There's No Service Like Wire Service, Vol. 33

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Ah, my first batch of old wire photos since returning from blogcation. This bunch was contributed by Mike Hersh, Mako Mameli, and Bruce Menard.

• If I’m understanding this photo’s caption properly, it sounds like Roosevelt Brown was planning to protect his injured cheek by wearing a worse helmet.

• I had no idea that Purdue had worn sleeved basketball jerseys as recently as 1965. And man, look at how narrow those OSU shoulder straps are — almost spaghetti straps!

• Judging by this photo, you might think the Pittsburgh Pipes had a minimalist jersey design with just a basketball patch. But the ball was actually part of a Bullets-like treatment.

• Kinda cool to see that the Tigers used to name their spring training fields after their former greats. Additional examples here and here.

• Here’s a rarity: Connie Mack in a baseball cap. The cap logo stands for Little League Baseball, natch.

• Interesting logo for the 1971 Flint Generals. I like how they threw the car wheel in there, just because they could.

• Check out the sequined shamrock cap logo on this great All American Girls Baseball League uni.

• Here’s Jackie Robinson and some of his Montreal Royals teammates in the spring of 1946. Non-matching caps, non-matching stirrups, plus it almost looks like those uniforms might be satin hand-me-downs from Brooklyn.

• Always interesting to see a double-decker chest insignia. Love the sleeve patch, natch. And dig those crazy belts and belt loops!

• Not positive what was going on here, but I think they were presenting that boat to Branch Rickey.

• Speaking of the Dodgers, check out Roy Campanella using what appears to be a leather winter glove as a batting glove.

• And speaking of Campy, he had one beauty of a liquor store up in Harlem.

• Here’s the very definition of “does not compute”: Teddy Ballgame and Joe D. in very different uniforms than the ones we usually associate with them.

• Last fall we discussed the kerfuffle that ensued when Tigers ownership saw a photo of Hank Greenberg in a Yankees uniform. It was from a wartime benefit event (no other uni could be found to fit him), but the Tigers were upset nonetheless, and it ended up being a prime reason the team sold Greenberg to the Pirates at the end of his career. Here’s another photo of Hank as a Yank, and here’s an additional shot whose caption references the controversy that ensued.

• In 1932, the White Sox experimented with an alternate home uniform that featured an “S” made out of two horseshoe shapes. I’d never seen a photo of it — until now. That shot is actually from March of 1933, so they recycled those uniforms for spring training that year, even though they didn’t use them for regular games.

• Very unusual striping for both teams in this 1940s hockey shot.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column — the surprisingly nuanced story behind the use of a Confederate flag patch by a Yankees farm team during the height of the 1960s civil rights movement — is available here. I’ve gotten a lot of response to it, much of it very thoughtful and interesting. My thanks to everyone for their feedback.

A few follow-up items have come my way since the column was first posted yesterday:

• The Columbus Yankees only existed for three seasons, beginning in 1964. I knew they had worn the rebel flag patch in ’64 and ’65, but I wasn’t sure about ’66 — until now (Truelock only played for Columbus in 1966). Big thanks to Pat Blandford for providing that scan.

• I got a remarkable note from Michael Curley, as follows:

What a weird coincidence that ESPN posted this today. You see, my girlfriend’s father played for the Columbus Yankees in 1964. His name is Robert Cerone, and he was a promising pitching prospect for them. He got hurt in 1965, ironically while in the Army Reserve. …

He doesn’t often talk about his time in Columbus. But he and my girlfriend had lunch today, and they talked about some of the very things that you wrote about in your article. About how Roy White had to stay in different hotels and eat in different restaurants. Odd stuff for a kid from Mineola, New York.

It’s so weird that he brought the topic up on the same day ESPN posted your article. I forwarded it to him, along with the photos. He loved seeing them, but he didn’t remember the flag on the uniform either. But he certainly remembered the segregation.

• Did you know there was a 1970s minor league hockey team in Virginia that also wore the Confederate flag? Neither did I, until Mike Raymer filled me in. Guess they didn’t have to worry too much about any black players being offended. And wait, it gets better: Rob Pait wrote in to say that he actually did radio play-by-play for that team back in the 1970s — as a college intern! “I remember doing the radio call for a game full of bench-clearers, heading for the locker room for an interview or two, following the guys to a local tavern, and having the fights start all over again. Good times.”

• And one important note: This photo, which was essential to my research, was provided by reader Bruce Menard. My apologies for not having credited him in the ESPN column.

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Also, there’s a new post up on the Permanent Record blog.

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Membership update: A few new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Scott Beaton’s card, shown at right, which is based on USA soccer’s “denim” jersey from 1994. Just the latest example of how the ugliest jerseys often make the best membership cards.

As always, you can sign up for the membership program here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: One preseason game in, and we have our first jersey typo of the NFL season. That’s Darrell Stuckey — it should have an e — of the Chargers (great work by Eric Stangel). … A disgruntled Astros fan has a clever idea (from Gordon Blau). … Here’s the oldest baseball uni catalog I’ve ever seen. Note the mix of high and low cuffery, and dig the amazing captains’ belts (awesome find by Mike Hersh). … Also from Mike: a site devoted to vintage baseball gloves. ” Takes some digging around, but worth it,” he says. … What do Stan the Man and the Babe have in common in these pics? They’re both wax models (great stuff from Bruce Menard). … It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but Jeff Brand notes that the Blues are now wearing a PNC ad patch on their practice jerseys. … Funny scene at the annual PGA champions’ dinner, as John Daly didn’t quite get the memo regarding the dress code. Interesting to see that Tiger Woods was the only other one without a tie. Maybe he had trouble with his Onassis knot? (With thanks to Nick Orban.) … If you absolutely have to have a jersey sponsor, it’s nice to make it a charitable organization (from George Chilvers). … Remember the photo of Deion Sanders holding an NFL football with NCAA striping? Colin Feeney says he has the explanation: “Many NCAA teams used the exact NFL game ball for a time, in order for their quarterbacks to get used to the ball, since those teams used a pro-style offensive scheme. It used the two stripes, as mandated by NCAA rules, but kept the NFL markings (for the record, the NFL game ball is a bit rounder than a high school or regular college game ball). In the mid=’90s, the NCAA banned pro makings on all game balls, so Wilson — the maker of the NFL game ball — simply changed the name of it to the 1001 to bring it in line with the rules. In a nutshell, it was the NFL game ball under a different name. I don’t know how much it’s still in use, due to Nike supplying game balls for its schools, etc.” … Looks like Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine removed the front spikes from his shoes (good spot by Kyle Ostendorf). … Alex Smith has a new facemask. “Hopefully this is reason he has been terrible,” says Matt Paver. … Attention New Englanders: If you spot anyone wearing or selling this jersey, then John Kimmerlein wants to hear from you. “It belonged to my Dad and was inadvertantly donated to a local church back in Rhode Island (along with the rest of his clothes) after he died in March,” says John. “I know it’s a huge long shot, but it has great sentimental value.” If anyone has any info, contact me and I’ll pass the word along to John. … Michigan and Ohio State will play an outdoor hockey game at the Jake in January (from G. R. Brackle). … Do NASA’s space suits just pop out of a mold or something like that? Nope — they’re sewn, just like any other uniform (thanks, Kirsten). … Hey, all you Nike employees who are reading this: You might wanna send your legal team after this Fresno window-washing firm (from Chris Chaussee). … Also from Chris: The Sacramento River Cats will be wearing zerba-striped jerseys tonight. No, not like football referees — real zebra stripes. … The South Carolina football Twitter feed had an interesting series of posts yesterday. First came this: “[Under Armour's] idea is to have a cleat that is a shoe and an ankle brace in one. They don’t want players to spat their shoes like they’ve been doing.” Sounds good so far, right? Then, a few minutes later this: “Spatting is when players tape over their cleats for ankle support, which in turn covers up the Under Armour logo.” So form follows function, as long as the function is corporate douchebaggery. Anyway, here’s the result (all courtesy of Joel Mathwig). … David Wright has been wearing some bright orange shoelaces lately. Keith Hernandez referred to them as “very ugly” on the air yesterday (big thanks to Matty Eggen). … Tommy Stafford recently designed the graphics and uniforms for a California high school. … There’s a new web site devoted to the renovation of the U. of Washington stadium (from Rob Weber). … Nike has some funny ideas about my city (Kirsten again). … “I was watching a Manchester United/Blackpool game in the spring, and Man U’s right back, Patrice Evra, had to wear a jersey with no name or number because his shirt had ripped,” writes Pierce Byron). … We all know about mini-helmets. But what the hell are mini-caps? (As noted by Ryan Mandel.) … No photo, but Garrett Schabb says Justin Boren of the Ravens wasn’t wearing full-length socks last night — just white crew socks, like college players wear. “It’s not like his stockings fell down — they just aren’t there,” he says.

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Roster moves: I’ll be spending most of today out on Long Island with my Mom, so everyone play nice while I’m gone. And Phil’s gonna be busy this weekend, so Johnny Ek will be filling in for him. See you on Monday, yes? Yes!

Raffle Me This


Reader Mike Raymer recently spotted this sign in upstate New York, and there’s so much to like about it. The understated flourish at the end of the end of the R, the diagonal lettering at lower left, the scare quotes on “Free.” Even the background color indicates a perfect medium-rare. Why don’t they put signs like this (or hold raffles like this) in my neighborhood?

New ESPN column today, the result of a lengthy investigation I embarked on after seeing this photo back in June. Whatever you’re expecting, forget it, because the story provided lots of surprises and went in some unexpected directions. One of the most interesting cases I’ve ever researched. Here you go.

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Horn-toot Dept.: I have a new post up over on the Permanent Record blog. And hell, I was feeling so inspired last night that I even dusted off that other blog of mine.

Uni Watch News Ticker: New super-stretchies for Kansas. “The Jayhawk on the front is larger, as is ‘KANSAS,’” notes Kyle Martin. “Overall, it looks like crap.” … Nick Orban has apprised me of something that was probably inevitable: A junior hockey goalie has an Angry Birds-themed mask. Note, incidentally, that the Angry Birds do not have gritted teeth (or any other kind of teeth), something that today’s logo designers could learn from. … Something else that was probably inevitable: uniform advertising — and QR codes! — in beach volleyball (from Greg Patton). … Multi-culti news from Clint Yarborough, who reports that Inter Milan changed their sponsor logo to be read in Chinese for a recent game in Beijing. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The Dodgers wore Brooklyn headwear on Tuesday, in conjunction with a Duke Snider bobblehead giveaway. … Last three grafs of this story have more info on why Tyrod Taylor is wearing No. 2 (from Andrew Cosentino). … Yet another inevitability: a camouflage yarmulke (thanks, Kirsten). … You know how Seahawks fans like to wear “12th man” jerseys? Jim Hare was at a game last season and spotted a fan from north of the border with his own take on that phenomenon. … New women’s soccer uniforms for Arizona State. … The New Yorker’s weekly cartoon caption contest is baseball-oriented again this week. My suggested caption: “These bogus two-in-one faux stirrups toally suck.”. … In a related item, Caleb Yorks informs us that Rafael Furcal went high-cuffed last night, exposing some high-cut two-in-ones. … Lotsa rumors a-flyin’ about this helmet being added to the Cincy wardrobe, although I’m not sure how legit it is (from John Smith). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New football uniforms for Louisiana-Lafayette. … Here’s something I’d (thankfully) forgotten about: Michigan’s two-toned pants (from Stephen King). … US Soccer went with old-school uni numbering and NNOB for last night’s match against Mexico. “I wonder how it will affect Nike’s replica sales if they stick with this for long,” says Austin Taylor. … New football uniforms in the pipeline for Fresno State (courtesy of Jake Moorhead). … New soccer kits for Racing Santander playing in La Liga (with thanks to Chris Timm). … Dodgers wore their er-satins yesterday, but the Phils just wore their regular road grays. … Here’s a weird one: Someone’s selling a Dick Butkus memorial patch. “I didn’t even know he was sick,” says Bill Schaefer. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: I’m not exactly complaining, but it’s a little weird that the new Ron Santo statue has bright blue stirrups. … Not uni-related, but here’s something I didn’t know until last night: No Padre has ever hit for the cycle. Surprising (at least to me). … Best story (really the only good story) to come out of the London riots: a spike in baseball bat sales. … Here’s a site devoted to chronicling defunct minor league franchises (Kirsten again). … Good rant about logo/design theft here (thanks, Phil). … USC in white pants?! According to this story, “USC also is expected to wear white pants with red stripes at practices during training camp. The pants were made by Nike as a possible alternate uniform for actual games” (good work by Kyle Mackie). … New logo set for Central Connecticut State. Detailed analysis here.

What Do These Three Guys Have in Common?

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As you may have heard, the defending World Series champs visited the White House a few weeks ago. Most accounts of the event focused on Brian Wilson’s mohawk or Tim Lincecum’s long hair, but longtime Uni Watch pal Tyler Kepner noticed something else: “It looks like Willie Mays forgot the last loop on his tie. I guess when you’re Willie Mays, you can dress however you want, even when you meet the President.”

As I told Tyler, Willie’s neckwear immediately reminded me of Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati, who frequently went with a similar style (although he sometimes wore a conventional knot).

When Willie Mays and Herb Tarlek have something in common, I figure that’s news. So I consulted my friend Jon Hammer (rhythm guitarist in the mighty Susquehanna Industrial Tool + Die Co., don’tcha know), who knows a thing or two about neckwear, to see if he could shed some more light on this situation. Here’s his response:

I have seen this knot before, and you have to be damn slick to pull it off. Someone needs to tell Willie, “Say, hey, tighten that tie, man.” It’s basically the same knot that you should tie for a proper ascot, except you are using a conventional necktie. Kind of a half-Windsor where you flop the big end over the knot, rather than through it.

I’ve seen it referred to in several places as an Onassis knot. Aristotle Onassis seems to have started wearing this style in the late ’50s, although not consistently.

Faaaaaascinating. The Onassis knot seems like one of those things that’s all well and groovy if you happen to be the world’s richest man or the greatest ballplayer who ever lived. But anyone else should probably heed the words of the guy in this message board thread who wrote, “You could tie a perfect Onassis, and 95% of people will just think you’re a dumbfuck who can’t tie a tie.”

Still: Aristotle Onassis, Willie Mays, and Herb Tarlek — the world’s most unlikely troika, joined at the neck.

(One postscript: Shortly after I finished writing this piece, I discovered that a small style blog was way ahead of me.)

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Picking your brains: I’m kicking around a few ideas for fun, list-based ESPN columns and would welcome your input. Here are two that I’m pondering at the moment:

Uniform mythbusters: This idea was inspired by the ongoing misconception that the MLB logo is based on Harmon Killebrew, which it is not. Other myths: The Mets took blue from the Dodgers, orange from the Giants, and pinstripes from the Yankees (the first two of those statements are true, but the Mets’ pins never had anything to do with the Yanks); the White Sox wore shorts for a whole season (they only wore them for a handful of games); and … what else?

This category could also include legendary stories that are true, such as the NBA logo being based on Jerry West. So I could present a commonly believed uni-related statement and then proclaim it to be True or False (ideally with a big-ass rubber stamp).

Underrated uniforms: We’ve all seen lists of the best uniforms, the worst uniforms, the most outlandish, the classiest — but what about good ones that have largely flown under the radar without getting the positive response they deserve? Topping my list would be this Jags design and this Rays design. Others? What about the most underrated design currently in use?

If you have good ideas for either of these, feel free to post them in the comments, and/or contact me directly.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: The Patriots are adding a memorial patch for Myra Kraft. … Bit of a kefuffle in New Zealand, where Adidas is being accused of price-gouging on the new All Blacks rugby jersey. Details here, here, here, and here (with thanks to Doug Mulliken). … Speaking of rugby, Eric Bangeman reports that England debuted their solid-black kits over the weekend. “Very strange to see them wearing this,” he says. “Also an odd font.” … New football uniforms for Marshall (with thanks to Christopher McComas). … In other Marshall news, Andrew Brown reports that the basketball court has been changed from dark green to kelly green. … Derrick Mason of the Jets will supposedly be wearing pink cleats all season long in honor of his mother, although I suspect the NFL may have something to say about that. … Jack Krabbe sent along a good shot of Wyoming’s three helmets. … “I found an old Marvel comic of mine from 1970,” writes Ronnie Poore. “Inside was an ad for an NFL mini-helmet set.” … Speaking of comic book ads, check out this totally boss O.J. Simpson ad for Spot-bilt shoes (major thanks to Erik Powers). … Paul Watson has a friend whose sixth grade son will be wearing this unusual helmet design this season. “It seems to depict steel plates nailed together, almost like Frankenstein,” he says. … Back in late June, I Ticker-linked to a photo of a Brewers logo made out of coral in Hawaii. Rick Thiel, who’s from Wisconsin, says he and his sons created that logo on Father’s Day — and he has the time-lapse video to prove it. “It took about two hours to complete the logo,” he says. “We have friends that live near Kona and they said that the logo was still there as of last Friday.” … Ricky Williams will be wearing No. 38 for the Ravens. … Also, Tyrod Taylor has apparently changed his number from 6 to 2 (with thanks to Andrew Cosentino). … Why was Raiders coach Hue Jackson wearing DayGlo sneakers the other day? According to this piece, “Jackson lost a bet with running back Michael Bennett at some point. The payment came in the form of Jackson wearing neon-green tennis shoes for practice” (big thanks to Mako Mameli). … Fans attending the Aug. 18 Brooklyn Cyclones game will get to choose from a free Jets-themed jersey or a free Giants-themed jersey (as noted by Ed Westfield Jr.). … Lots of speculation about a new Blue Jays uni for next season (with thanks to Andreas Papadopoulos). … It was Grateful Dead Night in San Francisco last night, so Phil Lesh and Bob Weir sang the national anthem, along with third base coach Tim Flannery, who wore a special sleeve patch for the occasion (thanks, Brinke). … Ryan Albright notes that several Penn State players have been wearing white shoelaces. “Paterno has used white laces in his standards shoes forever, but I’ve never seen players sport the white laces,” says Ryan. “Is this new, or have i just missed something?” Anyone care to enlighten us? … New logos for Manhattan College (courtesy of Michael Gleba). … Here’s what Nike’s golfers will be wearing for the PGA Championships. “It’s interesting to see how the same shirts will be worn during the tournament with different golfers,” notes Wade Harder. … Speaking of Nike, here’s a hamburger I have no desire to eat (from Justin Verrier).

Auction Action, Basketball Edition


As you may have seen in the right sidebar, our friends at Grey Flannel Auctions are currently running their annual Basketball Hall of Fame induction auction, and I’ve taken the liberty of singling out some of the more interesting items. Dig:

• Always great to see an old Spirits of St. Louis jersey (here’s the full auction listing, along with a home version).

• Not often that you see a trophy that’s a giant sneaker.

• Kinda dig the off-center uni number on this San Diego Conquistadors practice jersey (full listing).

• What’s better than a game-used Miami Floridians jersey? Answer: a full game-used Floridians uniform, including stirrups (full listing).

• Always odd to see an NOB with lowercase lettering (full listing).

• Weird to see pockets like these on a basketball jacket (full listing).

• Oh baby, I would actually bid on this amazing Globetrotters shooting shirt if it had any chance of fitting me (full listing).

• Check out the little shoulder band on this 1980-81 Nuggets jersey. That was for the Atlanta child murders that were taking place at that time (full listing).

• Hard to believe the Spurs actually wore this in 1996 (full listing).

• Gotta love this awesome Pistons jacket. Never knew the Pistons had used a Tigers-style D, either (full listing).

• You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of vertical arching than me, but this seems like a bit much, even by my standards (full listing).

• And here’s a nice one to go out on: I love everything — everything — about this Knicks jacket (full listing).

Want to see more? You can browse through the entire auction catalog here.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

What’s the point of acquiring Beltran if he’s just gonna hit .244 for us? Grrrrr. Fortunately, there’s a bunch of cool stuff on eBay to take my mind off of that:

• Here’s a 1979 NFL football bank with helmet stickers. No word on whether the original “delicious football gumballs” are included.

• I like this vintage NBA Cincinnati Royals pennant.

• Wow, lookit these old Yankees stickers!

• Speaking of stickers, how about this old NFL set? Note the black Saints helmet.

• Here’s a rarity: a 1960 Dallas Texans 1960 schedule decal.

• Always loved the old Indianapolis Racers logo, as seen on “>this jersey — er, sweater.

• Another logo favorite: the wraparound treatment on the USFL Boston Breakers helmet.

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

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No topic left unblogged: Permanent Record, my investigation into the lives of Depression-era vocational school students whose report cards I found years ago in a discarded file cabinet, now has its own web site. I’ll be using that site to supplement (and drum up interest in) the forthcoming series of articles I’m writing for Or, if you prefer, it’s just the latest example of how I can’t shut up about about this particular project. Either way, I’ll be posting material there periodically, so sign up to “follow” it, tell your friends, etc., etc.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s another odd shot of Deion Sanders from his FSU days. Note that the football has the NFL logo but also has college-style white stripes — weird (good spot by Lou DeGeorge). … “I was watching this weird show on IFC called Whisker Wars,” says Martin Hick. “I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I kind of dig Beard Team USA’s logo.” … Lots of photos from the Batman filming at Heinz Field here (with thanks to Brady Phelps). … Here’s a good look at Arizona State’s new white helmet (courtesy of Wilson Pollacia). … Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream had the A and M on her jersey go AWOL on Sunday (from Kevin Brown). … Michigan State historian Eric Greenwald has discovered that MSU football first wore white away jerseys in 1939, which means they wore the school color white before they wore green. Details here. … Meanwhile, has Michigan’s shade of yellow/maize/etc. changed over the years? This guy thinks so (from Steve King). … Looks like Nebraska will be wearing two jersey patches this season, which seems like overkill (from Drew Sova). … Here’s a good look back at Notre Dame’s old shamrock helmets. … New basketball court design for Michigan (with thanks to Paul Wajgel). … Pat Monahan of Train threw out the first pitch at Saturday’s Padres/Pirates game, but they must’ve given him some sort of cheapo knock-off jersey, because the lettering had the wrong gold-to-black ratio. … Inspiring anti-douchebaggery note from Bill Reese, who writes: “I’m a member of the Empire Supporters Club, one of the singing/chanting supporters of the unfortunately named New York Red Bulls MLS soccer team. Lots of us hate the name Red Bulls and still sing ‘Forza Metro’ at home games instead of ‘Let’s go Red Bull.’ I came up with this shirt design, which was bought by a few dozen of the supporters to wear to this Saturday’s game.” … The Senators have released their third jersey schedule but haven’t yet confirmed whether a rumored leak of that jersey is legit. … If you scroll down a bit in that last link, you’ll also find the news that the Kings will wear their purple/gold throwbacks three times in the upcoming season. … Next-to-last bullet point on this page indicates that USC is now awarding jersey patches to players “who have a top ten GPA on the team or a cumulative 3.0 or better.” The patch is shown on the page — click it for a larger version (big thanks to Kyle Mackie). … Worst minor league jerseys ever? Dan Cichalski thinks so. … Does the Baseball Hall of Fame have another fake jersey on its hands? Peter Nash thinks so. … Are Texas Tech’s new football uniforms really ugly? I think so (big thanks to Matt Cochran).