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Could Stargell Stars Be Making a Return?

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Intriguing sight at Pirates camp the other day, as infielder Gift Ngoepe appeared to be wearing Stargell Stars. Could this be heralding a full-fledged return of the fabled cap ornaments? I’m hoping to find out more today — stay tuned.

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Sweet 16 rankings: With the Sweet 16 set to tip off tomorrow, I’ve prepared an ESPN ranking of the uniforms that we can expect to see on the court. Check it out here.

In addition, I have another ESPN piece today, about how Alex Ovechkin is poised to become the first NHL player to wear custom-painted skates. Check it out here.

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T-Shirt update: Last month we debuted our Uni Watch Artist’s Series of 2017 T-shirts with a sensational design by Todd Radom. Our next shirt will be by Larry Torrez — aka the great Eltee of DC — and it’s a stunner. Take a look (click to enlarge):

Amazing, right? Here’s the quick story behind this one: As you may recall, about a year ago Larry created a series of meat-themed caricatures of me based on classic MLB mascots, which he dubbed “Meatscots” (you can see them by scrolling down to the middle of this entry). This T-shirt design is variation on that project. The batter is a Japanese samurai warrior playing for the mythical team Kyoto Yakitori. His bat/sword has been reimagined as a kebab, honoring Japanese yakitori restaurants, which serve skewered chicken (which makes perfect sense because “samurai” literally means “one who serves”). The neon sign is a shout-out to the signage that such restaurants often have in Japan.

This design will be available on a black T-shirt either later this week or early next week. If you have feedback, Larry and I would love to hear it. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsCubs OF Jon Jay, who has a history of sock shenanigans, is now the new brand ambassador for Stance socks. Also, why don’t the stripes line up on these socks? (From Phil.) … Speaking of the Cubs, they’re holding a series of “community nights” this season, and integrated their logo into the symbols of the groups they are honoring (from Jordan Cutler). …  The Marlins’ Dee Gordon swapped jerseys with his much larger teammate, Justin Bour, during a workout yesterday (thanks Mike). … Patrick Johnston spotted this Rockies/Avalanche frankenjersey at Rockies spring training the other day. … The Fresno Grizzlies and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, aka the Fresno Tacos and the Lehigh Valley Bacon, are letting fans pick their favorite food. The loser has to wear the other team’s “Fighting Food” cap for a game in June. Phil doesn’t know what to do. … The Biloxi Shuckers will be wearing jerseys designed by a local tattoo artist in late April (from Mike). … The Corpus Christi Hooks will wear some sweet powder blue fauxbacks during Friday home games this year (from Sam Levitt). … Rough dark gray/black matchup between Louisville and Cincinnati yesterday (from Jason). … Color-on-color matchup yesterday between Charleston and West Virginia Tech (from Dan Reilly). … Lots of stripe action for Louisiana Lafayette last night (from Travis Webb). … Wyoming club baseball has tequila sunrise jerseys (from Jon Spencer). … You don’t often see a batting helmet with such a curved brim.

NFL NewsNew Ravens S Tony Jefferson says he used Madden to help him model the uniforms for his potential new teams during free agency (from Phil). … Speaking of the Ravens, here are their new number assignments (from Andrew Cosentino). … The NFL made this graphic after QB Josh McCown signed with the Jets, though he won’t likely be wearing No. 12 this season. The Jets have retired No. 12 for Joe Namath (from Josh Kail). … Chiefs K Cairo Santos put on lineman Mitchell Schwartz’s size 18 shoes and tried to dunk on a hoop in the team’s locker room. It didn’t quite work (thanks again, Mike). … We can add former Chiefs punter Jerrell Wilson to the list of players that have played with an unbuckled chin strap. Also, it’s weird to see a punter wearing No. 44 (from Bill Kellick). … The Lions responded to rumors about a new helmet design (from Phil). … Newly signed Steelers DE Tyson Alualu wore a German national soccer team jersey to his introductory press conference.

College Football NewsRussell Athletic is losing one of the few FBS teams it still outfits, as Ohio is switching to Adidas. As a former Bobcat myself, I really, really, REALLY hope Ohio’s shoulder loops won’t go the way of UCLA (from Jon Dies). … Coastal Carolina’s new teal turf — aka “Surf Turf” — should be ready for their home opener (from Brandon Long). … Ohio State’s practice jerseys have sublimated buckeye leaves in the numbers (from Karl).

Hockey News: The Penguins will break out their Stadium Series unis on the next two Sundays (from Jerry). … The Islanders are holding a design contest: They’re looking for the best Islanders-themed beer glass (from Brian Widman). …Check out this old photo of Flyers player Jimmy Watson wearing what appears to be a classic two-bar football facemask attached to his helmet (from Tom Asher). … The US National U-18 Developmental Team is auctioning off some fine-looking military appreciation jerseys the team wore earlier this month. The best part? You can bid on the striped socks as well (from Matthew Talbot).

NBA News: The Timberwolves will unveil their new logo on April 11. … The Bulls are expected to add a memorial patch for former GM Jerry Krause, who died yesterday (from C.D. Tatak). … Steph and Seth Curry wore “Family Business” shoes when their teams played each other last night. … Color-on-color matchup in Toronto between the Raptors and Bulls, as the Raptors broke out their Huskies throwbacks and alternate floor design. … The Trail Blazers’ Meyers Leonard wore socks with his dog on them during warm-ups last night (from Alvin Nguyen). … Sneakerheads might want to check out the first edition of Classic Kicks Magazine (from Nick Santora). … More color-on-color action last night in Brooklyn, as the Nets wore black “Los Nets” unis and the Pistons wore their road blues (thanks, Mike).

College Hoops News: Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig just got quite the haircut (from Rob Montoya). … Spotted in Lexington, Kentucky: a March Madness soda display (from Nate Hargis). … Here’s what players will wear in this year’s McDonald’s All-American game.

Soccer NewsTeams in the English Premier League will have a new number and NOB style next season. … New kits for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (from Marc Viquez). … This was in the NFL section, but we’ll put it here too: Newly signed Pittsburgh Steelers player Tyson Alualu wore a German national soccer team jersey to his introductory press conference.

Grab BagLove a good sign dust-up: Wind recently knocked over a bunch of highway signs in upstate New York, but the Federal Highway Administration doesn’t want the signs replaced. The feds claim the signs are illegal because the text isn’t uniform with other highway signs (from Bradley Loliger).

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My thanks to all of you who sent along birthday greetings yesterday. It was a fun day, if a somewhat exhausting one. Good thing it only comes around once a year! — Paul

Formula One Season Preview

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Omar Jalife, who has a rundown of the car designs for the upcoming Formula One season. — PL]

By Omar Jalife

The 2017 Formula One season begins this weekend, making this the perfect time to take a look at all the new shiny liveries we’ll be seeing during the year. Here’s a team-by-team rundown, with each team’s 2016 design shown after the team name.

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team (2016)

They announced they’d be changing to their beloved orange livery, the one that gave the team its first win in 1968, and everyone was excited. They had used orange in the last decade, but only for preseason testing, and people were expecting a similar scheme, especially since the team lacks a title sponsor advertiser to dictate color on the car. However, this is how they decided to paint their car — the orange is darker, and the black trim only makes the car look like a Spyker from 2007 than a McLaren from the ’60s.

Scuderia Toro Rosso (2016)

Toro Rosso (owned by Red Bull) was the only team to feature a work of art. Since their inception they had sported the beautiful red bull by Jos Pirkner. Now, that has changed. Forget about the navy blue with red and gold trim that they have used for the last decade — the cars are now painted like a Red Bull Cola can in a silver/blue/white livery. The car looks awful, but, at least you won’t be confusing them with the Red Bull Racing cars.

Williams Racing (2016)

Williams has virtually no changes for this new season save for the full usage of the shark fin for commercial purposes. While other teams have painted the shark fin on a different color, some have maintained the scheme from the engine on it, but none has yet gone to the lengths of making it look like an ad.

Scuderia Ferrari (2016)

Ferrari doesn’t change that much year to year, but the challenge always is finding where the Italian flag will be painted. Last year you could see it in the air intake above the driver, on the sides of the front wing, and on the sidepod deflectors. This year you can find it on the shark fin. Ferrari continues to use the red/white/black livery, with small modifications like eliminating the white line on the bottom of the chassis and cleaning up the mess that was the engine cover when black and white were used. Also, the rear wing is now predominantly white.

Red Bull Racing (2016)

No major changes for one of the top teams on the grid, except for some color removal due to advertiser-related changes on both the front and rear wings. The shark fins seem like a lost opportunity to paint the full Red Bull logo, but at least it doesn’t clash heavily with the livery of the car like Sauber’s.

Sauber F1 Team (2016)

When the team decided that driver Felipe Nasr would not continue in 2017 due to his lack of sponsor/advertiser, it had a great impact on the car’s livery. You will notice the yellow is completely gone from the car, with white taking a more dominant place in the livery. Additionally, since this is Sauber’s 25th season in Formula One, there are gold accents all around the car. Also, the black shark fin is a total loss to the livery — looks like Sauber never figured out what to do with it. Maybe paint it blue, guys?

Sahara Force India F1 Team (2016)

When the team presented the VJM10 car for 2017, the only new thing about it was that the livery had more silver than in the previous year. This was the latest step in a long decline from their unique India-inspired livery from the first seasons. However, once the team struck a deal with an advertiser, the livery was quickly changed to pink. This is not the first time we’ll see a pink car in F1 —Brabham did it in 1992 — but it won’t be as memorable as the coolest pink racing car in history. On the plus side, the Force India cars will be easily found on the track.

Renault Sport Formula One Team (2016)

They had a slick-looking design, based on the colors from their brand, but Renault somehow decided that more black was needed in their F1 livery. They basically split the car in two: the front is yellow while the back is black with yellow accents along the engine cover and rear wing. Although we’re not addressing fire suits in today’s entry, it’s worth mentioning in this case, as you may notice that the driver’s legs (which are in the front part of the car) are also painted yellow, while their upper body will sit where the black part of the car starts.

Haas F1 Team (2016)

The only American team on the grid made just one change in their livery for their second season, changing from white to dark grey. The other exception is in the shark fin, which has a nice pattern (at least they tried to integrate it to the car) and is the only place where white is present. 

Mercedes AMG Motorsport (2016)

The silver arrows decided to avoid any drastic modification in their livery and kept things simple. The only real change is in how they incorporate the aqua color into the car: They used to have the sidepod completely in that color, but now the team is using lines, probably to give the sense of flow, from the front wing to the sidepod.

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Lucky fella: Some people hate birthdays, some people love them. I’m in the “love” camp. I like that we each get a day that belongs to us, a day when the rest of the world owes us right of way. That feeling was instilled in me by my parents. We weren’t a particularly religious household, so we didn’t make much of a fuss over holidays, but we made a big fuss over birthdays. When I was little, my father taught me how his birthday, Jan. 23, reduced to “one-two-three,” while mine, March 21, was “three-two-one.” I always loved how our birthdays bookended each other like that. It seemed extra-birthday-special.

But why settle for one special day when you can stretch it out a bit? My birthday is today, but the place where I wanted to have my party this year isn’t open on Tuesdays, so we had the party last night instead, as more than 20 of my favorite people joined me for pizza and drinks (see above). A birthday eve party, as it were. At some point I looked around the room and realized how incredibly fortunate I am to have all these people in my life, which is a great feeling to have on your birthday (or the night before, or, really, anytime).

Things got even better when a cake appeared. And not just any cake, but a malted mocha cake, baked by the Tugboat Captain herself. It had five blue candles and three yellow ones, for 53.

The festivities will continue today. One of my best friends has the same birthday as mine (same year, even), and he’s having his party tonight, so I’ll be on board for that one, plus I’m hoping to carve out some time from my workday for some other birthday pursuits. Apologies in advance if I’m not very responsive to emails, tweets, or comments today.

I’m proud to share my birthday with two of the greatest bluesmen who ever lived, pianist Otis Spann and guitarist Son House. Here’s a track by each of them. (The harmonica player on the Spann track is James Cotton, who died last week. RIP.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

In honor of Paul’s birthday, today we’re leading off with a nice purple Vikings bobblehead from the 1960s. This little guy seems to be in great shape given his age! He’s from Japan with a square base and gold NFL logo on the corner.

Now for the rest of the week:

• Here’s a youth-sized Baltimore Colts three-quarter tee from Sears with some nice bold graphics.

• Got one of these right here — an early-1970s NFL thermal mug. A must for any retro NFL collection.

• Vikes quarterback Fran Tarkenton was “Frantastic” on this 1960s button.

• Falcons fans still might not be over their Super Bowl loss, but they can lick their wounds with a copy of this 1966 inaugural-season media guide.

• Speaking of the Falcons, here’s a 1969 Chase & Sanborn Falcons coffee mug. The seller has several other teams, too.

• Faultless marketed these San Diego Chargers golf balls in the 1970s.

• Here’s a Pat Patriot football-shaped water bottle from the 1970s.

• This 1970s Milwaukee Brewers seat cushion was sponsored by Koss (headphones) and promoted “Major League Baseball In Wisconsin.”

• Really nice-looking 1970s California Angels dugout jacket here. Looks like the classic satin Starter design, but the listing says it’s from Goodman & Sons of L.A.

• Phillies fans will want to add this “Phil” doll to their memorabilia collection.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Norfolk Tides will wear a memorial patch for longtime team executive Dave Rosenfield, who died last month (from Phil). … David Ross and his partner wore bedazzled Cubs uniforms last night on Dancing With The Stars (from @ajenkinsCLE). … Majestic is readying a marketing campaign with the slogan “My Team, My Colors” (from Tommy Turner). … Puerto Rico’s WBC players have bonded over their blond hair dye jobs.

Pro Football News: Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl LI jersey has been recovered. It was allegedly swiped by a member of the international media, who may have also taken Von Miller’s helmet after last year’s Super Bowl. … As you can see in this clip, the 1971 Jets had a jersey that didn’t have the thin green upper sleeve stripe. Also, in 1968, the Saints had inconsistent pants stripes. That screenshot comes from this video (from Chris Rocco). … Back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the Ottawa Rough Riders held a new logo contest (a little more info here). Will Scheibler says that the design was never worn on the field, however. … The Saskatchewan Roughriders showed off the locker room and player facilities at their new stadium (from Wade Heidt). … Check out this late-’50s Colts/Packers shot. That’s Big Daddy Lipscomb chasing Bart Starr. The Colts’ uniforms have barely changed since then, while the Packers’ have obviously changed a lot (from Pro Football Journal).

Hockey News: The Grand Rapids Griffins will celebrate a ’90s Night on Friday (from Phil). … The Stars wore camo jerseys during warmups last night. … The Flames held a Design A Mask contest. … The Canadiens’ Tomas Plekanec explained why he wears No. 14.

Pro Basketball News: Omri Casspi signed with the Wolves yesterday. He will wear No. 18, his usual number. … New blue plush-back seats will be installed at the Jazz’s arena, replacing green plastic seats (from Jamie Homewood). … New logo and uniforms for the Adelaide 36ers. More info here.

College Hoops News: Lots of college teams are named the Wildcats, but there may be a connection between how Northwestern and Villanova got their names (from Michael Pantano). … New NC State coach Kevin Keatts was presented with an outdated jersey during Sunday’s press conference. The Wolfpack, who wore these red jerseys this year, last wore that style of jersey in 2011 (from Rex Henry).

Soccer News: New navy kit for England (from Conrad Burry). … New uniforms for North Carolina FC of the NASL (from David Grzybowski‏).

Grab Bag: FBI director James Comey and NSA director Michael Rogers, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, both had nameplate glitches yesterday. Both had an upside-down “W” instead of an “M,” and Rogers had an upside-down “S” (from @ptakers and Chris R.). … New York City is holding a design contest for a new “I Voted” sticker. The previous design was created by a 10-year-old and introduced in 2013. … Washington D.C. replaced the distinctive brown ribbon signs at the entrances of federal buildings (from William F. Yurasko). … Hungary is considering a ban of Heineken’s red star logo, due to the symbol’s association with communist rule in the country. … Women sitting in the Texas Senate Gallery yesterday wore Handmaid’s Tale-style red robes and white bonnets as a sign of opposition to new anti-abortion legislation.

The Series When the White Sox Wore White Socks (mostly)

There are certain uniform variations and peculiarities that have become standard knowledge among the uni-scenti over the years. By now we all know that the Cowboys wore red, white, and blue helmet striping in 1976. We all know the A’s managers and coaches wore white caps in the late 1960s and early ’70s. And we all know that the White Sox changed from their usual black stirrups to special white stirrups for the 1959 World Series against the Dodgers.

Or did they?

I’ve always thought the White Sox lived up to their name in the ’59 Series, and that’s easily confirmed by looking at photos and video footage. Or, rather, it’s easily confirmed by most photos and video. But reader Will Shoken was recently watching some video highlights from the ’59 Fall Classic and noticed something interesting: While the Pale Hose did indeed wear pale hose in the first four games, they switched back to their standard black stirrups for Games 5 and 6. You can see highlights from those two games below (if the video doesn’t start at Game 5, skip ahead to the 21:22 mark, and you can see the Sox wearing the white stirrups in Games 1 through 4 earlier in the video):

I hadn’t been aware of that (or if I ever did know it, I had forgotten), and I couldn’t find anything written about it online or in my personal library. So I consulted uniform designer/historian Todd Radom. Naturally, he had the full story, which is spelled out in this article (click to enlarge):

The short version is that the Sox were down three games to one and decided to go back to the black stirrups as a slump-buster move. It worked for one game, but then the Dodgers came back and won Game 6, ending the Series.

This updating of hosiery history has all been news to me. Did any of you folks already know about it?

(Big thanks to Will Shoken for bringing this situation to my attention, and to Todd Radom for providing the backstory.)

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Photo by Mary Bakija; click to enlarge

Sunny Sunday: We’ve had a run of grey weather here in NYC, but yesterday was a sunny day, which made for a particularly picturesque scene with Uni Watch mascots Caitlin (left) and Tucker. Awwwwww.

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: I’ve been listening a lot to Cut to the Chafe, the second self-released album by the L.A.-based punk band Thurst. The whole album is good, but the lead track, “Forever Poser,” is an instant classic — a hit single waiting to happen, with frontman Kory Seal leaning hard into his drone-heavy vocals and coming up with great lines like, “I’ve euthanized my youth.” You can listen to the album here, and “Forever Poser” is below.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Here’s another good piece on Team Israel, including a passage that describes the players giving the team’s mascot, Mensch on a Bench, a glass of Manischewitz wine before every game (from Jerry Wolper). … Niko Goutakolis figured out a way to get that annoying New era logo off of his Mets cap. … Chip Powell was watching Virginia and Clemson play yesterday and noticed the umpire was wearing his chest protector over his shirt, but underneath his sport coat. Makes the ump look like a cyborg. … Looks like Alabama is using the Blue Jays’ font on its jerseys (from Blake Rios). … Edside Manor got his hands on a Nebraska stars and stripes hat. “39 stars, 15 stripes. Made in Taiwan. Close enough,” he says. … Nicholls St. paired a tequila sunrise jersey with red pants yesterday (from Vincent Sbisa). … The Berenstain Bears Get It™ (from Chris Flinn).

Football News: Mock-ups of the Falcons’ new stadium include murals of Reebok-era jerseys (from Will Chitty). … ’70s Color Rush? Check out this clip from a 1970 matchup between the Jets and Pats. The white unis the Jets wore that day didn’t have any green trim or striping. Anyone know why? (From Dave Miller.) … Pro Football Journal found a photo that shows Colts striping inconsistencies. … Spotted at a vacation resort in Cabo, Mexico: A mannequin donning both Cowboys and Giants gear (from Justin Berdar). … This blog post has a good breakdown of the Packers’ recent uni history. … Whoever applied the heat-press numbers on this old Broncos jersey apparently used an old newspaper clipping of a Broncos gamer as an ironing pad (from Broncos QB Club). … Lane Horcher found this awesome collection of gumball helmets in his dad’s basement. … Is Ohio State planning on using its throwback white unis as the main road jerseys next season? (From Daniel Bowen.)

Hockey News: The Jets wore throwbacks yesterday against the Wild. TSN’s graphics initially played along, but reverted to modern logos when the game began (from Martyn Bailey). … ICYMI: Here’s what the Leaf’s St. Pats throwbacks looked like on the ice Saturday. … The AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners wore cancer awareness jerseys on Saturday (from our own Mike Chamernik). … The Chicago Wolves of the AHL wore St. Patrick’s Day unis on Friday and later raffled off the jerseys (from Steve Johnston). … I get get behind this uni and mask combo on Mike Liut, a goalie for the old Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association.

NBA NewsThe Celtics wore their gold-trimmed St. Paddy’s day unis again yesterday in Philly (from Cole P.). … Apparently, Nuggets players love wearing their sleeved alternates (from Andrew). … The Hornets are still trying to unload gear promoting their phantom All-Star game. Friend of the site Steve Uhlmann found that shirt at the Hornets’ team store. … The Suns and Pistons went blue-vs.-orange yesterday, while the Spurs and Kings went purple-vs.-grey (from Zach Loesl).

College Hoops News: There was a color-on-color tourney game last night between USC and Baylor (from Blake Rios). … A protester flew a Confederate flag atop a parking garage near tournament games in Greenville, S.C., yesterday. This weekend was the first time the state had hosted a tournament game since 2002, as the NCAA would not allow the state to host a game while the Confederate flag flew at the state’s capital. … Check out the thigh pad on Jerry Stackhouse in the 1995 Final Four (from James Gilbert). … Here’s a March Madness-style bracket to determine the best high school logo in the Dallas area.

Grab Bag: The Blues, a rugby team in New Zealand, were set to get special jerseys from Adidas for an upcoming tournament. The kits were supposed to include coordinates for the team’s stadium, but the coordinates actually point to a nearby prison . What’s worse is that the team doesn’t expect Adidas to fix their error (from Matt Manley). … Birmingham, Alabama is looking to pick a new logo and is seeking the public’s opinion. … The winning players and coach of the AFLW — that’s women’s Aussie football —
will each receive an18-carat ring after the Grand Final this weekend (from Graham Clayton). … “I had previously theorized that driver Denny Hamlin wore a Jordan-branded/Simpson-made driver suit, and now I have definitive confirmation!” says David Firestone. … Also from David: Rookie funny car Jim Campbell is the first driver in any of the major racing series to wear a driver suit made by DJ Safety.

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The best there ever was: Chuck Berry died on Saturday. For me, he was one of the greatest and most important artists America has ever produced, an artist who created not just a legacy but a dynasty. He invented rock and roll, and to my mind nobody has ever improved upon his execution of it.

Like most rockers of his era, Berry wrote mostly about girls and cars (his first hit, the great “Maybellene,” brilliantly combined the two), but with a wit and ingenuity that few have ever matched. I’ve never fully understood how a black guy in his 30s was so good at writing songs that appealed to white suburban teen-agers, but Berry had the knack. And his guitar style, which included elements of blues and country, is the cornerstone on which an entire international youth culture and its attendant industry have been built.

Berry could be sly. His 1956 song “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” reads like an early black pride anthem, and “Memphis, Tennessee,” from 1963, starts out as a lament about a lost lover but then has a surprise twist in the final verse that still gets me every time.

Berry was no angel. Rock history is rife with unprintable and often unverifiable stories about him, but the stuff that’s in the public record is damning enough. As a kid, he was sent to reform school for car theft and armed robbery. In 1962, at the height of his stardom, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison for taking a 14-year-old across state lines “for immoral purposes.” Years later he served four months for tax evasion, and still later he took a plea bargain after cops raided his home and found videotapes of footage shot by a secret camera he’d installed in the women’s room of a restaurant he owned. While his artistic accomplishments don’t excuse those transgressions, neither do the transgressions negate the artistry. Like a lot of flawed geniuses, he was a complicated cat.

When I moved to New York 30 years ago, Berry would play here semi-regularly. By that time he’d developed a rep for playing with local pickup bands without any rehearsals, and also for sometimes engaging in what was charitably described as “erratic stage behavior,” all of which sounded depressing. Reports indicated that this remained his standard live performance m.o. for the rest of his life (longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Jeff Ash wrote a review of one such show in 2009), so I never went to see him play. On some level, I regret that; on another, I think maybe I’m better off not having seen him as a shell of his former self.

From a sports perspective, it’s worth mentioning that Berry’s 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” was the entrance music for Mets closer John Franco throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. On the down side, it’s always bugged me that the final verse of “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” begins, “Two-three the count, with nobody on, he hit a high fly into the stands.” Come on, Chuck — there’s no such thing as a two-three count! Someone should have told him to change it to three-two, but I suspect you couldn’t tell Chuck Berry anything in those days, if ever.

As a native of St. Louis, Berry was a Cardinals fan. In 2011 he threw out the first pitch prior to a Cards/Cubs game, and later that year he sang the national anthem prior to Game 5 of the NLCS between the Cards and Brewers. In both instances, he wore a Cardinals jersey. RIP.

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The best there ever was: The weekend’s other notable passing was that of writer Jimmy Breslin, who died on Sunday.

I haven’t had time to fully gather my thoughts on Breslin, but suffice it to say that he was one of the greatest — and probably the last — of the classic hard-bitten New York newspaper columnists. It was easy to view him as a caricature (the drinking, the smoking, the bluster, the shtick), but the reality is that he was a sophisticated wordsmith, an incredibly prolific author (his works include a book about the 1962 Mets and another about Branch Rickey), and a tireless advocate of the little guy. He could also be a real asshole when the mood struck him. Another complicated cat.

Breslin isn’t the reason I got into journalism, but it would be fair to say that his work provided lots of inspiration along the way. I don’t have even the teeniest fraction of his talent, but at a time when my fellow journalists and I have been branded as “enemies of the people,” I’m proud to have shared his profession. RIP.

So Much 'Murica: USA Baseball Jersey Design Contest Part I

jersey contest hed 550

By Phil Hecken

Well, you guys absolutely OUTDID yourselves on this latest contest. When I announced the “Redesign the USA Baseball Jersey” contest last weekend, I expected maybe 20 entries, of varying quality. Boy, was I wrong.

I received more than 100 entries from 54 different contestants. That’s FAR too many to run in one sitting. I was just going to run them, hope you guys made a few comments, and then we’d move on. But, after seeing the effort that went into all these, here’s what we’re gonna do: 54 divided by three equals 18, which is a very solid number to run at a time — so there will be a total of three separate parts to the contest. After speaking to my friend Sarah, she said “you’re going to have voting, right?” I hadn’t planned on it, especially since there are no prizes to be offered. But, then I thought, despite the extra effort (but since the voting will only be for “pride”), I decided, why not…let’s let the readers have some fun with it as well.

So…here’s how it’s gonna work. I’ll run these IN THE ORDER THEY WERE RECEIVED. They will be run in six sets of NINE (two sets today, and then the next four next weekend, in two separate posts). After each set of nine, we’ll vote on the best from that set. The top two vote getters from each set will move on to the finals, so we’ll narrow it down to the top 12 (two from each of the six sets). After all the finalists are chosen, we’ll have one final vote to determine the best redesign.

I was amazed at the breadth and depth of the entries — some of you went with classic, or throwback-ish designs, others of you (as I’d hoped and suspected) went FULL America. Many were in between. But they were all good to excellent, and almost every one of them is decidedly better than what the USA has been wearing (and will continue to wear against Japan on Tuesday, since they won, and defeated defending champs Dominican Republic, last night). Let’s hope someone at USA Baseball takes a good look at this contest and decides to contact one of you for a possible redesign. They couldn’t do any worse.

So, enough of my yakking — here’s the first set of nine, after which there will be voting (you can vote for any number of the entries, but you can only vote once); so write down your favorite(s) and then pick your winner(s) for this bracket. After this set, we’ll repeat the process for the second nine.

If an entrant has sent in more than one design, I’m going to run the entire set below. You’re going to be voting on the ENTIRETY of the set, so keep that in mind. You can click to enlarge the images below. Some folks provided writeups, some did not — but in the interest of keeping this manageable, no writeups are provided. The designs should stand on their own.

OK? OK. Here we go…

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Joe Kuras

Joe-Kuras-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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Bryan Spangenberg

Bryan-Spangenberg-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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Jimmy Corcoran

Jimmy-Corcoran-USA jersey1

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Andrew Stone

Andrew-Stone-USA Home Andrew-Stone-Patch

Andrew-Stone-USA Road

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Trey Glickman

Trey-Glickman-USA Baseball Contest

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Denver Gregg

Denver Gregg WBC concept

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Blake Pass



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Brian Forosisky

Brian-Forosisky-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

Brian-Forosisky-USA Baseball Redesign Contest_2

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Jonathan Dusenberry

Jonathan Dusenberry-USA_Home Jonathan Dusenberry-USA_Road

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AND NOW…VOTING FOR THE FIRST NINE (You may pick as many as you like)

USA Baseball Redesign Contest – SET ONE free polls

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And now…the final nine for today:

Stephen Smith

Stephen-Smith-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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Zachary Shapiro

Zachary-Shapiro-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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Will Scheibler

Will Scheibler-USAeagle_name&number Will Scheibler-AmericaStarsJersey

Will Scheibler-USA_headspoon_white+blue

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Aaron Ganci

Aaron-Ganci-USA Baseball Redesign Contest-01-overview Aaron-Ganci-USA Baseball Redesign Contest-02-home

Aaron-Ganci-USA Baseball Redesign Contest-03-away Aaron-Ganci-USA Baseball Redesign Contest-04-altaway

Aaron-Ganci-USA Baseball Redesign Contest-05-starsNstripes

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Carl Cordes

Carl-Cordes-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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Marc Mayntz

Marc-Mayntz-usahome Marc-Mayntz-usaaway

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Mike Engle

Mike-ENGLE-USA baseball redesign contest1 Mike-ENGLE-USA baseball redesign contest2

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Hungry Hungry Hipster

Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest CAPS FOR 1976 ASTROS FAUXBACK JERSEYS Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest CAPS FOR UNCLE SAM STRIPED PANTS UNIFORMS

Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest 1976 ASTROS FAUXBACK JERSEYS BLUE AND WHITE Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest UNCLE SAM STRIPED PANTS UNIFORMS

Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest 1976 ASTROS FAUXBACK JERSEYS BLUE Hungry-Hungry-Hipster-USA Baseball Redesign Contest 1976 ASTROS FAUXBACK JERSEYS WHITE

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Trayton Miller

Trayton-Miller-USA Baseball Redesign Contest

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AND NOW…VOTING FOR THE SECOND NINE (You may pick as many as you like)

USA Baseball Redesign Contest – SET TWO free polls

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And that’s it for today. Great stuff, yes? And there’s a lot more of that to come. Make sure you voted in BOTH polls. The top two from each poll will advance to the final round.

Let all the concepters know what you think in the comments below!

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Lukas b&wIn Case You Missed It…Paul’s Latest ESPN Piece

Between assorted makers’ marks and the many iterations of the MLB logo (including the Majestic and MLB logos on the pants, as shown here), today’s ballplayers are wearing more logos than ever before. Paul’s latest ESPN article examines how these logos have spread across the uniform over the past generation, and assesses which ones are relatively harmless and which are more odious.

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, here ya go. Definitely worth the read if you haven’t already.

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OK, it’s a couple days early, but…

Happy Birthday Paul 525

As most of you know, tomorrow is the first day of spring (usually it lands on the 21st, but what’re ya gonna do…it’s a day early this year). Now, that’s significant because usually the first day of spring ALSO coincides with the birth of our founder, Paul Lukas. I’ll be sure to check back in on the 21st to wish him a big fat happy on the actual anniversary of his birth, but since I ain’t workin’ that day…I’m also gonna take the time to wish him an early birthday on here.

So, to the best boss a guy could EVER have (and I do mean that sincerely), as well as a great and true friend — Happy Birthday, Paul. I hope it’s the best one you ever had.

And…normally (and especially after the winter we’ve had), I would be rejoycing for a first FULL day of spring forecast like this…


…but I will be sorely disappointed if a little rain doesn’t fall.

Interesting high temp predicted, if you know what I mean.

And if you don’t know why I’m hoping for some rain…be sure to check back Tuesday.

Cheers to you, Paul.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Check out Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. in a Baltimore Orioles basketball uniform — wearing Miller Lite branded short shorts Jimmer Vilkanova probably still has a pair of (from Bruce Menard). Also from Bruce, check out the beautiful striped undershirt worn by Casey Stengel in this spring training photo. … Whoops? Buco writes, “Not sure if @MajesticOnField was confused or overly creative with this Rangers baseball jersey.” … A guy is trying to collect every Mike Piazza Florida Marlins trading card. He has 117 of the 124 possible card types. Piazza was a Marlin for 8 days in 1998 (from Mike Chamernik). … The Maryland Terrapins broke out new camopander unis yesterday (from Jake Eisenberg). Here’s another view (from P. Costello). … New combination yesterday for the Florida Gators softball team (from Gators SB EQ). … Those jerseys don’t clean themselves! Check out these HOF Cincy Reds jerseys in a dry cleaners! (from Tim Curry). … Some nice gray roadies for EMU yesterday (from EMU Baseball). … Yesterday, the West Texas Lady A&M Buffaloes declared it a “Beautiful day to break out the new military uniforms, it’s an honor to represent these fallen heroes” (from Tyson Jex). … Here’s a shot of team Japan vs Cubs in spring training. Submitter Steve Sher notes, “this will be the Yankees in a few years.” … Here’s a photo you don’t often see: Rollie Fingers as a member of the Red Sox (from Chris Hamilton via Vintage Baseball). That’s from June 15, 1976 — 1 of the 3 days Rollie Fingers spent w/the Red Sox. A’s owner Charlie Finley’s fire-sale trade of Fingers was nixed by the MLB Commish Bowie Kuhn. … Here’s another photo — check out those black & red Pumas! (from John Turney). … And lest we forget Joe Rudi was part of the fire sale as well (from Gary Pierce).

NFL News: Obsessed with equipment and willing to take some hits along the way, a self-taught tinkerer became the go-to guy for some of the NFL’s biggest stars when it comes to a crucial piece of equipment: shoulder pads (from Jason Hillyer). … We bemoan helmet striping today that covers holes and extends over bumpers, but check out this photo from Steve B. Creations of an old Denver Broncos helmet. Looks like the stripes weren’t cut off back then either! Steve adds, “never seen that done before.” … Tony Jefferson will wear #21 for the Ravens, a number previously occupied by the recently cut Ladarius Webb (from Andrew Cosentino). … Here are some neat USFL pennants (from Dr. Paul Durkee).

College Football News: We all know Jimmer Vilk loves short shorts, so the question must be asked, “would you wear these”? Check out Baylor Football wearing what looks like hemmed version of white game pants to kick off spring practice (from Bear Droppings BU). … Hmmm, should Florida go “Golden State style” with their old logo & unis (from Katherine Miller via WB Young).

Hockey News: Toronto Maple Leaf (St. Pat’s) goalie Frederik Andersen’s green pads were not ready in time for yesterday’s game, “so his pads were modified with @ChameleonSports – #TMLtalk” (from The Goal Net). … Here’s a look at the Red Wings and Avalanche playing at Joe Louis arena for the final time — with the B1G Hockey Championship last night, the B1G logo appeared at center ice (from Jason Yellin). … Check out the Autism Awareness warm-up jerseys that were auctioned off last night by the Cleveland Monsters (from Bring Jimmy Home). … Did you ever wonder what the Hartford Whalers classic logo would look like if it were made into a “Transformers” shape? Me neither, but here you go anyway (from Louise Brooks Fan Club). … The Fargo Force of the USHL appear to be throwing back to the defunct FM Jets of the NAHL (2003-2008) — from Patrick Thomas. … Last night, the Maple Leafs became the Toronto St. Pats and rocked their beautiful unis. You can see some more good photos and very positive Twitter reax here. … Speaking of St. Paddy’s Day sweaters, the Milwaukee Admirals did the wearin’ o’ the green (from Zach Loesl).

NBA/ABA/Basketball News: “Rare photo showing the Baltimore Claws in action (only played 3 pre-season games in franchise history b4 ABA folded)” (from Robert Hayes). If you look at those jerseys, you can tell the “Claws” was (or appeared to be) simply stitched over the uniforms of the Memphis Sounds — you can tell by the distinctive number font. Here’s a bit more information on the short-lived Baltimore Claws. … Cavs fan Justin Bieber played basketball in a full Steph Curry uniform. … The Sioux Falls Skyforce broke out their corn jerseys last night (from Mike Chamernik). Also from Mike, another color vs. color game in Charlotte, with the Hornets taking on the Wizards. … Our daily rundown from Zach Loesl: Color vs color games with the Cavs & Clips and Hornets & Wiz; and white on the road for the Bucks. … Here’s another shot of that Bucks vs. Warriors game (from Mike Chamernik).

College/High School Hoops News: After the first round of games (from 64 down to 32 teams remaining), Conrad Burry posted the logo matchups for the 16 games in round 2. … Alex Gerwitz tracked the color vs white matchups for all of Friday’s games. … Check out this awesome photo of Baseball legend Mickey Mantle with the Commerce H.S. Basketball Team. My OCD is very satisfied seeing all those double numbers! … According to Max Ethridge, Nigel Hayes is wearing Adidas compression shorts (which is notable because Wisconsin’s unis are now supplied by Under Armour). … The Virginia Cavaliers wore these navy jerseys for their NCAA Tourney game last night (from Matthew Althoff).

Soccer News: Brutal color vs. color matches don’t just happen at the pro level. Sometimes (probably oftentimes, due to lack of “alternate” uniforms) they take place on youth soccer fields (from Kevin Crawmer). … Blank (possibly blood?) jersey alert! Montreal Impact player with N#OB against NYCFC yesterday (from Matt Harris). … The Minnesota United are using a different, better kit stripe in promo picture (from Justin Cook).

Grab Bag: This is pretty cool (and shows dedication!): “I designed and had printed t-shirts to commemorate my 200th running race,” says Ken Traisman. … What do Catholic school girls and Joseph Stalin have in common? They’ve worn a uniform to conserve their mental energy for a higher purpose than just fashion — good non-sports, non-military piece on uniforms, from James Gilbert. … Also from James, check out these University of North Carolina singlets on display at the March “Matness” NCAA wrestling championships. … Jimmer Vilkanova has created a new acronym: FOSNOB (Flag Over School Name On Back), as Hawaii volleyball also going with black version of their awesome flag jerseys.

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And that’s it for today. Big thanks to ALL the entrants in the Redesign the USA Baseball contest. Good luck to the first 18 today. Make sure you vote (in BOTH sections). I’ll have the final entrants next weekend.

Everyone have a great week — especially a certain fella on Tuesday. I’ll catch you next weekend. But until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“I strongly dislike the Brooklyn Cyclones’ logo. The font of the C clashes badly with the Dodgers B. The act of interlocking these two disparate letters results in an unsightly mess.”

— Ferdinand Cesarano

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