There are certain topics that seem to come up every few weeks in the comments section. One of them is the issue of players who’ve worn their full names — first and last — on their jerseys. Many examples have been put forth over the course of various discussions, but nobody’s tried to compile a comprehensive list. I’m going to try to begin one now, with the proviso that this is just a starting point — I’m hoping we can all make lots of additions as they occur to us.
Oh, and before we get to the list: For years I’ve used wording like “names on the backs of jerseys” and “player names on uniforms,” even though there’s a simple abbreviation available: NOB, which stands for “name on back.” Teams like the Yankees have NNOB, or “no name on back.” I’ve always resisted using these two terms in a Uni Watch context, because they seemed too jargon-y and are used primarily by collectors of game-used memorabilia, which has never been my scene. But now I’m giving in and accepting them, plus I’m inaugurating a new term to the lexicon: FNOB, for “full name on back.” Cool? Cool.
Now then, here’s the beginning of our FNOB list, broken down by sport:
Football: The classic example of the FNOB on the gridiron remains Jim and Jack Youngblood, conveniently captured together in this photo. While their first and last names were stacked, more recent NFL FNOBs have taken the one-line approach, as seen in these photos of Darrent Williams, Mike Anderson, Tank Johnson, and Dave Brown (as you can sorta see here and here).
Basketball: Isiah Thomas had a stacked FNOB at one point during his career. But that can’t compare with the typographic mishmash sported by Marques Johnson, whose FNOB wasn’t just stacked — it was straight on top and arched below. (Special thanks to Todd Krevanchi for bringing both of these to my attention.)
Hockey: As discussed in the comments section a few weeks ago, the Howe family had lots of FNOB action during their days with the Aeros and Whalers. Rangers teammates/siblings Dave and Don Maloney also went the FNOB route, although I could only find a good photo of one of them. And I’m fairly certain the Sutter brothers had FNOBs, although I haven’t been able to find any photos yet.
Baseball: The sport that’s usually the richest source of material for any uni-related discussion is oddly barren on the subject of FNOBs. I’m pretty sure Andy and Alan Benes wore their full names at some point when they were both on the Cardinals, but I haven’t found any photos, and I can’t think of any other FNOB examples from the diamond, although I’m fairly certain there must be others. Help me out here, people — what am I overlooking? (Bonus points to my ESPN.com colleague Bomani Jones, who says, “If Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a twin brother named James and the Rangers signed him, something tells me they’d have to find a new uniform guy.”)
However long our list ends up being, I think we can all agree that it’s already too long, because FNOBs almost always look like crap. I can make an exception for the Youngblood brothers, especially since their first names were smaller than their surnames (in terms of both length and type size), lending a certain elegance to their stacked FNOBs. But almost every other example I showed is an eyesore. I mean, c’mon, was anyone ever gonna mistake Gordie Howe for one of his kids? Jeez.
Major Hosiery Discovery!: Late last night, this photo was posted in the comments section. The intended point was that yet another team used Dymo Tape labels to keep track of their helmets, but I immediately noticed the seams in Frank Robinson’s stirrups. For years I’ve been writing that Robbie had extra material sewn into his stirrups so he could pull them up higher (this was first reported in Ball Four, and I’ve essentially been repeating that claim), but this is the first time I’ve ever seen photographic confirmation of it. Viva visual documentation!
Roster Restoration Update: I’ve now restored about 65 of the 90 names that were recently wiped off of the membership roster by a software glitch. That still leaves about 25 to go, and I’d like to get as many of them as possible. So if you haven’t already done so, all members should PLEASE check the roster listing. If you don’t see your name there, e-mail me your name, membership uni number, membership level, and why you chose your number. If your name linked to a photo, please re-send it. And if you’d like to help speed up the process a bit more, pick out your card from the design gallery and send me its URL. Big thanks for everyone’s help.
As for today’s showcase card, it’s based on, of course, your current Stanley Cup champions.
Uni Watch News Ticker: It took about 17 seconds for many, many readers to determine that the photo on this 1968 baseball card was taken at the 1964 All-Star Game. The clue? The seats in the background are from Shea Stadium, site of the ’64 ASG. Thanks to all who helped solve the mystery. … Longtime Uni Watch pal (and mascot stalker) Liz Clayton recently took this photo of a woman wearing Cubs earrings. … I think I’ve finally figured out the inspiration behind the new NFL ref jerseys. ”¦ Yesterday’s entry about alpha-numeric uni numbers led Ian McLarty to remind me about netball, a girls’ sport popular in many British commonwealth countries. Instead of uni numbers, the players wear letters designating their positions. Details on the sport’s uniform history are here. ”¦ And then there’s this, from Bob Jaye: “In a college all-star game following the 1971 season (Senior Bowl, perhaps), the South team had two quarterbacks who’d both worn No. 7 during their stellar careers. So Florida’s John Reaves wore 7R and Auburn’s Pat Sullivan wore 7S, respectively. Unfortunately, I can’t find a photo.” … I’m not sure how I’ve gotten this far without knowing about eFootage, but it’s a friggin’ gold mine of old stock footage. Simple case in point: this five-minute recap of the 1952 NFL Pro Bowl, which features red, white, and blue goalposts, red officials’ uni numbers, and Lenny Moore’s white spats, among other highlights. Loads of other stuff lurking in the eFootage archives, too ”“ have fun poking around (with thanks to Ronnie Poore). ”¦ The Cleveland Plain Dealer invited readers to redesign the Indians’ uniform, and the results aren’t pretty (thanks, Vince). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Vincent Jackson wore sky blue cleats on Sunday, and there’s no way that simple spat job is gonna save him from a fine. ”¦ Matthew Self has put together an excellent slide show of old SMU football photos. Check out all 31 pics here. ”¦ Decent article here about the uniform numbers worn by assorted L.A.-based athletes (with thanks to Eric Borer). ”¦ Cool note from Wayne Yeung, who’s one lucky fella: “My girlfriend is part of the Columbia University Business School’s women’s touch rugby team, and she recently sent me a photo of their team’s awesome hosiery.” Man, two different ribbing patterns! ”¦ Speaking of hosiery, check out the socks worn by the Bondurant-Farrar Ladyjays high school volleyball team, from Bondurant, Iowa. ”¦ Do you know what widgets are? Yeah, neither do I, but those of you who do will presumably be interested in HockeyWidgets.com, which according to Adam Tilsner has “a calendar with a different jersey for each day. The site has around 9,000 jerseys to choose from. There’s also a widget to display any jersey in their database. They have widgets for Yahoo dashboard as well.” I have exactly zero idea what any of this is about, but I’m sure those of you who aren’t as
elderly tech-clueless as I am bring us up to speed. ”¦ Here’s something you don’t see very often: two-color football socks with the white on top instead of below (with thanks to David Chisholm). ”¦ Good catch by Chris Skumin, who notes that Mike Timlin’s left-sleeve piping goes right through the Majestic logo. ”¦ Corey Davis notes that Sabres goalie Jocelyn Thibault is still wearing this mask from his Penguins day, complete with his old uni number. ”¦ Get ready for a new rallying cry of “Ditch the black!” this Thursday, because Anthony Tessein says Rutgers will be wearing black jerseys to go alone with the black pants they wore last Saturday. So much for the “Scarlet” Knights. ”¦ Cheri Chandler has posted an unusual bit of family history — a Canton Bulldogs patch supposedly salvaged from her husband’s great-grandfather’s letterman jacket — here. … Latest System of Dreck team: Washington. … If you were posing for a team portrait, why would you wear your jersey backwards? (As spotted by Andy Beaton.) … Reprinted from last night’s comments: The Seahawks’ green sleeve piping was missing from Matt Hasselbeck’s jersey on Sunday. … Guess which city I won’t be visiting today.