Wednesday’s comments section featured a really great discussion about a 1981 contest sponsored by the White Sox, who invited fans to submit design proposals for the team’s 1982 uniforms. Some of these ideas were produced as prototypes and modeled. That led to further discussion of other MLB prototypes that were produced but never made it onto the field of play, and soon people were saying, “Paul, this would make a great column topic.”
I agree, and now I’m planning to write about this for ESPN. If you know of other prototypes — not just drawings or Photoshop concepts, but actual uniforms that were manufactured with an eye toward potential use — speak up. And don’t limit yourself to baseball, since prototypes have also existed in other sports. For example:
• NFL: The most famous NFL prototype is probably this, which the 49ers introduced at a press conference in 1991. Fan reaction was so intensely negative that the design was withdrawn after one day. There’s a decent roundup of other football helmet prototypes here, but I don’t have any images of full-uniform prototypes. Anyone..?
• NHL: The Blues were ready to roll out this design as an alternate jersey in 1996, until coach Mike Keenan put his foot down. More recently, the Caps were reportedly close to going with this. Anyone got better images of that one, and/or any other team protos?
• NBA: Sigh. As usual, basketball is the least-documented sport here. I can’t think of any NBA prototypes. Little help..?
Should be a great topic — my thanks to everyone who got the ball rolling during the comments thread.
Membership Update: Big arts and crafts day yesterday at Uni Watch HQ, as I trimmed, laminated, and mailed out several dozen membership kits. I’ll do some more today and should be completely caught up by Monday.
Today, incidentally, marks four weeks since the membership program opened for business. In that time, the active roster has swelled to 191 members, and our design gallery is now starting to look like a really cool stamp collection. My continued thanks for all the support — I’m really pleased with how the first month of this project has played out.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday’s entry about Ted Lilly being AWOL when he was due to bat prompted the following from ballpark historian and longtime Uni Watch pal Todd Radom: “This is DIRECTLY adjacent to the Cubs’ home dugout, literally three steps away. Does it solve the mystery? No, but I needed some rationalization to have taken this photo last year.” … Dubya’s latest jersey: a University of Arizona softball. “Not quite sure why he got the number 7,” writes Chris Falvey. “This is Arizona’s 8th national championship.” … Not uni-related but still plenty interesting. … Roush Racing and the Red Sox ownership group have marked their new partnership with a really pathetic-looking “baseball-themed” car. Look closely and you’ll see that they didn’t even get the 9s right. … Truly insipid 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids commercial viewable here, notable for the fact that the doll has a fairly legit-looking uniform but the players are wearing nausea-inducing knockoffs. … Uni Watch-esque assessment of Wimbledon attire here. … Eric Bangeman reports that Australia’s World Cup unis will look like this (here’s the previous design). “These are made by Canterbury and have grip panels like the new Nike jerseys from England and France, although the Australian jerseys will reportedly have the grip panels in position-specific places,” says Eric.