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Leo's World Gets A Lede - A Look At Rams Helmets in the Late '40s

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By Phil Hecken

Weekend readers of Uni Watch know that Leo Strawn, Jr. has a column that periodically appears on here called “Leo’s World,” in which he documents strange and unusual uniform happenings from the past. Today’s lede was actually submitted for “Leo’s World,” but it’s simply too good not to be given top of the blog status. This is a really excellent piece of historical research, so I will now turn it over to Leo as he examines… (Continue reading)

O's Faux It Back Fifty Years

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By Phil Hecken

To celebrate their World Series winning season of 1966, the Orioles threwback (or faux’edback) last evening to that magical year, wearing uniforms that pretty well approximated the ones worn in 1966. Unfortunately, to have been a true throwback, the uniforms in 1966 would NOT have come with the “50th Anniversary – World Champions” patch like the one you see above. But other than that…

Now, if you’d just casually tuned into last evening’s game, you could be forgiven for barely noticing the Orioles unis were even different than their current uniforms. Yes, the cap they wear today has a white front panel and the “Orioles” is larger, but the 1966 uniforms (and many of the years in between) have featured the Birds in remarkably similar uniforms — a testament to their classic design and staying power. (Continue reading)

A Look at a 1965 Mets Program

Reader Brian Sullwold’s mother was recently going through her attic and found something cool: a 1965 Mets program, apparently purchased and saved by Brian’s grandfather half a century ago. His grandfather even filled out the scorecard, which was apparently from this Mets/Cardinals game, played on Aug. 21, 1965.

There are several noteworthy things about the program, beginning with the cover (shown above), which shows a Mets player with no front jersey number. As it happens, 1965 was the year that the Mets added a front number, after having gone number-free for their first three seasons. It’s not clear if the lack of the number on the cover illustration was a carryover from the previous look or an attempt to make the illo player seem more generic by not assigning him a real player’s number.

A few other things that caught my eye (for all photos, you can click to enlarge): (Continue reading)

Is the Underhand Free Throw Unaesthetic?

On Saturday the Tugboat Captain and I drove to the north shore of Long Island so she could show me her hometown. (Fun fact: For several years her next-door neighbor — at least on weekends — was William Shea, the namesake of Shea Stadium. One time she even went trick-or-treating at his house for Halloween.) On the drive there, we listened to the new epside of This American Life, which turned out to be largely about Wilt Chamberlain and underhand free throws.

Quick background: Everyone knows Rick Barry did his free throws underhand, but you might not realize that Chamberlain did it as well, at least early in his career. On the night of his famous 100-point game in 1962, he made 28 free throws (still a single-game record) — all of them underhand. He was a very good free throw shooter when he used the underhand style, but he didn’t stick with it. Instead, he reverted to the conventional overhand shot — and was, for most of his career, a brutal shooter from the charity stripe.

The This American Life episode is all about people who make bad choices even when they know better, and the poster child they present for this phenomenon is Chamberlain, who stuck with the overhand shot even though he knew he was much better with the underhand style. At one point the segment’s narrator — the writer Malcolm Gladwell (who, aside from writing bestselling books like The Tipping Point, happens to be a big basketball fan) — quotes from Chamberlain’s autobiography, written in the 1970s, as follows: (Continue reading)