By Vince Grzegorek
There’s a lot of down time in baseball, whether you’re in the dugout or the bullpen, and ballplayers inevitably find ways to amuse themselves. While this often involves practical jokes among players, there are other times when the hijinks are done to amuse fans as well as teammates.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Jeremy Brahm sent me this pic of Hichori Morimoto’s Muitai from the first Japanese All-Star game (here’s another view). What struck me was that the day before, while I was at the Western Reserve Historical Society, Scott Longert had told me a story of former Indian Ron Pruitt wearing a conehead for the National Anthem during a game in the ’80s. If there was a conehead in Cleveland two decades ago, and one far away in Japan today, might there be more to be found?
- The most obvious example, of course, are the fans of David Cone who show up to the ballpark with coneheads.
- Former Mariners reliever Bill Caudill used to wear a conehead while sitting in the bullpen during games.
- Former Astros relievers Larry Anderson, Dave Smith, and Charlie Kerfeld (scroll down to “Coneheads”) used to all wear coneheads during games in the 80s while sitting in the bullpen.
- Players and fans of the St. Paul Saints once donned coneheads on Conehead Night (middle of article) inspired by team co-owner Bill Murray (near end of article).
Here’s to hoping that “Mango” doesn’t take off in the same way.
Uni Watch News Ticker: After Jonathan Smith was waived by the Patriots, we finally have the answer to the question, “What number will Randy Moss wear this season?” #81 (thanks to Jeff Israel, who can wear whatever number he wants)… Starting this season, the men’s football and basketball teams of Kansas will have uniforms that have the same official font as the university (Trajan). Other uniforms will be replaced with the correct font as they wear out (a very normal font thanks to Scott Johhnson)… Scott also noted that South Dakota State University will have new Nike football uniforms starting this year… A couple of people mentioned that Temple will have new football uniforms as well this season (check out the photo gallery for the totally bitchin’ helmets)… Joe Bonneau passed on this gallery from The Smoking Gun featuring mugshots of people wearing jerseys and other sports paraphernalia… Reprinted from yesterday’s comments section, “The 10 Most Expensive Sports Collectibles” list on Forbes has some cool uniform and equipment related items… I was at the Fausto vs. Beckett, Indians vs. Red Sox game and was glad to see that Fausto continues to leave the stickers on the underbrim of his hat. … Breaking News!: Despite being listed as merely “Questionable” for today’s blog, Paul Lukas is sufficiently recovered from his vacation to check in with a brief report (see below). Try to act like you remember who he is.
Home Sweet Uni Watch: Thanks, Vince. I’m back, kids, so straighten up and stop shooting spitballs behind the substitute teacher’s back. It was good to get away but it’s even better to be back on terra Brooklyna, so please join me in thanking Vince for minding the store in my absence. Thanks also to Joe Hilseberg, Mark Mihalik, and Eriq Jaffe, whose excellent pinch-hit contributions helped keep things interesting while I was on the road, and to all the great people I met earlier this week in Toronto (full report to follow next week). Bonus thanks to Uni Watch mascots Tucker and Caitlin for the warm welcome upon my return.
Although I stayed true to my goal of not checking out the site even once while I was away, Uni Watch was nonetheless close to my heart for most of the past week. While rummaging through a thrift store in the rural Midwest last Saturday, for example, I came across this poster, featuring a ton of uni-related items, which of course I felt obligated to document. Check it out: There’s an early full-face helmet; an early uniform; Tom Dempsey’s shoe; anniversary patches for the Seahawks, Steelers, Broncos, Lions, AFL and NFL; the Broncos’ vertically striped stirrups; and Bob Griese’s eyeglasses. There was also this Seahawks poster, featuring a good shot of the Native American imagery that the team’s identity is based on.
Scott and I kept processing membership orders while I was away, incidentally. If you haven’t checked out the membership design gallery lately, take a look — there’s some interesting stuff in there, including our first three unnumbered designs (representing the 1928 Detroit Tigers, Augusta National caddies, and Minnesota Twins bat boys). Remember, if you sign up by next Tuesday, you’ll have a “Charter Member” seal added to your card when you renew next year, whoop-whoop.
The most interesting uni-related communiquÃ© I received during my getaway came from an ESPN reader named Joshua Lanning, who pointed me toward this photo and wondered if Denny Mac was wearing a plastic trash bag for an undershirt or what. McLain was frequently photographed doing the windbreaker-as-undershirt thing, but that doesn’t appear to be what he was wearing in that cover shot. Reminds me of that NFL lineman who tried to lose weight during training camp by putting on a rubber suit and then driving around with his car’s heat on full blast — and then passing out. Can’t recall who this was, unfortunately. Little help..?
Getting back to McLain: He was (and apparently still is) a first-class scumbag, but no amount of Mob connections, bad checks, pension-fund raids, or jail time can change the fact that the dude totally knew how to wear stirrups (further evidence here, here, here, here, and here). He was also, of course, a musical genius. Perhaps a pardon is in order?