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Baberaham Lincoln

Baberaham - Gary Chanko

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…

. . .

Baberaham Lincoln
by Gary Chanko

So what’s going on with the Bambino and the fake beard? (Yes, it is a genuine fake!)

Baberaham - Gary Chanko

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)

House of David - Gary Chanko

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.


Screen Shot 2012-06-24 at 10.32.36 PM

“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”…

9-8-12 d-Brazuca

Click to enlarge


Stirrup Friday

Stirrup Fridays…

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):

. . . . .

KC State - Ben Traxel

Ben Traxel:

“Guess I shoulda fired this off to you yesterday morning.

Anyway, Beasley says “Gruff”. I say “go K State”.

. . .

Globetrotters - David Firestone

David Firestone:

“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.”

. . .

1950 Kelly Green - James Poisso

James Poisso:

“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.”

. . .

Jason Hicks - Orioles

Jason Hicks:

“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.”

. . .

Mike Wilson - "Black & Blue"

Mike Wilson:

“I saw these on eBay and liked them. I like black and blue together and the pattern is different.”

. . .

R. Scott Rogers - 67 Senators

R. Scott Rogers:

“1967 Senators, or one stripe for each full game the Nats lead the Braves this morning.”

. . .

Coal Bowl - Jason Bernard and his buddy, Carson (Marshall & WVU)

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



all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

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:


EMU logo & uniform - "Colin"

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)

. . .

OKC alt - Chris Wade

Next up is Chris Wade, who has an alt for OKC:

Hey Phil,

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!

Chris Wade

. . .

Finally, we have Walter Helfer, who takes a decidedly different approach to the “Latin Heritage” uniform:

losmets - Walter Helfer

Dear Phil,

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!


And Finally…

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

Comments (90)

    First off, this is for Jenny and Jason…

    Susan Sarandon’s character in SHALL WE DANCE?…

    “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

    Congrats, Jason & Jenny!

    And yes, sensible men can, and perhaps even should, wear monochrome – even Black over Black – on those Saturdays that hey are getting married – but on no others !!!! LOL !!!!

    Phil, in the Ken Burns documentary “Baseball” there is footage of Ruth in a HoD uniform. He pulls the beard down comically and winks to the camera.

    Congrats Jason and Jenny! Nothing has ever mattered more. Nothing ever will.

    Great colorizations fellas! That’s already a great photo of Ruth, but just adds another dimension in color!

    Colin, great uni tweak too.

    Is there any significance, I wonder, to Jenny and Jason choosing the date STAR TREK premiered in 1966?

    (for the record, I didn’t know that; it was mentioned on the news just now)

    I’m curious if they will include any uni elements into their day at all. I got married before I discovered the site or else my grooms men and I might have been wearing stirrups.

    You’re not the only one. It wasn’t till I watched the Ken Burns documentry as an adult did I learn they were a religious team, but not Jewish.

    Heybif you watch the BASEBALL Documentary by Ken Burns, there’s footage of Babe Ruth agog with the House of David team. I do believe its on the 2nd disk.

    Nice colorization of Babe! I posted a variation of that pic a while back here: “Bewhiskered Babe!!” link

    The original press tag mentions that the photo was taken in St.Pete, Florida. The jersey that The Babe is wearing was worn by the Yankees from 1927-30, although the picture could be from spring training 1931. Unfortunately, the press tag is a bit ambiguous about whether a game took place or not.


    Here’s a video (silent) of Babe applying a beard and then playing against the House Of David Team! (New York Yankees Babe Ruth applies a fake beard prior to a spring training game versus House of David in St. Petersburg, Florida.)

    Babe’s wearing pinstripes in the clip, so it was probably a different game than the pics of him with the road uni.

    To the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Bernard:

    If you’re reading this today, why the hell are you reading this today?

    Congratulations. And is the tux triple-stripèd?

    “Shake your Whammy Weenie” – I still have one, as well as an old foam cap (that’s in a plastic cap holder because, after 30 years, the foam is crumbling).
    Congrats Jason and Jenny


    Info on the new eastern michigan band uniforms also featuring the old indian logo. Thought of you all when i first saw this, then i saw the uni concept posted today.

    best wishes jason and jenny.

    and to those of you who wear the stirrups to work, i nary thought i would see other people doing it. liberating, isn’t it? i absolutely love it.

    Still cannot believe that the Eastern Michigan University athletic teams are not called the Fighting Emus

    When they first announced the change a few years ago, I crossed my fingers and was hoping for Emus. Instead we got…(sigh) Eagles. Emus would have been unique and fun. And now that the Huron tribe says they were OK with that name all along, it would look silly for Eastern to go back to that name. Sort of like an Indian giver or something.

    Colin from EMU’s description of his EMU concept includes the following quote and link:

    “The Huron tribe link…”

    Unless I’m missing something, the linked article does not contain any information about Huron tribe’s feelings on this matter.

    Can anyone clarify?

    Well, there’s this page: link

    HRAC is dedicated to the return of the Huron name and an acceptable logo to Eastern Michigan University and has the support of Chief Leaford Bearskin of the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and former Grand Chief Max Gros-Louis of the Huron-Wendat Tribe of Quebec.

    and this: link

    Billy Friend, the chief of the Oklahoma-based Wyandotte Nation, a federally recognized band that was once in Michigan and known as Hurons, said the tribe embraces EMU’s move.

    “Our stance has always been we didn’t see it as anything but an honor to the Hurons and Wyandottes,” said Friend. “We never saw it as demeaning.”

    Yeah, the Gophers need a reflective finish for the helmet to match the jerseys. If they were wearing gold jerseys and maroon pants, the helmet might – might – work.

    On the other hand, when was the last time anyone noticed, much less talked about, what the Gophers footballers look like? So, I suppose, victory to the U of M here.

    Today there are two SEC conference games that feature a blue and orange school going against a maroon and white school.
    (Auburn/Miss. State, Florida/Texas A&M)

    The maroon and white midfield stripe at Mississippi State’s field stops short of the logo at midfield, and turns into a thin white stripe.

    Really annoying me for some reason.

    #42. No idea what his name is . I guess that’s something they still need to work on.

    It’s a sign. They shouldn’t have put NOBs (NsOB?)on there, so this is what happens when you mess with the natural order of things.

    I used to play Vintage Baseball (er… Base Ball) in SE Michigan, and we crossed paths with the House of David quite a bit. They still have a team and play a few games and tournaments, but also come to other events to sit and sell books. A fascinating people, and they always brought really interesting vegetarian food for the postgame potlucks.

    Like the UMass basketball team, the football team would play a lot better if it actually wore school colors.

    Anyone else think Syracuse’s navy jerseys look awfully purple? I noticed the same thing (on a different TV) with Utah State’s navy jerseys last night. Pretty sure they’re both Nike schools. Thoughts?

    It doesn’t look “purple” on mine but I do think it looks different from the shade of blue they’ve worn in previous years. Might just be my TV & the sun having an affect on them though.
    I do like the goldish tint to the facemasks for USC. I wish ND would try that. And maybe the Cowboys and Raiders try something like that with a silver flake.

    Notre Dame has added gold to their face masks this season. I haven’t seen one up close, so I can’t tell if it’s gold flake, or a two-tone look where the mask is gold where it’s in contact with the helmet.

    Interesting. I haven’t had a chance to see ND play yet this year. I’ll have to look for that on their next game.

    Air Force going all gray at Michigan. Different and I wouldn’t want to see everybody do it. But I like it. Looks nice matched up against Michigan today. And thank Jeebus Michigan took the numbers off the helmets!!

    Also I just noted that AFA has Mottos (keywords?) in place of NOB. I’ve seen “Service” and “Freedom”. I suppose there are others too. Has Air Force been doing this for long?

    Old gold helmet, pants and humunguous pit stains.
    Dark gray (?) jerseys, white numbers.

    And, btw, all the gold matches.

    I think it looks good but the gold seems to be too shiny. I wish it were a matte finish, that would make it look more “old-timey” to me.

    Watching the Rutgers v. Howard game on ESPN3 (while ducking tornadoes in Northern Virginia) and its like a tale of two helmets. Rutgers with high tech hydrographic custom paint and Howard with a plain solid white helmet sans any center stripe and a rip of clip art looking Buffalo Bills logo on each side (I know, I know there is debate on who wore it first but I’m sorry the pro team gets top billing).

    That being said the Rutgers helmet is kind of a cool look when it gets dinged up and the black underneath shows through.

    Just saw highlights of the Michigan State/Central Michigan game, and CMU’s black on black makes the numbers almost impossible to see.

    noticed that a few players for USC aren’t wearing the cardinal and gray cleats like the rest of the team. Marquise Lee, Silas Redd, and I think Curtis McNeal are wearing black cleats (surprisingly, i’m pretty sure at least, they’ve got black shoelaces in them as opposed to the white we usually see USC wearing)

    Maybe one of the low-key, best dressed of the day… Purdue. Nothing over-designed on their uni at all, clean striping and numerals. The Steeler-esque font looks good.

    This current uni set Purdue has is a huge improvement over their old set. A nice “modern” design that doesn’t need 1,000 different mix & match options. It’s one of my favorite color combinations and since the Saints use a similar combo they should take some notes.

    Jake Ryan #47 of the Wolverines has a huge patch on his left shoulder, seems to be the only one wearing it. Anyone have a clue?

    I’m hoping the Nebraska-Ucla game gets in tomorrow’s top 5. Nice color contrast that really pops due to the sunshine. Bonus: Gus Johnson

    Other than an issue I have with UCLA’s helmets it’s a nice looking matchup. Unfortunately it also perfectly shows just how poor the UCLA stripes still are and how close Nebraska is to getting their stripes to BE UCLA stripes. Also showing how much longer around the “arms” Nebraska’s are…. It is a nice looking game though.

    Those sweatboxes look fucking terrible too. I’m not so sure I agree with ya, MoVi.

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with that helmet last year, and the M was instant recognition. And that uni could’ve been just fine with a couple small tweaks. This overhaul is a failure in my book. But I know my book really doesn’t matter to anyone but me!

    Yeah, the helmet was fine, but the jersey was the problem last year.

    I’m in the same position as you, now. My opinion does nothing for the list. And that’s more than fine with me.

    Actually, I didn’t see the game, so I didn’t know they had the sweatbox thing going on. Points off for them in my now meaningless book…

    Hey, now ya get to sit back and wait for the 5&1 like the rest of us. You’ll see how exciting (and sometimes frustrating!) it is!!

    Trust me…after Miami made the Top 5 last week, I know frustration…

    But I wanted to see a different perspective, and I sure got it!

    Congratulations to Jason and Jenny on their union! I was yard sale-ing all day, so I’m a day late and a dollar short to the news, but better late than never.

    All the best as the best uniform-aware couple on the planet (that I know of). :o)

Comments are closed.