By Phil Hecken
Last weekend I told you there were a couple of really good things left over from the summer that I hadn’t had a chance to get to — and today is one of those days — as we’re going to be treated to a couple colorizations and a really good story from one of our stalwart colorizers, Gary Chanko. Gary sent this to me during Paul’s vacation, and while it could fit in the “regular” colorization segment, it really does deserve to stand on its own. (As always, you can click on the images to see the full-size).
So, without further ado, here’s Gary to tell us all about…
by Gary Chanko
So what’s going on with the Bambino and the fake beard? (Yes, it is a genuine fake!)
The answer will be revealed later, but for now you can choose from the following:
A. It’s a promotional photo from his 1920s silent film, Heading Home.
B. The Smith Brothers signed him to advertise their new menthol cough drops.
C. He’s goofing off with a religious commune’s barnstorming team that required beards for their players.
If you selected answer C, you would be correct; well, probably correct.
Yes, the Babe was involved with the group shown in the colorized (ca. 1929) post card image below. (You may be able to acquire a copy of the original post card here)
Pictured above (l-r): Front row, Dave “Eggs” Harrison, Percy Walker, Tom Dewhirst (known as the “bearded Babe Ruth”); back row, Walter “Dutch” Faust and Hans “Barney” Dalager.
If you are unfamiliar with the House of David’s notorious, long hair and bearded, touring baseball team or need to refresh your memory, this short video tells the story.
Watch closely for a display of the original images used in the colorizations.
Now, about the Babe and that beard. It was mentioned in the video a House of David contract proposal was presented to the Babe at the end of his playing career but was never acted upon. Beyond this event, there’s no further evidence that links Ruth with the original House of David team from Benton Harbor, Michigan.
However, the House of David enterprise spawned several spin off teams using the popular House of David name. One of these teams was created by a former House of David team promoter, Louis Murphy (Baseball Fever has a bit of information and photos about Louis Murphy’s team). The photo of Babe and his beard is most likely associated with Murphy’s Spring Valley, Illinois touring team. One reasonable guess is the photo occurred during the Yankees spring training (early 1930s) while Murphy’s team was touring through Florida. Unfortunately there is no record the Babe either played for or against a House of David team, so it appears he was just goofing off with the fake beard and, perhaps, encouraged by a creative photographer.
Hungry for more about the House of David baseball teams, here’s a few links with further information:
• SABR research article
• Brief history, myths and facts, interesting quiz
• Archives of Michigan houses images and Michigan Attorney General’s files related to the House of David
• Broad overview with lots of pictures of the commune’s grounds, ball park and incredible amusement park
• “The House of David Baseball Team” by Joel Hawkins and Terry Bertolino
Thanks Gary! Great stuff as always, and wonderful colorizations to boot. If you guys didn’t click on that video before, you definitely should — not only is there a great historical lesson there, and some wonderful old photographs, including one of the KC Monarchs (who happen to be wearing great stirrups — very similar to this stirrup, which Comrade Marshall is offering).
With apologies to George Chilvers and John Turney, I’ll be back with their colorizations in the regular format next time.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
And we thought it was fun saying “Vuvuzela”…
Click to enlarge
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
We had so many Stirrup Friday participants this week, it’s going to take two days just to show them all!
So, in the order in which they were received, here we go (click on each thumbnail for a glorious, full size image):
“Guess I shoulda fired this off to you yesterday morning.
Anyway, Beasley says “Gruff”. I say “go K State”.
“I didn’t get the chance to send you a photo of my stirrups I wore for Stirrup Friday until today. I’m wearing a pair of Globetrotters, because they are a great design.”
“Today’s stirrups are a vintage 1950s era kelley green stirrup that I am wearing in honor of A’s pitcher Brandon Macarthy who took a liner off his head earlier this week.”
“I’m UniWatch member Hickory33 – I seldom comment, but read daily.
I’m rocking my O’s ‘rups that I got early on in Commrade Marshall’s stirrup program. Why am I wearing them? Because the O’s are in First Place baby!
My work is allowing us to wear jeans every Friday in September as a reward for reaching charity goals in a recent canned food drive. And today we can wear jerseys because it’s the beginning of the NFL season. I took the opportunity to represent the O’s over any NFL teams.”
“I saw these on eBay and liked them. I like black and blue together and the pattern is different.”
R. Scott Rogers:
“1967 Senators, or one stripe for each full game the Nats lead the Braves this morning.”
Jason Bernard & his buddy Carson:
“Coal Bowl (Marshall vs. WVU). My buddy Carson and I, enjoying WVU vs. Marshall (me more than him).”
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ’em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!).
If you’re not a member of Stirrup Nation and want to join, just visit Comrade Marshall’s house of hose (and you can see the available selections here) or if you have any questions about the availability of stirrups, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
Only a couple trickled in this week, but I still have a few left over from before I took over the weekdays…
And so, lets begin:
First up is “Colin from EMU”, who has a tweak, not surprisingly, for Eastern Michigan University:
I put together a concept for Eastern Michigan University, who seems to still be stuck between the Huron and Eagle mascot. I threw together a concept embracing the Huron heritage and modern Block-E logo. The Huron tribe is actually in support of the university switching back to the old mascot; a very interesting situation that has led to a highly publicized alcohol fueled bar incident with our university president, Sue Martin.
Take a look, I think you’ll find some familiar elements. I must say I have always been a fan of the original Huron logo.
-Colin (EMU grad student)
Next up is Chris Wade, who has an alt for OKC:
I made this quick mock-up of a third OKC uniform in about 10 minutes before game 2 of the NBA Finals last month. I thought having ‘OKC’ across the front was a little stronger than the small lettered ‘Oklahoma City’ on the current blue away jerseys. It looks a little like the Warriors 3rd jerseys from the mid 2000’s but that never stopped OKC’s branding before!
Finally, we have Walter Helfer, who takes a decidedly different approach to the “Latin Heritage” uniform:
I’d rather invoke the colors of Latin America than some Spanish definite articles. So let’s re-imagine the Mets the way they might look if they made their home south of the border.
That’s it for today — Back with more next time.
When Uni Watchers take the plunge…
…they do it in style.
I want to take a brief moment to express my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Uni Watch couple Jason Bernard & Jenny Sweet. Awwwwww. They’re tying the stirrup, er KNOT, today. I’m not sure if Jason will be rockin’ the rups, and I’m pretty positive Jenny will be sans helmet when they say their I Do’s later today, but whatever they choose to don, I’m sure it will be awesome.
So join me in wishing the happy kids all the best now and forever!
TJ Duroncelet will be back tomorrow, as always, with his Sunday Morning Uni Watch. If you spot something weird, odd, unusual, or just have a screen grab, make sure you drop him a line or post any photos of any games in the comments. Because we recently “lost” the services of Daylife (they’re no longer hosting wire service photos), it’s a bit tougher to track down game photos — so you guys can do us a big favor by sending links and screengrabs or posting them in the comments. OK? OK!
That’s about it for today — huge day coming tomorrow what with the college football wrapup, the new 5 & 1 feauring Catherine Ryan, another round of Stirrup Fridays, the Duck Tracker and the start of the NFL for all teams not named Giants and Cowboys (and the four teams playing Monday night). Thanks to Gary & Ricko, and again, Congrats to Jason & Jenny! Everyone have a fantastic Saturday.
“It’s a “red out” but you chose to wear green? Either you didn’t get the memo, you don’t own a red shirt, you don’t care what you wear to the game or you’re taking some douchebag-holier-than-thou-stance that no one can tell you what to wear.”
–Tom Van de Kieft