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Best of Uni Watch: Revisiting The Double Curse

buckner cubs

By Phil Hecken

Today we have another “Best of Uni Watch” installment. But unlike the last one, which reprised an entry from the blog, today we’ll be revisiting one of Paul’s ESPN columns.

Because it ran on ESPN, we can’t repost it on here, but we can link to it. That’s below. And now, to describe the column, I’ll let Paul explain:


I’ve written hundreds, maybe thousands of articles over the years. I was happy with most of them when they were published, and I think many of them still hold up as being interesting, or funny, or informative, or whatever they were supposed to be.

But I’ve only written two things that I think are important. One of them is a food article that broke some new ground in the annals of meat research (I’ve linked to it many times, but once more can’t hurt). The other one is an ESPN column that ran in the fall of 2006, about the batting glove Bill Buckner was wearing under his first baseman’s mitt when that fateful ball went through his legs.

Why was this column important? For one thing, it’s not often you can take a famous event — one that’s been viewed countless times by tens of millions of people over the course of 20 years — and discover something new about it. So this column added to the lore of an already storied moment in baseball history. I’m proud of that.

And I’m happy to say that the public responded to it. The Buckner column was the most-forwarded article on for something like a week solid after it ran, and by a healthy margin (I took that screen shot on 10/19/06). I think it was also the site’s most-read story of October 2006, or something like that. Now, sheer readership isn’t necessarily a barometer of quality or importance. But the Buckner column hinges on a very small visual detail, and I was really pleased to see — and to demonstrate to my editors — that even the smallest of details can appeal to a mass audience. I saw it as a pretty loud validation of Uni Watch’s overall premise.

In short, this was the story that put Uni Watch on the map as legitimate sports journalism instead of just a quirky little exercise in geekitude. Nearly four years later, I now think of it as Uni Watch’s finest moment — at least so far.


Thanks Paul — now, here’s that ESPN column. After you read it, come on back here and lets discuss. OK? OK!


mlb unisMLB Home Uniform Poll 2

created by Uni Watch Pollster James Huening

Well — the results from last weeks “Best MLB Home Uniform” poll are in. You have spoken. And now, it’s time to take the 9 finalists and decide, for once and for all, who has the best home threads in the show. I’ll turn it over to Jimbo, and then you can vote in the new poll. We’ll keep this one open another week and be back with the final results shortly thereafter. Here’s JTH:

The starting lineup is in. Leading off with 8.21% of responses, the Detroit Tigers. Second, the St. Louis Cardinals, who collected 8.09%. In the 3-hole, the Los Angeles Dodgers with 7.73%. Batting cleanup, the New York Yankees, who collected 7.21%. OK, enough of the stupid batting order analogies. The other five: Boston Red Sox (6.61%), San Francisco Giants (6.33%), Atlanta Braves (6.09%), Chicago Cubs (5.79%), Oakland Athletics (4.31%).

Not a whole lot of surprises here. All are teams with pretty traditional looks that have, for the most part, remained pretty much unchanged for quite some time.

Now for the other side of the coin, the bottom 9: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1.23%), Washington Nationals (1%), Milwaukee Brewers (0.89%), Colorado Rockies (0.74%), San Diego Padres (0.69%), Houston Astros (0.54%), Florida Marlins (0.5%), Toronto Blue Jays (0.48%), Arizona Diamondbacks (0.42%).

Full results can be viewed here.


And now…the final poll:


japanese baseball hedThrowing Back, Asian Style…

As you guys may be aware, they’re doing the throwback thing over in Japan. Our resident Pacific Rim Correspondent, Jeremy Brahm has already provided both ticker & comment material on it. But reader Eric Lord sent in a pretty neat write-up on the series, which he describes below. Enjoy.


Just thought I’d bring to your attention a recent development from the Land of the Rising Sun. For this week’s three-game sets from August 17-19, and again from August 24-26, the six teams in the Central League each wore a throwback uniform to celebrate the history of the Central League, one of NPB’s two leagues. Some good ones and some not-so-good ones – here’s some shots and info.

Series 1 — Yomiuri Giants at Chunichi Dragons:

Dragons: Uniforms from 1952, the first year the Dragons won the Japan series. Not bad — interesting to see the wishbone “C” that we associate with the reds on a blue cap. That’s actually a logo used all over the place in Japanese baseball — the Hiroshima Carp use it as their hat primary, and many high school teams have also borrowed it. The sleeve logo features the Japanese character 中 (“chuu” from Chunichi) on a stylized background.

Giants: This throwback is the Giants’ home whites from 1950, the first season of the Central League’s existance. Old-school for sure — bears a strong resemblance to Japanese high school uniforms, with the all-white look and striped socks.

Interestingly, the Giants were playing at the Nagoya Dome against the Dragons for this series, making them the away team, giving the games a pretty surreal white-versus-white look.

Series 2 — Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima Carp:

Yakult: The Swallows are the only team to go with a home kit and an away kit for the two series, and they went with uniforms from the 1990’s, when the team won three Japan Series. The picture quality isn’t great, but that barbershop pinstripe is pretty wild. This series, though, they were the away team, and so wore their classy powder blue kit. The striping is actually really subtle, and gives the uniform some pop — not sure about that red belt though! Also the cap logo is an absolute travesty.

Hiroshima: Uniforms from 1989, when current manager and former player Kenjiro Nomura joined the team. Nice, but a bit too similar to their standard home kit to really feel like a throwback.

Highlights from the first game, which was actually a heck of a show.

Series 3 — Hanshin Tigers at Yokohama Baystars:

Yokohama: Yokohama used these uniforms from 1978-1992, when the franchise was known as the Taiyo Whales. The pullover V-neck really gives the kit an ’80’s feel to me, and that big W on the hat is pretty solid. Nice work all around.

Hanshin: Saved the best for last. As a Tigers fan, I’m probably biased, but the Japanese media has been absolutely freaking out over these kits, and with good reason. The uniforms are the road kits from 1948-1949, when the team was called the Osaka Tigers and featured a series of hitters that came to be known as the “Dynamite-dasen” or Dynamite Lineup. The all-black look is great – and looks even better in action, as you’ll see — and those striped tube socks speak for themselves.

Hightlights from a wild Game 1, which featured the kid in the interview, Shunsuke Fujikawa hitting his first pro HR on his birthday (skip to 4:20 for highlights). This game was actually played at Nagano Olympic Stadium, a neutral site — every year, each team plays a few games in rural stadiums around the country, to increase exposure in the countryside. The Tigers are technically the road team here, but as one of the two most popular teams in Japan (along with the Giants), they usually fill up these neutral sites with yellow and black.

Fun fact – for the second series, the Tigers will be the acting home team against the Carp, but since the Tigers usual home stadium, Koshien, is used every year to host the National High School Baseball Championships, the series will be played at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, home of the Orix Buffaloes of the Pacific League. This series will be played in the throwback kits, so you’ll have a home team wearing all blacks against a road team wearing all whites. When’s the last time that happened outside the NHL?


Thanks Eric!


64Will you still need me…

…will you still feed me

A day early, but a big fat Happy Birthday to Rick Pearson, who will have more candles than he can count on his cake Saturday.

In your honor, Ricko, here’s a very special Birthday “Bunchies”, just for you!

Cheers, buddy — have a great one.


ticker 4Uni Watch News Ticker: Starting off today is Johnny Okray who reports that Looks like Wisconsin might be getting a bigger, better, and longer deal with Adidas. He notes, “Seems like if this goes through you will ONLY see Adidas UW merchandise.” Funny, I didn’t think there was any adidas UW merch. … Douggie Keklak found some really good Pitt logo history. … Jason Chai sends a picture of “the new sox’s for our triple A affiliate here in Fresno, CA.” It seems most of the players are still going with the pajama look, but this pitcher wore his beautifully. … More new Nike Combat news: Jeff Stark reports it’s official for Florida. … Mark your calendars now, folks, because the Ducks are announcing their new third jersey on November 26th (thanks to Paul Lukas for that). … Great old-tyme baseball photo comes from Alex Higley, whose “friend’s great grandfather” played on that team. Says Alex, “I love how the captain (M. Loup) is wearing a sweater while the rest of the team wears the standard Kaufman -Richards Indoor Baseball team uniform we are traditionally more familiar with.” … John Shabe sends us news about a kid with really big shoes to fill — his own. … New helmet design for Big Red: Tris Wykes notes the black outline on C disappears, new white stripe down the middle, and gray masks instead of red. … Les Holmlund reports “the Regina Pats, the longest-running junior hockey franchise in the world, unveiled a new third jersey based on the uniforms worn by the 1925 Pats, winners of that year’s Memorial Cup. The Pats are based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and will be participating in the first outdoor junior game in Canada on February 21, 2011, against the Calgary Hitmen The game is part of the NHL’s Heritage Classic featuring an outdoor NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens.” … Not actually socks: Ryan Connelly says “check out the pic of the Moss game worn uni.” … “I noticed in the coverage of the recent passing of Bobby Thompson that both the Giants and Dodgers were wearing diamond shaped sleeve patches with just a ball and glove during the big game,” says Adam Wagner. “Do you know what that patch was for?” You can see the patch in this photo of Ralph Branca sitting on the clubhouse steps after loss. … Nolan Reagan took this picture of the college football Top 25 in the South Bend Regional Airport. Of course SB is the home of ND & College Football HOF (for now anyways). Says Nolan, “Its a pretty cool display. They have the mini-helmets in order of the TOP 25. I’ve never seen a display like this in any other airport!” … The “other” Mike Hersh informs us the Navy has launched a website for their new uniforms that includes development history and a gallery. … UW mystery: Matt Morice mentions that during the 8/14 game between the Cardinals and Cubs, Kosuke Fukudome started the game wearing a batting helmet with no logo on it. He has searched for a photo or screen grab, but no luck. Anyone? … TJ says: Logo creep cleat? … Daniel Carroll advises the Mariners are giving away Franklin Gutierrez kids jerseys next weekend, and the photo they’re using of it shows that the jersey has Vertically Arched NOB, though another photo with kids wearing the jersey has Radially Arched NOB. For those who don’t know, the M’s use RANOB. … There’s a new Arena league team, Paul McCluskey declares, the River Wizards. Sweet (also sent in by, of course, Kek as well as Rick Porter). … Caleb Borchers notes a little BFBS is sneaking into New Zealand Rugby. Two teams, North Harbour and Tarnaki, have gone from older jerseys where black was only an element, to these and these. “Even in a country that loves black so much, it strikes me as unimaginative,” remarks Caleb. … For those of us who are bi-lingual, Mike Edgerley has a treat for us: “The goalkeeper Pablo Aurrecochea for Paraguayan soccer club Guaraní ditched his club’s shirt sponsor for the Batman logo in Thursday’s Copa Sudamericana tie against River Plate (Uruguay). More details here (in Portuguese). Obrigado, Mike. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: The Padres are dropping the sand from next year’s road uniforms(!) — scroll down to 12:36/12:37. … In a followup, Ricko pointed out that the Padres are doing well this season, so maybe a uni change shouldn’t be considered. “When I was working with Theismann on that Redskins newspaper during the ’83 season, he told me the ”˜Skins were planning on changing to white helmets in ’83, but that idea was scrapped after they beat the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.” … Shaun Tunick sent this pic of David Ross and his matte finish mask. “I have been trying to find a good pic of it for weeks now to send on to you, because i’ve never seen a matte finish on a helmet of any sort in MLB, and i think its really pretty neat looking,” says Shaun. … And finally, Wade Harder has two bits of information about Alabama’s Pro Combat Uniforms by Nike.


OK…another week in the books. Everyone have a great weekend, and don’t forget to wish the old man a happy birthday tomorrow. Ek will take you through the weekend, and next week, I will have all the baseball jersey contest participants submissions for you. See ya Monday.


There’s a little roller up along first, behind the bag… — Vin Scully

146 comments to Best of Uni Watch: Revisiting The Double Curse

  • scott | August 20, 2010 at 8:05 am |

    That’s the National League 75th Anniversary patch that all NL teams wore during the 1951 season.

  • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • Alex Higley | August 20, 2010 at 8:40 am |

      My friend didn’t know. Might have something to do with weather restrictions from playing in Denver, but even that seems improbable with all the sunny days we have.

      So I have no idea.

      The novelty of the name was enough for me.

    • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 8:52 am |

      I know there is a certain “artistic” value to black and white photography…but I see pics like this and I wish that color cameras would have been invented 50 years earlier!

    • marc | August 20, 2010 at 9:36 am |

      Maybe they played in a warehouse or some such thing? I dunno… interesting question.

    • JamesP. | August 20, 2010 at 9:43 am |

      That would be the ancestor to what we call softball.

      • marc | August 20, 2010 at 12:06 pm |

        More like “Chicago-style” softball (w/ 16″ ball). I didn’t know that got it’s start indoors. Cool!

      • Alex Higley | August 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm |

        Thanks for solving the riddle.

  • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 8:31 am |

    Wow…that Buckner article was really 4 years ago….

    • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 8:35 am |

      Speaking of Red Sox, just walked by the TV and the it looks like the Today show and they were all wearing Boston Caps..what was that about?

      • Stevie McQuistan | August 20, 2010 at 9:04 am |

        They are trying to influence the UniWatch poll today.

      • GoTerriers | August 20, 2010 at 9:21 am |

        Boston caps are probably in support of the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that started yesterday and runs through midnight tonight. 9th year of the event, trying to get to a goal of $5 million raised to help fund cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer institute in Boston.
        There has never been a more worthy cause. And for give me for the shameless plug, but to donate call 877-738-1234 or or\jimmyfund or finally, text ‘KCANCER’ to 20222.
        (And for Yankees fans, like me, even though it’s a “Boston” event, Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter, Sterling & Waldman and Reggie Jackson have all called in donations on air. Mr. Steinbrenner was a regular contributor every year)

  • Dane | August 20, 2010 at 8:52 am |

    The article about the Pittsburgh arena football team now says that River Wizards will not be the name of the franchise. Guess we’ll find out more at 9:30.

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 8:56 am |

      I thought it was River Whizzers.

      • Dane | August 20, 2010 at 9:29 am |

        The River Whizzers get their uniforms at Pants N’At.

        • marc | August 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm |

          LOL. Are they sponsored by Donnie Iris?

    • TomTom | August 20, 2010 at 10:15 am |

      Looks like they’ve gone with the slightly uninspiring Pittsburgh Power. I would’ve definitely liked a return to the Maulers nickname, but I still find it better than the River Wizards.

      • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm |

        Oh swell…alliteration, another jagged logo…oh well, Lynn Swann’s part owner, so I guess I’ll give them a shot.

        Not the greatest of names, but exponentially better than the River Wizards.

        Now, if the Pittsburgh Spirit come back, I’ll REALLY get excited. There’s talk of more expansion, after Missouri and Omaha just got new MISL teams.

    • JSS | August 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm |

      Should be called the River Yinzers. :)

      • BurghFan | August 20, 2010 at 5:14 pm |

        Isn’t that redundant?

  • JB Early | August 20, 2010 at 9:00 am |

    I can see the Cards topping the best baseball uni list. Maybe Tigers tying Yankees for 2nd. But LAD over Yankees? Brooklyn maybe. Not LA. Regardless, the uniform making the most appearances in post season & winning World Series games, resides in the Bronx, NYC.

    AS for the TODAY show wearing Boston caps? easily explained. They are all wicked retahded.

    • JohnnyB | August 20, 2010 at 9:21 am |

      The difference in the Brooklyn vs. LA being that you don’t like names on the back? Rest of the uni is the same.

      I think the Dodgers uniform is, if not the best, right there with any.

      • Mark in Shiga | August 20, 2010 at 10:03 am |

        That’s the difference for me, unless JB is an anti-red-number sympathizer. I don’t mind the red numbers, but ditch the names!

        • JohnnyB | August 20, 2010 at 10:09 am |

          Red numbers were on the home jersey for the last 6 years in Brooklyn.

        • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 11:26 am |

          Got no problem with LAD being higher than the Yankees…I like their home whites much better…

    • Brian | August 20, 2010 at 11:19 am |

      The poll wasn’t about who had the most postseason appearances. It was who had the best uniform. I don’t see how the number of postseason appearances matters at all. The Angels have been consistently in the postseason for the last decade or so, and according to the poll, they have bad uniforms. (I disagree, but whatever.)

      • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 11:27 am |

        no…they do

  • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 9:00 am |

    It’s Friday, and today’s “All” team concept is courtesy of Mike Engle.
    The “All-Adjective/Adverb” Team.

    The colors (Green, Brown, White) are pretty obvious.

    Let’s start with…

    Golden Richards
    Howie Long
    Paul Flatley


    • Bernard | August 20, 2010 at 9:27 am |

      Kevin Young
      Happy Gilmore

    • floormaster squeeze | August 20, 2010 at 9:32 am |

      I will stick with baseball.

      There have been a lot of “Rusty’s”–Rusty Staub the best known.
      There have been a few “Stubby’s”–Stubby Clapp, the most recent.
      As a Cub fan I always liked reading George Large’s or Darcy Fast’s name.
      Aaron Small was around a while (though hard to find).
      Karl Best hung around for a while (but had better things to do).
      There have been lots of “Randy’s”.

      There have been a ton of “Red’s” and “Redd’s”. Lots of “Black’s” and “Brown’s” and “Green’s”. Vida Blue.

      J. D. Smart

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:11 am |

      Chris Short.
      Speedy Duncan.
      Fair Hooker.
      Don Grate (minor league outfielder, 1950’s).
      Jahvid Best.
      I.M. Hipp.

      • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 10:47 am |

        Ed “Too Tall” Jones

        Mike Quick

        Derek Lowe

        Sterling Hitchcock

    • Seth H | August 20, 2010 at 10:12 am |

      Happy Hairston

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:14 am |

      Frank Shorter.

    • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 10:16 am |

      Rusty Kuntz

      Richard Petty

      Golden Tate

    • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 10:26 am |

      Alvin Dark

      Sonny Gray

      John Daly

    • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 10:57 am |

      Dexter Manley

      Fat Lever

      • teenchy | August 20, 2010 at 11:05 am |

        Ron Fairly
        Early Wynn (and Jake Early)
        World B. Free

      • BoilerWes | August 20, 2010 at 11:12 am |

        Ron Fairly

        Sonny Jurgensen

        • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm |

          Alex English

          German Rivera

          Luke French

    • Seth H | August 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm |

      Curly Neale
      Curly Lambeau

      • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm |

        Greasy Neale.

      • Jim TN | August 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm |

        Rich Brooks

        Urban Meyer

        Les Miles

        Curley Hallman

        Woody Widenhofer

    • Chris from Carver | August 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm |

      Stuffy McInnis

    • Seth H | August 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm |

      Jumbo Elliot
      Tiny Archibald
      Randy Johnson

    • Daniel Caceres | August 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm |

      Coco Crisp

    • Seth H | August 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm |

      Jerry Lumpe
      Fat Lever

  • TomServaux96 | August 20, 2010 at 9:03 am |

    “A man’s only as old as the woman he feels…”
    — Groucho Marx

    Happy B-day, Ricko

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 9:07 am |

      “I’m way too young to be this old.”

      Thank you, and thanks to Phil for “Bunchies.”
      Although, a ripoff like that probably should mean a call to my lawyers, huh.


  • Paul Lukas | August 20, 2010 at 9:13 am |

    Small item buried in today’s Ticker really caught my eye — those “socks” on the game-worn Santana Moss uniform:

    They’re leg-warmers! I’ve seen players cut off the foot from their socks before, but these were obviously made to be leg-warmers. Just another sad case of socks becoming ornamental at best, irrelevant at worst.

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 9:18 am |

      A lot of players wore those.
      When the one-piece sock came in, it fixed the position of the stripes. While there were a couple different sizes in those one-piece socks, the length of the player’s leg and the size of his feet could still alter the stripes’ position on the leg.

      With those things, the stripes could be properly positioned around the calf…and stay there…while the crew sock worn over them served the real “sock” function.


      • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 9:25 am |

        of course, leg warmers aren’t just for use on the legs

        /that’s one “look at me” look i can appreciate

    • Andy | August 20, 2010 at 11:53 am |

      I know I’ve posted something about the ‘leg warmers’ before, specifically in reference to Joshua Cribbs and the photos in one of last seasons Sports Illustrateds, which clearly show many of the Buccaneers wearing throwback leg warmers over their throwback socks. Interestingly, these leg warmers did not include the white bottom section as the Redskins ones obviously did, but were all orange (with the red/white stripe, of course). I actually own a pair of the leg warmers that Cribbs sports on his forearms.

    • marc | August 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

      Aren’t you supposed to be on hiatus for another 11 days? ;-)

  • JohnnyB | August 20, 2010 at 9:16 am |

    “The Swallows are the only team to go with a home kit and an away kit for the two series”

    Enough with the stupidity of having to call uniforms “kits.” Thankfully, the World Cup is over and we’re talking about baseball here !!!!

  • Bernard | August 20, 2010 at 9:25 am |

    My vote for best home uni would also be my vote for the poll suggested yesterday: “Team you hate but wish you liked because their uniforms are so good”. Braves.

    • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 9:33 am |

      sadly, that’s true for me too

      early returns have the goddam cardinals running away with things…although they didn’t get my vote, that’s still a gorgeous uni

      • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:05 am |

        Anyone else seen the segment on classic uniforms on the “Baseball’s Golden Age” series? Many of those interviewed mention “Birds on a Bat”.


      • traxel | August 20, 2010 at 10:11 am |

        Cardinals. Oh yeah. At least the Brendan Ryan model.

  • RS Rogers | August 20, 2010 at 9:36 am |

    You know, if the Yankees or Tigers didn’t fail the basic test of better-than-elementary-school-children design by using different versions of the same logo on their uniform, I could vote for them. And it’s not as though there’s any good reason to use different logos; for both teams, either logo would work just fine on both cap and jersey. Both for me are near-perfect uniforms that suffer from small but overwhelming design failures.

    So for me, it came down to a mental coin flip between the Dodgers, Giants, and Braves. In the end, I went with the Dodgers, because when it boils right down to it, the Dodgers come closest to exemplifying my platonic ideal of “baseball uniform.” There’s a simplicity and consistency that rises to the level of elegance, with a distinctive feature that renders the uniform instantly recognizable on first glance. I’d rather have given my vote to a team that more effectively uses decorative elements like piping or stirrup stripes, but my mental image of “baseball uniform” has a number on the front. When I close my eyes and try to imagine a generic or ideal baseball uni, it looks more like the Dodgers than anyone else.

    • JohnnyB | August 20, 2010 at 9:38 am |

      Harumph! Great point.

      Tommy John, who wore a lot of uniforms in his career, always said the red number on the front of the Dodgers uniform was the best looking element in all of baseball.

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 9:54 am |

      We do know WHY those “D’s”, like the Yankees’ “NY’s”, are different, don’t we?

      Originally, that is.


      • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 10:12 am |

        tell us why, rick

        • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:35 am |

          It starts with a technology issue.

          Way back when, even before my time, there weren’t such things as photostats…much less computer programs.

          Most times, each vendor would have to make its own particular pattern by recreating the image from reference art. Trace it maybe, or just flat re-draw it, and then manipulate it into a format that was workable for whatever technology they were dealing with. With that re-drawing, by hand, there just isn’t going to be exact reproduction (and it probably wasn’t prioritized, anyway; more on that thought in a bit).

          Sometimes the medium (we’re talking mostly hand cutting and hand sewing/stitching here) determined that some things had to be thicker or some small things were eliminated (too detailed for the given process).

          The result almost always was a noticeable variance from the original as it moved from hat to jersey to jacket. The same thing happened with early batting helmet decals. The letters had to be thicker to provide more decal surface area to adhere to the helmet (the thin strokes always were—and many times still are—quick to peel). Again, different science than today.

          Plus, teams weren’t as concerned about precise matching. They didn’t need to be. Other than a photo in a newspaper or magazine once in a while, no one saw the unis from any closer than the stands. From a hundred feet away, any difference between the “D” on the hat and the “D” on the jersey was pretty much going to escape detection.

          Now, as to why they are STILL that way…I honestly think it’s tradition. Sure, a team could clean all that up…but over the years those things eventually DID get photographed and seen on TV and baseball cards, etc….and those quirks just became part of the package…so to speak.

          Sticking with those variances is, in some ways, a way of saying, “This is how long we’ve been around–since before the days of “marketing computer-perfect branding”…and we’re proud of that fact.”


        • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:49 am |

          Should mention that the reverse was true, too. Some small details that could be easily stitched might have been almost impossible to recreate in bulky felt.

          (“Bulky Felt”? Didn’t he manage in the minors or something?)

        • ZippyThePinhead | August 20, 2010 at 11:36 am |

          He did, indeed.

          In fact, Bulky Felt once was embroiled in a bench-clearing brawl on the road in Pawtucket. Seeing a punch coming, he dropped his head and shoulders and the blow landed, instead, on the jaw of Pawtucket’s ace pitcher, causing him to miss two starts and likely costing Pawtucket the league pennant.

          To this day, Paw Sox fans refer to him as Bulky “Ducking” Felt.

        • marc | August 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm |

          “Bulky “Ducking” Felt”

          LOL. I was mentally formulating a gag on B.F.D. myself before I began reading your reply. Good one!

    • Ricardo Leonor | August 20, 2010 at 11:33 am |

      I kind of think those quirks actually improve the uniforms. But I still believe it should be a 4 way tie between the Cards, Bosox, A’s and Dodgers….

  • Somin Somin | August 20, 2010 at 9:40 am |

    Is the Nike Pro Combat just going to be a special occasion uniform or are Nike’s elite schools, like Florida or Alabama, going to get Pro Combat gear made to look like their regular uniforms for all their games? If it is that much better than the old Nike stuff one would think so.

  • V | August 20, 2010 at 9:47 am |

    here are additional photos of the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks uniforms (close-ups). Enjoy :)
    Courtesy Dallas Morning News

    • Andy | August 20, 2010 at 11:59 am |

      Okay. Hang the eff on. The photos of the new blue jersey show centered numerals. Fine. Okay. The photo of the customized replica shows the lower left positioning of last years numerals (as in the photo of Jason Kidd). Then the photo of the white replica shows enormous (football size?) centered numerals. Amazing how some people have jobs.

      • Andy | August 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm |

        Aaaaand the kicker: according to the style guide, the numerals on both uniforms should remain in the lower left positioning as they were in seasons past. Why would this rookie get a jersey with centered numerals for his photo shoot? And why would the mock-up artists put huge centered numerals on the white replica jersey?

  • Jeremy Brahm | August 20, 2010 at 9:58 am |

    Eric good write up, but I disagree with you on the Swallows hat.

    Compare this (old)

    To the new. I’m going new every time. I have even had people in the states tell me they like and that was in 1994, right after they changed to it.

    • Mark in Shiga | August 20, 2010 at 10:12 am |

      Jeremy, was that swinging batter on the side of the cap always there? I thought the old Swallows hats just had the “YS” on the front.

      I really, really love the black Hanshin Tigers uniforms — even the pants are pure black! Love the backs (number only; no name; nice number font), love the caps, love the striped socks.

      The only flaw is that silly advertising patch on the sleeve.

      There was a black jersey with gray pinstripes that they sold in fan shops a few years ago, and I never got around to getting one, even when they made an updated one with the team name outlined in yellow rather than gray. Now I can get this new jersey instead. Go, Hanshin, go!

      Also, nothing to do with anything, but I found a picture of the Chiba Lotte Marines in their elusive black pants. I thought they only wore these in the first year of that new pink-spangled jersey, when it had only a number on the back. Looks like they used them during the Bobby V regime, too.

  • Marty | August 20, 2010 at 10:09 am |

    I remember that Cubs/Cardinals game, Fukudome went bare-helmeted for at least his first two at-bats, and it might have been all game. Unfortunately there may be no evidence.

  • Bernard | August 20, 2010 at 10:13 am |

    Well, it’s official(ly sucky):

    Pittsburgh Power.

    • Bernard | August 20, 2010 at 10:20 am |

      I suppose this is the next step in the unnatural progression of naming rights. A team name derived from the venue name, rather than the other way around.

      • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 10:27 am |

        yes, because steelers and packers didn’t derive from anything…

        while “power” is unimaginative, it could be a lot worse…like river wizards, for example

        alliteration, short nickname, obvious reference to console energy, yes, but also evokes strength/durability; traits you’d like in a team

        i HATE names like “heat,” “lightning,” “jazz” etc…but what’re ya gonna do? it’s the AFL fer chrissakes

        • Bernard | August 20, 2010 at 11:03 am |

          Gee, thanks for the history lesson Phil.

          I’m talking about the team name aligning with the name of the arena and/or the owner of the arena’s naming rights, as opposed to the owner of the team itself.

          The arena existed, and was named, before the team.

      • scott | August 20, 2010 at 10:34 am |

        Sort of like the West Virginia Power minor league baseball team, which just happens to play at Appalachian Power Park.

    • RS Rogers | August 20, 2010 at 10:37 am |

      Take the white lightning bolt and the drop shadow off the helmet logo and that’s a decent football helmet right there. Excellent, by AFL standards.

      I too hate singular team names. Either add an s, or take the fact that adding the s sounds really awkward as a sign that you need a new name. I mean, I love everything about the Minnesota Wild except the lack of an s; is “Wilds” really such a terrible name? And if it is, then that’s just a sign that they should have gone with the Voyageurs instead.

      I can make an exception for the Jazz, since there’s no elegant way to pluralize words ending in “z” in English. Sometimes the irregularities of the language can let you get away with stuff like that. But for most of the rest, I think my rule applies: Not Lighting but Lightnings, and if that sounds too funny, then Bolts it is. Not Heat but Heats, and if that doesn’t work, then Vulcans or something. Not Thunder but Thunders or Thunderers, and if that’s too odd, then Rumblers or whatever. And so forth.

    • Gusto44 | August 20, 2010 at 10:42 am |

      The Pittsburgh Iron Men would have been the best nickname, but Milwaukee has a team in that league called the Iron. If you can’t use the best nickname, at least you want something good, so Pittsburgh Power works well. The logo and helmet on the team website look solid, the uniform does have potential. Overall, considering the other arena league teams and college programs, they’ve done a fine job.

      • The Jeff | August 20, 2010 at 10:59 am |

        Iron Men is too obvious… that’s actually the name used for the Pittsburgh team in the All Pro Football 2k8 video game.

        Personally, I like the idea of calling a Pittsburgh team the Vipers. Then the full name can be unofficially shortened to the Pit Vipers… and it works just like the Buffalo Bills.

        • BurghFan | August 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |

          Ironmen was also the name of the Pittsburgh team in the BAA in 1946-47.

          There was an indoor lacrosse team in the ’90s called the Bulls. They had the same idea you do, The, but the problem is that around Pittsburgh, Pitt is the university that fields teams called the Panthers, not a short name for the city.

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:46 am |

      Damn, wish they’d gone with “River Whizzers”.
      Look at the headgear, the backstory could have been that they said, “We’ll take a ‘P’ on our helmets.”

      Rats. LIfe should be that perfect.


      • Gusto44 | August 20, 2010 at 10:52 am |

        There was a minor league arena team once called the Pittsburgh River Rats. It was a lower quality of play from the regular arena league.

        • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 10:53 am |

          is that possible?

        • Gusto44 | August 20, 2010 at 10:59 am |

          Oh, yes. Arena football is definitely the major league variety of this type of football. It doesn’t really translate well on TV, but if you ever have the opportunity to see arena football from ground level, the skill level is impressive.

        • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 10:59 am |

          Hey, don’t be too quick to dump on Arena ball.
          I worked with a former NFL DB who decided to give the league a try when the Minnesota Fighting Pike were formed.

          He said, and other veteran AF players he talked to said it was so, was that one HUGE difference is that Arena ball punishes the hell out of you because you get hit on every play, owing to the field being so small. Let’s not kid ourselves (and forgive Randy Moss, too) there are times when players on the perimeter don’t need to go full out. If you’re wide right and the play is an off-left tackle slant that goes for no gain, you probably “get the play off.”

          Doesn’t happen in Arena ball. Everybody makes contact with someone on every play.

          I hadn’t thought about that until he mentioned it. But it sure seems to be true.


        • Gusto44 | August 20, 2010 at 11:09 am |

          Didn’t the Fighting Pike have a LSU-type uniform, with a huge Pike on the helmet?

        • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 11:11 am |

          Honestly, they looked like they could have been re-tooled original PIttsburgh Gladiators unis.

          Old Gold pants and helmets, Forest Green jerseys.


        • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 11:13 am |

          is there really such thing as a “fighting pike”

          –serious question

          i always get a kick out of teams who need to add adjective to their name to increase the toughness/manly quotient…

          “we’re not the dogs — we’re the MAD DOGS”

          “we’re not the posse — we’re the INSANE CLOWN posse”

        • The Jeff | August 20, 2010 at 11:19 am |

          LI Phil – i always get a kick out of teams who need to add adjective to their name to increase the toughness/manly quotient…


          We get to blame Notre Dame for that, right?

        • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 11:25 am |

          Compared to many other fish, landing a pike is like reeling in a log.
          “Minnesota Dead Weight Pike” wouldn’t have worked.

          Now, Crappies, they fight like crazy.
          “Minnesota Fighting Crappies”.
          Nah, that’s no good, either.

          Sunfish fight.
          “Minnesota Yellowbellies”?

          Maybe they just should have re-thought the whole “fish” thing.


        • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm |

          Fighting Pike uni:

          And Happy Birthday, Ricko!

        • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm |

          And yes, I’d wear that.

        • RS Rogers | August 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm |

          I think Phil is onto something. We just need to mix up those adjectives. For example:

          Insane Clown Pike

          River Irish

          Wu Tang Wizards

          Fighting Posse

          Muck Clan

          2 Live Squirrels

          Iron Dogs

          Flying Crew

      • wagsfella | August 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

        At least they stayed with the Pittsburgh sports team tradition and made the team colors black and gold / yellow.

  • Trav | August 20, 2010 at 11:19 am |

    The Iowa helmet @ #7 in the South Ben airport has the wrong color facemask….

    • C Wms | August 21, 2010 at 1:34 am |

      yeah, and I don’t see ANY gold helmets

  • Wes | August 20, 2010 at 11:20 am |

    Kind of a cool video on the U of MN football equipment staff getting the Gophers helmets ready for the season opener…

  • DJK | August 20, 2010 at 11:25 am |

    “The Padres are dropping the sand from next year’s road uniforms(!)”

    I may be the only one, but I think this sucks. They were different, and the sand pants looked REALLY good with the Blue Alt (one of the best alts in the league IMO).

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 11:26 am |

      No argument from me.
      Heaven forbid some team should do something a little different.


      • Jeremy Brahm | August 20, 2010 at 11:34 am |

        I agree the sand color was different and it made them unique.

      • RS Rogers | August 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

        I third that agreement. I love the tan roads. I think they’re awesome on their own terms, and I also respect doing something distinctive with road unis. Even if I didn’t like the khaki, I’d have approved of them on “doing something different” grounds alone.

        Furthermore, the khaki roads were originally explained as a tribute to the Navy, who wear white or tan uniforms depending on the season. Which makes dumping the khaki roads an act of un-supporting the troops, right?

    • DJ | August 20, 2010 at 11:37 am |

      The pants aren’t sand, they’re khaki. The sand color is confined to the jerseys.

      • ZippyThePinhead | August 20, 2010 at 11:39 am |

        They wear Dockers?

      • DJK | August 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

        Khaki/sand whatever, they are still cool and different.

    • kj | August 20, 2010 at 11:47 am |

      The khaki/sand/whatever is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. But, what Ricko said: Apparently no team should do anything different.

      (I’m still looking at you, Twins; those rode pins were great.)

      • kj | August 20, 2010 at 11:47 am |

        “Road pins”.

        I’ll get my coat now.

        • ZippyThePinhead | August 20, 2010 at 11:57 am |

          Well, yes. Everyone knows the correct phrase is “ridden pins.”

  • Beardface | August 20, 2010 at 11:46 am |

    It actually pains me to type this…

    From everything I am hearing, Virginia Tech football will be joining the illustrious BFBS crowd when the Nike Pro Combat Uniforms are debuted on September 1st, and they will be worn on Labor Day against Boise State.


  • Gusto44 | August 20, 2010 at 11:57 am |

    Interesting fodder for a future column would be defunct arena football league teams and uniforms. There have been plenty of teams to choose from, many clubs only lasted a year before folding, so those uniforms may be forgotton. A couple from the past I remember, the Fort Worth Calvary and the Memphis Pharaohs.

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm |

      Among the short-lived teams, the Carolina Cobras had, I thought, great unis.

      And I will always be partial to the first Chicago Bruisers. Black & Blue (natch) with all kinds of sleeve stripes. Closest thing to Ti-Cats and Princeton that pro football in U.S. has seen in a lot of years.


    • Supernally Ugly | August 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm |

      New Orleans and Tampa Bay in Zubaz!!!!!

    • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm |

      This Arena League nickname, logo and uni was kinda fascinating…in the sense of “Just exactly how do you express it visually?”

      “New Orleans NIght” (precursor of the Voodoo; Reggie Collier—formerly of Birmingham Stalltions—was their QB at least some of the time)…


  • marc | August 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm |

    Before I forget, Happy Birthday, Ricko!

    • M.Princip | August 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm |

      Indeed, Happy Birthday to El Ricko Suave!

  • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

    midday poll update…with just over 1,000 votes in so far…the cards are still holding on to a ~4 percentage point lead over the tigers, with the yanks in third


  • DJK | August 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm |

    The only real surprise to me making the finals was the Athletics. Their homes are OK, but nothing special.

    I was surprised on how little love the Brewers got. Their unis are sweet.

  • JSS | August 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm |

    Shout out to Crazy Paco on Pitt message boards for the awesome website that Kek showed on former Pitt logos.

    • Dave | August 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm |

      While Pitt has had some good lettering throughout the years, it’s a shame they never came up with a good panther logo. The panther head created in the 90s (that was placed on the helmet for awhile) was a good try. But it pales in comparison to Penn St, Carolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions, to name a few.

  • interlockingtc | August 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm |

    “I don’t know,” says Kevin. “I get interested in things sometimes.”

    Beautiful and perfect.

  • pflava | August 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm |

    I had my choices down to the Tigers or Cardinals and ended up going with Detroit. The Tigers homes are just flawless. There is not a thing about them I don’t like – a perfect example of the elegance and power of simplicity.

    The one little thing about the Cards uni that bothers me is the lack of stripes or piping on the jersey. It just looks like a plain white baseball shirt from the sporting goods store that they put the (glorious) birds on a bat logo on. I prefer something a little more along the lines of this for St. Louis.

    Also, how did the Pirates NOT make the final list but the A’s did?

  • M.Princip | August 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm |

    I went with the Tigers, this is simply an awesome uni ensemble.

    • Andy | August 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm |

      Sadly, if a uniform like this were released today, it would be criticized for being boring, plain or uncreative (or some combination thereof), very much the way the new Cavaliers’ uniforms were received. Some people just can’t see the beauty in a uniform that simple.

      • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm |

        only by the madden generation

        and maybe jim vilk

        • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm |

          And I thought you knew me…

      • Ricko | August 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

        Simple doesn’t mean dull or stupid or boring.
        It just means not complex.


  • JL Thompson | August 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

    Don’t be fooled by the Yankees’ nine-run 6th yesterday. (In case you
    were paying attention.) They were playing the pitching-challenged
    Tigers, and they’ve had trouble winning series since the All-Star break.

    I have a theory.

    The dead Yankees who have been memorialized with various patches and the
    arm band to the 2010 uniforms–Bob Sheppard (x7/11), Steinbrenner
    (x7/13) and Houk (x7/21)–have added physical as well as emotional
    weight to the team’s 2010 narrative. The spate of deaths began the
    Sunday before the break when Sheppard died, at which time the Yankees’
    record stood at 56-27, for a winning percentage of .675. Since the
    break, the Yankees have gone 19-14, for a WP of .576. This decline of a
    full 10% coincides with the spate of injuries to Pettitte (left groin,
    7/20), A-Rod (left calf, 8/16), Berkman (right ankle, 8/15) and Swisher
    (right forearm, 8/17). The additions of the patches and arm band have
    added excessive weight to the left side of the uniform, throwing
    it–and, by extension, the whole team–off balance, thereby rendering
    the active roster more susceptible to injury. Concomitantly, those on
    the DL prior to the memorials (Johnson, Aceves, Marte), should have an
    even harder time rehabbing and getting back to active status. If Yogi
    dies, they’re not going to make the playoffs.

    • J-Dub | August 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm |

      Here’s $0.25 for that word….

    • traxel | August 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm |

      Blah blah yankees blah barf. Back to uniforms, this cards fan voted for detroit.

  • LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm |

    wow…just checking in real quick

    the city of detroit must have been tipped off to UW, because with more than 2,000 votes in, detroit has taken a commanding 5%age point lead …


  • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm |

    Andy | August 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    “Sadly, if a uniform like this were released today, it would be criticized for being boring, plain or uncreative (or some combination thereof), very much the way the new Cavaliers’ uniforms were received. Some people just can’t see the beauty in a uniform that simple.”

    LI Phil | August 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    “only by the madden generation
    and maybe jim vilk”

    Hey now, not only did I praise the new Cavs unis (they not just “I’d wear that,” they’re “I’d buy that”), I also voted for the Tigers today.

    Who also like Penn State’s football unis and the 50s Giants? Don’t let my little fling with neon green fool you – simple can indeed be beautiful.

    • traxel | August 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm |

      I thought the cavs new unis were on the right track, definately in the good catagory, but also a missed opportunity. I think they could have been oh so much more. They left me saying, “you’ve come this far, now finish the journey”. This should be the template and the final needs to be a polished version of the same thing. Time to finish this “good start”.

      • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 9:16 pm |

        I think the only thing I would have done differently is get rid of the new C logo (looks like a fish hook or something), and maybe make the sword bigger…like on the hip the way a real cavalier or musketeer would.

        As for the two-color scheme, perfect. I don’t think the numbers need an outline.

    • Jim Vilk | August 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm |

      Who also wants the Nats to do something similar with their home unis?

  • rpm | August 21, 2010 at 10:06 am |

    maybe you won’t see this on saturday, but i can’t find anywhere to post it otherwise…
    happy birthday ricko!

  • Kevin Z. | August 21, 2010 at 11:18 am |

    Reebok putting their logo on the cleats they produce is not logo creep.