As I’ve lamented several times, basketball is by far worst-documented of the major sports, at least from a uniform perspective. So the best way to catch up on hoops history is often through memorabilia sales, one of which is currently underway over at Grey Flannel Auctions, which is conducting its second annual Basketball Hall of Fame auction. Tons of great stuff here, including all sorts of stuff I’d never seen before. Here are some highlights:
• We all love the Warriors’ “The City” design, with its cable car uni number. What I didn’t know until now, however, is that the team’s warm-up jacket from that era was arguably even better. My compliments to the chef.
• It’s come up several times that Brooks Robinson used to run his own sporting goods operation (which produced, among other things, these), but until now I’d never seen the company’s totally gorgeous tag design. So many odd things about this tag: Did they have permission to use that O’s logo? Why’d they put a uni number on Brooks’s sleeve (a completely erroneous detail)? Isn’t it a little weird to a baseball player depicted on a basketball uniform, even if only on the tag? This is probably my favorite discovery of the entire auction.
• The House of David is famous for its baseball team, but they also played basketball, as evidenced by this magnificent warm-up jacket.
• The Globetrotters weren’t the only Harlem-based barnstorming team — there were also the Harlem Magicians, formed by former Globetrotter Marques Haynes in 1953.
• Speaking of the ’Trotters, check out this warm-up set, complete with striped stirrups!
• When I first saw this Peoria Cats jersey, my initial reaction was, “Whoa, a snap-on crotch tab!” But then I read the full auction listing and learned that “Cats” was short for “Caterpillars,” which of course makes perfect sense, because the construction equipment company Caterpillar is headquartered in Peoria. (Even better than the Cats uni: this Cats warm-up outfit.)
• I knew Walt Bellamy wore the nickname “Bells” on the back of his Hawks uni in the early ’70s, but I’d never seen a photo of it — until now.
• This jersey struck me as odd, because the front uni number is so much more compressed than the rear number. (Also, note the size tag — 42. If you look through these auction lots, you’ll find that many of the jersey sizes are surprisingly small.)
• Here’s something you don’t see very often: an ABA all-star jersey.
• I’d say this one might qualify for the “So bad it’s great” category.
• But this one is just great — no qualification needed.
• Last but not least, if you’re dying to own John Havlicek’s jockstrap, here’s your chance.
Want to see more? You can scroll through all the auction lots here.
(Big thanks to Jason Taylor, who tipped me wise to this auction.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Actually, there’s no Ticker today, because I was on the road all day yesterday, didn’t get home until 2 a.m., and was too pooped to deal with the 100+ e-mails that had piled up. But I will pass along this major bit of news: The NFL is revamping its logo (further details here). I’ll have more to say about this next week.
Speaking of which: We’ll have open threads on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; regular entries will resume on Tuesday. A happy Labor Day weekend to all.