If you’re a regular reader of this site, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance that you used to doodle uniforms or at least logos in the margins of your notebooks back in junior high. No shame in that — I did it myself, and so did uniform designer Todd Radom. But when it comes to uniform doodling, we’ve all got nothing on Marty Hick.
I met Marty a few weeks ago at the Uni Watch party in St. Louis (he’s the one who wore the super-cool St. Louis Cardinals necktie). At one point during the party he went outside and then returned carrying a cardboard box. When I asked him what was in it, he was all noncommittal. “I’m can’t show you yet,” he said. “I need a few more drinks before I’ll be ready for that.”
A few beers later, I asked Marty if he was ready to give me a peek at his stash. Still a bit wary but now clearly eager to share, he hauled the box onto the bar, reached in, and pulled out a big stack of notebooks — notebooks filled with amazingly detailed uniform drawings.
I flipped through the notebooks as Marty explained that he’d been making these drawings for years. But I soon stopped listening to him, because I was too busy engrossing myself in the drawings, which were incredible. There were stripe patterns and studies, comparative pants concepts, logo redesigns, Olympics uniforms, baseball sleeve treatments, all-star designs, NFL sock comparisons, some bizarre corporate brand uniforms, and more. It was a mother lode of obsessive-compulsive uniform illustrations.
The most interesting artistic trope in Marty’s drawings was his habit of combining home and road designs in the same drawing (additional examples here, here, here, and here), which created a weird In-Betweener or Lokai and Bele effect. When I asked him why he did that, he replied, “To save ink.”
By this time Marty’s initial reticence had given way to exuberant self-promotion. “Look, look at that!” he said as I flipped the pages. “Look, a logo on the Bears’ pants! Who else would think of doing that? Nobody! Look at that Islanders concept! Look at that Rams redesign! And look, here’s where I reconfigured the American and National Leagues in three divisions each — years before they actually did it themselves!” Somehow this all came off as charming instead of egotistical. I mean, really, how could you not be charmed by this? (You can see even more of Marty’s work in this slideshow.)
It was pretty obvious to me that Marty didn’t create all this artwork because he wanted to; like all creative visionaries, he did it because he had to. So I got his address and then, when I got back to my hotel room, I immediately ordered him a copy of Blackstock’s Collections, the book of obsessive “visual lists” that I reviewed a few weeks back. In the spirit of Blackstock’s work, as well as his own, I hope he’s doodled a few drawings in the margins.
Membership News: Lots of cool new stuff in the membership gallery, with lots more to come in the next few days. Remember, you can click on your card’s icon to explain what the design is based on and why you chose it, and you can also leave comments for anyone else’s design.
I’m happy to report, incidentally, that we’ll soon have a very special raffle — one that will make all you glad to have those three bonus raffle entries that come with membership. Details soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Oklahoma will have player names on the jerseys this season. … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Although not truly uni- or logo-related, this is really, really cool. Details here. … Dennis Hurley has created a gallery of Cork City FC uniforms. … Brandon Roberts notes that Kentucky appears to have a new white helmet stripe this season. … College hockey report from Tom Konecny, who writes: “Though no official announcement from the school, the top two pics on this page appear to be the new Bowling Green State University hockey jerseys.” … The Bengals have once again published their jersey schedule for the upcoming season. Why can’t every NFL team do this? … In a vaguely related item, Chris Gilligan reports that this year’s N.Y. Giants season tickets show the team’s uniform history (additional images here and here). … Despite what you might think, I had nothing to do with this video (but Vincent Barone says his sister did). … Remember how we all noted some inconsistencies in the shoulder lightning bolts on the Chargers’ new uniforms when the design was unveiled a few months back? Check out this commercial, which shows the new uniforms in action. Not only do the bolt styles vary from player to player, but compare this view of LT to this view — and it’s the same play! … The Lakers have a new 60th-anniversary logo. … The Nats and Cards wore Negro League throwbacks on Friday. Interestingly, the Nats had throwback caps but cheated by using their navy road helmets, even though it was a home game. … Justin McGrail notes that the Celtics are plastering Kevin Garnett’s image everywhere in a numberless jersey. … Chaminade University is sponsoring a logo design contest (with thanks to Chris Chaussee). … “The Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League wore special jerseys during pregame warm-ups to honor longtime coach Brian Kilrea’s 2000th back in February,” writes Joe Dunman. “Luckily they didn’t all wear the jerseys during the actual game — the play-by-play guy would have gone crazy.” … Several readers have asked about this photo, which recently ran in SI and appears to show Hank Aaron wearing a two-digit number starting with 5. Now, the Hammer actually wore No. 5 when he first came up, later switching to his familiar 44, but I can’t find any info about him wearing fifty-something (or fifty-anything). Joe Hilseberg notes that neither of Aaron’s minor league teams was called the Braves, so that rules out that possibility. Anyone know more about this? … Might just be the lighting, but it looks like the Wizards are changing their trim from bronze to gold. … Willie Randolph added a “B.R.” inscription to his cap the other day, in memory of Bill Robinson. … Interesting NHL logo-o-rama site here. … Syracuse has unveiled a helmet revision, and if you squint a bit and break out the magnifying glass, you might just notice it. … Matthew Hackethal recently came across some old 1986 Topps stickers that show some of the Braves wearing really shitty-looking mesh-backed caps. “The photos appear to have been taken during batting practice (Dale Murphy’s shows him leaning against a batting cage),” he writes. “I’m wondering if this was just a spring training thing or did it continue in to the regular season.” Anyone..? … This always cracks me up. … In fact, it cracks me up so much I’ll show another example. … Not quite uni-related, but an interesting superstition. … Chosen logos (nice find by Matthew Scher). … The batting helmet from Bonds’s 755th homer is heading for the Hall of Fame (thanks, Vince). … June Jones apparently has some unorthodox coaching methods (thanks again, Vince). … Here’s something you don’t often see: an NHL/NASCAR connection (the trifecta for Vince). … Someone has tracked Florida State’s record by uniform combo (with thanks to Bob Jordan). … Rutgers has apparently tweaked their football jersey (compare to last year’s version). … The following item was buried in yesterday’s column by Newsday‘s Ken Davidoff: “The commissioner’s office issued a memo last month to remind teams that proper uniform tops are to be worn at all times. That means that managers such as Boston’s Terry Francona can no longer go with the sweatshirt look.” I’ll believe that when I see it. … We’ve seen the Steelers’ 75th-anniversary logo before, but here’s how it looks on their jersey. … Several readers reported seeing a green dot on the back of many players’ helmets during yesterday’s Steelers/Saints Hall of Fame Game. Haven’t been able to find a photo. Anyone know more about this? … This site got an insane number of hits over the weekend, and I can’t figure out why. Not complaining, mind you — just mystified. Links from my Friday ESPN column account for some of the increased activity, but there’s gotta be more to it than that. Did some big mainstream site link over here without my being aware of it?