Yesterday evening, the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes both unveiled new (old) third sweaters, the first of many for the 2018-19 NHL season. As you’re all (hopefully) aware, almost every team had only a home and road jersey last season, due to adidas’ taking over the NHL uniform contract from Reebok (the only exceptions were teams who played Winter Classic or Stadium Series games). Most of the teams will get a new third this season. The ‘canes and ‘yotes chose to go old school (or as old school as the WHL-NHL franchises in their new homes can get). The Carolina Hurricanes were born as the New England (later Hartford) Whalers and moved to NC in 1997. The Arizona Coyotes were born as the Winnipeg Jets and moved to Arizona in 1996 (they were ‘originally’ the Phoenix Coyotes, later changing to Arizona). And there is an NHL franchise currently located in Winnipeg, called the Jets, who were born as the Atlanta Thrashers. Confused yet?
Don’t be. Franchises in the NHL seem to move more frequently than in other sports, but both of these two teams (Coyotes and Hurricanes) have been in their homes since the mid-90s, and basically disavowed all their previous uni histories after moving, so for all intents and purposes, we can consider them “new” to the league (if you consider 20+ years in the league new). With that small bit of history, both teams unveiled their new third jerseys last evening and both drew upon the past for inspiration.
Let’s start with the Hurricanes.
That’s the new third. If it looks somewhat familiar, that’s because it is. If you check out this article on the Carolina Hurricanes uni history (it’s a good read, and covers everything from the Whalers onward), you’ll note they first introduced a black alternate jersey in 2008. That jersey was also black, but featured one red/black square flag on a hockey stick (a single flag like that indicates a storm warning, not a hurricane warning). While that may have “looked” better, it was technically inaccurate (and the amateur meterologist in me cringed when it was introduced). They’ve now remedied that. The new jersey also rid itself of the gray and black hem, near the base of the jersey, replacing that and the red stripe with a single (thicker) red band. The gray was also removed from the sleeves and socks. It’s a much better look. But there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two, and that is intentional. Let’s take a few more looks at the new details before I hand you some corporate speak.
That’s a lot of stuff right there. Probably the coolest detail is the negative space North Carolina within the two hurricane flags (nicely shown graphically by Chris Creamer). I love the updated (correct) use of the double flag to indicate a Hurricane Warning, and I like that the gray has been ditched. The corporate speak notes,
The Hurricanes and adidas collaborated to produce a new-look for the team to accompany the Hurricanes’ home/away core and the new ‘Take Warning’ jersey already has opponents and fans on red alert.
In full partnership with the Carolina creative team, adidas adopted an in-house design from the Hurricanes and fabricated the third jersey with best-in-class innovation and technology. The jersey has a black base and features a brand-new hurricane warning logo created by the team. Storm grey shoulder yokes and heathered red striping on the arms and base of the jersey are signature to the third jersey, as well. The ‘Take Warning’ sweater was inspired by a previously-worn third jersey that the Hurricanes used for many seasons, but with a modern twist.
Additional design elements include third jersey-exclusive shoulder patches and hidden tonal warning flag detailing that borders the inner neckline. The primary Hurricanes crest logo that is featured front-and-center of both home and away uniforms makes an appearance on the right shoulder of the third jersey. The left shoulder patch is a thematic grey interpretation of the North Carolina flag joining the Canes to their home and giving the jersey a sense of state pride.
The Coyotes of Arizona went back in their 20 year uni history for their third, and (depending upon your tastes and perspective) they crushed it. That’s because they’re bringing back the “Kachina” jersey, otherwise known as the Peyote Coyote. If you folks know me, you know I’m not much of a jersey (owning) guy, but I love me some Peyote (that’s from, I want to say 2009, at a Uni Watch gathering). Might have been the last time I wore it in public. But I still love the design. Well, the team has brought the black version back!
Unlike the Hurricanes, who brought back a third jersey based on a third jersey introduced a decade ago, the Coyotes went waaaay back in their history to bring back what was their first ever jersey that they donned when they moved from Winnipeg to Phoenix. It was beloved (and hated) by many. And now it’s back.
Here’s a few looks:
The team has already declared they will wear this third jersey for all Saturday home games. They’ll also wear it on November 23 for “Black Friday” when the Coyotes take on the Colorado Avalanche.
The Coyotes and adidas collaborated to reintroduce the throwback, 90s-inspired, fan-favorite third jersey and the team will wear the black Kachina jerseys at home for all 13 “Kachina Saturday” home games at Gila River Arena during the 2018-19 season and on Nov. 23 for “Black Friday” when the Coyotes take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Coyotes will wear the black Kachina jerseys for the club’s home opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, October 6.
“We’re thrilled to make our black Kachina jersey the official third jersey of the Arizona Coyotes,” said Coyotes’ Owner, Chairman and Governor Andrew Barroway. “These are iconic jerseys that are beloved by our fans and players. We’re excited to have our players wear these great jerseys 14 times this season and hope that our fans will enjoy wearing these classic jerseys for many years to come.”
The Coyotes wore the original black Kachina jerseys for all road games from 1996 – 2003. During that time, the team reached the playoffs in five of their first six seasons in the Valley. The Coyotes reintroduced the popular black Kachina jersey for the first time in 12 years on March 5, 2015 for Throwback Night when Arizona hosted the Vancouver Canucks. This marked the first time that the Coyotes wore a throwback jersey in an NHL game. Since 2015, the Coyotes have worn the black Kachina jersey four times at Gila River Arena (Nov 27, 2015; Feb 20, 2016; Nov 25, 2016 and Feb 18, 2017).
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I’m digging both new thirds. The Hurricanes got rid of the worst elements from their former black jersey (and added some nice new elements), and of course, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Peyote Coyote. So far, so good — two down and a lot more to go, but if teams stay on these courses, we’ll be seeing some mighty fine third jerseys for the 2018-19 season!
[Thanks to Paul Lukas and Paul Murphy for their assistance with this.]
Braves Throw It Back To Honor The King
The Atlanta Braves are in the midst of Hank Aaron week, honoring the greatness of the man and the player, and last evening in an awesome tribute, the team wore the 1974 uniforms worn by Aaron when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record — they’ll also wear them again today. I’ve already opined that those uniforms are arguably the team’s signature uni (though they only wore that exact style for two seasons, and a similar style for a total of four years, including the two in last evening’s style). If you take a look at that section of the article, you’ll note all the details of that uni.
Here’s how the great Bill Henderson details the 74-75 set:
How’d they do? Awesome.
It’s not a particularly difficult jersey to replicate, though the raglan sleeves might pose some problems. NNOBs and the proper fonts were all nailed, as were the feather-on-sleeve design:
They nailed the front script and number as well, and guys even went so far as to wear hosiery (including many in stirrups!)
The team nailed the cap as well, although it’s particularly jarring to see that beautiful royal/white cap sullied with the New Era logo. And of course, for the guys who chose to wear their pants like pajamas, the pristine look was … less than pristine:
Still, it was a great look (and fans were treated to a bunch of extra innings of free baseball to enjoy them even more as well) and one the team really needs to bring back more often (like, maybe ditch the red and navy alternates and consider wearing these????). Guys who get dirty really looked good:
The team didn’t skimp on the helmets either, outfitting everyone with a period appropriate dome:
Ozzie Walks. ➡️ Freddie Doubles. ➡️ Nick gets an intentional pass.
Anyway, my buddy Jimmy Corcoran took it upon himself to see how that might look if it were rendered unto a green and gold varsity jacket. I have to say, the results speak for themselves:
Jimmy adds, “I wasn’t kidding, this patch looks great on a varsity jacket, maybe even a number on the sleeve to mark the years that Uni watch has been around too.”
Good lord, someone find a way to offer that for sale.
The Ticker By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Brewers are wearing this patch all weekend in honor of Davey Nelson. They’re also renaming a portion of Miller Park in honor of Nelson (from Megan Brown and @SoCalMindset). … The Brewers’ scoreboard featured a subtle rainbow for the team’s Pride Night (from @brianspeaksnow). … Uni Watch reader Ray Hund writes in: “Published in 2007, The Baseball Chronicle: A Year-By-Year History Of Major League Baseball, is a fun read. As the title states, it takes the reader on a year-by-year journey through the history of MLB with lots of photos and stats. Fun stuff. What makes it even more enjoyable — and a kind of uni-test — is discovering how many of the photos do not coincide with the year. I’ve attached only a few of the many anomalies for you.” … Last week I mentioned how much I love independent baseball. But these Darth Sidious jerseys for the New Jersey Jackals’ Star Wars Night are having me really, really love independent baseball (from John Cerone). … Speaking of Star Wars-themed jerseys, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short Season Single-A affiliates of Cleveland) wore some last night. Check out the stirrups on the guy on the left! (from Robert Hayes). … Garret Morris received a New Era Angels cap with a rather disconcerting mistake. Listen, we just moved the Astros to the AL West, we can’t be moving the Angels to the NL West! … The Single-A Stockton Ports Caballos de Stockton unis looked nice on the field last evening (from Brad Friedman). … Here’s a look at the Springfield Cardinals Margaritaville Night unis they wore last night (from @theTeej_13). … The Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps are double-dipping on the one-off jerseys this weekend: last night, they wore these The Incredibles-themed jerseys for superhero night (from Blake Harper), and tonight they’re wearing and auctioning off these pink jerseys to raise money for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer (thanks, Phil). … The PCL’s Omaha StormChasers flashed back to 1999 and their brief dalliance with the name “Golden Spikes” last evening. … Also posted in the soccer section: the Double-A Akron RubberDucks wore Cleveland Force-inspired jerseys last evening. The Force were a team in the 1980s in the old Major Indoor Soccer League (from Jim Vilk). … Check out how the A’s organized themselves in their 1981 team photo: alternating gold and green jerseys! Also note that Billy Martin is in a white A’s cap in the inset (from the always excellent @BSmile). … Here’s a weird one: Mississippi State players have taken to wearing bananas on their heads in lieu of traditional rally caps. The practice is spreading to the fans (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: some gorgeous unis in this album of the College World Series.
NFL/CFL News: Something called Mineral Wells Pro Wrestling out of Texas has poached the Rams logo for a title belt. Now, why there’s a ram on their title belt remains to be seen (from Brian Forosisky). … Mexico’s helmet for next month’s U19 American Football World Championship has been revealed, and it’s a beaut (from @cesarcu52). … To further reinforce an already lumberjack-y aesthetic (they saw off a piece of a log every time they score a touchdown), the Ottawa RedBlacks have added plaid padding to their goalposts (from Wade Heidt).
Hockey News: Also posted in the NBA section: Las Vegas native and Wizards draftee Troy Brown Jr. wore a Golden Knights jersey to his draft party. Funny that he got drafted by a team that shares an arena with the team that beat Vegas in the Stanley Cup (from Kary Klismet). … A good riff on a classic look: Mark Richter‘s friend’s rec-league hockey team out of Winston-Salem, N.C., has taken the Maple Leafs logo and replaced the, uh, maple-leafy parts with tobacco leaves, and added a camel, a reference to Camel Cigarettes, whose parent company RJ Reynolds was founded in Winston-Salem. … Speaking of rec-league hockey, Harvey Lee‘s team, Army of Darkness, (awesome name) just got new jerseys, but Harvey’s had a PWFIOB — that’s parentheses-with-first-initial-on-back. “When my captain submitted the names via spreadsheet, he included my first initial with parenthesis. I may have just coined PWFIOB,” says Harvey. Here’s the front of the jersey.
NBA News: The Hornets’ draftees already have their numbers: Miles Bridges will wear No. 0 and Devonte Graham will wear No. 4 (from William I. Wells). … Cross-posted from the hockey section: Las Vegas native and Wizards draftee Troy Brown Jr. wore a Golden Knights jersey to his draft party. Funny that he got drafted by a team that shares an arena with the team that beat Vegas in the Stanley Cup (from Kary Klismet). … All Big3 teams are wearing memorial patches for Rasual Butler, who died along with his wife in a drunk driving incident in California in January (from @loneranger158). … A day after creating a minor(?) controversy for her choice of jacket, First Lady Melania Trump inexplicably wore a mid-90s NBA jacket that featured the logos of every NBA team at the time (from Joel Mendelson).
Soccer News: Portsmouth FC have launched their new home kit (from Josh Hinton and Ed Żelaski). … Barcelona’s new away kit has been leaked. … Scottish side Motherwell released their new home and away kits yesterday. Note that the maroon away kit features an embroidered MFC, rather than the club’s current crest (from Ed Żelaski). … The next leaks and releases are all from Josh Hinton: Beşiktaş have had their new third kit leaked to FootyHeadlines. … Bristol City’s home kit was launched yesterday, revealing a new advertiser. Also note that the kit is being made in-house, rather than from a supplier like Nike or Adidas. Bristol did the same thing last year. … Queens Park Rangers’ home and away kits have been released. … Ever wonder what language refs use when speaking to players from different countries? Wonder no more (from Kary Klismet). … When TSN tweeted about Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, they made several errors in the attached images. Most notably: they included a picture of Philippe Coutinho instead of Neymar despite mentioning Neymar in the tweet! (from @conor411). … FIFA is applying its byzantine kit rules quite arbitrarily during this World Cup according to Josh Hinton, particularly in regards to teams that primarily wear red against teams that primarily wear yellow. Josh says “[FIFA] allowed Brazil and Switzerland to wear their primary kits for their earlier match. Then, they demanded Australia and Denmark to change to away kits because of the kit clash. They upheld that standard in Brazil vs Costa Rica, which would’ve been yellow v red but was instead blue v white, and are now ignoring it for Belgium-Tunisia” tomorrow. This isn’t the first World Cup where something like this has happened. Remember, the same thing happened between traditionally-orange-clad Netherlands and traditionally-red-clad Spain in 2014? … Tampa Bay Rowdies keeper Akira Fitzgerald wore a baseball cap on the pitch during yesterday’s game, as the sun was shining right in his eyes in the second half (from @Swshbclr). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: the Double-A Akron RubberDucks wore Cleveland Force-inspired jerseys last evening. The Force were a team in the 1980s in the old Major Indoor Soccer League (from Jim Vilk).
Grab Bag: The NCAA has recommended a uniform rule change for men’s and women’s track and field teams, which would require all participants from a single team to wear a matching uniform and require school logos and school colors on one-piece body suits (from James Gilbert). … Not sports related, but the soon-to-open Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City has installed a giant guitar on their sign, complete with a glaring misspelling (from @phillyparttwo). … New court for Provo (Ut.) High (from Jordan Fischer).
After a one-season hiatus, NHL alternate uniforms are slated to reappear this fall. We’ll get our first peek at some of them tonight, when at least two teams, and possibly more, will unveil their new alts at their NHL draft parties. With that in mind, I’ve done an ESPN Friday Flashback piece about notable alternate uniforms in NHL history (including the Kings’ infamous “Burger King” design, shown above). Check it out here.
As for tonight’s unveilings, I’ll have a review of at least one of them shortly after 7pm Eastern over on ESPN, and Phil will have additional coverage here on the blog tomorrow.
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World Cup soundtrack: Can’t believe I forgot all about this excellent song, which deserves to be dusted off every four years. Enjoy:
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Coolest thing ever: Yesterday I received a package in the mail. Inside was a chain-stitched version of our winged stirrup logo. I didn’t order this or ask for it to be made. The person who made it just thought I’d like to have it. How cool is that?!
I’ll have more to say about this shortly. For now I’m just super-thrilled to see our logo rendered in chain-stitching.
NFL News: When Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton hosted Saturday Night Live in 1977, we had some notable uni moments. The episode featured knock-off Vikings jerseys, and show-themed football uniforms (from Pro Football Journal). … Speaking of Vikings quarterbacks, here’s a shot of Warren Moon wearing No. 2 in the 1995 Pro Bowl, instead of the No. 1 he wore his entire career.
Hockey News: It appears that EA Sports has been using the wrong uni font for the Hurricanes in their NHL games since 2013 (from Alex Jones). … The SPHL has a new team, the Quad City Storm (from Bus League Hockey). … This is an awesome pencil case/money holder (from Michael Marniniello).
NBA News: An ESPN photoshop created before the draft put Grayson Allen in an incorrect font No. 3 Celtics jersey, which was retired in honor of Dennis Johnson in 1991 (from JayJayDean). … I must have missed the 77ers drafting last night (from Jason Costigan). … Here are the uni numbers that some of last night’s draftees will be wearing for the Celtics, Cavs, and Mavs (from Mike Chamernik). … Although no official announcement has yet been made, the Grizzlies appear to be tweaking their logos.
What Paul did last night: Had a really good time at last night’s Superchunk/Aimee Mann show in Prospect Park. Arrived early, had a swell picnic with the Tugboat Captain and our friends Rob and Jamie (the latter of whom is the author of the definitive travel tome Road Trip USA, don’tcha know), bumped into other friends — a great night.
The NBA draft takes place tonight which means we’ll be seeing lots of NBA draft caps. Normally, I don’t care about draft caps, which are basically just a pointless merchandise category, but reader David R., who prefers not to use his full name, has identified an interesting inconsistency in this latest crop of NBA headwear that’s worth discussing.
Take it away, David:
The NBA draft caps have fun little patches that list the years of the teams’ founding, city/state flags, shortened alternate city names, and more. I thought it was fun departure from the usual sleek-looking hats.
But upon closer inspection, there are terrible inconsistencies in the standard that was applied — if there even was a standard — for determining each team’s the founding year. Some caps get the founding year right, some list the team’s first year after the NBL/BAA merger in 1949, others list the team’s first year in its current city. It appears that the folks at New Era and/or the NBA don’t know the league’s history, or at least didn’t care about sweating the details. Or maybe the teams had their own ideas about what they wanted to be listed as their founding year.
• The Hawks were founded in 1946 and moved to Atlanta in 1968. The year shown on their cap is 1949 — their first year in the new NBA after the NBL/BAA merger.
• The Warriors were founded in 1946; they moved to San Francisco in 1962 and to Oakland in 1971. Their hat says 1946.
• The Kings were founded in Rochester as a semi-pro team in 1923. They became a pro team in 1945, an NBA team in 1949, and a Sacramento team in 1985. Their hat lists 1985 as the founding year.
• The Pistons were founded as the Zollner Pistons factory team in Fort Wayne in 1941 and moved to Detroit in 1957. Their hat accurately lists 1941 as the founding year.
• The Nets were founded as the New Jersey Americans in 1967. They later became the New York Nets, the New Jersey Nets, and then, in 2012, the Brooklyn Nets. Their hat lists 2012 as the founding year.
• The Jazz were founded in New Orleans in 1974. They moved to Utah in 1979 and their hat lists 1979 as the founding year.
• The 76ers were founded as the Syracuse Nationals in 1946. They moved to Philadelphia in 1963 to become the 76ers. Their hat lists 1949 as the founding year.
• The Lakers were officially founded in Minneapolis as the Lakers in 1947 (the NBA ignores the Detroit Gems of 1946-1947) and moved to L.A. in 1960. Their draft hat lists 1948 as the founding year.
• The Clippers were founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. They became the San Diego Clippers in 1978 and the Los Angeles Clippers in 1984. Their hat lists 1984 as the founding year.
• The Pelicans’ hat lists 2013 as their founding year, which ignores the franchise’s earlier incarnation as the Hornets.
• The Thunder’s cap lists 2008 as the founding year, ignoring the Sonics’ existence.
• The Spurs were founded as the Dallas Chaparrals in 1967 and moved to San Antonio and became the Spurs in 1973. Their draft hat lists 1973 as the founding year.
And so on. You could argue that they should always go by the franchise’s earliest incarnation, or that they should always go by when the team began using its current identity in its current city — but whichever standard they apply, they should at least apply it consistently.
The draft, incidentally, will be taking place just a 10-minute walk from Uni Watch HQ. Fortunately, I’ll be walking to a different neighborhood destination, where a much more compelling entertainment option awaits.
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Hyphen hype: History of a sort was made last night in Kansas City, as Rangers pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx and catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa formed the first hyphenated-surnamed battery in MLB history. I was hoping for lots of mound conferences so we could see the two hyphenated NOBs together — hobnobbing HNOBs, so to speak — but then I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for that when I saw that Kiner-Falefa’s hyphen is obscured by his chest protector. Disappointing. (You can see both NOBs in this pregame photo, but somehow that’s not as satisfying as an in-game shot.)
Interestingly, Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa constitute two-thirds of all the hyphenated-surnamed players who have ever played in the big leagues. The only other such player: former pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith.
As more and more modern families use hyphenated surnames, it seems fairly obvious that we’ll be seeing more players with hyphenated NOBs. And that raises a question: In the sweepstakes for MLB’s longest NOB (a mark still held by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, with 14 letters), should hyphenated names count the same as non-hyphenated names, or should they be two separate categories? For hyphenated NOBs, should the hyphen count as a letter? As a character? Not at all?
(My thanks to @deetee64 for pointing me toward the pregame photo of Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa, which was taken by @sillywabbit40.)
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The Ticker By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Cleveland 2B Jose Ramirez wore his Mother’s Day socks under his pajama pants Tuesday night (from Brad). … The scoreboard at Petco Park used a Braves logo instead of an A’s logo after Tuesday night’s game (from Richard Paloma). … The Braves apparently use a slightly varied script for their letterhead as opposed to their road uniform (from Cameron Ilich). … The Nats have sold advertising space on their infield tarp to Skittles (from Max Weintraub). … Artist Daniel Duffy used the names of all the Phillies players throughout history to draw Citizens Bank Park (from @mixedmediashop). … Astros 2B Tony Kemp is selling a “Hugs for Homers” shirt, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Astros Youth Academy (from Ignacio Salazar). … Paul Bastia notes that during the Pawtucket Red Sox game last night, reliever Josh A. Smith followed starter Josh D. Smith. Unfortunately, the PawSox don’t wear NOBs. … Here’s what the uniforms looked like for the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-Star team looked like on Tuesday night (from Scott M. Trembly). … The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League will wear “Hokkaido Be Ambitious” jerseys for a series beginning July 20 (from Max G.). … The Portland Pickles wore Portland Mavericks throwbacks last night (from @I_am_orange). … Somewhat incredibly, the MLB Network’s in-studio set has home plate facing the wrong way (from Ted Zeigler). … A Phillies fan got a black eye and other facial injuries after she was hit in the face by a hot dog launched by the Phillie Phanatic.
Football News: Lost in the news about the Bears’ new orange alts was the fact that the Bears will still wear their Monsters of the Midway throwbacks for a game this season, in addition to the orange design. This story on the team’s website says the NFL “is allowing teams to wear alternate jerseys in addition to a classic jersey that was formerly described as a throwback.” Could we see more teams adopt throwbacks to take advantage? (From Bill Schaefer.) … Denver’s football stadium will be called Broncos Stadium at Mile High until the team comes up with a new naming rights advertiser (from Brad Darby). … Vikings WR Stefon Diggs is calling for the team to go mono-purple this season (from Eric Thompson). … The early-’70s Chargers had some FIOB inconsistencies with Deacon Jones and Lee White (from Pro Football Journal). … Looks like Akron will have matte gold facemasks in the rotation this season (from Jim Vilk).
Hockey News: Las Vegas’s mayor made good on her Stanley Cup bet with Washington’s mayor and posed for a photo in an Alex Ovechkin jersey — an old jersey, by the looks of it. The jersey contains an alternate captain’s “A,” rather than Ovechkin’s current “C,” meaning it was probably made between 2007 and 2009. … Lex Levy found a photo of former Leafs D Kent Douglas wearing eye black during an indoor game against the Bruins in the 1960s. … Reader Michael Bialas found a CCM hockey-branded Brannock Device at a sporting good store in Wisconsin. … Brian Wulff found this old photo of Jerry Garcia wearing a blank Canadiens jersey. … Capital One Arena is undergoing a planned renovation and is allowing fans to purchase seats and seat bottoms from the arena (from John Gagosian). … This Hot Wheels logo looks familiar, right Whalers fans? (From Hoot.)
Basketball News: Someone at Georgia Tech decided to create Photoshop images of G Josh Okogie in each NBA team’s uniform and then put the images in a roulette wheel (from Michael Rich). … Creighton’s basketball arena is getting a new corporate-advertised name.
Soccer News: Both Spain and Iran wore their away kits due to a “color clash” in their World Cup match yesterday, even though it seems their home kits hardly clashed, if at all. In addition, Russia was forced to wear solid red socks to avoid a sock clash with Egypt on Tuesday (from Josh Hinton). … Here’s a handy World Cup uni tracker, built by Zachary Labrosse-R. … If you were watching the World Cup yesterday and found yourself wondering why Morocco was abbreviated “MAR” on the score bug, here’s a good explainer (from @vovomeena and Greg Tish). … This story offers a look inside the dressing rooms of World Cup teams (from Neil MacLeod). … New crest for Lille OSC of French Ligue 1 (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Gladbach, a team in the German Bundesliga, had their home and away kits for next season leak yesterday (from Josh Hinton). … More from Josh and Ed Zelaski: SV 1860 Munich, a third-tier German team, unveiled their kits for next season yesterday. … San Francisco City FC of the Premier Development League will wear pride uniforms on June 24. … New kit for Eintracht Frankfurt (from Ed Zelaski). … New kits for Gold Coast Inter AFC (from Icarus Football). … New kits for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Earlier leaks had shown a different jersey advertiser (from Josh Hinton).
What Paul did last night yesterday: Yesterday morning I went to visit my mom. On the way, I stopped at the cemetery where our family has a small plot. I stopped there in part so I could take photos to show my mom (she can no longer handle the long drive to/from the cemetery but likes to see photos just to make sure everything’s being well maintained) and in part because I like to check in there at least once every year and think about my family.
Our cemetery plot that has one of those “mothership” stones with the family name, and then individual stones for the deceased. As I’ve occasionally mentioned here on the site, our family name was originally Lewkowitz, not Lukas (my parents changed it in the late 1940s, shortly after they got married — your standard Jewish assimilationist move), and the plot was established in the 1950s by my grandfather, Charles Lewkowitz, so of course he put “Lewkowitz” on the mothership stone.
For many years, I didn’t much care about our cemetery plot. Part of it is that our family isn’t big on ritual or ceremony (religious or otherwise), and part of it is probably that I was just too young and immature to care about such things. But another part is that I felt no connection with the name on the mothership stone. I wasn’t born with that name, and I never knew my grandfather (he died when I was an infant). So at some point — I think in 2000 — I suggested to my father that we should have “Lukas” added to the mothership. He agreed, and now the mothership stone has both surnames.
I now feel a much greater connection to our family plot. Some of it is just that I’m older and care more about certain things than I did when I was younger. But a lot of it is seeing my surname up there. It’s funny how much that apparently matters to me.
In the course of reporting those stories, I made contact with Jim Burris’s son, Bob Burris, who’s now in his 60s and lives in the Kansas City area. He told me that he had some additional files from his father’s time in the sports world — including some very interesting paperwork that we’re going to look at today.
Here’s the deal: Although Jim Burris was briefly the Broncos’ GM, he spent most of his career working in minor league baseball. In the early 1950s he was the vice president of the American Association, a Triple-A league that’s no longer in existence. His duties included handing out fines and suspensions for players and managers who abused the umpires. And he decided on those disciplinary actions by reviewing reports that the umpires sent him whenever they ejected someone.
Jim Burris kept all that paperwork after he retired, and Bob Burris still has it today. Bob (who was forbidden by his father to look at the umps’ reports when he was growing up, because of the profane language) was nice enough to share some of it with me, and we’ll be looking at a few of the reports today.
All of the games in question are from 1952. Obviously, it would be more fun to have paperwork from a more recent year, and/or from the big leagues. Still, there are some names in here that you’ll probably recognize, like Gene Mauch and Johnny Keane. In any case, the reports provide a fascinating window into the culture of abuse that’s heaped onto baseball umpires. Funny stuff, too, because all the profanities are reported in this businesslike deadpan presentation. All in a day’s work — literally.
Okay, enough preliminaries. Here are umps’ reports from seven games. In each case, I’m presenting the front of the report, the back of the report (except for the last one, which didn’t spill over to the back; all of the reports can be clicked to enlarge), followed by a transcription of the most pertinent text, so you don’t have to fight your way through the umps’ handwriting.
Indianapolis vs. Louisville, July 5, 1952
In the fifth inning of today’s game, I ejected Manager G. Desantels of the Indianapolis team. After I had called one of his players out on a play at 3rd base, he called me a stupid fuck, a blind bastard, and I immediately ejected him. Then he let loose a long line of dirty slang words at me, and banging his hat on the side of his body back and forth swinging it, called me then a no good son of a bitch, a no good cocksucker, and repeated a no good bastard a couple of times.
All of these words could be heard and were loud enough and audible to the people in the 3rd base stands. If I ever called a play right in my life, I know I called that one correct, from the bottom of my heart. — Robert Stewart, umpire
Kansas City vs. Milwaukee, Aug. 15, 1952
Gene Mauch was ejected in the last of the 9th inning for repeatedly calling me many names, such as Prick, Goddamn Meathead, Gutless, Bastard, and others I can’t recall. These remarks I at first ignored because in my mind, I know he just wanted to prolong the game by giving me an argument, but after hearing him call me all these names repeatedly it was impossible for me to tolerate it any longer, so I put him out of the game. — Roy Appelhans, umpire
Minneapolis vs. Louisville, June 1, 1952
Mr. Genevese, manager of the Minneapolis club, was put out of the game for using profane language during a dispute regarding a catch or no catch by his center fielder. … Genevese refused to listen and really gave me the works, calling me a blind cocksucker, son of a bitch, prick, and a no good bastard. After putting him out, he continued to get in front of me to prevent my going to my next position until I told him to keep his face out of mine and expectorating in my face while he was shouting. — Roy Appelhans, umpire
Milwaukee vs. Columbus, Aug. 10, 1952
I called a Columbus player out at 3rd base. Manager Keane charged me and started verbal abuse with You no good lousy son of a bitch. I started back to home plate after explaining to him why I called the man out. He followed me to the plate, using these phrases: lousy cocksucker, lousy bastard, they should run you out of the fucking country. He repeated these phrases over and over. I then told him he was through. … After Manager Keane had left, a few choice remarks were made from the dugout such as goddamn horseshit umpires. — Harry King, umpire
St. Paul vs. Charleston, Aug. 2, 1952
Escalaro (Charleston) was declared safe on a close play at the plate in the last of the 5th inning. Catcher Baldwin jumped up, protesting and bumping and pushing me with his body several times, players from his team had to hold him. I then ordered him from the game. After resuming play, some heckling started in the dugout. I made certain who was doing the heckling (McGlothin). I turned and started to warn him and he yelled, “Yes, it’s me, I’m on you, what the hell are you going to do about it,” at the same time pointing to himself. I ordered him from the bench, but he did not make a move. In the meantime, Manager Bryant came up from the coaching box and asked me what the trouble was. I told him, and he turned to the bench and told McGlothin to leave. After I turned to go to the plate, my fellow umpires told me he (McGlothin) threw a towel on the field. — Harry King, umpire
St. Paul vs. Louisville, Aug. 14, 1952
Eddie Lyons of the Louisville club was put out of the game in the 7th inning. He had missed tagging a runner coming into 2nd base, and when he was called safe, Eddie Lyons jumped up and stuck his face close to mine and yelled “The man was tagged.” He face was so close to me, I could feel the spray of his breath on mine and I told him to get away from me. I walked out of his way but he continued to yell about the horseshit decision and called me a cocksucker. I then put him out. — Roy Appelhans, umpire
Milwaukee vs. St. Paul, Sept. 11, 1952
In the last half of the fourth inning, I have a close play at home plate. I call the runner safe. After play is finished, catcher Williams of Milwaukee jumps up in my face and calls me a bastard, son of a bitch, and cock sucker. His language is audible to the stands. I immediately eject him. — Hal Dixon, umpire
I have more of these, but that’s enough for today. Fascinating stuff, right? Interesting to see that the most profane term hurled at the umps, in nearly all of the reports, was cocksucker. Seventeen years later, while writing about the 1969 season in his seminal book Ball Four, Jim Bouton wrote that the “magic word” guaranteed to get a player ejected was motherfucker, a term that doesn’t appear in any of the 1952 reports. Maybe that word wasn’t yet in wide circulation in 1952, or maybe it was used more in the majors than in the minors. (Fast-forwarding half a century to 2016, Mets manager Terry Collins used both terms in the instant-classic video that’s recently been circulating.)
I know some of you currently officiate various sports at various levels. What sorts of abuse have you taken? Do these reports trigger any anxiety or resentment in you, or can you laugh them off?
Baseball News: Negro League throwbacks upcoming for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. … Star Wars jerseys on June 29 for the Lakewood BlueClaws. … The Potomac Nationals re-created a famous scene from Bull Durham to mark the movie’s 30th anniversary. … The Tulsa Drillers became Los Petroleros yesterday. … When the Mariners held their original TATC game in 1998, there was an inconsistency in their helmet numbering. … During last night’s Mets/Rockies game, SNY roving reporter Steve Gelbs said Mets LF Dominic Smith was playing with a glove that isn’t yet fully broken in. … Pirates reliever Steven Brault sang the national anthem prior to last night’s game against the Brewers while in full uniform. … Austin Bibens-Dirkx is slated to pitch for the Rangers tonight, and the team also plans plans to have Isiah Kiner-Falefa behind the dish, creating a rare all-hyphenated-NOB battery (from Blake Parker and Evan Grant).
Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Not sure who the L.A. Kings player is in this old photo, but check out the striping on his skates (from Jet). … Recent internet domain registrations suggest that the NHL could be expanding to Portland, Ore.
NBA News: The Hornets will mark their 30th anniversary with throwback uniforms and a throwback court, among other promotions. The designs will be unveiled later, although it’s already an open secret that the uniforms will be a white version of the teal throwbacks they wore last season. … Top prospect Deandre Ayton signed a Suns jersey even though has even been drafted yet.
What Paul did last night: Thanks to everyone who offered support and kind thoughts, both in the comments and via email, regarding yesterday’s installment of WPDLN. Last night was better, as I went to see the new documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which is about Fred Rogers and his groundbreaking children’s TV show. If you grew up watching that show (as I did), you should definitely see this movie.
Among the many things I learned in this movie is that Rogers was an ordained minister. Maybe that helps explain the state of grace he always seemed to maintain. Unfailingly kind, endlessly creative, and fiercely devoted to his vision of connecting with children, he appears to have had a transformative effect on a huge number of people. Given that the national discussion at the moment involves children being separated from their parents, the film had some extra resonance last night, but there’s no bad time to see it. Bring some tissues — there are a few bits that are bound to make you a bit weepy.
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I’m driving out to Long Island this morning to visit my mom, so I’ll be off the grid for a little bit while I’m on the road. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes. Thanks.