Is That a Banana in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

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I used to know this cartoonist named Sam Henderson. One of his regular gags was called “…is always funny.” A man slipping on a banana peel is always funny, for example. A pie in the face is always funny. A guy coming home to find his wife in bed with another man is always funny. Someone holding his nose in the presence of Limburger cheese is always funny.

My favorite entry on this list is gorillas. A gorilla is always funny. Not a real gorilla like the ones found in the wild, mind you — those are interesting in many ways but not particularly amusing. But a gorilla in pop culture are always funny, because it always looks like some guy in a gorilla suit, and that is always funny.

The comic effect is easy to demonstrate. Wonder Woman? Pretty lame. But Wonder Woman fighting a gorilla? High camp. Scantily clad women being tortured by Nazis? Heinous. Scantily clad women being tortured by Nazis and a gorilla? Hilarious.

All of which brings us to the comic book cover shown at the top of this page, which I stumbled across while researching something else. As you can see, it shows a gorilla in a library.

Holding a gun.

Plotting world domination.

While reading the classics.

Now that’s funny!

The whole notion of gorillas as fearsome creatures (fighting Wonder Woman, torturing chicks, pulling a gun on a librarian) seems odd. Like, why not a lion, or a bear, or something that can, you know, rip you to shreds? Part of it, obviously, is that gorillas look a lot like us, so we don’t just see our own fear reflected in their eyes — we see the primitive version of ourselves. And once that concept achieved iconic status via King Kong, it became a standard pop cultural trope. But me, whenever I see a “scary” gorilla, all I can think of is a guy putting on his gorilla suit. Which is always funny.

I’ll say this much for that comic book cover: It made me want to buy the comic book, which is exactly what a cover design is supposed to do. Seriously, how is that gorilla gonna take over the world by reading Moby Dick? I’ll know soon enough, because I just found a copy of the comic book on eBay for a buck. Will advise.

You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with uniforms, and the answer is nothing. It’s just what I felt like writing about today, because it’s not every day you see a gun-toting, literature-minded gorilla. Thanks for indulging me.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Adidas is continuing its Day-Glo and Zubaz with this year’s McDonald’s All-American uniforms. … The Formula 1 season begins this weekend, and Heikki Kovalainen will be wearing an Angry Birds helmet (from Dane Drutis). … Hmmm, ya think BYU is wearing enough jersey patches? (From Drew Sova.) … Love the Scottish-themed striping on Dunedin High School’s football helmet (from Josh Coney). … “My wife is working in Rio for the next week and found a pretty cool shop that does Brazilian soccer club throwbacks,” writes Justin Rectenwald. “Looks pretty great.” … Addition by Subtraction Dept.: The Florida Panthers are scrapping their third jerseys (from John Muir and Dane Drutis)). … This is awesome: a site that shows sports logos translated into crochet format (great find by Jake Kessler). … Russ Havens has created a presentation on this history of ticket stubs. … A reader who prefers to remain anonymous checks in with the following: “I work on the show Modern Family. I found this helmet on set this week. The first thing I noticed was that the emblem is embroidered, like on the Cubs’ batting helmets. Then I realized it’s the helmet that Tom Selleck wore in Mr. Baseball.” … Really ugly new uniforms for the Philadelphia Soul (from HHH). … New uniforms for the Japanese table tennis team (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: The Orix Buffaloes will be wearing 1984 Hankyu Braves throwbacks for four games this May and June. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Ya think maybe Jonathan Broxton’s pants a bit oversized? … Long Beach State has some pretty cool hoops uniforms. … If you click through this slideshow, you’ll see lots of ASU football players wearing knee pads (the kind you slide onto your leg, not the kind that fit into the football pants) during their spring practice. Interesting. … Brewers and Padres went blue-vs.-blue yesterday (from Brian Williams). … Live in Seattle and have nothing to do tonight? Scott M.X. Turner’s band, RebelMart, is playing at Shadowland.

Uni Watch DIY Project: The Star(s) Treatment

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Tom Qualls (that’s him above; no relation to Jimmy, I hope), who recently DIY’d himself an excellent St. Louis Stars Negro Leagues jersey. Enjoy. — PL]

By Tom Qualls

Last summer, as I settled in to watch my 100th Cardinals game of the summer on TV, I realized that my beloved Redbirds were wearing some magnificent St. Louis Stars Negro Leagues throwbacks. As soon as I saw them, I knew I must have one. Problem is, short of buying one that was auctioned off after the game, there was no supply. That’s where my new sewing skills came into play.

First I went to Epic Sports and ordered a gray jersey with navy pinstripes, made by a company called Alleson. I was on my own for the placket/collar piping, as I was never able to successfully locate one with the piping already sewn on. As for the uni number, some research indicated that the St. Louis Stars’ best player was Cool Papa Bell and that he wore No. 17, so that’s what I decided to go with.

First I had to find the right font for the chest lettering and create a template. I printed out two of those, cut out the inside white for the smaller, blue letters and cut around the gray for the outline. Next, I did the same for the 1, the 7, and the sleeve embellishments.

After I cut out the chest lettering, I laid it out on the jersey to make sure I liked the size and look. Then I used my stencils to trace everything out onto twill fabric.

Next I cut everything out. I had both some iron-on and adhesive twill so I used the adhesive for the top layer and iron-on for the lower layer. I find it’s easier to use the adhesive to stick the two layers together, because you can easily peel off the top layer and reset it if you mess up (which wouldn’t be possible if you’d used iron-on for the top layer). And I use the iron-on to adhere the letters to the jersey itself because it doesn’t move around when I’m trying to sew.

Now it was time to sew the layers together. I hand-cranked every stitch for the chest lettering because there were roughly zero straight lines on them.

After sewing all of the letters and numbers together, I worked on the piping. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just laid some ribbon down and started putting stitches in it. I didn’t adhere it to the jersey in any way before I began. It was going well so I kept going and made it all the way around with one long piece of ribbon. It bunched up slightly around the turns near the top button, but nothing too noticeable. I also added two small colored stitches at each end of the ribbon. No particular reason for this — just a nice little detail for myself, but that’s what Uni Watch is all about, right?

After I got the piping on, I ironed everything onto the jersey and stitched it using the same technique I used to sew the letters and numbers together. I was extremely pleased with the result. The chest lettering, the sleeve star, the sleeve number, and the back number all turned out exactly as I wanted them to.

If you see me down at Busch Stadium this summer, you can bet this is the jersey I’ll be wearing.

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By any other name: Paul here. My latest vintage uni acquisition is this jersey from a florist’s baseball team (click images to enlarge):

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It’s cotton twill, not wool. I love the colors, natch, but I also love lots of other things about it, including the endearingly clunky chest insignia, the chain-stitched “Florist” in the swash (that’s the proper term for it, gang — swash, not swoosh), and the magnificent rose sleeve patch (moth hole and all). A real beauty, no?

I was curious about Lamanna Florist, so I did a bit of research. Further details on that are available over on Permanent Record.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Everyone got all excited yesterday because Dolphins safety Sean Smith leaked a photo of a Miami’s new Nike jersey. Exciting! Except the photo only shows part of one sleeve, and it looks pretty much the same as the orange jersey we’ve seen before. Not so exciting! … Ads on MLB uniforms? Turns out that happened way back in 1911 (from Todd Radom). … Todd has also found yet another case of a World Series team wearing an alternate uni. This time it’s the 1917 Giants, who normally dressed like this. … Manzell Blakeley, inspired by my Meats and Franks T-shirts, has come up with a Mariners-themed concept. Not bad! … Superb article by the great Steve Rushin on the visual aspects of the March Madness (big thanks to Jeff Mayer). … Lots of photos from the Liverpool Football Club’s official print archive here (from Thomas Moore). … Not often that you see eye black and glasses together (from Judd Allan). … There’s ugly camo and then there’s really ugly camo (from Joe Coveney). … Check it out: Lego Steelers logo (from Art Savokinas). … Someone has done a bunch of redesign concepts for every NHL team (from Pascal Hudon). … Good photo of Joey Votto’s jersey being lettered up (from Michael Martin). … Love this hockey magazine cover (nice find by Pat Sharon). … New logo for Colorado Mesa University. “It looks like a depressed overweight cow instead of a rough, mean maverick like the old logo,” says Dom Lewis. … Here’s a great site devoted to police patches (from Brady Graham). … No more third jersey for the Sabres, which is a pity — I liked that design (from Mike Cline Jr.).

‘Frontenac Chateau, baby / I cross the frontier at ten / I got a whip in my hand, baby / And a girl or a husky / At leather's end’

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Nice-looking color-on-color game last night in the NIT, as Dayton wore red and Iowa wore black. And this one had an interesting backstory.

Dayton was the No. 2 seed and would normally have been playing this game at home against Iowa, the No. 7 seed. But the First Four NCAA games were being held at Dayton, so the game had to be played in Iowa. Dayton packed their red road uniforms, since they were, you know, playing on the road. But the authorities — not sure if it was the NCAA or the NIT — decreed (a) since Dayton was higher-seeded, they were the designated home team, and (b) since Iowa was the designated road team, they could not wear their home whites — even though they were playing on their home court against a team wearing red.

Seems like a really silly ruling, but I’m generally in favor of color-on-color college hoops games, and I particularly like the way this one looked, so it’s all for the good. The real injustice is that Dayton, which should have had the advantage of playing in front of their home fans, had to go on the road and ended up losing, 84-75.

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What happens when you find a 50-year-old note tucked away inside a library book (as shown at left)? Find out in the latest entry on Permanent Record.

Uni Watch News Ticker: I had to appear in court yesterday on a petty bike-related charge (it was dismissed). As we were all sitting there waiting for the judge, a guy walked in wearing a Nike swoosh cap and sat down. The bailiff said — as he’d said to everyone else who’d entered the courtroom wearing a hat — “Sir, please remove your cap.” But the guy either didn’t hear him or didn’t realize the statement had been directed at him. So the bailiff said, much louder this time, “YOU, IN THE NIKE HAT — REMOVE THAT NIKE HAT.” I enjoyed that. … Here are the winning entries from the Toronto Star’s Maple Leafs third jersey design contest (from Roch Smith). … It’s a little hard to see, but Giants infielder Robby Thompson once wore a mask in the field (good find by David Arnott). … Very last item on this page describes a typo on the Johnson City Cardinals’ Appalachian League championship rings (from Elena Elms). … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to a discussion-forum thread that showed some early Buffaslug concepts. Now Puck Daddy has done a really good feature on the guy who designed the logo. Recommended. … Cool story about Martin Brodeur’s dad taking photos of Marty during his Juniors days (from Eric Nusbaum). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Next-to-last graf of this story has a teeny bit of Astros uniform news. … Coolest clergy stole ever! That’s Bishop Fred Sansone, wearing the birds on the bat cross. “Wonder if it’s chain-stitched on there — hat would really be bad-ass,” says Scott B. … Here’s a doozy: George Plimpton playing for the Bruins in a 1977 exhibition game, with FNOB F(from Mike Engle). … The latest tornado-relief effort for Joplin, Missouri, is a 110-hour basketball game, which will set a world record. I’m told that Adidas and the folks at Liebe Athletic Lettering are planning “something special” for the game, which will take place next week. No other details yet. … Brandiose (the unfortunate new name for Plan B Branding) and the Reading Phillies are partnering on an event to help kids come up with their own logo designs. … Todd Radom has found yet another photo of the Senators wearing white — instead of their usual pinstripes — in the 1924 World Series. “I’m convinced that I need to add this to Dressed to the Nines as an alternate home jersey,” says Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber. … Probably true, but every pleasure has its price. What, you expected to live forever? … Grambling and Southern wore Negro Leagues throwbacks the other day (from Alan Manda). … Juicy jersey tear last night for Mike Commodore (screen shot by Joe Delach). … Jay Buhner hasn’t played in the bigs since 2001, but he’s still featured on a soda machine at a Portland community center (from Morris Levin, with photo by Peter Mellman). … Two of the mushers in this year’s Iditarod, which is currently in progress, are identical twins — Anna and Kristy Berington — who dress identically. For more really excellent Iditarod photos, look here (from proud Alaskan Kirsten Hively). … The Nexen Heroes — that’s Korean baseball — have new uniforms. … Latest college team to go gray: UNC-Asheville. That’s their new NCAA tourney uniform (from William Wells).

I Need to Be Shoveling Off Now

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Every so often somebody will send me a link to one of those places that sell MLB-themed burial caskets and/or urns. I never run them, because it’s old news — I’ve been seeing these things for the better part of a decade now, and you probably have too. If you Google “MLB casket,” you get like a jillion results. Next.

But when Bill Henderson recently sent me a link to this MLB casket page, he included an intriguing tidbit of additional info:

A long time ago, I amused myself by drawing a detailed casket for Joe DiMaggio, complete with baseball bats as side handles, pinstriped lining, and a large logo. My friends told me I was “sick.” Who knew it could be a real, moneymaking idea? I still have that drawing if you want me to find it.

Naturally, I couldn’t turn down an offer like that, so I told Bill to go ahead and find the drawing. A few days later, he came back to me with this (click to enlarge):

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The drawing was accompanied by this explanation:

I found it. I never throw away anything, it seems. I was at an industry conference in March of 1999, right after Joe DiMaggio had died, I drew this on the back of one of the pages in my book. Passed it slyly to my work associate Al sitting next to me, with a note suggesting I could “make this in my workshop.” He wrote back, suggesting that he might open the lid and see if Joe still had “a pulse or two” to give an autograph (Al was German, and his English always made me smile).

I was ahead of my time. Why, if I had patented this back in 1999, I might be retired now with the residuals.

Good stuff. I especially like the “pine tar line to promote an air-tight seal.” Too bad Bill never followed through on it. But somebody should — this is a DIY project waiting to happen, am I right?

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Did you ever collect media guides? I did when I was growing up. Teams back then would gladly ship ’em out to you, along with decals, schedules and photos. I bet I wrote to every team in every league. This Falcons guide caught my eye during some recent eBay reseach. Lots on here to like — white Adidas as well as blue, old-style Riddells on Bartkowski, not to mention his white Dungard facemask, proper jersey stripes and socks. Ah, those were the days.

Lots of media guides in this week’s rundown:

• Speaking of Dungard facemasks, look at John Williams’s crazy two-part mask on the cover of the 1977 Rams guide. [I’ve seen that photo many times over the years but had no idea it was on the cover of a media guide! — PL]

• First thing I thought about regarding this 1977 Steelers guide was, “Why have a 77 on a QB or kicker’s helmet?” Then I thought, “Uh, duh.”

• Love the cover art on this 1975 Eagles book.

• The mid-1970s weren’t a very good period for the New York Football Giants, and even their media guide covers from that time felt kinda uninspired. Things were a looking a little more interesting by 1980. Look at that exaggerated facemask!

• Speaking of facemasks, did the Redskins misplace theirs or what?

• Okay, enough media guides. I don’t normally include expired auctions here, but this MLB Cooperstown Collection jersey is worth a look. That’s just logo madness.

• Wonder what fans of the other NHL teams thought when they saw the kid wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey sweater on the box lid of this game?

• Very comic book-style artwork on the cover of this 1978 Pro! program.

• Big set of those great 1970s NFL cardboard mini-posters (the ones where they use the same graphic for multiple teams and just change the colors) right here.

• This early-1970s NFL party decoration kit from Hallmark is the perfect thing for your NFL draft party next month.

• Reader Warren Junium sent this in — a pricey set of actual seats from the Boston Gah-den.

• And from reader Jerry Wolper, check out this sensational Wilt vs. Oscar photo — with Wilt wearing a mask.

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

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’Tis the Season

By Vince Grzegorek

Hello, folks. The annual Uni Watch March Madness bracket competition is back for those of you who love college basketball and/or have interest in acquiring some of the stuff Paul has sitting around his apartment. You can join here (password: stirrups). There’s also a second group if the first one fills up, which has happened each of the last two years. Password for that one is the same as the first. Standard scoring: 1 point for correct picks in the first round, 2 points in the second, 4 points in the third, and so on. 32 points will be your reward for correctly picking the champion. Only one entry per person, please.

The top three winners will get to choose from some of the swag that Paul has accumulated since last December’s reader-appreciation raffle. Good luck to all.

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Stirrups Club reminder: Today’s the last day to order from Robert Marshall’s latest set of stirrup offerings. Full details here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Here are some of the new NFL Draft Day caps (from Joel Hatfield). … Former MLBer Kevin Millar, who wore No. 15 for most of his career, recently sent a Tweet to fellow 15er Jeremy Guthrie regarding another 15er. Interesting bit of cross-sport uni-numerical solidarity there (as noted by Tyler Kepner). … Check out the specialized headgear worn by Mark Astley in the mid-1990s (from Jeff Wilk). … Tom Arnel reports that Elena Elms, who sends me a batch of uni-themed cookies each Xmas, recently designed a T-shirt For his running group. … Those of you who’ve enjoyed Charles Sollars’s football uni concepts will also enjoy this story about him. … “While writing a piece on Herb Carnegie — the almost-Jackie Robinson of hockey — I found this pic of him,” writes Josh Eisenberg. “Based on my limited research, it’s unusual to see a player wearing a helmet in that era. There was no info on why Carnegie wore the helmet and no other photos of him wearing one.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Astros by the numbers. … This is seriously creepy: a compression suit for horses. No word on whether Andre Ethier’s horse is cutting the logo out of his (from Hugh McBride). … This is kinda cool: The Altoona Curve were almost called the Altoona Lake Monsters, so on May 30 they’re running a “What if?” promotion and wearing Lake Monsters uniforms (from Yancy Yeater). … I love pork and I love donuts, but I bet even Homer Simpson would draw the line at pork donuts. Two great tastes that do not belong together (thanks, I think, Kirsten). … Ryan Perkins recently spotted a clear Schutt football helmet at a small sporting goods store in Jackson, Mississippi. … “I flipped over to the Pittsburgh Power/Orlando Predators arena football game last Friday and thought it was kinda odd that only a few of the Power players had NOBs,” writes Rob Ullman. “Turns out I didn’t know the half of it. Apparently the entire team was let go just hours before the game — in an Olive Garden, of all places!” Of course, this would qualify as a kindness if the mass firings had taking place before the food arrived. … Another one from yesterday’s comments: New team names and branding for the Amateur and Junior Penguins. … In what I’m sure will come as a complete shock, the Packers’ uniforms aren’t getting a Nike makeover (from Nicholas Honeck). … Wondering how the Sacramento Kings ended up with their current colors, logos, etc.? Okay, so you probably weren’t, but here’s the story anyway (from Chris Chaussee). … Key quote: “Is there no one at Nike able to Google ‘Black and Tan?'” To see why someone had to ask that question, look here (thanks, Brinke). … “FC Tampa Bay in the new NASL wanted to reuse the old Tampa Bay Rowdies name but was not granted permission to do so (the name was owned by some group out of Dallas),” writes Randy Williams. “They were finally able to come to terms and purchased the name a few months ago, so 2012 will be their first year as the Tampa Bay Rowdies! They’re showing off their new practice jersey here and will release their new jersey on March 30.” … More soccer news, this time from Omar Jalife: “Here’s a gallery with the jerseys that will be worn on Poland/Ukraine for the Euro 2012, only the Ukraine jersey is missing.” … Marty Turco, recently signed by the Bruins, was wearing his old Stars gear on Sunday (from Jesse Buckner). … Lots of cool new Ebbets Field Flannels product showcased in this video clip (from Matthew Robins). … Mmmm, beefsteak. … You say you like hat pins? Then you’re gonna love this (big thanks to JP Samsel). … Here’s what the Mets will wear on St. Paddy’s Day. Too bad about the white side panels. … According to Okkonen/D2the9s, the Senators wore pinstripes at home in 1924. But now Todd Radom has found some photos from the ’24 World Series indicating that the Sens wore plain white uniforms in that year’s Fall Classic. … Maryland’s softball team appears determined to prove that there are ever-stupider things you can do with camouflage and the state flag (from Samuel Shipley). … New road cap for the Missoula Osprey. … I was watching a bit of yesterday’s Dodgers/Angels game and noticed Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier wearing a non-Cool Flo batting helmet. That’s not the new Gazoo, and I can’t recall which make/model it is. Anyone..? … Fun DIY project from Ron Lienhardt: “I got bored over Christmastime, so I sanded down an old helmet that was lying around and decided my den could use some creative lighting. The right side is the modern version of the CU helmet, and the left is from the 1958 Bowl game they played in (I believe it was the Orange Bowl). After it was all perfect from a few hours of wet-sanding, I decided to sand it down, rough it up, and add ‘Nebraska red’ impact marks for a game-used look.” … New uniforms for the New Orleans VooDoo. “One interesting detail: The players aren’t wearing high socks,” notes HHH. “Will the VooDoo really go with bare shins and calves like a college team? Or did somebody just forget to pack the socks?” … The designer of the much-maligned Buffaslug has posted some of his early conceptual drawings from that project. … The Bulls wore rojo en casa last night against the Knicks.