By Phil Hecken
Yes, last evening MLB played two historic “Wild Card” games (with the winners advancing to the “Division Series” rounds of their respective leagues), and yes, they all had ‘special’ post-season gear, cap patches and the like, and yes, the Orioles (yes, the Orioles) not only made a triumphant return to the playoffs, but they won (wearing a black softball top) and will now face the mighty Yankees in the ALDS. The Braves (shunning their normal “red” jersey’s worn on Friday) lost their game to the reigning World Series champion Cardinals. But Saturdays in the fall are all about College Football. And no one on Uni Watch loves him some college football more than Robert P. Marshall, III. As it happens, Robert likes to graphically depict the game with his special molds (pictured above) and left-brain artist skills in lovingly depicting the players and the trophy.
Sit back, then, and enjoy this little ditty from Robert as he describes one of the ‘lesser’ trophy games of the B1G conference, the…
Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon
By Robert Marshall
On its face this week’s Big Ten trophy game feels like a snooze. After all, Michigan State and Indiana don’t seem initially to have the biggest football rivalry, and the “trophy”, thought to be older then both universities, was bought in 1950 by State’s junior class president at a second-hand store for 25 bucks so that coach “Biggie” Munn’s Spartans wouldn’t lose focus in a trap game the week after a narrow victory over the Golden Domers.
Let’s face it, it’s a spittoon for corn’s sake, kind of lame. Who is getting fired up? Then again, I can picture 1950’s Unitas style high top cleats kicking it around the locker room, and goofing after a victory, so maybe it isn’t so bad after all. Of course if someone did that today I am sure there would be an uproar over the lack of respect for some old brass spittoon.
If we put this game into historical context, the trophy takes on a bigger meaning, let’s hope I can describe this clearly and succinctly. Many NCAAF traditions were starting in the post war period. Michigan State College A&A was accepted to the Inter Collegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (Big Ten as of 87) the year the spittoon came into being, even though they did not start conference play until 1954.
1950 was also the same year, while they had played them before the turn of the century consistently, the year MSU started officially playing Notre Dame for the megaphone. Add to this the U of Chicago dropped football in ’39 and out of the conference athletically in ’46, which happens to be the only year other than 1967 Indiana won the conference.
This coincides with the last year the Big Ten did not have the spot until the BCS, given that year to Alabama, the year before the Big Ten and Pac Ten started playing every year in the Rose Bowl (official in ’65) because of the southern conferences semi-professional attitudes, and lack of integration. This is also a streak where the Big Ten won 11 of 13 Rose Bowls from ’47-’57, I consulted the info graphic. Deeeeeeep breath. When you think about all the things going on with the conference, the old brass spittoon was in the middle of it all, and the two schools’ journey to where they are now, it takes on a slightly different meaning.
On a personal level, I will never forget the 1987 ptooey-game. The Spartans clinched the the big ten title against a very good Peach Bowl-bound Hoosier squad that beat both OSU and UM, leading to this post game scene that I remember as if it were yesterday. And for the record Sparty did beat Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. That was a great State team, and it was double big for me having just moved from Michigan to Ohio because I had a connection to both of MSU’s starting safeties. They were older, but Todd Krumm was a former “teammate” of mine, and John Miller I tackled for a 6 yard loss stunting on a belly dive as an undersized freshman linebacker in a scrimmage game. I will never forget that play, the dude was huuuuuge, and I was scared to death. AAAAAAAnd truth be told I hit him 6 yards back where his massive thighs smashed me over an upright, then he tripped for a 2 yard loss. At that point I remember my coach yelling, “get over here!” and that was my last varsity snap as a frosh.
Okay, Sparty has the series 41-14-4, they are 14 point favorites but on the road and flailing, take the Hoosiers and the points for the spittoon.
OK then. Are we all ready for some football? Thank you Robert for that writeup. I’m sure many of us are now waiting with baited breath for kickoff, which is at 12:00 ET for those who weren’t yet aware.
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.
So, in the order in which they were received (and some of these were received last week, but after the prior Friday Stirrup posting, so if there are dupes in names, they’re from separate Fridays). And…here we go (click on each thumbnail for a glorious, full size image):
1936 Red Sox this week…Great color scheme
These stirrups are for the start of the playoffs. They remind me of the Colts, and in the words of Coach Mora “Playoffs? Playoffs?? Playoffs?!?”
Today I am reviving the tradition that I started last post-season (all the way through WS Game 7, which I attended) of wearing classic Cardinals stirrups on game days. Here I am with my foot propped up on my desk at work, while reading Uni Watch, of course! (My stirrups are also currently my profile pic on Facebook.)
Sporting the classic Orioles ‘rups in support of their return to the post season. I included a ball signed by the World Series Champion ’66 Orioles for some good luck mojo.
I was waiting to get my hair cut when I took this (yes, there’s an Instagram filter over it). Braves in the playoffs tonight. Hopefully, I’ll have some barberpole ‘rups handy next time ;)
My beloved Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs for the first time since I was 4 so I made the three hour trip to watch them play the Rangers in the Wild Card Game. Seeing as how it was Stirrup Friday, I wore my Oriole pair. Let’s go O’s Magic!
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. Robert now has some new selections, which you can see below — which could be great for the college football season. Check it out:
So, comrades — why don’t you pick up a pair or three and show us your rups!
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Last year, Rick Pearson took us “back in time” to bring us his look at the featured television college football match-up from 50 years ago. (If you’re not familiar with it, this was the inaugural post of “50 Years Ago” from last year — after that, it became a recurring feature on UW for the remainder of the season). Last year, Rick looked at the 1961 season, and fortunately for us, he “uni tracked” the games from 1962 as well, documenting the game via his “kid cards”. Each week this fall, he’ll do the same, again.
(Has anyone noticed how low-scoring these games were?)
Anyway, even though “road team in white jerseys” had become the general standard, a few teams did choose to wear white at home. … Among them were Syracuse, Miami (sometimes) and both teams in today’s lone game on TV. … Something had to give, of course, so LSU wore purple, a rarity in the years since the Tigers’ change from their previous old gold helmet & pants set (see “EVERYBODY’S ALL-AMERICAN” with Dennis Quaid). … Georgia Tech, who seemed to be called the “Engineers” or “Ramblin’ Wrecks” more often than “Yellowjackets” back then (why, I don’t know), typically wore old gold pants, but somewhere in here for a year or two occasionally went white-over-white, as on Billy Martin vs. Florida State (we’ll see the Yellowjackets in old gold pants during Bowl season). … Also, their numbers and striping may have been dark navy blue rather than black. … Perhaps a Uni-Watcher knows? … Jerry Stovall was a Cardinal DB for almost a decade. … Martin spent ’64 and ”˜65 as a Bears TE, then was selected in the expansion draft as an original Falcon. … After two years in Atlanta, his final season was with the Vikings.
Thanks Rick! Great job with that as always. Notice in the photo of Billy Martin vs. FSU the rather, um, interesting helmet — that was worn in 1962 only (according to the Helmet Project, “Beginning with the team’s third game in 1962, FSU introduced a triple helmet design scheme. On their helmets the offensive unit wore an arrow logo, the defensive unit a tomahawk, and the multi-purpose players an ‘indian head’. This scheme was in place until the end of the 1962 season.” Interesting — that might make for a nice research project.
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.
And so, lets begin:
First up is K. McInnis with some Tiger lovin:
The uniform one-off rumors always seem to pop up this time a year among the Auburn faithful ever since Under Armour came to town in 2006. The past few years it’s mostly blue helmets or blue pants, but occasionally you hear about the team digging out an old relic, the orange jersey. I, for one, hope it never sees the light of day again, but I decided to try my hand in creating the best possible look for Auburn in orange. I hate the look in general, but especially never liked the thick white Northwestern stripe or the white numbers at it looks way too Tennessee-ish, So for my concept, I took a page from Florida’s striping handbook and used the negative space to to maintain the integrity of Auburn’s thick orange striping that’s on the other jerseys and the helmet. Also included a shot of the jersey in action as well as a few more steps into orange madness.
Next up is Mr. Design Junkie (who I believe has sent me an entire set to my other e-mail addy — this was just one, thankfully), who has um…decided to change the Dolphins:
I basically took the new “South Beach” colorway popularity and gave the Dolphins South Beach versions of a uniform!
Mr. Design Junkie
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
This has been an every-other-week affair for the past several weeks, due to colorizer-extraordinare Gary Chanko’s colorization/research projects that really deserved to be ledes. But today, we’re back with a regular set.
We’ve got George Chilvers and John Turney in store, plus some history, and a few guys who took stabs at colorizing the Gray Cup black and white photo from a few weeks back, so tis a good day. But, before we even get into the colorizations, a word or two on that from Uni Watch NFL historian Tim Brulia:
“While glancing over the historical(uk soccer)kits website, I came across this link, and it may be helpful explaining the difficulties in translating the old b/w pics into color. Highly recommended for the colorizers of the UW and possibly a subject for a future UW blog.
Have a great weekend, fellas!
Thanks, Tim — and now onto the colorizations.
First up is George Chilvers, with a pair:
I’ll send you this one, Phil, with a little caveat. It’s not quite finished – deliberately, and I suspect most people won’t know where the gaps are. The reason I’m doing this in this one is that I have discovered a couple of my colourisations being sold on eBay – not ones I’ve put on UW, and not many, for not much – but the principle holds that it’s just, as we say in England, “not on”. So this picture isn’t completely finished as it’s one I think may be saleable. If anyone tries to sell it on, I can identify it as being clearly mine. Hands off! :)
However – on with the explanation. This is Villa Park, Birmingham, home of Aston Villa FC in 1903 for a game between Villa and Liverpool. I love this picture. The cycle track overlaying an athletics track, the crowd packed into every nook and cranny, the people up on the hill (it’s called “Aston Hall”) to see if they can get a little view.
A good old fashioned stadium that has now been replaced with a concrete shoebox. :(
A “new” sport to colourising.
This is “speedway” – I think the word means something different over there. This involves motor cycles racing round and round an anti-clockwise oval dirt track which is between 260 and 425 metres long. Quite popular years ago in UK, although less so now, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Now has a following in Poland, Sweden and Denmark.
This is Jack Young (hence the Young tartan scarf), an Australian who raced for West Ham between 1952 and 1955. He was World champion in 1951 and 1952.
Team colours are worn on a vest, as shown, and different helmets identify the four riders – blue and red covers for the home team, white and yellow/black quarters for the visitors.
Something different for the archive anyway :)
Thanks, George — stellar as always!
We move on to John Turney, with another old football colorization:
George McAfee of the Bears vs Chicago Cardinals in Wrigley
Nice work, John!
And now onto two mud bowl colorizations (here is the original, to refresh your memories), beginning with one from first-time colorizer Jason Yates:
This is my first stab at colorizing, but this one looked like a fun challenge. Here’s the mud bowl photo one of your readers requested. I don’t really know much about the CFL, so I hope I got the team’s colors right.
Nice first effort Jason!
And we close today with that same photo colorized by Gary Chanko (who has a different take on the ‘colours’ … and as always, fantastic background):
This was a difficult colorization of a great iconic image of the “Mud Bowl.”
I had trouble with determining the Toronto uniform colors and I’m not entirely certain it’s correct. I found little photo history for this game and not much on the Argos unis for that year.
The game video clip added to the confusion. The Toronto players appear to be wearing the lighter color blue jerseys and pants. Some of the helmets look to have a dark color stripe compared to the white stripe in the photo original. Also, the Winnipeg QB, shown just in the game at the start of the fourth quarter, has a spotless white shirt and pants. But watch as he hands the ball to a running back that’s wearing a dark jersey! What’s going on?
I finally decided colors based on these reference sites: Helmets, colors. For the Toronto unis I went with all Cambridge Blue based on what I observed in the video clip. Their 1951 jersey and pants were apparently all Oxford (darker) blue. Hopefully there’s a more knowledgeable reader that can confirm the actual uni set worn by Toronto.
And thank you Gary — always a great job.
And that’s it for today — as always, what a terrific job by one and all. Back with more of these another time on the you-dub.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
The great ones know how to find something to rally around…
Click to enlarge
And that’s it for today. Everyone have a great Saturday — football, playoff baseball — you name it, it’s out there. Catch you tomorrow.
“Exciting news everybody. I just saw the Northwestern University equipment truck. oh boy oh boy.”