New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: I love historical uni oddities that we all missed the first time around but are now rediscovering, and reader Chris Ford has come up with a doozie. Here’s his scoop:
Tonight I was watching a replay of the 1977 Sugar Bowl between the University of Georgia and the University of Pittsburgh, and I noticed something peculiar: Some of the Panthers were wearing different uniforms from the rest of the team. For instance, if you look at this shot, you can clearly see that Tony Dorsett’s numbers [including the one on his sleeve] are dark blue with gold trim, and his name appears on his jersey. However, the guy in the air (QB Matt Cavanaugh), has a light blue number on his sleeve, with no gold trim, and it was the same way on his back. Also, his name did not appear on his back.
It seemed to me that it was mainly the WRs and RBs whose unis were like Dorsett’s (maybe 10 players), and the rest of the team wore unis like Cavanaugh. I took this screen shot, which shows Nos. 33 and 34 wearing the blue/gold numbers and names on their jerseys, while No. 77 had no gold trim and no name. Additional examples are here and here.
It’s hard to imagine a major college team doing this today — in a bowl game, no less. Anyone know the story behind this one?
From Toe to Head: Yesterday I wondered aloud why baseball socks have that little white name tag, since you never see anything written there anyway. But as Brandon Davis pointed out in yesterday’s Comments section, last year I actually linked to this photo of Joe Blanton. Forgot about that one.
I also got this note from a source who works in an American League clubhouse: “We definitely use the white box on the socks to mark them. However, we only put the number on them, and often only on one side, so that’s why you probably haven’t seen anything in the box before. Since it’s hard to read a sharpie on a dark sock, the white patch is very useful.”
This same source, incidentally, had some other news of interest:
Hats will be changing next season. The New Era wool 5950 will be no more. We’ve sold our massive stock of hats to the team store, since next year we’ll be getting a newer design. I haven’t seen any sort of prototype yet, but I do know it’s designed to be less vulnerable to getting soaking wet like the current caps do. I also saw a swatch of the Cool Base jersey material, and next year it looks to be a little less meshy, while retaining the softer feel and resistance to moisture.
Uni Watch News Ticker: A muslim soccer player in Spain is refusing to wear the logo of his team’s sponsor — 888.com, an online betting company — because he believes gambling is sinful. So while his teammates have the 888.com logo on their chests, he’s taped over it. Full story here. (Thanks to Matthew Bonnett.) … Meanwhile, German soccer players have settled a “bitter shoe dispute.” Full details here (with thanks to Brian Valle). … The Sept. 11th issue of ESPN Mag has a photo of minor leaguer Eddie Lantigua wearing those annoying pant-cuff straps. … Horn-toot: In that same issue, I have a “6 Things You Should Know About Bat Boys” piece. … Latest Japanese baseball scoop from Jeremy Brahm: The Yomiuri Giants were recently in such dire financial straits that they switched uni manufacturers to Adidas, which has no baseball experience. … Weird scene yesterday at Shea Stadium, where Shawn Green hit a homer and then, as he approached the dugout after circling the bases, pointed at a fan, removed his batting gloves, and tossed them to the fan. … Bryan Redemske (whose name I misspelled a few days ago — mea culpa and all that) notes that Gary Sheffield wore a standard minor league double-earflap helmet while rehabbing with the Trenton Thunder earlier this year, but Hideki Matsui, who’s rehabbing in Trenton right now, is using his single-flap Yankees helmet. … The ever-vigilant Jeremy Brahm has discovered this excellent Dutch web site devoted to the design of soccer uniform numbers. … In case you missed it in yesterday’s Comments section: The Pirates will soon begin wearing a memorial patch for Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O’Connor, who died last weekend. According to the last item on this page, the patch will debut next Monday, when the Bucs start their next homestand, “will feature a black background and the name ‘Bob’ in gold lettering, and will be worn on the left chest of the Pirates’ uniforms for the remainder of the season.”