Sometimes the outside-the-lines part of the sports world creates a ripple effect that has consequences within a given game. And sometimes those consequences are uni-related.
That was the case yesterday in Oakland, as the Clippers’ players felt the need to respond to the racist remarks attributed over the weekend to team owner Donald Sterling. They staged a multifaceted silent protest, which included the following:
1. When the Clippers came out for pregame warm-ups, they met at center court, removed their warm-up jackets, and left them on the floor.
2. They then warmed up while wearing their warm-up tops inside-out, so the Clippers’ logo wouldn’t be visible.
3. During the game, the Clippers wore black socks and black armbands.
4. Chris Paul wore a black base layer (instead of his usual white).
And there was more. Shortly after the Clippers/Warriors game ended, the Rockets and Trail Blazers tipped off for their own playoff game, with both teams wearing black socks as a gesture of solidarity with the Clippers. And there was even a cross-sport gesture from Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who was mentioned in the Sterling tape and responded by changing his walk-up music yesterday to Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.”
This all presents a tricky situation for the NBA. I’m sure there’s some sort of regulation about warm-up tops, which means the players would normally be subject to a fine for wearing the tops inside-out, but it’s hard to imagine that the league would levy the fine in this case.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to think of other situations in which a team has come up with a uni-centric silent protest in response to ownership or management, but I’m drawing a blank. Wasn’t there a situation a year or two ago in which a college baseball team blacked out its chest insignia in response to something or other..? Can’t recall the details. I suspect there have been other examples, but I’m coming up empty. Little help..?
Update: Thanks to the many excellent suggestions that many of you came up with in today’s comments, I’ve been able to whip up this ESPN column on team-wide uni protests. Thanks, people — couldn’t have done this one without you.
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Apocalyptic fun: Most of you are probably familiar with Sports Illustrated’s long-running “Signs of the Apocalypse” feature, which, amazingly enough, has now been running for 20 years (and a fair number of the entries have been uni-related).
The “Apocalypse” series has now been compiled into a book, The Sports Illustrated Book of the Apocalypse: Two Decades of Sports Absurdity, and our friends at Diversion Books are making the e-version of that book available to Uni Watch readers for the exclusive low price of $1.99 — that’s half off the Kindle price.
That price will only be good for this week. This one seems like it should be right in the wheelhouse for many of you — go for it.
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PermaRec update: A bunch of old doodles created by a high school student in 1922 (including the baseball player shown at right) are featured in the latest Permanent Record entry.
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Baseball News: Diamondbacks pitcher Oliver Perez was forced to remove his undershirt during Saturday’s game against the Phillies after Phils skipper Ryne Sandberg complained about the slits that had been cut in Perez’s sleeves (thanks, Brinke). … The Rockies wore their black vests on Saturday — first time since September of 2012. The culprit was manager Walt Weiss, who said, “I’m going to take credit for that one, that’s my idea. I’ve been pushing the black vest since I got the job, really. I think it’s a good connection to our past. The run we had in ’07 [when they wore black at almost every opportunity until the World Series, where they lost to the Red Sox], I think it’s very important to stay connected to that stuff” (from Perry Sailor). … Still more photos from Wrigley’s 100th-anniversary game, this time from Leo Strawn, who was in attendance. Of particular note (at least to me): Arizona pitcher Oliver Perez didn’t have his jersey buttoned to the top like his teammates did. Also: The ushers wore birthday party hats! … I was listening to Saturday’s Yankees/Angels game on my bike radio when Yanks color analyst Suzyn Waldman offered this pearl of wisdom regarding backup catcher John Ryan Murphy: “He’s a backup now, but he played every day in high school.” Um, I’d like to think every player good enough to make it to the bigs played every day in high school. … Good story on the identity design of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. … The Sugarland Skeeters wore autism-awareness jerseys yesterday (from Chris LaHaye).
NFL News: When does Pats coach Bill Bellichick not wear a hoodie? When he’s running a half-marathon, apparently (good one, Brinke). … The NFL will once again use an eighth official for preseason games this year, and is contemplating other changes. …Brice Wallace spotted this helmet with a DIY 49ers logo at a thrift shop in Ogden, Utah. “Dang cute,” he says, and I agree.
College Football News: Rutgers QB Gary Nova changed his uni number for the team’s spring game as a tribute to a friend who recently died from cancer. Meanwhile, what’s on his back of his helmet?
NBA News: Former NBA player Steve Francis attended yesterday’s Bulls/Wizards playoff game and wore his own Rockets jersey. … Interesting note from Matt Manley, who writes: “I just turned 33 years old and immediately thought, ‘I’m turning Larry Bird.’ Does anyone else thinks of numbers as uniform numbers? As a rugby guy, my list would look different from those of most American sports fans, but it would be interesting to hear who people associate with certain jersey numbers.”
Soccer News: Soccer-centric designer Stephen Wong has launched his World Cup Brasil collection. … Thieves in Rio de Janeiro stole a van with 300,000 collectible soccer stickers featuring stars of the upcoming World Cup (from Yusuke Toyoda).
Grab Bag: I just scored this really nice vintage varsity jacket. More details when I receive it from the seller. … Nike may be moving away from the “wearable technology” sector. … New brand identity design for the Jewish Museum in NYC. Key quote: “Everything from the logo mark, logo typography, patterns, and illustrations were drawn on the same geometric grid from which the Star of David was formed” (from Jim Mason). … Daren Landers was out for a drive and spotted a caboose sitting on Central Manitoba Railway with a buffalo-head logo that looks a lot like the old Buffalo Sabres logo.
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What Paul did last night: Back in early February I wrote about the death of musician/artist/filmmaker Ricky Luanda, the former frontman of Chain Gang and all-around bohemian genius. There was no funeral service for Ricky at the time, but yesterday there was a memorial service/celebration at a gallery in the East Village, and I was very happy to be among the dozens of people who showed up to celebrate Ricky’s life and work.
I first encountered Ricky in 1982, when I was still in high school. I had just recently discovered punk rock and had scored a ticket to see the L.A. band X at the Palladium in NYC. The opening act was Chain Gang, who I’d never heard of and, frankly, didn’t care for. I remember thinking, “What the fuck is this, and how soon can it finish so X can start playing?” My sonic parameters weren’t yet broad enough to process what Chain Gang was doing, although I’d later become a huge, huge fan.
Anyway: That night I bought an X T-shirt. At some point I cut the sleeves off of it (I no longer recall why, but it seemed to make sense at the time) and I still have it — it’s the oldest T-shirt I own. Since the shirt has a Chain Gang connection, I figured it made sense to wear it to Ricky’s memorial service yesterday. I explained all of this to Ricky’s widow, Randi, who looked at me with amazement and said, “The Palladium show? That’s the night Rick and I met!”
Amazing. I offered to give her the T-shirt, but she declined and asked if we could take a photo together instead:
Thanks, Randi. And RIP, Ricky.
By Phil Hecken
I’m back again today with R. Scott Rogers, who last time presented to us the second 10 teams whose uniforms, he feels, could replace those in the current Major Leagues, should those teams ‘disappear’ from the landscape.
If you missed that introductory post, which fully explains the set-up, please click here. Part II is here.
The third and final set of teams will be introduced today, along with Scott’s justification for picking them (by uniform set).
So, without further ado…here ‘s Scott with…
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League Ralph – Reconstituting the Big Leagues, Part 3
By R. Scott Rogers
If MLB as we knew it disappeared, how would we reconstitute the big leagues? By finding the 30 lower-level teams with the best uniforms and promoting them to the bigs, of course. Here is the second part of my list of the teams whose uniforms should earn them a shot at playing in the majors. Read parts one and parts two to catch up.
Got a favorite farm or independent club that didn’t make the list? Let us know, and why, in the comments.
Fort Collins Foxes – IND
A collegiate summer wood-bat team with uniforms good enough to play in the bigs? You bet. The fox-tail underline gives Fort Collins one of the best jersey scripts in the game, and the rest of the uniform keeps things simple to balance. That, the striped stirrups, and the red-and-gold color scheme earns these kids a callup.
Round Rock Express AAA – PCL
Complete uni set
A team that’s just a tad too busy and tweaks their unforms just a tad too often. But unlike, say, the Padres, the Express mostly come out looking at least as good as before their latest unnecessary switcherro as before, so Round Rock makes the cut.
Lexington Legends A – SAL
Complete uni set
Close-up with green cap
Yeah, the whole hipster moustache thing is getting old. But apparently a lot of people still wish they had a pencil-thin moustache, and anyway better the Legends’ green-and-royal stache than the Lake Elsinore Storm’s spooky-eyes thing. (Can the spooky-eyes cap fad be over soon, please? Talking to you, too, Orem Owlz.) Otherwise, a fun, distinctive uniform that makes something out of what has previously been a bit of a staid team identity.
State College Spikes A – NYPL
Alt with mascot
There’s not enough brown in MLB. Not enough quality two-tone jersey scripts, either. The Spikes would solve both problems. The Spikes lately wear too much red for their identity (RFRS?) but as that’s already a plague in MLB, I can’t dock them too many points for it. State College is a bubble team here, but the quality of the basic concept behind the identity and the overall execution of the uniforms earns them a spot.
Billings Mustangs R – PL
I’m a sucker for Western-themed team uniforms. A few teams have done it better than the current Mustangs squad (RIP, Houston Colt .45s and Casper Ghosts), but they’re not playing today. The Mustangs are still with us, and so they get a nod. Plus, few minor league teams beside the Toledo Mud Hens have such a rich uni-history for throwback games.
Hillsboro Hops – A NWL
Home and road
If you like beer, then the Hops are your favorite team rebranding of the last decade. Great concept, even better execution. Plus, the little blue cap the Hops mascot wears, with a white script H? The Hops actually wear that cap with their road uniform. Mascots with caps the team doesn’t wear is my personal #1 uniform pet peeve, so I love love love it when cap mascot wears a cap the team wears in real life. The Hops would make this list for that quirk alone.
Normal Cornbelters – IND
Green and gold are strangely underrepresented in the lower levels of pro ball. But a reconstituted MLB will need a worthy successor to the A’s, and for that we journey to the Corn Crib in central Illinois, home of the Normal Cornbelters. The ‘Belters seem to have switched from a more ornate home script drawn from their logo to a more traditional, Dodgers/Royals/Rangers style of script. A downgrade to me, but I suspect that most will regard it as a step up. Bonus: Quality softball tops in both green and gold.
Mobile BayBears AA – SL
Home with logo
What the hell is a BayBear? When a team looks this good, it doesn’t matter. Everything here, even the blue softball top, is pretty much mocking the Rays, saying, “Hey, Tampa Bay, this is how you do it.”
Spokane Indians A – NWL
So the story goes, the Spokane Indians were in the process of rebranding themselves in 2006 to minimize any reference to Native American imagery when the Spokane Nation contacted them with an offer to lend official support. As a result, the team brought back subtle Indian iconography – and a secondary logo in the Salish language of the Spokane Nation – and pretty much showed the rest of pro sports how to do a native-themed identity. Plus, the classic styling, prominent red (less common in MiLB than in the big leagues right now) and subtly unique red-navy-sky-tan colors give Spokane all-around uni excellence.
New Orleans Zephyrs AAA – PCL
A plain but well-executed uniform for the Zephyrs, who happily have dropped an incongruous beaver mascot in favor of a more abstract fleur-de-lis identity. A big ol’ Z shouldn’t look good on a cap, but the Zephyrs make it work. And the NOLA alternate is a nice touch, sort of the jersey equivalent of the Twins’ TC cap. Really the only problem I have with the Zephyrs is their NOZ road cap, but it seems they rarely if ever actually wear it.
Boise Hawks – A (crappy new unis)
View with numbers
Another view, because awesome
Classic Grays/Cards style piping, rendered in green and red with a brilliant gold script and one of the most interesting cap logos in baseball? Busy, yes, but still somewhere close to perfection. So naturally, in 2013 the team took a sledgehammer to their uniforms and went all Marlins on them. The new Hawks uniforms are, well, they’re interesting. Innovative. Not nearly as terrible as most seem to believe, but not anywhere near making the cut for promotion to the big leagues.
2010 Lake County Captains A (downgraded unis)
Used to have one of the great jersey scripts in pro ball, as well as one of the best-ever mascot caps. Then, like so many minor-league teams in recent years, someone in the front office said, “Fun? Screw fun. What we need is less character and generic, blocky script.” I don’t know who started the contemporary jihad against whimsy, but few teams have suffered as dearly as the Captains.
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Thanks, Scott! Great set of duds for Part the Third. Huge thanks for undertaking this little exercise — it’s been educational as well as fun.
Readers? What say you? Anything to add?
Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest
Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part XI which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.
Yesterday we revealed the ninth set of concepts for the “Travelers” (you can still submit for the Voyagers [deadline 4/30] and the Rivermen [deadline 5/7]). And today, we’ll reveal the twelfth (and final) team for concepting.
If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Travelers,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here.
Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:
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When the Dust Settles
By Ross Clites
The last team in the LCBL portfolio is the Settlers. Play around with the color scheme but avoid going full Colorado Rockies. Also, shy away from the temptation of a covered wagon. It may be the first image that pops into the mind when free associating “Settlers” but remember that Lewis and Clark’s expedition was hardly the Oregon Trail. Stick to the themes of the time and you will be just fine.This is your last chance to be a part of the design process, so play that ace you’ve kept up your sleeve. Pick that certain animal that needs to be a part of the LCBL that hasn’t been represented yet. Go big since the contest is going home.
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With this post, the last ball is now in play. Next week the final 2014 franchise, the Voyagers, will be put to a vote. From there the bow will be tied on this contest. We will spend some time tidying up where we have been, what uniforms will be ordered for the upcoming 2014 season, announce all the winners, and reveal the iconic looks for future Lewis & Clark Baseball League seasons to come. The voting for the River Men and Settlers — being 2015 expansion teams with no urgency — will be revealed with lesser pomp and circumstance.
Once again, we thank all that have participated on both ends of this unique Uni Watch experience. The submissions have been professional and the feedback has been tremendous. I hope y’all enjoyed this experiment. I have laid out all the preliminary aesthetics on my desktop and I could not be happier with the outcome. Uni Watch should be in for a real visual treat when the big reveal occurs in the coming weeks; even more so when the uniforms return from production and the first on-field pictures surface.
No winners to announce from last week’s vote; we will withhold that information for a bigger splash in an upcoming weekend’s post. Thanks again and good luck.~ ~ ~
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is William McComas, who has some thoughts on a new Cav’s uni:
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I’ve been following Uni-Watch for quite some time, and have been particularly fond of the Uni Tweeks Section. For years I have been a huge fan of the Cavaliers 76 Era Throwbacks, but have been clamoring for someone to make a white version of those unis, so, I am submitting my desings for a white, gray, and black version of the jersey. Not the best work, but hey, it should do the trick. Keep up the good work!
Scott McComas in Cleveland, Ohio
Next up is Paul Lee who tweaked his Heat tweak:
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A re-tweaked Heat jersey.
And we close today with Mike Brandofino who has some new logos for the New York Football Jets:
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I love the Uni Tweaks that are posted occasionally, so I figured I would challenge myself to come up with a new logo for the Jets. The challenge was to incorporates an actual Jet back into their logo. Well, through the process I began to realize why they may have decided to let go of the jet imagery…it is extremely hard to incorporate a jet into the logo without it looking ultra lame/cheesy. I decided to modify the Winnipeg Jets logo to fit the NY Jet branding since it was the “coolest” example of jet imagery in a logo I could find. I kind of like the results logo wise, but I don’t necessarily love it on a helmet. Please take a look at the mock-ups I have created. I also added a light green color to the logo as an accent. I think that color could look cool incorporated into the uni as well, especially as a chrome face mask.
Thanks again for all you do for Uni-Watch, it has been a go-to site of mine for several years now and I love it!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Are there actually catchers in MLB who don’t wear a cup? Apparently so (via TommytheCPA). … The SF Giants commemorated Duane Kuiper’s only MLB homer with bobblehead night (which Brinke attended — more photos here and here). Apparently it was pretty cold. Also, Kuiper didn’t hit his lone home run as a Giant — he was with Cleveland (but is a Giants’ broadcaster). … We can never have too many photographs of Dick Allen with his “WAMPUM” NOB, can we? No we can’t (via Sully @pal3327). … It took almost a month, but the Braves finally broke out their flag desecration jerseys last night (h/t Clint Richardson). Here’s how they look on the field (more photos here). … A very small but subtle change has taken place to the Houston Astros’ orange cap logos — last year the blue star was solid blue, but this year it’s two-tone, giving it the appearance of depth (h/t to Ryan Dunsmore). … Check out this adorable photo tweeted at me by Justin McKissick, who wrote “ready for his 1st ever t-ball game, doing my part to teach him the important parts of the game.” Awesome. … The Oklahoma State Cowboys wore their all orange uniforms yesterday (via Andrew Wooley). … Are those merit decals (a/k/a pride stickers) on WVU’s helmets, asks Coleman Mullins. … “I love the University of Nebraska at Kearney Baby Blue jerseys,” says Jason Johnson. “Just wish they would get off the camo bandwagon.” … The giveaway at
Shea CitiField last night was a Mets batting helmet with an orange squatchee! (thanks, Terence Kearns). … Troy Tulowitzki’s “Jeter fandom is well documented, tho I don’t believe I’ve seen him wear a Jeter wrist band before,” writes Philip Dauria.
College Football News: The Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks in Flagstaff, Arizona, unveiled a new logo and uniforms for their athletic department, notes alumnus Jason (no last name given). “I’m biased but I think it’s an improvement from their previous set. I’m a big fan of the NAU logo inside the axe. Full press release and galleries here. That was also sent in by Tim Tribou, who is also an alum. … Interesting article on chinstrap security here (thanks to TommytheCPA). … At their spring practice yesterday, the MSU Spartans wore a “B1G Champs” patch (more here).
Basketball News: Here’s an interesting Esquire article, “Is NBA Style Redefining Masculinity?”, Fashion and the NBA – Basketball Pros Redefine Black Masculinity Via Fashion Choices (sent in by TommytheCPA). It weighs a bit heavily on race (but the NBA is 78% black), but it’s a good read.
Hockey News: “Last week you had a link to old hockey videos, Blades and Brass, there was another video link on that page to Just Another Job,” writes Rick King. “It is about the creation of the Nordiques. At 13 minutes into the video the artist who created the uniforms shows his ideas and the changes.”
Soccer News: “Huddersfield’s Adam Clayton has taken football beards to another level,” writes Lee Wilds. I think in this instance, I would have to wholeheartedly agree. … What’s this? If you guessed Columbus Crew member Dominic Oduro with a slice of pizza on the side of his head, you win a prize.
Grab Bag: For everyone not named Bruce Menard: are you a vintage sports photograph collector? Then this auction may be for you — over 1,000 vintage sports photos there (big thanks to Chris Flinn). … I’m not sure if we’ve seen this particular “food chart” before, but here’s a 1875 Pork Map of the United States (sent in by Kurt Esposito). … “SURE these were uniforms!” writes Bob Kyle, as he sent in this Playboy Bunny uniform retrospective. … Very cool submission from Leo Strawn, Jr., who says, “A few clubs have taken part in the annual AFL indigenous round in years past, but this year, for the first time, all 18 clubs will have a special jumper designed to wear. Melbourne Demons jumper is featured in the story on that link. Geelong Cats design looks simply horrible.”
OK, folks — that will do it for today. Thanks to R. Scott for the lede, Ross for the final contest submission, the concepters for their concepts, and the ticker submitters for their submissions. You guys have a great day.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
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“I guess I just don’t have a moral issue with taking someone else’s work, improving it, and calling it your own. I mean, look at the legendary Led Zeppelin.”
–THE Jeff Provo
By Phil Hecken
Today we’ll be taking a look at the ninth set of uniform submissions for the Lewis & Clark Design-a-Uniform Contest, for the team known as the “Travelers.” If you’re not familiar with the contest, please give that a read. The contest’s creator, W. Ross Clites will be asking readers to design uniforms for all of the teams in the Lewis & Clark League, and thus far we’ve asked for submissions for a total of eleven teams. We’ve looked at the “Captains,” “Diplomats,” “Explorers,” “Governors,” “Lookouts,” “Navigators,” “Pathfinders,” and “Pioneers,” and today, we’ll see the concepts for the “Travelers.”
Two other teams have been put to readers for concepts, the Voyagers and the RiverMen. If you’d like to submit your concept for either team, the deadline for submissions for the Voyagers is Wednesday, April 30 and the deadline for submissions for the Rivermen is Wednesday, May 7. Tomorrow, Ross will have a short write-up for the twelfth team, so make sure you check back then!
At this point I’ll turn it over to Ross, who will go over the guidelines for voting, and then I’ll be back with some final words before we take a look at the entries from our contestants. Here’s Ross (these guidelines will likely accompany each set of voting):
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Alright boys and girls, here is how the voting is going to go for each Lewis & Clark Baseball League team:
1. The hierarchy of importance goes primary logo, then uniform design, and then all rest (i.e. hat design, secondary logos, etc.) Cast a vote for the design with your favorite primary logo, first and foremost. Do not fault someone for going outside the design guidelines. Changing a wordmark or adding a third color is not a disqualifier for good thought process.
2. Your votes will take the field of applicants down to a final two per team.
3. We, the LCBL Executive Board will make the final decision on the winning proposal. However — and this is big — design is never complete and collaboration is paramount to success. We will likely settle on a combination of the final two submissions. We might love the logo of one, but prefer the jersey scheme of the other. In this, you will both be winners with full prizes to ensue. The possibility does exist for a total victory, of sorts. One designer could present the best looking jersey, logo, hat, and all the rest. Do not get offended when your submission gets handed back to you with redlined edits. We hate to hand out homework to the winning look, but tweaks may be requested. It is a studio project and not a math equation; the “right” answer takes some massaging of details.
4. With permission from both finalists, our graphics department will meld the two submissions together (if necessary) and place it in our common platform. This is done as a common denominator showcase for all twelve to look uniform when the contest has reached its end.
5. Someone, not even in the top two, could see an element (such as an awesome secondary logo) appear in the final iteration. We would never select the winner based solely on a minor design element, but we will also not let it go to waste. In this, all submissions could be part of a bigger design team. This contest — and frankly this site — was created to identify the best possible combinations of logos and materials in the sports world. This rarely comes from one person’s mind; we will reward any of those that play a part in making our on-field product the best it can be.
Thanks, Ross. A few words about the submissions below:
Some of the contestants sent one single image, others sent multiple images. Some contestants sent descriptions (in some cases, very lengthy ones), others had little or no description. In an effort to make the voting as fair as possible, I have put those who sent multiple images into one single image, and no descriptions of the uniforms will follow. If you’d like to see all the entries for the Navigators and their write-ups/descriptions, I have hosted the entire set on Flickr. Keeping in mind Ross’ rules for voting, you may use these as an additional guide in determining which submission(s) you think are the best.
The submissions will be in alphabetical order and voting will follow. You may vote for any three of the concepts below. You may click on any image to enlarge. OK? OK. Here we go:
OK, readers. That’s quite an impressive set of contributions! Now it’s time for you to vote. You’ll be allowed to vote for up to THREE (3) submissions. You may wish to scroll up for one more viewing, and write down your favorites.
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And now it’s your turn! Make sure to vote for your favorites and let all of the concepters know what you think of their designs. They all put a great deal of effort into this, so tell them how they did (and lobby for your favorites, if you wish).
Thanks to all the submitters — we’ll be back next weekend at which time Ross will reveal the winner(s) and how they will adapt the design for the Lewis & Clark league!
Four + Forty Years Ago…
…He come into this life
From all of us at Uni Watch, a Big Fat Happy 44th Birthday to Comrade Robert Marshall!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: A question comes from David Long, who says, “Saw this on YouTube via Gawker. What’s up with the collar and cuff stripe colors on that jacket?” … “I had my buddy Matt Cliff send in a Nolan Ryan cake he did a few months ago, which made it into the ticker,” says Aaron Roggensack. His latest display of talent, has a sports element to it as well: The Black Angels stylized in 70’s baseball card style, for the upcoming Psych Fest in Austin. (Higher quality version can be seen here by clicking to expand). … Following up on yesterday’s ticker entry, here’s a closer look at Lee Byung-kyu’s batting helmet with all the crap written on it. … Pink, pink and more pink Beavers for their Senior Day (new unis too), with a h/t to @Beavers_EQ. … NJ.com is allowing readers to vote on “Who has the best high school baseball cap in the state?” (nice find by Ryan Esdale). … Good article and pics on Spain Park High School baseball uniforms. Submitter Nolan Jones adds, “Some I like, some I don’t like but LOVE the all powder blue.” … “It’s Official, Sharla McBride wins RailRiders Bobblehead Contest,” (from Art S.). … Mansfield University (PA, Division II PSAC) is donning League of Their Own style throwback unis (thanks to John Maslar). … “I cover baseball for FM91 Sports – which is Freed-Hardeman University (NAIA),” writes Dustin Semore. “(Yester)day we (we)re playing Missouri Baptist, and being a Mississippi State alum, I noticed a striking similarity between State’s baseball logo and MBU’s baseball logo. What do you think?” … Baseball inspired “fashion” is on deck for spring, according to this article from the Wall Street Journal. … Here’s a look at the American League All Star Game BP jerseys (thanks to Tyler Mason). … What if all baseball players were fat? (thanks, Paul). … A squabble over uniforms has turned two Long Island septuagenarians into Grumpy Old Men, among other things. Sigh. Long Island isn’t exactly known for happy news, is it? … McNeese State broke out some nice gold tops yesterday (via Chris Mycoskie). … This past week, the Yankees had the same uni number worn by 3 different players (looks like the Texases had FOUR in one week earlier this year). Thanks to Eric Garment for pointing that out. … BJ Upton got glasses (some would say, “what took so long?”), and here he is wearing them during last night’s BP (h/t Jonathan Binet). And here he is in game. … Here’s the actual hero cops and firefighters unis the IronPigs and PawSox wore last night (previously we’d only seen the mocks). H/t to Harrison Tishler for the shot. … The AL West is the only division in baseball where no team features and “interlocking” logo. When arranged “properly,” they also spell out AsSHAT (via Alex Munix). … Yesterday, in 1976, one of the more surreal scenes in MLB took place at Dodger Stadium. … A reader who goes by Cashrussellmarinersfanforlife was at the Mariners game last night and noticed the White Sox flag was upside down. … Clayton Kershaw made a rehab start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes last night, and Nick Schiavo liked the Quakes’ number font. … “I am not sure if you have seen these hats before or not,” writes Adam Ronquillo of the Santa Fe Fuego (of the Pecos League), “but I think this team has a pretty awesome look overall (just not the fire hats).” … Troy Fowler got this screen grab of Hunter Pence with a gray under brim. Not sure if he wears that in game, but I’m pretty sure gray underbills are worn during ST shoots.
NFL News: During Sunday’s Soul game on ESPN2, the teams will use the new SchuttVision Helmet, equipped with SVI video technology to offer fans a first-person look at the action. Says submitter Rob Bubeck, “Personally I find point of view cameras on people’s heads a little disorienting but it could be interesting.” … Scott Moody was watching a special on NFL Network and saw this clip of Tony Dorsett. “Look at how crappy that looked,” says Scott.
College Football News: Those new helmets (some of which are actually just reconditioned & repainted) that schools keep trotting out are not cheap — Baylor’s gold helmets, for example, cost $65,000 — so the schools offset the costs in various ways. … Here’s a look a the new 75th Anniversary logo for Jordan-Hare Stadium (thanks to Clint Richardson). … The South Dakota State Jackrabbits now have the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmet (h/t Jacks Equipment).
Basketball News: It’s not Super Bowl or NCAA Tourney Time, so there aren’t many soda can logo/team displays these days, but check out the soda display posted by the Portland Trail Blazers Facebook account (it says “Rip City”). Thanks to Jason Franklin for the spot. … Perhaps not coincidentally, the Blazers wore their Rip City jerseys last night (screen grab by Ian Borkowski. … Check out this great photo of the Chester High 1953 State Champs (Class D- smallest in Nebraska). Submitter Greg Mays adds “Think those two guys hidden in back are wearing 88 and 55?” … When the Golden State Warriors move to San Fran, will they undergo a name change? … “I was watching Bad Boys on ESPN when I noticed this clip with a 76er who has a jersey with the name taped over,” says John Romero. “Looks like they took Albert King’s #17 jersey and taped it for Gerald Henderson’s #12. Wonder if there wasn’t a blood jersey?
Soccer News: Very good article from Bloomberg that highlights just how seriously Nike is taking the soccer shoe market, in their battle against adidas for soccer ‘supremacy.’ Telling quote: “These are the moments that Nike lives for.”
Grab Bag: “Not really uni related, but check out the logo one of the candidates campaigning for a spot in the Georgia Senate,” writes Joe Culverhouse. ” Interesting to see a GOP candidate inspiring that name recognition.” Here’s the full article. … Seton Hall has signed a deal with UA to become the exclusive footwear & apparel supplier across all sports, having dropped adidas. … Here’s a pretty cool look at the evolution of the Lego logo (from Lee Wilds). … St. John’s Lacrosse had some pretty interesting uniforms yesterday.
And that’s all for today, folks. Everyone enjoy your Saturday, and I’ll be back again tomorrow. Happy 44th Comrade!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
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“I don’t know why but the picture of Paul reminds me of an old Soviet propaganda poster. No, I’m not saying he’s a communist I guess its just the pose (or the hat).”
For all of today’s photos, you can click to enlarge
I was poking around on eBay recently and got very excited when I saw a listing for the vintage jersey shown above. Great color combo, gorgeous script on the front (the “C” reminds me of the old Cott Soda logo), excellent sponsorship lettering on the back (love that little ampersand), and a rare design detail (which I’ll get to in a sec). What’s not to love? Well, maybe the fabric — 100% nylon, which is kind of miserable — but I was still eager to add this beauty to the Uni Watch wardrobe.
The seller didn’t list the measurements, so I contacted him and was very disappointed to learn that the jersey was too small for me — dammit! Normally I’d just move on, but in this case I was so bummed that I called over to the New Girl and said, “Look at this great jersey I can’t get ’cause it’s too small.” She took one look and said, “Shit, I’d wear that. Will it fit me?”
We quickly figured out that it was just right for her, so she scored it for a mere $12. Looks great on her, too — I wish I could wear it myself, but getting to see her wear it is the next best thing:
The jersey was manufactured by an Ohio company called Betlin. And the unusual design detail, of course, is the triple-stripe waistband — this jersey was designed to be worn untucked! The waistband mimicked (and removed the need for) the striped waistband on sansabelt pants. I’ve seen this feature before, but only a couple of times — it apparently never caught on.
I asked sporting goods maven Terry Proctor about the manufacturer and the jersey style. He responded:
We sold the Betlin line at Ruby’s [the Rochester sporting goods shop where Terry worked]. The company was named after the owners’ wives, Betty and Linda — Betlin. They were strictly a cut-and-sew operation. They purchased all of their fabric and trim from Yarrington Mills of Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Initially they offered no lettering service, which was fine with us because Rochester was blessed with several screen-printers and twill/embroidery operations. Betlin made the Chicago Hustle WBL uniforms for league sex symbol Janie Fincher. The Hustle uniforms were lettered by the dealer in Chicago.
As to the jersey in question, it’s a softball jersey from the same period as the Marquette “untucked” look. The reasoning was that girls’ jerseys often became untucked, girls didn’t like belts, and a lot of pull-on softball pants and all shorts had just an elastic gym-short narrow waistband with no drawstring. The jersey was made as a convenience feature to present a “neater” look. The style really never caught on in our area but I can’t speak for other regions.
As for the jersey’s backstory, I Googled “Chester R&R Tavern” but came up empty. There are several U.S. states that have towns named Chester, so it’s hard to narrow this one down. If anyone knows more, I’m all ears.
About a week after spotting the Chester jersey, I came across another good-looking jersey on eBay — and this one fits me:
Nice, right? Got it for $50, which is a little more than I usually like to spend but I thought it was worth it in this case. The fabric is cotton twill (an underrated jersey fabric — lighter than wool flannel, more rugged and organic-feeling than Durene) and the lettering and graphics are white felt. Nice Felco tagging, too. The one odd thing is that the buttonholes aren’t centered on the placket — they’re flush against one edge of the piping:
The buttonhole positioning is definitely a flaw, but I find it sort of charming. Same goes for the riotously off-center lettering on the back:
Naturally, I Googled “Tarr Kellam Propane Gas” but didn’t come up with any leads that would tell me more about the jersey’s history. If anyone knows more, please speak up. Thanks. (Update: Reader Ron Ruelle pointed out something I hadn’t thought of, namely that “Tarr” might be the player’s NOB, which means the company name would simply be “Kellam Propane Gas Co.” Once you start Googling that, without the “Tarr,” you quickly hit paydirt. Thanks, Ron!)
One final note: A few of you have asked why the headlines for these posts about vintage jersey finds all start with “Closet Case.” It’s meant to be a twofold play on words (neither very good, admittedly): (1) These uniforms live in my closet, and (2) people often say, “You write about uniforms? You must be gay!” or “You must be a closet case!,” so I’m acknowledging and making fun of that.
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PermaRec update: Research into the story behing an 80-year-old snapshot (shown at right) has led to a reunion of two childhood friends. Details in the latest installment of Permanent Record.
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Baseball News: Check this out: Mickey Mantle on his high school basketball team (from Jonathan Daniel). … Latest team to go with Star Wars unis: the Brooklyn Cyclones. … Here’s a fascinating interactive map showing MLB rooting interests across America. Spend some time with this one — you won’t regret it (from Dave Rakowski). … Love this Replacements gig poster patterned after the Twins’ logo — complete with an in-joke (big thanks to David Teigland). … Brady Phelps has found some photos of old Padres-themed vehicles. First there’s this pinstriped van, and then scroll down a bit on this next link to see two great Swinging Friar-era vehicles. … Holy moly, look at all the stuff inscribed on this Korean player’s batting helmet and this other Korean player’s cap! … Ugh, seriously hideous uniforms for Chesapeake High School in Ohio (from Brice Wallace). … That Wrigley Field-shaped cake ended up in a Dumpster. … Just what the world’s been waiting for: Fresh Prince of Bel Air-themed jerseys. … Another team with a teuila “sunset” design: Bryan Station High School in Kentucky (from Josh Claywell). … Spider-Man jerseys on tap for the Asheville Tourists. … What do you get when you combine Oregon State with breast cancer awareness? Pink beavers, of course (thanks, Phil). … Apparently several Baltimore-area breweries use Orioles-themed colors and marketing pitches (from Alan Borock). … Our national fetish for “intimidating” mascots has reached its logical nadir: a snarling canary. Kill me now (Phil again). … Matt Shepardson attended the Wrigley Field centennial game on Wednesday and provided photos of the throwback-attired groundskeepers and the actors in period clothing who roamed through the crowd. … Jamie Uthe was at Wrigley on Tuesday as well. Here are his excellent photos. … Yet another crazy minor league theme promotion: Zombie Apocalypse Night. Fun idea, but I’m calling bullshit unless the concession stands are selling human brains. … You’ll rarely see a more perfect expression of 1970s baseball aesthetics than this video clip from Alan Kreit’s high school baseball team. “I’m not in the video myself, but check out the awesome baby blues,” says Alan. … In a related item, Kent State is wearing some solid-gold uniforms that wouldn’t look too out of place in Alan’s high school video (from Nick Shook). … Here’s a rare sight: a catcher wearing glasses. That’s Kazuya Furuta, a Japanese player (duh) from 1995. Also, note the “Mecha” lettering on baserunner Takahiro Saeki’s helmet brim. Jeremy Brahm explains: “Saeki came into Japanese baseball as the movie Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla came out. With Hideki Matsui already being called Godzilla, he said ‘I go as Mecha-Godzilla.'” So that’s a new kind of nickNOB: nickname on brim. … A member of a vintage base ball team started a MetaFilter thread about trying to find some heavy-duty wool for the team’s pants. If anyone can help, feel free to join that thread (from Jesse Thorn). … More pine tar antics? Cardinals starter Lance Lynn apparently had a dark spot on his cap during yesterday’s game against the Mets, but the Mets weren’t concerned about it. I watched that game and didn’t notice anything myself.
NFL News: Following up on an item from yesterday’s Ticker, I wrote a short ESPN piece about Rams exec Kevin Demoff hinting at new uniforms. … The Jags have become the first NFL team, at least that I’m aware of, to tweet a SpeedFlex photo (thanks, Ek). … Not sure what I like most about this old youth football photo: the great uniforms or the mom mowing the lawn in the background. “The guy wearing No. 75 is Chris Renaldo, who played at Maryland with Boomer Esiason and had a cup of coffee with the Lions,” says Andy Hyman. … New uni number assignments for the Broncos (from Ryan Hess). … A Chicago-area rollerderby team appears to have poached its logo from the Titans (from Sara Schieve). … As we’ve all learned by now, the handbooks and rules for NFL cheerleaders would be hilarious if not for the fact that, you know, actual living human beings are expected to read and abide by them. The latest news on that front: The Bills tell their cheerleaders how they should be using their tampons. Well, I’m sure Donny Trump will solve that problem simply by firing any menstruating cheerleaders once he buys the team. … Check out this 1984 Bengals helmet phone. The facemask looks a bit off, no? (From Jay Abbott.)
Hockey News: Whoa, look at this completely awesome 1956 Edmonton Flyers jersey. Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size view in all its glory. Interesting to see a team using a front jersey number in that era, no? (Big thanks to Bruce Menard.) … Those who’ve been following the Ducks and Stars in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are likely familiar with the presence of this furry duo at the American Airlines Center, but you might not have seen the custom NOB on his Cody Eakin jersey (from Callum Johnson).
NBA News: NBA commish Adam Silver says ads on uniforms are “inevitable,” which is the same thing he’s been saying for several years now. I assume at some point he’ll start putting everyone else’s money where his mouth is, and it’s definitely important for us to stay vigilant, but for now he’s just a broken record. #NoUniAds.
Soccer News: 1914 throwbacks for Burnley. “They’ll wear it in their final home game this season, to commemorate their 1914 FA Cup victory over Liverpool at the Crystal Palace,” says Jonathon Binet. “The club had to receive permission from Buckingham Palace to wear the royal crest used in the 1914 kit.” … “Indianapolis has created a recreational soccer league by creating logos and teams for the city’s major neighborhoods,” reports Tom Adler. “The teams will even have sponsors.” … Why did FC Dallas wear its road kit at home the other day? Blame Adidas (thanks, Phil). … “Brighton & Hove Albion’s 15-year partnership with Italian kit manufacturer Erreà comes to an end this season, with the Seagulls poised to switch to Nike,” says Callum Johnson. “The program for their match against Blackpool on Monday was dedicated to their history with Erreà and featured a kit retrospective.”
Grab Bag: “The Super Rugby team Western Force, from Perth, Australia, have taken a different approach to sponsorship this year,” says Josh Jacobs. “Usually the teams get one major sponsor for the front the of the uniform, but the Force have several different sponsors. More photos here. And in other Super Rugby news, the Brumbies have a special jersey for Anzac Day.” … New rugby uniform for South Africa (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a piece on the evolution of the Aston Martin logo (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke: a new (to me) site about logo design.