Say It Ain’t So: MLB Reportedly Eyes Ad Patches by 2022

Seriously depressing news yesterday, as Sports Business Journal’s Terry Lefton — a very reliable reporter — broke the story that MLB uniforms will likely have advertising patches within three years. That’s in addition to the Nike maker’s mark being added to the chest next season.

Lefton says chatter about MLB adding ad patches “was the buzz among the marketing cognoscenti at last week’s MLB All-Star Game,” and he got one MLB exec — business and sales EVP Noah Garden — to talk about it on the record. The money quote from Garden: “We’re examining the [advertising] patch, but clearly we have things to work through first. I’d say it’s inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration, but I think we will get there.”

“Inevitable,” of course, is the word that NBA commish and self-fulfilling prophet Adam Silver used repeatedly when floating trial balloons about ad patches on NBA uniforms. Ugh.

Some additional takeaways from Lefton’s article:

• A chest placement is currently viewed as more likely — or at least more lucrative — than a sleeve placement. (The article does not mention potential cap or helmet ads, so it’s not clear if those might also be in the works.)

• Several MLB teams have already contacted marketing agencies to discussing pricing.

• MLB is interested in going this route because the NBA’s uni ad program has been viewed as a success (which, in case you had any doubts, should make it clear that NBA uni ads are definitely here to stay).

• The players’ union would have to approve uni advertising, but it’s assumed that they’d happily do so (just as the NBA union did) because they’ll get a cut of the revenue.

• Some industry insiders think more traditional teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs may opt to skip uniform ads. Of course, some observers thought the same thing about the Celtics, who turned out to be one of the earliest adopters in the NBA ad program. (And yes, the Yankees and Red Sox already wore ads this year for their games in London, but that wasn’t their choice. Those ads were imposed on them by MLB.)

So is this really going to happen? Yes, I think it is. Maybe it’ll take a year or two longer than the 2022 start date they’re currently projecting, but it seems clear that they want to do it, and the NBA has provided a handy blueprint for them, so the logistical hurdles and emotional barriers will both be much lower for MLB than they were for the NBA. Is there anything we can do about it? No, I don’t think so. I mean, you can stop buying jerseys or whatever (I’ve always been in favor of that anyway), but they’ll go ahead with this plan regardless.

Simply put: We’ve lost. This is the world we live in now. We can still critique it or call bullshit on it, but we can no longer forestall it.

Interestingly, MLB commish Rob Manfred isn’t mentioned at all in Lefton’s article, but this news is very much in keeping with Manfred’s approach to uniforms. During his tenure, MLB has added the MLB logo to the back of the pants; added the New Era maker’s mark to caps; added the MLB logo and the Stance maker’s mark to socks; expanded uni ads to include all non-USA/Canada games (they had previously been used only for games in Japan but not for other non-USA/Canada games); expanded the use of holiday uniforms; added the Players Weekend uniforms; added separate caps for the All-Star Game; and struck a deal that will result in the Nike maker’s mark appearing on jersey chests next season. Toss in yesterday’s news about ad patches and it’s clear that Manfred and his executive staff view the uniform as a canvas for non-team branding and as an orange to be squeezed for every last revenue drop, not as a form of team expression or heritage.

That’s seriously depressing — not just for MLB and for the uni-verse, but also in terms of the implications for the spread of corporate culture and advertising throughout ever more nooks and crannies of our world. Baseball may not drive cultural dialogue like it once did (one big difference between the NBA’s uni ad program and MLB’s prospective uni ad program is that the NBA is a league on the rise, while MLB is clearly on the decline, at least from a business perspective), but having ads on baseball uniforms will definitely help validate the notion that any surface is a potential vehicle for advertising. Sigh.

But as disappointing as Manfred may be, I think the lion’s share of the credit here — or the blame — goes to Silver, the NBA commissioner. He was pushing for his league to add uni ads even before he took over for David Stern, and he made it happen. If you view that in conjunction with his aggressive push for legalized sports gambling, I think it’s clear that Silver is the most influential and consequential sports executive of our time — for better or worse.

And what does this mean for the other two Big Four leagues? So far neither the NFL nor the NHL has shown any public inclination to go this route, but I’m sure they’ve been watching and studying the NBA’s experiment, just like the MLB people have been. It’s one thing if there’s just one outlier sport or league — but once there are two such leagues, they’re no longer outliers. In short, this development can’t bode well for the future of ad-free uniforms in North America.

Someone on Twitter asked me yesterday if this might be the perfect juncture to start selling a Uni Watch seam ripper, so people can remove the ad patches (or maker’s marks, or whatever) from their jerseys. I’m all in favor of that — in fact, I’ve wanted to offer such a product for quite a while — but I haven’t been able to find a vendor that offers custom seam rippers. If anyone knows of such a vendor, I’m all ears. Thanks.

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Surely you jest(er): The video in the tweet embedded above is only six seconds long, but check out the pitcher, catcher, and second baseman. They appear to be wearing a two-tone harlequin-style uniform, like a court jester’s outfit. It reminds me of the football uniform worn by Atlantic High School in Florida back in 2012, which caused a big stir at the time.

The baseball team in the video is apparently a travel team, but I haven’t been able to figure out anything else about them or their uniform manufacturer. If anyone knows more, do tell.

(My thanks to Andrew Felder for bringing this one to my attention.)

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The baseball gods are not with us: The Marlins are the worst team in the National League and have miserable uniforms. The Padres are a middling team with a losing record and have long had the most characterless uniforms in the league.

Despite this, I’ve had this week’s Marlins/Padres series, which kicks off tonight in Miami, circled on my calendar for months, because I was hoping for a stirrups showdown between hosiery heroes Chris Paddack of the Padres and Pablo López of the Marlins. How great would it be if they faced off in the same game?

Alas, fate has not cooperated, because López has been on the IL for nearly a month. I was hoping that he’d return to action in time for the series, but no such luck. Paddack will start for the Padres tonight against Marlins right-hander Jordan Yamamoto, who typically goes high-cuffed but not with stirrups. Dang.

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Bouton/Ball Four reminder: In case you missed the announcement on Monday, I’ll be participating in a tribute to Jim Bouton and his seminal 1970 book, Ball Four (which changed my life and so many others), this Thursday evening, 7:30pm, at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan. Other participants will include the great Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs; Villanova professor and longtime baseball author Mitchell Nathanson, who’s working on a Bouton biography (and who tells me he’s a big Uni Watch fan); and Field of Schemes honcho Neil deMause (who, like myself, is an alum of the Village Voice sports section and has also been my editor for the recent pieces on collectors that I’ve written for Gothamist). There may be other writers added to the bill later this week.

We’ll each be talking about what what made Bouton and Ball Four so special to us and reading a few of our favorite passages from the book. Doors open at 7pm. Admission is free. It would be great to see a bunch of Uni Watch readers there — please join us!

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Last Saturday night I was perusing Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, looking for clips and reactions to the Paul McCartney show at Dodger Stadium, the final stop on his “Freshen Up” tour. Somehow, I discovered that his merch team had created jerseys for selected tour stops. They look like authentic MLB jerseys judging from the Majestic sleeve logo and hang tag. (And they’re priced like them, too.) Anyway, these Packers-style jerseys were for sale when he played on the Frozen Tundra on June 8 — looks just like a Pack jersey, but no Nike or NFL logos/tags. How Fab is that?

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• One more Pack-related item: this nice 1970s Packers blanket/throw rug.

• Even back when Reebok was an NFL supplier, BFBS was creeping ever so subtly into the 49ers scheme, as this 1990s sideline parka suggests.

• This is a group of five 1970s Islanders or Canadiens NHL player cardboard stand-up figures– each about a foot tall.

• Here’s a package of Mets “Quickstick” stickers (the seller says 1960s or early 1970s), and they were originally just 29 cents! You get a pennant and five Mets logos.

• The Doctor Is Always In, proclaims this 1980s Julius Erving/Dr. J Converse promo poster.

• Here’s an auction for an ABA New Orleans Buccaneers jacket. The listing says “1970s,” but the team was a charter member of the ABA in the late 1960s before moving to Memphis in 1970.

• Had a few of these way back when for the Cowboys and Bengals: This is a set of 14 1970s NFL plastic helmet drink coasters. (They were also for “wall decor.”)

• Calling all Denver Nuggets fans — this bicycle tag is still in its original packaging. The auction listing says “1970s,” but they didn’t use this look until 1981.

• I’ve always liked this San Francisco Giants jersey look. This size XL fan replica jersey is made by Sand-Knit Medalist. Judging from that font, it’s a 1983-1993 item.

• This 1970s Vikings gumball helmet is still sealed in its original iHOP plastic bag. (Just 24 cents! Collect all 26 teams!) Here’s another 1970s gumball helmet, this one for the Steelers. Seems to be a bit of a DIY sticker on the side there. And finally, here are custom helmet buggies for the Chargers and the Jets.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Uni-versary patch reminder: I’m still sitting on a ton of these Uni Watch 20th-anniversary embroidered patches (which, quite honestly, haven’t been selling at anything close to the rate I had hoped for). The patch was made for us by Stitches, the same shop that does all the sewing for the Mets, Yankees, and Islanders. It measures four inches across and is suitable for sewing onto a jersey or jacket, or just for displaying.

The price is $9.99, plus $1 for shipping (or $2 for shipping outside the USA). To order, send payment to me via Venmo (use @Paul-Lukas-2 as the payee), Zelle (plukas64@gmail.com), or Cash App (plukas64@gmail.com). If you want to use Apple Pay or a paper check, or if you’re outside the USA and can only use PayPal, shoot me a note and I’ll fill you in.

Once you send payment, be sure to send me your shipping address so I can send the patch on its way to you. Thanks!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsPirates OF Bryan Reynolds’s helmet fell off while he was legging out a double last night, but he somehow was able to kick it back to himself and catch it at second base (from Mike Chamernik). … Most MLB players have personalized bats with their own names stamped into them. But two Dodgers relief pitchers batted last night with non-personalized “Los Angeles” bats. … Reader Mike Nachreiner stopped by the Mets Hall of Fame at Citi Field and noticed that Mr. Met was wearing his stirrups backward. … Speaking of the Mets, Gene Frey found a photo of himself as a toddler in 1962 wearing a Mets cap with an unusual logo. … The Johnson City Cardinals and the Elizabethtown Twins played a red-on-red Rookie Ball Appalachian League matchup last night (from Nicholas Badders). … Lots of high hosiery last night between the Tennessee Smokies and the Mobile BayBears of the Double-A Southern League (from Adam Ingle). … Check out the uniforms for the 1930 Denver White Elephants, the city’s first semi-pro team. Some of the players from that team went on to play in the Negro Leagues (from Kary Klismet). … Eric K. Eickmeyer’s daughter played in a softball game Sunday in which both teams wore the same uniform. …  Owen Siebring notes that in a 2008 Dana College (Nebraska) softball game, infielders and outfielders were wearing different jerseys.

Football NewsThe Backstreet Boys played a concert in Ottawa last night, and at one point the entire band took the stage in personalized Ottawa Redblacks jerseys (from @GriffinTSmith and Wade Heidt). … The Indiana High School Football Digest appears to be using the old BCS logo (from @GriffinTSmith).

NFL NewsWe’ve posted before about the Steelers-themed rollercoaster at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood amusement park, but the ride is now open for business. The best detail — the cars on the train are numbered in the same way as the front of the Steelers’ helmets are (from Daniel Gipson).

College Football NewsThis season, Arkansas is returning to a natural playing surface for the first time since 2009 (from @OldPlaying).

Hockey NewsLeafs RW William Nylander is switching his uni number from 29 to 88 — the number he wore while in the Swedish Hockey League. In a nice gesture, he’s said he’ll cover the fee for fans who want to change the numbers on their own retail jerseys (from Wade Heidt and Bill Kramer).

NBA News: It’s a little hard to make out, but the court design at the Warriors’ new arena has “San Francisco” painted along one of the baselines (from @TheGolden_One). … You can see lots of new and changed NBA numbers on Etienne Catalan’s Twitter feed. … Bleacher Report published a new piece that shows some of the biggest stars to switch teams this offseason Photoshopped into their new uniforms (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer).

College Hoops NewsSt. Bonaventure has a new logo to commemorate its 100th season this year and will wear a tertiary version of the logo as a patch. Interestingly enough, this marks both the Bonnies’ 100th season and the 100th anniversary of the team’s founding, because the team did not play during the 1943-44 season, presumably due to World War II (from Chuckie Maggio and @secretrock).

Soccer NewsTottenham’s 2019-20 home jersey has reportedly leaked (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: After lots of leaks, Arsenal’s new throwback kit has been released (and for some reason is being modeled by NBA star James Harden). … Manchester United unveiled their new away kits last week (from Lucan Denfield). … There are a lot of teams in England that wear red and white striped jerseys. As a result, manufacturers have had to get creative to make the jerseys unique (from Denis Hurley). … FC Cincinnati is expected to release new renderings for its planned soccer-specific stadium tomorrow (from Kary Kilsmet). … For a roundup of more kit unveilings from smaller clubs and leagues, check out the Twitter feeds from Josh Hinton and Ed Zelaski.

Grab BagThe Dallas Morning News is holding a bracket-style tournament vote to determine the best high school logo in Texas (from Jeff Meyers). … Cody Duschka re-imagined the teams of Australia’s National Rugby League as hockey teams. You can follow his Facebook page here.

The Okkonen Files, Vol. 3: Thoughts From Todd Radom

Welcome to the latest installment of the Okkonen files, as we continue to examine the work and legacy of pioneering baseball uniform researcher Marc Okkonen, who died in late May.

Today we’ll be hearing from uniform designer/historian Todd Radom (that’s him at right), who’s been at the forefront of sports design for the past quarter-century. Although he’s best known for his MLB work (his designs have appeared in some capacity on the uniforms of every current MLB club), he’s also done lots of non-baseball work, from the logo for Super Bowl XXXVIII to the logos and uniforms for BIG3, and a ton of stuff in between. He’s also a dogged researcher and has come up with many important finds that have added to the historical record, including the explanation for the Dodgers’ red jersey numbers.

Todd is one of several people I contacted in recent weeks to ask about their interactions with Okkonen. As it turned out, Todd never met him or dealt with him directly, but he had something very interesting to share — photos of some of Okkonen’s original research notes. I’ll let him tell the story:

I first learned of Marc Okkonen and his work via an April 1989 Sports Illustrated article. A couple of years later I eagerly picked up a copy of the first edition of Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century. It served as affirmation that there were indeed other weirdos like me who enjoyed and observed the details and visual history of Major League Baseball. I still have that copy — the jacket is dog-eared and the pages have been lovingly pawed through many, many times. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of that book and its importance to me and to my career.

Since 1992 I have worked with my friends at Major League Baseball in researching and redrawing historic cap logos, uniform lettering, and sleeve patches. Some years ago, while doing a round of research work for MLB, I visited Cooperstown in search of some very, very specific stuff. Curator Tom Shieber and the Hall kindly assisted me, as they always have. I remember Tom leading me into his office, where he had a stack of boxes waiting. These boxes contained Okkonen’s original notes for Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, carefully arranged by franchise.

Everything was written in neat characters — the precise letterforms of a draftsman. A tiny drawing of a serif “W,” rendered in ballpoint pen.

One sheet of ruled paper reads “STATE LIBRARY CHECK.” A series of notes follows, detailing specific games in which certain uniforms were worn [for the rest of these photos, you can click to enlarge].

His now-familiar batter drawing appears throughout these notes, surrounded by photocopied newspaper clippings from the distant past.

There’s a New York Giants player with a uniform that reads “NEW YORK” across the chest — he wrote “PROBABLY BLACK” next to the lettering, and noted that the caps featured a “THIN BAND.” There are printer registration marks and years that have been crossed out and other annotations that help form a picture of what his process was like.

The internet arrived just a few years after the publication of Marc’s book, changing the way we interact with each other and with information. So many reference materials, particularly newspaper archives, have been digitized and annotated over the years. Okkonen and others of his generation conducted their research on-site, as opposed to online. That process was painstaking and expensive.

So let’s celebrate the curiosity, research, artwork, and life of Marc Okkonen. His groundbreaking work represents the start of a path that leads us places like Uni Watch, where we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

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Paul here. Holy moly — those notes! Can you imagine how much work it took to piece together the visual record that Okkonen assembled? It’s staggering. And think how much that work has enriched the rest of us. If there were a Uni Watch Mount Rushmore, Okkonen would definitely be included in it. And if there were a Uni Watch Hall of Fame, he’d definitely be in the inaugural induction class. Hell, he might be the inaugural induction class.

I’ll have at least two more installments of the Okkonen Files in the weeks to come. You can see all of the installments we’ve done so far here. Meanwhile, if you had any dealings or communications with Marc Okkonen that you’d like to share, feel free to contact me. Thanks.

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A different kind of cap memorial: Red Sox pitcher David Price had a small mark on his cap during last night’s game against the Dodgers. You can see it there in between the Red Sox logo and the maker’s mark.

Let’s take a closer look (click to enlarge):

It was a paw print! It was widely reported in recent days that Price’s longtime pet, a French bulldog named Astro, had died, so the paw print was apparently a memorial for the pooch.

We’ve seen cap-inscription memorials for players, team employees, family members, cultural figures, and more, but I think this is the first cap memorial for a pet, at least that I can think of. R.I.P., Astro.

(Thanks to Brian Fraser for this one.)

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Possible new Sixers leak: A since-deleted tweet yesterday appeared to show a new 76ers alternate uniform on a mannequin. Is it legit? It certainly feels of a piece with the rest of the team’s uniform program, and most recent NBA leaks have proven to be legit. I suspect this one is as well.

As for the design, it’s not awful. Too bad about the gold side striping, though, which doesn’t work at all.

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ITEM! Bouton/Ball Four update: On Thursday I posted my obituary for pitcher/author Jim Bouton, whose seminal 1970 book, Ball Four, changed my life. Lots of other writers clearly hold a special place for Ball Four on their bookshelves and in their hearts, as one heartfelt tribute after another has been published over the past few days.

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be participating in a tribute to Bouton and Ball Four this Thursday evening, 7:30pm, at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan. Other participants will include the great Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs; Villanova professor and longtime baseball author Mitchell Nathanson, who’s working on a Bouton biography (and who tells me he’s a big Uni Watch fan); and Field of Schemes honcho Neil deMause (who, like myself, is an alum of the Village Voice sports section and has also been my editor for the recent collecting/collectors pieces I’ve written for Gothamist). There may be other people added to the bill later this week.

We’ll each be talking about what what made Bouton and Ball Four so special to us and/or reading a few of our favorite passages from the book. (I’ll definitely be doing the former; not sure yet about the latter.) Doors open at 7pm. Admission is free. It would be great to see a bunch of Uni Watch readers there — please join us!

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Meet the Contributors — Andrew Cosentino: The photo above was taken in Cleveland at last week’s MLB Home Run Derby. The gent on the left is longtime Uni Watch reader Andrew Cosentino, who was proudly wearing a Uni Watch T-shirt for the occasion. He wore a different Uni Watch shirt the following night for the All-Star Game. Interestingly, his sartorial choices led to several instances of mistaken identity: “Over the course of the two events, I was mistaken for Paul Lukas not once, not twice, but three times!” he says. (When I told the Tugboat Captain and showed her the pics, she said, “Whoever asked him that must not realize you don’t have that much hair anymore.” Ouch!)

If Andrew’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been submitting Ticker items for many years. He has two niches: Virginia Tech stuff and Baltimore stuff. I’ll let him tell you a bit more about himself:

I’m a 32-year-old project manager, living in Baltimore. I’ve been reading Uni Watch for years!  I started reading Uni Watch on ESPN in college around 2006. From there, I moved on to the blog, which has become my daily lunchtime read.  It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of the day. I also follow the Twitter feed, have a membership card, and periodically purchase merchandise. My favorite items are the 2017 Purp Walk shirt and the Uni Watch socks.

I’ve always been fascinated by the team building side of sports. I used to love doing fantasy drafts in various video games; my favorite was Dynasty Mode in NCAA Football (RIP). I often found myself picking teams and colleges based solely upon uniforms. As my interest grew, I started to pay more and more attention to athletics aesthetics. I also think the plethora of bad uniforms that came out in the early 2000s made me appreciate good uniforms even more.

Regarding my two subject area specialties: I grew up outside of Baltimore and now live in the city, so I tend to be pretty plugged into Baltimore sports news. I’m also a two-time Virginia Tech alum who’s mildly obsessed with my alma mater. That said, I’m always happy to defer to fellow Uni Watch member Clark Ruhland on all Hokie matters. (PSA to the Uni Watch community: It’s Virginia Tech, VT, or Tech. Not VA Tech. Not “Vah” Tech. Not Virginia Tech University. Not University of Virginia Tech. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are also acceptable.)

I don’t really think of myself as “the Baltimore and Virginia Tech guy on Uni Watch,” but I’ll happily wear that title if that’s how Paul thinks of me. I have a great deal of pride in both my city and my college, so I view it as a distinction of honor. I wouldn’t say that I feel responsible for covering those two subject areas, but I do feel like I should be on top of them. Whenever I see someone else beat me to the punch on a Baltimore or Virginia Tech news nugget, I always think, “How’d I miss out on getting to that one first?”

Thanks for the info, Andrew, and also for your many Ticker contributions over the years. You help to make Uni Watch a better place!

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Former Phillies 1B Ryan Howard officially retired as a Phillie yesterday, and the team honored him by wearing a commemorative sleeve patch. … The Rockies apparently have one version of their logo slightly incorrect on their own scoreboard: you can see that the the C is on top at the point where the C and the R overlap, when the R should be on top instead (from Josh Lefkowitz). … Phillies OF Bryce Harper now has Philadelphia’s Rocky statue on his bat knob (from Max Weintraub). … Mets clubhouse manager Kevin Kierst has a big collection of baseball movie posters (NYT link). … Here’s a good video of former A’s P Dave Stewart watching a broadcast of his first no-hitter and commenting on his uniform style (from Roy Ellingsen).

Football News: This picture shows the college football 150th-anniversary patch on the sleeve for officials (from Rob Montoya). … Phil had great coverage of the Washington Huskies’ new uniforms in Saturday’s entry, and now The Seattle Times has weighed in with its own article (from Marcus Kamp).

Basketball News: You can see lots of new and changed NBA numbers on Etienne Catalan’s Twitter feed.
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Soccer News: Among the new kits or shirts Josh Hinton sent us were second kits for German teams Bayern Munich and Schalke 04, a third kit for Manchester City (also from @deadendnights), a first kit for Watford, which appeared on their under-18 team, and a first shirt for Italian team Sampdoria. … You can see more reveals on Josh’s dedicated Twitter feed. … There’s also new kits for Polish teams Śląsk Wrocław and Elana Toruń. The latter design is to call attention to the dangers facing bees (from Ed Żelaski). … The Colorado Rapids are wearing their yellow and blue second kit from 2017 and 2018 to avoid a color clash in a friendly against Arsenal tonight. In a strange move, the team’s article about the color choice is written like they’re wearing something new and uses almost the exact same marketing copy as when the kit was actually introduced in 2017 (from Stephen Smith). … The second-tier women’s team at English club Yeovil Town, who already established some visual independence from the men’s team last season by wearing solid green instead of green and white hoops, now have their own crest as well. … A podcast covering the Austrian Bundesliga started rating kits on the “Hartberg scale” of ads, named after TSV Hartberg’s ad-covered effort, which is a 10/10 on the scale (from Stefan Schubert).

Grab Bag: Here are all the national champions’ jerseys appearing at the Tour de France. … The gold medals for the winners of the Volleyball Men’s Nations League will have the path the ball took for the winning point on the back. Russia beat the U.S. in yesterday’s final (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: Slovenia released stamps for September’s European volleyball championship, which it is hosting with Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. … CBS Sunday Morning did a piece yesterday on the making of spacesuits for the Apollo astronauts. The testing of the suits included the model astronaut catching and kicking a football (from Kary Klismet). … The owner of a Texas shop that manufactures sports merch says championship T-shirts and hats for losing teams are just thrown away (from Ignacio Salazar). … A growing trend that started in New Zealand is woodworking clubs where members build their own coffins (from Jason Hillyer).

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What Paul did last night over the weekend: The Tugboat Captain and I spent the weekend in western Massachusetts with one of her brothers and his family. While we were there, we went to MASS MoCA, where we saw all sorts of cool art, including this really nifty concave piece of mirrored stainless steel by the British sculptor Anish Kapoor. As you can see above, it made for a really good group selfie!

We also went hiking, grilled some beef and pork (a treat for me, since I no longer have a backyard and hadn’t grilled since moving last summer!), went to a swell Polish church bazaar, ate a lot, drank a lot, etc. In short: an excellent weekend getaway! Hope your weekend was a good one as well. See you back here tomorrow. — Paul

What if...The Negro Leagues Never Folded?

By Phil Hecken, with Thomas Juettner

A couple months ago reader Tom Juettner approached me with an idea for an article in which rather than folding after integration took hold in MLB, the Negro League Baseball teams actually merged with the Major Leagues as constituted at the time. It’s an extremely interesting concept (and in a parallel universe, perhaps this might have occurred). Of course, the overarching theme here would be “how would the NLB unis look today if the teams had continued to exist?” That’s where Tom comes in. I’ll let him take it from here (you can click any image below to enlarge):

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Modernized Negro League Uniform Sets
By Thomas Juettner

This set is a tribute to Negro League baseball premised on a simple idea: rather than individual players integrating into the American and National Leagues, Negro League clubs were brought on in their entirety to compete alongside hitherto white clubs. Major League Baseball would expand from the old rosters just 14 years after integration, and Negro League teams were filling AL and NL ballparks in places like Pittsburgh and Chicago. In attempting to design 21st Century versions of Negro League teams, I’ve tried to apply the same general trends that affected baseball over the past 70 years with one crucial caveat.

There has been no single force influencing uniform trends in the past century than the opinions and feeling of ownership. It’s the reason the Yankees wear pinstripes and the White Sox wore shorts. Negro League teams had African-American owners and general managers and it is difficult to speculate on how those women and men would have approached uniform design (to say nothing of questions like the Free Agency and collective bargaining). Even today, pro sports has few owners of color and therefore few people with authority to dictate how a team looks in the field. Therefore, this set is grounded primarily in my own feelings about baseball design trends (I like mono-color uniforms and striped socks) as well as things like city and name changes that feel appropriate to me for 70 years of history.

One thing making this set illuminates is the dearth of information available on Negro League uniforms. There is no equivalent to Dressed to the Nines or the GUD for the Negro Leagues and few graphic images of lettering and scripts available, largely requiring looking into current minor league designs and throwbacks worn by MLB teams or offered by Ebbets. If nothing else, I hope this inspires more people to delve into Negro League designs and the players and personalities that made black baseball survive and thrive in America.

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Atlanta Baseball Club:
Home, Road, Alternate


There are no sure origins of the name of the Atlanta Black Crackers, the primary Negro league team in that city with some claiming it is short for “firecrackers” or that its based on the epithet for poor white farmers. Regardless of the origin of the name, the team employed a gorgeous ABC jersey designs over the years. I’ve been able to retain that look by renaming the team the “Atlanta Baseball Club” or “ABC’s” for short.

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Baltimore Elite:
Home, Road, Alternate


The Baltimore Elite Giants employed a bold black and red color scheme. With the team integrating into the Majors, they drop the “Giants” from name and just become the “Baltimore Elite” with wordmarks emphasizing that status and sleeve patch that honors their past name.

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Birmingham Barons:
Home, Road, Alternate


The Birmingham Black Barons employed a beautiful triple “B” logo on their caps and I’ve taken that concept a step forward by doubling the “B” logo used by the current AA Birmingham Barons with the road script a cross between the original Birmingham script and the modern one.

• • •

Brooklyn Eagles:
Home, Road, Alternate


The Newark Eagles were owned and operated by the phenomenal Effa Manley (a woman well worth your time to read about) who was a tireless advocate for Negro League players and the league itself. In an age when there were no female MLB owners, she was an exceptional talent developer (she signed Larry Doby) and promoter. She was even critical of Branch Rickey for poaching Negro League stars without compensating their former clubs. I can easily imagine her rapidly moving to fill the void left in the New York market with the departure of the Dodgers and Giants, adding orange to the Eagles’ color scheme much as the Mets would have did to evoke both departed NL teams.

• • •

Chicago American Giants:
Home, Road, Alternate


This is a case where the original team name “American Giants” is just too good not to survive to the modern day and the “AG” logo also happens to be one of the best ever made. The American Giants played in Comiskey Park for much of their history, including hosting the Negro League All-Star game and were a dominant force of the Negro Leagues. In the mid-80’s, the White Sox ownership group was presented with a new stadium design for Armour Park, just North of Old Comiskey, which would have been the first retro-ballpark in baseball. The White Sox owners passed up the chance to have Camden Yards before Camden Yards, but maybe the Martin family, which came to own the Giants, would have seized the opportunity and recognized their ballpark on their sleeve patch.

• • •

Homestead Grays (Washington, D.C.):
Home, Road

A true power house club of the Negro Leagues, the Grays originally played in Pittsburgh but later began to play up to half their games in Washington D.C. With integration, a Grays lineup featuring some of the best talent in baseball could have muscled out the hapless Washington Senators for control of the D.C. market.

• • •

Indianapolis Clowns:
Home, Road, Alternate


The Clowns were a barnstorming team and their color scheme reflects that legacy. Bright and flashy primary colors define their uniforms.

• • •

Kansas City Monarchs:
Home, Road, Alternate


Although the Monarchs were like the Yankees of the Negro Leagues, they never had the design consistency of the Bronx Bombers with different colors and schemes from year to year. The most consistent elements were the interlocking KC, the arched “MONARCHS” script, and a headspoon-pinstripes combination. Those elements have been modernized with a sublimated pinstripe pattern that subtly evokes the classic look without overwhelming.

• • •

Memphis Blues:
Home, Road, Alternate


Originally the Memphis Red Sox, this club becomes the Blues to evoke Memphis’s great musical tradition. The design is largely a recoloring of the gorgeous Memphis Redbird’s design. The color scheme is designed to evoke some of the blue and yellow neon signs of Beale street and the sleeve patch is Gibson ES guitar like B.B. King’s famous Lucille.

• • •

Miami Cubans:
Home, Road, Alternate


New York Cubans owner Alex Pompez actually came close to integrating his club within formerly white baseball, seeking to make the Cubans a minor league affiliate of the Giants. Pompez was also one of the first professional owners to actively recruit ballplayers from Latin America, including signing a young Minnie Miñoso. Pompez would later scout such talents as Tony Oliva, Orlando Cepeda, and Fidel Castro (yes, THAT Fidel Castro).

• • •

Oakland Oaks:
Home, Road, Alternate 1, Alternate 2


The former Negro League teams would not be immune to the Western movement of baseball. The Cleveland Buckeyes could have beat Charlie O’Finely to the Bay Area, changing their name from one local flora to another. The design is largely inspired by the Golden State Warrior’s “CITY” design.

• • •

Philadelphia Stars:
Home, Road, Alternate


Uniform trends go through odd phases. I’ve envisioned a scenario where the Stars pulled off a freak pennant during a particularly interesting phase of their uniform history. Then as the double knit era came to a close they returned to more traditional and classic uniforms. However due to their success and constant presence on “Worst Dressed Teams in Baseball History” lists, the Intergalactic Stars uniforms are consistent fan favorites in the Philadelphia area.

• • •

Pittsburgh Crawfords:
Home, Road, Alternate


The modernized Crawfords take a lot from their great tradition and history. Simple pinstripes and grey roads with their classic scripts.

• • • • • •

Thanks, Tom! This is not just a great set of “concepts” but a fantastic think piece (or “What if”) that probably deserves further exploration. Great job!

OK readers…what do YOU think?

Breakfast At Wimbledon, Part II

This morning, Roger Federer (male GOAT) will take on Novac Djokovic in the Gentleman’s Final. Following on the heels of yesterday’s Ladies preview, here’s my doubles partner Brinke Guthrie with the scoop:

• • •

Part two of our Wimbledon weekend here at Uni Watch. Yesterday featured Team Nike, IE Simona Halep and Serena Williams.

Today it’s the men’s turn. Roger Federer takes on Novak Djokovic. This is a true battle of the tennis titans. Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles/eight at Wimbledon, and Djoker with 15 Slam titles/four at Wimbledon including last year. Equipment quirks to look for today:

We still don’t know what kind of deal, if any, Fed has with Nike. This is like an Area 51 stealth secret. In the player’s box on Friday, his father (far left) and agent Tony Godsick (next to pop) were both still wearing old model Nike RF logo caps…

…though his clothing deal with them ended in late March of 2018, and he wore it up until the 2018 Wimbledon, when he then shocked everyone walking on court in the Japanese line Uniqlo.

You still see a ton of these caps on fans in the stands- which makes sense as he’s hands down the most popular men’s player and was with Nike for many years.

Does he still have a deal with them for shoes? There must be some type of “arrangement” is all I can figure. I cannot fathom he’d wear sneakers for anyone for free. This is the current model Nike players are wearing in London, the Air Zoom Vapor X; notice his has an “8” on the heel for the number of Wimby wins. No RF branding on this pair, which has been the case in the last year. Along with his Uniqlo clothing and Nike sneakers, Fed uses a personalized Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 racquet. A rundown of most of his stuff is here.

As far as Djoker; the only small detail I can come up with is he now sports an endorsement patch for a software company on one sleeve; his personal logo which I have yet to figure out, is on the other.

I do believe it was Bjorn Borg who started the trend of sponsor patches back in the mid 1970s with a patch for SAS (Scandanavian Airlines System) and Tuborg beer on his headband.

Djoker takes the court today in his own Lacoste clothing line, signature Asics sneakers, and his racquet is made by Head. More details on his gear here.

• • •

Thanks, Brinke! Even though I love R-Fed and am going to be pulling for him to win today, I’m predicting Djoker in 4. I’d love to be wrong on that one.


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

I received the following e-mail from frequent concepter John Elbertson, who has a Grand Junction Humpback Chubs concept:

What’s up Phil?

Last week on the Uni Watch ticker, there was a story about one man’s crusade to repackage the Grand Junction Rockies as the Humpback Chubs. After reading the story, I was convinced, so I sketched a jersey/cap combo with the idea that it could at least be a one-off.

I kept the color palette basically the same, except the gray is warmer and the purple has some red added to it. The ghosted pinstripes are an idea I got from the Oregon Ducks; I think it makes for a clean look. The main logo is a Frankenstein of a bunch of hand sketches I did, but I thought it came out with a nifty retro feel in the end. Finally, I went with a simple GJ and retro stripes for the cap. The GJ is inspired by the Padres cap with the different colored initials.

Talk to you soon!

John

• • •

Thanks John. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.

Today’s scoreboard comes from reader Louis Griffel.

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).

I’m not sure how difficult this one will be — the stadium (location) should be pretty obvious to even the most casual observer, but after that?

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!):

If you guys like this, and want to continue this as a weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

ITEM! Teespring Sale

Paul here. Teespring is running a site-wide sale this weekend. All day on Saturday and Sunday, you can get 10% off by using the checkout code SUMMER.

So if you’ve been thinking of getting something from the Uni Watch shop or the Naming Wrongs shop, this is a good time to do it!

For those of you who have the code for the 15% Uni Watch membership discount, I think you can combine both discounts this weekend, although I’m not 100% sure of that. Give it a shot!

Okay, end of pitch. Handing the baton back to Phil now!

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: It was Cerveceros Night in Milwaukee in Milwaukee yesterday as Los Gigantes and Los Cerveceros squared off. The Brewers even gave out this very cool/bizarre bobblehead, which looks like a Dios de la Muerte thingy (from Brinke and Mike Chamernik, respectively). … Also from Mike Chamernik: Since new HOFer Mike Mussina had a stellar career with both the Orioles and Yankees, he has decided the plaque he’ll receive will depict him with a blank cap. … The Marlins will throwback to the 1990’s for a three game series in late July (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … Some additional follow up to the Angels all wearing 45 on Friday night (all from Jakob Fox): after the combined no-hitter(!), the entire team placed their jerseys on the mound; the Fox Sports crew covering the game all wore 45 jerseys, and Skaggs brother wore his #11 SaMo HS jersey while his mom, stepdad, and wife wore his red Angels jersey. … The 2nd Japanese All-Star Game was played yesterday in the rain. Check out Haruki Nishikawa with the foldable umbrella in the outfield (from Jeremy Brahm). … WHOA! Check out this gorgeous 1990s Devil Rays program — love that cover art! (from Devil Rays Nostalgia Company). … The Norfolk Tides want you to vote on a hot or iced coffee cap, the winning selection to be worn on July 20th (from BRF). … This minor league baseball team went full ‘Stranger Things’ with special jerseys and more (from Marcus Hall). … Yesterday, the Jacksonville Shrimp wore Jacksonville Red Cap uniforms from the Negro Leagues and they look amazing (from Clint Richardson). … A member of the Lakeland Flying Tigers has a Chicago Flag-inspired bat sticker (from Gregg Elkin). … The Wilmington Blue Rocks became the Wilmington Moon Rocks yesterday (from Wilmington Blue Rocks).

Football News: Couple interesting uni developments in the CFL yesterday: The Ottawa Redblacks wore black jerseys over white pants for the first time in the team’s existence since 2014, and the Montreal Alouettes wore their white jerseys over the navy blue pants for the first time with this year’s new uniforms (from Wade Heidt). … From John Turney: “1941 Bears pants with a tan or some light color of a pants gusset or something sewn in, flexible, perhaps.” … Looks like the Florida Gators will be wearing throwbacks at some point this season (from Jon Crootin). … Tweeter Colin O’Brien writes, “Just noticed these Eagles-ish uniforms in The Waterboy. Same number font and color.”

Hockey News: The South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) debuted new white jerseys at their fan fest yesterday, which are based on the Capitals aways, writes Zach Spencer. He adds, “They had previously worn red alternate jerseys based on the caps homes. Somewhat interesting that even on their mascot the debut was of full uni and not just sweater.”

Basketball News: Although it specifies only basketball, the St. John’s Red Storm have switched from Under Armour to Nike as their uniform supplier (from John). I’m not sure if St. John’s is one of those schools who have a university-wide contract or if individual sports are outfitted by different companies.

Soccer News: For another shit-ton of daily soccer news, make sure you check the twitter streams of Josh Hinton and Ed Żelaski, who were both busy beavers yesterday. … In soccer news not from Josh or Ed, New Balance have released the new Ireland away shirt (from Charlie Kranz). … Austria Vienna’s kit is is around 50 per cent sponsor logos (from Kit Crimes).

Grab Bag: Here’s a story about how the old band uniforms from Cheney High School in Kansas wound up being featured on the new season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” (from Kary Klismet). … Residents criticized a Virginia school district’s new gender-neutral dress code: ‘Make everyone wear uniforms’ (thanks, Brinke).

A Closer Look At The New UW Unis

By Phil Hecken

In case you missed it (and I don’t blame you if you did, since it was only a very small ticker mention), last Wednesday, the University of Washington Huskies, along with their new uni supplier adidas, introduced new football uniforms. Since I’m (along with my SMUW crew, of course) the college football guy, I felt the unis, and particularly the “storytelling” surrounding their unveiling, warranted a lede.

Now, before we even get into the unis, I want to show the “hype” video; usually I save this till the end, but it sets the stage for the entire storytelling motif of the uni unveil. Oh, and you can basically skip the first minute if you want to actually see the new unis…

Got that?

Good, now before we get into the details, let’s just take a look at the uniforms. Two were introduced: a home uniform, featuring a gold helmet with purple/white/purple stripes, a purple jersey, and gold pants; and, a road uniform, showing the same helmet, a white jersey and purple pants.

HOME

ROAD

Why the strange assortment of pics? Because (seriously), the official photos were extremely light on showing the entire uniform, but big on the closeups. However, from those photos we can see a few things.

They kept the classic gold helmet with purple/white/purple striping the same. On the side is block “W” the team has used for years.

The purple jersey is not solid purple, but features a sublimated purple/purple/purple striping pattern on the sleeve cap:

The numbers are white, outlined in gold, and while they are in the “block” family of fonts, there are some interesting angles (you saw that alluded to in the video).

So, what’s the deal with the new font? From adidas:

The Huskies’ new uniforms feature an “Angle of Pursuit” theme that is inspired by the angles of the university’s iconic “W” logo. Built to work alongside UW’s Husky Bold typeface and influenced by the classic jersey designs from the famed Coach Don James era, adidas designers created an all-new customized numbering system. The corners of each numeral now feature the angles and lines from the school’s mark and represent the relentless pursuit towards greatness that all Husky athletes embrace.

Oh.

You may note that these look a bit more “throwback-ish” than new, in terms of the overall look. Well, indeed, that’s the idea. They’re supposed to be reminiscent of the 1991 unis, a year in which the Huskies won the Rose Bowl, going unbeaten, and were declared National Champs. But to hear adidas tell it,

Paying homage to Huskies’ undefeated 1991 Rose Bowl season, the new uniforms bring back the classic purple and white colorways. Three purple stripes are positioned on both sleeve caps of the jersey and use an iridescent, dimensional film within the fabric to convey the look and feel of a king’s velvet robe. The stripes on either side of the sleeve are left open, referencing the athlete’s never-ending strive for greatness and room for growth, while a tonal rain pattern accents the twill numbers, giving a nod to the Pacific Northwest’s infamous weather.

Wait, what? There are ceaseless tears of sorrow RAINDROPS in the numbers?

(I’m not even going to get into the “look and feel of a king’s velvet robe.”)

I guess if you squint really hard you can see them:

And the road? They have them as well, but those might be a tad easier to see:

As you probably noticed, the white jersey has the same “angle of pursuit” fonts, but they are not outlined — actually, they are outlined, but in white. This is “a nod to Don James” (former coach of the Huskies). Because the unis worn during the James era did not have any outline on the numbers of the white jersey, these are a tribute(?) to him. The sleeves do have stripes — the same as the stripes on the purple jersey — purple/purple/purple.

Both sets of pants are stripeless.

Both jerseys contain TV numbers on the tops of the shoulders (despite several photos showing the numbers not there, they are).

I’d love to show you the backs of the uniforms, but guess what…I’ve not seen a single promo photo showing the rear view of either jersey or pant, including from the Husky Twitter feed or the official adidas page. That’s more than disappointing, that borders on malpractice. I’m actually surprised we even saw the pants, given the retail jerseys are what’s important here.

I am happy with the new uniforms, and I hope they keep to wearing the standard home and road (something they’ve pretty much done the past couple seasons). If you recall, back in 2014 the team last introduced new unis, and I covered those then. There were a LOT of mix-and-match possibilities (and Nike storytelling) with those. But gradually they ditched the white pants and black alternates and stuck with gold/purple/gold at home, and gold/white/purple on the road. It looks like they’ll stay with that at least for the time being.

I was going to include a look back at some of the old UW unis, including the 1991 set which “inspired” the new adidas uniforms, but the Seattle Times did a really excellent look back at former Huskies duds (scroll down a bit). Definitely worth a couple minutes of your time.

I was never a fan of the previous UW set, so this is an improvement (but certainly NOT from the “storytelling” department). And I really don’t know what to say about the tears raindrops on the numbers, other than they’ll be virtually impossible to see, so it’s not worth bitching about. Seriously, you need to be about 2 feet away to see them, so it’s almost like they’re not there. Except, it will now be one of those Magic Eye can’t unsee it types of things.

The team will break these out on August 31st against Eastern Washington — and I’m sure the SMUW crew will have more to say on those then.

OKC Tweaks Light Blue Unis

Via @OKCTracker, it appears next season’s Thunder jerseys have leaked.

In addition to putting “Thunder” on the chest of the blue jerseys, the color scheme on the lettering has changed too.

It also appears that the side panel + shorts design will be changing slightly as well.

Can’t tell the difference? Here’s a nice side-by-side comparison of the tweaks:

Hockey NBA/MLB Crossover Concepts

This is more than a tweak — but it’s not quite lede-worthy, so I’m posting it as a sublede.

Got an e-mail from Justin Mercer who wanted to share his “Hockey NBA/MLB Crossover Concepts.” The body read as follows:

Hello!

I’ve been following Uni-Watch for a long time and got really excited when I saw the “Concepts” feature come around. I’m a huge hockey guy and always catch myself wondering what other major sports teams would like in hockey uniforms. Luckily I’m a graphic designer so I didn’t have to look too far. Here are some of my favorite hockey/NBA and hockey/MLB crossovers I’ve made. Hope you enjoy!

Justin Mercer

Justin created four MLB and four NBA to Hockey concepts. Check them out below:

• • •

ATLANTA BRAVES

• • •

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

• • •

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

• • •

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

• • •

HOUSTON ROCKETS

• • •

ATLANTA HAWKS

• • •

DETROIT PISTONS

• • •

DENVER NUGGETS

• • •

Thanks, Justin — interesting crossover concepts! Readers? What say you?


Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

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):

• • •

Title: “John Donaldson, 1917” (color study)
Subject: John Donaldson, 1917
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”

In 2019, the name ‘John Donaldson’ is not a familiar one with most casual baseball fans. Though one of the greatest pitchers in the Deadball Era – be it the black or white leagues – he has been somewhat lost in the shuffle of history. Yet, from 1908 until the early 1940s, he was a presence on whatever mound he stood. In his career, he played with a myriad of Pre-Negro League, Negro National League and semi-professional teams, many of which brought him across the country to face the talent across the United States.

Researchers claim that in the almost 700 games he pitched, he accumulated 400 wins and over 5,000 strikeouts. He’s also been credited with 13 no-hitters (three of which supposedly were consecutively thrown in 1913) and two 30 strikeout games. Mastery on the mound not being enough, he also hit .334 in over 1,400 at-bats. In his later years, after the color barrier had been broken in the white leagues, he scouted for the Chicago White Sox, courting Willie Mays and Ernie Banks for the AL club, as well as signing first baseman Bob Boyd and catcher Sam Hairston.

Here he is pictured as a 26-year-old with Schmelzer’s All Nations ballclub in 1917, a time when he was considered the best pitcher in baseball.

This small portrait is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

Breakfast At Wimbledon, Part I

This morning, Serena Williams (female GOAT) will take on Simona Halep in the Wimbledon Ladies Final — and tomorrow morning Roger Federer (male GOAT) will take on Novac Djokovic in the Gentleman’s Final (more on that tomorrow). To give you a little uni-preview of today’s match, here’s my doubles partner Brinke Guthrie with the scoop:

• • •

Time for a double serving of Breakfast at Wimbledon. Today starting at 9am ET, Simona Halep will try and take her second Grand Slam title (after the 2018 French) while Serena Williams attempts to win her 24th Grand Slam overall, and 8th Wimbledon title. She dropped last year’s final to Angelique Kerber.

Williams and Halep have identical equipment endorsements: Nike clothing/shoes and Wilson racquets. The Williams outfit has a bit of added sparkle; rather than a heat pressed Swoosh on the top, it’s a sewn “Swoosh brooch” AKA “the Broosh” made of Swarovski crystals. It’s made up of 34 crystals, the age at which Williams won her last Wimbledon in 2016.

Simona Halep will be wearing a conventional white Nike dress paired with matching visor and sneakers.

(Speaking of sneakers. Halep was given the nickname “Halapeño” by tennis commentator Brad Gilbert. So Nike went to work, and @Los_Halepenos posted this image back in January on Twitter:

Of course, with Wimbledon’s rules, she couldn’t come close to wearing those on the court. Not in this or any other lifetime. She’ll wear the Nike Zoom Vapor X with little tennis balls on the heel.

Prediction: Halep in straights. Tomorrow: Federer/Djokovic.

• • •

Thanks, Brinke! We’ll check back with you tomorrow for Breakfast At Wimbledon, Part II.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.

Today’s scoreboard comes from reader “ojai67”.

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).

ojai67 didn’t actually have the date/location or final score for this game, so I’m honestly not sure of the difficulty level — but I don’t think anyone has ever been stumped by the GTGFTS so far, so I’d expect you guys to solve it. Since it’s a completed game with all the out of town scores, I don’t think it’ll prove too difficult!

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!):

If you guys like this, and want to continue this as a weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

ITEM! Teespring Sale

Paul here. Teespring is running a site-wide sale this weekend. All day on Saturday and Sunday, you can get 10% off by using the checkout code SUMMER.

So if you’ve been thinking of getting something from the Uni Watch shop or the Naming Wrongs shop, this is a good time to do it!

For those of you who have the code for the 15% Uni Watch membership discount, I think you can combine both discounts this weekend, although I’m not 100% sure of that. Give it a shot!

Okay, end of pitch. Handing the baton back to Phil now!

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Last night, all Angels players wore No. 45 in honor of Tyler Skaggs (from many readers). … Zach Johnston was watching old All-Star Game videos on YouTube, and noticed some quirks between teammates from the 1997 All-Star Game — Tony Gwynn was wearing the regular Padres away uni, while Ken Caminiti was wearing the alternate. And Mariners’ SS Alex Rodriguez was wearing the primary home uni, while Ken Griffey Jr. was wearing the sleeveless alternate. … It was a Gray day in Denver, as the Reds’ Sonny Gray faced off against the Rockies’ Jon Gray (from Mike Chamernik). … The Cubs are launching their own network, called Marquee Sports Network, and the logo was revealed yesterday (from Griffin T. Smith). … Speaking of the Cubs, it appears those who are invited to Wrigley to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame are given a special cap. … A week from today, the Triple-A Norfolk Tides are becoming the Norfolk Coffee (from many readers). … The Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters wore these, ahem, unique unis for their Christmas in July promotion last night (from @astrosfan56). … The Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League were the Whiskey Jacks on Thursday night (from Will Scheibler).

College/High School Football News: Texas has revealed its Sugar Bowl rings (from Kary Klismet). … Baylor is getting a new turf (from Steve Zalman). … South Carolina’s CFB150 patch is in place for the fall (from @Richard_803). … New logo for the Mobile Alabama Bowl ( Dollar General Bowl), pending a new advertiser (from FBS Schedules).

NBA News: The latest uni number movements in the NBA can be seen by checking out Etienne Catalan‘s Twitter feed. … Dwyane Wade’s jersey-swap collection is almost entirely out of date due to player movement (from Mike Chamernik).

Soccer News: Here’s a great piece on the Calcio England blog about then-fourth tier Italian side AS Longiardi’s decision in 1982 to adopt the England national team’s entire kit. … Kappa’s logo is pasted all over Aston Villa’s new kits (from Arthur Ryel-Lindsay). … Lots of Scotland updates from our own Jamie Rathjen today: Hamilton Academic’s home kit has been revealed, as have Dumbarton’s home and away and Livingston’s home and away. … New home kit and away kit for League One side Doncaster Rovers (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: new away kits for Dynamo Dresden. … New kits for Portuguese side Académica (from @mikeDfromCT). … You can catch Josh Hinton‘s daily download from his Twitter account, including official launches of German giants Borussia Dortmund’s new away kits and Manchester United’s long-rumored pink away kits, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Jordan away kits have been leaked. … Forest Green Rovers of League Two, who previously billed themselves as the world’s first vegan football club, have made their new kits from sustainably-sourced bamboo (from Kary Klismet).

Grab Bag: What leaked two days ago became official yesterday: Ireland’s Rugby World Cup kits have been formally unveiled (from Charlie Kranz). … New visual identity for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (from Brian Kerhin). … The Opera browser has the absolute WORST color for their Uni Watch quick link (from Mike Dean). … New locker room for UNC’s lacrosse and soccer teams (from James Gilbert).