The big, if not entirely unexpected, news out of Toronto came down yesterday morning, when the Blue Jays reintroduced a full powder blue uniform into their lineup. This uniform will compliment the two (white and gray) uniforms the Jays currently wear, as well as the darker blue (dark royal) softball top they have as an alternate. The team also introduced a new logo, cap and helmet, but let’s take first things first: and the uniform is the big(gest) news.
As you can see, the new powder blue uniform features a button front jersey, and not (as some feared) a pullover. The Blue Jays were “born” in powder blue (for their road uniforms), and wore that color as their primary away uniform until 1989, when they switched to a gray button front jersey. From 2008 through 2010, the Jays brought back a powder blue throwback (which they only wore at home), and which was also a pullover. So, for the first time in their history, the Toronto Blue Jays will sport a powder blue, button front jersey (as God intended).
“For years, Blue Jays fans have expressed a desire for the revival of the baby blues. As we began thinking about what an adaption of the old uniform could look like, we polled our current players on various designs and the response was unanimously aligned with what we have heard from fans,” said Mark Shapiro, President & CEO, Toronto Blue Jays. “With that feedback, the decision was very clear. We are thrilled to share this original New Blue alternate uniform with Blue Jays fans across Canada.”
The new uniform replicates the team’s current logos, striping, and fonts. “BLUE JAYS” is radially arched across the chest, rendered in navy blue and white lettering with the current logo on the lower left. Regrettably, the new jerseys (as will all baseball jerseys from now on) also have the MOTB on the right chest. Sleeve piping mimics the wordmark style in navy/white/navy.
Jersey backs feature NOB in solid navy, also radially arched. This looks fine on players with short(er) last names, but gets a bit unwieldy when the names are longer.
There are no numbers on the front of the jersey, and the rear numbers are in the same “split style” font as the wordmark, also in navy/white/navy.
You’ll note that some of the models have gone high-cuffed, showing off new Stance socks that kinda-sorta resemble stirrups:
Here’s a closer look:
Pants are belted, and have stripes mimicking those on the sleeves, in navy/white/navy:
The team has also introduced a new cap, which features a navy blue crown and a powder blue brim (I love the powder blue squatchee!):
I do not know if this cap will be worn solely with the new powder blue uniforms or if it will be mixed and matched with the other uniform sets.
In addition to the new cap, the team also introduced a new batting helmet, which has a matte finish:
And that new logo? That’s honestly not something I would have noticed, but our pal Chris Creamer (who is a YUGE Blue Jays fan) spotted it. According to Chris, “The new primary logo is now just the bird/maple leaf design, the version with the team name and baseball surrounding the bird will now be the secondary logo. … (T)here’s also been a slight tweak to the red used throughout the team’s logos and uniforms. Here’s a side-by-side of the old and new reds because honestly, nobody would notice the change otherwise.”
The Blue Jays are the latest team to (re)introduce a powder blue uniform — joining the Phillies and Cardinals, who have recently introduced the looks, as well as the Rangers and Twins (who have introduced theirs for the 2020 season).
Unlike when the Blue Jays brought back their throwbacks for 2008-10, which they only wore on Fridays, this uni will not be on an “assigned” schedule. According to the team, “The new alternate option can be worn for both home and away games, while the alternate blue and grey options will remain a part of the Blue Jays lineup; the red jersey will be specially reserved for Canada Day on July 1.”
I LOVE these. Not every team would look good in powder blue (including some teams who’ve worn it in the past), but navy, royal and powder blue all look really good together, so this one seems like a no brainer. That they have gone button front and belted makes it all that much better. And as my pal Jimmer Vilk so fondly points out, “BLUE JAYS” respects the placket.
Yes, adding a new uniform (with new jersey) certainly feeds the merchandustrial complex, but in this instance, I have no problem with it — ESPECIALLY since it’s part of a full uniform and not just a softball top (looking at you Tampa and Kansas City). Of course, those two teams are looking at two easy fixes. Again, not every team should return to a powder blue uniform, but the Blue Jays most definitely should, and now, have. I can’t wait to see these on the field this season!
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
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Title: “Alex Radcliffe, 1939” (color study) Subject: Alex Radcliffe Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board Size: 5” x 7”
When asked to tackle the great Alex Radcliffe for my Negro Leagues project, i first had to do some research into the man. I had known of his brother Ted, mainly because of the “Double Duty” nickname he’d earned. But as I dug, I discovered that Alex was one hell of a ballplayer – considered by many to be the best third baseman of his era, in fact.
I ran across an image of him that I really liked, one that I knew would be perfect to paint. But as was the case with many of the ballplayers I had painted, the uniform he was wearing was one I’d never seen before.
This is one of 200+ paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum starting on February 13, 2020. If you’re interested in attending the opening night reception (which I’ll be at), you can purchase tickets here.
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Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from tweeter Ronnie Bolton (although he didn’t submit it as such).
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
Uni Watch News Ticker By Phil
Baseball News: MLB may have switched over to Nike as the new uniform supplier, but Chicago Cubs players were still wearing Majestic jerseys as yesterday’s Cubs convention (from Dylan Bercu). … Speaking of Cubs fans — check out the brutal number font seen at the fanfest (from Pastor Tom Ekstrand). … Oooooh, check out this picture an an early Eureka, Utah baseball team, who, according to SABR Pictorial, “clearly had a unique sense of fashion when it came to uniform styles.” … Small uni mystery from Tracy Katz, who notes, “Found this in my son’s room. Think it is Al Leiter, though I have no clue when he would have gotten it signed to him! Any other thoughts on who it might be?” … Check out this gorgeous colorization from Chris Whitehouse (aka ManCave Photos). If you’re wondering, that’s Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander looking out towards the field. … The Lafayette Aviators, a summer collegiate league team in Indiana, are building a new stadium (from Kary Klismet). … Have some of the new spring training caps been leaked? (from Robert Hayes). … Remember UL Washington? The guy who used to chew a toothpick while playing? Well, Andy Brown is down in Cuba and he noticed a relief pitcher sporting that very same look (see full tweet here). … I’m just gonna leave this here.
NFL News: The Amazing Blaise D’Sylva isn’t finished with his helmet collection, and on Friday, he graced us with NFL 1920 First Season Prototype helmets. And yesterday, it was the 1921 models. … ICYMI (and apologies if this has been posted before): Kary Klismet writes, “Here’s a great story from a Kansas City TV news station about a 94-year-old Chiefs fan who sewed the uniforms for the team’s cheerleaders in the 1970s.” … As you guys know, the Atlanta Falcons are getting new unis in April (YES!!!!!), and this article features some comments from a guy who has seen them. There’s also a bit of news on an upgraded wordmark.
Hockey News: The Vancouver Canucks got special warmup sweaters to celebrate the Chinese New Year “of the Rat” — you can read more about that here. … The following are from Wade Heidt: There was an unusual color vs. color game in the BCHL on Friday night in West Kelowna. West Kelowna Warriors in their black uniforms and the Surrey Eagles wearing their green uniforms; also, the Wenatchee Wild had some US flag-themed stars, stripes, and camouflage for their game at home on Friday night against the Cowichan Capitals; also, the Spruce Kings wore old Prince George Mohawks throwback uniforms on Friday night (here’s a still shot). Here is a look at the actual old jersey from the past. … ICYMI: Ever wondered what goes into the process of designing an NHL uniform? The Q&A from the Calgary Flames’ director of marketing has the inside scoop (from Johnny Garfield). … Peep the warmup jerseys worn by the Winnipeg Jets on 1/17 (from Nathan Crowell). He adds, “See (the) whole thread for cool ‘O Canada’ sung in Ojibwa.” … Speaking of warmups, the Toronto Maple Leafs wore special sweaters for Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night yesterday. … More from Wade Heidt: “The Drumheller Dragons threw it back last night and played as the Drumheller Falcons. Sporting purple and yellow. The visiting Calgary Canucks played along and did a recent throwback uniform. Wearing royal blue and kelly green again. The Canucks have switched to navy blue and lime green just this year.” … Also last night, the Cincinnati Cyclones with the Spider Man jerseys for their Marvel weekend matchup against Rapid City Rush who are sporting Capitan America jerseys (from Austin Zani).
NBA News: Did we just get a look at the 2020 NBA ASG unis? (from Nick Maggos). … Here at UW, we’re not particularly concerned with retail sales of jerseys, but for those of you who are, LeBron James’ jerseys were the most popular amongst the jersey purchasing set. … “Watching the Bucks at Nets and back of Bucks shorts look grey; pending angle,” writes Scott Steffes. “They are playing on Nets grey alternate court. Mind tricks! See photo of Ilyasova. Not the best – but court is affecting visual.”
College/High School Hoops News: Tweeter Josh Claywell says, “not sure I’ve ever seen a high school court with the key painted line this one in Indiana.” That led Brett James to reply with a hold my beer reply. … Yesterday, Virginia Tech went GFGS at home, creating a color versus color matchup against Syracuse (from Andrew Cosentino). … Last night, USF wore what it describes as “slime” green uniforms (from Cedric Padilla). … Reader (and tweeter) Chris Mykoskie writes, “Color vs. color for my broadcast on ESPN+ (yester)day. “Blue Out” in Ruston for LA Tech vs. North Texas.” … Vanilla Ice performed at halftime of the Texas Tech/Iowa State game yesterday wearing a stylized Texas Tech jersey with “Ice” as the NOB (from Kary Klismet). Full video of the performance here. … UMass has a rather large state graphic on the court (from Z Martin).
Grab Bag: As you may, or may not, be aware, the new sixth branch of the military recently got uniforms, begging the question, “Why do we need camo in space?” (also pointed out by Timmy Donahue). … “Ugh.” says David Cline. That’s because the Metro is moving forward with naming rights deals. … Navy will name an aircraft carrier after Doris “Dorie” Miller. He will be the 1st African-American to have an aircraft carrier named in his honor. Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor (from Timmy Donahue).
The Australian Open — Tennis’ first “major” of the year — is set to begin this Monday (in Australia), but due to the time difference, will begin Sunday evening for viewers in the United States. Now, in case you’ve been living in a cave, deadly bush fires have been scouring much of the continent for months, and despite dangerous air conditions and haze, will carry on as scheduled. As noted in that article, several qualifiers have had difficulties in the conditions in matches played prior to the main tournament, and it’s been somewhat brutal:
[T]he bush fires, which have killed 28 people and millions of animals and destroyed 3,000 homes, have cast a pall over the tournament, known as “the Happy Slam” for the jubilant fans who turn Melbourne Park into a two-week summertime party. And the fallout will be difficult to predict over the tournament’s two-week span, given Australia’s capricious winds, which can redirect noxious ash from hot spots hundreds of miles away.
Players contesting qualifying matches this week have, in effect, served as guinea pigs. Their experiences have been alarming.
Be that as it may, I’m rejoined once again by Brinke Guthrie, whom I’ve never actually met but who I refer to as my “doubles partner” whenever tennis kits are involved. As he has many times in the past, both for the Aussie Open and other slams, Brinke will give us a rundown of all the attire choices of some of the big names (both player and manufacturer) in this years event. So, without further ado, please welcome =BG= and his look at…
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The 2020 Australian Open By Brinke Guthrie
Grand Slam time. Where has the time gone? Wasn’t it just Christmas? The first big tournament of the year starts Monday, January 20 [Sunday, January 19th for the USA — PH], and finds the men and women Down Under for the Australian Open. Let’s take a look at what the major brands have in store for their top players.
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Nike: Canadian star and current U.S. Open women’s champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the tournament due to a knee problem. Had she played, she would’ve worn the look seen below — no doubt you will see it on other Nike women’s players. Indeed, Nike’s media site says “Andreescu might choose to wear just the bodysuit, (note: not now, she won’t) Madison Keys may layer atop a tennis skirt. The combinations between the bodysuit, the patterns and the supporting garments run a spectrum of player preferences.”
Leave it to Nike to push the envelope once more where design is concerned. They can do this kinda of thing in Australia and the US Open, maybe less so in Paris for the French Open and not in a million years in London (Wimbledon).
And of course, there is always a “story” to these outfits.
Nike adds, “The patterns throughout the men and women’s apparel were created by Australian-raised artist Cassie Byrnes, who finds inspiration through the tropical beauty of North Queensland, translating it onto watercolor paper through pigment inks and gouache. ‘I start with a considered palette and story,’ she says. ‘Then I play with mark-making, texture and composition to capture the essence and spirit of the theme.’
It was reported that Naomi Osaka. would have her own Nike line- it would seem now is the right time to launch that given she is the defending women’s champ- but no word on that yet. And look closely at whatever outfit she does wear- she has a pair of sponsor patches on her top and one on her visor; the only player Nike has signed other than the retired Li Na to have that option. Standard Nike tennis contracts mandate a “clean” sponsor-free look.
Oh, and then we have volatile hometown favorite Nick Kyrgios. Just gonna leave that one right there.
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Roger Federer will wear this set. His shirt has an accent color for a “fearless appearance” while a bit of color on the shorts hem represents “casual playfulness.” I’m not sure how shirts can be fearless and shorts can be playful, but there you have it. Kei Nishikori is also shown on that page but he’s also withdrawn due to injury.
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Serena Williams has been play testing a new Wilson racquet. When pros do this, the frame is usually blacked out, but still includes the stencil on the strings. If she “switches” to a new frame, I’d bet that she stays with her current frame and it’s merely repainted to match the new frame’s cosmetics. Happens all the time.
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Check out “Stycon,” the new line of- well, I was going to call them sneakers. You make the call on this one. Maybe hiking boots? Bjorn Borg lookalike Stefanos Tsitsipas will be wearing those, judging from this website where you can check out other new Adidas styles — looks like lilac and light orange are the themes for this year. Not a bad combo IMO.
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Their (men’s) Legend Collection “features bold, color-rich pieces in a Chinese red, pacific and white palette that are sure to pop in the hot Australian summer.” Look for those on top players like Diego Schwartzman and John Isner. For the women, world #1 Ash Barty and #2 Karolina Pliskova will wear the Fila Colorful Play collection in “vibrant tropical hues of electrifying blue, green citrus and pops of ripe cantaloupe.”
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Thanks, B! I always love the Australian Open, especially due to the odd hours at which the tourney is played (there’s a sixteen hour difference between Melbourne and New York) — you can go to sleep during the morning matches, wake up in the middle of the night and catch an afternoon set, and then (oftentimes), catch a “night” match as you’re getting ready for work in the morning! Even during “normal” weather, temps down under can easily hit the 100° mark for AO matches; throw in the smoke and generally unhealthy air, and this could be a tournament decided more on fitness and condition than actual play. I hope it doesn’t put a damper (no pun intended) on the play, but it should definitely prove even more interesting than usual.
Kings Stadium Series Uniform Released
To the surprise of exactly no one, since they were leaked back in November, the Los Angeles Kings officially unveiled their 2020 Stadium Series uniform yesterday. I actually knew about these even before then, as Paul and I previewed Adidas’ entire (Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and All-Star) jersey lineup back in October. Unfortunately, this one is as bad as the leak. We hadn’t seen the entire uniform until yesterday, however, so that’s at least new.
The new unis will debut on Saturday, February 15, when the Kings take on the Colorado Avalanche outdoors at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. (8 p.m. ET on NBC in the U.S. and on SN1 and TVAS2 in Canada). Before we take a quick look at the uni, here’s the hype video…see if you can guess the “story” behind them (there’s supposed to be video embedded in this tweet, but if it doesn’t appear, click the tweet and the tweet with video will open in a new window):
Since the game will be played at the Air Force Academy, can you guess the “inspiration”? I’ll let the press release speak for itself:
● A new L.A. crest takes flight on diagonal bisected blocking, inspired by aircraft battle stripes.
● The architecture of the venue’s Air Force Academy, coupled with a pilot’s ambition to push to the edge, inspired the oblique angles used to shape the jersey’s typography and numbering.
● A checkerboard design graphic is implemented along the neckline.
Let’s take a closer look at the uni.
At least the breezers aren’t white. The gloves are white (which is fine, I actually kinda like that look), and the socks go black/gray/white from skate to pants hem. The numbers are big, and the TV’s are huge (par for the course for outdoor games)…
…but — what’s up with the bucket? Is that a …chrome finish?
Why yes, yes it is. Why chrome? According to this article, “shiny chrome helmets adorned the black-and-white Adidas-manufactured uniforms that were inspired by the historic P-51 Mustang fighter jets once built in Southern California factories.” Well, DUH!
Note both the front and back of the helmet will feature a military aviation roundel-style decal:
The jersey is pretty original in its design: black and light gray, with the black beginning lower on the right sleeve and continuing at an angle upward across the chest and to the left sleeve. “LA” with a “motion” font(?) in white, following the same angle, with a light gray beneath. It’s difficult to tell on Kopitar’s jersey (above), but the fonts will apparently have an USAF stencil font theme as well:
So there you have it. Both LA and (on Thursday) Colorado have now unveiled their SS unis. Depending on your view of “futuristic” designs, this could either be a really good or really bad looking game. We’ll find out in about a month.
Mavs Re-bespoil Their Jerseys
In case you missed it, yesterday the Dallas Mavericks announced they have a new jersey advertiser. As is UW practice, we will neither name the new advertiser nor show it on the jersey, but Nic Schultz has given us his wonderful look on the teams’ white, dark and Fresh Prince graffiti jerseys:
If you are really interested in who the team will be “partnering” with, and how their advert will look splashed on the jersey, look here.
Big thanks to Nic for Mr. Yuk’ing those pics!
The Gift That Keeps On Vilking…
You readers remember the “Vilkmas” raffle, right (the winners were announced here). Normally, we don’t get followups from the Vilkmas winners, but the gentleman who received the “Less Filling” shirt (custom made by Wafflebored, dontchaknow), Tony Morrow, actually sent a really nice note in, which read (in part):
Paul and Phil,
I was really surprised to be selected as the winner of the Less Filling jersey from the Merry Vilkmas raffle. It arrived earlier this week. It’s a good fit. I’ll wear it to the new ballpark in Wichita to watch their new AAA baseball team (I don’t care for the nickname but appreciate the work Todd Radom did for them).
Please thank Jimmer for me for donating this jersey to the raffle. I couldn’t find his email address to thank him myself. Phil, thank you for organizing the raffle and for your work on behalf on Uni-Watch. Paul, thank you for all you do. I admire the way you do business and really enjoy everything associated with Uni-Watch.
Thank you again, and best wishes to all.
Is that great or what? But the best part was the photo he sent along, enjoying the Less Filling shirt in its new lease on life. Thanks Tony!
Jim added that “it looks better on him,” and we’re both glad it went to a good home!
Final “ACC Tracker”
Seems like the National Championship Game was played a long time ago, but it was only Monday night. And LSU showed the nation they were truly the best team in College Football this year. I TOLD YOU THE TIGERS WOULD WIN! Anyway, Rex Henry, who does my ACC Tracking on Sunday Morning Uni Watch, wanted to include his final tracking for the year, which included the ACC representative Clemson Tigers. Thanks to Rex for another great season!
100 Years so far … ????
Another of my NCAA Uniform Trackers, Kyle Acker (who tracks the Big XII) recently contacted me with a question about his creating a patch to wear on the jerseys and helmets of a high school where he will coach in the fall. After posing the question to me, I said this might be something Uni Watch readers could help with (or at least offer an opinion). So, here goes:
Need your expert opinion on something, I’m coaching football at a high school and 2020 will be our 100th team. It’s not an anniversary because being in Annapolis, MD with wars and everything there were a few years where there wasn’t any football. So the years are 1889-2020 trying to figure out what’s the best way to express this? 100th Team comes across weird to me and I’m not sure if it’s just me. Any thoughts?
I thought about it, and while I agree “100th Team” doesn’t really sound good, it’s probably the most correct way to word the patch. But I’m not really much of a “patch etiquette” guy — my only feelings are I prefer anniversaries to years (i.e. “20th Anniversary” vs. “20th Season” or something similar). Paul had a really good piece on this a few years ago.
But what Kyle’s describing doesn’t fit into that seasons/anniversary dichotomy. It’s the 100th “team.”
What do you guys think? Any suggestions for the wording of the patch? Let’s hear what you got!
The Ticker By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: With his election to the Hall of Fame all but certain, the Rockies are going to retire Larry Walker’s No. 33 at some point in the 2020 season. 33 will be the second team-retired number for the Rockies, after Todd Helton’s 17 (from Mike Chamernik). … New Sunday alternates for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliates of the Twins (from @milbPromos). … The Orix Buffaloes will wear the 1995 Orix Blue Wave uniforms for all eight of their games played at Hotto Motto Kobe Field this year, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the 1995 Kobe earthquake (from Jeremy Brahm). … Tulane released their new uniforms on Twitter yesterday, and they’re pretty nice.
NFL News: Also posted in the hockey section: the NHL is auctioning off a selection of football crossover memorabilia, including NHL-player-signed mini-helmets of NFL, CFL and CFB teams and NFL jerseys with NHL players’ names and numbers (from Brandon Weir).
College Football News:Brinke sends along this beautiful photo of a c. 1903 player for Maryland Agricultural College. The football he’s holding appears to have a cumulative score of all of MAC’s games that year. … According to West Point’s assistant AD, the American flag helmet decal should be either exactly in the center of the back of the helmet or on the lefthand side, and it should be the highest decal (from multiple readers).
Hockey News: Cross-posted from the NFL section: the NHL is auctioning off a selection of football crossover memorabilia, including NHL-player-signed mini-helmets of NFL, CFL and CFB teams and NFL jerseys with NHL players’ names and numbers (from Brandon Weir). … Lots of little tidbits of info in this interview with the Flames’ director of marketing on the potential return of the team’s retro jerseys (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … The ECHL’s Indy Fuel are wearing these sweaters tonight for Blackhawks Night (from @rebelrugger1). … Wade Heidt noted that this year’s uniforms for the CHL/NHL Prospects game featured Team White in an Islanders template and Team Red in a Coyotes template.
NBA News: NBA uni number guru Etienne Catalan has created a Google Docs spreadsheet of every number for every NBA team. Wow. … And if you don’t want to go digging through his chart, Etienne had a whole bunch of new uni numbers yesterday on his Twitter account. … The Korean Basketball League has released their All-Star jerseys, and they’re probably better than whatever the NBA and Nike will come up with.
Grab Bag: Walker Valley (Tn.) High has released a new set of logos (from Kary Klismet). … Design blog Under Consideration has a post about Google’s new search design, adding the website’s favicon to results, which may usher in a “new era of concern about how well a logo will reduce.” (from James Gilbert). … The Golf Channel has a added a ‘25‘ to its logo in honor of its 25th anniversary (from Michael Brighton). … Holy moly, check out this amazing letterhead from a 1918 Northern Pacific Railway letter! (from Jeff Ash).
And that’s all for today. The Blue Jays will be unveiling at least one new uniform today at their Winterfest and folks have been speculating on what it might be. I know, but you’ll have to wait to find out ;). Full coverage on that tomorrow!
Quick update on mom: she’s doing better, and has been transferred from a really shitty rehab to a much better one (I don’t want to tell you how fun it is dealing with the bureaucracy involved in getting that done), and she’s making progress. Thanks to everyone who shared their kind thoughts and prayers last Saturday!
Bill will sometimes show his step-by-step restoration process for a given jersey on Facebook, and he recently invited me to share that content on Uni Watch. Today is the first of what I hope will be a series of step-by-step projects from Bill, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. I’ll now hand the baton over to him.
Restoring a 1964 Mickey Mantle Jersey By Bill Henderson
I’ll be candid: When someone writes and tells me that he has an original Mickey Mantle Yankees flannel jersey he wants me to look at, I mentally prepare myself for the disappointment I will need to share with him. There are very few actual Mantle jerseys and lots of questionable re-creations, so encountering a real one is unlikely at best.
Here’s how the jersey looked when I received it:
The “NY” on the front looked a bit off — probably not original — and there were no numbers on the back, but Mantle’s name was embroidered in the collar. The jersey was a Spalding, year-tagged as 1964.
An examination on a light table showed that there had once been a “7” on the back, and also a “57”:
Old jerseys often have multiple numbers if they’ve been reissued in the big league team’s minor league system. But would the Yankees really do that to a jersey from one of their most famous players? Yes, actually, they would — I have seen many Yankees “star player” jerseys that were sent to the minors and used to death. To the Yankees, these were not priceless collectables; they were simply team-owned gear, and reusing them in the minors saved the club money. The Yankees were very protective — almost hostile — about sharing any of these with collectors. Players were generally issued two sets of home and road jerseys for the year, and a backup or two from the prior year were often kept around as spares for emergency use. It was nothing like today, where a player might wear a different jersey every few games to help feed the collector market.
Having the front of the jersey bare would be important for further light table investigation of the garment’s history. So I used a seam ripper [clearly not a Uni Watch model! — PL] to carefully remove the stitching holding the “NY” logo on the front, one scant stitch at a time:
Luckily, it was not glued on and came off without a fight. Unfortunately, though, its presence over time had stained the underlying flannel fabric.
As I suspected, a light table examination of the front confirmed that the “NY” logo was not the original one. Slight shadows of the original logo were evident. On this photo, the red lines are the residual ghosts I can see, and the blue outline is the Yankees’ standard template for a 1964 front crest:
Notably, the entire left side of the chest was darker, as if something else might have been glued there — but what? There were no stitching marks elsewhere on the chest, so a full-chest wordmark from the minors had clearly never been applied. I wondered, which team might have used this jersey, causing the “NY” to have been stripped and then reused?
Internet research turned up a possible answer: In the mid-1960s, the Yankees had a short-lived minor league team improbably named the Columbus (Georgia) Confederate Yankees, whose uniforms featured a Confederate flag sleeve patch. [I wrote about this for ESPN back in 2011. — PL] I wondered: Had this jersey been repurposed to the Confederate Yankees? The light table provided the answer. While it’s hard to see in this photo, there it was — faint signs of the Confederate flag patch having been sewn onto the sleeve, perfectly sized and positioned:
Back to the light table! Now that I knew what I was looking for, spotting the edges of the discoloration on the left chest allowed me to pick out the points of intersection between the “NY” logo and the Columbus Confederate Yankees crest that had also been sewn there. There were also a few small holes exactly in the places where the stitching would have intersected between the old logo and the new:
This was getting exciting! My next task was to run a search of Mantle jerseys that had been authenticated and sold at auction. My search of auction catalogs showed that this one hadn’t made the public auction scene before, or at least not in the past 20 years. This seemed to be the baseball equivalent of an automotive “barn find,” like discovering a Corvette or a Duesenberg covered with a tarp and pushed to the back of a storage shed. I also noted, with a gulp, that a 1964 Mantle road jersey had sold at auction in August 2018 for $1.32 million!
The darkened glue marks mostly came out of the fabric with a careful application of dry cleaning chemicals. I worked gently to try to remove the blue staining, but succeeded only in lightening it slightly:
That’s not the end of the world — I believe every mark left behind tells a story, and sometimes relics can be spoiled by trying too hard to make them perfect.
I used heirloom Merino wool felt to create a 1964-correct “NY” for the front and a “7” for the back. The front logo, based on the team’s original pattern, matched the telltale ghosts perfectly! I positioned the felt to ensure that the new lettering covered the ghosts exactly before I stitched them on.
As a restorer and authenticator, I always recommend creating a separate Document of Restoration to chronicle the restoration process. Why? Once exactly restored, the new lettering will perfectly cover the old, original ghosts, leaving behind only the shadows of what was once altered there. A future authenticator looking at this jersey on his light table might reasonably conclude that this jersey was originally numbered as No. 57 and confidently declare it to be a Mickey Mantle counterfeit! Our work-in-progress documentation is designed to prevent that from happening.
Exact restoration of the original elements was critical, because the next step was to try to photo-match this jersey to Mantle. My sponsor in this discipline is Sports Investors Authentications. They are properly licensed to use the photographs from which they photo-match, are insured, and have an impeccable reputation for quality and honesty. I am proud to authenticate for them.
We examined dozens of photos of Mantle from the 1964 through 1966 seasons, trying to find at least one shot that would provide a 100% positive match. Even though this jersey was tagged 1964, we knew to check photos from 1965 and even 1966, as this jersey may have served as a backup for Mantle. I won’t go into all the details of photo matching technique, but no detail is too small to ignore. Everything must match: pinstripes, logo placement, seam alignment, even stitching. After several days of work, we were able to positively match the jersey to game photos from both 1964 and 1965! We can surmise that it went to the Columbus Confederate Yankees in 1966.
Mantle is also wearing the jersey in the photo used for this 1965 baseball card, which was taken during 1965 spring training. There is a positive match to the way the stripes align in the underarm gusset and the exact location of the vent holes.
It is also possible, but not conclusively confirmed, that this jersey is the same one that Mantle is wearing on this book cover:
Unfortunately, some of the detail I would like to be able to see in the photo has been obscured by its lack of definition and overexposure. Since we already have two positive matches, we don’t absolutely need a third one.
When photo-matching, it’s relatively easy to rule out images that don’t match, but confirming every tiny detail to ensure the match is 100% positive is much more difficult. On an item of this significance, being positive is critical. While I was 95% sure this is the same jersey shown on the book cover, that’s not good enough.
Here is my finished restoration:
The jersey’s owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was very pleased with my restoration. He tells me that this jersey will be auctioned with Goldin Auctions in the near future. I am proud to have been a part of discovering its history and returning it to look like it did when Mickey Mantle wore it in the 1964 and ’65 seasons.
Paul here. Man, is that sensational or what? I want to thank Bill for sharing his expertise with us. I plan to share more of his step-by-step restoration projects in the weeks and months to come. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in engaging Bill’s services, further info is available on the Dream Shop’s website.
You can see additional photos here. The Stadium Series game will take place on Feb. 15 at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium. The Avs will be playing the Kings, whose purported design has also leaked. We’ll find out soon if that leak was accurate.
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Spot the error: On the left is the seal of the U.S. House of Representatives. On the right is that seal appearing on a lectern earlier this week. Can you spot the key difference between the two seals?
Look closely at the letter “U,” which appears twice in the upper arc of lettering. In both instances, the letters on the lectern are reversed. The thicker vertical stroke should be on the left, but instead it’s on the right. Someone applied the three-dimensional letters backwards!
This error was first spotted by Twitter-er @vogon and has since been sent to me by several people. Great catch!
Update: Reader/commenter Pete notes that the “V” in “Representatives” is also reversed!
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Pin Club update: Nice move by reader Jim Howicz, who put his Uni Watch Pin Club pin, which depicts a pennant, on his Uni Watch pennant — very meta!
Reader Wes Muniz is taking a more traditional approach, wearing his January pin on his jacket lapel:
These shirts are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.
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Childhood DIY project: Got a note last night from reader Joe Werner, as follows:
I keep meaning to share this with you, and with the Niners in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday, this is probably as good a time as any.
Way back in 1989, when I was in seventh grade, I got to take woodshop for the first time. Our project was to draw something on a piece of wood, cut it out on a jigsaw, decorate it, and add some hooks to make it a key holder. So of course, I did a football helmet!
The block of wood we were given didn’t really have enough room for a properly proportioned facemask, so I made it a super-old-school helmet. And even though I grew up in Pittsburgh and have always been a Steelers fan, the 49ers’ logo was easier to draw. They were also a more fashionable team at the time. (I was quite the frontrunner at 13 years old. I also had an Oakland A’s hat!)
Please don’t be too judgmental of my work, as I was 13 and using power tools for the first time. It’s debatable whether my skills have improved much in the subsequent 30 years.
Good luck on Sunday!
Isn’t that nice? The only thing better than this junior high project is the fact that Joe has saved it for all these years. Thanks for sharing, Joe. Give that helmet a little rub for good luck this Sunday — go Niners!!
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The Ticker By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Following up on yesterday’s lede, Billy Ballas points out that the 2014 Dodgers had a No. 00 (Brian Wilson) and a No. 99 (Hyun-jin Ryu) on their pitching staff. … Speaking of uni numbers, MLB.com has a cool article about legendary players wearing numbers other than the ones for which they’re best known, like Hank Aaron in No. 5, Stan Musial in No. 19, and Don Mattingly in No. 46 (thanks, Brinke). … If this photo is any indication, it appears that Spring Training caps will have Spring Training patches over the MLB logo on the back (from Taylor Ness). … Also posted in the NBA section: Phillies OF Bryce Harper worked out while wearing Philadelphia 76ers throwback shorts (from Jack Connell). … In this photo of the Cubs’ Tyson Miller and Brad Wieck, Miller is in a Nike jersey and Wieck a Majestic (from Bryan Redemske). … The Salisbury Post out of North Carolina ran an editorial decrying the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers’ new mascot’s name, Boomer. The editorial alleges that the name is derogatory to baby boomers. OK (from Kary Klismet). … Hiram College has new unis (from Jim Vilk).
NFL News: Retail outlets are showing this year’s Pro Bowl jerseys. The design is similar to the one used back in 2016. … Steve Hoyle notes that “all four teams playing this weekend have their location initial on their helmet. SF for San Francisco, G for Green Bay, KC for Kansas City and T for Tennessee (but it might be for Titans).” Only three other teams — the Ravens, Giants, and Bears — do that. … A Reddit user posted this image of NFL team pencils, circa 1980. So cool (from Brendan Armstrong).
Hockey News: The Maple Leafs and Capitals wore Hockey Talks helmet decals last night to promote awareness and empathy around mental health (from Moe Khan and our own Jamie Rathjen). … Pens G Tristan Jarry’s gobbler — that’s the plastic throat protector that hangs down from a goalie’s mask — was broken in two by a shot in the second period last night, so he removed it and played the rest of the period without one. … The NHL All-Star Game ice has been installed in St. Louis. Look at that blue line design! (From @2xAught7.) … The Canucks have released renderings of their recently approved new practice facility in downtown Vancouver (from Wade Heidt). … The NHL is once again hosting its All-Star Weekend Mascot Showdown (thanks, Paul). … Speaking of mascots, here’s something I’ve never seen before: an anniversary logo for a mascot — in this case for the Caps’ Slapshot (from David Raglin). … A company called Foco has a pretty cool new line of NHL jersey-style hoodies. … The ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays are going G.I. Joke and flag-desecration tomorrow night (from @the_casserole). … Also tomorrow night, the Jacksonville Icemen will wear this flag-desecration costume (from @904craftbeerdad). … As part of the fallout over Don Cherry’s xenophobic remarks on Hockey Night in Canada late last year, the WHL is distancing itself from Cherry by scrapping previously planned uniforms designed to look like his trademark suits as part of the WHL Suits Up program, which promotes organ donation. “Instead, the uniforms will now for the most part resemble the vintage powder blue Hockey Night in Canada blazer,” says Wade Heidt. … USA Hockey’s U-18 team will wear these Spongebob sweaters for Nickelodeon Night (from Jakob Fox). … Georgia Tech’s club team has some pretty gorgeous sweaters for the upcoming season (from Michael Zoid). … Waseca (Minn.) High honored fallen police officer Arik Matson with jerseys featuring “Matson” as the NOB, “Waseca Police” as the crest, Matson’s badge number as a jersey patch, and a picture of Matson and his daughters on the inner neck (from Trey Volk).
NBA News: Oregon Public Broadcasting has a great article on how the Blazers’ pinwheel logo has remained iconic even 50 years after its introduction (from Kary Klismet). … Bucks PG Eric Bledsoe showed up to yesterday’s game against the Celtics wearing a knockoff Vin Baker jersey. It’s not even a good knockoff, either! (From Ryan Franke and Alex Laedtke.) … Fun while it lasted: The Mavs, who’ve been the NBA’s only ad-free team this season, are poised to announce their new jersey advertisement this evening (from Matthew Spencer). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper worked out while wearing Sixers throwback shorts (from Jack Connell).
College Hoops News: Arkansas men will have new unis for tomorrow night’s matchup against Kentucky. … UT Martin revealed their new alternate logo before last night’s game (from @the_ralphinator).
Grab Bag: The US Navy has authorized a new black leather jacket for surface warfare officers (from Kary Klismet). … Unlike former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Chief Justice John Roberts will not wear a striped robe while presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial. … And speaking of the impeachment-related aesthetic details, it turns out that the Capitol Police have special uniforms for things like trials. … RoushFenway Racing is having fans vote on one of three remaining designs for Ryan Newman’s No. 6 car for this weekend’s race (from James Gilbert). … Washington High in Cherokee, Iowa., is soliciting donations to replace their 30-year-old marching band uniforms, which do just scream 1990 (from Timmy Donahue). … Alabama gymnastics has taken to posting which leotard they’ll wear on social media prior to their meets (from Griffin T. Smith). … Fascinating article about boys in cold-weather regions who insist on wearing shorts all year long. … Gross: Advertising creep has hit a new low, as passenger announcements on a NYC subway line are being turned into a promotion for a new TV show (from @FreyDaddy4).
The Blue Jays have a uniform unveiling scheduled for Saturday, but they made a different sort of uni-related news yesterday, as they introduced the newest member of their pitching staff: right-hander Shun Yamaguchi, who’ll be making his MLB debut this season after a 14-year career in Japan. He’ll wear No. 1, which is interesting on two levels: First, it adds another name to the ranks of MLB single-digitized pitchers. And second, last month the Jays signed free agent southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu, who wears No. 99, so Toronto’s pitching staff will run the uni-numerical spectrum from 1 to 99.
Has any other team ever had pitchers wearing Nos. 1 and 99? In an attempt to answer that question, I went to Baseball-Reference.com, where I learned that only 18 MLB players, other than Ryu, have worn No. 99. Of those, only eight were pitchers. From there it was fairly simple to cross-reference the applicable rosters and determine that the Jays are indeed the first team to have Nos. 1 and 99 on the same pitching staff. (I feel like there’s also a comprehensive list of single-digitized pitchers out there, which would have made this task much simpler, but I couldn’t find it. Anyone..?)
The Jays are no strangers to single-digit pitchers, having previously employed Marcus Stroman (No. 6) and Josh Towers (No. 7). They’re also the only MLB club ever to have Nos. 0 and 00 on the team at the same time, a feat they pulled off in 1985 with Al Oliver and Cliff Johnson.
Too bad Toronto’s 2020 schedule doesn’t include any games against the Mets, because the Mets’ roster now includes Stroman, who wore No. 7 last year for New York but is changing to No. 0 this season. A matchup of Stroman vs. Yamaguchi — 0 vs. 1 — would presumably be the lowest-numbered pairing of starting pitchers in MLB history.
It’s also worth noting that the Yankees currently have a No. 0 (reliever Adom Ottavino) and a No. 99 (outfielder Aaron Judge). But somehow there’s something more satisfying about having the numerical bookends both on the pitching staff. But that’s just me — your mileage may vary and all that.
Update: Just as I was getting ready to publish this entry this morning, I discovered that another writer — a Jays blogger for SB Nation who simply calls himself “Minor Leaguer” — had investigated this same question on Tuesday. He also determined that no previous team has had pitchers wearing Nos. 1 and 99, but he went a step further and listed the 10 previous instances of teams with a No. 1 and a No. 99, irrespective of position. That’s some great work right there — recommended!
(My thanks to Toronto’s own Chris Creamer for letting me know about Yamaguchi’s number.)
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Hats off to New Era: Hat manufacturer New Era is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and they’re marking the occasion by launching a new collection of headwear from throughout the company’s history, including newsboy caps, old-fashioned golf caps, and some familiar baseball caps. It’s an interesting history lesson — you can check out the catalog here.
Notice anything different about this Ravens jersey?: I don’t usually write about retail jerseys, but this is an interesting case. Reader John Sanders runs a sports shop in Boise, and he says Nike ran out of black Ravens jersey blanks, so they used Raiders blanks for a batch of Lamar Jackson jerseys. That’s why the maker’s mark is silver, and why there’s no purple trim on the sleeve cuffs.
“I’ve never seen something like this before,” says Sanders. “We have not had any complaints, because it’s not something you’d probably notice unless you’re super tuned-in. I think part of that is how popular Lamar Jackson items have been for us, selling a lot more bandwagon-type fans than actual Ravens fans.”
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“I’m a doctor, not a logo designer”: It’s not often that we get to see an entire new branch of the military take shape before our eyes, but that’s the case with the U.S. Space Force, whose creation was recently authorized by Congress. Now that the wheels are turning, the Pentagon has been talking to President Trump about logo and uniform options. (My preferred design for the latter is shown above.)
Meanwhile: If the Army has soldiers, the Navy has sailors, and so on, what should Space Force members be called? Personally, I’d vote for space cadets, but that’s not among the options listed in this Military Times article/poll. Key quote, from the Air Force general who’s overseeing the creation of the new branch: “We haven’t really done this since 1947.”
(My thanks to Timmy Donahue for that last link.)
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Too good for the Ticker: I own my share of green jerseys and green flannel shirts, but until now I’d never seen a jersey that looked like a green flannel shirt! That’s what the Vermont hockey team will be wearing tomorrow for Vermont Night. Very tasty!
(My thanks to Gidal Kaiser and @shief_joe for this one.)
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Also too good for the Ticker: This is pretty awesome! A 1970s promo spot showed middle-aged Milwaukee TV sports reporter Earl Gillespie wearing the uniforms of various Wisconsin teams, including the Packers, Bucks, Badgers, Marquette (untucked!), Brewers, Admirals, and more. They even show him curling!
Gillespie (who died in 2003) appears to have been left-handed. He carries the football in his left hand, dribbles the basketball with his left hand, bowls left-handed, and so on. But they show him as a right-handed hockey goalie, presumably because a left-handed blocker and mitt weren’t available.
They also show him batting right-handed. Obviously, there are no equipment issues there, so maybe Gillespie was the rare guy who threw left but batted right — just like Rickey Henderson, Cleon Jones, and me!
(Big thanks to Mike Chamernik for sharing this video with me.)
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The Ticker By Paul
Baseball News: New primary logo for the Winston-Salem Dash, the White Sox’s high-A affiliate. It’s hard not to see those “WS” initials without thinking “World Series” (from James Wagner and Will Lawson). … This seems like something we would’ve had before, but I don’t recall seeing it previously: Gate C34 at Boston’s Logan Airport is marked with Red Sox-style numerals in honor of David Ortiz. There’s also an Ortiz jersey and plaque on display (from John Gagosian). … Astros OF Kyle Tucker, who has previously worn No. 3, has been wearing No. 30 during fan caravan activities. Sure enough, the roster now lists him as No. 30, so that’s officially his new number. … The Phillie Phanatic appeared on last night’s episode of The Goldbergs, which is set in the 1980s, but his cap was stuck with era-inappropriate logo creep (good spot by Chris Flinn). … Whoa, check out these bats and balls painted with beautiful Australian aboriginal-style patterns (big thanks to @Chrisp2087). … Check out this bizarro play: The Pirates executed what would have been a perfect hit-and-run, but the runner’s helmet fell off between first and second base, and the ground ball, which would have gone into right field, hit the helmet and deflected to the second baseman, who — well, just watch it for yourself (from Jerry Wolper).
NFL News: Reader @dddaveee notes that if the Falcons’ upcoming new uniform set includes a new primary logo, that could have implications for their stadium’s seating design. … Pro Football Hall of Fame prexy David Baker wore blazers with conference-appropriate colors when informing former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson of their forthcoming inductions.
Hockey News: Here’s a long and informative article about the equipment-maintenance preferences of various Islanders players. Recommended (from ,Jim Griffin). … The major junior Quebec Remparts will honor the 40th anniversary of the Nordiques joining the NHL by wearing Nordiques/Remparts mashup uniforms on Jan. 24 (from Eric Andrews).
College Hoops News: Former Villanova PGs Ryan Arcidiacono and Kyle Lowry will have their numbers retired next month. … New Des Moines skyline uniforms for Drake’s men’s and women’s teams (from many readers). … More blue collar bullshit, as Alabama’s student section wore hardhats to support the team’s “blue collar basketball” slogan. I wonder if these college students, most if not all of whom will never work a job requiring a hardhat, realize that a blue collar worker is, by most definitions, someone who doesn’t have a college degree. As I’ve said before, this is the class version of stolen valor (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: Auburn G Allen Flanigan had to remove his undershirt during last night’s game against Alabama, apparently because it didn’t conform to NCAA specs.