‘Huzzah’ for Vintage Base Ball

base ball

By Phil Hecken

As we near the end of Paul’s “blogcation” (as he calls it), I’ve tried to bring you an eclectic mix of subjects and topics, and I thank you for indulging me over the past month. It was a trying time, beginning on a difficult note, and I wish I had more time to provide the best content which Uni Watchers so richly deserve. I have tried to highlight the talents of a number of UW’s contributors, and I thank them for helping me by sharing their time and energies.

No month would be complete, however, without one main article from the man we know by many nicknames, Jim Vilk (known fondly to many of us as “Mothervilker” or “Movi” for short). Jim himself has been a very busy man, but when he promised me a story, I knew he wouldn’t disappoint. And he hasn’t. So lets give a big “Huzzah” for Jim and his look at olde tyme base ball. Here’s Movi:


“Huzzah” for Vintage Base Ball
By Jim Vilk

Mention the words “black stockings,” and you’ll probably get a raised eyebrow or an “Ooo la la!” from the bawdier lads amongst your circle of friends. In Akron, Ohio, however, “Black Stockings” bring to mind the great sport of vintage base ball. That’s right, two words: “base ball.”

Recently, the Akron Black Stockings Base Ball Club hosted the 14th annual Akron Cup exhibition at Stan Hywet (that’s pronounced “hewitt”) Hall and Gardens. I had the pleasure of attending, and was very impressed with this look at “base ball as it was meant to be played.” I’ll admit I was expecting a cross between a progressive Civil War re-enactment and a Trekkie convention, with some heavy, uncomfortable woolen uniforms thrown in for good measure. Instead, I enjoyed a day of good old-fashioned fun, with some surprisingly wearable styles. I won’t go much into the rule differences, because, well, there’s a site for that. I’ll touch on a few rules, though, before moving on to the uniforms.

For starters, I absolutely love the heavy emphasis on sportsmanship. Yes, there is one umpire for a game, but if he doesn’t see something, he will defer to the honor of the players to make the final decision on a play. Who needs instant replay? Wouldn’t Don Denkinger, Jim Joyce or Jerry Meals like to have fallen back on that concept? After the games, both clubs say a few words and offer a hearty “Huzzah!” three times for their opponents. Also, I found the out-on-one-bounce (or “one bound”) rule interesting. It speeds up a game where there are no called strikes, plus it adds to the safety factor when playing with no gloves. Instead of sacrificing one’s hands or face on a screaming liner, one can catch it off the bounce instead. As for the field dimensions, while the grass infield may be standard, the outfield is anything but. Got trees in left field? They’re in play.

“We just find a field and play,” said 55-year-old Rudy Frias, Sr., who played either hurler (pitcher) or behind (catcher) for the Columbus Capitals. He mentioned fields in other places during his 20-year career, including one which had a stream running through the outfield. In another, “the outfield was a hill. If you saw just the heads of the outfielders, you knew they were playing back. If you saw more of them, you knew they were playing in on you.” Rudy was a joy to talk to, as was Rich Blasick. Rich normally plays for the Black Stockings, but a broken finger left him relegated to umpiring and taking the time to educate people on the sport. He showed me some of the equipment, including the ball. It looks and sounds hard, but it has *some* give to it. One was still hard enough to be the cause of Rich’s broken finger, though. Rudy said some players could hit it to the warning track when they recently played on a minor-league baseball field. As for the bats, most are custom-made for vintage base ball. “We do allow some modern baseball bats,” Rich said, “if they scrape the manufacturer’s labels off of them.” Bats are supposed to be narrow, while length is not an issue. Case in point: Rudy may speak softly, but he carries a big stick. “I think it’s about 42 inches,” he said. “I’ve checked to make sure it’s regulation, but no one has said it’s too long.”

Now, on to the uniforms. At first, I was taken aback by the lack of numbers. After a few innings, however, I adjusted. In an intimate setting where the spectators can see the players up close, they really weren’t that necessary. Three of the teams – Akron and Columbus, as well as the Hoover Sweepers (from North Canton, home of Hoover Vacuums) – wore monogrammed bib-type crests on the front of their otherwise normal vintage shirts. Two teams – the Cleveland Blues (love the striped blue socks) and the Alliance Crossing Rails (shown in the outfield against the Pittsburgh Franklins) – wore what looked like turn-of-the-20th-century gray uniforms with stitched letters. One Alliance player, though, looked more at home in this century, as you could barely see his red socks. There’s a pajamaist in every crowd, isn’t there? Apparently, there’s a swoosh in every crowd, too, as one Canal Dover Redleg forgot to un-modernize his spikes. Egads, the MOTB is everywhere! Other teams – such as the Franklins and the Wyandotte Ghostriders, wore plain white shirts and colored work pants with suspenders.

I’d wear all of these uniforms, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with Columbus’. Their blue plaid shirts and my talking with Rudy took me back to my childhood. I used to visit my cousins in Pennsylvania, and we’d play ball on one of two irregular fields. One was slanted (to throw to home from the outfield, we’d throw to third and let the ball roll down to home from there) and the other had cow pies, weeds and other distractions in it. My cousin Bobby was a real farm boy, so he wore lots of plaid shirts in contrast to my baseball t-shirts. He’d look right at home on the Capitals, I thought.

Think you’d look right at home on one of these clubs? Maybe you’d like to start your own. After a day of watching and learning, I’ll admit I started thinking about it…and not just because I like to say, “Huzzah!”


Thanks Jim. Great stuff.


Benchies Beginning logoBenchies from the Beginning
By Rick Pearson

For nearly three years, “Benchies” has been appearing most weekends at Uni Watch. While Bench Coach Phil fills in for Paul Monday through Friday during August, we present a retrospective. New strips will continue to appear on weekends. For further background, here’s the “Benchies” backstory and bios on the regular Boys of “Benchies.”


And here is the full-size version.


ticker 2Uni Watch News Ticker (compiled by John Ekdahl): Utah’s new football uniforms will be more “player friendly“, whatever the hell that means (Kyle). … Winnipeg Jets “Est. 2011” gear, while technically true in this iteration, is probably not the message the fans want, right? (Ben Gorbaty) … Dodgers fans are starting to get proactive about the Mark Cuban push (Mike McLaughlin). … Take a look at the Nike Free prototype golf shoe for Tiger Woods. … Mike Smrek, the backup center to the 1988 NBA Champion Lakers, is auctioning off twelve pairs of sneakers worn by all twelve members of the team. It doesn’t say how he acquired them all. … “To celebrate Jeter’s historical 3,000 career hits, the Jordan Brand has teamed up with Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and Steiner Sports to auction off this limited edition trunk filled with Jeter’s entire signature footwear collection from the Jordan Brand.” (previous three entries by Matt Powers) … Les Miles has assigned #38 to four different players on the LSU Tigers football team this year. This, of course, is allowed as long as they’re not on the field at the same time (Dennis Couvillion). … The Atlanta Silverbacks have launched a uniform design contest for fans (Andrew Rader). … Great pic here of the Iowa State equipment staff “gearing up” for the season (Corey Munson). … A 9-year legal dustup between Southern Miss and Iowa about USM’s logo may finally have been resolved. Lawyers are involved though, so scratch that (Jon Rousseau). … The New York Times posted an article about the evolution of the NASA logos yesterday (Doug Robb). … Wayne Hagin’s replacement? I know Paul would be on board for that (Tim McNulty). … Yadier Molina’s magic loogie (Brady Phelps). … The Durham Bulls will be wearing this Star Wars themed jersey on Saturday (Tim Corrigan). … Can anyone tell who makes NC State’s practice jerseys? It’s so hard to tell (Tom Arnel).


“Have you counted up all the ‘I expect’ and ‘I usually get’ statements in that long-winded diatribe of ego-centrism you passed off as constructive web content criticism? It’s going to pain you to hear this, but the internet doesn’t wake up every morning and tailor its content to your delicate sensibilities.” — John Ekdahl

143 comments to ‘Huzzah’ for Vintage Base Ball

  • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 7:36 am |

    Those Durham Bulls jerseys seem a lot more Star Trek themed than Star Wars.

  • Fred | August 4, 2011 at 7:36 am |

    Classy usage of the quote there in the end Phil.

    I was reading Breaks of the Game last night. It’s a book that chronicles the Blazers 1979-80 season. During midseason when the Blazers where about to deal for some players but they hadn’t happened yet, the book mentioned that the GM ordered 3 uniforms to be made up for the new incoming players even though the possibilities of the deal happening was 50/50. Struck me as odd because usually when a deal would happen, players still have to pass their physicals and finally join there team several days later. This would give the equipment manager ample time to make up the uniform until well after the trade has been confirmed. Does anyone know if in the 70s, NBA players could just play for another team right away if they were traded or did the physicals come in later on?

  • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 8:31 am |

    Great VBB writeup! First off, I’ve been involved in founding now three vintage clubs, and it’s absolutely true: If you’re interested, and there are no clubs nearby, start your own! Starting out, uniforms don’t have to be any more complex or expensive than a pair of Dickies, a button-up shirt, and a no-logo ballcap. As long as everyone more or less matches, you’re not only good to go, but you’re authentic period, since early club uniforms tended to be less uniform than even a modern beer-league softball team.

    On the uniform aspect of the vintage game, there are two basic approaches. The most common (and, I’d say, best) approach is to do a bit of research into actual 1850s-1870s clubs in an area and try to recreate one. Names are easy to find in old press accounts. The pattern was for a club’s formal name to be pluralized to describe the team. Thus the National Base Ball Club of Washington was called the Nationals. For uniforms, the gold standard would be a photo or a drawing (or a surviving artifact in a museum or collection, but that’s extremely rare). Barring that, and most clubs in the 1860s didn’t leave much photo evidence, press accounts often give strong hints. When a newspaper describes the exploits of “canaries,” that means they wore yellow, for example. Anyway, think of the recreate-a-real-club thing as the throwback approach.

    Another way to do a team’s unis, when either interest in historical research is lacking, or when no period clubs can be found, is to go for the fauxback approach. A little Google searching will deliver a wide range of period photos and drawings, as well as a wide range of the several hundred vintage club uniforms in use now. Pick colors you like, or that aren’t in use by other nearby clubs, and design uniforms in the style of the period.

    One thing you see in the vintage game is a lot of clubs use knickers and stockings anachronistically. There’s very little evidence of teams wearing knickers and stockings prior to the 1868 Red Stockings, and almost none of that style prior to the 1868 season. Yet probably about half of all vintage clubs, who most often play by pre-1865 rules, wear knickers and stockings. It looks cool and “old fashioned” in a way that appeals to vintage players more than trousers, which are a bit more authentic.

    • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 8:34 am |

      Sorry, last paragraph should say “… prior to the 1869 Red Stockings, and almost none of that style prior to the 1868 season.”

      • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 8:39 am |

        And leave it to me to make a correction that’s makes my original even less clear. The Cincinnati club was wearing knickers and red stockings prior to 1869 – definitely in 1868, and maybe as early as 1866 – but the club’s distinctive uniforms didn’t gain widespread attention, and thus national imitation, until their high-profile 1869 season.

        Other than the Red Stockings, you don’t see many clubs being nicknamed after their hosiery in the 1860s. Starting in the 1870 season, you see that happening in press accounts all over the country.

    • Kevin | August 4, 2011 at 8:47 am |

      I’m actually playing in my first vintage base ball game later this month. It’s a group of guys playing as two separate teams from the area for the local historical society. We’re going a little closer to a Civil War era team and the white shirts dark pants combo.

      • Ben Fortney | August 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

        A hearty Huzzah! to Mr. “Rhubarb” Rogers who directed myself and a coworker to the Chesapeake & Potomac Base Ball Club here in DMV (DC/MD/Va). I’ve been playing since Aught-7, coworker is a recent convert, and now hooked on the game.

        To add to Movi’s write-up, some clubs play a variety of different rules, from Cartwright’s Knickerbocker rules up to 1890s versions (which are just about modern).

        The 1864 game is a nice mix of modern softball/hardball – underhand pitching which keeps the ball in play, a larger/softer ball than MLB, but no gloves so there’s more skill required than your avg “hang ’em and bang ’em” softball.

      • Ry Co 40 | August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

        Me, Kek & Bernard are a vintage “grounds crew” (2 words) outfit here in Pittsburg. we stand in a grassy field, bitch about the damn south, drink beer, laugh at the fact that the game of base ball will never catch on. one of us will claim to invent the windbreaker jacket. everything is authentic

        • Bernard | August 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

          “Ahoy hoy! Look at the baubles on that lass!”

  • Adam R. W. | August 4, 2011 at 8:40 am |

    I’m only seeing 3 players listed with #38 for LSU. I remember hearing about Les doing this last season. He had a punter who was right-footed and one who was left-footed, so he gave them the same number, that way punt returners wouldn’t know which direction the ball would be spinning in when they fielded it. I don’t know that it made a difference, but it was just oen more thing opposing returners had to think about and prepare for going into a game.

    • Nick O | August 4, 2011 at 9:15 am |

      It’s true; there’s only 3 players with the number 38. They’re all punters, though, so kind of quirky work from Les.

    • Pierre | August 4, 2011 at 9:21 am |

      I believe there were initially four punters/kickers assigned number 38 when the roster was initially released…don’t remember which one was changed to a different number.

      If a team has a running quarterback and a passing quarterback what’s to stop the coach from giving them the same number as long as they’re not both on the field at the same time?

      • Adam R. W. | August 4, 2011 at 9:32 am |

        Nothing is stopping them, but QBs are close enough to the line of scrimmage to identify them. A punt returner will have a hard time identifying a punter with the distance between them on the field.

  • MC | August 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Looks like Virginia Tech’s new orange pants have been leaked via Dick’s Sporting Goods.

    So does this officially make them Oregon of the East, despite having a ‘classicesque’ look? 3 helmets (maroon, white, orange), 2 jerseys (maroon, white), and 3 pants (maroon, white, orange) are available for gamedays. And its not unfathomable to think orange jerseys are somewhere on the horizon.


    • Nick O | August 4, 2011 at 9:16 am |

      I will say Maryland is the Oregon of the east. Rumored that we have 4 jerseys (white, black, red, and gold), three pants (white, black, gold; possible on red), and two helmets (white, black).

    • Nick O | August 4, 2011 at 9:23 am |

      Also, Maryland is the premier school for Under Armour, much like Oregon is for Nike.

    • The Jeff | August 4, 2011 at 9:35 am |

      At least all of VT’s stuff is team colored. I don’t like the white helmet much, but I don’t really have much of a problem with the rest of their combos.

      • Gusto44 | August 4, 2011 at 10:20 am |

        I like the orange pants, especially since they have a maroon stripe.

        • Kerry P | August 4, 2011 at 10:41 am |

          I agree. The orange pants look great. I don’t think having multiple helmets, jerseys or pants make you akin to Oregon by default – many schools have several uniform options. I think what would give a team the title of “Oregon of the East” would be over-the-top, extravagant designs that de-emphasize a school’s colors and traditions. I definitely don’t think the recent VT alternate looks do that.

        • Michael | August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am |

          The orange would look good paired with the white jersey and maroon helmet IMO

  • pushbutton | August 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Great article! Love the in-play trees and irregular fields. Reminds me of a time when people considered playing ball a fun way to spend an afternoon. Jeez, does that ever happen anymore? Anywhere? Even this “Base Ball” thing is so thought-out and organized. I swear I remember family reunion games, kids playing pick-up….Naah, I musta dreamed it.

    • Connie | August 4, 2011 at 10:09 am |

      Yessir. Excellent work, Vilkman! Base Ball also thrives in my old turf of Western Massachusetts, where Jim Bouton is an active player and promoter.

      And to you, Phil, warm best wishes and congratulations on producing such fine stuff during a difficult time.

      • Jon | August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

        In re: trees, creeks, etc… in play. We were fortunate enough to play a tournament in the Village of Cooperstown a few years ago. One of our prelim games took place on a filed which had railroad tracks running from the left field corner through the OF to midway up the RF line. Luckily we only had one interruption.

        • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |

          Just had a Brewster’s Millions flashback there…

  • Roger Faso | August 4, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    I’ve never seen a jacket like this worn over shoulder pads …


    … makes his head look small.

    Rest in peace, Cadet Hightower.

  • Mark in Shiga | August 4, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    Vintage base ball looks like so much fun; someday I’ve got to try it!

    Come to think of it, where I live (Japan) baseball was first introduced in the early 1870s by visiting Americans. I wonder if a recreation of the first game has ever been attempted. That would be a fun project!

  • aflfan | August 4, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    Huzzah, well struck Mr. Vilk.

    My brother once played against a team in Rochester, MI and they asked him to join their club nine but at that time he was getting ready to get married. It is fun to watch a game played by rules of sportsmanship.

  • Andrew G | August 4, 2011 at 9:31 am |

    Man, Vilk wasn’t kidding about what people think when they hear “Black Stockings”. I clicked the link to the Akron Black Stockings website here at work and the site was blocked. Reason? “Category: Pornography”

  • Dumb Guy | August 4, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    The Southern Miss/Iowa logo bruhaha is another one that is lost on me. Similar? i suppose in the “yes they are both black and yellow bird heads” sense. but very dissimilar after that (imho).

    • Wade Harder | August 4, 2011 at 9:53 am |

      I agree. It reminds me of the Southern Cal and South Carolina “SC” logo dispute. Similar, yes, but if you know anything about one of the schools, you’ll know they aren’t the same.

    • Andy | August 4, 2011 at 9:54 am |

      Pretend you live along the gulf coast and don’t know anything about college sports. You have to buy a gift for someone. You know they like Iowa, because that’s where they’re from or where they went to school. There is a black polo with a yellow, right-facing bird head on it. Because Iowa is a national brand, you know vaguely that this is Iowa’s identity. You stop and think, ‘Oh! An Iowa polo!. Perfect gift!’ Turns out, it’s a Southern Miss polo, and you feel really embarrassed when your buddy opens it and looks confused.

      That’s why it’s a problem. If it was blue and white, there would be no issue. But because they are similarly depicted images of a similar animal with an identical color scheme, there is the potential for confusion in the marketplace.

      • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 10:11 am |

        “Pretend you live along the gulf coast and don’t know anything about college sports.”


        it might be easier to pretend the world is flat

        • Cort McMurray | August 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

          What, nobody’s mom ever shops for sports-related gifts?

          I live on the Gulf Coast. I tired to explain to her that wearing a burnt orange sweatshirt on the Texas A&M campus would be a disastrous error. She looked at me blankly, and replied, “But it says ‘Texas’ on it. And there’s a little cow head. What’s the big deal?”

      • The Jeff | August 4, 2011 at 11:00 am |

        How often would that scenario actually happen though?

        Can you even find an actual Iowa shirt in Mississippi? Heck, what store would have a Southern Miss polo shirt with just the logo and *not* have a whole bunch of other Southern Miss shirts with both the name and logo in the same area? How dumb would a person have to be to see this stack of “Iowa” (lol) polo shirts and not see the T-shirt 5 feet away with the same logo and SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI written on it?

        Sure, it’s hypothetically possible to confuse the two, but I can’t believe that it actually happens that often, if ever.

        • Csikos | August 4, 2011 at 11:26 am |

          I think you may be giving the general public a little too much credit on this one.

  • Jim | August 4, 2011 at 9:35 am |

    The 9th Annual National Silver Ball tournament is this weekend at the Genesee Country Village & Museum, which is near Rochester, NY. This year they have 19 teams participating, including the Cleveland Blues. I take my kids to watch. They love having a sasparilla and watching the action.
    Details here: http://www.gcv.org/news/23/

    • Bando | August 5, 2011 at 1:26 am |

      I’m in my 8th season of vintage base ball and have played in the Silver Ball tournament twice. It’s just about the best-run, most pleasant, fun, and scenic tournament around. They do a really great job out there.

      I think what makes the vintage game so much fun is the flexibility of the whole thing. We’re not reenactors, we’re interpreters. Yes, it can look a bit silly to go out there in a uniform like that, and it’s absolutely idiotic to do that kind of thing to your body (we all have varying degrees of hand injuries, I have a barometer on my right hand for the rest of my life), but it’s just so much more fun than the alternative. We have a squad full of guys who have tried the softball thing, tried the hardball thing, tried vintage, and never went back.

      Thanks for highlighting our game. We have fun doing what we do, and appreciate the attention every now and then.

  • Daren L | August 4, 2011 at 9:38 am |

    Regarding the ‘Winnipeg Jets Est. 2011′: as a Jets fan, I’m delighted that True North is creating a new identity and a fresh start with the club. The old Jets are in Phoenix – let them have the old records and history. That doesn’t change history, mind you – Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, Dale Hawerchuk & Teemu Selanne all made history while playing in Winnipeg. Team relocations can’t change that. So we have the best of both worlds: a great hockey heritage & an exciting fresh start. “Est. 2011’ indeed!

    • Teebz | August 4, 2011 at 9:51 am |

      But the Jets weren’t established in 2011. They began play in 1999 in a different city. They are not an expansion team, and are bringing Atlanta’s history with them. Therefore, “Est. 1999” would be the correct timeline.

      And if they are “Est. 2011”, the shirts cannot be retro printed. That is the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

      • Andy | August 4, 2011 at 9:56 am |

        Well, it may be stupid, but they can, and they will be retro printed because that’s what retailers want, and retailers want that look because hockey fans are buying it.

      • Daren L | August 4, 2011 at 10:35 am |

        That is literally true, Teebz, but the Winnipeg Jets identity was (re)established this summer. Atlanta Thrashers identity began in 1999 & *ended* this year.

        • Ry Co 40 | August 4, 2011 at 11:02 am |

          one thing is for sure, the “Est. 2011″ looks uncentered, sloppy, uninspired, and thrown together.

          and, what i’m assuming is an “OTH” logo above “winterpeg”… can you cram a 7th pound of shit in a 3 pound bag???

      • snowdan | August 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

        Im Teebz on this one. I don’t care if they have a new name, the organization was established in 1999.

    • Gusto44 | August 4, 2011 at 10:41 am |

      Daren L., you just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal with the point about the importance of where the history took place. How many fans in Phoenix know anything about Anders Hedberg?

      The memorabilia is nice, but that didn’t make the connection to the fans in Winnipeg. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. Phoenix shares the Atlanta situation of a troubled past, and they may relocate at some point as well. At that time, you’d have to wonder if the new Jets would inquire about the memorabilia, especially since the new city would be twice removed from the original Jets.

    • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 10:42 am |

      I seem to recall much aggro hereabouts when other relo franchises have not done as the Jets are doing with their “established” date branding. I guess the lesson here is, we’re going to hate on clubs no matter what they do.

      But as a point of fact, the Winnipeg Jets that will play in the coming NHL schedule were established in 2011. That’s kind of not arguable. Air is also mostly nitrogen, the earth is round, and the Giants won the 2010 World Series. These things are facts, as is the fact that the Winnipeg Jets were established this year. The franchise may predate 2011, but prior to 2011 it was not called the Winnipeg Jets. And there may have been a team called Winnipeg Jets prior to 2011, but it was not this team.

      The Jets are in a position akin to the Washington Nationals. If the Nats said, “Est. 2005,” that would be a true statement. With equal validity, they could also say, “Est. 1969.” Both would be true statements. The former would mean more, and make more sense, to local fans, than the latter. But both are true as matters of fact.

      • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 10:49 am |

        “If the Nats said, “Est. 2005,” that would be a true statement. With equal validity, they could also say, “Est. 1969.” Both would be true statements.”


        except, as everyone knows, the washington nationals were established in 1905

        says so right there on the logo

        • The Jeff | August 4, 2011 at 11:18 am |

          That’s the wrong logo Phil. Here’s the real one: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/845/fixedw.jpg/

        • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 11:33 am |

          The, I would pay money to have that made into an actual patch. This is just all kinds of awesome!

        • Andy | August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

          My gosh this ship has sailed so many times. They effed up. Move on.

      • Jeff P | August 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

        The Canes have 1997 gear specific to the Hurricanes, but cite the franchise from 1979 for NHL records, and back to 72 with WHA history.

        There’s a divide between franchise history and team history with most teams, and I think that’s an appropriate and necessary distinction. The Jets got it right.

        But yes, the “est 2011” vintage tee shirt is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. But it’s one of the NHL’s standard merchandise templates, so whadda ya gonna do? They’re just going to crank out as much of that crap as they can to meet the rush.

        Of course, I consider those ‘vintage’ shirts silly anyway. Same category as the ‘property of’ and the ‘XXXL’ ones in my book.

    • Tom V. | August 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

      It is somewhat akin to saying “Cleveland Browns Est 1999.” Somewhat correct? I guess so.

      What those shirts should say (if you are in agreement with them being in established 2011) is:

      “THESE Jets Est. 2011.”


      “Jets2 Est. 2011”


      “Franchise established 1999”

      Would be a whole different ballgame if they named the team something else, again if you agree with them being established in 2011.

      But I guess you have to admit the fact that 95% of the uniform buying public isn’t as meticulous as us and the issue will be overlooked and these will sell sans complaints.

      • pk | August 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

        how about just “Re-Established 2011”

      • Daren L | August 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

        The moral of the story, kids: Just because you start off in a new city, with a new name and a new ownership group doesn’t mean you can embark on a fresh start and advertise it as such. Far from it. The world is black and white. No shades of grey allowed.

    • Mike 2 | August 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

      The only lesson I’ve learned is that you can celebrate your founding whenever you damn well please.

      The Hurricanes can call themselves established in 1997, even though the franchise was established in 1972 and joined the NHL in 1979.

      The Oilers can celebrate their 30th Anniversary in 2009 even though the franchise was established in a different league in 1972.

      The Flames can celebrate their 30th Anniversary in 2010 even though the franchise was established in a different city in 1972.

      I hear everyone crying out that “it’s not right” but I think this ship has sailed.

      • Lloyd Davis | August 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

        Yup. The Leafs celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2001-02. But they hang Stanley Cup banners from 1918 and 1922 from the rafters.

        The Devils’ 25th-anniversary season was 2006-07 — like KC and Denver never happened.

  • Juke Early | August 4, 2011 at 10:13 am |

    While I will never be a LA Dodgers fan — the lameass club in charge of MLB needs to pull their fatheads out, and let Cuban in. Seriously, can he harm the game more than the many soulless mercenaries who play it? on the contrary. He’d be in the tradition of greats like Rickey, Veeck, Finley & Steinbrenner.

    • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 10:34 am |

      He’d be in the tradition of greats like Rickey, Veeck, Finley & Steinbrenner.

      Which is why, as one of the 20-plus soulless mercenaries running the majority of other clubs, you’d be insane to let Cuban into the fraternity.

      • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

        Tough for existing MLB owners.

        What they want, of course, is someone with the money of an oil shiek, the honesty of a Boy Scout and a totally passive personality so he can be pushed around and his team won’t get any better…and never wants to be on camera.

        Good luck with that.

        • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

          hey…that sounds like the wilpons!

          well, except for the money, the honesty and the personality part

  • moose | August 4, 2011 at 10:42 am |

    good one mothervilker. i always wanted to get one of those teams together because i love the16esque no gloves rule.

    nice buh-dum-bump today on the benchies too.

    • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 11:30 am |

      Comrade, the Greater Kansas City Region absolutely needs you to spearhead forming a vintage club. There are good vintage organizations in Wichita and St. Louis (also in Saint Looey) but not, as far as I know, in the Paris of the Plains.

    • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

      There’s a team from the Twin Cities…

      Watched them play once a couple years ago. May check them out again Saturday the 13th..if anyone else from UW shows up and wants to co-observe.

      vs. a “Picked Nine”? You might even get to play. Me? I’ve got neck issues, haven’t played any kind of ball this year at all. First time in, what, 56 years. I guess.

  • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 10:44 am |

    Not sure if it has been discussed or mentioned yet, but Purdue University’s new Football Uniforms (long rumored) will be officially revealed today at 3:30pm on http://www.purduesports.com

    Boiler up!

    • Douglas | August 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

      unfortunately they look extremely generic (when not wearing the helmet they seem to have no identity, yes they do have the train on the pants and the collar but its so small they might as well have left it off)

  • hofflalu | August 4, 2011 at 11:13 am |

    For at least the 2nd year in a row (could be longer), the Eau Claire Express of the summer collegiate Northwoods League wore their throwback uniforms last night (I happened to be at that game). And, as always, they went back to the 1953 Eau Claire Bears uniforms, the ones worn by Hank Aaron in his minor league days before joining the Bears’ parent club, the Milwaukee Braves:

    (note the stirrups & blousing)


  • Ry Co 40 | August 4, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    cool post today, movi! really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing

    • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

      Thanks for enjoying it!

      We doin’ another Bucs game? I’d love to see the Padres Sunday, but I might have to wait ’til later in the season.

  • Mark in Shiga | August 4, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    One small quibble with today’s title: did people actually say “huzzah” as a cheer in the 1860s? I thought people said “hooray” (and “hurrah”), but “huzzah” was just the onomatopoeia for a buzzing or cheering crowd.

    Anybody know?

  • Michael Emody | August 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    I spotted this last night, and don’t know if anyone linked to it last month when Shorpy posted it. Not 19th century baseball, but a nice look at the texture of 1920’s uniforms.
    Slim and Slimmer: 1923.

  • Jet | August 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    Great article, Vilkster. I went to one of the first old-timey games back in the 80’s at Bethpage Park on Long Island. Took a whole bunch of black-and-white photos, wish I could find them or the negatives. The ump had long tails and a big stovepipe hat


    • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm |


      been to a few games at old bethpage village restoration…great stuff — i actually know two of the guys who play on a regular basis … one of whom actually *believes* he is from the 1800’s…donning a rollie fingers/handlebar mustache in real life

      kinda scary, but i guess no scarier than a trekkie or something

      • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

        “one of whom actually *believes* he is from the 1800′s…”

        And, strangely, he drives a DeLorean.

        • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

          That’s what I was thinking when I mentioned Civil War guys or Trekkies. I thought some of the players might be a little too much into character, but when you talk to them off the field they’re firmly rooted in the now.

      • Mike 2 | August 5, 2011 at 1:37 am |

        What the heck Phil? What do you have against Trekkies?

        Does this mean I’m going to have to trash my 90% written column on Baseball Uniforms of Star Trek?


        • Phil Hecken | August 5, 2011 at 1:51 am |

          what are you doing up this late?

          i have NOTHING against trekkies — in fact, i loved the original and even the subsequent six movies (well, the first one was awful, and the fifth was no picnic…but khan, search for spock, voyage home & undiscovered country were kick ass)

          and some of the original tv shows were incredibly innovative (despite their laughably bad graphics)…gene roddenberry is just this side of a god, in my eyes

          but fanatics, like those who dress up in civil war uniforms (a/k/a re-enactors, of which i had a friend who was one), uniform zealots, olde tyme base ball recreators…trekkies…hell, i was a deadhead in college, so i can’t throw stones…

          but anyone who takes a passion to an extreme…

          one who BECOMES the actor in a role…well

          i just think the line between fantasy and reality really needs to be drawn

        • Mike 2 | August 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |

          I’m on mountain time so its not quite so late. What are you doing up?

          I’m just pulling your chain – I’m a trek fan but not obsessive, I totally get what you’re saying.

          BTW – best concert I ever saw, Dylan, Petty and the Dead, Rich Stadium, July 4, 1986. I think all the old deadheads are now following DMB around.

  • Mat | August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    Didnt see it mentioned, but I always enjoyed the Late Night skit where Conan visited the old time base ball game.


    • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm |

      I thought about linking to that, but those folks were more like Trekkies than the folks I met. Plus Conan’s not my cuppa tea. Now if Craig Ferguson does a piece on base ball, I’d watch that.

    • Bando | August 5, 2011 at 1:30 am |

      LIke I said earlier in another comment, I’ve been at the vintage game for almost a decade.

      It’s absolutely scary how dead-on that Conan sketch was. He managed, in about 7 minutes, to get to pretty much every nuance, every “are we really doing this?” doubt we all have, every little thing that makes first-time spectators say “what’s wrong with these guys?” He hit everything.

      I attended a symposium for vintage teams a few months after the sketch aired, and during one of the breaks it was played on a laptop attached to the projector they were using, and I’ve never seen a group of people laugh harder at anything. He pegged us. Completely brilliant. I just wonder how much was his writers and how much was Conan just instantly picking up on what he was seeing.

  • Daren L | August 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

    This is a link to Lemurs in Texas?.
    ? Sure, why not.

    • Daren L | August 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

      Well, that link didn’t go as planned.

  • David | August 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    Phil, I think you deserve hearty congratulations, a loud huzzah, and continued thoughts and prayers from all of us. You have done a remarkable job on the site during Paul’s absence, especially in light of your Dad’s passing. Thank you (and John!) for maintaining the Uni Watch standard of excellence, and may you truly enjoy a well-deserved break next week.

  • hodges14 | August 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    Here’s a possible tidbit for tomorrow’s ticker. A Mets fan recently asked the team’s beat writer how the Mets choose their uniforms. Here was his response:


    • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

      Good idea, let the guy who’s prepared to go out there and, by god, give you five strong innings decide the team should wear black jerseys when temps are in the 90s and his teammates (who’ll play the whole nine, btw) would prefer gray.

      That’s not really a rant, just an sort of “what’s wrong with this picture?” observation.

    • Ben Fortney | August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

      “There are exceptions to the rule, of course — such as this Friday’s game against the Braves, when the Mets will debut blue “Los Mets” jerseys for Fiesta Latina night.”

      Uh-oh. Saturday’s comment section is gonna be a mess. I actually prefer a solid blue top over the black ones… even DIY’d an away version myself.

  • Mark K | August 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

      dear god those are awful

      at least now movi has a good weekly “1” candidate for the 5 & 1

      • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

        Are they operating under the theory that smaller numbers make players look bigger?

        • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |

          Smaller numbers mean more room for future ads.

          Not hopin’…just sayin’…

          The Sabres upgraded, then the Bills…apparently the Bulls had to fill the bad-uni void in Buffalo.

      • Geeman | August 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

        No, awful should be reserved for the Bills’ old uniforms. Those are clearly not awful. Perhaps flawed, but not awful.

        • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

          I think Buffalo’s colors are blue and white, though, so obviously they had to go BFBS to come up with a quality uniform.

    • MC | August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

      HAHA, that number font is ripped directly from Virginia Tech’s 2008-2009 duds. The funniest part is that they were specifically designed for VaTech, as they were based on the angles of the VT logo! Worst part is that they were received so poorly on campus that the whole uniform set was scrapped 2 seasons later in favor of the current ‘throwback’ uniforms they wear!


    • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

      hope they go back to the wanna-be viking helmet so they can separate themselves from Kentucky. I hate being in a bar and thinking UB is on tv only to find out its UK.

      • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

        well, according to Victor E. Bull’s facebook page the helmets are staying the same

    • pflava | August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |


      Why do teams think it’s good to debut new uniforms without pads? The ultra-tight, modern jerseys look terrible worn as a regular shirt.

    • pushbutton | August 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

      Unis just run-of-the-mill but the shoes are dorkass.

    • Mark K | August 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  • Nick O | August 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    Maryland will debut jerseys on August 22, according to a presser with Coach Edsall.

  • Brian | August 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    For the record, those NC State practice jerseys are the standard for adidas teams. Tennessee and Notre Dame have been wearing the same model for two years now. I believe Michigan and Wisconsin have as well.

    • Douglas | August 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

      I’m fairly certain he was joking about not knowing who makes them

      • Brian | August 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm |

        I know he was, I was just saying they’re standard at all of the adidas schools, not just NC State.

  • Scott Bennett | August 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    “Is this the New York Islanders’ new black 3rd jersey?”

    Of course it is. Because things couldn’t possibly get worse on Long Island. UGH.



    • Jeff P | August 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

      Kill the yoke and stupid nameplate, and it might actually be passable. Putting aside the whole BFBS thing, that is.

      I guess they couldn’t be content killing their original edge mistake and having one of the best sets in the league. That would run counter to isles history and tradition.

      • Ben Fortney | August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

        Wow, those are brutal. As a born and raised “Islander” it pains me to say this, but I wish someone would just put them out of their misery and relocate.

        • Phil Hecken | August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

          i think the voting public may have done that for them this past monday

      • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

        It’s very Met-like.

    • Mike Engle | August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

      Anybody see a parallel coming? Minnesota North Stars see the end of the Minnesota road, design black jerseys that eliminate geography, and move in a few years. The Islanders lose the Coliseum vote, ominously announce “we’ll honor our lease,” design black jerseys that omit the NY (can’t really do much to take the ISLAND out of the name, oh well), and…

  • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Three Shots of New Purdue Uniforms… Looks a little like a made up Fauxback… can’t really see if there is detail on shoulder/sleeves….




    • Ricko | August 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

      So between Purdue and Buffalo it’s
      Day of the Dinky Numbers, I guess.

      • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

        Yeah, I’m a Purdue lifer, and I’m not totally sold on the new unis, I was really excited then really let down to see the black top with gold pants, but it is just too plain jane, numbers are tiny.

        This could be good or bad, but that font is very similar to what the Women’s athletic teams have worn for a while now, and with new Men’s basketball uniforms on the way, the font is sure to be used program wide…

        • Adam R. W. | August 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |

          Not totally sold? These things look like an after thought rather than a design. Terrible. Right in line with a string of sub-par marketing decisions by the university. Best decision by Purdue recently has been to undo the decision they made to introduce a new Purdue Pete.

        • Adam R. W. | August 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

          I would gladly go back to these monstrosities rather than go with the new design.


        • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

          I’d wear that monstrosity!

    • pushbutton | August 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

      Should let athletes model them. Da hell?!?

  • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    sorry for the multiple posts! More shots shows a bit more detail, shoulder TV numbers, and pant detail.


  • Hodges14 | August 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    I have to admit that these script jerseys are ridiculously stupid for various reasons like:

    1. The Thrashers 3rd. It was terrible to look at and made me think more about quidditch than hockey
    2. The Senators third. Would it kill ya to add Ator in between the n and s?
    3. The Wild third. Actually it isn’t horrible, but really, it looks like a college sweatshirt.
    4. The Isles third. Where’d they get that from? Oklahoma city? Never mess with tradition when it comes to Isles hockey. Gordons fisherman jerseys case and point.

    Now if my Capitals ever decided to make a script jersey, (I consider their current jerseys to have the logo, like Anaheim) I would never watch another game again.

    There should be a ditch the script jersey movement. Don’t you think?

    • R.S. Rogers | August 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

      Yeah, no, the Caps have a script jersey. If you make an exception for the Caps on account of that being their logo, then you also have to make an exception for the Gorton’s fisherman third, since that was also a team logo.

  • Matt | August 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    Purdue Sports official Facebook Photo Album. Better quality pictures.


    Of Note:
    1. Changed Helmet Striping
    2. Flywire collar
    3. Pittsburgh Steelers Font (not the good one)
    4. tiny Numbers
    5. Unfortunately Black on Black might be the best home look
    6. White on Gold is my personal favorite… can we just go white all the time?

  • PKeenan | August 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    LSU and Les Miles have been doing that for a few years with their punters and kickers. They had two punters wear the same number against I believe Florida so they would be interchangeable, since one was a conventional punter and one was more of a pooch/rugby punter.

  • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    Got home late today, so I just wanted to say thanks for all the comments!

  • Hodges14 | August 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    R.S, not what I meant. You shouldn’t give them a new logo (Gordons fisherman) or a script jersey (the new one). I’d say that the only acceptable third is the navy isles logo. It’s perfect, and aside from Isles purists, no one would hate it.

    Now regarding the caps, it’s a logo, not script. If you think the opposite, then the Caps alternate logo (Seeing Eagle) would be their primary, and believe me, that would be worse than a script jersey. Also, what about the Ducks? Should they make their current third their primary? (I actually would love for them to do that). Unless the Ducks change their third to their primary, the Caps and Ducks are fine the way they are.

  • Jim Vilk | August 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    “The Atlanta Silverbacks have launched a uniform design contest for fans”
    One stipulation: nowhere on the uniform will the word “Winnipeg” be allowed…

  • LarryB | August 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    Cool read today about the Vintage baseball. We did see a bunch of players walking to play a game. In Columbus a few years ago.

  • Timothy D. | August 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    I posted this earlier within the specific topic but then realised that the time difference in Australia means that it might have been missed by a vast number of the readers so I have posted it again as I think it is relevant to today’s blog title (the “Huzzah” reference)

    It is a fantastic TV Ad being shown in Australia for Bundaberg Rum



    Timothy D.

  • El Lobo | August 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Is Justin Masterson (Indians) wearing gray sani’s? Socks with gray heels? Can’t tell for sure but whatever is showing above his heels doesn’t look white to me –

  • traxel | August 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    Very nice writeup of what looked to be an enjoyable day jimvilk. These beauties, http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6004/5953229082_1982f1678b_z.jpg the black and white ones, are my favorite. Kinda has a http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zcCd36IlG-Y/SGWSYbZpJqI/AAAAAAAAAnU/eydO-Ih6A7Y/s1600-h/Harry+Chappas.jpg flavor.

  • Patrick_in_MI | August 4, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Anyone else interested in vintage base ball should check it out in Dearborn, MI Aug 13-14. They call it the World Tournament of Historic Base Ball. http://www.hfmgv.com/exhibits/baseball/

  • Ben | August 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm |

    If anyone cares, UConn football will be going back to NOB. Im not sure if it was announce publicly, but I saw it on one of the players facebook profile pictures in my news feed http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/285302_1510370595772_1129560929_31726816_1745342_n.jpg