Here’s something I’ve been obsessed with for years: If you look at old photos, you’ll see that starting pitchers used to do their pregame warm-ups in front of their respective dugouts, not in the bullpens. Check out this old photo of Shea Stadium, for example — as you can see, there were three dirt circles on each side of the plate: an on-deck circle, a fungo-hitting circle, and a flat “mound” where the starting pitchers warmed up. If you look at this shot, also from Shea, you can see that this flat mound had its own pitching rubber. There was a home plate on each side too, right in front of the “No Pepper” sign near the backstop.
The color shots in that sequence are screen shots from When It Was a Game. Larry Bodnovich has compiled several hundred of them. Here are some highlights:
• Smokin’ in the
boys’ room clubhouse.
• I can never get enough of those stripe-o-rama stirrups that the Reds wore in 1956 and ’57.
• What’s the deal with this cap? Almost looks like he’s wearing two caps, or like there’s a pocket or fold in the cap. Anyone..?
• Not sure what’s going on here, but it’s an interesting shot.
• Dig those Cubbies jackets!
• And here’s a good shot of the WWII-era “Health” patch that so many teams wore in the 1940s.
• The Reds had great usher’s attire, too.
Uni Watch Calendar: Remember, I’ll be conducting a Mets uniform quiz contest next Tuesday, July 21st, 7pm, at Two Boots on Grand Street (plus there will also be readings by Mets by the Numbers webmaster Jon Springer, Faith and Fear in Flushing webmaster Greg Prince, and Mets historian/author Matt Silverman). The quiz will be a ball-buster, so start
studying sending bribes to the teacher now. There will be a free prize for the winner, plenty of not-free pizza and beer for everyone else, and you’ll get to see Phil looking all frustrated during the quiz because he’ll know most of the answers but won’t be allowed to enter (sorry, buddy, but there’d be a riot if my right-hand man ended up winning). Oh, and Springer, Prince, and Silverman won’t be able to enter either, just to keep things fair. Looking forward to seeing lots of you there.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Uni Watch party is now confirmed for July 30th, 7pm, at the Prosperity Social Club. Vince has promised to do his show-stopping improv routine about CC Sabathia’s man-tits, so you won’t wanna miss that.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Remember that little buggy they used to bring Stan Musial out onto the field on Tuesday night? Turns out the Ford logo on the front was taped over (great catch by Brendon Yarian). ”¦ The Colts are the latest NFL teams to sell ad space on their practice jerseys (with thanks to Rob Quigg). ”¦ Very good memorabilia/collectibles site here — lots of good stuff if you click around (with thanks to HHH). ”¦ Here’s the logo for next January’s Winter Classic, which will be played at Fenway Park (with thanks to John Muir). ”¦ Andrew Borders, who works I the sports communications dept. at Princeton, writes: “While cleaning out a closet, we found this old jacket here in the office. The only tag says, ‘Hodgman, Framingham, Mass.,’ which refers to a company that has since been bought by the Coleman outdoor company.” Anyone have any insights on this jacket’s origins, history, etc.? ”¦ The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild is urging its members to wear red for a meeting today. ”¦ Still more city flag jerseys from HHH. ”¦ Interesting note about Under Armour basketball sneakers here (good find by Cedric Padilla). ”¦ Some very nice vintage equipment catalogs from Rawlings, Spalding, Rawlings again, Wilson, Rawlings yet again, and some little brand I’ve never heard of. ”¦ Here’s something I’m almost positive you haven’t seen before: Oil Can Boyd in catcher’s gear. Roberto Santiago took that shot while working at Red Sox fantasy camp last year. ”¦ Alan Borock reports that these shoes “are becoming popular in the running world” (and look, there’s Matt Powers ordering seven pairs right now). … If a dimpled surface makes a golf ball go farther, why not apply the same principle to a car? (Thanks, Kirsten.) ”¦ Lots of intriguing info from Matt Ryburn, who writes: “Here is a photo of my great-great-great uncle Jim Son, standing at far left, with his baseball team from Clarkdale, Arizona. Uncle Jim as he is known in my family is standing on the far left. My grandfather gave me this photo last weekend and told me he had fond memories of running up and down the wooden grandstands at the stadium. I am curious about the man in the back row, whose jersey says ‘WOW’ [and note the gorgeous vertical arching on the underside of the Ws — PL]. I thought maybe Uni Watch readers might have some insight. The only thing my grandfather knew about him is that he was Native American and was sent up to try out for the Cleveland Indians in the ’30s but was sent back because his skin color was too dark.” ”¦ “Some athletes in Iraq are trying to start an Iraqi national baseball team for international competition,” writes Ryan Matthews. “But no one in Iraq sells baseball equipment and they currently have one jersey, from a Japanese team, nine gloves that they share, three balls, and an old softball bat. After hearing this, Rachel Maddow decided to organize a way to get them some gear. According to her show on Wednesday, Ebbets Field Flannels is making the uniforms and folks are working on getting them equipment.” I’ll check with Ebbets to learn more. … Coney Island babies, pre-Wilco on Monday evening. I had just gotten that shirt in the mail about three hours earlier (photo by the incomparable Liz Clayton).