so bad that it’s awesome…

    https://fbcdn-sphoto...

    • DenverGregg | March 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm |

      Will the socks be for sale? I’d totally wear those. Heck, I’d even consider the jersey.

      • terriblehuman | March 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm |

        If the pitcher steps off the rubber after he goes into a throwing motion, is he balking like an Egyptian?

        • Curt | March 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm |

          If the opposing pitcher is wild that night, you could be hearing that song a lot as batters head toward first. Heh.

        • Mike Engle | March 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm |

          A King Tut strut around the bases for a home run.

      • Paul Lukas | March 19, 2014 at 11:24 pm |

        Agreed. I want those socks!

  • LD | March 20, 2014 at 12:25 am |

    Removing Wahoo patches? UGH

    • BrianC | March 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      Just do it cleanly, not like that guy who looks like he did it with a hungry wolverine.