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You Must’ve Been a Beautiful Baby (or at least a cute kid): Childhood Uni Photos, Vol. 2

Last month I ran some photos of a very young Mike Hersh wearing assorted Philadelphia uniforms and invited readers to submit their own embarrassing endearing childhood uni pics. A nice assortment of you accepted that invitation, so let’s take a look, beginning with this shot of Mike Colvin (which, like most of the photos in today’s entry, you can click to access a larger version):


“That’s me and my sister when I was on the Dale City (Virginia) Cardinals in 1978,” says Mike. “Our Dad was a coach as well. I know you’ll appreciate the direct lift of the then St. Louis Cards logo.”

Our next poster child is Ethan Lewis:


“That’s me at Camera Night, 1982, at Veterans Stadium,” says Ethan. “The player is Bob Dernier. As you can see, I had worked hard at a young age to get the authentic jacket and cap (with a pullover replica road jersey, although it’s hard to see under the jacket). I still have the jacket.”

Next up we have Eric Lovejoy, who provided two really wonderful photos, which are even better considering the two teams involved:

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“The Cubs pic is one of my favorite kid photos,” he says. “I think I was four. My mom made the entire uniform herself. Tough to find baseball pants in that size back then, so she took to the fabric store and sewing machine to put this together. I really like the shoes, no idea what they were, but I’d still wear them today. A year later, I was on the other side of the rivalry. My grandparents lived in downstate Illinois and cheered for the Cards. (We lived in the Chicago ’burbs so I grew up watching the Cubs on WGN.)”

Here we have a young Alan Tompas:


“If you’d been a Yankees fan in 1969, you would’ve been in a Charlie Brown kind of mood too!” says Alan. “This was me in full Peanuts regalia. We had a masquerade event at my day camp. My dad custom-made my shirt and even put some artwork on my bat — a vintage Hank Aaron Little League model. I still have it. One of my treasured possessions.”

Next up is Daren Landers:


“It’s from 1976, when I was 10 years old,” says Daren. “It was taken a few months after our visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. On the way there, we stopped at a campground just outside of Cincinnati and took in a ballgame at Riverfront Stadium (the Giants were in town). I don’t remember getting that helmet, but I do remember becoming a lifelong Reds fan from that point on.”

Jim “5 + 1” Vilk didn’t offer any commentary regarding these three shots, but I think they speak nicely for themselves:


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Josh Conner cheated a bit — instead of sending a childhood photo of himself, he sent a photo of his father, who’s at top-right in this 1960s Little League team portrait:

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“I think the stirrups and the old hats and jerseys are really cool,” says Josh. And I love how the kid at the center of the front row is committing the classic Little League faux pas of wearing short sanitaries (you have to click on the photo to get the larger version in order to see this clearly).

And our final stop on Memory Lane comes via three shots of our own Brinke Guthrie (aka Mr. Collector’s Corner). After looking at the first two, you should have no trouble picking him out in the third one:

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“I still have the bowl my mother used for those haircuts, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions,” says Brinke. Okay, so he didn’t actually say that. But knowing how Brinke holds onto things, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Ladies and gents, that concludes today’s photo album. If you have some good childhood shots of yourself in uniform, feel free to send them this-a-way, and I’ll run them in a future entry. Okay? Okay.

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Could’ve been way worse: My thanks to the many of you who sent positive feedback regarding my appearance on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday. I’m always a bit apprehensive about how these things are gonna turn out, because non-sports media outlets have a tendency to treat uniform stories as a bit of a joke. But aside from one cringe-inducing sequence (you’ll have no trouble picking it out, trust me), I thought the CBS segment was pretty good. You can see for yourself here:

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Cage match, continued: In case you missed it on Saturday, I had a fair amount of interesting info on the ESPN prop cage, where all the helmets and other uni items used on the set are stored. Now I have some additional info from ESPN Sr. Coordinating Director Jay Francis:

Those helmets are shells, incidentally — not regulation by any means. The inside padding is made of a Styrofoam-type material and in most cases only the ear pads and neck pad are installed. Most of the helmets have a safety bar secured inside to ensure no one puts it on and does something stupid. In fact, one manufacturer used to send us helmets that looked to be about 3/4 scale. That was fine until we shot them next to a full-scale helmet. Really, the only time we use regulation helmets is for our on-site Super Bowl coverage. And the majority of our football jerseys are the cheap, screened kind you can buy at Sports Authority. They are props, after all — they just have to look good for a four-second in-bump. This is why I never got the fascination with them.

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Party reminder: Uni Watch party tomorrow night, 7pm, at Prosperity in Cleveland. See you there.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Another thing about yesterday’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning: Before the uni-centric segment, they did a report on the 30th anniversary of the break-up of AT&T, and they included a short clip of Lily Tomlin doing her old comedy bit as an AT&T operator. In an odd uni sighting, a Super Bowl XXI helmet planter was visible in the scene (screen shot by Matty Eggen). ”¦ Big Ben was still wearing mismatched shoes because of his injured ankle yesterday. Anyone else think it’s odd that Nike never came up with a visually matching pair for him, even if the one for his bad foot has different padding or whatever on the inside? (Screen shot by Kevin Stephan.) ”¦ Apropos of our discussion last week, the Steelers/Broncos game was refereed by the bespectacled Ron Winter (screen shot by Rob Holecko). ”¦ With Jorge Posada pre-announcing his retirement, MLB’s roster of bare-handed batters — not counting pitchers — is down to Coco Crisp, Vlad Guerrero, and, uh, am I missing anyone? ”¦ We often talk about high schools copying college logos, but Joe Delach notes that the logo for the Lynn University Knights (D-II, Sunshine State Conference) appears to be a Notre Dame knock-off. ”¦ The CBS affiliate in Phoenix is still using the old NFL logo (from Kenn Tomasch). ”¦ Here’s a vintage Boston Gardens usher’s jacket. ”¦ Mississippi has extended its contract with Nike (from Leo Thornton).

Comments (148)

    Thanks to the contributors for sharing their childhood photos. Seeing Alan Tompas’ photo before reading the date I’d have guessed he was going to be one of the link for Halloween.

    Love the homemade Charlie Brown shirt! I have an “official” one, but it’s only printed on the front. I keep wanting to finish the job.

    Thanks! My dad made it look ridiculously easy..he was a jewelry designer in the Diamond district. I noticed at a recent Jet game, some stadium employees were outfitted in Charlie Brown like designs as well. Wish I got the royalties on this one.

    “Anyone else think it’s odd that Nike never came up with a visually matching pair for him, even if the one for his bad foot has different padding or whatever on the inside?”

    It’s probably an excuse (and I don’t say that to throw shade) for Ben to add flair to his look. You know what these NFL stars are link

    To further back this claim up, look at the fedora he was wearing at last night’s link.

    I was thinking the same as Paul but then the announcers stated that the Yellow sneaker was actually a size larger than his normal one. The visual difference could just be as simple as knowing which one to put on which foot if he (or a trainer) had to do so in a hurry.

    Nike never came up with a visually matching pair because they didn’t want to. It was just another way for them to draw the audience’s attention (including the announcers) to his feet.

    The cringe-inducing sequence was the whole “tail wagging the dog” bit, right? At least you made up for it with the Maryland clown jab!

    I don’t think that was Nike. If an athlete wants his shoes to match, they will match. No questions asked. The fact is, that was the same shoe, different size or not. That means that someone had to make a conscious decision to wear them though they were two different colors. I’m pretty sure Big Ben(or anyone for that matter) has the final say in what goes on his feet, as long as it’s made by Nike(contractual obligation). He wanted the attention to be on him, and he wanted fans to know which ankle he had hurt, so when he ran they could know which leg he was favoring, making him all the more heroic if they had won. If he had two black cleats, or two yellow cleats, no one would have known which ankle was injured, and would have forgotten as the game progressed.

    Re: Jim Vilk’s 2nd picture (Pirates game)

    Kodak Camera Day… sigh… As a Rochester NY native, it’s sad we won’t be seeing any more of those… (although I doubt there have been any in the last 15 years anyway)

    That Super Bowl planter in the Lily Tomlin pic, is likely a spin on the Chip/Dip helmet offered a while back. I had a Broncos one when I lived in Denver.


    “If you look like a clown and lose, you’re just a clown.”
    – P. Lukas

    Anyone up for translating that into Latin for placement on the UW Coat of Arms? Google suggests

    Ille qui maccus nibh ut perdat et maccus

    But that’s far beyond my very, very limited Latin knowledge to judge.

    Can “iustus” be used to mean “just” in the sense of “merely?” If so, that goes to the top of my list of favorite things I’ve learned today. (I thought “iustus” carried only the sense of righteous, fair, or equitable.)

    My ham-fisted, Google-aided translation was aimed at rephrasing into a style more in keeping with classical Roman rhetoric, thus what I was actually trying to translate was, “He is a clown who dresses as a clown and loses.” Making it “He is just a clown …” might be something like

    Ille tantum qui maccus nibh ut perdat et maccus

    or, if “iustus” can mean “merely,”

    Ille iustum qui maccus nibh ut perdat et maccus

    Former Brave major league(and current Brewer minor league) utility player Brooks Conrad never wears batting gloves if you are willing to add back-up (and temporary minor league contracted) players to that list.

    I just love how every single article I read this weekend about Posada’s retirement referred to his bare hands at bat. I don’t think I really appreciated how much I’m going to miss that.

    You can add Matt Carpenter to the no batting gloves list as well, but he isn’t a full time big leaguer yet. He’s stuck in the middle of AAA and MLB.

    Paul great job on Sunday Morning. I was watching with my wife and I was explaining to her what Uni-Watch was and low and behold there you were on the T.V. Great job!!! I wish there can be a show everyday about Uni-Watch.

    I second (and third…) the kudos for the Sunday Morning piece. I’m a SM regular, so seeing my interests converge is always a treat.

    “Ille qui maccus nibh ut perdat et maccus”

    Yes, it’s on the wall behind the benches and at least on the wall in the end zone that lists the years the Broncos won the AFC

    Nice job with the SM piece Paul! I was on the road yesterday and did not get a chance to see it until now. Overall, a pretty good story, Mo Rocca etc… albeit, Barney’s designer Simon Doonan’s critique on those jerseys had to be the “cringe-inducing sequence”?

    Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers has flip-flopped wearing batting gloves it seems his whole career:



    Even with the Marlins and the Diamondbacks he was inconsistent:




    Very strange. Can’t believe I never noticed that before.

    maybe he only wears gloves when its cold outside. As a Diamondback, I remember him and Mark Grace going gloveless, except when it was cold (note the long sleeves in the 2nd d-backs pic).

    The picture of Movi at Kodak Camera Day is an all-time favorite. It really captures what the world looked like around these parts at the time.

    Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers went no batting gloves at time last year. I stopped paying attention because I downgraded cable and lost their games.

    Hey Brinke, nice football team, seven players??

    What’s up with at least two kids in Josh Connor’s Cubs team picture – they’re not actually wearing their caps, it looks more like they have them balanced on the top of their heads…


    Brinke’s Rangers photo is an absolute epic of midcentury Americana. What an image! I’m assuming Pop Guthrie took both of the first two shots; they’re terrific compositions.

    That picture has to be from before 1977 when they added the upper deck behind home plate to Arlington Stadium. It was an ugly stadium, but that shot brings back a lot of great memories.

    I don’t remember where the other guys are, to be honest. On my jersey, there’s a somewhat homemade “17” on my sleeves to match the # on the back- (Don Meredith had retired a couple years before, and he was still a legend) –went to a local Sears and got a felt lettering kit. On that very field, I remember an epic moment- we had lost like a lot of games, and were up by like 1 point late in the game..and their team was getting ready to snap the ball, and their center really jumped around prior to the snap- about five of us really blasted him as a result, he started crying, penalty for them, game over. The “Withers Elementary” Longhorns (Texas, remember) had a win.

    Jason Kendall goes no batting gloves.
    Did anyone notice Bengals QB Daulton’s TCU purple shoulder pads after being sacked during saturdays game? I wasn’t able to get the screenshot.

    Just saw his stats on his Wikipedia page. Career .288 hitter? He was over .300 when he was with the Bucs. Man, his career went south after 2004. lol At least Neil Walker is wearing number 18 proud like Kendall and Andy Van Slyke before him.

    Yeah, and he wanted to leave Pittsburgh so badly so that he could be back in California. He played for what, four other teams in six years after nine in Pittsburgh? Usually players get better after leaving the Buccos. Him and Brian Giles were the exception to the rule.

    I remember watching that game on Fox Sports Pittsburgh. (Now ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.) Probably one of the few sports injuries more gruesome than Joe Thiesmann’s broken leg on Monday Night Football in 1985 at the hands of LT.

    Nothing, NOTHING, is more gruesome than this, though:


    Continuing the discussion on batting gloves (or a lack thereof), Hunter Pence only wears a glove on his left (bottom when batting) hand. He is the only one-gloved example I can think of. Has anybody EVER used one glove, but on the top hand only?

    Another reader just sent me a note about Pence. I was surprised to see him going one-gloved — I don’t think anyone else in the bigs does that today.

    The one-glove look was very common in the ’60s and ’70s, with the vast majority of one-glovers wearing the glove on their bottom hand. Occasionally, though, you’ll see a photo of someone wearing only a glove on his top hand (although I don’t have an example, uh, handy).

    Oh sure, Reggie Jackson back in the day is an iconic example. Dig his Sharpied JAX ID during his Angels days.
    **Hey, what about doing a survey of Sharpied ID’s nowadays? Thanks to embroidering and personal gear deals, they are so commonplace, that hardly anything is Sharpied anymore. Well, except for MLB cap underbill inscriptions, bat knobs (but even that has a decal), and the NHL goalie pad inspector’s signature.

    That would be because the bottom hand typically provides the majority of the swing’s power, while the top hand is more about guiding the bat to making square contact. Therefore, the bottom hand needs the “tighter” grip, in a sense.

    RE: the Vilk Oilers uni pic……

    That looks like a “We can open 1 present on Christmas Eve after we get back from church” photo. Note the dress shoes and slacks.

    on Christmas Eve…withOUT fail…I always picked a pair of socks. Or a belt. SOMEthing I couldn’t play with. Why couldn’t I choose the one that obviously looked like a Space Ship??? And I recall..for some reason, one year I did indeed open a present and it WAS a belt, and I took it to bed with me. That was what I had to lay there with all night waiting for Christmas morning. A true “Christmas Story” moment.

    and I cannot believe this- I just had an OMG moment. The belt I am referring to….

    …is the one in the photo of me @ Texas Stadium. I just had one of those memory flash recalls- I recall all those punched holes in the belt.


    If I recall, that was several days later. Back then we used to go to PA for Christmas, and when we came back home, the presents were waiting for us under the tree. We’d get one little thing during the trip to tide us over, though.

    I should have included this one, too:

    And my favorite one hasn’t been scanned. I have a black and white photo of me as a three-year-old, in my black Pirates replica helmet (which I still have and still wear), some generic pinstriped baseball uni (red stripes, I believe) short striped socks and black shoes similar to the ones in the Oilers photo. I’m holding a little wiffleball bat that has the color and texture of woodgrain (still have that, too, but it’s too small for me).

    I’m not sure why I had the uniform, since I didn’t play organized ball until I was in junior high.

    No, no Little League. I had enough problems hitting a wiffleball.

    And yeah, Jet, that was a good Christmas. We sure had some varied tastes in sports teams that year in our family.

    Occasions when Cervelli wears gloves are few and far between. In the inning before the above picture was taken, he had a bat shatter right at the handle.


    So I think he’s allowed a pass in this case. The only other times I’ve seen him wear gloves were rare instances of heavy heavy rain. But it’s rare enough that he should still be listed as a “gloveless” batter.

    In this security conscious society of ours, it’s tragic that nobody does camera day the way they used to. Those photos are so priceless. When you are a kid getting that close to the field is such an incredible life changing experience. I still remember being able to walk on the field at the end of a Yankee game. Would be great if maybe once a month you can do it again the same way as they did in the old days.

    Amen, brother! I don’t remember the White Sox doing a camera day… but on pretty much every game a player would have a sit down in the concourse where you could get a free polaroid of you and the player.

    I still have me and Harold Baines, and me and Dennis Lamp.

    At least some teams let kids run the bases after games now. I took my son for that a couple of times and it was a real joy.

    I love that. Wish the Mets had let kids do that back when I was a kid. Hell, I’d do it *now* if they let me (but instead I’ll have to wait for the “Senior Stroll,” or whatever it’s called)…. Maybe I can rent a dog for the “Bark in the Park” promotion…

    Hah, my friend’s been trying to talk me into going to Chicago with her and her dog for when the White Sox have bring your dog to the game day.

    me, my GF, nad her cousin took 2 dogs to a dog promotion at PNC park this last season. it was great, i spent over $50 and didn’t catch a single half inning the whole night. plus, when it was my turn to watch a dog, and i actually tried to see what was going on at that moment of the game… the dog pissed on a much larger gentleman’s leg… no joke. never doing it again!

    (even dogs hate the pirates)

    They have “Dog Day” at New Comiskey every year; (05/23/12 & at night) about 250 spots; they sit in the leftfield bleachers; always barking through out the entire game. Some breeds restricted. Seems kinda sad the dogs have to sit there on a leash for 3+ straight hours.

    I can only imagine they don’t let adults run the bases in fear of blowing out a knee.

    I’d love to get a dog on loan just to do the same thing! Speaking of dogs, the Mariners used to have date nights at the Kingdome. Fans would be allowed to mix and mingle on the field after the game! I don’t know how they organized it, but it was a great idea. I think the Royals also had sleep overs for parent and kids..they would put up movies on the big board before lights out and you get to spend the night sleeping on the field! Can’t imagine the Steinbrenners doing this unless Jay Z was paying the freight.

    A New Orleans Zephyrs tradition on Sundays, when I lived there! Also, every Sunday back in the day, they used to wear a “Mardi Gras” alternate home uniform set. It was a white pinstriped vest set. The cap logo looked like this
    but I don’t remember any black anywhere. (Maybe that was after my time.) Anyway, that was a pretty fun and snazzy uniform, and I LOVED that logo.

    Paul – Please accept sincere thanks from Nebraska fans and alumni for your kind words regarding the Cornhuskers’ traditional “look” on Sunday Morning.

    Call me an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy, but I am quite proud of the fact that we do not have a uniform “system”, 1500 jersey/pant/helmet combinations, nor alternative helmets that resembe ears of corn.

    The plain jane red “N” is good enough for me.

    It’s more than ‘good enough’ for sure. You never need to change something that’s never outdated. Of course winning helps, too.

    Paul, my wife cares zero about uniforms… and she thought your part of the CBS bit was great and informative. And yeah, she thought the Maryland unis were terrible.

    Interesting NFL coaching moves: Chiefs decide to stick with Romeo Crennel (age 65 by the start of next season) and the Bucs are talking to Marty Schottenheimer (who’ll turn 69 early next season).

    Interesting that the team went with Obama’s old high school number instead of 44. (All the Dubya jerseys I can recall were #43.) Led Obama to joke, “I was 23 before Jordan. He got the number from me.”

    Yes indeed, good sir. Was just about to comment about that. Most POTUS jerseys either contain the “chronological rank” (so 44 for Obama, 43 for Dubya, 42 for Clinton…), the year of the championship/White House visit, or #1 for the Commander in Chief. This is clearly an exception.

    Used to be a much larger contingent of bare-handers (comparatively speaking), but a lot of guys have retired — Mientkiewicz, Kendall, Doug Mirabelli, Moises Alou, John Mabry, etc.

    There are part-time bare-handers, like Cervelli, and players who temporarily experiment with it, like Cruz, but I think Coco and Vlad may be the only full-time bare-handers left.

    With all the chaos surrounding Penn State the last two months, it is nice to know somethings won’t change. 3.15 for O’Brien’s thoughts on our uniforms.


    It looks like Tomlin is wearing a Super Bowl XXI button as well. Not to mention the Giants Helmet flag in the pencil cup to the right.

    I’ve always thought it interesting that LSU uses a different helmet warning sticker than pretty much every other school/team at every level.

    The first time I remember seeing that style/formatting was on the “Bike” helmet and that was pretty much it. I’ve noticed that LSU uses it for all theres but never brought it up here before. anyone know more?


    Batting gloves or lack thereof…anybody follow the Nationals’ farm system? I remember Bryce Harper as a no-gloves guy, but a Google search shows him going both ways. I wonder…

    I just noticed the NCAA logo is nowhere to be seen on the field or jerseys at the BCS title game. Almost the complete opposite of the NCAA basketball tournament and Final 4. The NCAA logo is everywhere – on the jersey, at center court of the regional sites and even in the special Final 4 logo. Makes you wonder why. Any clue, Paul?

    Six quarters and these two teams can’t score a touchdown against each other.

    Obviously, they aren’t as talented as Baylor and Washington.

    The bcs hats are D umb. Must be from the same design firm who did the B1G logo. Nike snap backs too. I feel bad for the third world kids who have to wear that LSU BCS D ONE crap.

    I think Big Ben’s mismatched shoes create discussion during games, which is good marketing for Nike.

    And you guys here know how they love marketing.

    I was wondering earlier why/how ESPN chose the alabama helmet with #13 on the side (for the prop at the front of the stage), thought maybe it was for Alabama’s 13th win of the season or something, but they were going for 12. 12 would also make sense since they’re the ’12 national champs. Realized afterward that the helmet was changed to have “14” on the side, so I thought maybe it was there 14th national championship, and with the help of wikipedia, that turned out to be true.

    Thought that was a pretty cool, subtle thing to do.

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