Brothers and sisters, I am excited to announce that reader Zac Neubauer has made a remarkable discovery, to wit: Noted soft-porn magazine National Geographic, in addition to photographing all those adorable naked tribespeople, has published a surprising amount of high-quality sports imagery over the years. Really! Many of these photos are very much in the Uni Watch wheelhouse, and Zac has generously combed through the NatGeo archives to compile them for us. Let’s take a look:
• I’ve previously run photos of the space-suited Astrodome groundskeepers, but I’ve never seen pics of the Orioles base-sweeper girls before. Note how Mark Belanger and the broomstick have similar builds.
• If not for the caption, I might not have noted the white glove being worn by this Japanese umpire. Jeremy, Mark, and all you other Japan-knowledgeable folks out there, was it once standard practice for umps to go white-gloved? Only plate umps or also base umps? Details, please.
• Check out the lower photo here — indoor miniature golf!
• Hey, there’s nothing like a friendly ballgame to inspire a lighthearted caption.
• Can anyone fill us in on the game being played here?
• What’s better than a movie at the drive-in? A football game at the drive-in!
• Okay, there are more surreal elements to this shot than I can count. The funny thing is that there’s a guy around the corner from me who looks exactly like the batter. Sits out on his stoop every day and grumbles about this and that. Not sure if he bats right-handed, though.
• This is quite possibly history’s greatest girls’ basketball team portrait, wouldn’t you agree?
• This pond hockey shot is amazing. Love how so many of the kids have matching sweaters (except the one at far right has the colors reversed) and how two of the others have nearly matching plaid shirts.
• Soap box derby! Nuff said.
• Whoa — that’s some gorgeous setting for a soccer field. Zac says the uni number is “a Persian ‘2.’”
• Here’s something I’d never seen before: motorball (i.e., soccer on motorcycles), complete with uniforms and numbers.
• Here’s a fairly early shot of the Little League World Series, before TV cameras ruined it. The guy at lower left is Little League founder Carl Stotz.
• Lovelovelove the saturated colors in this hockey photo.
• Okay, so this has to qualify as one of history’s weirdest relay races, no?
• I hope he’s saying, “Hey, kid, pull up your left sock.”
• Here’s an interesting Westinghouse ad extolling the virtues of night baseball.
• Coke has had lots of great sports-oriented ads over the years, but this one is particularly nice.
• Maybe they’ll dust off this ad for the pigthrax scare.
• There’s something really beautiful about the angles and composition of this NHL shot.
• Who are these starstruck lasses? The Pee Wee Reese Fan Club, of course!
• As we head for the home stretch, it turns out that awesome striped socks and adorable tribespeople can coexist. Isn’t that heartening?
• Here’s a good one to go out on.
Want to see more? A few dozen additional photos are available here. Major thanks to Zac for compiling all of these while he was looking for nudie tribe photos.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Whoa, major discovery here: Connie Mack in uniform! That shot was taken during spring training in 1950 (awesome find by Jason). ”¦ Speaking of major baseball discoveries, look at this! That’s from Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber‘s blog, Baseball Research. ”¦ Ben Traxel has created a new Broncos uni concept that mixes and matches several elements from the team’s history. ”¦ Remember this weird uni item? Craig Bates ended up winning that auction, and he’s provided a bunch of photos. ”¦ Matt Clement sent along some highlights from the Buffalo Sports Museum. Among his picks: the Bisons’ “Pepsi” jersey, Sabres season ticket books sponsored by Utica Club, and the sign from the Aud Club. ”¦ The U. of Minnesota hockey team has a new alternate jersey. Here’s the rear view (with thanks to John Thompson). ”¦ Regatta news from sailing enthusiast Doug Steffenson, who sent along a bunch of pics from the ICSA Sloop National Championship. “Interesting to note that U. South Alabama not only goes with what looks like a car manufacturer’s logo (Jaguar) on the front but also has a big “USA” across the back. Looks like UC Irvine got a sponsor deal for across the front (WaMu ”“- but I thought they were out of business?) with the school’s initials on the back. A sailing anteater would seem to be more interesting than the initials. BC, Brown, and Wisconsin went with letter logos across the back while Charleston has their burgee (flag) on the front.” ”¦ MLB umps and the Carolina Panthers: Separated at birth? (Good observation by Doug Brei.) ”¦ There are tragedies, and then there are tragedies (as forwarded by Keith Owen). ”¦ Very nice shot of Jackie Robinson as a UCLA baseball player (with thanks to Mark Loveland). ”¦ Robert Marshall informs me that he and fellow reader James T. Huening will be going curling here this Sunday. Full report to follow. ”¦ The Chargers are selling some super-cool posters for several of their home games this season. So far they’ve released the Broncos and Raiders editions, with Eagles and Chiefs versions still to come (with thanks to Dustry McGowan). ”¦ Good article about Joey MacDonald’s mask and pads here (with thanks to John Muir). ”¦ “Jordan’s and Palestine’s women’s soccer teams faced each other on Monday in Al-Ram on the West Bank,” says Morris Levin. Note the Jordanian player wearing the hijab. Ditto for goalkeeper here, although Morris says that’s “less interesting since keepers often wear long pants and sleeves anyway.” ”¦ Nice Super-8 footage from a 1998 Mets/D-backs game, including dubbed-in audio from Gary Cohen and Bob Murphy, here. It’s hard to see, but this was one of those rare games when the Metsies wore black jerseys with blue undersleeves, a configuration I’ve done my best to forget about over the years (with thanks to Brian Erni). ”¦ What’s that printed on the inside of Cam Janssen’s shirttail? A high-res version of the photo reveals this. The first part is simple enough — “Lettering by Liebe” (a St. Louis company, remember — I wrote about them back in 2007). As for the rest, Joe Barker explains: “Bert Godin is the Blues’ equipment manager. The date on the jersey is from a preseason game against the Avs, the Blues’ first road preseason game of the year. Probably the first time they had the road whites done up.” Faaaascinating. … Big birthday wishes to our own Scott M.X. Turner today. See you tonight, buddy.