Got a note recently from Brandon Garrett, who said he’d been looking through a photo archive called “Vanishing Georgia” and stumbled upon a huge trove of old sports pics. I haven’t done one of these region-specific photo surveys in a while, so let’s check out some highlights:
• I really like the simple color-blocked design used by this 1916 basketball team.
• “This shot is described as being a Fitzgerald, Georgia, baseball team from 1897,” writes Brandon. The interesting thing is how each player seems to have a different local sponsor — never seen anything like that before.
• Note the “4” sleeve patches. Memorial gesture? Repeated uni numbers? Nope — this shot shows the Fourth District A&M School baseball team, which I assume is what the numeral refers to.
• A shot of “Bobby Jones, Ty Cobb, and ‘an unidentified man,’ ca. 1940s.”
• Caption to this 1920 photo, as quoted by Brandon: “D. Hodge poses for a photograph in his baseball uniform. He was a catcher for the Unity Spinning Mill team from Newnan.” Too bad about the mismatched socks, but it is SO DAMN COOL to see one of those hoop-striped undershirts in its entirety, without a jersey covering up part of it.
• Fascinating shot here of a co-ed 1910 baseball team.
• Here are two shots of the 1907 baseball team at the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech). Quite the fearsome mascot in that last shot — rrrrooowwrrrr! (Looks like this 1920s team had a slightly more appropriate mascot.)
• Yeah, the stripes are cool, but what really interests me is the dark pants. I’m assuming that the collars were the same color as the britches. Note that the jersey logo is positioned on a chest pocket, too.
• Simple rule: If you play in Dublin — even Dublin, Georgia — you’re gonna have a shamrock on your uniform.
Suitable for Framing Dept.: Last Monday I got an e-mail from reader Mike Menner, which read as follows:
Greetings from Minneapolis!
On Saturday we celebrated the 18th annual Fiesta de BÃ©isbol here, a two-day celebration of all that is good and right about baseball. We led off the party Friday night watching the Twins battle back to beat the Brewers, thanks to Joe Mauer’s 8th inning homer. Then Saturday had US playing ball, followed by a grand feast, contests, prizes and a live music hootenanny winding up the night.
As part of the proceedings, we chose to honor your with our “Catbird’s Seat Award” (named in honor of Red Barber) for “acting in the best interests of baseball.” (I have a certain issue with authority figures–popes, presidents, archbishops, commissioners, and have long felt that this current commissioner has shirked that longtime duty of acting in the best interests of the game. So we award the Catbird’s Seat to those who do.)
Thanks for fighting the good fight of calling ballplayers to look like ballplayers.
All the best,
Now there’s a genuine honor! Although I’ve never attended an installment of Mike’s long-running Fiesta project, I’ve long been aware of it and know what a labor of love it is for him and many others (for details, look here and here), so I was proud to be on the receiving end of such a prestigious award.
A few days later, a package arrived at my house. Inside was a nice variety of items, including really nice cover letter from Mike, the aforementioned award certificate, two awesome baseball-themed poems from Mike’s official poet laureate, Anna Meek, an official Fiesta shirt, and a bottle of Stadium Mustard, all of which was packed in some gorgeous Ebbets Field Flannels tissue paper. And in a nice touch, the whole shebang was shipped in a Vienna Beef hot dog box. Now that, my friends, is a fully integrated approach to
kissing my ass award presentation.
Big thanks to Mike and his posse. I’m fully aware that sitting in the catbird’s seat is a privilege, not a right, and I hereby promise to do my utmost to be worthy of the responsibilities that come with this fine award.
Get Shorty: Got the following note yesterday from Mark Rybczyk: “I remember seeing a picture in The Sporting News back when I was a kid about the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League wearing short pants. I did a little searching and found this.” I in turn poked around the Sporting News archives and found this.
The game-used uni that Mike found is obviously from 1976 (note the sleeve patch), but the archival article is from ’75, which means the shorts were worn for at least two seasons (unless the ’76 jersey in that auction listing was mixed/matched with a pair of shorts from the previous season, although that seems unlikely). Also, the ’75 article quotes minor league manager Del Wilber claiming that the Houston Buffaloes wore shorts in 1949 — a year prior to the famous Hollywood Stars shorts, which I had always thought were the first shorts to appear on a professional baseball diamond. But a subsequent search of TSN‘s archives found no mention of a shorts-clad Houston team.
As an aside, while looking for that ’75 article, I stumbled across a small item from March of 1976 about the White Sox’s shorts.
And as a much bigger aside, check out this note from the 1975 article: “Little Leaguers were admitted at a reduced price, and every feminine customer over 18 received a grocery order for a free chicken.” There are SO many things to love about that sentence (my favorite being the use of “feminine” rather than “female”), but let’s just say they don’t write sports items like that anymore.
Quick Research Query: If anyone DVR’d the FSN Rocky Mountain broadcast of last night’s Rockies/Brewers game, please drop me a line.
Uni Watch News Ticker: We begin today’s ticker with two great slideshows. The first one comes from Claude Jacques, who recently visited the baseball and soccer halls of fame took a slew of tremendous jersey photos — check out his gallery here. Meanwhile, Nicole Haase is the latest reader to have visited the Packers Hall of Fame, and her photos are tremendous. You can see her excellent gallery here. ”¦ Wanna read a really interesting little item about Mike Schmidt and Nike? Check out the first few grafs of this story (nice find by Shawn Sweeney). ”¦ Dueling managerial windbreakers from the 1989 World Series. ”¦ This audio file is an interview with former A’s great Joe Rudi. There’s some good uni-related chatter at the 7.5-minute mark, or here on the progress bar (with thanks to Jonna Pedrioli). ”¦ Yesterday I linked to this New Yorker cartoon. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. ”¦ Cardinals Hall of Fame registrar Jennifer Jackson has come up with additional info about that helmet decal (which, as you’ll recall, was worn by Lou Brock during the 1975 All-Star Game, but I wasn’t sure if it had been worn at other times and/or by other players). “I have found pictures of several players taken during the 1975 season where the sticker is on the helmet,” she writes. “Those players include Ted Simmons, Reggie Smith, Bake McBride, Hector Cruz, Keith Hernandez, Ron Fairly, Ed Brinkman, Mario Guerrero, Luis Melendez, Jerry Mpmphrey, Ted Sizemore, and Luis Melendez. Some other players, including Bob Forsch and Mike Tyson, did not wear the sticker. I have not found anything explaining why some players wore the helmet with the sticker and why some did not.” So, basically, it sounds like most St. Looie players wore the helmet decal in 1975 (which I don’t remember at all) and that it was a one-year thing. ”¦ Hey only two to a customer, buddy! That ad ran in The Sporting News in 1949. ”¦ Awesome old uniform advertising banner here. ”¦ And here’s a fascinating item: a Sand-Knit promotional jersey. ”¦ Ryan Rodriguez reports that the Air Force is changing its uniforms from this to this. ”¦ Wal-Mart has a new logo. Analysis here (with thanks to Robert Tusso). ”¦ While looking for something else, I came across this shot of Sandy Alomar from the 1997 All-Star Game. Look familiar? ”¦ Chris Ruebel recently spotted the world’s worst Little League uniform in Breckenridge, Colorado. ”¦ Another Pedro Martinez start, another sighting of the Pedro porthole, which is such a bizarre affectation that it’s keeping me awake at night. ”¦ Cardinals pitcher Ron Villone’s kid has an odd hosiery superstition. Details here (with thanks to Tyler Kepner). ”¦ Last night’s comments had some good chatter about Charlie Finley’s innovations while the A’s were still in KC, including Harvey (the mechanical rabbit who delivered balls to the home plate ump) and the Pennant Porch (for entertaining details, look here).