By Phil Hecken, with Special Guest Larry Wiederecht
This fine day, I’m joined by one of UW’s finest contributors, Larry Wiederecht. Better known to you all as “Lwiedy,” Larry’s extensive knowledge of uniforms and sports history is the equal of many, if not all, of the Uni Watch family. Whether it be his early loves, the Kansas City Royals, the
Kansas City New York Islanders or the Washington Redskins, or his more current favorites and ‘home’ teams, Larry’s keen eye, intricate nose for detail, and general disdain for the current direction of uniforms and uniform design provide us all with a fantastic perspective and is a welcome addition to any uniform discussion.
You all know Larry from his posting, but let’s take a minute to meet Larry the man:
Phil Hecken: You’ve been into baseball forever. Can you elaborate a bit?
Larry Wiederecht: I’ve been involved in organization baseball every year (except 1986) since 1972. ’86 was spent finishing school and working for Tampa Bay’s CBA club, the Thrillers. Played through 1985 in college (Eckerd), when it was pretty obvious I had completely “mined the ore” of my ability which was far less than originally anticipated.
PH: What do you do now?
LW: Although I’m now in hotel management/accounting, I have been associated with a half-dozen baseball organizations since 1987. Mostly in the Florida State League, sometime with the office staff but mostly as an official scorer. Cardinals, MiLB, Blue Jays, Phillies/Threshers, Phillies (rookie) and for the past two years with Rays as the back-up to the back-up official scorer. That has amounted to about two dozen games since 2007. This year I can add NCAA to the scoring resume as I will be handling the Big East Tournament in a couple of weeks. It usually adds up to about 100 games each year.
PH: I love that you’re the official scorer for the Rays. That made for some interesting comments during the season and World Series.
LW: Well, let’s not over do it, a scorer for the Rays. It’s certainly a departure from Class-A ball. I did miss doing the division clincher last year by just one game.
PH: How’d you find UW?
LW: A fellow with the Threshers turned me on to UW in 2007 and I can recall really beginning to participate in January 2008. My biggest UW regret was messing with Teebz over Islanders jerseys. Didn’t know just whom I was dealing with and got crushed. Never made a hockey comment since.
PH: So, UW’s right up your alley, then?
LW: I guess I’m lucky that UW is primarily a product of a pair of 40-somethings like Paul and you (with contributions from many others). Just a bunch of grumpy old men bitching about the good old days. Seriously, it’s remarkable how often they come up stuff that right up my alley. For years, I thought I was the only one who obsessed over vertical-arched lettering on nameplates.
PH: You’re not alone Larry. But don’t give me any credit for UW. That’s Paul’s baby. I’m just happy he lets me share in this wonderful obsession. I’ve been trying to get you to work with me for ages, and I’m just happy this is the first of our collaborations. Want to let the readers know what’s in store?
LW: I do have a couple of projects that I’d like to share with UW audience, one being this All-Star bit. I have every program back to 1969, because that’s when baseball really started (or so says a Royals fan). But it’s really what my budget has allowed. I do have a fairly extensive collection of collectables but most rarely have too much interest because the scope is pretty narrow to what I like (which as most know, is not much). Anyhow, I hope the readers enjoy the selections we are planning of the next couple months leading up to the game this year in St. Louis and feel free to let us know what could make them better.
Thanks, Larry. As he said, we plan to corroborate on a series of posts dealing with All Star Games past, leading up to the Mid-Summer Classic. For this edition, Larry has scored an original 1972 All Star Game program, and has scanned several of the pages for our enjoyment. We begin with the cover. What a beautiful piece of art, huh? And I love that pure-70’s font that was so common (actually, I think it was just becoming common at that time). As we take a look inside, some bullets:
* Larry asks, “Who’s that fellow on the right?
* A look at the 1972 AS ring.
* Who says Ty Cobb hated all that was good in the world.
* Recognize anyone on this page?
* Larry’s personal favorite. Full page love for official scorers. There was a time when doing that was a big deal, obviously not so much these days!
* I’m guessing this is an ad but no print of any kind, but it’s great! Anyone going to the game will know exactly where to get a late night stack of pancakes.
* BTW, for those too young to recognize the sign, it was this (a great logo they never should have dropped).
Great stuff Larry, and thanks for sharing! I’ll be back again with Mr. Wiederecht from time to time as the 2009 All Star Game nears with more excellent bits from him.
The 1972 All Star Game itself was a pretty good affair, going into extra innings before the National League ultimately prevailed. The box score and more can be found here, and an additional write up is here. Hammerin’ Hank, playing in front of the hometown fans, gave them all a real thrill when he slugged a home run in the sixth inning of the contest off of Cleveland’s Gaylord Perry, (a shot he called his “most dramatic” of his career — of course that was before he hit #715). Here’s one more shot of the shot.
Nice little writeup of the game is also found on MLB.com:
The All-Star Game came to the South in 1972 as Atlanta hosted its first Midsummer Classic. Hometown hero Hank Aaron pleased the crowd with a two-run homer to left in the sixth inning, which gave the NL a 2-1 lead. In the eighth, the AL got some power from an unexpected source as Kansas City’s Cookie Rojas teed off on Expo hurler Bill Stoneman with a runner on, putting the AL back on top at 3-2. But Wilbur Wood of the Chisox couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth, as the NL managed to scrape out a run to tie the game and send it to extra innings. In the 10th, Mets relief specialist Tug McGraw put down the AL 1-2-3, and in the bottom of the inning, Baltimore’s Dave McNally allowed a lead-off walk to Nate Colbert of the Padres, who was bunted over to second by Chris Speier of the Giants. That brought up Joe Morgan and the Reds’ second baseman drove the first pitch into center on a line, scoring Colbert with the game-winning run.
The Mets own Tug McGraw ended up being the winning pitcher in the game, and he is shown here with his National League teammates, Cincinnati’s Joe Morgan (#8), Chicago’s Ron Santo and Pittsburgh’s Manny Sanguillen.
The “official logo” of the contest mirrored the typography of the All Star Game program. Nolan Ryan, who at this time was pitching for the California Angels (and who was selected to the game), is featured on this baseball card, which shows the ‘historical commemorative patch’ for the game.
Typically, photos from this game are somewhat difficult to find. However, the amazing Steve’s Baseball Photography Pages, hosted by Steve Dewing (and which have been linked numerous times on UW, and have been undergoing a recent update), has some fantastic pics from that 1972 game. In no particular order, here are some of those shots:
* Not a bad group: Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, Hank Aaron & Willie Mays … Bench would later take the mic for NBC.
* Pretty good arms here: Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, former teammates and current HOFers … Picking up the hardware: Joe Morgan and Joe Torre, and is that Danny Murtaugh? And who’s that behind them? Is that Clemente, Aaron & Pops?
* Couple action shots: Dick Allen manning first … Al Oliver pops up and Pops lets fly the bat … Here’s a great one: Carlton Fisk and Chris Speier (with Speier wearing an Astros helmet) … Sweet Lou Pinella taking his licks … Manny Sanguillen behind the dish (and I’m pretty sure that’s Cookie Rojas at bat) … finally, the Post Game Celebration with Tug, Manny and Cesar Cedeno.
* Bonus pic (which entered the comments a short time ago): did we ever conclusively figure out who this guy was?
OK…that’s it for the main article. Thanks again to Larry for those program grabs. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find one or more photos from Steve’s website and to find one (or more) uniform you love … and just say why. You can literally get lost on that site for hours, and the shots are pure gold! In addition, there are a number of photographs where the player(s) is not identified. If you have questions about a certain player, or the year of a uni, or something, post ’em! I’m not even sure I got all the players correct from the 1972 ASG pics I linked to. Happy hunting!
What about Bob(ble)? Our OCD DIYer, Robert Marshall has been furiously working on the first batch of custom bobbleheads. Here’s an “in progress” peek. On Friday, Robert reported to me, “it is a dusty nightmare, and am going to start the painting tonight, should be sending these out mid to late next week.” Freakin’ sweet. The man is an incredibly talented artist (he shared with me a bunch of his stuff, including some absolutely amazing stained glass, which I hope to feature, along with some of his other art, in a future post). If you haven’t yet ordered a bobble, you need to seriously consider it. I’m sure either Paul or I will have early reports from the first batch of bobble-recipients when they arrive. Great stuff, Robert!
And now, a call to those keeping track of “their” team and the records for the different uniform variations your team has been wearing. I had originally planned on having those keeping track sharing their findings around the All Star Break, but let’s do this twice during the season, and once at season’s end. If you guys who are keeping track of such things can report to me (in whatever form you’ve been keeping it and however you’re deciding to do it) in the next week or two (actually, I’d like to post on this the weekend of May 30-31). Feel free to contact me directly and I’ll discuss the column with you. I’d like to include some of your thoughts along with your ‘unikeeping.’
As you are all no doubt aware, I’ve been tracking the Mets and their myriad uniform combinations. Although there is a possibility of eight different uniform combinations, as of Saturday, they have worn six. Because I am a lunatic, I’m keeping track of this two ways: graphically*, with a big chart, as well as in an Excel spreadsheet. (I actually write it all down first onto a steno pad, because, ya know, I’m
insane old school).
* (graphic up to date as of their last home stand)
Currently, the Mets record in the snow whites with blue caps has been 5-1; the record in snow whites with black/blue caps is 4-4; donning the actual “official” home uniform of pinstripes with blue caps they sport a 1-2 record; fortunately, they have NOT worn the pinstripes with black/blue caps thus far, but they have worn the even more awful home black jersey & cap with white pants three times, going 2-1 in that combo. On the road, the Mets have three possible uniform combinations, although one of the three is extremely unlikely to be seen. In their standard gray jersey and black/blue cap, the Mets sport a 7-4 record. In the road black jersey & cap with gray pants they are 2-3. They have not worn the gray jersey with blue cap thus far this season.
So…what do the uniforms say about the records? It’s too early to tell, but it’s obvious there are certain combinations in which the Mets have a better record than others. Do the uniforms have any effect on that record? Who knows. When we do our two-month review, I’ll update the Mets records and further elaborate on their uniform preferences. Like many teams, the Mets tend to wear certain uniform variants on certain days of the week, breaking out their pinstripes on Sundays, and there seems to be a preference for “black Fridays,” (although they’ve worn black on other days of the week) so, given another two or so weeks to get a better perspective, we can delve further into the uni-combos and resultant records, and try to draw conclusions from there.
So any of you who’ve been doing the same (in whatever fashion you’ve been doing it) … if you can please contact me within the next two weeks, I’d like to include your findings in a column.
And today marks the Third Anniversary of the launch of the Uni Watch blog. Wow. To borrow a line from Robert Hunter, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” To see how it all began, check out the First Pitch Paul ever tossed. I’d like to be the first of many to offer my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Lukas for embarking on this venture, for providing us all with our daily dose of uniform news, notes and quotes, and for sharing his own obsessive study of athletics aesthetics (and he’s obviously not the only one). It’s been a great and fun ride so far, Paul.
All the best to you and your many wonderful readers who make this blog such a unique and wonderful place! Congrats on your first three years!
This and That: For some reason, the writers of this article feel that NASCAR has the ‘best’ All Star ‘game’ — as a bonus, you get to see a pic of MJ in this getup … Seriously, I know it’s a “team” thing, but please, for the love of god, PLEASE STOP THIS … Beantown favorite Jim Rice recently toured the HOF in preparation for his July induction, and he learned something about uniform numbers: “Babe Ruth wore No. 3 and Lou Gehrig wore No. 4, and that’s because of where they were in the batting order” … I’m sure this has been mentioned before, but adidas makes catchers gear? … Pink may be the “new red” but it’d be hard to imagine AJ Foyt parading around Indy in a pink car … Art imitates life? Does this remind you of this? OK, me neither, but still … OK — what exactly are those two things on either side of “BACK” supposed to be? Bats? Syringes? Something else? … Philllies … “You throw like a girl!” is not only not an insult, it’s a compliment in this league where one girl shuns softball because “I don’t like the chanting and the uniforms they wear.” … Which way did they go? They went that way … Oh how I wish the Mets could play all their games during the day — how great will those look in blue? And not a bad day at the dish either (3-5, 3 RBI) — Even Johan is checkin’ out the ‘rups … The weathervane has been painted, and the lady is a champ, which is great, because only the usual degenerate gamblers and assorted lowlifes will be at the Belmont now … This is a perfect example of how to ruin a beautiful uniform with piping and striping … Ever wonder what happened to Bjorn Borg? Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore … The Phillies and Nationals played their Jackie Robinson tribute game last night … Wow…is this kid even old enough to have a drivers’ license? … You don’t think bobbleheads are powerful? Well, the Pirates had Nate McLouth bobblehead night yesterday, and guess who went deep? … Anyone know what those things at the base of the numbers on the MLS jerseys are? Looks like all the teams have it. — And apparently it’s not exclusive to the MLS — Other teams from different leagues seem to have some symbol at the base of their numerals. Are those all logos or adverts? I never noticed that before.
NFL Rookie Trading Card Pics were taken yesterday. Couple pics made the wire: Pat White, Miami Dolphins … Derrick Williams, Brandon Pettigrew & Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions … Mark Sanchez, New York Jets … and finally, from the You Cannot Be Serious File, while finding the NFL rookie pics, I came across this story on the AFP wire: “Aspiring players for the Lingerie Football League (LFL) relax after taking part in training drills during an open tryout
session by the New York Majesty team in Freeport, New York, May 14, 2009. The LFL, a 10-team nationwide American football league, featuring women playing football in their underwear, will start in September 2009 for a 20-week season.” Are they serious? WTF? Apparently, they have uniforms. Jeebus.
Have a super Sunday. Happy Birthday UW!