By Phil Hecken
A very Happy Fathers Day to the entire Uni Watch readership!
As many of you know, I was very close to my own father, who passed away in July of 2011 (Paul wrote a beautiful eulogy that still brings a tear to my eye this day). I still miss him terribly.
In fact, I knew we here at Uni Watch were a family, but the comments following Paul’s post that day truly cemented that. As much as we may needle and jibe each other about uniform stuff, I’m pretty sure any number of Uni Watchers would lie down in traffic for another, even after we’d just argued over the relative merits of colored softball tops versus gray button-front jerseys. Or worse. I consider many of you my family.
Last year, at the suggestion of reader Cort McMurray, a tradition was born. Cort suggested then that “it would be kind of cool to invite Uni Watchers to share photos of their dads in sports uniforms this Sunday.” I thought the idea was genius, and last year marked the first annual tribute to our own fathers in uniform. I’m very pleased to be repeating that again this year.
During the week, I had asked for your photos and a short (50 to 100 word) writeup of your dad in uniform — as it turns out, I received far more submissions than I expected, and many of you went over 100 words. I was going to edit them down, but then I read each one, many bringing a new tear to my eye, and said to myself: “No way — these words are precious and when else do we really share our personal thoughts on Uni Watch? And who am I to edit anyone who loves their dads as you readers clearly do?” I had even asked one reader to edit his own post, only to put in the full-length version here today. It’s only appropriate.
Aside from the wonderful personal stories you’re about to read, a few things struck me– first off, three ladies contributed, which probably exceeds the number who comment on a given day and certainly the number who participate in the various contests I host. That’s really fantastic that you have such a tremendous bond with your own fathers! Second, many of our fathers have since passed away, and it’s clear you guys and gals miss your dads and can write about (or to) them as if they’re still here, at least in spirit. And while we received a number of photos of our dads in sports uniforms (which is, after all, what Uni Watch is about), there were also a number of non-sports unis, which is also great.
Some of you sent more than one photograph. And I have included each one even if you sent more than one. Most of these can be clicked on to reveal a higher resolution, but a couple are pretty much full-size. But whether it was one or several photos, or 100 or more words, this was truly an honor and a privilege to put together. It’s become my favorite post of the year.
So, dear readers, please take a few minutes of this Father’s Day to check out Our Dads In Uniform. There will be no ticker, no concepts or colorizations or anything else today. Just your stories and photographs and memories.
Feel free to talk about anything today — and if you have a story about your Dad, please share.
Enjoy. And Charles, how did your name get changed?
Attached is a picture of my paternal grandfather, John Komlos (later John Rogers), with the 1928 Brookfield (Ohio) High football team. He’s on the very left in the middle row. He went on to play college football at NC State and Duquesne and then a couple years (1939-1941) in the old AFL for the Cincinnati Bengals. He met my grandma while playing in Cincinnati, married, served in the Navy in WWII, had two sons, and worked as a chef for most of his life. I remember him drinking Old Style and playing solitaire on the coffee table. Ask me about how his name got changed.
Charles Edward Rogers
I am a regular reader of your site, I don’t collect like I used to but still have my father’s blue Philadelphia Bell jersey framed in my house. I was an art major in college and made this collage of my father with the Bell. If you look at the small black and white photo of the huddle you will see that number 83 is WR Vince Papale of Invincible fame. If you would like to include this photo in your Dad’s in their football uniforms section be my guest.
Some of your readers may have seen some of the NFL Films movies that featured my father, I appeared in two Lost Treasures films and one episode of NFL Films presents that featured the King. I first met Steve Sabol in 1971 when he filmed my family playing touch football on the beach for the original Pottstown Firebirds movie. The King has been dead over five years now, there has been a story circulating about him lying about playing against Roger Staubach in 1964. My family was amazed how many people wrote about this without doing any fact checking at all? There is no doubt that my father was crazy and made up a lot of stories, but this is one that he didn’t make up. The only people that I have told this to were the people at NFL Films when they came to my house to interview my sister and I after he died. I thought is was wrong for people to take cheap shots at him about this Roger Staubach game when he was no longer alive to defend himself. I think after five years of this I will tell you the real story about my father playing against Roger Staubach and what the truth really is.
I knew my father up until 1987 when my parents split up, in that entire time he mentioned playing against Roger Staubach exactly twice, once when I was a kid and I was a Dallas fan and once when I was in high school when one of my friends asked him if he played against Roger Staubach. The story never changed, he said he played against Roger when he was a freshman at Maryland and led the team to an undefeated season. My father didn’t like playing at Maryland and never told any stories about his time there, he would much rather tell you about leading the WFL in TD passes in 1974.
While my father was still alive, someone decided to make a King Corcoran Wikipedia page, there were a lot of mistakes (The King was not born in 1943). In the bio it says my father led Maryland to a victory in 1964 over Navy. When my mother read this she said, this guy made a mistake, he mixed up this game with the game he played against Roger Staubach when they were freshman, a game that my mother attended.
Now in June 2009 the King dies, media outlets and websites went to the Wikipedia page to get information. They wrote that he beat Roger Staubach in 1964 which was incorrect. People, including former Maryland teammates started going on message boards accusing the King of taking credit for a game that he never played in and calling him a fraud and a liar. Since then this Wikipedia page has been updated to say that he beat Navy in 1961 but there are still many stories and dates that are incorrect on it.
What is ironic Phil is the King was known to come up with some pretty outrageous stories but beating Roger Staubach in 1964 wasn’t one of them. He never claimed to have played against him twice, only in 1961 when they were freshman and Maryland won that game. I hope this will finally put to rest the case of the second Staubach game. Happy Father’s Day everyone.
I’ve attached 2 photos to this email in the hope that you are able to include them in your Father’s Day column.
The first is my dad, Lenny Jacobs, taken in 1951 when he was a student at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. I have no good story to go along with this picture, nor do I know why my father (a huge Dodgers fan who forever forsook baseball when the Dodgers forsook Brooklyn) was doing in a Braves uniform, but I’m guessing that it was part of Spring Carnival, the biggest annual event on the CMU campus. I think Paul will like the stirrups that Dad is wearing.
The second picture is of my grandfather, Leon Holwitz, taken in 1917 when he was stationed at an army base in Jacksonville, FL. Obviously, grandpa was in the Cavalry – rather a strange posting for a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but since he’d spent a fair amount of time in his youth pushing a shovel behind the southern end of a north-bound horse, his draft board decided he was fit for cavalry duty. Fortunately, grandpa never left Florida or got anywhere near a shot fired in anger – but he did tell my mother as a child that he was on a troop transport bound for France when the Armistice was signed, so they turned the ship around in the middle of the Atlantic and went home!
Thanks very much, I enjoy your work on Uni-Watch quite a bit.
My Dad, Robert C. “Red” Lemire, was still a newlywed in this May 1947 photo. After WWII, he played for the South Ends in a Lowell, MA area men’s baseball league. His war injuries prevented a once-promising chance at the big leagues. Like many of the “The Greatest Generation” he had no regrets and felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to play at Fenway Park and Braves Field on several occasions in high school and CYO tourneys.
Stephen J. Lemire
In case you’re doing a Fathers Day column here is a picture of my dad, John “Daddy” Adomaitis when he was a guard-punter-place kicker for the Bayonne Bulldogs, a semi-pro team, back in the ’40s. He got his nickname “Daddy” when he was a little kid and his brother, while leaning to talk, called him “Daddy”. Everyone thought that was funny and the name stuck all his life. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 81 a NY Giants and Mets fan to the end. When he was young he was a NY baseball Giants fan but dropped them when they moved. So he was a National League guy and took up with the Mets when they came along in ’62. He was a great dad, had a great sense of humor, always there for me, and is always missed.
My dad, Howard Jacob “Jake” Hughes, played many sports, and played them all well, but lacrosse was his first love. He played from the late 40s to 1968, mostly for the Maryland Lacrosse Club Rebels (photo is from an old-timers’ game in 1975). He’s still MLC’s all-time leading scorer (the team disbanded in the 90s or 00s). He also spent decades as a lacrosse official, training legions of younger officials. He stayed involved with the sport for the rest of his life. He passed away from COPD and lung cancer on June 18, 2007—the day after Father’s Day.
P.S. I play ice hockey, not lacrosse, and I play goal, not crease attack (an extinct position in lacrosse today). I wear #1 in homage to Jacques Plante and Eddie Giacomin, but there’s a 21 (Dad’s number) on the inside of my jersey, over my heart, and there’s a 21 on the side of my mask. I also have Dad’s #21 jersey from touch football—a great old Durene item with ¾ length sleeves and oddly contrasting material used for the interior elbow pads. And I really MEAN contrasting—the jersey is a deep blue, but the elbow pad material is red/white striped on one elbow and green/white striped on the other.
The team picture attached is the 1918 Dunn Station (PA) Baseball team. My Grandfather is in the front row, second from the right, I believe as a teenager. He had an interesting sporting career, as I know the family has other pictures of him from the Washington Jefferson College and he played in the 1922 Rose Bowl against Cal (0-0 tie). Unfortunately he passed away when I was 18 months old, so all my stories of him come through my dad.
The other picture is circa 1953 and is my Dad in his Army uniform. There are other family pictures (I can’t find them right now) of my Dad on the 1947/48 Dunn Station, PA Baseball team.
I love the idea of doing a Father’s Day tribute to dads in uniforms. I considered sending a photo of my dad in one of his service uniforms – he was in both the Army and the Navy – but instead decided on the attached shot, which is the only one I know of where my dad is wearing a sports-related uniform.
My dad, Will Adams, was not much of an athlete as a kid. As an adult, he loved to golf and ski and even went through the requisite fitness phase in the 70s when he regularly jogged and cycled, until he crashed and broke his nose while riding my bike. I don’t think he ever participated in any sport that required a uniform, and being an umpire for my brothers’ Little League was the closest he came to team sports. This photo was taken in 1965 when he was an ump for the Tri-Village Little League in Greenlawn, NY.
The image is of my father during his playing days at Loyola University, Chicago. The dark tones in the uniform are actually maroon, accented by gold stripes and lettering–very much in line with uni watch standards. Growing up, I grabbed any opportunity to wear those socks during practices and pick-up games, and I still have them in my hockey bag. My father died around this time two years ago. Suffice it to say, he was a significant influence on my sports-related aesthetic concerns, and I really like this representation of him. Thanks for offering a space to share.
Attached are three photos of my dad, Harold Landesberg, as a freshman at Duke University in 1942. He was a four-sport athlete (lettering in tennis, soccer, basketball and freshman football) and was among the students who served in the Navy during WWII in the midst of his education. I have copies of some box scores that showed he had his minutes off the bench – in the small forward position.
He played high school sports at West Philadelphia HS (followed decades later by Gene Banks who went from West Philly to Duke). A great athlete throughout his life – playing golf and tennis – until illness sidelined him. Very proud of his accomplishments on and off the court. Helped me to become a Duke alum as well.
My dad is third from the left on the bench. Cool satin-like warm-ups!
Attached is a picture of my Dad from back in Little League. I believe he was playing for Molly’s Bar-B-Q, guessing between the ages of 10-12 which would make this between 1967-1969. I am pretty sure this was in Littlefield, Texas. He still has one of his All-Star uniforms somewhere. We’ve all spent countless hours playing baseball, he was at every practice & game, usually the coach, but when not, he was still always there, he never missed. Thanks Dad we love you!
Wanted to share a couple of photos for the Father’s Day Edition.
My dad lives in another state and since I had no access to his yearbooks I had to look online and find the photos i wanted to share, hence the small photos.
Both of the photos have some classic design elements which I really enjoy and just look great in general, like everything did back then!
The first photo is of my dad (#2) as co-captain of the Glen Cove (NY) High School Lacrosse team taken during 1969, his senior year of high school. I believe he played all four years in High School. This photo and uniform are my favorite. I can’t be 100% sure but since the schools colors are red and green, I believe the number on the front of his jersey was red in this photo. From what I’ve been told by his cronies, my dad was a very popular guy and a great lacrosse player in high school. To this day he still thinks he can show me a thing or two. Obviously, my dad is my best friend.
The second photo I also wanted to include is of my uncle David McGrath on the Glen Cove High School Baseball team, taken during 1968, his sophomore year of high school. I really enjoy this photo because it has that classic baseball uniform look, with the piping and the arched lettering. Although I cant be sure, I believe that the script and piping is all red on this uni. From what I have been told my uncle was a multi-sport athlete (He was also on the football team as well), a really well-liked figure in high school and a great guy. David’s life was cut short when he was killed by a drunk driver while on spring break in Boynton Beach, FL many years before I was born. I never met him, but most of the photos I’ve seen of him are of him in some kind of uniform, therefore I wanted to be sure to include him in my entry.
Great work Phil
Happy Father’s Day!
Here’s a picture of my dad (aka, my personal hero), George Kamp in Viet Nam, 1966 (or thereabouts). (And yes, he survived and continues to do so.) He served in a MASH unit there, giving our family a different perspective of the TV show in the ’70s! He was by no means career military (as he puts it, “I did my 2 years and got out!”) but was drafted. He was relatively fresh out of medical school at the time, and doctors were in short supply, so he was a bit more mature than most draftees (31). Although he was never wounded in service but working in a MASH, he still saw some fairly horrifying things and doesn’t really talk a whole lot about his time in ‘Nam. To me, this picture has always told more of the story than he could anyway.
He’s just turned 80 and, I’d swear, is in just as good health as he was 48 years ago when this picture was taken. But for his white hair (and less of it!) and a few wrinkles, he hasn’t aged a day since this shot. God love him. I certainly do.
Great seeing you again last night, I’m glad we added some uniformity to the Uni Watch party.
I didn’t get to submit something last year, but here’s a photo of my father, my brother and myself in Miami Dolphins garb. I asked my mom and brother about the story behind this (Dad passed away in 2010) and they seem to agree that it was from 1987. My older brother, Chris, wrote a letter to Dan Marino, inviting him to our house for dinner. It looks like we all posed in Dolphins garb to show Dan how welcoming we were. I was a big Joe Montana fan (per our typical sibling rivalry) so it’s impressive that I was okay with this. None of us can remember where the unis came from, why each jersey is different, or why I’m wearing #77. My number choice turned out to be prophetic, since Chris has a Marino-esque throwing arm and I ended up on the offensive line in high school. Recently, Chris pointed out that his replica helmet had a gray facemask which bugged him because the real helmets were teal.
One quick note about my father: Hailing from Jersey City, Dad was a lifetime Giants and Jets fan. His team-specific fandom was never really passed on to us though, which I really admire. He was simply a fan of sports. When it was obvious that the Falcons and Braves were the teams he’d be seeing the most of, Dad happily rooted for them or whomever Chris and I chose to care about. Now, as a father-to-be and a passionate Braves fan living in NYC, I hope to emulate my father’s open-mindedness by encouraging my son to find his own players or teams to root for.
Here’s to all the great dads out there!
I’d love to be included in the father’s day write up. Attached find a pic of my dad, Ron Lutz, from the year I was born, in a work league bball uni.
My dad was born and raised a poor farm kid in Indiana, peach basket on the barn, the whole deal. Of course, he was a Larry Bird fan, so much so that we vacationed one year in French Lick. He started his family in South Texas though, and we became huge Spurs fans, starting during the Gervin years. So this time of year when our team gets deep in the NBA playoffs, we actually have something to talk about again.
My dad loved playing bball too, and though never made it beyond high school varsity, we had a drive way hoop and he could shoot the lights out like his hero, Larry. Fond memories of countless HORSE games in the Texas heat, and my dad showing no mercy on his son, raining jumpers from behind the backboard.
Thanks a lot for putting this together.
Not in full uniform, but here is possibly my favorite picture of my dad. It was taken a couple years after I was born years ago, and his smile is something I have not seen much in recent years. He’s a big St. Louis Cardinals fan and huge baseball fan. Taught me everything I know about playing and loving the game. We don’t see eye to eye about a lot of things in life these days, but we still have baseball together.
– Eric Lovejoy
Here’s a Fordham U post game shot of my father Rich (#40, on the left) knocking back a Coke with his buddy Pat Raftery, who he played with in High School too. It’s from 1967-68. Nice candid old school locker room shot with plenty going on to enjoy. Thanks for the opportunity to share it, and happy Father’s Day.
Paul & Phil,
Thanks for putting this together.
Last year I sent a photo of my late father in his college cross-country uniform from the early 1950’s, and another in an Army uniform taken shortly thereafter.
Attached is a photo of my dad in his letterman sweater in 1950. Also attached is a very recent photo of my nephew Ryan in the same sweater, as he will be attending the same school (Loyola-Baltimore) this fall.
This is my Dad, Doug Ford Sr. I believe this pic is from about 1960 at South Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, MD. He was a linebacker. I love this pic because you can see that glimmer in his eye….he was always getting into trouble!
Happy Father’s Day, Pop.
It seems that my Dad, John Yasinsac, was born with skates on, a baseball glove on one hand and a golf club in the other, and with the ability to kick soccer balls across the field. He still remains the best all-around athlete in our family but my brothers and I each got some of his abilities.
For many years he was a college soccer coach and golf coach, and an unofficial coach to us as we grew up playing hockey. He knew all about the x’s-and-o’s, but he also taught us to compete hard and to respect our teammates and opponents.
Here is one of my favorite photos of my Dad in a sports uniform, from when he was probably in his early teens. Then, and in most team photos, he looks like the team leader.
He lives in Florida now, and we’re up all north still, so we don’t get to see too many games together. But we all went to the Rangers-Devils game at Yankee Stadium in January, and that was really special. More photos, including some Father-Son shots, can be found here.
Good morning Phil. Attached are a couple photos of my father, David Mueller.
Dad played center for the Ohio University Bobcats from 1964-1968. He loved the Bobcats, but he used to complain about how heavy these jerseys were. I still have his old practice jersey, its thick sturdy cotton, more like a rugby shirt than a modern jersey. He passed away about a year ago, and we found all of the old scrapbooks his mom put together for each season.
I have attached an picture of my Dad, Stan Pace, when he played for the 1956-1957 Frenship HS Tigers in Wolfforth, Texas. He passed away 44 years ago today in a tragic boating accident, when I was only 3. I have few memories of him, but as a child my favorite thing to do was peruse his yearbooks and look at pictures such as this. I thought he was a god. I was given this picture a few years ago when my grandmother passed away. I have no idea who wrote “My Hero” on it, but that’s the caption I would write on it too! He was a great man.
I love this Father’s Day edition. What a great idea!
Susan Pace Foy
Dad in uniform! Thanks Phil…
This Karl Newkirk, circa 1955 looking good despite the stuff stance. Fortunately for me, he is a physical marvel, still doing it all at 73 years young and he passed those great genes to me…I pitch next Sunday at 51 years old in a 35+ league….Happy Father’s Day Dad!
Here are a couple shots of my dad in the 1963 Iowa High School State Basketball Tournament playing for the Laurens Elks back when it was still a one class tournament. Laurens was a small school that knocked off several big schools and highly ranked teams. They had the nickname “Giant Killers” which was part of the team picture in front of Vets Auditorium in Des Moines. My dad is on the left, with the sweet vest on! Love those bags they have as well! My brother and I also got to play in the state tournament at Boyden-Hull High School (brother 90, 91 and I played ’93, ’94) and my mom was a cheerleader for Laurens in ’63 as well. State Tournament has a special place in our family. Anyways, thanks for doing this every Father’s Day.
Here is my father, Ron Fedenko, circa 1961 or 62 doing his best Green Bay Packer Jim Ringo pose as the starting center for the North Fond du lac Orioles of Wisconsin. He also played basketball but I will save that photo for next year : )
This is a photo of my Dad, Jimmy, wearing his USPS uniform. He maintained and fixed mail trucks (like the one behind him) for over 35 years. He loved his job and wore that uniform proudly. Sadly, he passed away suddenly this fall. I found this picture of him when I went to go clean out his toolbox. This is my favorite photo of him.
This is a picture of my dad, Walter G. Hick. The photo was taken in the early fifties while he served as a Lt. In the U.S. Army. He’s sporting the brown jacket and khaki pant look (Think Hawkeye being brought up on charges by Frank Burns) that was soon changed to dark green.
I couldn’t find any pics featuring sporting attire, but I know he played a little of everything. He often refers to having played “assback” in football. Every time he would run on to the field the coach would yell, “Get your ass back on the bench!”
I realize that many people think highly of their fathers, and I’m no different. I am fortunate enough to witness that many, many people think highly of my dad. He’s helped make me the man I am today, and I couldn’t be more proud of that.