Who's That in the Hack?

It’s our own L.I. Phil, of course, executing a nifty takeout shot. He and I snuck off yesterday to the South Plainfield Curling Club, where we managed to toss a few rocks before they thawed the ice and closed up shop for the season. We were joined by my friends Peter Della Penna and Robert Vickers, and we all got training and instrux from top curler Dean Gemmell (who also produces the world’s top curling podcast, don’tcha know).

It had been over a year since I’d last curled, and I was a bit worried about whether I’d remember how to do it. But as it turns out, it’s just like Joe Schultz said about bunting.

If you want to see more, Phil put together a nice little video montage — enjoy.

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Hahahahahahahahaha: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the T-shirt you see at right really is part of Nike’s new branding program for Arizona State. It would almost be witty if the whole “Fear the [whatever]” trope weren’t so pathetically played out already.

You know what else is part of the new program? Photos like these, that’s what. Hmmm, now where have I seen those types of photos before? Like I’ve been saying for, oh, ever, Nike’s approach to uniform design has nothing to do with the individual schools and everything to do with Team Nike. The sad thing is watching these kids flexing their muscles and thinking they’re all badass when they’re really just interchangeable pawns in a corporate merchandising scam.

Just to drive that point home, take a look at the uniform’s much-ballhooed shoulder stripes. They’re supposedly meant to represent the points of a pitchfork (or trident, or whatever), but they conveniently look like a certain corporate logo. Congrats, ASU: You’re the first school to wear three swooshes on your jersey.

As for the rest of uniforms, they aren’t a complete disaster (well, except with one obvious exception). I’m reserving judgment on the new helmets until I see them on the field, and I’m sort of intrigued by they way they’ve put Sparky on the back (probably too cluttered back there, but let’s wait and see). On the other hand, using TV initials instead of TV numbers is a bonehead move. At best, it’ll look really clunky; at worst, imagine how it’ll look on all those linemen who barely have any sleeves at all.

Anyway, all the smoke and sunglasses and flexing are too silly to be taken seriously, so I won’t. But if you want to immerse yourself, here’s more info, more photos, a live chat transcript, and a style guide and other downloads. Have fun, but remember that all this has very little to do with ASU and everything to do with the corporate douchebags at Nike.

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Wayne’s Whoppers™, continued: Honest, I was looking forward to enjoying the 2011 MLB season without chronicling Wayne Hagin’s (many) miscues and (countless) foibles. But two nights ago he scaled new heights in incompetence, even for him. Full details over on that other site.

NHL Pool: Longtime Uni Watch friend and ally Teebz is running his annual NHL playoff pool on his blog. Many of you have participated in the past, and I encourage you to do so again. Let’s go, Rangers!

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Uni Watch News Ticker: The Twins wore their navy alts last night — except for first base coach Jerry White. That screen shot is from the 1st inning; he switched to navy in the 2nd (good spot by Chad Jorgensen). … Milton Bradley has been trying to block out the hecklers by wearing earplugs. Off the top of my head, other MLBers to wear ’plugs include Bobby Bonilla, Chuck Finley, and Rafael Palmiero. Anyone else? … Check out Ichiro’s BP shoes and toe socks (with thanks to Steve Mandich). … Denis Hurley, who writes about the kits worn in Gaelic sports, has just posted a new piece about a 1960 color clash. … Hmmm, is that a new road jersey for Michigan? Further glimpses in this video clip (good spot by Ryan Hicks). … Formula 1 news from Dane Drutis, who writes: “At last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the two drivers for Lotus Renault GP changed their racing overalls from black to gold, in an effort to combat the heat and humidity in Kuala Lampur.” … Latest sports exec to float a trial balloon about ads on jerseys: Panthers prexy Michael Yormark. Just to put this in context, he’s the same guy who recently made a fool of himself by picking a fight with a beat writer on Twitter. Let’s make it nice and crystal-clear: Ads on pro sports uniforms are not okay, are not acceptable, and are not inevitable. And if you disagree, I hope you get a better spokesman for your side of the argument than a clown like Michael Yormark. … Lots of new EPL kits (with thanks to Bryan Justman). … Holy moly, look at this battered but still awesome 1911 Reds sweater (big thanks to Bruce Menard). … Oooh, look at this beeYOOteeful set of Indy 500 armbands. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a high school baseball team with a totally blank jersey. That’s Valley Christian High School in California. “According to the kid in the picture (Will Lane), they broke them out for the first time this season and won, 20-5, so I guess they’ll keep with them for more road games,” says Travis McGuire. … Hard to believe, but Oregon football had uniforms in the pre-Nike era. … Yet another uni-que aspect to Salty: Not only does he wear his brim facing forward, but he’s wearing a vented catching helmet — highly unusual (good spot by Andy Chalifour). … New home and road caps for the Charleston River Dogs (with thanks to Benji Boyter). … New logo in the works for South Dakota, and it isn’t going over very well (with thanks to Ric Jensen). … A columnist thinks those Dodgers fans wouldn’t have beaten up that Giants fan if fans would just stop wearing jerseys. Personally, I don’t think fans beat up fans because of jerseys. But I do think anyone stupid enough to spend $200 on a polyester shirt is probably stupid enough to beat someone up too. … Still more news about Jorge Posada’s mock-turtleneck undershirt, this time from Rob Silcox, who’s the chef for the Trenton Thunder (the Yanks’ double-A affiliate): “I grabbed one of these shirts from our equipment manager to wear under my chef coat on a cold April night. Was brand-new with tags. It’s Nike — swoosh on the left breast.” … Tim O’Malley reports that Jack McInerney of the Philadelphia Union was missing his Bimbo logo the other day. … Kevin Marcum was watching that ESPN documentary on Tom Brady and noticed something good: “They were showing a clip of Brady at a Pro Bowl and he was talking to Hines Ward. Brady walks over to Ward and says something like, ‘These unis are awful. We look ridiculous.’ They were wearing red jerseys and I think it was the 2006 Pro Bowl.” … Some high school team in Pennsylvania has managed to rip off the Twins and USC simultaneously (as spotted by Casey Hart). … “NPB baseball started on Monday,” reports Jeremy Brahm. “Teams wore memorial patches for the tsunami victims, except for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who’ve gone for the left-sleeve armband.” … Interesting piece about the origins of the Florida Marlins team name here (big thanks to Yancy Yeater). … Mark Dormer notes that the wishbone-C logo on Reds pitcher Sam LeCure’s batting helmet last night appeared to be a bit more open-pronged than the one worn by the other Reds. … Quick, when I say, “diva,” who’s the first athlete you think of? Right, me too. … And I leave you today with something very special (courtesy of Kenn Tomasch): footage of 49ers lineman Steve Wallace losing his ProCap during the 1995 NFC champsionship game. I actually remember this happening — a formative pre-Uni Watch moment! Take a look:

A Brand of a Different Stripe

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As you may recall, last Friday I engaged in a lengthy examination of Hank Aaron’s 1974 footwear. A few hours after I posted that piece, I got the following note from my fellow Brooklynite Jeffrey Fedenko:

Paul: Just to throw a wrench into the Aaron cleat discussion, I’m not sure the cleats Aaron was wearing [when hitting No. 715] were Adidas. Wilson had a three-striped shoe in the early to mid-’70s that was almost identical to what Adidas made. It is in the football catalogs I have at home — I will scan and forward them to you later today.

Faaaaascinating. Later that day, as promised, Jeff delivered the goods: These two pages are from Wilson’s 1974 catalog, and this one is from 1967 — “the earliest example I’ve seen of Wilson using the three stripes,” says Jeff.

First things first: I think Aaron was wearing Adidas, not Wilson. His uniform and spikes from No. 715 are on display at Cooperstown. As you can see, there’s a white panel around the Achilles area — a panel that was not used on Wilson’s triple-striped cleats. So that settles that.

But this raises a larger, more interesting question: What are the implications of Adidas using three stripes as their brand identifier? Or to put it another way, can a common design flourish really function as a logo?

Let’s start with this: Every year during football season, I always get a few queries from readers who say, “You always gripe about logo creep, but how come you never say anything about Adidas designing triple-striped socks for the Patriots’ road uniform in 2000? And shouldn’t they have gotten rid of those socks once Reebok took over the NFL’s uniform contract?”

My response to this is always the same: Sometimes three stripes are just three stripes. Yeah, it’s annoying when they gratuitously slap the stripes on something like an NBA All-Star uni. But three stripes don’t always have to signify branding, even if they’re part of an Adidas-made uniform. That’s especially true for socks — I mean, shit, I’ve been wearing triple-striped tube socks since I was a kid (and I’m not the only one), and I don’t think any of them have ever been made by Adidas. To me, those stripes are just a classic hosiery design flourish, not a proprietary brand signifier.

I’ve even had people try to tell me that there’s something Adidas-related in this triple-striped 49ers sleeve design, which is patently ridiculous because (a) the Niners began wearing that design in 1996, when their uniforms were made by Reebok, and (b) the Niners already had a tradition of triple-striped sleeves that stretched back for generations.

The fact of the matter is that triple-striping has a long history in a wide variety of contexts, from commodore’s jackets to varsity sweaters. And I think that captures both the genius and the limitation of Adidas’s three stripes. On the one hand, it has a classic look and is more of a design element than a logo, so you can put it anywhere and it doesn’t have to feel like you’re engaging in logo creep. On the other hand, it’s such a classic, ubiquitous design feature that it doesn’t feel very brand-y (especially not for those of us who grew up in the era when stripes were just stripes), which may explain why Adidas has sometimes had problems when filing trademark-infringement suits.

All of which brings us back to those triple-striped Wilson shoes. Now, according to Wikipedia (I know, I know, but they cite two published sources), Adidas bought the three-stripe design from a Finnish company called Karhu Sports way back in 1951. But based on those catalog scans that Jeff Fedenko provided, Wilson was making triple-striped cleats from at least 1967 through 1974. So Adidas obviously hadn’t yet “owned” the three-stripe design by that point. I mean, it’s not like Wilson would have wanted to sell a shoe that could be mistaken for a competitor’s product, so the thinking at the time must have been “Stripes = cool” — not “Stripes = Adidas.”

Today, though, we definitely equate the stripes with Adidas, at least on footwear. When did that transition of perception take place? And what do you all think of the stripes as a branding signifier? I think there’s a really interesting discussion to be had here — let’s have it.

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Blue Jay Way, continued: Here are some more Blue Jays prototypes, or salesman samples, or something. Clearly not “game-used,” no matter what the auction house says, but interesting nonetheless.

That link came from Blue Jays uni scholar Rudy Visokay, who runs this site. He’s asked if the Uni Watch community can help him with a research question whose answer has so far eluded him. I’ll let him explain: Did the Jays’ 1981 home jerseys have NOBs? “Seems like a
pretty simple issue to suss out,” says Rudy, but I haven’t been able to find photos of the Jays at home that were definitively taken in 1981.”

I pointed him toward this page in Bill Henderson’s guide, which indicates that the Jays added NOBs in 1980 (and still had them in ’81). That led to this response from Rudy:

I know. I suspect bill got the information from me. I know they added names in 1980, so I assumed 1981 wouldn’t be any different.
But Chris Creamer [who lives in Toronto] says they didn’t have NOBs in 1981. When i asked for his evidence, Chris said he used baseball cards (not exactly 100% reliable in terms of knowing exactly when a photo was taken) and game-used jerseys from ’81. I’ve been collecting Jays gamers for a
long time and I’ve never even seen a picture of a home gamer from
1981. Chris didn’t send any visuals.

So either I’m right or Chris is right. The crazy thing is that I don’t think either of us has any actual evidence either way.

I’m fairly certain someone can find a newspaper clipping to settle this one within about 10 minutes, right?

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Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie

Little bit of everything this week– MLB, ABA, NBA, NFL and NHL. Enjoy.

• Reader Stephen Coulter sent along this 1976 World Series umpire pillbox hat.

• Wow, nice early-’70s ABA Dallas Chaparrals warm-up jacket.

• Get your groove on with this great 1970s Kinney Shoes NBA T-shirt. It would look perfect with these old Puma sneakers.

• Always fun to see one of the magazines from the “Today’s 1971…” MLB series. [I had the Mets version of this when I was seven years old. Not sure what happened to it, alas. -- PL]

• Look at this great old “Beat West Philly” pin from the 1940s!

• You too can be an NFL team owner with this Minnesota Vikings electric football team set from Tudor.

• “You’re in Mets Country” with this 1960s beach blanket. [Man, that is one brutal logo rendition. Love to know more about this item. -- PL]

• Always liked the NHL Colorado Rockies logo, and it looks particularly nice on this jacket.

• And here’s one from Paul’s friend (and City Reliquary founder) Dave Herman: a tremendous chain-stitched Hawaiian bowling shirt.

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

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Uni Watch News Ticker: This is great: 100 years of U.S. Presidents throwing out the first pitch, from Taft to Obama. … The Nats wore their red alts on Saturday and Sunday at Shea. Someone on the Chris Creamer board says this is the first time they’ve ever worn red on the road. Is that really true? … A straw hat blew onto the field during Sunday’s Chisox/Rays game, so Omar Vizquel tried it on for size (with thanks to Bob Gassel). … Jeff Barak went to the NCAA Frozen Four hockey championships and took a ton of jersey photos. … Dave Battafarano is the baseball coach for Delcastle High in Delaware. “With more players wearing high-top spikes, the 4″ stirrups were not showing enough sanitary, so I made the switch to a 6″ cut this season,” he says. “Makes a big difference, as you can see in these pics.” … Speaking of high school teams with stirrups, check out Westmoore High from Oklahoma. Too bad about the flat caps, though (with thanks to Arin Mitchell). … Of all the camo designs we’ve seen, this has got to be the worst. That’s North Salem High, from Oregon (blame Blake Theiss). … In a related item, I neglected to mention yesterday that the Padres debuted their new digital camo jerseys on Sunday. … Yesterday I mentioned that A’s pitcher Brian Fuentes had been spotted wearing a gray underbill. I asked A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich if this was a special request on Fuentes’s part, or if he just grabbed an old cap that had been lying around, or what. Steve’s response: “Old stock. He wears a 7-7/8 — not a lot of requests for that size over the years. But from what I understand, he doesn’t care about the underbill color — he has one of each. Rich Harden prefers the gray underbill.” … Speaking of old stock, Tim McNulty notes that the mock turtleneck undershirt that Jorge Posada wore the other night is nowhere to be found on the team’s web shop (the closest thing is this Nike product) but appears to be identical to the mock collar design that seen in these 1999 photos. Could Posada have been wearing a 12-year-old undershirt? And would the Yanks really have kept something around that long, even while moving to a new stadium? … Chris Ashworth reports that Sergei Bobrovsky has a new mask for the playoffs, with Rocky on one side and Sideshow Bob on the other. … Here are the official specs for the new college football zebra uniforms. As you can see, the black slacks will be worn for all games. Sigh — yet another blow to high-cuffery (with thanks to Ben Matthias). … Still more high school stirrups. That’s Druid Hills High School in Georgia. The guy at right is former MLBer and Druid Hill alum Ron Blomberg (with thanks to Richard Lewis). … Now that’s a hockey jacket. It belonged to Chris Bisbee‘s father when he was an officer of the Omaha Knights Booster Club back in the 1970s. Chris also found this old Knights team portrait. Never seen a team pose like that (looks painful!), but the real story is the sleeve design: triple-stripe! Must’ve been an Adidas uni, eh? … Start ’em young! That’s Jon Smith‘s son pitching for his Pony League team, the Northwest Austin Twins. “This is the third youth team I’ve outfitted with stirrups,” says Jon. “It’s amazing how a sweet set of stirrups really jazzes up an otherwise ho-hum youth baseball uniform. But as you can see by the first baseman in the background, you can’t convince everyone to show their stripes, even when the evidence of stirrup greatness is right there in front of them.” … Joshua Exline reports that West Virginia Power players are still wearing the memorial patch for the 29 coal miners who died in the Upper Big Branch mine. … Here’s some more info on the new Arizona State uniforms, which will be officially unveiled this afternoon. … Some NYC punk band is making rather odd use of the old 1970s Pirates logo (good spot by Bob Brashear). … Good spot by Matthew DeLeon, who notes that Ryan Dempster has been wearing a black belt, instead of the Cubs’ usual blue. … Looks like the Angels’ 50th-anniversary cap patches are just heat-pressed, not sewn (screen shot courtesy of Kyle Mackie). … Here’s a set of predictions on the NHL playoffs based on jersey designs (with thanks to Chris Cocca. … In a related item, I expect we’ll be seeing Rob Ullman‘s annual NHL playoff pin-up illos shortly. Right, Rob? … New football set for Washington State. As you can see in this photo, they’re now up to three helmets, two of which are gray — can’t say I’m a fan of that. Look closely at those photos and you’ll see something else of note: the first jersey-borned appearance of the Pac-12 logo patch. … All oF WSU’s other sports are getting makeovers as well, by the way. … And speaking of the Pac-12 logo, it’s also been showing up on the field at Utah’s spring practices (with thanks to Trent Knaphus). … Phil and I will be taking off on a fun expedition today. I expect you’ll be apprised of the details soon enough.

There's No Service Like Wire Service, Vol. 28

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I have a huge backlog of excellent wire photos, and I’d like to get through as many of them as possible this week. Today’s batch was submitted by reader Mako Mameli. Here we go:

• What’s going on here? That’s Chicago Cardinals halfback Charlie Trippi, who was fitted with a special helmet after suffering nose and skull injuries during a 1955 exhibition game.

• I’d love to know what happened to this Mets batting helmet trunk. That’s batboy Joe Fitzgerald, circa 1968.

• Even better: Where is this Wes Santee warm-up pullover, and how soon can it be relocated to my closet?

• I told No Mas honcho Chris Isenberg that he should do a repro of Dave Parker’s T-shirt. His response: “So dope! Dave Parker is the MF man. Although possibly on a skinny white guy it may seem to refer to homosexual activity.”

• Wish we could see more of this very promising-looking hockey jersey. That’s Archie Wilder, who briefly played for the Red Wings in 1940, although he obviously isn’t wearing a Wings uni in that shot. Odd sleeve logo, too. Anyone know more? (Update: That’s an Indianapolis Capitals jersey — additional photos here.)

• Looks like Warren Spahn used two jerseys and two chairs to celebrate his 301st win.

• Like Casey always said, “I’m in the baseball business.” Love that tie! Somber caption, though.

• Hmmm, was Charley O. thinking about moving the A’s to Texas, or did he just find a bunch of 10-gallon hats on close-out special?

• Cookie Gilchrist is usually reported to have worn uni numbers 2 and 34. But here he is wearing No. 30.

• In 1959, Spalding joked that it had created a fumble-proof football. That’s Johnny U. posing with it.

• Notice anything weird about this 1974 Browns/49ers photo? Check out the Niner at far left — he’s wearing the NFL 50th-anniversary patch, which had been worn in 1969! This shot is from a preseason game, so the Niners must have been reusing old jerseys for marginal players.

• Whoa, check this out: Tony Perez playing in the Caribbean Series, where they apparently had jersey advertising way back in 1973. The caption says the other guy in the photo is Ron Cey, but that can’t be right — pretty sure it’s just the bat boy.

• This might be the saddest photo ever of Satchel Paige. Couldn’t someone have told him he messed up the buttons?

• Man, Temple had some odd football uniforms back in the early ’70s.

• William Hulbert, founder of the National League, has a unique gravestone in Chicago.

• Finally, check out the shoe at lower-right in this shot. Anyone have any insights?

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Put a (pitch)fork in them: Arizona State held a “secret” rebranding event yesterday for boosters only. Attendees had to sign a non-disclosure waiver, no cameras or cell phones were allowed, blah-blah-blah (the official public announcement will come tomorrow afternoon), but word has come my way via certain channels that the new football uniforms will look like so:

• Sparky is no longer on the helmets. The new helmet logo is a pitchfork design, angled horizontally toward the front of the helmet.

• There are two helmets: matte gold and matte BFBS.

• Three uniform sets: maroon, white, and BFBS, all of which can be mixed and matched.

• The shoulders will have pitchfork-prong stries, sort of like a treble hook.

• There’s a new Nike-designed number font (which will also be used on the school’s basketball and baseball jerseys).

We’ll know more tomorrow. Until then, have fun debating whether this means the end of life as we know it and so on.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: I spent almost all of yesterday down at the Brooklyn Beefsteak (thanks to all the readers who stopped by to say hello) and haven’t caught up with all the Ticker material that was submitted. So if you sent something in yesterday and don’t see it here, I’ll probably get to it tomorrow. … It had to happen eventually: U-DNOB — that’s upside-down name on back, as seen here on Thomas Woods of the Barcelona Dragons in 1991 (awesome find by Kenn Tomasch). … Also from Kenn: The Minnesota Stars — that’s an NASL team — play at the National Sports Center, or NSC, so they’ve put Nessie (i.e., the Loch Ness Monster — sorta rhymes with NSC, get it?) on the back of their jerseys. … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: The Under Armour logos on Gary Woodland’s shirt and belt buckle at Augusta sure were sutble. Yup, just another case of me picking on Nike and always giving everyone else a free ride. … Uni-numerical question from Phil Bergen, who asks: ” often watch Mexican soccer on weekends and have noticed an inordinate number of players wearing jersey #58. As soccer numbering usually centers on the lower numbers, is there a significance to 58 that I am not aware of? Also, I noticed some goalies in the league wearing jersey #125. Again, why?” … The Norwegian curling team has been up to its own pants tricks. … Hey, while the rest of us weren’t looking, someone created a UniWatch iPhone app, only it’s not what you think (big thanks to Richard Stover). … Steve Goluch has begun what he calls the “1000 Stirrups” campaign, in which he hopes to bring proper baseball hosiery back to youth baseball leagues. He’s begun with the 5th grade softball team that he coaches. And he got his stirrups, of course, from our own Robert Marshall. … I love these baseball glove design timelines (big thanks to Mako Mameli). … In addition to having the longest surname in MLB history, Salty may be the first catcher to feature a Bible verse on his chest protector collar (good spot by Brett Crane). … Fifth graf of this story indicates that Nike has already created “special uniforms” for Oregon baseball to wear in the College World Series — a rather presumptuous move for a team that got off to an 0-4 start (with thanks to Andrew Greif). … “Hunt Auctions is facilitating an auction of Robin Roberts memorabilia at the Phillies’ ballpark on Tuesday,” writes Morris Levin. “What stood out to me in that article is the mention of ’100 game-used balls from his victories that feature scenes painted by catcher Stan Lopata.’ There are some nice pieces in the auction uni-wise — a gorgeous 1939 Phillies road uni, an early ballgirl uni from the Vet, etc. — but the balls are the most fascinating to me.” … Casey Barber has written a review of the new food options at Shea. … Ben Teaford notes that Jon Rauch’s NOB appeared to have some kerning issues the other day. … Stan Olechowski found this very cool Formula 1 posters for the new season. … Ryan Mandel think Nike may have inadvertently leaked Marquette’s new hoops uni: “I was looking on the niketeam.com website where you can customize Nike jerseys and noticed a new Marquette design. When you click on the jersey to customize (click on “Modified Basketball” and then “Team ID Plus Jersey” and you can click on the jerseys and preview them), it shows four options for the jersey, three of which were already customized as a Marquette jersey in white, navy, and yellow.” … Matt Ryburn was looking through a book on Busch Stadium and found some interesting photos, including a shot of Pete Vukovich smoking in the Cards’ clubhouse (also note Lou Brock’s stirrup extensions) and Gussie Busch wearing a Fredbird button (here’s a close-up). … Did you know there was something called the College Dance Team National Championships? Neither did I, but Terry Duroncelet was watching it (“I swear I was channel-surfing,” he says — yeah, sure) and noticed the competitors wearing cool letterman sweaters. Additional example here. … Worst breast cancer awareness design ever? Kenn Tomasch thinks so. … I don’t usually link to “Top 10 Worst Uni” slideshows because they’re all pretty much the same. But this one is different, because it’s from an Australian site, so they’ve chosen a bunch of stuff most of us have never heard of (good find by Jeffrey Allen). … “Watched the recently released third season of Friday Night Lights on DVD this weekend,” writes Ethan Allen. “Noticed that the logo for the fictional East Dillon Lions bears a striking resemblance to that of my alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana.” … Also from Ethan: Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak was wearing the Bimbo logo (that’s the Union shirt sponsor) on his shirt collar points on Saturday. … “I noticed Jorge Posada wearing a Yankees-branded turtleneck with the MLB logo during Sunday’s Yanks/Sox game,” writes Alex Carlson (it’s actually a mock turtleneck, but we’ll cut Alex some slack on that one). “It’s like the ones I remember every team wearing in the late ’90s, but the one the Yanks wore back then only had the NY logo on it. I always wondered why the big leagues got away from that look — probably because of Under Armor-type fabrics. Either way, its nice to see Jorgie bringing it back.” … Awesome story behind this 1989-90 Ft. Wayne Komets jersey: “The design was a throwback to their late-’60s logo,” says Claude Jacques. “But the most interesting thing is the blackened teeth. Apparently, when a Komet would get into a fight, one of the astronaut’s teeth would be blackened out.” … A’s-alert Brandon Davis notes that Brian Fuentes has been wearing a gray underbrim lately. I’ll ask Steve Vuc for more info — stay tuned. … If you go to this site and click on “Jersey Guide,” you’ll get a very good PDF covering every aspect of Blue Jays jersey history (it’s a lot like the Bill Henderson guide, but even more detailed). For now, it does not include the spring training 1977 road design that we documented here last week, although I’ve suggested to the site owner that he should incorporate that info into his guide. … Hey, look at that, I got to just about all the Ticker submissions after all!

Rolls Reuss, Volume IV

Rolls Reuss 4 Splash

By Phil Hecken

Today we continue with the Jerry Reuss series, and in this part, we will take a look at one of Jerry’s nascent talents — uni tweaking. Jerry is not only a stand up gentleman, a tremendous ball player, and a terrific announcer, he has a few more talents (some of which you may not even know about). We’ll get to those another time, but today, we’ll take a look at a few of his uniform concepts:

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When I spoke with Jerry, he had just sent me his first ever set of tweaks — for the Cardinals and the Dodgers, two of his former teams. Here’s how he described those then:

Jerry Reuss: When I see the Cardinals and Dodgers uniform logos, I think DCAT! (Don’t Change A Thing!) However, when put into context of the uniform top as we see it on TV or at the ballpark, there appears to be a vast expanse of white. It’s too much white, especially with baggy pants covering the shoes. So, here’s a different look that frames and finishes a few of my favorite uniforms.

St. Louis Cardinals Home

To the Cardinals current home uniform, I added a thin band of red piping around each sleeve and down the outer seam of each pant leg. Instead of solid red socks, I incorporated the striped stirrups worn over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”

St. Louis Cardinals Alternate Home

To the Cardinals current Sunday alternate home uniform, I added a thin band of navy piping sandwiched with red piping around each sleeve and down the outer seam of each pant leg. Instead of solid red socks, I incorporated the striped stirrups worn over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”

Los Angeles Dodgers Home

Since the Dodgers road gray uniform has a thin band of royal blue piping around each sleeve and on the outer seam of each pant leg, this is what the home uniform would look like with the same piping. For the “stirrup-enlighted” brethren at UniWatch, I added stirrups over white sanitary socks. Here’s the “tweak.”

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I asked Jerry in our phone conversation about future “tweaks.” At the time he wasn’t sure he’d send any, and here’s how that went:

Uni Watch: Do you think you’re going to submit any more tweaks? Because I’m looking forward to it and I know the readers want it.

JR: I’ll take a look at some of the uniforms I wore. After the first two tweaks, I’m more at ease making the changes using the template from Chris Creamer’s website.

I’d like to take a shot at tweaking the Astros uniforms from 1965-1974. There’s a middle ground somewhere using the dark blue/orange combination with the original Astros logo. Hmmm! The hamsters are up and running in my mind!

Sure enough, Jerry came through with this:

JR: Here are two tweaks of the early Houston Astros home uniforms.

The Classic Look

This uniform tweak is comprised of three elements:

1) The hat, belt, stirrups and buttoned uniform top are from the 1965-1971 home uniform;
2) The logo, player name and number use the color scheme from 1972-1974;
3) The dark blue sleeve and pants piping are new.

Not shown are dark blue sleeves and black shoes.

The Retro Look

The same three elements:

1) The hat, belt, stirrups and buttoned uniform top are from the 1965-1971 home uniform;
2) The logo, player name and number use the color scheme from 1972-1974;
3) The orange/blue sleeve and pants stripes are new and refer to the 1972-1974 era.

Not shown are dark blue sleeves and black shoes.

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But Jerry wasn’t done — he had plans for a third set of tweaks:

JR: When I heard of the White Sox plans to change to their current style of uniforms around 1989, I was delighted even though I knew I wouldn’t wear them. The retro style of black outlined in silver was a curious choice, however. I remember the White Sox uniforms of the ’50s and early ’60s with dark blue or black outlined in red. The addition of red gives the logo a depth that the current silver color doesn’t. There are two options that immediately come to mind. Here’s option #1 and #2. Add the red and you’ve got the perfect White Sox uniform using today’s template.

UW: I agree completely! The guy who I worked with (a while back) — said the same thing — looks just like the uniform they wear today but with the red substituting for the gray or silver.

JR: UW readers have submitted some excellent tweaks of the White Sox uniforms over the years. Check out these links: 1, 2, 3, and 4. There’s even an outstanding alternate tweak. It doesn’t get much better than this! So, there are many uniforms to choose from. I’ll have to give it some thought.

Jerry ended up passing on that tweak, but sent along an even better one:

JR: Because of the number of excellent tweaks of the Sox current uniform that have already been posted, I decided to tweak the uniform I wore in 1988. I used the red (RGB 218, 38, 75) as the dominant color to draw the focus to the center of the uniform. The dark blue (RGB 0, 28, 67) is used to highlight, frame and balance the tweak.

1988 Chicago White Sox

I made some changes to an already classically styled uniform.

1) The colors of the White Sox script and the number on the back have been inverted.
2) The front number colors have been inverted and moved from the upper part of the left pants leg to the uniform top below the script.
3) The name of the player has been added to the back of the uniform.
4) Dark blue piping has been added to each sleeve and to the outer seam on the pants.
5) The hat, belt and stirrups remain the original colors.
6) Not shown are the dark blue sleeves and the black shoes

~~~

Finally, Jerry had indicated an interest in doing a Pirates tweak — but there was one small problem — someone (Daniel Chianelli) had already done the exact one he was thinking of:

JR: I’ve enjoyed tweaking uniforms that I’ve worn. Next on my list would be the Pirates uniform worn between 1970-1976. Recently, I saw a post of that very uniform. The “old gold” color appears a bit green on my computer monitor, otherwise, it’s right on point. The only tweak I would consider would be black/old gold stripes, roughly the thickness of the band around the collar, on the outside seam of the pants.

The post also has an excellent rendering of another Pirates’ tweak so, it’s two great tweaks on one page!

UW: Would you consider tweaks of other Pirates uniforms you wore?

JR: I wouldn’t attempt the combination-style worn from 1977-1985. They’re my least favorite uniforms among all that I wore, though they did define the times of some great Pirate teams. The 1990 uniform, with the buttoned top and belts added in 1991, was excellent and for me, DCAT!

UW: Back to your tweaks. You seem to have common elements to all of them. Brighter colors in the center of the uniform, sleeve/pants piping and stirrups. Have you noticed?

JR: You’re right! I keep coming back to a similar style from my youth with some modifications to update them. My first uniform influence was the hometown Cardinals. I attended games at Sportsman’s Park from the ’50s to mid-’60s and saw games against the Dodgers, Pirates, Colt .45′s (Astros) and the pre-season exhibitions in 1964 against the Yankees. I recently found all the scorecards from the games I saw.

Since he mentioned his least favorite uniforms, the next question was obvious.

UW: You mentioned the combo-style as your least favorite. What were the favorites?

JR: The Dodgers and the pre-1971 Cardinals are in a first place tie. The emotional ties to the uniforms are as strong as the visual appeal. The Dodgers because of my personal success and the Cardinals, because I grew up in St. Louis and it was my first major league uniform. Next would be the White Sox because of the buttons and belt and the resurrection of my career and 1974-1975 Pirates, when I played my first post-season games. The 1990 Pirates (my final uniform), the Astros followed by the pullover/waistband Cardinals (the first time I was traded) would be next in line. The Angels, Brewers and Reds had great uniforms but I pitched poorly for each of those teams. Finally, there are the Pirates’ combos from 1977-1978.

~~~

We finished our conversation touching on today’s uniforms and how the players wear them.

UW: You watched the styles change during your career. It’s been over twenty years since you retired and the uniforms and styles that you wore have changed. Some thoughts on what you see.

JR: I like the concept of today’s specialty uniforms, jerseys and hats. Fans can watch their favorite team wearing spring training tops, batting practice tops, alternate in-season jerseys, alternate in-season uniforms, All Star Game BP jerseys, alternate hats, etc. I know I’m missing some other different looks, but I made my point. There’s a lot out there. I don’t like everything I see but I appreciate the spirit with which they’re presented. There’s some marketing involved with all merchandise but it’s all part of the fan experience. There’s so much available I wonder if MLB employs their own “tweakers!”

With regards to what’s worn on the field, I think that an alternate top or uniform that’s worn a few times a month (such as the Giants orange top worn on Friday home games, the Braves red Sunday top, the Dodgers psuedo-satin powder blues on mid-week home afternoon games) presents some visual interest and creates another level of excitement at the ballpark. But beware of overuse! It dilutes the experience and can alienate a portion of a club’s fan base. To put it another way closer to home, I like ice cream when served a scoop or two at a time but don’t force-feed me a whole gallon!

Other than that, the only problem is getting the managers, coaches and players to wear the assigned uniform or top. This spring, I’ve seen pictures of uniformed personnel wearing cut-off nylon jackets, hooded sweatshirts, fleece tops, t-shirts, shorts and pants without belts on the field during spring training drills instead of the assigned top. I’m all for comfort but this isn’t a professional look. This trend isn’t limited to spring training. Once the season begins, there are some managers that don’t even wear a uniform top or a jersey during the game! Maybe I’m nitpicking but it’s a disturbing trend.

UW: You touched on an interesting point. How about the way uniforms are worn today with baggy shirts and pajama-style pants?

JR: It’s not a style that I would embrace. I’m from a different era and my time has come and gone. At 61 years old, I’d look like a fool if I wore a baseball uniform the way a 20 to 40 year-old man would. Besides, if I want to see “baggy” and “saggy”, all I need to do is look at myself in the mirror when I get out of the shower!

So, with that, we’ll end today’s segment. I’m hoping Jerry will continue his tweaking prowess now that the baseball season is in full swing. They’re always welcome.

~~~

Once again, a huge thanks to Mr. Reuss for sharing so much of his knowledge with us all. Make sure let him know you appreciate it.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Very small set again this week. But size isn’t everything — our heavy hitters are back for more:

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Leading off is George Chilvers, who begins with this:

Came across this on Wikipedia the other day – Bobby Lowe of Boston Beaneaters (what a great name!).

George

PS Have you come across this before?

No George, I hadn’t — but that looks fantastic!

~~~

Of course, George wasn’t finished either. Here’s what came a bit later in the week. Check out the 1919 White Black Sox:

Hi Phil

This was more complex than it looked at first sight – has kept me out of mischief through the week.

Best wishes

George

~~~

And our final colorizer is Gary Chanko, who also colorized the Black Sox, and also provides a very neat history lesson. Dig:

Hi Phil

Thanks to BSmile for submitting two great team photos last week. I chose the Chicago Black Sox to colorize and the project resulting in some interesting discoveries.

If you look closely at the top row of players, the second from the left (his name is Lefty Sullivan, a pitcher) is wearing a different uni then the rest of the team. Similarly the player to his left is wearing even another uni version (the “Sox” lettering is slightly different and the neck and sleeves have white piping). Also the fourth player from the left on the first row seems to be in the same uni. So there are three different uni variations in a team photo.

Typically these vintage photo colorizing projects start with some basic research to determine color schemes. This time the research provided answers to the uni variations along with a few other bits of uni related information.

Uni Variation: As it turns out the owner was tight fisted with money. Players arriving on the team after the start of the season were issued whatever uniforms that were available. In this case Lefty got a 1918 uni set. Same situation I suppose for the other two players.

The Black Sox Nickname: If you thought, as I did, the “Black Sox” nickname was directly related to the World Series scandal, you want to consider an alternative uni-realted source. see this article.

Home or Away: With vintage B&W photos it’s often difficult to make accurate determinations between home whites and away grays. Sometimes there’s pin stripes or other variations that help with the determination. So I thought for this image because research indicated the 1919 White Sox wore gray pin stripes. But as it turns out, the initial research by Marc Okkonen (Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century (1991) was incorrect based on a faked Joe Jackson uni.

You read all the details and more in this article.

Gary

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Great stuff George & Gary! Instead of the “M&M Boys” we’ll just have to call them the G&G Boys.

OK — For next week. Since no one has yet colorized BSmile’s 1913 Cubs, lets keep that one in there.

And, since Paul ran a tremendous Wire Story writeup, lets see if we can’t do one or more from the following:

Joe DiMaggio, San Francisco Seals

1939 Cuban Team, International Tournament

Carmen “Specs” Hill, circa 1913 Pittsburgh Pirates

and two non-baseball ones, for those of you who don’t believe:

Sammy Baugh and the NY Titans Coaching Staff

Rochester Royals Basketball

~~~

Thanks again to George and Gary. Now get cracking colorizers! Lots of great stuff for next time! Cheers.

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Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson

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First, thanks to everyone for all the entries. Tough, tough decision. I did listen to yesterday voters and it was horse race but, ultimately, I was swayed by..the color. Can’t imagine why (runs away, ducking).

About today…

Okay, the course ain’t exactly Augusta National, but big plans are being made…

s-Contest golf

And of course, here is the full size

~~~

Contest Finalists:

So who were the five finalists and how did they describe (if they described) their creations?

Mick #1 was sent in by Coleman Mullins who described his submission, “I thought since I live in New Orleans and Mardi Gras just passed that I’d do a Mardi Gras theme. I wanted a little personal touch for Mick so there are M’s on his hat, shirt and shorts.”

Mick #2 came from Brian Fitterman, who didn’t describe his creation, but I loved the red/white/blue theme and classic rups.

Mick #3 was a Jim Vilk color by number. Said Jim: “And here’s an outfit he can wear for Friday outings.”

Mick #4, which was selected as the winner, was crafted by Tim E. O’Brien, who also did not describe his creation, but I love the fuchsia top over purple plaid plus-fours.

Mick #5 was designed by Mako Mameli, who opined, “Maroon & Gold for a classic look. It was not intended as a shout out to Minnesota, unless it give me more points ;).”

~~~

Great job by one and all. I can see why Rick had such a hard time selecting a winner. Well done gentlemen, well done.

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

We have another nice of tweaks today.

If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

And so, lets begin:

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Up first is Johnny Bruno, who has a past and future soccer tweak:

Phil,

I was reading the “Tweaking the MLS Part II” post and I got to the New York Cosmos and I wanted to pass something along to you and Lance that I don’t know if you guys are aware of. Last August the New York Cosmos were reformed as a Youth Development Academy with an ultimate goal of becoming the 20th MLS expansion franchise in 2012. The club is headed by the legendary Pele as the Honorary President with Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones as the Director of Soccer and Assistant Director of Soccer respectively. More information can be found on their website www.nycosmos.com.

Anyway, the main point of me writing is to show you the home shirt that they have created along with the new logo. If you look here you can see the new home shirt which is inspired by the this jersey which is the 1978 alternate shirt. The new logo is essentially just a tweak of the old logo.

I also made my own uniform set for the Cosmos as I hope that they get to be that 20th team. The home kit is essentially the new jersey they have created but I added a collar. The away kit I created is a tribute to the away kit the team wore when Pele was playing with the Cosmos. The third jersey was inspired by the colors of the jerseys of the 1980′s and the design of the 1973-75 shirt. The other alternate I made was just for the heck of it and to see how obnoxious I could make it because the third jersey always seem to be completely different.

My apologies for this being over 50 words. My original intention was to just write about the Cosmos coming back but then while writing this email I decided to make my own uni set. Keep up the good work!

-Johnny Bruno

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Next up is Alex Acosta, who has some concept logos for the Lightning:

I’m not to thrilled about the changes the Tampa Bay Lightning are making to their identity package for next season, hence I created a single TB crest for white, black and blue jerseys.

Black jersey version

White jersey version

Blue jersey version

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Closing out the tweaks today is Alex Cloutier, who has a Rockies and a Nationals set for us:

Hi
With baseball starting up I had to start getting these made so I have the first 2 here.

ROCKIES: A team that needs to have its image changed. Who decided to bring the purple unis back I don’t know, but the team needs an overhaul. I decided to use the color scheme of the original Rockies( you know, the NHL team that is currently in NJ.) and simplified the design.

NATIONALS: First things first the Nats NEED to choose if they are red team or a blue team, The home red & road blue Irritates me. Secondly they need to create there own logo (tons of people had it before them: The senators in the 60s, Walgreens, ect…). I think with this they can finally have an Identity.

AC

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Thank you folks. Back next weekend with more tweaks, concepts and assorted revisions.

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PS GiantsParting Shots…

So the Worlds Champs finally broke out their special gold laced unis and caps last night, against the Cardinals…

✔ Up close, and in good lighting, the lettering looked aight

✔ Likewise, from the side, it looked good; nice view of their patch

✔ Pretty nice silver & gold ring, much like the Commissioner’s Trophy

✔ Win the World Series and you get to fly a special flag

✔ So yeah…the uniforms looked pretty good in the twilight (Lince looks baked tho)… but …

✖ They actually look OK here, because of the angle, but once the sun went down and the lights came on…

✖ The jerseys became almost impossible to read — most of the game on TV was shown from the CF camera angle, and it really looked like the players were not only NNOB, but N#OB as well.

Overall, as long as this was one and done? Count me as a fan. I even liked the gold embossed cap (the Say Hey Kid was a nice touch). But it really does show to go you that, especially if you happened to watch this game live, there should have been more though put into how the jerseys would look under the stadium lights. You can get an idea of this by checking out the video.

☛ OK, folks. That’s all for this weekend. Thanks of course to Jerry Reuss, Ricko & his tweakers, the colorizers, and the other tweakers. Y’all have a great week! I’ll be curling with Paul on Tuesday and then catching the Mets that evening with some classmates. Woo-hoo. Semi-charmed life, indeed. Peace.

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Put a beer in the Celtics logo, have him passed out against a wall, maybe give him 6 or 7 little Celtics running around, and have fans with their shillelaghs walking snakes and eating potatoes, etc., then maybe you can approach the “Sambo Wahoo,” or names like Redskins. — Comrade Robert Marshall