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NickNOBs and Snow Jobs: A Closer Look at the ’76 Braves


One of my recent ESPN columns, which was about RNOBs and nickNOBs, included a table that listed a selection of nickNOBs from the past 45 years or so. One player on the list was Braves infielder Jerry Royster, who wore “Rooster” in 1976. Or at least that’s what I’ve always thought — that nickNOB shows up on lots of lists, and “Rooster” seems like a obvious nickname for Royster, so I’ve always accepted it as being true.

I’ve never seen a “Rooster” photo, however, and a lot of those lists floating around the web are just copied and pasted from each other, which makes it easy for erroneous information to take on a false sense of authority simply via repetition. And I’m thinking that might be the case with “Rooster,” now that reader Jerry Wolper has found the photo shown above. As you can see, that’s Jerry Royster wearing a “J.Bird” nickNOB, which I’d never seen or even heard about before. It shows up again in this photo. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Royster never wore “Rooster” — maybe he wore two different nickNOBs. I doubt that, though. Either way, it’s a pointed reminder that we (that I) shouldn’t take this stuff as gospel without supporting evidence.

Speaking of which, another thing I’ve always accepted is that the Braves wore nickNOBs because team owner Ted Turner liked to push the envelope, just as Charlie Finley had done in Oakland. But Jerry did some additional research and found this 7/19/76 Sports Illustrated article, which paints a different picture of how nickNOBs came to Atlanta. Here’s the relevant section:

Early in the season a fan complimented Turner on the team’s new uniforms but deplored the omission of the players’ names above the numbers on the backs of the shirts. Turner, new to baseball and its ways, was thunderstruck by this oversight. Most teams, he learned, do have the names of the players on the shirts. After the game he hurried into the clubhouse and announced that from now on the players would have their names sewn on like everyone else. The reaction to this news was virtually imperceptible, save by [Andy] Messersmith. The pitcher, acquired a few days earlier for a million dollars or so, explained that his name was too long for his shirt. The “M” and the “H” would appear on the sleeves, possibly impeding his pitching motion. What to do? Messersmith proposed an alternative. Instead of surnames, why not use nicknames?

Within the week, the Braves took the field with such sobriquets as “Wimpy,” “Gallo,” “Prof,” “Heavy,” “Bird Dog” and “Mo” on their shirts. Messersmith appeared with “Channel” above his number. Andy (Channel) Messersmith? Can that be a nickname? No, the pitcher wears number 17 and Turner, by the merest coincidence, owns the Channel 17 TV station in Atlanta. The owner was delighted by his star’s show of affection for him. The league president was not. By appearing with Channel 17 on his back, Messersmith was acting as a kind of ambulatory billboard, said [N.L. president Chub] Feeney, and baseball does not approve of such blatant advertising. The “Channel” was out, Messersmith replacing it with “Bluto,” which he insists is his nickname, although it is also the name of Olive Oyl’s perennial abductor in the Popeye cartoon.

The issue was rendered academic a few weeks later when Messersmith, once again taking the lead, suggested to his teammates that maybe wearing nicknames on their backs had jinxed them. Their record at home with nicknames was an appalling 3-13. The players, forever superstitious, agreed. Off went the lettering. Since that day in mid-June the Braves have won 11 and lost eight at home.

Faaaaascinating. I had never heard that the nickNOBs were Messersmith’s idea. Not only that, but it appears that “Channel 17” was Messersmith’s idea too (although the skeptic in me wonders if that part of the story was sugar-coated for public consumption). It’s also good to learn that the Braves only wore the nickNOBs for “a few weeks,” although a more precise time frame would have been helpful. (It’s worth noting that the two Royster/J.Bird photos were published on May 17 and June 13 — a span of 27 days. So the Braves apparently wore the nickNOBs for at least that long. They had apparently gone back to NNOB by early July.)

But wait — Jerry also found a 5/22/76 article from the St. Petersburg Times, which offers a similar but slightly different description (the relevant bit is down below the photo):

Turner had ordered new uniforms for the Braves before the season and, most thoughtlessly, ordered the standard jerseys with numbers but no names.

The moment they arrived he knew something was wrong. So he junked them, turning them into warm-up jerseys, and ordered the modern variety with names stitched on the back. But he didn’t want last names. He wanted nicknames.

Marty Perez would be “Taco.” Tom Paciorek would be “Wimpy.” Lee Lacy would be “Lace,” Roland Office “Row,” Biff Pocoroba “Poco,” Andy Messersmith “Channel”¦”

Andy Messersmith wha? Wait a minute, mused the commissioner. Isn’t Messersmith’s number 17? So doesn’t that read “Channel 17?” And isn’t WTCG in Atlanta Channel 17? And doesn’t Ted Turner own WTCG?

The commissioner has said such advertising is frowned upon by major league baseball. Maybe Messersmith should be called just plain “Andy” or “Half-Million Dollar Pitcher.” Not “Channel 17.”

Thus, Ted Turner has met with the commissioner of baseball.

So according to this version of the story, the nickNOBs were Turner’s idea, not Messersmith’s. And it was the commissioner who put the kibosh on “Channel 17,” not the National League president. Which version to believe? I’m inclined to trust SI as a more reputable source than a local newspaper sportswriter, but we may never know for sure. (Tiebreaker: This AP story says it was the N.L. president who put an end to “Channel 17,” not the commissioner.)

Note, incidentally, that the SI piece and the St. Pete Times article do not mention either “Rooster” or “J.Bird.” They do, however, mention several other Braves nickNOBs that I’ve never seen photographs of, so that adds a few more pieces to the puzzle.

And wait — there’s more. According to this discussion thread on, the Summer 2004 issue of Memories and Dreams (that’s the magazine published by the Hall of Fame) included an article entitled “What’s in a Name and a Number?” It mentioned many of the Braves’ nickNOBs and appears to be the root source of many of the copied/pasted nickNOB lists that are floating around the web. (This is the same issue of the magazine that I described in yesterday’s blog post.)

I asked Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber if he could send me a copy of the article, and he readily obliged. A list of nickNOBs and other non-standard NOBs can be found on the third page of the document — that’s the list that’s been copied/pasted all over the web. The Memories and Dreams article also has a discussion of the Braves’ nickNOBs, as follows:

At the suggestion of pitcher Andy Messersmith, Turner arranged for many of his regular players to wear their nicknames on their home uniforms. Burly catcher Earl Williams wore the word “HEAVY” on his back, an interesting choice given the constant criticism of his weight. ”¦ Outfielder Jimmy Wynn, known as “The Toy Cannon” ”¦ featured the single word “CANNON” ”¦

Turner’s nickname game reached unparalleled lengths with Messersmith. Turner assigned Messersmith uniform No. 17 — instead of the No. 47 he preferrsed. He also gave him the strange nickname “Channel.” With the name over the number, the back of Messertsmith’s shirt served as a commercial for Turner’s television station — Channel 17 on the local cable system. When National League president Charles “Chub” Feeney learned about Turner’s not-so-subtle attempt at free advertising, he ordered Messersmith to dispense with the “CHANNEL” jersey and revert to the tradition of using his last name on the back of his uniform. Instead, Messersmith opted for what he insisted was his real nickname, “BLUTO.”

So in this version of the story, the nickNOBs were Messersmith’s idea, but “Channel” was Turner’s idea. And this account matches the SI article’s claim that it was the N.L. prexy, not the commish, who laid down the law. Of course, the author of this article may have used the SI article as one of his reference sources in the course of his research, in which case we could once again have repetition masquerading as confirmation.

The list of non-standard NOBs in the Memories and Dreams article includes a mention of Jerry Royster wearing “Rooster.” It does not mention Royster wearing “J.Bird.” Depending on your point of view, this either (a) supports the notion that Royster wore two different nickNOBs, since the Hall of Fame is a reputable source, or (b) calls the whole Memories and Dreams article into question.

I contacted the article’s author, Bruce Markusen, to ask him about all this. He apparently didn’t keep his research notes (not all that surprising for an eight-year-old article) but said he thought his source for the Royster/Rooster nickNOB was an old Sporting News article. He said he’d try to find that article but then got back to me a few days later and said he couldn’t find it. Hmmmmm.

But wait — there’s still more. Ted Turner’s autobiography, Call Me Ted, includes the following (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2012-06-15 at 7.12.22 AM.png

So according to Turner, the nickNOBs were Bob Hope’s idea (this guy, not the entertainer), “Channel 17” was Messersmith’s idea, and it was Kuhn, not Feeney, who vetoed “Channel 17.” If nothing else, these differing accounts clearly illustrate the gap that can develop between the past (which is what actually happened) and history (which is the account of what happened) — they don’t always match up, and it’s hard to know which version of history to believe. In any case, no mention of Royster or “Rooster” in Turner’s autobio. (It’s odd that Turner mentions “Jonesy” as a nickNOB example — the ’76 Braves didn’t have a player named Jones. I realize he’s just giving a hypothetical example, but it still seems odd that he wouldn’t refer to a real nickNOB instead of a fictitious one.)

There’s one other place where the Royster/Rooster nickNOB was mentioned: in an ESPN column that I wrote in 2004. My source was reader Steve Kraljic, who had sent me a list of nickNOBs (I still have that e-mail from him). He didn’t explain how he’d compiled them, and I didn’t ask.

I’ll be blunt: It was irresponsible of me to have published something and treated it as settled fact based solely on a reader’s say-so. If a reader came to me with something similar today, I’d post it here on the blog and say something like, “Interesting info, but we need some visual confirmation or other supporting evidence. Anyone know more?” But my uni-historical standards were more lax in those days. (I recently e-mailed Steve to ask him more about how he compiled his nickNOB list but didn’t hear back from him. He’s probably changed his e-mail address. Steve, if you’re reading this, get in touch!)

So where does this leave us? Putting together Jerry Wolper’s findings with my own notes and some additional research on my part, I created the following chart of reputed Braves nickNOBs that have been reported over the years and my feelings as to their legitimacy:
[table id=14 /]

So that’s how things stand now. One additional question that remains unanswered is whether the entire Braves team wore nickNOBs. I’m inclined to think they probably did (if there were holdouts who didn’t want to play along, I’d think they would have been mentioned in the SI and/or St. Pete Times articles). If so, that means there are several nickNOBs still unaccounted for. Everyone who played for the Braves in 1976 is listed here, although we’d need to know exactly who was on the roster from mid-May to mid-June. Looks like some of the likely suspects would be Rod Gilbreath, Ken Henderson, Dick Ruthven, Carl Morton, possibly Cito Gaston, Adrian Devine, and a few others.

Another question that I find rather confounding is how so few photos of these nickNOBs have surfaced. We know the Braves wore them for at least 27 days — why isn’t there more documentation? I’ve looked through all the obvious wire photo archives (Getty, Corbis, US Presswire, AP) and come up empty. I’ve also queried some sources that I thought might have some additional photos (Todd Radom, the SABR-L listserv, etc.) — again, no dice. Kinda surprising, no?

One thing I still plan to do is to get in touch with the sports desk at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I suspect they may have some photos in their morgue. Fingers crossed.

Major, major thanks to Jerry Wolper for doing the heavy lifting on this one. We haven’t quite completed the puzzle yet, but we’re a lot closer now because of his efforts. Take a bow, Jerry — great work.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: Interesting team-building exercise by Bill Belichick, who eliminated uniform numbers from practice jerseys so everyone would have to learn everyone else’s name instead of saying, “Hey, 99” or whatever (from Joe Giza). … The Giants and Nats will be playing a throwback game on July 5. Both teams will be wearing 1924 uniforms — New York Giants vs. Washington Sens. ”¦ Another high school — this time one in Maine — has replaced its Native American-themed mascot (from Paul O. Dillon). … New “pride” uniforms supposedly in the works for Maryland basketball. … The Saskatchewan Roughriders wore helmets with TV numbers, instead of their usual helmet logo, for their first preseason game (from Tom Pachuta). … More info about Nike’s dimpled track uniforms, which supposedly result in faster sprint times, here (from Patrick Runge). … “This past weekend I ran into one of the Occupy protesters who dress up as ‘Tax Dodger,'” says Ed Westfield Jr.. “He told me that they were recently contacted by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown who wanted one of their Dodgers-inspired uniform sets due to its historic and social significance.” Further info on the Tax Dodgers here. … In last weekend’s Ireland vs. New Zealand rugby match, Ireland’s uni numbers were peeling off (from Josh Jacobs). … The Danish soccer player who pulled that stunt with his underwear has been banned for one match. ”¦ “I’m interning with the New York Red Bulls this summer,” writes Chester Baker. “On Monday some members of the New York Giants (Victor Cruz, Lawrence Tynes, and Chris Snee) were filming an ad for Campbell’s Soup. There were also several extras dressed to look like Giants players. All of the actual Giants had their official Nike jerseys, but all the extras wore jerseys with no logo creep from any brand. Also, they all had original names on back. I wonder who makes the jerseys that extras wear in commercials like those.” I wonder if they were left over from that weird little period after the Super Bowl, when retail jerseys (and the Pro Bowl jerseys) were logo-free. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Fun ranking of ridiculous Olympics opening ceremony outfits. ”¦ Love this 1967 Giants/Eagles shot. “You don’t often see a color shot of the Giants in white from this time period,” says Ronnie Poore. “I really like the matching stripes on jersey, pants, and socks, and Philadelphia’s unis from this era are classic, my all-time favorite look for the them.” ”¦ Interesting find by Kenn Tomasch, who writes: “Apparently the North American Soccer League keeps track of the standings of its eight teams by arranging each team’s jersey in a display at the NASL offices.” ”¦ Dave Grob recently acquired a bunch of old game-used Boston Braves uniforms. The 1948 satin is nice, but I’m most intrigued by this 1933 road jersey, because of the two-tone headspoon. Never seen a design like that before. ”¦ Absolutely spectacular slideshow of old Comiskey Park. Have fun clicking through that one, and then thank Cary O’Reilly. ”¦ Some track and field athletes want to wear temporary tattoos with sponsors’ logos, but they’re not allowed to (from Aaron Rich). ”¦ No photo, but Michael Augsberger says England’s keeper, Joe Hart, had a different uni number font than the rest of the team for the recent match against Sweden. ”¦ Domenico Delgado says Josh Reddick of the A’s has the same lower-leg protocol as David Wright: pajamist for night games, high-cuffed for day games. ”¦ Check out the crazy underbrim design for this year’s MLB ASG BP caps (from Alec Jokubaitis). ”¦ New football helmet for Mississippi State. Same as last year, but they’ve added a gray outline to the logo and changed the facemask to white. ”¦ New bat knob decals on tap for the Orioles (big thanks to David Sulecki). ”¦ Rams exec Kevin Demoff has floated the idea that the team might wear white for one home game this season (from Mike Dean). ”¦ Looks like Astros pitcher Mike Scott was wearing an adjusta-strap cap during a 1985 game against the Braves. “The rest of the team was wearing ordinary fitted caps,” says John English.

Comments (167)

    Today’s post = Epic.

    It’s posts like this that have me addicted to this site. Job well done Paul, treat yourself to a porterhouse.

    Hooo-leeee smokes! To think that a dull 70’s Braves team that went 70-92 could provide this much excitement and intrigue… make that a double porterhouse!


    Some of those Braves’ nicknames remind me of the scene in “Animal House” where Bluto (Belushi) give the pledges their Delta nicknames.

    They sure are.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that white Giants jersey. Between the blue numbers and the sleeve stripe matching the pants, it’s so much better than the one they’ve thrown back to with their current look.

    Great look for the NY Giants. White pants look better than the current Gray, and the striping would work with today’s trucated jerseys. Why wouldn’t they go back to that look?

    Same with the Eagles. Simply a better look. The UCLA striping would work. Somebody call somebody !!!!

    Many thanks for that ’67 Eagles-Giants photo. Giants wore white at home for most or all of the ’67 season, strange but true. This definitely appears to be Yankee Stadium not the less shadowy, more open backdrop of Franklin Field in Philly.

    I agree, this is my all-time favorite Eagles uniform. I have a live journal page where I’ve been counting down my all-time favorite NFL uniforms and I can guarantee this design will end up very near the top of that list.

    I’ll have to dissent on the Giants whites, though, a very good uniform, but I like the red numbers and socks of the 1950s and early ’60s (not crazy about the gray pants of that set). The current recreation doesn’t look great, the red tends to fade toward violet under artificial lights and the jersey stripes get stretched out of shape, so it’s certainly possible this ’67 version would look better given today’s uniform technology.

    Might be worth trying to get a little momentum going for this 1965-68 Eagles design to be the team’s next throwback uniform. Wouldn’t look great on today’s sleeveless jerseys, but still, a classic look.


    One of the item I’ve had in my ‘hopper’ for Uni Watch is an entry that shows the 1976 Braves had NOB jackets, something I’d never seen for a baseball team. Here’s Cito Gaston’s jacket, note that there’s no-nickname: link


    You haven’t seen the famous ’86 Mets NOB jackets? Those had names (in an unusual font) towards the middle of the backs, a little lower than they’d be if there had been numbers below them, and had numbers on the sleeves.

    And I’m pretty sure that batboys Paul and Mike had FNOB jackets. Possibly.

    I’ve only had time to read about a quarter of the main entry so far today, but I like where this is going.

    Dare I say that this could be a “Uni Watch instant classic” post?

    These sort of research projects, like those tracking the uniform combinations worn by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s, are fantastic.

    not that this would happen, but what if Mark Turgeon thinks that UA Pride unis would be stupid for Maryland? Would UA suggest he be fired? Would his program get less benefits from UA?

    Thanks for awakening my conspiracy monster: I’ll bet all Maryland athletic department higher-ups have all been carefully vetted by UA.

    I’m glad to have helped.

    I remember watching a couple of Pirate-Brave games on television in 1976, and of course being struck by the NickNOBs. The two that stuck with me for whatever reason are Earl Williams’ “Heavy” and Royster’s “J. Bird”, and I’d see references to “Channel” over the years. So when Paul mentioned the nicknames in the recent ESPN article, and especially since I remembered Royster otherwise, I decided to see what I could find. As you can see, there’s not a lot of definitive information available.

    So far as I can tell, the nicknames were only on home uniforms; there was no NOB of any kind on the road.

    The Bob Hope that Turner mentions in his autobiography is also in the SI story; he was the Braves’ “calamitously named director of public relations, promotions and ticket sales” and Turner’s frequent sounding board.

    It’s too bad that the Atlanta papers aren’t freely available online. The Journal and Constitution (which hadn’t yet merged) probably have some useful photos and possibly even stories about the whole program and mentions of what nicknames newly arrived players would be wearing. It would be great if they and/or the Braves’ PR people could help us.

    It’s too bad that Dick Ruthven did not get to pitch in the ’76 ASG.
    The NL was the home team and he and Messersmith were the only Braves on the squad.
    There would have been some decent TV footage with his NickNOB?
    I hadn’t thought about him in years; people may forget that he was just as important to the Phillies in ’80 as Lefty, Tug, Charlie Hustle, Bull and Schmitty.

    True, but with all the uniform shenanigans that are associated with MLB ASG’s there’s always the possibility.

    The Comiskey Park slide show includes a photo of the Cardinals-Eagles 1948 Blizzard Championship Game. That game was played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

    link (unless the game on September 24th of that season, which was played at Comiskey, happened to also be played in a blinding snowstorm).

    The slideshow of Comiskey Park is great, but photo #44 claims to show fireworks being shot off in celebration of clinching the 59 AL pennant. Really? Because it’s well documented that the old version of the scoreboard was in place thru the 59 WS. The tubes and the “exploding scoreboard” were added to the the existing sb before 1960 season began. In fact, the pinwheels didn’t appear until the 70’s.

    Bill Veeck loved fireworks. He shot them off at Comiskey well before he installed the exploding scoreboard in 1960.

    I don’t doubt you. But the scoreboard in the slideshow is clearly the post 1960 version. link during the 59 World Series, and link to the classic we all remember. Note that the teams involved in the last game before renovation are still displayed.

    Won’t taking the numbers off the Patriots’ practice jerseys make it harder for the coaches to break down practice film?

    Read a article awhile back…right now at this point in the season, Belichick is not even looking at film. It’s all about exercising, getting the footwork right, getting your timing back, seeing who’s on and who needs to work out more. It’s a revolving door team right now- the team is bringing in unproven players and releasing anybody they don’t think is a fit. No need for filmwork at this time since they can basically watch them with their own eyes.

    Nah. This is fun because it was a temporal, isolated event in baseball history so it’s quirky. Don’t think we’d want MLB to become the XFL.

    Another research angle idea- find out the teams the Braves played during their nickNOBs stretch and look up their cities’ archives for gameday photos. We don’t have to solely depend on AJC for all their information.

    The two Royster photos in the article are from the Pittsburgh Press and the Montreal Gazette. Sadly, those were the only two shots I could find in the Google news archive that showed a nickname, although there were several where the front of the uni was visible. (Those are also the only two NL cities of that era whose major newspaper is in the archive.) If anyone wants to spend time at their local library, the help will certainly be appreciated.

    One of the other motivations by Ted Turner on this issue was to create interest in bad team, this era of Braves baseball was truly forgettable.

    How about a 1977 Braves yearbook? There could be photos from the 1976 season there.

    Well, the XFL and HE HATE ME was a bit silly, I’ll give you that. But with some limitations, I think it could work. Players probably shouldn’t get to pick their own nickNOBs in their rookie season or anything, but if you’ve got a player who’s played a few seasons (3? 5? 10? I dunno, pick a number) and has an established nickname… why not? The vast majority of players don’t last long enough/aren’t good enough to have nicknames, so what would be wrong with rewarding those who do?

    Turner’s initial instinct….”OMG, we need to have names on the back”….is another example of my most hated uni-attitude, still rife within baseball: LLLOT*

    *Let’s Look Like Other Teams.

    I really don’t think this was the first instance of NickNOB’s. I think if we could dig a little deeper, I think the 1963 Kansas City A’s (first year of the green/gold look) did this sort of thing. I recall seeing a photo of catcher Doc Edwards with “DOC” on his back. I don’t think this was isolated to just him, either.

    Still, some tremendous digging by BurghFan!

    Wasn’t there just a pic in the ticker the other day of Ken Harrelson with a “HAWK” NOB?

    I don’t think it was link (from 1969). It might have been from when he was playing with KC.

    Nicklas Bendtner (the Danish soccer player) was fined far more for exhibiting his underwear and an unapproved sponsor than he would have had he screamed racist epithets and profanities at opposing players.

    UEFA’s got a long way to go.

    Re Joe Hart’s England keeper jersey having a different font from the outfield players… That was indeed the case, the reason being that England are the only (I think) team at the Euros to have a different font on their home and change kits. The red kit Hart was wearing was released in conjunction with England’s new all white home kit however the team were wearing their dark blue change kit against Sweden.

    I believe when teams who play in white are scheduled to meet those in yellow one team often changes in order to create greater contrast for those viewing on black & white TVs, of which there are still a surprisingly high number (there were 25,000 in the UK alone at the time of the 2010 World Cup for example). Hart stayed in the ‘home’ red kit however, rather than using the turquoise number that accompanies the change kit.

    He actually did it the opposite way round for the first game against France (wore turquoise with the white kit).

    …those viewing on black & white TVs, of which there are still a surprisingly high number (there were 25,000 in the UK alone at the time of the 2010 World Cup for example)

    How in the hell is there any viable way to determine that number? I’d almost guarantee that number has been pulled out of someone’s ass, based loosely on a survey with far too small of a sample size. Seriously, a person who still has a landline and is willing to waste 15 minutes to take a survey is *not* a good representation of the “average person”.

    Um, most people still have land lines (at least in this country). Perhaps *you* are not a good representation of the “average person.”

    Landlines? Really? Off the top of my head, none of the people I actually talk to on the phone have landlines. Hell, my Mom got rid of hers last year and shes 62 years old.

    The BBC is supported in large part by a license fee on TVs. The annual fee for a color TV is a lot more than for a B&W, so it follows that they know how many there are.


    I was going to say that.

    However – the number of people paying for a (reduced) black and white licence and those that actually HAVE a black and white TV may not be the same thing ;)

    The reason Joe Hart has a different font is based more on the kit release date and Umbro. England is one of the only national teams that releases its home and away kits in different years. England’s current home kit was released in 2012 but their away kit was released in 2011. The font on the 2011 away kit matches the font from the 2010 home kit. I guarantee that the 2013 away kit number font will match the 2012 home jersey.

    As mentioned above Hart has a 2012 keeper kit but it is red and players are not allowed to wear red when the opponent is wearing yellow or orange, so he had to wear his 2011 keeper kit.

    I believe when teams who play in white are scheduled to meet those in yellow one team often changes in order to create greater contrast for those viewing on black & white TVs, of which there are still a surprisingly high number

    This was true until the 2002 World Cup, when Germany met Brazil in the final. FIFA concluded that color television was widespread enough to permit Germany to wear their white shirts, and Brazil their yellow.

    And tonight in Kyiv, Sweden are wearing yellow with blue shorts. France in all white.

    “… … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Fun ranking of ridiculous Olympics opening ceremony outfits. …”


    Regarding yesterday’s conversation about ESPN and its use of camera angles during Euro 2012 games, I emailed UEFA at link with this question:

    “Does ESPN get one single video feed to broadcast to America or do they get to choose from multiple angles?”

    I received this response:

    “They can choose from at least 10 angles and even more if they do have their own cameras at matches.”

    Fantastic find. So we can safely assume it’s an American decision to film these soccer bimbos?

    What is the name on the back of the jersey on the right in this photo? Is that a nickname or just somebody I’m not familiar with?


    You’re probably talking about Biff Pocoroba. Phil Niekro’s jersey is on the right in another photo. Too bad there’s no photo of the early 60’s braves unis, with the huge red NOB jerseys.

    I’m glad there’s a photo of Pascual Perez’s I-285 jersey, from 1982. New to the team, he missed a start after being told the stadium was next to the highway. Perez got on Atlanta’s 285…which circles the city. He drove for hours and hours. In his absence Niekro started and won, propelling the Braves on a winning streak that culminated in a playoff appearance. After that Perez was nicknamed “Perimeter Perez”.

    The “Channel” was out, Messersmith replacing it with “Bluto,” which he insists is his nickname, although it is also the name of Olive Oyl’s perennial abductor in the Popeye cartoon.

    For some reason, this made my morning. Hey, thanks for clearing that up, SI!

    Something I noticed in the background of the link of that Rams executive you cited: If I’m not mistaken, the Rams are wearing throwback uniforms (the ones they had before they changed them in 2000).

    Picture 6 provides the evidence from the England vs Sweden game. Hart is at left and #15 is top right, not same 1.


    i wish with all my heart that former National League President Charles Feeney had a jersey with “CHUB” on the back.

    Darrel Chaney’s Cincinnati Red teammates nicknamed him, “Norton,” due to the likeness of Chaney to Honeymooners character, Ralph Cramden. (Ed Norton)

    Paul, Have you considered trying to ask Jerry Royster himself? With your connections, you should be able to get in touch with him via the Red Sox.

    random but

    anyone know when the Nets will unveil their uniforms? the suspense is driving me mad…even though they’ll prob just be plain

    i remember someone said they should have a secondary color. how about a light shade of gold (like olympic uniforms)


    Why do you get your undies all up in a bunch over logo creep on sports jerseys? I guess you don’t buy Pepsi or Coke or 7-up or Sprite, etc. because the bottles or cans have the manufacturers’ logos on them? Do you you always pour the soda into a glass before you drink it to avoid logo creep?

    I guess that’s why you are so into butchering and preparing your own meat. Last time I checked, cows don’t have logos on them (unless they are cattle-branded).

    I think you are way too OCD on this whole logo creep issue.

    BTW: the Giants jerseys are the unmarked “ProLine” jerseys offered by NFLshop after the Tiebow lawsuit between Rbk and Nike.

    Uh… what?

    I’m pretty sure there’s a bit of a fundamental difference between a Pepsi logo on a can of Pepsi and a Nike logo on a New York Jets jersey.

    Not to mention that just because logos *are* everywhere, it doesn’t mean that they *should* be.

    Funny…I used to like going to websites that didn’t have logo (or ad) creep all over them.

    The insensitivity, ignorance or just plain stupidity of some of today’s designers is absolutely amazing sometimes.

    Hard to believe people who have risen to the level of decision maker are so unbelievably and appallingly dense.

    “Really? It smacks of slavery? Gosh, who knew.”

    i wonder if the designer or anyone at adidas took an american history course in high school

    plus from a practical point,

    what if the chain slips when you drive to the lane? you if the shackle aint an ankle brace….you break your ankle!

    so stupid and pointless….reaks of an attention grabbing PR move. they were never gona release these things, in my opinion.

    “This is the part where I say, “And let’s not forget that they’re purple.””


    for once, that’s not the worst part

    Perhaps people shouldn’t make a SNEAKER that OFFENDS.

    [The caps are meant to highlight the ridiculousness of this argument. ;) ]

    “i wonder if the designer or anyone at adidas took an american history course in high school”

    Probably not, or they were not paying attention. More on that here…


    It seems the designer was so blinkered as to his (benign) inspiration, he forgot to look at it from the point of view of someone who had no clue to his inspiration. Lacking that, the sinister interpretation is easy to make.

    More on that here…


    “who the f— is paul mccartney?”



    now i am old

    The Patriots’ idea of taking jerseys off the practice jersey is not original. Chuck Noll did that with the Steelers in the 1970s. This article talks about him suspecting another team’s spy watching practice:
    I’ve also read that he said it kept coaches from being lazy, that they should be able to recognize players by the way they played. Can’t readily find verification online.

    In the Comisky Park gallery, there is a photo that shows the rioters on the field with the big scoreboard in the background. See that photo here:


    I noticed it showed the Padres leading the Phillies 4-3 in the 7th inning. Both pitchers were #32.
    Out of curiosity, I checked the Baseball Almanac web site to see what all occurred in the game, as well as to find out what the final outcome was. According to the boxscore, it was 3-2 PHILLIES after 7, with a final of 4-3 Phillies. So S.D. was never ahead by a score of 4-3. Didn’t know what to make of that, was it just a mistake on the scoreboard? Check for yourself here:


    p. s.- The pitchers were listed correctly as both Bob Shirley and Steve Carlton wore #32.

    Way back then, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, out-of-town scores came in via teletype. Perhaps the score was flipped on the printout that was sent to Comiskey. Either that, or the scoreboard operator erroneously flipped the score.

    Quite a difference from now, where an electronic out-of-town board is linked via modem to a central site, giving you up-to-the-minute score, outs, runners on base, and batter/pitcher matchups.

    And there’s a slight chance that the scoreboard operators were somewhat distracted at that very moment.


    I was watching on TV. Yelled to my mother “Boy, I’ll bet you’re glad I didn’t convince you to drive me to the ballpark!”

    Wow, Paul — amazing Uni-Watch today! We moved to Atlanta from Omaha in 1980, so the Ted Turner years were in full swing by then… but I certainly heard from my new school mates about the nicknames and the Channel 17 uni. I also remember hearing the Braves announcers (Ernie Johnson Sr., Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Darrell Chaney, talk about the nicknames on TBS broadcasts on numerous occasions. Thanks so much for sharing all your research; and I hope the AJC can get you more photos to share!

    Also, I spent many of my childhood summers in the 70’s and early 80’s visiting my grandparents in Chicago. My grandfather was a die-hard White Sox fan and had a ton of stories to tell me about the games he attended at Comiskey Park. One of my fondest memories is attending my first MLB game there as a little boy. Anyway, thanks also for sharing the link to those Comiskey pics. Along with many of the other readers here, I have a tremendous affinity for those old baseball photos.

    Thanks — you made my morning out here in Denver!

    Thanks for the kind words, Gil. Glad everyone’s enjoying this one — and I certainly enjoyed working on it. Once again, Jerry Wolper deserves a great deal of credit for his research.

    Those 76-79 Braves home uniforms have the distinction of being the Major League uni that looks the most like a Little League uni. The pullover looks like a T-shirt with collar and sleeve ends in red, matching the pinstripes. Something about the blue Braves script combines with the red pins to make the whole thing look pink.

    Nostalgia is weird. Today I kinda like them, but at the time I thought they were heinous.

    The 1970’s -once you take away Hank Aaron’s accomplishments- were a wasteland for the Braves. The only thing they seemed to accumulate were losing streaks. The 1980s weren’t so hot, either. Maybe it was a result of the on-field product, but I thought Atlanta’s uniforms of this vintage were amateurish. I agree with everything you said about the red pinstripes, now throw in their overdone multicolored hats; chaos. But as you explained, a few decades removed, I can’t bring myself to hate ’em.

    I truly liked the Braves Hank Aaron/715 – era unis. I liked the shoulder feathers and the coloring. They say (1970’s” as much as the Astro’s Tequila Sunrise or the Oakland A’s Green/Gold. In a vacuum, they are a insult to MLB, for their era, they are truly good for what teams were aiming for. Ditto the Pirate’s look for the era, and Bill Veeck’s crazy makeover for the White Sox.

    The Ted Turner/Channel 17-era unis are indeed hideous. They look like the cheapest version you could buy a HS from a catolouge.

    I agree – today’s entry is one of the best in Uni Watch history. Great job Paul!

    If there were only more of these. Bronco’s blue/brown helmets, NickNOB, Pins vs. Pins, Indian’s red/blue combo, Rangers pants/shirts (one of them blue I think), White Sox shorts games, etc. These research projects are THE BEST! Great article Paul and research Mr. Wolper!

    Just to echo what everyone else is saying, today’s entry was phenomenal. To me, it encapsulated what Uni Watch is all about.

    Arizona has a whopping 13 Indian-mascot high schools. I want that to change, too, but there’s no pressure on anybody to do it here. For what it’s worth, several are located smack dab in the middle of reservations (San Carlos, the perennially lousy Baboquivari, Red Mesa, Fort Thomas, Tuba City, San Pasqual in Winterhaven CA but acts like an AZ high school) but others are outside the rez (St. Johns, Nogales, Lourdes Catholic, The Orme School, plus three offenders in metro areas–Thunderbird, Pueblo and Westwood). Anything I can do?

    Today’s entry shows the difference between a blogger and a journalist who runs his own blog. Nice work.

    Hear, hear! I don’t consider this site a blog. I consider each (real) entry an article.

    But whatever term you want to use, all that matters is this is one of the best blogs out there. Not just because I’m a uni-geek, because its a rare blog that adheres to journalistic integrity.

    “And tonight in Kyiv, Sweden are wearing yellow with blue shorts. France in all white.”

    But in Donetsk, Ukraine, who normally play in yellow, have switched to blue against England’s all white. Looks like it’s not a definite policy either way then…

    The referee, though, is wearing yellow. When UEFA make the determination as to which team wears what, it’s a three-way consideration. Actually, a five-way: Team A, Team A goalie, refs, Team B, Team B goalie.

    If you look closely at Josh Reddick’s socks you can see he’s wearing gold sannies underneath.

    Sorry – was far easier today.

    England needed to win or draw – they did.

    France needed not to do too badly – they didn’t.

    So England and France are through.

    Simple :)

    It’s amazing what memories stick with you after all these years. I distinctly remember watching a Cards/Braves telecast from 1976. Adrian Devine came in to pitch for the Braves in extra innings. His nickname-on-back was “Bing”, in obvious reference to the better known Cardinal GM Bing Devine. I remember the broadcasters mentioning that if the Cards win this game in extra innings, the headline in tomorrow’s papers should read “Cards Beat Bing Devine”. Of all the C-list players that have pass through my years following sports, I never forgot Adrian “Bing” Devine because of the nickname on the back of his jersey.

    MUCH better than the other options that come to mind – the (four-letter version of) rooster or the wine that everyone joked about in those days.

    Paul, I thought you might like the socks and sweater from the 1920 Chilicco Indian School Basketball team photo. Another school using the pointed ‘C’ too. link

    According to the Braves, between May 17 & June 13, only played 8 games at home (out of 25 total games played) in this time frame: 3 against Houston on May 29-30 (only 2 dates – had a doubleheader on May 30), 2 against San Diego on May 31-June 1, and 3 against Pittsburgh on June 11-13.


    8 games over 7 home dates (realizing that there is a chance other games were played in these uniforms outside of this range) is not a lot to fish from for evidence. Congratulations on what you have found so far and on an outstanding article. Good luck to you in your quest for further confirmation(s) on the subject.

    What we need is to see highlights from This Week in Baseball from those weeks. That’s about the only place I can imagine any video footage of those games showing up. Unless has them squirreled away someplace.

    Odds of a team that bad appearing on the show would seem insurmountable. That’s IF they were archived.

    I’ve worn #17 on my jerseys for years. Once season, I swapped out my last name for ‘Channel’ to see if anyone on the ‘Geeks in Cleats’ team knew the story. No one did…but I do now have a silly looking grey button-up with red pinstripes and Channel 17 on the back.

    So Ian Desmond invited Robert Griffin to a Nat’s game. And will be giving him a pair of sox. Not sure if that is uni-watch worthy, but it may be.

    Re Nats/Giants upcoming throwback game: it would be appropriate to refer to the 1924 Washington AL team as the Nats as well. Even on those occasions when the team was referred to as “Senators” (whether or not the franchise had adopted the nickname, please see my post on topic yesterday) it was never referred to as the “Sens.” I’ve only seen that used in reference to the Ottawa NHL franchise.

    This may help narrow down the Braves nickname window slightly – in this 6/24/76 photo they already gone back to NNOB.

    Great job on today’s article, I’m hoping we get more pics/confirmation of all the other NickNOBs.

    In unrelated but still uni-worthy news, I’m watching the Cardinals-Tigers game and see Schumaker of St. Louis is going high-cuffed and wearing striped hoisery. Beautiful!

    Not sure if this was discussed in previous posts, but I think these are the first official public pics of the new Charlotte Bobcat uni’s…


    To me, this is a downgrade. I thought they had finally hit on something with the last set.

    At first glance, it looks like the Villanova Wildcats’ and the Dallas Mavericks’ unis had a baby and this is what came out. ugh

    They’ve also completely removed the “BOB”.

    This should be interesting, as the Carolina Panthers are also referred to as the “Cats”. Maybe they can pull a New York Giants thing and call themselves the “Charlotte Basketball Cats.”

    Hey….the Braves had a “Bluto” and a “Wimpy”….

    Too bad Don Zimmer wasn’t on that team.

    I read todays article early this morning after being up all night working. Now that I’ve slept I can enjoy it again, since I don’t remember much from the first time I read it!

    I lived in Texas in the 80’s and watched a lot of Cubs and Braves games, since WGN and WTBS made their signals available at minimal cost to cable systems who were desperate for programming to fill their promise of “40+ channels!” I remember the cable “slider device” in Austin slid up to 45 or so selections (for pre cable-ready tv sets.) After MTV, ESPN, Nick, CNN, there was a lot of filler.

    I never knew what channel WTBS was on locally in Atlanta, though at some point I started to suspect 17. TBS had a separate national feed which had national ads and didn’t do local ID’s. WGN, on the other hand, seemed to be clueless as to how many people outside “Chicagoland” were watching them on cable around the country. They had no national feed thru most of the 80’s, which meant embarrassingly shitty local furniture and used car commercials were shown to millions of viewers nationally. I can only imagine how cheap the bulk rate ad prices were.

    Hey, I miss those days. But for me, WGN was a local station, so WOR provided the embarrassingly shitty out-of-town commercials.

    Phil Rizzuto for The Money Store…

    Garden State Brickface & Stucco…

    Carvel! (Please tell me someone here gave/received a Fudgie the Whale cake for Fathers’ Day.)

    “WOR provided the embarrassingly shitty out-of-town commercials.”


    excuse me?

    And I guess I didn’t make it clear when I said that I miss those days that I loved those commercials.

    I hadn’t noticed until tonight – but it appears that Casey Janssen is wearing his UCLA socks – because they’re definitely powder blue and not the Blue Jays blue. I can only assume because of the CWS…

    Can’t confirm that Darrell Evans wore “Howdy” on his jersey, but I can confirm from having covered the Tigers that “Howdy Doody” was indeed his long-time nickname.

    Relief pitcher Dave Campbell was nicknamed “Chopper,” so perhaps he and not Dave May wore that jersey with the Braves.

    Looks like Campbell didn’t get to Atlanta until 1977, which means your entirely reasonable suggestion doesn’t work.

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