So I’m watching football and looking at old magazines the other day with Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner, and I tell him how reader Byron Wages recently sent me a bunch of photos from his parents’ old high school yearbooks. “Look at this one,” I say. “What the hell is going on there?”
“Oh,” says Scott, all nonchalant and matter-of-fact. “Those are the Redheads.”
As I quickly learned, the All-American Redheads were a barnstorming women’s hoops team that played from 1936 through 1986, competing exclusively against men’s teams (and supposedly winning about 70% of their games). The yearbook photo apparently shows them playing against Byron’s father’s high school men’s team.
I’d never heard of the Redheads before, but man did they wear some cool uniforms over the years. They started out looking like this, then used some really nice color blocking, and then went a bit stripe-happy, as you can see here, here, and here. This shot, from the 1970s, appears to match up with the yearbook photo. At one point they even wore vertically striped socks (additional views here and here), so I’ll have to add them to our list of teams with longitudinally trimmed hosiery.
Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about Byron’s parents’ yearbooks, here his rundown of the other photos he sent, along with some my commentary on a few of them:
My dad’s alma mater was Duluth High School. Now, their main color was purple, but these photos are b&w so you don’t need to worry about your eyes.
• Here’s a shot of some nice hoisery, and the phenomenon of thigh-taping. [As an aside, notice the thin piping on the defensive team — looks sooooo much better than some of the garishly thick piping we see nowadays. — PL]
• A rare shot of a football player wearin’ specs.
• I’ve never seen a forearm pad like this. The water bottle is odd, too. [I don’t know about the bottle, but it sure has a long straw. Also: Brace face! Does that tear up the mouthguard? — PL]
• Now we move on to basketball. This is the only pic I could find of Duluth’s famed Indiana-style purple warmup pants.
• Then we have closer pics of the uniform. The coolest thing is the different sides of the shorts.
• Here’s a look at the women’s team. Note the collars and the socks. Here’s a side view of the even cooler side-short design. [Also noteworthy: The jerseys are designed to be untucked, like the old Marquette uni.]
• Next I found two pics of my mom’s alma mater, Headland High. Here’s a shot of the girls’ team. The socks rock. [Note that those socks are actually stirrups, as was fairly common for hoops hosiery in the 1950s-’70s. Also: Dig those jersey sashes! — PL]
• Here’s another pic which shows off the uniform’s nice Maryland-esque trim.
Big thanks to Byron for
snooping through his parents’ stuff sharing these cool photos, and to Scott for the Redheads primer. I love it when things come together like this.
Raffle Redux: Today’s the last day to enter this month’s raffle for a Distant Replays $250 gift card. If you haven’t already entered, send an e-mail to uniraffle at earthlink dot net by 10pm Eastern Time tonight. Only one entry per person, yadda-yadda-yadda. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
Left Coast Leftovers: Tuesday’s entry about San Diego uni history prompted a good follow-up note from Richard Craig, as follows:
• Total coincidence: When Ted Williams played for the Pacific Coast League Padres in 1936-’37, he wore No. 19, just like Tony Gwynn did many years later. Williams’ Padres uniform number had supposedly been lost to history until a photo of him was recently discovered. It had been used on the front cover of game programs as part of a collage.
• It’s fairly well documented that while Gwynn wore No. 19 for his whole
Padres career, he actually wore #53 in spring training, as shown in his Topps rookie card. What’s not as well-known is that Gwynn’s first actual appearance in a Padres uniform was in a silly TV ad for the Padres featuring car dealer
Cal Worthington and the San Diego Chicken. Gwynn was a student at San
Diego State at the time, and the team recruited a bunch of guys to wear
Padres uniforms and stand in the stadium parking lot like used cars. He wore Broderick Perkins’s uniform, No. 15.
• Perhaps even less well-known is that in Ozzie Smith’s first-ever
appearance in a big-league stadium, he wore No. 32, in an exhibition at
Jack Murphy Stadium against the Minnesota Twins. I was there, but I’ve
never seen any photos of it since for verification. Maybe someone out
there has a photo.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Add another sport to the list of games afflicted by streakers: snooker (with “thanks” to Denis Hurley). ”¦ “UL-Monroe has changed its nickname from the Indians to the Warhawks, so all of the school’s teams were forced to get new uniforms this school year,” reports Chris Mycoskie. “Most of the teams look alright, but the baseball team looks incredible.” ”¦ According to the Boston Globe Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen’s new mask is very Boston-centric, with “graphics of Tedy Bruschi and David Ortiz on the left side of the mask, matched on the right with head shots of Larry Bird and Ray Bourque. There are logos of the teams pasted around the mask, along with a basketball player and a hockey player in action.” No photos yet, but Jeff Israel‘s gonna try to provide one when Toivonen starts tonight. “The best part is, he’s had a terrible year and has been the subject of trade proposals all season long,” says Israel. “That mask would look quite strange on another team.” ”¦ Update, 10am: Lindsay Oliver has provided photos of Toivonen’s mask. Look here, here, and here. … For those who like old historical uni photos, Bob Andrews has sent along links to some good collegiate archives: For Oberlin, go here and put the terms “baseball” or “football” (or whatever) in the search field (here’s a typical result); for early Princeton football pics, look here (note the sophisticated training methods used way back when); this page leads you to great pics of North Carolina’s basketball, football, and cheerleading squads; and literally thousands of Michigan football photos are available here. ”¦ Speaking of historical photos, last night’s Comments section included this mind-bending shot of the 1930 U. of Wisconsin hockey team (who also wore some goggles that looked a lot like the gear worn by women’s lacrosse teams). … And look what Percy LeSueur of the original Ottawa Senators used to wear (hat trick for Jonathan Goupil).