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Uni Watch DIY Project: A Different Kind of Card Catalog

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Two of the nicest people who turned out at the last Uni Watch party in Brooklyn were Jesse and Marty Buccafusco, a really nice couple who, as you can see above, take their sports hosiery pretty damn seriously.

Jesse recently told me about a really wonderful gift that she made for Marty. I asked if she’d be willing to write about it for Uni Watch, and she generously agreed. Here’s her story.

Creating a Stirrup Card Catalog

By Jesse Buccafusco

My husband Marty and I give each other DIY Christmas gifts every year. This year I began to think that my stockpile of ideas had dried up. But as I checked out our apartment for inspiration, I came across his overflowing dresser drawer of baseball stirrups.

Marty has collected stirrups for the past couple of years, getting most of them from Robert Marshall. He wears them when we play softball in Central Park, but he also wears them when watching key games in support of his favored team, which is usually the Braves. His collection includes stirrups from the 1946 Braves, 1955 Orioles, the Harlem Globetrotters, and many more.

Marty takes his stirrups very seriously. When he’s selecting his outfit for the day or for a game, he usually pulls out several pairs of stirrups, lines them up on the bed, and debates (both internally and externally with me) which pair to wear.

In light of all this, I thought it would good for him to have a stirrup catalog, which could document his collection and track each pair’s performance. I decided this would make a perfect Christmas gift.

The first thing to do was to choose what format the catalog would be. I decided to use a baseball card album (I found one on eBay, complete with a stirrups-clad player on the cover!) and figured I could create little cards to represent each pair of Marty’s stirrups. Here’s the album [for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge]:

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Then I had to design and print the cards — one for each pair of stirrups in Marty’s collection. I pulled all of his stirrups out of the dresser and piled them high in our office. I grouped together pairs with similar stripe patterns and mapped out each pattern in InDesign.

stirrup + card.jpg

For the back of each card, I created a system for Marty to track (a) whether he was playing a game or watching a game when wearing the ’rups, (b) whether the game was a win or loss, and (c) any other notable information he might want to jot down. This way he can keep track of how the stirrups perform relative to each other.

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I brought the digital files to our local print shop and printed the stripes side of the cards in glossy cardstock and the notes side cards in matte cardstock for ease of writing. I cut out the cards and then glued together the sides for each individual card, creating a baseball-card-like thickness that I thought would withstand the wear and tear that I anticipated. The cards turned out really well, and they fit perfectly in the little plastic slots in the card album:

book open.jpg

I’ll continue to add to the book as he collects more stirrups. He’ll probably still pile ’em up on the bed every day, but this book will keep a track of the luckies and unluckies and allow him to show off his collection with ease and pride.

marty + book + socks.jpg


Paul here. I’m happy to say I have seen the stirrup catalog in person, and it’s even more awesome than you’d guess from those photos. Truly a sensational gift.

I’ve also had the recent pleasure of hanging out with Jesse and Marty (they live in my neighborhood), and I don’t mind saying they’re one of the sweetest, coolest young couples I’ve encountered in a long time. Just the fact that they do a DIY gift swap each year should give you an idea of how creative and fun they are, but they’re also just Good People — it practically oozes out of their pores. I’m proud to have them as Uni Watch readers, and I hope to get to know them better as my neighbors.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: The uniforms for the NBA All-Star Game were unveiled yesterday. No real surprises there — the designs are almost exactly the same as what we saw in those video game leaks back in October. … Some uni number changes for the New York Rangers (from Gene Frey). … The Red Wings played an intra-squad scrimmage the other night. Johan Franzen was originally assigned to the white team, but he joined the red squad for some extra power play time, necessitating a jersey switcheroo. It also created the odd sight of him wearing a red jersey with white socks (from Matt Toaz). … Some enterprising soul has created a Bill Belichick hoodie cupcake (from Brice Wallace). … Oooh, check this mid-’90s Ghana home soccer jersey Nice (from Trevor Williams). … Maria Sharapova had to remove the label from her bottle of water yesterday. Douchebags (from Jay Sullivan). … Interesting shot of Yomiuri Giants rookies wearing preseason bibs (from Jeremy Brahm). … How cool would it be if Sears brought back these hoodies? “I’d buy a bunch,” says Gary Moore. ”¦ If you go to this page and click on the link for the 2013 Topps checklist, you’ll find something interesting: Most of the card numbers correspond to the players’ uniform numbers (from Dan Cichalski). ”¦ Here’s a little video spot of Tom Brady trashing the Pro Bowl uniforms (from Caleb Borchers). ”¦ Drew Brees’s latest Dayquil/Nyquil commercial shows him wearing a Reebok game jersey and a Nike practice jersey (from Kyle Allebach). ”¦ Here’s an article about that Pittsburgh museum exhibit of scoreboard art, which I’ve mentioned here in the Ticker before (from Nate Budziszewski). ”¦ Got great news yesterday from my physical therapist: He’s done with me. My wrist could still use a bit of strengthening, but I can work on that on my own. Feels good to have been emancipated from the rehab grind.

Comments (91)

    Not all teams appear to have been available. No Eagles, Steelers, Giants or Pats. Did those teams have a marketing deal with another retailer? Or is there a second page?

    and isn’t it odd that they were only offered in navy blue no matter which team you selected. fine for the teams featured being worn by the kids in the ad (Rams, Colts, and in a pinch Vikings)but strange if you were a fan of the 49ers, Packers, etc.

    and kids, notice how none of us were OBESE then because we got up off our ASSES and actually DID things…

    No second page, no other retailer, just not every team was available. That was typical of Sears catalogs of the time. I found it SO frustrating that my beloved Bills were never available in similar catalogs, probably due to their poor performance on the field.

    I guess history is repeating itself because the Bills stink, as they did back then, and the Hall of Fame has a very limited amount of Bills’ merchandise in their store. (At least they did when I was there in October.)

    Had one of the Vikings. Absolutely had them because of the helmet logo…I lived in Louisville, hardly a hotbed of Vikings fans.

    Come on, Paul … he’s got dark facial hair … what other similarities could there possibly be?

    That catalog that Jesse created… I mean, it is entirely outside my experience that one’s love/sex partner would ever do such a ridiculously wonderful creative funny thing. I’m stunned. Jesse, do you happen to have any Medicare-eligible female family members? Maybe they don’t have to be female if they can make me a catalog.

    Ha, thanks! And no luck for you on the family members front. Apologies. I’m contemplating offering the catalogue as a product …. although I don’t know if I can handle sitting in front of the computer with a pile of a stranger’s stirrups on my lap…

    Hey Jesse,

    Speaking of dopplegangers…

    Who did you tell me I looked like that day?

    Ed Begley Jr.?

    Stellan Skarsgard! He was the professor in Goodwill Hunting and most recently in Girl with the dragon tattoo.

    Reading that article made me really proud that I met that couple at that UW gathering (that is me in the NHL all star jersey) and disappointed that I didn’t get to talk to Marty’s better half as much as I should have, at the same time. Seriously, that is so incredibly awesome on so many levels. Makes me want to do a similar record log for my Habs jerseys. Last semester, I had four final exams and, among them, I wore three jerseys. (Who would have thought my 08/09 Maxim Lapierre replica would emerge as a lucky jersey?)

    job VERY well done to Jesse! that idea is so stinkin’ clever, i just love it!!!

    i actually have that same baseball card album from when i was just a little guy. it holds my Mike Schmidt collection. i can think for years how important that book was to me, and i know exactly where it is now. memories of me and my dad going to the flea markets on the weekends so that i could look thru all the baseball cards to find the Schmidt cards i didn’t have. then running to him to get a few bucks so that i could buy it. man those were great times…

    anyway, Jesse, did you print the cards out yourself on some sort of cardstock? or did you have them made? great choice of font for the back of the cards too! totally awesome job all around

    Thanks so much! I printed the cards myself on card stock. The stripes side is on glossy and the back is matte for ease of writing. One could send them off, I was coming up on a Christmas deadline and had to act fast.

    One nice thing about the shortened startup to the NHL season – no questions/complaints about the Red Wings’ preseason NOBs!

    and the blue jackets season isn’t over already for all practical intents and purposes in january!!!

    One of the awesomest things I’ve ever seen on UW. And a great model for things like jerseys and caps, too. I know I keep a mental tally of how games come out based on what jersey, cap, stirrups, or combo I wear, and occasionally remember to make a note in my scorebook. But a baseball-card approach is just brilliant.

    NBA All Star Jerseys … I want it both ways. I complain when the jerseys are outrageous, but I also hate the face that there’s nothing (that I can see at least) that stylistically tie those jerseys to Houston.

    Jesse’s little project there is awesome. Marty is lucky to have her.

    It does make me think that I need a way to keep track of all the stirrups I have. Found a pair this morning i didn’t know I had, and they still have the TCK tag connecting them.

    Weird find on that Topps checklist:

    #118, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who’s currently out of contract, but listed as a Red Sox player?

    Little did Brady know at the time that as bad as they were, they would still turn out to be the best PB unis of the 2000’s, even if that isn’t saying much.

    I was at the Wings game where Franzen made the jersey switch. In addition to the jersey, he also switched helmets. I didn’t catch the whole change-over, but at one point an equipment guy tossed Franzen a helmet down the bench and over about 10 other players to Franzen.

    Another note on the checklist. I remembered it always seemed to be a big deal when a player got their number to match the card number. The most vivid examples I remember are from the 1998 Topps set, when commerative cards were issued for Jackie Robinson (#42) and Roberto Clemente (#21)

    Yea, now the big deal is when their short-print insert number matches their jersey number, for example Felix Hernandez 34/49.

    I love anything sports card related, it is what got me interested in graphic design when I was a kid.

    I didn’t scroll through the whole list, but I noticed that they didn’t list a #7. I presume there will be a Mickey Mantle card in that slot like there has been in previous years.

    When I read “stirrup card catalog,” I thought it would be one of those library card catalogs with the long, narrow drawers and one pair of stirrups per drawer, with a graphic label on the front of the drawer.

    How cool would THAT be?

    Dude! I thought of making it that way! But I felt like the book made for easier browsing and allows for the ability to see more stirrups at one glance.

    I shared this article with my wife….she rolled her eyes. She obviously doesn’t “Get It”. You married a great one Marty.

    What a great idea and I’m just marveling at how well it was executed. The baseball card binder to house them is the tipping point too, just…great job!

    That is an awesome stirrup card catalog… you should totally get with Mr. Marshall and license and market that system and the cards and let him sell it on his site along with the stirrups, although I guess that is might be sorta antithetical of the whole DIY movement.

    Thanks! Considering offering my stirrup catalogue services for hire, maybe I’ll give Mr. Marshall a ring.

    The stirrups are beautiful. I just wish RPM made crew socks like those of yore worn by Notre Dame and UCLA in the 1970s.

    Yes, they are great. I was thinking of the white crew socks with stripes like the one picture on Kelly Tripuka on this site last week.


    Here’s what I was thinking of. UCLA wore the same socks, only in lighter blue and gold, and many other teams wore them in their colors.


    By the way, those Braves’ stirrups above are sharp.

    The Houston Chronicle ran the story on the NBA All-Star uniforms in its Fashion section, not Sports.

    I’m not sure what to make of this.

    Pretty standard, unfortunately.

    One of the biggest challenges I’ve come up against over the years is the use of the word “fashion” as it relates to Uni Watch and the uni-verse. Even some of my ESPN editors occasionally use it. It’s part of the ghetto-ization of uniform design, not taking it seriously, etc. We’ve come a long way, but the persistent use of “fashion” is a reminder of how far we still have to go.

    But it is also fashion. Many of the people that design the uniforms are trained in fashion design, not graphic design, not sports uniform design.

    But the issue is the fashion industry doesn’t consider it “legit” and neither does the sports world. It has its own niche and I personally like it that way. Both industries take themselves way too seriously. I’d rather it be its own animal then lumped in with the screaming radio callers or the “high fashion” runway designers. I’d much rather be critiqued by Paul than Joan Rivers or Joe Buck.

    Fashion, by definition, is always changing. In fashion, there’s no such thing as the Yankees never changing their uniform, for example.

    The uni-verse is closer to the fashion world nowadays than it was, say, 30 years ago, for one reason: merchandising. Once you’re selling jerseys, you’re also playing to the whims of fashion. But while the uni-verse is somewhat fashion-influenced, it’s still not a fashion field. The fact that some uniform designers have fashion training has no bearing on this.

    Hey Uni Watchers!
    Thank you all for your awesome comments. For the record, I’m completely aware of incredible Jesse is how dang lucky I am (I try to tell her that incessantly). It’s great to see her efforts enjoyed by so many others. Of course, where would the Stirrup Revolution be without Comrade Robert Marshall?
    Big thanks to Paul for spreading the word. Jesse and I really enjoyed the hang time last weekend and we’re looking forward to more of the same soon.

    Keep the DIY projects coming folks! The inspiration is invaluable.


    If I may ask, is there a graphic designer and/or photographer amongst either of you? The thing that jumps out at me is the quality of the product, typeface, execution, etc., as well as the lighting, vibrancy and composition of the photographs. Even the execution of the execution was well done!

    Hi Tom > I’m a self taught designer but by day, I’m an account director at an innovation / design agency. I’ve always loved design but only take on personal projects or projects for friends. Keeps it fun and enjoyable. But getting such positive feedback today has been so great, many thanks!

    Also new logo from Chevy for the Corvette on the just-unveiled 2014 model (graphic with history of the logo):


    With the abbreviated NHL schedule and even shorter pre-season, we won’t have to see all those posts about the Wings changing the lettering style of the names on the back. Mule’s red sweater clearly shows the arched style the Wings have worn since the first full season the Ilitch family owned the team.

    That new Elf logo looks great! The ideas for the helmet logos submitted here are downright hideous!

    The Florida Panthers held a scrimmage last night at their practice facility, where the players wore game uniforms. However the red team was wearing white helmets. Hopefully it was just for the scrimmage and the blue helmets are on the ice Saturday night.


    A lot of talk about DIY and baseball cards today, which brings me to a niggling question of mine:

    Does anybody have any creative/clever uses for the thousands of near-worthless baseball cards collecting dust in my parents attic?

    Most are from the boom of the late 80’s, which apart from a few big name rookies, aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Ideas?

    Stop-motion animation? Just cut a bunch of players out of the cards in as many poses as you can find and make your own little cardboard baseball video for youtube.

    …or something

    Via Washington Post on Twitter:

    Which #NewRedskinsName is your favorite? The Pigskins, The Warriors or The Burgundy-and-Gold. @Brook wants to know.

    “My wrist could still use a bit of strengthening, but I can work on that on my own. ”
    sometimes the jokes write themselves

    I am absolutely floored by the Stirrup Card Catalog. Honestly, I’m struggling for words. Outstanding in its design and execution. Easily the coolest DIY project I’ve seen in a LONG time. I’m extremely jealous.

    Well done, Jesse and Marty!

    Put a sickle next to that hoodie and you’ve got a grim reaper cupcake. I wouldn’t be surprised if his sleeves were cut-offs, too.

    I would like Robert to make socks like these old Ohio State ones they wore from 1913-1928.

    Scarlet with 2 gray stripes.


    Hey Phil –
    Attended my grandfather’s funeral in Vestal NY yesterday. He had always told me how as a high schooler he was an NY State All-Star and as a result got to play at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. Well yesterday my grandma had the patch and write up on display. This patch sure is a beaut but it pales in comparison to what a guy he was!

    “Paul” autocorrects to “Phil”?

    That’s um…


    hey jesse…..i have a pair of purple stirrups given to me from a certain nephew. maybe i need to start a catalogue. or better yet, can you set up something for my 16 soccer/basketball girls and what they wear when we win or lose?

    Uncle Jim> have them wear the purple stirrups every game, it’s a guaranteed win. If the demand is there, maybe nephew will supply them for the whole team, he sounds very generous!

    Paul — did you write a story about that green jersey you are wearing? What does it say? It looks like WARSAW.

    Also, you allow people to wear purple to your gatherings? The guy in the sky blue stirrups with the red stripes looks like he’s wearing a purple shirt with a Northwestern stripe.

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