Just the Beer Light to Guide Us...

Cleveland Baseball Rebranding

By Phil Hecken

We’ve now concluded our first “rebranding” contest, this one for the Cleveland baseball club, and I’m pleased to announce that our winner is (drumroll)…

Nate Schimelpfenig, who submitted the design you see above — his full submission is here, and after two elimination rounds, Nate outlasted all the competition to become our winner. In fact, in the final showdown, Nate collected 1,764 out of 3,107 votes cast, or 56.78% of the votes cast. Some bar/pie graphs show the results below:

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Great job Nate, and by all who entered the contest

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Fat Men, Baseball, and Early Twentieth Century Postcards

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By Phil Hecken

As many of you know, one of the semi-recurring features on the weekend Uni Watch entries is a fabulous section called “Colorize This!,” which features readers (artists, really) who painstakingly and often in excruciating detail, colorize black and white photographs. Sometimes the photographs are of more recent vintage, and the colors are well known. Other times, however, a reader will find a photograph he wishes to colorize for which very little is known — not just the colors, but the story behind the photo.

Reader Gary Chanko, one of two colorizers who has been a major contributing force (and one half of what I call the “G&G Boys”), is one of those who really takes the art of colorization to another level, not only by taking a photo and (as best as humanly possible) getting the color details right, but he also finds the story behind the photograph. Today, we have an example of that. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Gary’s efforts, so I’ll just say that what follows is really a fantastic mix of talent, historical research, dedication and devotion. I can’t imagine how many hours went into this, but we’re all the richer for it. Here’s Gary. Enjoy — PH

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Fat Men, Baseball, and Early Twentieth Century Postcards
By Gary Chanko

Many baseball related postcards from the early twentieth century preserve the history of the amateur and semipro teams prevalent across the country during this time period. Baseball during this era was unquestionably the national pastime with seemingly every community, irrespective of size, represented by a team. There was obviously strong interest in these teams and their more notable players; significant enough for photographers and publishers across the country to market images of these relatively obscure teams and players as postcards. Some of these vintage postcards survived the past hundred years as valued collectibles. Despite their small size and sometimes poor condition they are great candidates for colorization.

I recently discovered this amusing postcard copy of the World’s Largest Baseball Player (below) dating from 1908. The monstrous 450 pound player in the photo played for the Citizens Ball Club of Emporium, Pa., a community in north central Pennsylvania with a population at the turn of last century of only a few thousand. Interestingly, today it still remains a community of only a few thousand.

Image 1_WLBP Post Card Image 2_WLBP Post Card back
Front of Post Card — (click each image to enlarge) — Back of Post Card

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Now Just Change the Racist Team Name and We're Good to Go

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What you see above is the helmet for the Redskins’ new alternate uniform, which was unveiled last night. I don’t know who’s responsible for it — the team? Nike? Riddell? — but it’s brilliant. It’s what the Packers should have used for their bulls-eye throwbacks the past few years. It’s what the Steelers should have used for their 2012 throwbacks. It’s what any team wearing a throwback or retro concept from the leatherhead era should use. Kudos to all involved.

As for the rest of the uniform, it’s fine, if unremarkable. TV spotters won’t like the lack of TV numbers, and those of us who are opposed to Indian imagery on uniforms won’t like the sleeve patches, and I wish the socks had some stripes. Could be worse, though, especially since I’d heard through the grapevine that the design would be BFBS. Glad that report turned out to be incorrect.
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What, No ‘Free Unlimited Barbecue from the Cozy Corner’ Clause?

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With college football and basketball programs changing their uniforms so frequently nowadays — and often changing to designs that many people don’t like — I’m often asked, “What kind of deal does that school have with Nike [or Adidas, or whomever]? Like, did they have to pay for those ugly uniforms? How does it work?” I got some similar questions after my recent post about Nike owning Mississippi State’s logo.

My standard response is that every contract between a school and an outfitter is different and that there’s no way for me to know the terms of any individual deal. The larger truth is that I’ve always been rather ignorant regarding the way these contracts work, so I’ve never felt comfortable talking about them.

That has now changed, thanks to reader Jimmy Griggs. He was poking around on the web and found a link that provides a PDF of Nike’s 2008 contract with the University of Memphis. There’s nothing sneaky about it — as you can see from the URL, it’s hosted right there on the school’s web site. (The contract includes a confidentiality clause, but that clause also mentions the Tennessee Public Records Act, which I assume is why the contract is on the school’s web site, since Memphis is a state university.)

For the record: This contract doesn’t say anything about Nike owning any designs or colors it creates for Memphis (or if it does say that, I missed it). Indeed, most of the contract seems fairly straightforward and sensible. But it provides an invaluable look at how a big-time outfitter does business with a big-time college athletics program.

The contract isn’t all that long, doesn’t have much legal-ese, and is consistently interesting, so I encourage you to read all of it. But here are some highlights:
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