‘Save Our Shirts’ Campaign Removes Ads from UK Kits

I don’t follow soccer, so I don’t usually write about it either (and on the rare occasions that I do write about it, I almost invariably get something wrong or stumble into some sort of factual error), but there’s something going on in the UK that’s very interesting.

It began last Wednesday, when Huddersfield Town A.F.C., which was recently relegated from the English Premier League to the Championship, announced its new kit (shown above). Instead of having a traditional chest-positioned jersey sponsorship ad, it had a garish sash-styled ad for the Irish betting website Paddy Power.

Many people (including our own Jamie Rathjen) suspected that it was likely some sort of prank or hoax, but Huddersfield did indeed wear the kit for a preseason friendly last Wednesday. Then, on Friday, they announced that Paddy Power was “unsponsoring” Huddersfield this season, and that the team’s new kit will actually be ad-free. It was announced as part of a marketing campaign by Paddy Power, called “Save Our Shirts.” In other words, they’re actually paying to not have an ad on the team’s shirt. (There’s some good analysis of why they’re still getting decent bang for their marketing buck — er, pound — here.)

“Save Our Shirts” gained further momentum in the last couple of days, as two more teams — the Welsh club Newport County and Scottish side Motherwell F.C. — have also unveiled ad-free kits that are “unsponsored” by Paddy Power, and reports indicate that more teams may follow.

Some people (again, including Jamie) have said that Paddy Power’s goals here are more marketing-driven than altruistic, and that the betting site cares more about the attention it’s getting for the “Save Our Shirts” campaign than about the purity of ad-free soccer shirts.

I imagine that’s true. But if we have to have betting websites with marketing campaigns, I’d much rather have a campaign like “Save Our Shirts” than a campaign centered around ads on soccer shirts. Paddy Power’s goals here may be self-serving, but all marketing endeavors are self-serving — that’s the nature of corporate marketing. A self-serving campaign that results in ad-free soccer kits seems like a far superior option compared to the alternative.

Moreover, “Save Our Shirts” has already prompted some interesting tropes on social media. As you may recall, when the NBA announced that they’d be adding advertisement patches, people began posting speculative mock-ups of how the various NBA teams might look with certain ad patches. But the “unsponsoring” news is inspiring people to post mock-ups of how British soccer teams might look without shirt ads. If “Save Our Shirts” gets fans thinking about the possibilities of an ad-free soccer uni-verse — or maybe even pushing for their own favorite teams to go “unsponsored” — that’s a really good thing. Imagine if it gets NBA fans to do likewise. And the timing is good, in light of the recent MLB news.

That isn’t to say you can’t take a more jaundiced view of the culture that’s at work here. That’s what David Squires, the soccer cartoonist for The Guardian, has done with this absolutely brilliant bit of work. Can’t recommend this highly enough (for each horizontal row of panels, you can click to enlarge):

Okay, now you can all tell me about the inevitable factual errors I made in this entry!

(My thanks to Paddy Fleming for bringing the awesome Squires cartoon to my attention.)

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New Thunder uni: The Thunder released a new City uniform this morning. It pays tribute to people affected by the 1995 federal building bombing and was created in conjunction with the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. This uniform will replace last season’s City uni, which was the Native American-themed design. Additional pics and info are available here, here, and here.

In addition, the Thunder released their new orange Statement alternate. This design had previously leaked, so it’s less of a surprise (click to enlarge):

The team also confirmed that it’s flipping the chest insignias on its blue and white primary uniforms. The blue set will now have “Thunder” and the white uni will have “Oklahoma City,” instead of the other way around (click to slightly enlarge):

A press release says that the white and blue uniforms will both be worn at home and on the road in 2019-20.

(My thanks to Sam Thomas and Nick Crain for the early-morning heads-up on this one.)

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Check your head: We appear to be hitting a peak period of MLB cap messaging. There were lots of players inscribing memorials on their caps for Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs when he recently passed away; then there was Marlins pitcher Jordan Yamamoto, who is from Hawaii, adding the Hawaiian phrase “Kū Kia’i Mauna” to his cap on Sunday, in support of people protesting against the building of a telescope on Mauna Kea; and last night, as you can see above, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico, added a “PR” inscription to his cap, presumably a reference to the protests currently roiling the island.

Cap inscriptions aren’t new, of course, but they seem to wax and wane, and we’re definitely in a waxing phase at the moment. I wrote more about this topic, including some historical background, last year, when the A’s added two sets of initials to their caps after two players’ moms died. That piece is worth revisiting if you’re interested in cap inscriptions.

(My thanks to @TweeterTBNL for letting me know about Cora’s cap.)

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The uni implications of baseball trades: With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, ESPN ran a good story about what it’s like to get traded. It includes a good section about uniforms, as follows:

Although Fanatics, the apparel company that bought MLB uni-maker Majestic a couple of years ago, is technically responsible for cranking out new uniforms once a player gets traded, it takes time for fresh jerseys to get shipped from the company’s production facility in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Enter the seamstress.

The Washington Nationals used to be like most teams in that they used a local contractor to come in and sew numbers and letters on a temporary jersey whenever a trade went down (once the official shirt arrives, the temp becomes a backup). But a couple of years ago, when Washington was looking for a new seamstress, the Melnick brothers took matters into their own hands.

“We just Googled: ‘Learn how to sew D.C.,'” says Greg Melnick, who along with bro Andrew helps keep the Nationals Park clubhouses running smoothly (Greg is the visitors assistant; Andrew handles the home side). After a quick one-hour class in the capital’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, the siblings were off and running.

Aided by a Brother 6000 sewing machine they ordered online and that lives in the equipment room at Nationals Park, the bearded and brawny 30-somethings are responsible for crafting new jerseys any time a player joins the home or visiting team while in D.C. If Washington finalizes a deal while on the road (like in 2017 when the Sean Doolittle trade went down while the team was in Anaheim), the host club handles production. That means that whenever a team travels, whether it’s deadline time or not, they have to schlep a giant trunk filled with blank jerseys of all sizes (typically low 40s to mid 50s), not to mention all the letters, numbers, punctuation marks and accents. For the Melnicks, it’s a labor of love.

“I really enjoy it,” says Andrew, who estimates that he has sewn about 100 jerseys (including call-ups and special occasion one-offs) during his tenure as Washington’s co-seamster. Thanks to all the reps, his production time has dropped from three hours on his first endeavor (Matt Wieters, 2017) to about an hour these days. His proudest accomplishment? The one-off he recently made for Patrick Corbin, who wore No. 45 to honor late friend Tyler Skaggs. “That was pretty special.”

Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever seen the term “seamster” before. Good stuff!

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Since we just had the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies two days ago in Cooperstown, how about this 1960s-1970s Peanuts Hall of Fame shirt featuring Woodstock behind the plate? Woody had a rep as being a light hitter (which will happen when you weigh less than a pound), but he was a savvy receiver, knew how to handle a pitching staff, and had a cannon for a right arm wing. Here’s a better look at the shirt’s graphics from a different website.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• We have a first-ever sighting for Collector’s Corner: this 1960s NFL cap — made of red leather! Now that’s gonna keep your noggin cool on a hot summer day, eh? The cap includes the Falcons helmet, so oldest it could be is from 1966 (the Saints started a year later).

• Another first-time item on CC; a pair of 1970s Bobby Orr hockey suspenders. (“Extra Long 42.”)

• Here we have a 1990s San Diego Chargers nylon/fleece shell pullover by Champion. Had one of these for the Cowboys, and boy was it comfortable. Just can’t say enough good things about the Pro Line stuff that Champion, Russell and Apex cranked out in the 1990s. Affordable, distinctive, and no cookie-cutter looks like we get from Nike. (Now, some of the 1990s stuff went too far. Pro Player and Zubaz, looking at you.)

• Here’s a set of seven 1970s NFL helmet buggies from Sportoys.

• Portland Trailblazers fans will be all over this 1970s bobblehead, still in its sealed bag.

• This lot of three 1970s NFL smoked-glass beer steins, covered with NFL helmets of the period, looks to be in good shape.

• The seller of this Houston Oilers snapback cap says it’s from the 1970s or ’80s. I’m going to say it’s a bit later than that, given the NFL Pro Line logo shown. In any case, a rather avant-garde font used in the front, no?

• This set of six NFL team pens were made by Faber Castell, and it also included an entry form on the back for the “$33,000 All-Star Family Sweepstakes! Void where prohibited.” (Where would they “prohibit” such a thing? Did you ever run into that circumstance?) Given that the deadline to enter was 12/31/1981, we’ll date these pens as early-1980s, not 1970s as the seller posted.

• Rawlings was the maker for this 1970s Kenny Anderson Bengals jersey, available at Sears, of course.

• The seller of this 1970s-1980s St. Louis Blues glass calls it “Rare!” and “HTF!” (that’s “hard to find”). Both claims are HTB (hard to believe), but it’s still a very nice glass.

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Good-looking brews: The Rhode Island beer Narragansett began showing up here in NYC in 2011. Since then I’ve seen it in cans and on tap (and have also written a short article about an amusing glitch on their packaging), but never in bottles. I didn’t even know it came in bottles until last Friday, when we had dinner at a local restaurant and got this handsome long-neck. That’s a good-looking package design!

Two nights later, we were on the boardwalk in Rockaway and saw people drinking this:

I love that can design! Really nice. It’s actually a wraparound decal, not a printed can (small brewery, limited run, etc.), but it’s still really nice.

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IMPORTANT plate update: As I’ve been mentioning for a few days now, we’re taking pre-orders on the Uni Watch 20th-Anniversary Plate. What I neglected to mention is that we’ll only be taking pre-orders up through the end of this week. We’ll probably have a very small supply of additional plates available, but not many. So if you want to get in on this one, move fast. Full details here.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles was written by Uni Watch reader and recent Atlanta uni-versary party organizer Jason Von Stein. It’s about a little metal guitar on his key ring. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Korean Baseball Organization held its annual All-Star game on Sunday, and a bunch of players came dressed in costume (from Matt). … ICYMI: Here are all the new Hall of Fame inductee plaques (from Kary Klismet). … The Ogden Raptors, the Dodgers’ rookie ball affiliate, wore “O-Town” NOBs when they wore their Expos-inspired fauxbacks earlier this year (from Brice Wallace). … The Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants’ Double-A affiliate, played a “what if” night as the Hush Puppies — one of their potential team names when the franchise was started (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … The Long Island Ducks of the unaffiliated Atlantic League are celebrating their 20th season — but their commemorative logo incorrectly refers to it as the team’s 20th anniversary (from Adam Fritzen). … New logo for the Arizona Fall League (from Steve Sher). … Anyone know the story behind this photo of Wade Boggs wearing Nationals gear? It comes from this Facebook post (from David Polakoff). … This 1953 Braves team portrait, shot during spring training of that year, shows some players wearing “B” caps and some wearing “M” caps. “The team’s move from Boston to Milwaukee was officially announced on March 18, 1953,” explains John Moore, so the photo must have been taken right around that time, and they apparently didn’t have a full set of the new “M” caps.

Pro Football NewsThe Orlando Apollos were a league-best 7-1 when the AAF folded halfway through its only season, so the team got coach Steve Spurrier a championship ring. Hopefully, they paid their players first (from @34inXXIII).

College Football NewsThe field numbers at Oregon’s Autzen Stadium will now match the team’s jersey number font (from @samuel101ts). … New end zone padding at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium (from Griffin T. Smith). … It looks like the CFB 150 patch will run onto Ole Miss’ shoulder stripes (also from Griffin T. Smith). … Howard unveiled their 2019 uniform set yesterday (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a look inside LSU’s new locker room. … This is one of the options for Florida Atlantic’s set this season. … Rutgers’s stadium name has a new corporate advertiser (from James Gilbert).

Hockey NewsThe Golden Knights’ practice arena has a new red line design, which is based on the sublimated element from the jersey crest. Seems likely that their home rink will get the same treatment (from Trayton Miller). … The Sabres will wear their 50th-season patch on the left shoulder (from Mike Monaghan). … New sweaters for the University of North Dakota (from Greg Enkers). … Mats Zuccarello went from the Stars to the Wild this offseason, and Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist shot a video of him wearing his Stars helmet with his Wild practice sweater (from Benjamin Kassel). … Devils Backbone Brewery is holding a design contest for the label of its new Capitals-themed beer (from @OlegKvasha).

Basketball NewsHere’s a good article about Ben Barnes, a graphic designer behind numerous sports logos and the Jazz’s new identity (from @akaggie). … There are unconfirmed reports that the Grizzlies will wear Vancouver-era throwbacks this season (from Kary Klismet). … Max Strus, a two-way signing for the Celtics, will wear No. 28 (from Etienne Catalan). … Maryland has unveiled their new uniforms for the 2019-2020 season (from Slotter).

Soccer NewsWhat a NOB — West Ham’s women’s team has signed F Jacynta Galabadaarachchi. That’s 16 letters! Unfortunately, she’ll be wearing No. 15 (from Chris Cruz). … Real Madrid’s third jersey for next season has reportedly leaked (from Josh Hinton). … Portugese club Benfica added a US flag patch for their trip to America (from Mike D.). … One player for Cleveland SC of National Premier Soccer League wore a jersey without a badge because his usual jersey was lost (he’s third from the left on the top row) (from Ed Zelaski). … New kits for Clemson’s women’s team (from @ClemsonUniforms). … Here’s a site that shows logos, uniforms, mascots and more for Japanese soccer teams (from Jeremy Brahm). … 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 NAIA Bethel University (Tennessee) Wildcats have a new set of logos (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a video of the mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo performing all of the Olympic sports (from Jeremy Brahm). … This listicle recaps all the sneakers that have been released to honor the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 (from Brinke). … In a related item, here’s a great video on the seamstress behind the Apollo 11 spacesuits (from Miles Cliatt). … Something Marc Mayntz didn’t mention in his excellent Apollo mission patch review over the weekend: The Apollo 11 patch shows the sunshine coming from the wrong direction, something astronaut Michael Collins has acknowledged (from Brice Wallace). … Matthew Wolfram notes that the “9” on the California Route 92 West sign near the San Mateo Bridge in the Bay Area is a bit cockeyed.

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What Paul did last night: I had a doctor’s appointment in Manhattan yesterday afternoon. After that, I went to a library so I could use their wifi and get some work done, and then I went to a bookstore to see the great Oakland artist and writer Jenny Odell (she’s the one on the left in the photo above), who was talking about her new book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, which is about pushing back against the relentless demands that the internet places on our lives (and seems related to my friend Rob Walker’s new book, The Art of Noticing).

Odell is a bit of a genius. She’s done soooooo many really brilliant art projects, and her New York Times interactive piece about a bizarre series of interconnected businesses is my favorite piece of journalism in the past year. I met her very briefly in 2011, when we were both part of Pop-Up Magazine’s sports-themed production, but I hadn’t seen her since then and was excited to hear her do her thing. Unfortunately, the person who was running the show and asking her questions — comedian/actor Aparna Nancherla — did a pretty bad job, so the event wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped.

The main reason I’m bothering to mention any of this is that on my way out of the bookstore I noticed this:

Arrrgh! Look at that big, honking apostrophe catastrophe — can you fucking believe it? That book was published last month, by Atlantic Monthly Press. I was sort of caught up in the wave of people exiting the Odell event, so it wasn’t logistically feasible for me to stop and grab the book to see who the jacket designer was. But the designer isn’t the only one at fault here — how many editors and sales/marketing people signed off on that cover design? Ugh, ugh, ugh!

The Story Behind the ‘Mistaken for MAGA’ Article

As you may recall, last month I asked if any of you had stopped wearing your favorite red team ballcaps because you didn’t want them to be mistaken for “Make America Great Again” caps. I’ve now written an article about this phenomenon for the New York Times “Styles” section. It was faaaascinating to work on. You can check it out here.

The article has generated a lot of responses and questions, so I want to address some of that today. Let’s shift into virtual-FAQ mode:

You always say you only care about what the players wear, not what fans wear. So why did you do an article about fans and their caps?

It’s true that I focus on what the players wear from a Uni Watch perspective. But this wasn’t a Uni Watch story, or even a sports story (although it has some sports-related aspects, obviously). It’s more of a story about an interesting and surprising social phenomenon, and that’s right in my wheelhouse.

How did you get the idea for this story?

My friend and neighbor Sridhar, who’s from Cincinnati, emailed to tell me that a bunch of his friends from the midwest had stopped wearing their Reds, Cardinals, and Chiefs caps because they didn’t want to be mistaken for MAGA (he was almost apologetic about telling me, because he knows I don’t usually write about what fans wear). That phenomenon had never occurred to me, and I thought it was interesting, so I asked you folks about it here on the blog. I was surprised by the number of responses, so I put out a similar call on Twitter and got literally hundreds of emails in response.

That’s when I decided it was worth pursuing as an article. The Times “Styles” section was the first place I pitched it to, and they said yes. (If they had turned it down, the next places I planned to pitch were The Wall Street Journal [this topic would have been good for their daily “a-hed” piece — the same section for which I did the pepperoni article earlier this year] and Sports Illustrated.)

Isn’t this just a case of confirmation bias? You decided there must be people who feel this way, and then you went and found a few of them to prove your pre-existing notion?

On the contrary, I was very, very surprised by this whole phenomenon, and I continue to be surprised by the number of people it encompasses. Like I said, the whole thing had never even occurred to me, probably due to some combination of the following factors:

• I haven’t bought a cap (well, except for two Uni Watch caps) in several years.

• I have never owned a red cap of any kind (not because I hate red or anything like that — it just hasn’t come up).

• We don’t have any red-capped teams here in NYC.

• NYC is generally anti-Trump, so there aren’t many MAGA hats.

• I work at home, so I don’t circulate around people and see what they’re wearing as much as people who commute and work in offices.

• My professional life involves looking at a lot of red team caps.

So when Sridhar told me about his friends who’d stopped wearing their red caps, I was really surprised. When I asked about the phenomenon on Uni Watch and on Twitter, I was even more surprised by the volume of responses. And while I was working on the story, I sometimes mentioned to friends, “I’m working on this story about people who’ve stopped wearing their favorite red caps because…” and then my friends would finish the sentence for me: “Oh, because of the MAGA thing?” That surprised me too. And since the article has been published, even more people have told me, “Oh, yeah, I leave my red hats in the closet now.” By now I probably shouldn’t be surprised anymore — but I still am! I honestly had no idea and didn’t see any of this coming.

In short: If I had any confirmation bias, it was the other way around. Like, “This isn’t really a thing, is it?” But it is.

Isn’t this just a fringe phenomenon, and you’re making it seem bigger than it is by writing about it in The New York Times?

To be clear, nobody’s claiming that a majority of fans have put aside their red hats. But the volume of responses I’ve received from all areas of the country suggest that it’s not just a fringe trope either. Moreover, the article includes a quote from a retail manager who said his distributors have told him that red caps are problematic now. I could have quoted several other industry sources who told me the same thing. An additional industry source contacted me after the article came out to confirm the same point. It’s clearly more than just something on the fringes. Again, nobody is more surprised by this than I am.

Team caps are high-profile and have the MLB logo on the back. MAGA hats are slouchy and strapback. Anyone can tell the difference!

Not everyone out there is as attuned to the nuances of cap culture as you and I are. Also, not every team cap is an authentic New Era 5950. There are plenty of team caps from other licensees, slouchy team caps, strapback/snapback team caps, fashion team caps, and so on.

Anyone who can’t read the difference between a team logo and the words “Make America Great Again” must be an idiot.

One of the people I interviewed for this story was a self-described “visibly queer woman” from Wisconsin. I ended up not being able to quote her in the article because she wouldn’t give me permission to use her name due to fears of harassment and possible employer reprisal (and the Times wouldn’t allow me to quote her anonymously), but she had some interesting things to say about differentiating between red hats:

We’re not so stupid that we can’t tell the difference, or can’t read a logo. But from a distance, or from the back or the side, sometimes it’s hard to tell right away. And that’s what it usually is — a flicker, a moment, until you know for sure.

But that uncertainty is uncomfortable, and, depending on where you are and who you’re with, can be very, very scary. Because I know someone dedicated enough to Trumpism to purchase and wear a MAGA hat sees my rights as less than theirs, which they are able to do because they don’t see me as as much of an American, as much of a human being, as they are. It creates a momentary fight-or-flight reaction. Do I have to move to the other side of the bar? Do I have to leave the bar?

When I get close enough to read the red hat, I either leave (MAGA hat) or breathe a sigh of relief and ask them how they feel about the upcoming football season (Nebraska hat).

This article doesn’t seem very balanced. You quoted way more anti-Trump people than pro-Trump people.

Well, it’s an article about a social phenomenon that happens to be anti-Trump, so of course it has more anti-Trump (or at least anti-MAGA) voices. Think of it this way: If you were reading an article about a Trump campaign rally, would you expect to see many pro-Elizabeth Warren people quoted in it? If you read an article about left-handed people, would you expect to see many right-handed people quoted in it? If you read an article about even numbers, would you expect it have much discussion of odd numbers?

And so on. Some topics, simply by virtue of their nature, don’t invite equal coverage of both sides. But that doesn’t mean that an article with an unbalanced number of voices is inherently unfair. I happen to think this article is a very fair examination of the phenomenon.

(Also: I wanted to quote someone from the Trump campaign, so they could weigh in on all of this, but they didn’t respond to my request for comment.)

Anyone who lets a politician decide which hat to wear is an idiot.

That’s certainly one point of view. And I quoted someone in the article who said precisely that.

It’s sad that things have come to this.

You’ll get no argument from me on that point.

The article says that New Era, ’47, and Lids never got back to you when you contacted them. Why do you think that is?

It wasn’t surprising. Requesting comment from them was basic due diligence on my part (I contacted each of them multiple times), but I didn’t really expect them to respond. It’s a no-win topic for them — no matter what they said, they’d run the risk of pissing off somebody or appearing to take sides. Safer to just stay silent, so that’s what they did. (I appreciated that Dick’s Sporting Goods did get back to me, although only to say, “No comment.”)

There are two spots in the article where you refer to “a reporter.” Was that you, or someone else?

That was me. It’s standard Times protocol for reporters to refer to themselves in the third person for news articles. Since this piece was for the “Styles” section, which is less rigid, I probably could have gotten away with a few first-person references, but this is a politically charged topic, so I wanted to remove myself from the text as much as possible and just be an observer and a conduit.

How long did the article take you?

It was a few days of laying the groundwork (i.e., putting out the queries on Uni Watch and Twitter, creating a pitch letter, etc.), and then a little more than a week of active work — sifting through the hundreds of emails I had received, deciding which people to follow up with, doing phone interviews, shaping the story.

There were two more days of follow-up work as part the editing process. I got one last quote on Friday night, just a few hours before the story went live on the web. The print version had already gone to press by that point, so the web and print versions are different. (The print version also has a factual error in one of the photo captions. I didn’t see the photos or captions until the piece went live on the web, so I was able to get them to fix the caption on the web version but it was too late for the print version. Grrrrr.)


I think that’s it. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask in today’s comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

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Assorted reminders: In case you missed it on Friday, I had some big announcements:

• First, as you can see at right, we have a new uni-versary item — a Uni Watch 20th-anniversary commemorative dinner plate (because 20 years is traditionally the “China anniversary”) — and I don’t mind saying it looks pretty damn cool. We’re now taking pre-orders. Full details here.

• Second, the results of our Bengals-redesign challenge are now available for your enjoyment.

• And last but not least, my free agency will soon come to an end, because next month I’ll be signing on as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated. Full details here.

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One last Bouton/Ball Four item: For those who were asking (or just wondering), audio recordings of the tribute to Jim Bouton and Ball Four that I participated in last week are now available.

The audio is in two parts. The first part has Fangraphs baseball writer Jay Jaffe, Bouton biographer Mitch Nathanson, and then my segment begins at the 36:10 mark.

The second part has Field of Schmes author Neil deMause and Forbes sportswriter Nick Diunte.


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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Marlins P Jordan Yamamoto, who is from Hawaii, had the Hawaiian phrase “Kū Kia’i Mauna” written on his hat yesterday. The phrase is support of those protesting against the building of a telescope on Mauna Kea. Yamamoto had something else written on the opposite side of his hat, but I can’t tell what it is (from Jakob Fox). … The Reds wore 1961 throwbacks yesterday. Several players went bare-armed, including 3B Eugenio Suarez and OF Yasiel Puig. … The Astros and Rangers both wore blue yesterday (from multiple readers). … SportsLogos.net posted pictures of all the caps worn by each of the new Hall of Fame inductees (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … The Battle Creek (Mich.) Bombers, a team in the collegiate summer Northwoods League, wore 1995 throwbacks to a minor-league team that used to play in the city, the Michigan Battle Cats (from Kary Klismet). … Several players in the Korea Baseball Organization’s all-star game appeared wearing either costumes or less-obvious uniform variations (from Jeremy Brahm). … Louis Orangeo, one of the people quoted in Paul’s “Mistaken for MAGA” article, plays on a co-ed New Jersey softball team called Trump Train. They have pro-Trump jerseys with Trump-themed NOBs (others not shown include “Build the Wall,” “Covfefe,” and “Little Rocket Man”). “When we wear these jerseys in public, we get nothing but love and compliments on them,” he says. “Maybe folks find them too ridiculous to take seriously.”

Football News: Arkansas freshman TE Hudson Henry is apparently wearing “Hud. Henry” as an NOB. Sean Patton tells us that the NOB distinguishes Henry from his brothers Hayden, who is a linebacker on the team, and Hunter, who plays for the Chargers. … Kevin Clark found a Bears-themed vending machine at, of all places, the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. … JetBlue Airways has a plane with a Jets-themed livery which has not been updated with the new logo (from Kevin Corcoran).

Hockey News: Reader Chris Blackstone‘s brother found this Oilers jersey at a thrift store. Judging by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association tag on the inside and the stripe pattern at the bottom, which the NHL Oilers did not use, Chris thinks it belonged to the WHL’s early-’80s Kamloops Jr. Oilers, who were the only major junior team to use the Oilers name. … The “military appreciation” alternate has spread to college club teams — in this case, Georgia’s.

Basketball News: It looks like Maryland’s uniforms have been updated to be less state-flag themed (from M.J. Kurs-Lasky). … New court for Incarnate Word (from Zach Faust).

Soccer News: Teams releasing new kits or shirts include English League Two’s Salford City, League One’s Portsmouth (both from Josh Hinton), Turkish team Trabzonspor’s second kit with an elaborate video (from Josh Hartle), and Swiss team FC Zürich. Portsmouth’s pictures tell us, if we didn’t know already, that the English Football League’s NOB/number treatment in support of the mental health charity Mind is apparently back for a second season. … Adidas has created a bizarre-looking warm-up shirt for this season that you can already see on Italian team Juventus and Dutch team Feyenoord (also from Josh Hinton). … Astros/Rangers wasn’t the only blue-vs.-blue matchup of the day: Scottish teams St. Johnstone (white shorts) and Ross County did the same. … English club Lewes pride themselves on paying their men’s and women’s teams equally — though the men’s team is in the seventh tier and the women in the second — and both teams have been wearing “Equality FC” patches in the NOB position and on the sleeve during preseason. … Scottish team Motherwell said that their new advertiser is the same bookmaker that “advertises” for Huddersfield, so their shirts also won’t have ads this season. While this campaign obviously comports with a goal of Uni Watch’s, I still think it can’t be taken as anything other than self-serving for the bookmaker, especially after the Huddersfield stunt.

Grab Bag: NASCAR driver Alex Bowman did not have a usable car for yesterday’s race after his primary and backup cars both crashed, so teammate Jimmie Johnson’s backup was converted into a third car for Bowman (from Ryan Crimson). … Two more motorsports items from David Firestone: NASCAR team Richard Childress Racing has a new T-shirt showing its variations of No. 3 over the years; the number has not been used by another team since 1975. … The title advertiser of Formula One team Haas F1 is an English energy drink manufacturer of questionable existence that claimed it “sacked the team for poor performance” about 10 days ago, but its logo still appeared on the Haas cars at last week’s British Grand Prix. … Rob Yasinsac attended the recent Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts and spotted someone wearing a 2019 Purp Walk shirt during the Feelies’ set. … “We’ve spent the last week watching a lot of Apollo 11 programming,” says John Muir. “This reenacted POV shot from the PBS documentary 8 Days showed a mission task list for the lunar surface on the sleeve Neil Armstrong’s space suit. The first thing my wife said was that it looked like a quarterback’s play-calling wristband.”

We Are Bum-Ble-Bee: Bucs Throwback To 1979

By Phil Hecken

Last evening, the Pittsburgh Pirates — clad in their mono-black 1979 throwbacks — hosted the Philadelphia Phillies and celebrated their 1979 World Series winning team. The disco hit “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge was used as the team’s theme song that season.

This is actually not the first time the Pirates have worn mono-black throwbacks (that happened on June 26, 2010, against the mono-gold clad A’s in Oakland). You can see more photos of that game here. It was, however, at least in my limited research, the first time the Bucs have gone mono-black at home in a throwback game.

The reason I linked to the 2010 game is because of the contrast: granted, this was before makers marks appeared all over the unis and caps, but that 2010 game was completely makers-mark free, and both teams went high-cuffed, showing off gorgeous stirrups (also, the Pirates caps contained two “Stargell Stars”). Those weren’t perfect throwbacks, but they sure beat what we saw last evening. I hate to critique throwback games, but they sure are more enjoyable when the little details are correct.

Onto last night’s game. Here’s a look at what the Pirates were sporting (the Phillies were also in period-appropriate throwbacks — powder blue roadies — but they’ve been wearing those as Thursday night throwbacks all season long).

Well. Not a stirrup in sight (ugh), as everyone pictured above went low-cuffed. And of course there were the makers marks. And obviously the Pirates never wore a sleeve patch in the year they won the World Series commemorating said event (which is fine, but not true to the original uni). And those pants stripes…unfortunately they were far too thin as compared to what the team wore during the bumblebee era (check out Bill Henderson’s graphic below for comparison):

I didn’t see this game on TV, but from the many photos I saw, I didn’t see one stirrup-clad player, although at least one Pirate did go high cuffed…with interesting hosiery:

Disappointing to say the least, but I guess not entirely unexpected. With a gametime temperature hovering around 90 degrees and a heat index much higher, I’m actually surprised so few players didn’t at least go high cuffed, as it would probably be cooler than going pajama-pantsed. Or maybe they were all wearing golf socks underneath and thought that was cooler still.

As for the Phillies, they wore their own throwbacks — which they have been wearing all season long — the powder blue beauties. Didn’t see any high-cuffery there either. Well, except for Bryce Harper, who did sport some crisp rups.

As mentioned above, the franchise was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their 1979 World Series winning team, and they did invite back surviving members and relatives from that squad. Remembrances of those who have passed were on the scoreboard.

Speaking of scoreboards, they went “retro” with those, using a dot-matrix imagery:

Nice touch. And I’m sure the ceremony honoring the ’79 “We Are Fam-a-lee” World Champs was moving. I just wish the throwback matchup could have been a bit more visually appealing.

Here’s a couple action shots:

You can see more game photos here.

Aside from the Expos/Nationals throwback from a couple weeks ago, the next big throwback game — perhaps the most-awaited throwback of the season — comes next Saturday when the Phillies will don their mono-maroon “Saturday Night Special” uniforms, which were worn only one time in 1979. Lets hope they get those correct!

Lax ASG Goes Tie Dye!

The PLL (that’s “Premier Lacrosse League”) will play its All Star Game today, and both sides will be sporting tie dye jerseys, like the one shown above.

Here’s how the press release tells it…

We’re excited to introduce the 2019 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) All-Star Game adidas uniforms. The Los Angeles-inspired designs will make their on-field debut on Sunday, July 21 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Celebrating the host city, the new uniforms pay homage to L.A. streetwear by bringing the latest trends in fashion to the field. Showcasing the fusion of sport and culture, the design mixes the speed and flow of the game with a retro look that is highlighted by eye-catching colorways in a tie-dye pattern.

Now, I’m a big, nay…HUGE…fan of tie dye (I may not be a sports jersey collector, but I do own my fair share of dyes), and I have been since high school. I’m also a big Deadhead — not that one necessarily has anything to do with the other, but fans of the band also seem to be fans of dyes. So, when I saw the “white” PLL jersey, I got a little bit excited, because it’s a pretty nice pattern…

Looks like the shorts will be tie dyed as well:

Unfortunately, the “dark” jersey won’t be nearly as colorful, with basically a black/gray tie dye pattern, with the logo taking on the “colorful” dye look:

I think the “white” unis, at least for a one-off game, look really sharp, and give me hope that one day a professional team will use a similar pattern/set of colors. See, as much as I like tie dye, I’m not really sure it will ever look good on a uni — which is why (many of you are saying “THANK GOD”) its been so rarely used in sports.

The most famous example of tie dye is probably the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, who wore this for their qualifying games (the uniforms were donated by the Grateful Dead):

In the year of the USA’s “Dream Team,” Lithuania actually won bronze medals! (Yes, they wore “normal” basketball unis on the Olympic Court.)

As cool as that was, I never really liked the dye pattern (or colors). You may recall another basketball team that wore tie dye:

I’d say these were tie dye in about the loosest of ways, but again, not a great look.

I can only think of a couple other teams — Minor League Baseball and Hockey — who have worn tie dye. Here’s how the Eugene Emeralds and Asheville Tourists looked (I think there may have been others), and also the Kalamazoo Wings — but that was an actual tribute to the Dead. Unfortunately, none of these has really looked that good to me, and I love dyes.

Maybe it’s best the tie dye phenomenon(?) never caught on for sports unis. But that’s because there’s never been a really good looking one (until now). I totally dig the white PLL ASG unis!

As an (almost non-sequitur) aside: I once proposed (or rather, inquired about) a Uni Watch t-shirt in tie dye (and of course, it would be in green and gold) and was informed by Paul that such an idea was basically DOA. Maybe I’d have been the only purchaser, but I’d still love to see one. Maybe I’ll just DIY my own UW dye. It’ll be the only way it sees the light of day.

Anyhoo — I’m just curious what you guys think of tie dye uniforms in general, and these in particular. If some team came up with a decent looking one…would you think it might some day become an actual alternate possibility?

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: “Goose Tatum, 1946” (color study)
Subject: Goose Tatum, 1946
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”

Reece “Goose” Tatum is probably best remembered for his 11-year run with the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1940s and ’50s. Signed by Abe Saperstein in 1942, he was an unparalleled ambassador for basketball, performing for dignitaries around the world while blending his superb abilities as an athlete (he was a three-sport athlete in high school) with a showman’s charisma.

Tatum also played in the Negro American League with the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons, before landing with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1943. Valued highly for both his comedic and baseball prowess, Clowns owner Syd Pollock marketed him heavily as the star of the club. In fact, it was thought that as a first baseman, Tatum was good enough to play in the white leagues, but had little interest. He was paid handsomely for his exploits on the diamond and the hardwood, and by the time he left the latter in the mid-1950s, he was making well over $50,000 annually.

Here he is pictured as a 25-year-old with the Clowns in 1946, lit stogie in his mouth and a mischievous look in his eyes.

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.

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).

• • •

Occasionally I’ll have some concepts tweeted at me. This one comes from C. Todd Davis, who was a day late (and maybe a few pennies short) of Paul’s recent Sports Illustrated Bengals redesign contest:

Missed out on the @uniwatch + @PhilHecken Bengals redesign deadline, but couldn’t resist putting my spin on an update. Logo to come.

Humbly + to help me improve, would love any critique from @ToddRadom @conradburry @iambrianbegley whose work I admire.

• • •

Thanks. OK readers, tweeters (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.

Li’l Help?

Hey guys…

As you’re all (hopefully) aware, Paul is once again scheduled to take his monthlong sabbatical from Uni Watch during August. As always, I hope to fill each day with new and good uni-content, but sometimes there just isn’t that much uni news. That’s where you guys come in.

I’d love to feature some articles from you, the readers, as I have during past Augusts. So if there is a uni-related subject or topic you feel passionately about, and would like to share with your fellow obsessive students of the athletic aesthetic, give me a shout at Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com and we can discuss the parameters. Many of you have submitted guest pieces in the past, and some of them have been really outstanding.

OK? OK! Gimme a shout — let’s make August a uni-ficent month!

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).

This one might be a tad tricker than most, but you should be easily able to narrow it down from the obvious location and teams playing. The rest is just detective work!

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.

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, I had some big announcements:

• First, the results of our Bengals-redesign challenge are now available for your enjoyment.

• Second, we are taking pre-orders on a new uni-versary item — a Uni Watch 20th-anniversary commemorative dinner plate (because 20 years is traditionally the “China anniversary”). Full details here.

• And last but not least, my free agency will soon come to an end, because next month I’ll be signing on as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated. Full details here.

Okay, handing the baton back to Phil now. Have a great weekend!

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: “Check out this video from YouTube about the Braves 1982 season hosted by Red Barber,” writes John Moore. “At around 25:20, highlights of the Braves’ 9th game are shown. Behind the plate the umpire is wearing an Astros jacket and what appears to be Astros pants along with catchers leg guards. In the comment section there is discussion that the home plate umpire’s luggage was lost before the game.” … If you don’t watch Mets games (and I’m quickly falling into that category), here’s something you might now know: Dominic Smith often loses his helmet when running and it almost always happens during a home run trot (from James Beattie). Here’s more on that (from Mike Chamernik). … Yesterday, the Astros had commemorative signs on bases in honor of the Apollo 11 50th anniversary (from Ignacio Salazar). … The Richmond Flying Squirrels were one of several teams who celebrated the moon landing with special unis (via Paul). Here’s another look. … The FreshDougLife has performed excellent logo removal on this Montreal Expos cap. … Today the Reds will have another of their many throwback games, and they will be wearing these excellent caps (from Steve Hemsath). … Going to extremes? Toronto Blue Jays Danny Jansen performed an in-game mustache shave (from Adam Vitcavage). Apparently it worked! … Also from Adam, check out this sweet Scranton Miners uni found at an estate sale in…Scranton PA. … Oooohhh: Check out this classic 1950’s era Rochester Red Wings jacket found in The Haight! (From Dennis Alpert). I’m actually checking out some of those tees behind it too. … Talk about awesome monochrome throwbacks: Next Saturday, the Phillies will wear these all-burgundy uniforms they wore for one night in 1979. Yes, they have zippers instead of buttons. Braves will also wear throwbacks (from The 4-for-4 show). … Check out Kolton Wong’s shoes from last night (from Baseball Minutia). … Speaking of the Rochester Red Wings (from a couple ticker items up…): nice looking stirrups from Devin Smeltzer with the Rochester Red Wings (from Matthew Caldwell). … Last evening, the Akron RubberDucks sported “Shawshank Redemption” unis honoring the film’s 25th anniversary! (via Paul)

Football News: Notre Dame has announced a “Green Out” for their October game against the USC Trojans — whether or not the team will wear green jerseys remains to be seen. … Here’s a look at Rutgers football jerseys with the 150 patch, but submitter broc asks “matte red helmets for Rutgers. This new?” … “Hate the Eagles, but love the saying on this hat. ‘The Vet… Pride, Pretzels, Prison’,” writes Frank McGuigan.

Hockey News: Montreal Canadiens hockey fan Mike Engle writes, “New signee Nick Cousins takes #21, last worm by his new teammate Nate Thompson, who is apparently moving to his more familiar #44. Why Nate didn’t get #44 straight away, I don’t know, as it looked available last year.”

Basketball News: Here’s a good read on a great designer: Ben Barnes is the Utah man behind some of sports’ most recognizable logos and jerseys — including the Jazz’s. … Hmmm. When the Chicago Bulls tweeted this photo showing “One of the freshest and cleanest alternate jersey designs in NBA history,” that got Johnny Griswold to wonder if this might be a tease of an alternate to come. … This is cool: a timelapse of the Lakota Gym resurfacing (from Beau Parsons).

Soccer News: As always there has been extensive soccer coverage by Josh Hinton on the twitter. Be sure to check out all his tweets. And of course don’t forget to check the feed of Ed Żelaski for even more soccer updates. … This article claims to contain very confirmed and leaked shirt for 2019/20 season revealed so far, including Liverpool’s ‘city-inspired’ third kit.

Grab Bag: Currently signed with adidas, Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas hinted that he could enter into a sponsorship contract with clothing and equipment manufacturer New Balance (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke, following up on yesterday’s lede featuring the patches of the Apollo Program, the Brinke-man shared his own, personal collection. … The University of North Carolina have some new wrestling singlets (from James Gilbert).

A Detailed Look At The Apollo Program Patches

By Phil Hecken, with Marc Mayntz

50 years ago today, humankind accomplished what was once thought impossible: putting a man on the moon and safely returning him home (actually — it was two men who walked on the moon), with the Apollo Program set in motion years earlier by President John F. Kennedy. Most of us know of this event, even if we weren’t alive for it (I was three and a half when the landing happened, so, alas, I have no memory of it — I do remember subsequent moon landings, but not the first). In fact, we actually successfully landed on the moon six different times, and I can remember watching latter ones with my family as we sat in front of a 19″ black and white television. Growing up, I thought we’d been going to the moon for my entire life (when in reality it was a very small 3+ year period) and never understood why we didn’t go back. Ahh, to be that young and naive again. But there were many Apollo missions, and all of them had special patches (as did other space programs). Today, reader Marc Mayntz had a fantastic “off-uni” piece for us as he takes a look back at the patches worn by the Astronauts of the Apollo Program. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Here’s Marc…

• • • • •

Apollo Mission Patches
By Marc Mayntz

July 20, 1969 is a milestone in the history of humanity. At 10:56 EDT, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of another astronomical body. Fifty years later, the Apollo Program and the 6 lunar landings stand unsurpassed in their technical complexity, ingenuity, and daring.

In the Universe of the “uni-verse,” Apollo was notable for the patches associated with each mission. The patches were originally a sign of crew camaraderie during the Gemini program, a way of memorializing and personalizing the mission at hand. Today, mission patches (especially authentic ones from support personnel) are treasured souvenirs and collectibles amongst space fans.

With the whole world watching, it was important for each patch to be meaningful and symbolic on a very small canvas, but not be so flamboyant as to be distracting. What resulted was a collection of images that expressed hope, purpose, and humanity in several different ways.
A lot of the information comes from NASA’s Human Space Flight Mission Patch Handbook, which is a handy resource for all 168 mission patches from the unofficial Mercury ones through the Space Shuttle missions. The images are mainly from NASA’s historical archives and old Associated Press photos.

• • •

Apollo 1 (27 January 1967)

Designer: Allen Stevens, North American Aviation

The “shakedown” flight of the new Apollo capsule ended in tragedy when a fire broke out and suffocated Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. The patch is the first mission patch to explicitly use the American Flag in any way. The Moon is in the background, noting it as the ultimate goal of the program. As a result of “The Fire,” this is the only mission patch that was actually embroidered. All other patches were silkscreened onto the crew’s fire-resistant clothing.

• • •

Apollo 7 (11-22 October 1968)

Designer: Allen Stevens, North American Aviation

Despite NASA’s reputation for procedure and conformity, there was no regulation choosing Arabic or Roman numerals for flights. This flight tested the new designs that were implemented in the wake of Apollo 1, represented by the new command and service modules orbiting the Earth. The story of the rocket flame trailing behind the rocket as representing Apollo 1 is apocryphal with no basis in fact. The astronauts’ names are prominently displayed as well as the Western Hemisphere of the Earth.

• • •

Apollo 8 (21-27 December 1968)

Designers: Jim Lovell, Astronaut/Bill Bradley, Artist/Gene Rickman, Artist

Personally, I think this is the best mission patch of the 12, with so much information packed into one space. The blue field matches the silhouette of the command module as well as vaguely forming an “A.” The red “8” not only features the astronauts’ names but also shows the actual flight path of the capsule.

For me, the neatest detail is the Earth and Moon are shown together, but as three dimensional bodies and astronomically accurate since both are depicted in the same phase as they would appear to an observer in space. In fact, the Galileo spacecraft did exactly that on 16 December 1992 on its way to Jupiter, taking a picture of the Earth and Moon together.

• • •

Apollo 9 (3-13 March 1969)

Designer: Allen Stevens, North American Aviation

This is the first patch to feature three spacecraft at once (The Saturn V rocket, the Command module “Gumdrop”, and the Lunar Module “Spider”). Notice how the interior of the “D” on mission commander Jim McDivitt’s name is red and not blue? NASA denoted every pre-landing mission with a letter. The “B” mission would only occur if the “A” mission was a success, and so on. Apollo 9 was the first test of the lunar lander–the “D” mission. This was the only lunar lander not to leave Earth orbit, but its success paved the way for the “E” mission to follow.

• • •

Apollo 10 (18-26 May 1969)

Designers: Gene Cernan, Astronaut/John Young, Astronaut/Allen Stevens, North American Aviation

The dominant Roman Numeral X pulls double duty, not only supplying the mission number, but also the metaphorical “X marking the spot” on the surface of the Moon. The perspective has completely reversed from Apollo 1-now Earth is in the background. This is the dress rehearsal for the landing, showing the lunar lander “Snoopy” (noticeably without legs showing no landing was attempted) separated from the command module “Charlie Brown.”

• • •

Apollo 11 (16-24 July 1969, Moon landing 20 July 1969)

Designers: Jim Lovell, Astronaut/Mike Collins, Astronaut

Of course, this is by far the most famous mission and most recognizable Apollo mission patch. The astronauts knew that this symbol would be heavily scrutinized and made sure everything was aesthetically perfect. First, this is one of only 4 mission patches in NASA history with no astronaut names whatsoever. This was done deliberately by the astronauts as to represent all the people who worked to reach the Moon and, in a larger respect, all of humanity. The bald eagle represents the lunar lander (“The Eagle has landed.”) as well as a subtle acknowledgement that the United States accomplished the feat. The Earth looks on in the background, again representing the human race. The olive branch along with the blue circle encompassing the scene represents the peaceful exploration of the Moon while the gold lettering and outside circle represent the completion of the ultimate goal set by President Kennedy.

• • •

Apollo 12 (14-24 November 1969, Moon landing 19 November 1969)

Designer: Victor Craft, Artist

A rocket-powered Yankee Clipper ship? There could be nothing less for the all-Navy crew (and the name of the command module). The Ocean of Storms on the lunar surface is accurately represented below and the destination of the Lunar Module Intrepid. The four prominent stars represent the three astronauts named on the patch as well as Astronaut Clifton Williams, who was originally scheduled to be the Lunar Module Pilot of the mission but died in a plane crash two years earlier.

• • •

Apollo 13 (11-17 April 1970, Moon landing aborted)

Designer: Lumen Winter, Artist/Norman Tiller, Artist

This was the first patch to acknowledge the mythological roots of the program’s name. Apollo, the Sun God, is represented here as a blazing sun pulled by three horses (the astronauts). Instead of the names Lovell, Swigert, and Haise, the Latin phrase “Ex Luna, Scientia” which means “From the Moon, Knowledge.” This patch is probably the boldest patch design of the 12. Unfortunately, the mission itself did not meet its expected goals, as the spacecraft was crippled by an explosion. The “Successful Failure” was made into the 1995 blockbuster film “Apollo 13.”

• • •

Apollo 14 (31 January-9 February 1971, Moon landing 5 February 1971)

Designer: Jean Bealieu, Artist

By the time Apollo 14 lifted off to accomplish Apollo 13’s mission, NASA had cut the last three missions to the Moon for political and budgetary reasons. Commanded by Alan Shepard (the first American in space and Chief of the Astronaut Office), the mission patch uses the astronaut lapel pin to represent the astronauts who were qualified, but would not now be allowed, to make the trip to the Moon. A silver lapel pin is given to astronauts upon their acceptance into the Astronaut Corps; astronauts who fly in space are given a gold one as pictured in the mission patch.

• • •

Apollo 15 (26 July-7 August 1971, Moon landing 30 July 1971)

Designers: Emilio Pucci, Designer/Jerry Elmore, Artist

I admit that this is my least favorite design. First, it is very plain. It hits the required elements (moon surface, red, white, and blue, three “birds” flying, names, mission number) but not much else. The only thing of real note is the hidden “XV” on the lunar surface (between the red left wing and right blue wing of the “birds”). Most of all this is a missed opportunity because Apollo 15 was the debut of the Lunar Rover – the ultimate dune buggy, how could that NOT be on the patch? Oh well.

• • •

Apollo 16 (16-27 April 1972, Moon landing 20 April 1972)

Designers: John Young, Astronaut/Ken Mattingly, Astronaut/Charlie Duke, Astronaut/Barbara Matelski, NASA Artist

The Apollo 16 crew wanted their mission patch to represent patriotism, teamwork and the Moon, and the finished product certainly hits all those criteria. The patriotic iconography is unmistakable with the eagle perched on the red, white, and blue shield. The gold wings are taken from the NASA seal to represent the agency working together to make the mission happen, and all of this is in the foreground above the lunar surface. Like their predecessor, the mission number is denoted two ways with the 16 stars surrounding the roundel.

• • •

Apollo 17 (7-19 December 1972, Moon landing 11 December 1972)

Designers: Gene Cernan, Astronaut/Ronald Evans, Astronaut/Harrison Schmitt, Astronaut Geologist/Robert McCall, Artist

The final Moon landing featured probably the most complex mission patch of the entire program, full of symbolism. Starting with Apollo himself, he is joined by a futuristically rendered American eagle (with 3 stars representing the crew). The previous lunar landings are represented by the eagle’s wing barely touching the Moon’s surface in the top of the insignia. More significantly is how Apollo and the eagle are looking at Saturn and a galaxy, indicating the future direction of human spaceflight towards the other planets and the stars.

• • •

This closes a remarkable chapter in human history, when we actively sent people to another world. It is planned that by 2024 we will return people to the Moon with the Artemis (Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo) program using the new Space Launch System. Along with curiosity and bravery, those astronauts will hopefully be as creative with their mission patches as their predecessors half a century previously to add to this wonderful collection.

• • • • •

Thanks Marc! Great job on this. OK you uni/space geeks, this one’s for you! Please thank Marc for his efforts and if you have any moon landing stories, today’s the day to share them in the comments below!

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 reader Brian Forosisky, who has a Pittsburgh NBA concept:

Hey Phil!

Been toying around with a Pittsburgh NBA team – Always wanted to see what that would look like. Very Pittsburgh – No team mascot, just The Burgh / City of Bridges Basketball. Gotta go black and gold, right? Side panels incorporate the blue / white checkered pattern from the City of Pittsburgh coat of arms.

Apologies to Mavs fans – We got Luka.


Brian Forosisky

• • •

Thanks Brian. 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 Thomas J. Brennan.

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).

Tom provided a detailed explanation of this game, and it could be tricky for you guys to identify exactly (if for some reason you don’t get it, I’ll post his explanation at the end of the day). But I’ve got confidence in you…

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.

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, I had some big announcements:

• First, the results of our Bengals-redesign challenge are now available for your enjoyment.

• Second, we are taking pre-orders on a new uni-versary item — a Uni Watch 20th-anniversary commemorative dinner plate (because 20 years is traditionally the “China anniversary”). Full details here.

• And last but not least, my free agency will soon come to an end, because next month I’ll be signing on as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated. Full details here.

Okay, handing the baton back to Phil now. Have a great weekend!

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: The Pirates are throwing it back tonight in honor of the ’79 World Series (from Seunghoon Han). … The Yankee Stadium grounds crew installed the wrong base for last night’s game. Check the date, guys! (from Steve Tilders). … Oh man, check out the unis in this 1982 footage of the Cracker Jack Old Timers Baseball Classic. It appears the National Leaguers are wearing totally blank grey jerseys with blue “N” caps, while the American Leaugers are wearing what appear to be Reds-inspired unis with “American” across the front. … A lot was made about Phillies OF Bryce Harper wearing a Philly Phanatic headband during Thursday night’s game. But it turns out he was wearing it upside down (great spot by Gabriel Billig). … The Dodgers will reveal the 2020 All-Star Game logo on Tuesday (from Mike Chamernik). … Check out the T-shirts the A’s have unveiled for this year’s Heritage Night! Love the detail of putting the apostrophe “ס” placed to the left of the “א,” matching Hebrew’s right-to-left writing system (from Alex Graber). … The Rockies’ official game notes page breaks down the team’s record by jersey (from Matt Porges). … Also posted in the soccer section: the Giants and Portuguese side Benfica gifted each other jerseys (from @mikeDfromCT). … In the newest edition of Professional Baseball Spirits, the official video game of NPB, you can double c-guard your character’s face (from Jeremy Brahm). … A new independent baseball league, the Western Association of Professional Baseball, has unveiled their league logos (from John Cerone).

College/High School Football News: New unis for Tennessee Tech (from Chad Fields). … Iowa State will add helmet decals of each player’s home state flag above the American flag decal (from Phillip Santos). … Here’s our first look at the CFB150 patch on Purdue’s unis (from Jarrod Campbell).

Hockey News: Hard to believe the Gorton’s fisherman Islanders logo would be one that’d get stolen, but we’re through the looking glass with this print shop’s logo (from Daniel Carroll).

NBA News: Jazz G Nigel Williams-Goss will wear no. 0 (from Etienne Catalan). … Also from Etienne: Suns C Frank Kaminsky III will wear no. 8.

College/High School Hoops News: Miami of Ohio has a new court. Here’s a slick time lapse video of the old court being replaced by the new (from Tim Abel and @kparker9200).

Soccer News: The biggest footballing news yesterday was UK betting company Paddy Power unveiling a fake Huddersfield shirt with a giant Paddy Power logo, and then Huddersfield revealing their real shirt, with no advertising at all. Turns out Paddy Power paid Huddersfield not to wear any advertiser logos as part of the ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign (from many, many readers). … In a related item, here’s a Twitter thread with all 20 Premier League clubs’ primary kits without advertising. I yearn for a Chevy-less United kit (from multiple readers). … You can catch Josh Hinton‘s daily download from his Twitter page, which includes links to Arsenal’s leaked third kit and Atlético Madrid’s freshly released away kit. … New third kit for German side Werder Bremen (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: Italian side Udinese are going GFGS for their third kit. More of Ed’s contributions can be found on his Twitter page. … Crossposted from the baseball section: the Giants and Portuguese side Benfica gifted each other jerseys (from @mikeDfromCT). … New West Ham United Women signing Jacynta Galabadaarachchi has a Saltalamacchian NOB (from @VictoryCB and Mark Coale). … Blackburn Rovers’ new away kit has been released.

Grab Bag: Argentina’s Rugby World Cup kits have been released (from Tim Dunn). … The Premier Lacrosse League sent us some glamour shots of their All-Star Game unis, and they’re tie dye for some reason. … Here are the field volunteer uniforms and city volunteer uniforms for the Tokyo Olympics next year (from Jeremy Brahm). … An artist in Buffalo paints fields with graduating high school athletes’ high school logo and college logo for graduation parties. … When Phil sent me an email with the subject line “vintage sports cars,” I thought he had me confused for someone else. I don’t even drive! But it turns out he sent me some pics of vintage toy cars, officially licensed by sports teams. Now that is cool.