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Uni Watch Field Trip: The NFL Experience

For all photos, click to enlarge

Back in January, I was invited to be part of a press tour of the NFL Experience, a new attraction in times Square. I mistakenly thought it was just a temporary attraction that had been set up to coincide with the then-upcoming Super Bowl, but it’s actually a permanent operation with a long-term lease. And I have to tell ya, it’s pretty damn good.

The guy who runs the place described it to me as “Disneyland meets the Hall of Fame,” and that’s a pretty fair description. There are lots of exhibits and memorabilia, but there are also lots of interactive stations where you get to do stuff — a good mix of the educational and the entertaining.

The place is too big for me to fully capture its range in a blog post. But here are some of the highlights:

1. Our first stop was a hall with a bunch of display cases — one for each NFL division — featuring team memorabilia. Lots of really good stuff here — I took a bunch of photos.

2. This same hall had a bunch of touch-screen video displays where you can cue up info on your favorite team. The wall in the background, oddly, featured a mural showing all of the Color Rash uniforms:

3. There’s a theater with a surround-projection format and seats that vibrate and jolt to simulate the feel of being on the field during a game. They even have little simulated snowflakes (fauxflakes?) that cascade down to create the illusion of a snowy game. For this one, I’m going to embed some promotional B-roll footage produced by the NFL Experience staff, instead of my own photos. It doesn’t have any audio, but it still provides a much better sense of what the theater is like:

4. There’s an area that simulates an equipment room, with lots of gear and also lots of notices posted on the walls:

5. There are lots of interactive stations where you can do assorted fun stuff:

6. There’s a carpet of artificial turf covered in Super Bowl confetti — or at least that’s what it looks like. The confetti is actually a pattern that’s printed onto the turf. It’s very convincing!

7. There’s a station where you and your friends can be photographed taking a virtual Gatorade bath:

8. I really liked the display of tickets from every Super Bowl (they also had Super Bowl rings, but those photos didn’t turn out so well):

There’s more, but I figure that’s enough for you to get the idea (and more than enough scrolling for you to deal with). In short: I liked it, and I definitely recommend it. A fun place.

• • • • •

Cap update: When I announced my plan to create a Uni Watch cap the other day, a fairly large number of readers suggested that I get the caps manufactured via Ebbets Field Flannels, which makes excellent caps. So yesterday I discussed the project with EFF honcho Jerry Cohen. He was very receptive to the idea. If we were to do the cap with him, here’s how it would work:

• The cap would have a classic 1950s relaxed construction, like this Seattle Rainiers cap.

• The fabric would be wool broadcloth.

• We would be able to offer the cap in fitted numeric sizes and also offer a leather strap option — so you’d get to choose whichever of those two styles you prefer.

• EFF has three different shades of green cap fabric: Kelly (which I think is too light), dark green (which I think is too dark), and “bottle green,” which I think is just right. (Our cap would not have the construction or profile of that last cap; I’m only showing it so you can get an idea of the color.)

• I had wanted a grey undervisor. That will probably be possible, but not necessarily. We might need to go with a green undervisor (which I’d prefer to avoid, because I’d rather have a color that contrasts with the rest of the cap, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world).

• All of the other design options I mentioned the other day — gold squatchee (which I’m pretty sure we’ll do), gold brim (which I’m leaning against), script on the back (I haven’t decided yet) — are available.

• The caps would not have a visible maker’s mark. They would have EFF tagging on the inside.

• If I decide to go with EFF, the caps would probably be available about five weeks after I pull the trigger. If you folks are willing to pre-order, that would be nice, because it would help us know how many caps to make, and in which sizes, although pre-ordering wouldn’t be a requirement.

• The caps would be made in the USA. And that leads me to…

• The caps would be sold on EFF’s website at their regular cap price — $49. I realize that’s more than many of you are used to paying for a cap, but EFF’s quality is excellent and there’s something to be said for having the caps made in America. Also, I’ve known Jerry for years, so I trust him to do a great job, and I like the idea of collaborating with someone who cares about uniforms as much as he does (and as much as the Uni Watch community does).

That said, I’m also considering other options, so here’s another chance for you to provide some input. If you were thinking of ordering a Uni Watch cap, please weigh in here (if you have no interest in ordering a cap, please skip this poll — thanks):


One thing I’ve learned this week is that people are v-e-r-y particular about their caps. One person says, “It better be flex-fit, or I won’t buy it.” Another says, “It better be fitted, or I won’t buy it.” Another says, “It better be New Era, or I won’t buy it.” In other words, no matter which route I choose, some people will be disappointed. My apologies in advance to anyone who ends up feeling that way. This is one of those situations where it’s impossible to please everyone, but I’m doing my best to find the best way forward.

Meanwhile, people have also asked if we’ll do alternate designs, or if we’ll offer a purple version for this year’s Purp Walk, or if we’ll offer a visor. For each of those questions, my answer is, “Sure, that would be cool — but let’s get this first cap off the ground before we worry about any of that.”

Thanks for your continued input. I’m excited about how this is coming together.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

LAST CALL for the 19Nine raffle: In case you missed it earlier this week, I’m currently raffling off a T-shirt and a pair of retro shorts from the good folks at 19Nine.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by tonight, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

• • • • •

Membership update: Eight new designs have been added to the membership card gallery. That includes Tyler Evans’s card, shown at right, which is based on the Astros’ gold-trimmed championship jerseys — a rare case of a membership card being based on a jersey that hasn’t yet been worn on the field.

The printed/laminated versions of these cards should mail out by tomorrow.

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Kris Gross

Baseball News: Mike Trout is the latest to add a face guard to his helmet (thanks Paul). … Sluggerrr, the Royals mascot, still has the 2015 World Series Champions patch on his jersey (from @UntillTheNight). … Birmingham is sometimes known as “B-Ham,” so the Birmingham Barons, Double-A affiliate of the White Sox, will wear ham on their jerseys on Aug. 25. … The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Blue Jays’ Double-A team, will play as the Mountain Men on July 8. … Vanderbilt went all-high-cuffed Wednesday night (from Edwin Bonner). … Speaking of, the Collinsville softball team is doing it right (from David Stephens). … For NYC-area residents, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is conducting a tour of baseball greats who are buried in the cemetery on March 31. … Former Mets 3B Ed Charles is usually associated with having worn No. 5, like in this famous photo. But here’s a shot of him wearing No. 24, which he apparently wore for only 10 days in 1967.

NFL News: Newly acquired Washington QB Alex Smith got his first uniform — in the old template (from Andy Johnson). … The Jaguars’ two-tone helmet isn’t dead yet! (From Brett Baker.) … New Broncos QB Case Keenum won’t get to wear his old No. 7 in Denver, because of some guy named John Elway (thanks Brinke). … Some other Keenum notes: He tweeted a photo of himself wearing an Elway jersey as a kid. And his Twitter picture is him in a Photoshopped Broncos jersey (from Kary Klismet). … The Chiefs will likely have five wide receivers wearing numbers in the 10s for the upcoming season (from Joshua Brisco). … This incredible piece of artwork features the date, score, and opponent of every game in Eagles history. You can see a larger version of it here (from John Kelemen). … What if the Jags had come into existence in the 1970s instead of the ’90s? Here’s a great concept of what their helmet might have looked like. … Looks like former Eagles K Tom Dempsey had some sort of little strip or plate added to the crown of his helmet. Here’s a closer look. Anyone know what that’s about?

College Football News: This just seems wrong: The rings for Texas A&M Commerce’s DII National Championship feature the Under Armour logo (from Christian Berumen).

Hockey News: The Capitals’ Stadium Series jerseys will be worn at least one more time this season. The team will be wearing them next week (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Nevada basketball will play their first round game in Nashville, and the Predators welcomed them with a custom sweater (from Damon Hirschensohn). … St. Paddy’s Day jerseys tonight for the Tulsa Oilers (from Mike Iles).

NBA News: The Windy City Bulls — that’s Chicago’s D-League affiliate — will wear G.I. Joe-themed jerseys tomorrow night. … Nike sold a pair of Kobes that came with a four-leaf clover plus Kobe’s logo to commemorate the Lakers beating the Celtics in the 2010 Finals (from Jorge Cruz).

College Hoops News: Loyola Chicago had a huge conference patch on their shorts yesterday (from Robert Hayes). … Stephen F. Austin wore black last night against Texas Tech (from Chris Mycoskie). … As Bryan Molloy points out, Rhode Island’s shorts look like the team is wearing fanny packs. … Here’s an awesome graphic featuring all tournament teams’ mascots fighting for the National Championship trophy (from Vasav Swaminathan). … Long shorts are out and short shorts are in at Michigan (NYT link; thanks, Paul). … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Nevada basketball will play their first round game in Nashville, and the Predators welcomed them with a custom sweater (from Damon Hirschensohn).

Grab Bag: This is really cool: The city of Pittsburgh tweeted a photo of the original color fabric swatch that established black and gold as the city’s official colors. Those colors, of course, were later adopted by the city’s sports teams (from Jerry Wolper). …Rickie Fowler will wear Arnold Palmer-themed shoes for the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend (from Chris Howell). … Ray Hund passes along this old ad that tries to draw families home by watching TV. Four of the six things that “took the family away from home” are sports. … Is the Brannock Device underseeded in this “Mundane Madness” bracket of ordinary and underappreciated items? (From Ryan Friedman.) … The Baltimore Sun has created a bracket for local Maryland beers (from Andrew Cosentino). … That’s not all for brackets, especially if you love animals (from Andrew Hoenig). … Nike announced last night that the company’s president has resigned amidst reports of improper workplace behavior.

A Look at Tom Jacobsen’s Broncos Memorabilia Collection

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Last month I had two stories that were based on old Denver Broncos files that were shared with me by a collector. First there was my story about the incredible Buddy Young memo about the future of black players in the NFL, and then there was the piece about letters from Broncos fans who wanted tickets for Super Bowl I.

The guy who shared those materials with me is longtime Uni Watch reader Tom Jacobsen, who’s one of the foremost collectors of Broncos memorabilia. I went out to visit him at his suburban Denver home in January so I could look through the old files myself (I’ll definitely be writing more stories about them in the months to come), and while I was there I took some photos of Tom’s amazing collection of game-worn uniforms, which he keeps in his basement. We’re going to take a look at some of that collection today.

We can start with the photo at the top of today’s entry. That’s a Shannon Sharpe gamer, and Tom is holding a trading card of Sharpe that Tom has photo-matched to that selfsame jersey. Cool, right? Tom does this type of photo-matching with his collection whenever possible.

One thing I like about Tom’s collection is that he doesn’t restrict himself to any particular era, as you can see from the uniforms he has on display:

Those orange pants are great, right? Wish they’d bring back that design as a throwback.

Speaking of throwbacks, here’s a great little detail I learned from Tom. In this next photo, the jersey on the left is a 1965 or ’66 gamer, and the one on the right is a throwback gamer that was worn in 1994. Check out the collars:

As you can see, they used the wrong collar color on the throwback. Tom thinks this may be because the collar often wasn’t that visible in mid-’60s photos — it would sort of curl under the shoulder pads and disappear from view. (For the record, the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database accurately shows both collar colors.)

Next up we have three prized items from the Broncos’ earliest days, before they began wearing orange. Check it out:

The equipment bag is awesome, and the jersey is pretty sweet. But of course my favorite item here is the vertically striped stirrup, which gave the Broncos a distinctive signature style in their first two seasons. The stirrups were so unpopular that the team eventually burned them in a bonfire, but Tom actually has two of them!

“The two I have originated with Broncos coach Jack Faulkner,” says Tom. “He became the coach in 1962 and came up with the ‘Something new in 62’ slogan that celebrated the new uniforms and new helmet logo (the infamous blue horse!). He also came up with the bonfire idea, but he held a few socks back to give to folks. One of the ones I have was given to the beat writer for the Bills at the time, and the other one was later given to a guy who worked with with Faulkner after he left the Broncos and worked for the Rams.”

Tom says he’s only aware of four other stirrups floating around out there besides the two that he owns. The Hall of Fame has a road one; the Broncos have a road one given to them by an former player; there’s a home one on display in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Hall of Honor; and the AP has a photo of a home one that’s listed as being located in Los Angeles, although it’s not clear exactly where.

Next up: Back when Bill Romanowski played, I was always intrigued by how his jerseys were modified with laces tied to his pads. Tom has one of his jerseys — complete with the laces (and, as it turns out, one of those crotch-extension panels):

Here’s a closer look at the laces, and the little grommets that were sewn in to accommodate them, as viewed from the front of the jersey:

And here’s how it looks from the back of the jersey:

Tom also let me turn one of the sleeves inside-out, so I could see how it looked from inside the jersey:

Speaking of jersey modifications, Tom has a Rich “Tombstone” Jackson jersey that went through some serious wars and ended up with a lot of repairs. He turned it inside-out so I could see all the repair work:

Next up: helmets! Tom has a lot of them, many of which are showcased in this display:

The red helmet at top-left was Louis Wright’s helmet from the 1978 Pro Bowl. It’s the same helmet he wore throughout the 1977 season and in Super Bowl XII. Back in those days, players just had their regular helmets repainted for the Pro Bowl, and then they were painted back again for the following season. It’s not clear why this helmet was never painted back to Broncos colors (most likely Wright simply got a new helmet in the fall of ’78). Here’s a closer look:

Speaking of helmets, here’s a manufacturer you might not have heard of before:

Kelley helmets were popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s a little hard to see in that photo, but Kelley used a clear shell, with the graphics and paint applied from the inside. (There’s more info on Kelley and the clear-shell process here.) This one was a salesman sample that was brought in for Rob Lytle to try. He had worn that style at Michigan.

Finally, there’s this: On Sept. 29, 1968, Broncos rookie Marlin Briscoe entered the game in the fourth quarter and became the AFL’s first black quarterback. Tom has the jacket that Briscoe had been wearing on the sidelines before being called into the game:

That’s enough for today, but believe me when I say that this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding Tom’s collection — he has a lot more stuff.

Last but definitely not least, I want to mention that Tom is a great guy and was an absolute pleasure to be around throughout the day we spent together. Ditto for his wife and daughter — they all welcomed a stranger into their home and couldn’t have been nicer about it. It would be easy for two people who’d spent a full day poring over old paperwork to get sick of each other, but Tom and I hit it off so well that we went out to dinner at a Denver steakhouse, which was a great time. He even offered to pay for me! I wouldn’t allow that, of course, but it was just one more gracious gesture from Tom, who somehow thought I was the one doing him a favor that day, when it was actually the other way around. Thanks, buddy — you’re the best.

• • • • •

Just a little bit busy: Hmmm, ya think maybe Syracuse is setting a record for the most patches (or at least logos) on a basketball jersey?

(My thanks to Michael Alper for the screen shot.)

• • • • •

Cap update: Thanks to everyone who gave feedback and suggestions regarding my plans, announced yesterday, to create a Uni Watch cap. It’s going to take a little while to sift through all the possible manufacturers (please, no more suggestions or recommendations — I’m hip-deep in them already as it is), but I’ll figure out the best route to take shortly.

Meanwhile: A few people thought the cap looked too much like an A’s cap, because of the color scheme. My smart-ass response to that was, “As far as I know, the A’s have never had a cap with a winged stirrup.” But last night reader/commenter Chris Cruz informed me that the A’s do have a cap with a stirrup (albeit not a winged one):

That’s pretty sweet, right? They offered it last month to fans who bought tickets to at least two of their first four spring training games.

I’m still fine with the Uni Watch cap design. And I like that A’s cap so much that I don’t even mind that they came out with a stirrup-centric cap design before we did.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, I’m currently raffling off a T-shirt and a pair of retro shorts from the good folks at 19Nine.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by tomorrow night, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Pea crab reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’ve written an article for the food website Taste about pea crabs, which are the little crabs that live inside certain oysters. I hope you’ll check it out here. Thanks.

• • • • •

LAST CALL for the rain check shirt: Today is the last day to get our latest limited-edition Uni Watch T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom. It comes in a wide range of colors (including deep royal, as shown at right; click to enlarge) and is available only until 11pm Eastern tonight. You can order it here. If you want a color or style that isn’t shown, get in touch and I can take care of you. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Grand Rapids Griffins — that’s a hockey team — will wear West Michigan Whitecaps-inspired jerseys tomorrow. … Very cool throwbacks for Cincinnati (from Bob Wilzbach). … The Erie SeaWolves will become the Erie SnowWolves for a Christmas in July promotion on July 27. … Royals coach Dale Sveum missed the team portrait due to a doctor’s appointment. So actor Jim Caviezel, who among other things has portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, and who’s been attending the team’s spring training camp at the invitation of the front office, stood in for Sveum in the photo. Sveum’s face will be Photoshopped into the resulting photo.

NFL News: In the wake of scientist Stephen Hawking’s death, the Patriots posted a photo of team owner Bob Kraft presenting Hawking with a No. π Pats jersey (from JayJay Dean). … Longtime Browns OL Joe Thomas announced his retirement yesterday. Instead of retiring his number, the Browns are going to retire his number of consecutive snaps (thanks, Alex).

Hockey News: Cross-listed from the baseball section: The Grand Rapids Griffins will wear jerseys inspired by the minor league baseball team the West Michigan Whitecaps tomorrow. … New St. Paddy’s Day uniforms for the Niagara IceDogs (from Rasheed Clarke).

NBA News: LeBron James gave his compression sleeve to a kid who’d be holding a sign that said, “King James, you are more than an athlete” (from Mike Chamernik).

College and High School Hoops News: The Star Tribune created a beer bracket featuring jerseys inspired by Minnesota craft beers (from Cole Trace). … Duke has new sneakers for March Madness (from Megan Brown). … And so does Purdue (from Jason Miller). … Oh baby, look at these old Marquette shooting shirts (from @CVWarrior). … Stripe-o-rama! Check out the competing stripe patterns in this 1973 TCU/SMU game (big thanks to @john76065). … Good story on Providence’s sideline mascot (from Kary Klismet). … Another day, another pair of Pennsylvania high school teams showing up with the same-colored uniforms. Come on, Keystone State, get it together (from Dave Thackara). … Here’s a new one: Pikeville High School in Kentucky wore blue ribbons on their sneakers in memory of a local police officer who was killed earlier this week (from @The_Amish_Robot).

Soccer News: New home jersey for Steel FC (thanks, Phil). … Gambia may need to wear locally made kits for an international friendly because of an equipment dispute that led to the confiscation of cartons of gear. … New uni numbers for Accra Hearts of Oak. … Charleston Battery is bringing back the vertical stripes (from Daren Stoltzfus).

Grab Bag: Candlepin bowling is normally found only in New England and the Canadian Maritimes, but there’s a gorgeous set of candlepin lanes in the basement of a Cincinnati civic center. That article includes a spectacular slideshow of two dozen photos — don’t miss (big thanks to Brandon Ponchak). … Police seized a bunch of counterfeit clothing in Evesham, England. … Thieves in Michigan stole some vans filled with police and firefighter uniforms. … Here’s a look at the history of the Marvel Comics logo. … A New Zealand cricket bowler has been wearing a rather unusual mask (from John Muir). … New airline uniforms for Aer Lingus. … In honor of Pi Day, the University of Missouri selected a pumpkin pie with the Mizzou logo constructed from pie crust as the winner of its “Draw the Logo” contest (from Kary Klismet). … Interesting Texas flag-themed swimsuits for Houston at this year’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. … New logo for the California city of Menifee. … A week ago we had a Ticker item about the Stanford University branch of the College Republicans being told that they couldn’t put their new logo on a school-approved T-shirt because it included the American flag, which was a violation of school policy. The group has spent the past week lobbying to have that decision overturned, but now it turns out that the logo was plagiarized.

Let’s Make a Uni Watch Baseball Cap!

For years now I’ve wanted to have a Uni Watch baseball cap that we can offer for you folks to purchase, but I didn’t know what to use as a logo. I knew I didn’t want to use “UW,” because those initials are so strongly associated with the Universities of Washington and Wisconsin, and I was reluctant to use our old magnifying glass standby, which felt a bit too much like an easy fall-back option. At one point I was going to hold a design contest to create a cap logo, but I never got around to it.

Then last year Bryan Molloy came up with the winged stirrup design that first appeared on the 2017 Purp Walk shirt and was then reprised a few months later on a shirt in standard Uni Watch colors. That logo, which was based on the New York Athletic Club logo, was a big hit with readers, and I really liked it too. So late last year I told Bryan that I wanted to use the winged stirrup as a cap logo. He readily agreed.

The version of the logo that appeared on the shirts had a lot of stippling and shading that wouldn’t translate well to fabric embroidery, so Bryan has simplified it slightly to create the version that you see above. I’m envisioning it on a green cap (duh), but there are lots of details that still need to be finalized, and I’d like your input on that. For example:

1. The logo will need to have an outline. Should the outline be white, gold, or both? (Click to enlarge.)


2. Should the squatchee be green or gold?


3. If the squatchee is gold, should the brim also be gold, or should the brim stay green?


4. What format should the cap be?


5. Should the Uni Watch script (another one of Bryan’s designs) appear on the back of the cap?


6 What profile should the crown be?

I don’t yet know where I’m going to get the caps manufactured (I have a few ideas, but if anyone has tips, I’m all ears), so I can’t guarantee that I’ll act according to the results of the voting in every case, but I’ll try. Obviously, I’ll also do my best to ensure that the cap doesn’t have a visible maker’s mark. And I’m partial to grey underbrims, so I’m going to try to go that route as well.

I’ve never made or sold a cap before, so I’m not sure how long it’s going to take to get everything set up. Also not sure how much it will cost, whether we’ll need to take pre-orders, and so on. But I’ll get it sorted out soon-ish. Your input on the squatchee, the brim, and all the rest will be very helpful.

If all goes well, we might even be able to offer an alternate cap at some point. But hey, one thing at a time.

I’m excited about this project. Thanks for your feedback.

(Big thanks to Bryan Molloy for coming up with the winged stirrup, and for working with me to create the cap mock-ups.)

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m currently raffling off a T-shirt and a pair of retro shorts from the good folks at 19Nine.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by this Friday, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

• • • • •

Membership update: Four new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Brett Baker’s card, shown at right, which is based on Nebraska’s early-’80s mesh jerseys). The printed/laminated versions of these cards should mail out by the end of the week.

We’ve gotten a rush of membership orders over the past week, so I should have more designs to show you in the next day or two.

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

• • • • •

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A little crabby: You may recall that last November I attended an oyster roast in Virginia, where I had my first encounter with pea crabs — tiny (and delicious) crabs that live inside the oysters. I was completely fascinated by them — so fascinated by them that I’ve now written an article about them for the food website Taste. It was really fun to work on (among other things, I went to the Grand Central Oyster Bar at 8am to interview their chef before the rest of the staff showed up for work), and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out. I hope you’ll check it out here. Thanks.

• • • • •

Going, going…: Today is the next-to-last day to get our latest limited-edition Uni Watch T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom. It comes in a wide range of colors (including deep royal, as shown at right; click to enlarge) and is available from now through this Thursday, March 15. You can order it here. If you want a color or style that isn’t shown, get in touch and I can take care of you. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Marlins took to Instagram yesterday to ask fans if the wordmark on the team’s home jerseys should read “Miami” or “Marlins.” Currently, only the team’s orange jerseys have a “Marlins” wordmark (from Louis Mand Alejandro Areces). … Alejandro also put together his own Marlins redesign concept. Check it out here. … Yankees P David Robertson was wearing a standard cap yesterday, not the team’s spring training cap (from Patrick Lavery). … The Nationals wore their regular home whites, instead of their spring training uniforms, for last night’s game against the Mets (from Kenny Kaplan). … Phillies INF Mitch Walding’s helmet logo was badly askew during yesterday’s game (from Terrence Kuhns). … Did anyone else know that the Pirates had a facial hair ban for minor leaguers? Once prospects make the majors, they can sport a beard (from Jerry Wolper). … We missed this yesterday — the Astros made a logo for their White House visit yesterday (from Ignacio). … MLB is hosting a food festival in New York’s Bryant Park in April, where each team will offer an item sold at its ballpark (from Jason Lefkowitz). … The Lansing Lugnuts will give away Michigan State-green jerseys on May 3. The jerseys will bear No. 3 in honor of former Spartans punter Mike Sadler, who died in a car crash last year (from our own Kris Gross). … Furman debuted new purple pullover jerseys last night.

NFL NewsFree agent QB Sam Bradford signed with the Cardinals yesterday. As one Redditor pointed out, this is Bradford’s fourth NFL team (the others were the Rams, Eagles and Vikings), but the first which wears its primary logo on its helmet (from Justin C. Cliburn and Ryan Bower). … 49ers FS Jimmie Ward has agreed to hand over No. 25 to his new teammate, CB Richard Sherman (from Brinke). … If you’ve never noticed this before, this might ruin your day: The outlining on the Dolphins NOB and numbers doesn’t match. Though as Paul points out, if both matched, the NOB lettering may be a bit too clunky (from Eric Wright). … Free agent WR Allen Robinson wore a Chicago Bulls jersey to celebrate signing with the Bears (from Mike Chamernik).

Hockey News: The Wild wore St. Paddy’s Day warmups yesterday (from Mike Chamernik and Kyle Minogue). … The Predators also warmed up in St. Paddy’s unis, and in what is now a yearly tradition, changed their social media avatars into a le-Pred-chauns. … Jay Rupert was at the Capitals game the other night and noticed that the aisle seats at Capital One Arena have old Caps and Wizards logos on them. … The Ontario Reign of the AHL will wear St. Patrick’s Day unis designed by Violent Gentlemen, a hockey-based fashion company based in LA (from Charles Eldridge). … ICYMI: Here are game shots of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones and Indy Fuel in SpongeBob unis (from Ryan Bower). … Pro bowler Patrick Girard wore a Montreal Canadiens-themed shirt at the PBA Barbasol Championship on Feb. 25. Girard is from Quebec (from Steven Luft). Hip-hop artist Craig Mack, who passed away a couple days ago, was apparently a hockey fan. The cover photo of his debut album, Project: Funk da World, featured him wearing a Charlestown Chiefs jersey, and the video for his “Flava in Your Ear” single shows him wearing a Lightning jersey (from Landon Fried).

NBA News: The Pacers’ arena will have a new name next year. … As of yesterday, former NBAer Brian Scalabrine’s Wikipedia page said the Celtics, Nets and Bulls had all retired his number (from Joey Robertson). … Interesting coincidence: NBB, Brazil’s pro basketball league, is using Jordan Brand uniforms with a black and white color scheme for its All-Star Game, just like the NBA did last month. … With the NBA moving toward standardized logos for the All-Star Game, the draft, the Finals, and so on, asked a bunch of designers what they think about that. … Cross-listed from the NFL section: NFL free agent WR Allen Robinson wore a Bulls jersey to celebrate signing with the Chicago Bears (from Mike Chamernik).

College and High School Hoops News: The jersey worn by Radford’s Christian Lutete during last night’s play-in game had clearly been used before (from Leland). … Both SB Nation and Yahoo gave bracket advice for the NCAA Tournament based on team’s uniforms (from Phil and Cole Pessolano). … Meanwhile, here’s a ranking of the scariest mascots in this year’s tourney (from Andrew Hoenig. … Here’s a good look at the NCAA Tournament through the years — a snapshot from each year the tournament has been held (from James Gilbert). … Color-on-color game in the Pennsylvania high school tournament game between Greater Johnstown and Sharon. The refs weren’t amused, however — Johnstown (blue) was slated to wear white, and was issued a technical foul for bringing the wrong color (from Jerry Wolper, @CantankerousRex and @dougkeklak).

Soccer News: New kits for the Tulsa Roughnecks of the USL (from Joe). … The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL will unveil new kits on March 19 (from Kody Allenson). … Grand Rapids FC of the National Premier Soccer League unveiled new jerseys yesterday (from Ryan). … With Iceland’s new kit set to launch tomorrow, here’s a look at the history of their uniforms through the years. … Reggaeton singer J Balvin was performing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last night and was presented with a Houston Dynamo jersey. Note that the NOB includes a period after the “J,” even though his official stage name does not include the period.

Grab Bag: Customs and Border Patrol in Texas is warning people against counterfeit sports merch (from Ignacio). … Gold medal curler Matt Hamilton is getting his own bobblehead— reportedly the first curling bobble ever produced (from R. Scott Rogers). … Delta Airlines employees will be getting new uniforms. Delta follows in the footsteps of Alaska Airlines, who announced uniform changes earlier this year (from Markus Kamp). … The Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse unveiled new home and road uniforms yesterday (from John Flory and Dan Siegel). … George Washington’s women’s lacrosse goalie has the DC skyline on her helmet (from Matt Eliot). … Purdue’s marching band was sporting jackets with a ’90s logo over the weekend in Ireland (from Marc Burgess). … New Mexico’s new red and green chile license plates were named the best in the country by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (from John Muir). … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Pro bowler Patrick Girard wore a Montreal Canadiens-themed shirt at the PBA Barbasol Championship on Feb. 25. Girard is from Quebec (from Steven Luft).

Another Piece of the Mr. Met Puzzle

As longtime readers are aware, I’ve been trying for years to determine the identity of the artist who created Mr. Met — not the live mascot but the cartoon character, who made his debut on the cover of the Mets’ 1963 yearbook. That yearbook also included a page introducing the new character, but no artist was credited and the Mets no longer have any idea who created the little fella.

In 2012, I did an ESPN column about a New Jersey artist named Charles Palminteri, who in the early 1960s had created a very Mr. Met-like character for a Rheingold beer ad campaign. Palminteri said Rheingold never used the character, at least not that he was aware of, and he said he had nothing to do with the final version of Mr. Met that debuted in the ’63 yearbook. It was unclear whether the artist who created the final version (who, based on further research that I did in 2015, may have been the late cartoonist Al Avison) was inspired by Palminteri’s drawings or if both artists just happened to come up with the same basic concept of a baseball-headed character.

Today we have another piece of the puzzle. It comes from reader Dennis D’Agostino, who recently directed me toward something the rest of us had missed. While it’s true that Mr. Met debuted on the front cover of the ’63 yearbook, he also appeared on the back cover — in a Rheingold ad. Check it out (click to enlarge):

Now let’s take a closer look at the bottom of that ad:

Palminteri is now his mid-80s but is still active in the art and design worlds, so I got in touch with him and showed him the Rheingold ad. He said he’d never seen it before, but he was happy to see that Rheingold apparently made use of his drawings after all.

But does the character in the ad look more like Palminteri’s drawings or like the official Mr. Met cartoon? Let’s look at all three versions side by side (click to enlarge):

On the one hand, the Rheingold version has an orange-brimmed cap, a non-pinstriped uniform, a broad chest, and (I think) baseball diamoned-shaped pupils, just like the official version of Mr. Met. On the other hand, the Rheingold character has close-set eyes and a slightly goofy face, more like Palminteri’s version.

This Rheingold ad discovery still doesn’t resolve the question of who drew the final version (although, again, I have strong reason to believe that it may have been the late cartoonist Al Avison). But I think this makes it much less likely that Palminteri and the mystery artist coincidentally came up with the same idea. I now strongly believe that Palminteri’s original drawings, which were created for Rheingold, served as the basis for the final version of Mr. Met.

Little by little, we’re getting there. Big thanks to Dennis D’Agostino for bringing the Rheingold ad to my attention and adding this piece to the puzzle.

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Pin update: We may have a new addition to our roster of MLBers who’ve worn pins on their uniforms, as Noah Petro spotted the Rob Dibble baseball card shown at right (which you can click to enlarge). It shows Dibble wearing an American flag pin in the exact same spot where Sam McDowell had worn one — in the center of his cap’s wishbone-C.

The question, though — at least for me — is whether Dibble ever wore the pin during a game, not just for a baseball card photo shoot. Personally, I don’t think he did. Some photo research failed to turn up any pin-clad photos of him. Also, I saw him pitch quite a bit during his career, and I have no memory of the pin, which I would surely have noticed.

So for now I’m putting him in our pinned MLBers gallery, but with a bit of an asterisk. I’ve reached out to Dibble and will let you know if I learn more.

Update: Just heard back from Dibble. He said he wore the pin in spring training, but not during the regular season. I’d say that’s enough to merit inclusion on our pinned roster.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

For pure comfort, you couldn’t beat Russell Athletic’s NFL Pro Line sweatshirts from the 1990s — this one for the Dallas Cowboys. Had one just like this but in navy. That’s all embroidered on there, by the way — no screen-printing.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• This 1970s bumper sticker proclaimed you were one of Cleveland’s CAValry.

• Ack! Check out these great two-bar 1980s NFL helmet stickers from Hallmark. Here’s another set just for the 1971 World Champion Colts.

• How about these 1970s baseball, hockey, and football radios! The football one sure looks like Namath, and the hockey one is positively Bobby Clarke. Can’t tell who the baseball player might be, can you? Looks like all three of these are in working condition, and in great shape cosmetically.

• This 1970s San Francisco 49ers travel/duffle bag is in great shape, and shows the helmet with a white facemask.

• Here’s a 1970s NFL logo ashtray. No teams, just the NFL shield.

• These 1960s NFL “metal coasters” were lids from the tops of Hormel meat tins — including the ill-fated Browns “CB” logo.

• This 1970s Cricket table lighter includes all MLB team logos.

• This wooden footlocker was endorsed by the NFLPA — no official team logos or jerseys on this one. Players include Alworth, Butkus, Page, and Lamonica.

• This 1970s Chicago White Sox thermal mug features Bill Melton, Chuck Tanner, and Wilbur Wood.

• Can’t say I’ve seen one of these before: a T shirt with art from a Topps baseball card wrapper on the front.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

New raffle: As we shift into March Madness season, the good folks at 19Nine have generously offered to provide one set of retro shorts and one T-shirt to a lucky Uni Watch reader.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by this Friday, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: Yesterday I became aware of an absolutely killer track by a South Korean band called Say Sue Me. I’d never heard of them before, and some further investigation reveals that most of their material is a bit more twee than I generally care for, but their new single, “B Lover,” is an absolute monster of power pop perfection. I played it five or six times in a row yesterday, and today’s forecast calls for more of the same. Dig:

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T-shirt reminder: Just a few days left to get our latest limited-edition Uni Watch T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom. It comes in a wide range of colors (including deep royal, as shown at right; click to enlarge) and is available from now through this Thursday, March 15. You can order it here. If you want a color or style that isn’t shown, get in touch and I can take care of you. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Angels superstar Mike Trout was hit in the head by a pitch on Sunday, and says he’ll try using a face guard on his helmet (from @HatOnHeadWear). … The Astros visited the White House yesterday, and presented President Trump with a No. 17 jersey (from Gregory Zitelli and Justin Zayid). … Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King visited A’s camp and wore a Raiders helmet while taking BP (from Ignacio). … Folks are struggling to read the names and numbers on the Cubs spring training unis (from Bob Gassel). … Check out the Petco Park bobblehouse that Jeff Stranger got for his birthday! More on Bobblehouse here. … The Cardinals posted this great video about the woman behind the “birds on bat” logo (from @mrmichael21). … Per our discussion about ripped pants yesterday: It seems not even the Babe himself was immune to torn trousers (from BSmile). … The Rochester Red Wings will wear Star Wars unis on May 4 (from G. Mittelstaedt). … Speaking of the Red Wings, they’re suing a local company for making “Rochester Red Beams” apparel (from Matthew Cole). … Frank McGuigan found this Oneonta Tigers baseball while cleaning out his closet the other day. The team was a short-A affiliate for the Tigers based in upstate New York before relocating after the 2009 season. He says he originally found the ball while cleaning out a used ball bin in a Little League clubhouse in New Jersey. … Brad Blunt found this awesome Nashville Sounds polo at a Houston thrift store. … The Cincinnati Bearcats have a new 1950s throwback jersey in honor of Sandy Koufax, who played for the ’Cats for a few seasons. … Stetson Pevear spotted this vintage Alabama baseball jersey at the college’s Gorgas House Museum. More on the jersey’s owner here.

NFL News: The Titans barely teased their new jerseys in a video yesterday (from Phil). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Raiders punter Marquette King visited the Oakland A’s spring training and took batting practice in a Raiders helmet (from Ignacio). … This photo from a 1959 Giants game featured a player with a backwards helmet number (from Topher Davis and Jason Simpfenderfer). … Brady Phelps shared this photo of a custom-painted Jaguars surfboard. … Free agent QB Case Keenum was at the Houston Rockets game last night and was wearing a T-shirt with a throwback Rockets logo (from Ignacio).

Hockey NewsAs mentioned in the Ticker yesterday, the Penguins wore St. Paddy’s day warmups on Sunday. Interesting that the jock tag on the jerseys identifies them as “authentic game jerseys,” considered they weren’t worn in a game (from Joseph Pitirri). … We’ve got a good ol’ fashioned nickname fight! Ryan Hartman joined the Predators at the trade deadline. He always went by “Hartsy” with his old team, the Blackhawks — but “Hartsy” was already claimed by the Predators’ Scott Hartnell. … The jersey that Alex Ovechkin wore during the Caps’ outdoor game earlier this season had three fight straps built into it (from Casey). … This hockey team in Beijing modeled their sweaters and logo after the Minnesota North Stars. Even better? According to Timothy Chiu, the character on the sweater, 北, translates to “north.”

NBA NewsBucks PG Brandon Jennings’s NOB was riding pretty low last night. Here’s Khris Middleton’s NOB for comparison (from Marcus Messer). … The Hawks have an in-game promotion where fans get to play against streetball legend Hot Sauce one-on-one. ESPN reporter Darren Rovell gave it a shot while wearing a Domnique Wilkins-era jersey — and era-appropriate shorts length to boot (from Mike Chamernik). .. Remember when the Delaware 87s of the D-League wore SpongeBob uniforms earlier this season? Well, the guy who is playing SpongeBob in a Broadway version of the show got his hands on those unis (from Hit The Glass). … Cross-listed from the NFL section: NFL QB Case Keenum was at the Rockets game last night and was wearing a T-shirt with a throwback Rockets logo (from Ignacio).

College Hoops NewsThe Washington Post put together shareable GIFs of all 68 mascots from this year’s tourney. … The 2004 McDonald’s All-America game featured both JR Smith and Josh Smith, so the latter went FNOB during the game (from Glen Brockenbush).

Soccer NewsPoland’s kits for the World Cup have leaked (from Ed Zelaski). … Here’s a list of the top 15 kits in the history of Italy’s Serie A (from Jeff Benzos). … Southampton wore special kits with extra red for their match against Newcastle this weekend. The backs of the kits are usually white (from Alex Evans).

Grab BagIt looks like the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse will have new jerseys this season (from John Flory). … The Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League wore 20th anniversary unis on Saturday, including red helmets (from Wade Heidt). … The United States Patent and Trademark Office unveiled a new patent grant design cover at SXSW over the weekend (from Adam Herbst). … It’s March, so you know what that means: bracket season! Here’s a “Great American Sandwich Showdown” bracket (from James Gilbert). … Yesterday’s Google Doodle was dedicated to William Henry Perkin, a chemist who discovered the first synthetic dye. The dye’s color? Purple. Sorry, Paul (also from James Gilbert).