Four weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee released the uniform guidelines and logo for the “OAR” team — that’s “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” At the time, we were told that the uniforms would be forthcoming in due time.
That time turned out to be yesterday, when the Russian sportswear company Zasport released a bunch of new uniform renderings. In addition to the ones shown above, there are these:
As you can see, Ralph Lauren won’t have to work too hard to outshine these designs at the opening ceremonies. But that’s by design — the whole point of the IOC guidelines was to keep the OAR uniforms as plain as possible.
It’s still not clear who’ll be wearing these uniforms, since the IOC hasn’t yet announced which Russian athletes, if any, have been certified doping-free. But we’ll reportedly be getting the word on that next week.
Meanwhile, has anyone heard anything about what the newly merged North/South Korea team will be wearing? I’m assuming there’s no way that the North athletes would wear the South’s uniforms, or vice-versa, so they’ll presumably have to come up with a new set of attire on the fly, right?
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Uni Watch Exclusive — NWHL All-Star Jerseys: The National Women’s Hockey League will hold its All-Star Game in Minnesota on Feb. 11, and Uni Watch has been given an exclusive first look at the jerseys. Additional info on the NWHL’s All-Star weekend is available here.
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The Ticker By Kris Gross
Baseball News: Reader Daniel Carroll received a postcard regarding his Mariners season tickets with this logo. “It’s the M’s primary mark, without any letters, and all white space filled in with teal, including the baseball in the center,” he says. “Never seen it before, struck me as odd.” … The Baseball Hall of Fame used an obvious reverse photo of Hall of Fame candidate Livan Hernandez on their website (from Andy Chalifour). … Enjoy this video from @Cut4 featuring the Orioles and Angels in 1999 on Turn Ahead the Clock night (from Nick). … A follow up to yesterday’s Ticker item about the Indianapolis Indians’ “6672” sleeve patch recognizing the shareholders that kept the team alive: Douglas Brei passed along a note that the Rochester Red Wings had a similar “8222” patch for the same reason. They also retired No. 8222 “in honor of former team President Morrie Silver, who spearheaded the ‘72-day Miracle’ community stock drive to purchase the team from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1956/57, effectively saving the oldest minor league franchise in all of professional sports.” … Mikey Brethauer spotted a fan wearing this Twins/Vikings mashup cap during Sunday’s Vikes/Saints game.
NFL News: Vicis has announced a price drop on their Zero1 helmet. As you’ll recall, the helmet’s price point was one of the issues that Vicis CEO Dave Marver discussed in his recent interview with Paul (thanks Phil). … Enjoy this time-lapse video of the Eagles re-sodding their field for the NFC Championship Game (thanks Phil). … The AFC Championship Game is between the Jags and… Celtics? Whoops! (from Robert Williams.) … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Mikey Brethauer spotted a fan wearing this Twins/Vikings mashup cap during Sunday’s Vikes/Saints game. … With the Vikings and Eagles set to face off for the NFC title this Sunday, here’s a look back at a memorable game between those two teams 40 years ago (from Mark Wilkes).
College Football News: This video shows Ohio State players getting custom-fitted for their helmets (from Moe Khan). … Here are some radical uniform redesigns (thanks Phil). … An interesting note from Andrew Cosentino: Half of Virginia Tech’s opponents in 2018 wear gold helmets.
Hockey News: Goalie Joonas Korpisalo was recently called up to the Blue Jackets, and it looks like the equipment staff ran out of Ks (from Ted Levin). … March 24 is Nickelodeon Night with the San Jose Barracuda, AHL affiliate of the Sharks (thanks Phil).
NBA News: Most of the recent NBA team redesigns have been handled by Rare Design, a small branding firm in Mississippi. Here’s a good interview with their CEO (from Jeremy Dalton). … Cross-listed from the NFL section: The AFC Championship Game is between the Jags and… Celtics? Whoops! (from Robert Williams.) … The Rockets gave away James Harden finger puppets last night (from @igTXSalazar).
College Hoops News: “Eye-scorching color versus color matchup for USC/Oregon” last night, says Andrew Cosentino. … K-State will wear lavender throwbacks on Saturday. … Colorado honored lacrosse player Julia Sarcona, who died in a car accident this past weekend, with jersey patches last night. … Michigan State women will wear grey and neon tomorrow. Woof. … Murray State and Belmont went color vs. color last night (from Josh Claywell).
Soccer News: Following the recent death of pioneering black player Cyrille Regis, all Premier League teams will wear black armbands this weekend. Regis will also be honored with a minute of applause (from Mark Caole).
The NHL season, which has been almost completely bereft of alternate uniforms, got a bit more uni-interesting yesterday, as the Capitals unveiled the design that they’ll be wearing for their Stadium Series game against the Maple Leafs on March 3.
The uniform is navy blue because the game will be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
In addition to the “Caps” nickname on the front (which I like), there’s also a big “W” on the side of the pants, with a hint of the Washington Monument at its peak:
That “W” sure looks big, right? But the press release explains that “each element of the Capitals’ visual identity has been emphasized to create bolder, more visually pronounced uniforms that are meant to make a statement and be more recognizable in the larger outdoor stadium setting.” Fair enough — but they’ve also included a really subtle detail that nobody will be able to see: a little perforation pattern on the rear numerals that’s “based on Pierre L’Enfant’s original grid plan for the city of Washington D.C.”:
Nobody’s going to be able to see that (except fans buying the jersey, which is obviously the whole point). Also, while the perforation pattern looks pretty nifty on an “8,” it won’t work as well on most other numerals. In short: another “storytelling” gimmick that should probably have been left on the cutting room floor. On the other hand, since it will be largely invisible anyway, it doesn’t do much harm.
Overall: Not bad at all.
While we’re at it: In yesterday’s comments, reader/commenter Rob S. said that what Caps fans really want is a jersey featuring the “weagle.” For those who don’t know, that’s this logo:
Personally, I’ve never liked that logo, mainly because I think it looks like a bird being impaled on one of those old oil cans.
Oh, and this might be a good time to mention that I think it’s funny that the Capitals’ marketing slogan this season is “ALL CAPS,” when their chest insignia — even on this new nickname-crested alternate jersey — features lowercase letters. But maybe I’m being too literalist, or insufficiently ironic, or something like that.
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Masterful: I have owned only one combination padlock in my life — this one. I got it in fourth grade — that’s 43 years ago — to lock up my bicycle, and then over the years it followed me to high school (where I used it for my gym locker), college (ditto), and adulthood. It’s all beat up, with most of the paint on the dial chipped off and the shank, which was once shiny, now oxidized to a deep brown. But it still works fine, and I kinda like the chipped paint and the brown shank. (I also like the word “shank.”)
These days I tend to go through long periods of not using the lock, but at the moment I’m in the midst of a two-month gym membership, so it was pressed back into service for the first time in a few years. Had no trouble remembering the combination. Dialing it up felt instantly familiar, like muscle memory.
I won’t tell you what the combination is, but I will say that the three-number sequence has always “made sense” to me in some intuitive way. I’ve felt the same way about most of the phone numbers and zip codes I’ve had over the years — they just feel right. Once we commit these number sequences to memory, we tend to find some internal logic or pattern in them, so that they seem almost obvious or self-evident.
The lock has a serial number on the back. Does that number match an index card or ledger entry somewhere deep in the dusty archives of the Master Lock offices, where they have the combination on file? I hope so. (And if that’s not how it works, please don’t shatter my illusion. Thanks.)
The dial has 40 numbers — 0 to 39. For a three-number combination sequence, that allows for 64,000 different combos, which isn’t really that many in the grand scheme of things. Master probably cranks out that many locks in a good weekend. That means there are lots of other locks out there with the same combination as mine. For some reason this disappoints me. I like to think that my lock is the only one. Hmmmm.
I can’t explain why I’m suddenly feeling sentimental about the lock, except that sometimes you just form an attachment to an object that’s been part of your life for so long, even something (or maybe especially something) as utilitarian as a padlock. Here’s hoping for another few decades together.
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The Ticker By Paul
’Skins Watch: The University of Utah gymnastics team has a new leotard design inspired by the Ute Indian tribe. Utah is among the handful of schools that have permission from local tribes to use Native imagery (from Ryan McDonald).
NFL News: Reader Mark McLean notes that the Patriots’ TV numbers often overlap onto the shoulder striping. “This seems to affect only smaller jerseys, usually worn by wide receivers, cornerbacks and running backs,” he says. … Good article on the company that launders the Eagles’ uniforms (from Patrick Bourque). … Whoa — check out this model of the Vikings’ stadium made out of 6,400 toothpicks! (Rare non-UNC-related item from James Gilbert.) … Gotta like this: a vintage cookbook, entitled Gridiron Gourmet, featuring recipes from “the American Football League Women’s Association” (great find by Jon Solomonson). … Diego Yanez did some mock-ups showing what it might look like if Pro Bowl jerseys used the custom number fonts from the players’ regular teams. … Lots of classic stuff in this seven-minute video report on the old WFL, including the yellow football, the position-specific pants, the crazy officials’ jerseys, and the Dickerod. Uni-related trivia bits that I hadn’t known: When one team couldn’t pay its laundry bills, the laundry company simply kept the jerseys, so the team couldn’t play. Another team had its gear repossessed to help pay off debts (from Dan Tarrant).
Soccer News: The LA Galaxy’s new home kit has leaked (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: The USL’s expansion team in Birmingham will be called Birmingham Legion FC. … One more from Ed: Handsome new home jersey, and new outfitter as well, for Universitario. … Gotta love this sensational Pittsburgh Spirit (MISL) promo video from 1982. “It shows the once-famous MISL orange game ball,” says Jeff Flynn. “Plus burned-out Civic Arena scoreboard lights where it spells ‘Spirit.’ Even shows the Civic Arena with the roof completely open!” … New ball for the NWSL (thanks, Jamie).
Grab Bag: North and South Korea will form a joint Olympic team for next month’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang. They will march and compete under one flag and wear one uniform. … This is pretty great: a website devoted to 45-rpm record adaptors — you know, those little plastic thingies (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … I only write about one check per month, for my rent, which means the box of checks in my desk drawer probably constitutes a near-lifetime supply. Still, these super-cool curling-themed checks are mighty tempting (from Steve Silverstein). … Slate.com, where I’ve written on and off over the years, has a new logo and site design. … Good story on how the Starbucks logo has an interesting asymmetry (from long-lost reader and onetime comments section stalwart Teebz — good to hear from you, buddy!). … Police in the UK are reportedly trying to raise some extra cash by selling off old uniforms, which has led some criminals to impersonate police officers. … Traffic police officers in the Indian city of Kolkata have begun wearing uniforms studded with LEDs, which are intended to make the officers more visible to drivers. … Pro golfer Rickie Fowler recently debuted a new Puma shoe design (from Zach Loesl).
For all of today’s images, you can click to enlarge
Today we have something very, very special — a 1965 promotional brochure from a company that made uniforms for stadium workers. It involves a lot of reading, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.
The brochure was sent to Denver Broncos assistant GM Paul Manasseh and later acquired by longtime Uni Watch reader Tom Jacobsen, one of the nation’s foremost collectors of Broncos memorabilia, who recently loaned the brochure to me. It was made by a now-defunct New York company called Saxony Clothes, which for many years had specialized in making uniforms for hotel and restaurant workers. Then, in the early 1960s, they decided to expand into stadium apparel. Here’s the cover letter that accompanied the brochure:
The first page of the brochure is a bit cheesy but sets the scene nicely and gives a bit of background on the company:
The next two pages describe how Saxony created uniforms for Shea Stadium, which had opened as the Mets’ new home the year before. Check this out:
The Shea attire was apparently a hit, because the next page in the brochure shows a bunch of newspaper articles referencing the new apparel:
I’m a lifelong Mets fan and was not aware of any of this. Some teams are famous for having had fancy employee uniforms back in the day, but I’d never heard anything like that regarding the Mets.
Let’s take a closer look at those newspaper clippings. Two of them are from The New York Times. Those were easy for me to track down. First there’s this one, from March 15, 1964:
And then there’s this one, from April 18, 1964. It mentions the “fetching usherettes” wearing “blue bowler hats, blazers of orange, white, and blue”:
There’s also a clip from the old Long Island Daily Press, a paper that went out of business in 1977. This clip is from April 15, 1964. Although it has no visuals, it has a bunch of good information about the stadium uniforms, including the name of the Saxony designer who created them:
There’s also a clip — it appears to be the back page — from the Aug. 24, 1964, edition of The New York Daily News. The News, somewhat surprisingly, does not have an online archive, and I haven’t had time to go to the main branch of the New York Public Library to look up the microfilm (anyone want to tackle that one?), but we can see most of the clip as it’s shown in the Saxony brochure. It appears to show Mets then-manager Casey Stengel with a bunch of usherettes wearing the Saxony uniforms:
Finally, there’s a clip from the now-defunct New York Journal-American. No online archive for that either, but here’s the portion of the clip that’s shown in the Saxony brochure:
That’s some serious Mets history right there!
But there’s a lot more in brochure. The next spread features the stadium apparel that Saxony prepared for Shea Stadium’s other tenants, the AFL’s New York Jets:
Unfortunately, the brochure does not show news clippings for the Jets attire (or for any of the other non-Mets designs).
Next up: Yankee Stadium, which was another Saxony client. Check it out:
When this brochure was sent out in 1965, the Angels were preparing to open Anaheim Stadium — the Big A — which would open its doors in 1966. Saxony was working on uniforms for them as well:
Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta was also getting set to open in 1966, and Saxony was working on designs for that too. This is the strangest spread in the brochure, as you can see here:
Obviously, that’s the early, late-1940s version of Chief Wahoo, not the Braves’ whooping Indian. Hard to understand how they got that wrong. (And yes, this version is even more unacceptably racist-looking than the current Wahoo.)
The brochure concludes with two spreads about uniforms for horse racing tracks — Pompano in Florida and Aqueduct
And that’s it. It’s a pretty remarkable document, and in pristine condition. Doubleplusthanks to Tom Jacobsen for sharing it with me. (Tom has also acquired lots of other interesting Broncos- and NFL-related documents, at least one of which is of major historical importance. I’ll be writing about that shortly for ESPN — stay tuned.)
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The Ticker By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Padres fans who want to #BringBackTheBrownwill have to wait until 2020 — at the earliest. More on that here (from Phil). … Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson was spotted on the links wearing a cap with “Mr. October” embroidered on the back (from Frank McGuigan). … Antiques Roadshow featured a 1914 Red Sox sweater on a recent episode (from James Gilbert). … We’ve covered this before, but Tim Donovan found this photo of former Indian Joe Charboneau wearing small “Press Star” patches. The Cleveland media would give out the award weekly to players as voted on by readers. … Dakota State University has new tequila sunrise-style jerseys for 2018 (from Paul D. Vold). … New uniforms for Missouri State University (from Austin Schick and Ben Gross). … The Giants Photoshopped recent acquisition Evan Longoria into a Giants jersey with his familiar No. 3. But Longoria won’t be wearing that number, because the Giants have retired it for Bill Terry. The Giants’ roster page currently shows Longoria without a number (from @bdh_photos).
Football News: Not sure if this has been shared before, but apparently the old Metrodome was one yard short of a full-sized NFL field. One end zone was reportedly only nine yards long (from Jeff Flynn). … Yesterday’s Edmonton Sun cover story was about the CFL QB Kevin Glenn, who recently signed with the Edmonton Eskimos, making him the first player in CFL history to be on the roster for every team in the league. The cover featured the jerseys of every CFL team (from Martyn Bailey). … Team USA’s jerseys for International Bowl IX have been unveiled. More on the International Bowl here (from @josh_claywell).
Hockey News: The Blues have added an “MFS” memorial decal in honor of former team chairman Mike Shanahan, who passed away Monday (from @ctrauma). … Blackhawks C Jonathon Toews started a charitable foundation, which also has its own logo (from Marc-Louis Paprzyca). … Apple’s Siri apparently doesn’t recognize the Golden Knights’ logo — maybe she knows something we don’t about the ongoing trademark feud (from Micah Sledge). … The Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League will wear Cranbrook Colts throwback jerseys next season. The Colts operated from 1971 to 1998 (from Jim Wooley). … Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi once sponsored a German hockey team in the 1980s (from Johnny Garfield).
NBA News: During Monday’s Clippers/Rockets game, Blake Griffin had his tights ripped and torn by a Rockets player (from Paul Deaver). … John Sabol points out that ESPN has taken to usingthree-letter abbreviations for two-word cities on its scorebug. They used “NOP” for the Pelicans last night, and used “GSW” for the Warriors on Monday. … Alex Steinke found this photo of the Lakers’ James Worthy wearing anNNOB No. 00 jersey in a December 1987 game against the Celtics. Presumably a blood jersey. Anyone know more? … Here’s a piece on how the Bucks and Harley-Davidson are capitalizing on their jersey advertising relationship (from Ray Barrington).
The NBA commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, as players throughout the league wore “I Have a Dream” shirts during pregame warm-ups. Naturally, I could have done without the NIke maker’s mark, but whaddaya gonna do.
Here’s how the shirts looked on the back:
The Grizzlies went a step further, debuting their new MLK-themed alternate uniforms, which are based on signage from the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. The minimalist design looked great on the court:
The uni-related tribute to Dr. King went beyond the NBA. Hudson Catholic High School in Massachusetts wore “Equality” warm-up tops:
Meanwhile, in a nice baseball development, the Double-A Birmingham Barons used the holiday to announce that they’ll have a new alternate jersey this season featuring the text of MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:
We're proud to feature the words in Martin Luther King Jr.'s own hand from "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" 55 years ago on one of our specialty jerseys this season. #MLKDaypic.twitter.com/hETWJz5l2R
I’m sure there were other uni-related MLK celebrations that I missed. If so, please feel free to post them in the comments.
(My thanks to Zach Loesl and Phil for their contributions to this section.)
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Zebra loses some fur: A ref who was working a high school game in Kentucky last week had an embarrassing moment when the ball hit him in the head and dislodged his toupee!
That got me thinking: Baseball umps and football officials all wear caps; hockey officials all wear helmets. But basketball refs have their heads uncovered. Soccer refs, too. I wonder if they’re more inclined to wear toupees. Hmmmm.
(My thanks to @profjimmyc for this one.)
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Collector’s Corner By Brinke Guthrie
Paint the teams the way you want to (paints not included!) with this 1967 NFL Aurora model kit. You can even paint them the way this vivid box cover shows, with both teams — obviously the Bears and the Niners — wearing colored jerseys! [As an aside, I’d say this is one of the best-looking CC splash-photo items ever. — PL]
• The Falcons weren’t able to advance in the NFL playoffs this past weekend, but their fans can still celebrate their season with this set of promo bumper stickers from Frito-Lay. A total of 16 included in the auction lot.
• I sincerely doubt that this thin, vinyl 1970s San Francisco Giants giveaway jacket would’ve kept away the Candlestick chill. Your sponsor was “Dubuque Plumpers” (a hot dog brand).
• The Minnesota North Stars had such a simple, clean logo. It’s nicely displayed on this 1970s milk mug, which is still in very good condition.
• Apex made this Super Bowl jacket for the Bills/Cowboys matchup in January of 1994. No teams on this one, just the peach motif since the game was held in Atlanta.
• Ovaltine was part of the 1960s “NFL Training Table” and this 1969 promo folder/package is so labeled, but the cover artwork is as generic as they come.
• Football is a “Thinking Man’s” game, at least according to this 1969 board game.
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The Ticker By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Interesting note about former Cub Juan Pierre from this blog: When asked to sign a 2006 Topps card, Pierre made sure to mention “that this was a spring training photo. (Former Cub Matt) Murton asked, ‘How can you tell?’ Pierre replied, ‘I only wore my socks down in the spring!'” (From Jeff Wilk.) … There’s a bit of an oddity on this 1990 Upper Deck Wade Boggs card: Two players, both in different home uniforms, high-fiving at home plate. That’s because the photo was taken at the 1989 All-Star Game (from Jay Pritchard). … Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III discusses the team’s decision to wear red caps on the road, the Cardinals’ third uniform, special weekend unifroms and his 2012 interview with Uni Watch at 54:40 of this podcast (from @2xAught7). … Matt Ryburn came into possession of some ’80s-era Dodgers tickets (which barely changed from 1984-88) after his parents found them while cleaning out their house, including a 1983 stub commemorating the team’s 25th anniversary in LA and a 1984 stub advertising the Los Angeles Olympics to be held later that year. … Someone in Houston is driving around in a tequila sunrise pickup truck (from Nick Lineback). … Not to be outdone, Gilbert Sarabia sent along a photo of an Astros boat. … A designer put together some hockey sweater concepts for some Major League Baseball teams (from C.J. Burks). … Here are the accessories TCU will be using this season (from Joe Nocella). … South Carolina players also got their new accessories yesterday (from Phil). … Here are the gloves that Oklahoma State players will be wearing this season (from Nick Baril). … Mid-Maryland United, a youth travel team, will have new uniforms next season. … The Blue Jays are the latest team to announce that they’ll be extending the protective netting at their stadium.
Hockey News: The Kings gave away this awesome poster prior to their game with the Sharks yesterday (from Brian Wulff). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: A designer put together some hockey sweater concepts for some Major League Baseball teams (from C.J. Burks). … The San Jose Barracuda went formal for Tuxedo Night yesterday (from Kyle Minogue).
Basketball News: RJ Hunter, newly signed by the Rockets, got into last night’s game against the Clippers but didn’t have his name on his jersey. … Fox Sports Wisconsin was using old Bucks and Nets logos in a graphic yesterday — but the logos were from two completely different eras (from Ryan Ziegler). … This guy has a lot of Blake Griffin jerseys (from Dan Kennedy). … Teams in Australia’s National Basketball League are participating in Heritage Month, which includes teams wearing throwback jerseys to the league’s inaugural season, 1978. But the Perth Wildcats have chosen to wear their throwback design in their modern color scheme of red and white — and include uni ads. The team used to wear black and yellow (from Richard Meloy).
Soccer News: Wales has hired Ryan Giggs as its new manager and introduced him yesterday with a NOF (name on front) jersey (from Thomas Courtman). … The blog post runs down thenew clubs that will be joining the USL this season (from Josh Hinton). … Similarly, this piece discusses the rise and fall of the NASL (also from Josh Hinton). … Grimsby Town FC of England’s League Two is asking Luton Town FC supporters to wear retro shirts to raise awareness for Sporting Memories, a charity that deals with dementia, when the two clubs play on Jan. 27 (from The Boot Room). … New official match ball for Poland’s top league, Ekstraklasa (from Ed Zelaski).
Grab Bag: Tennis star Maria Sharapova played Tatjana Maria of Germany in the Australian Open last night, which made for some score bug shenanigans (from Ben and John). … This artist literally paints pictures (many of them sports related) with words (from Jim Brunetti). … John Cronin, a 21-year-old Long Island man with Down syndrome, told his father he wanted to start a business after he graduated high school. Just two years later, he’s built a $1.4 millionsock company (from Ted Arnold). … Apparently, Kim Kardashian’s trash cans have a Louis Vuitton pattern (from James Gilbert).