On Saturday and Monday I linked to some images suggesting that the manager and coaches on the 1973 Indians wore piping on their caps. But either of those shots could have been taken during spring training, and I remained unconvinced that the Tribe’s brain trust actually went with piping-clad headwear for the ’73 season. We’d never talked about it here on the site (at least not that I could recall), and it seemed like the kind of thing that would have surfaced in our discussions by now, no?
But now reader Mike Hersh has come up with two wire photos that conclusively prove that the Indians’ coaching staff — or at least skipper Ken Aspromonte — was piping-capped for 1973 games (note the cool ump caps, too).
Personally, I find this pretty stunning. We all know that the A’s coaches were wearing white caps around this same time — it’s a famous quirk, even reprised nowadays for Oakland’s throwback games — so how has the Cleveland piping managed to fly under the Uni Watch radar for so long? It’s a potent reminder that there’s a lot of relatively recent history out there that hasn’t been documented. Even those of us who think we know this stuff pretty well often don’t know squat.
This also got me thinking about coaches wearing specialized headwear. A few examples came to mind:
• The most obvious case, as noted above, would be the Oakland A’s, whose managers and coaches wore white caps during the late 1960s and early ’70s (although I’m unsure of the exact years — anyone..?). It was one of Charlie Finley’s many innovations.
• In 2004 and 2005, Texas Rangers skipper Buck Showalter and his coaches wore red caps — while the rest of the team wore blue — in spring training. I assume this was so the coaches could easily be picked out from the mass of humanity that forms during spring training workouts. It’ll be interesting to see if Showalter dusts off this idea next February when he convenes his first spring training camp with the Orioles.
• In football, offensive and defensive coordinators (or whoever’s sending in signals from the sideline) sometimes wear boldly colored caps, so the players on the field can quickly spot them. I can’t find a good photo of this, although I know they’re out there.
• Although this isn’t quite the same thing, the referee on a football officiating crew wears a white cap, while the other zebras wear black caps.
I’m sure there are other examples I’m overlooking. If you know of any, let’s hear ’em.
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Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I mentioned that Virginia Tech was wearing a little ACC Coastal Division championship decal. Clark Ruhland has now provided a much better view of the decal design. ”¦ While looking for something else in Bill Henderson’s guide, I spotted this Jim Perry jersey with no space between the first initial and the surname. ”¦ Hmmm, we’ve come a long way from gumball NFL helmets to gumball NFL shot glasses. “I saw them in a local KMart at the vending machine cluster as you exit the store,” says Randy Williams. “I didn’t have 50 cents to get one, but they were plastic and fairly small. Probably a half shot’s worth. They were right next to the kiddie plastic bling jewelry.” ”¦ I love — love — this old VFW baseball uniform and would totally buy it myself except that it’s too big for me. Although the measurements aren’t listed on the auction page, the seller tells me the jersey measures 23 inches from pit to pit and 32 inches from top to bottom. If that fits you, snap this one up — it’s a bargain! ”¦ Flip Flop Fly Ball’s latest chart: a look at how MLB jersey insignias cross the Rubicon. Only problem is that he doesn’t account for doubled-up letters that give us things like “Philllies” and “Raays” (with thanks to Eric Davis). ”¦ U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach normally wears No. 20, but she was wearing No. 17 for the recent playoff game against Italy. “Only thing I can think is that FIFA mandated 1 through 18 for the numbers,” says Ethan Allen. “That may be the case, because Italy had 1 through 18 as well.” ”¦ Guess which NFL game I won’t be attending this Sunday (blame Jack Krabbe). ”¦ I neglected to mention yesterday that Kansas wore white helmets on Saturday (but fortunately Luis Aranda reminded me). ”¦ New cycling jersey for the Garmin-Cervelo team (with thanks to Sean Clancy). ”¦ Sports Business Journal just ran a photo that included a small glimpse at one of next year’s BP jerseys. Just one problem: That is not what the Braves’ BP jersey will look like. It is, however, very similar to what some other teams will be wearing. ”¦ Evander Kane and Matt Hunwick got in a fight during Sunday’s Thrashers/Bruins game, and Kane ended up ripping Hunwick’s nameplate right off his jersey (great screen shots by Taylor Hasty). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: James Farrior’s helmet will presumably be undergoing some cosmetic repairs this week. ”¦ Very interesting logo for next year’s Preakness. ”¦ Oooh, check this out, kids: three dozen MLB uniform tags! … Jeremy Brahm reports that Trentino Betclic, an Italian volleyball team that won the 2009 FIVB World Club Championship, is wearing cycling-style rainbow trim on their collar and sleeve cuffs. ”¦ I’m way late in reporting that Dan Sexton of the Ducks has been wearing a full cage for Anaheim’s last several games. “He broke his nose last month, had it fixed surgically, then broke it again last week,” explains Casey Casper. ”¦ See all that debris near the center of the photo? That’s paint coming off of Nick Moody’s helmet. Short video clip here (with thanks to Robert Daniel Lim).