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Winning the Battle, Losing the War

The player shown above is Brendan Ryan of the Mariners, from a recent Cactus League game. As you can see, he’s wearing striped stirrups, which you can also see in this shot. Ryan, of course, used to wear striped stirrups back when he was with the Cardinals. His two seasons in Seattle have been a mixed bag of high and low cuffery, with the high-cuffed look usually featuring stirrups. But this is the first time he’s worn striped stirrups during his time in Seattle.

And with good reason: Striped stirrups aren’t part of the Mariners’ uniform set. So why is Ryan wearing them? Presumably because he likes them and either procured a set on his own or else convinced the M’s equipment manager to get a set for him.

Naturally, I approve of the look. But I also think it’s a little messed up that a lone player can start wearing striped hose on his own. When Ryan was in St. Louis, that was different — the striped stirrups are a longstanding option in the Cards’ wardrobe. (It would be nice if they were mandatory instead of optional, but that’s a different argument.) The same would be true if Ryan were playing for the Rays, or even for the Giants, where striped socks have become an established uni option. But that’s not the case with the Mariners, at least not yet — nobody else is wearing the striped hose except Ryan.

What this really points to is the continuing transition of baseball hose from the realm of uniforms to the realm of equipment. The uniform is something you have to wear; equipment is player-optional gear that you can style pretty much however you want. And the more acceptable it becomes for socks to be treated like equipment, the less chance we have of ever seeing them returned to their rightful place as an essential uniform component. So while Ryan’s nifty striped legwear represents a small victory in the battle, it’s really a setback in the larger war.

(My thanks to Patrick Fleming and Darin Nelson for the Brendan Ryan photos.)

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OMFG: My latest “One-Man Focus Group” column is about U.S. coin designs. Enjoy.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Lebron James wore yellow sneakers in the first half of yesterday’s Heat/Knicks game, and gray in the second half. Further info here. ”¦ I checked out some Golden Gloves action on Saturday night. It was pretty perfect: Nine bouts, all in the 152-pound class, in the basement gymnasium of a Catholic church in Brooklyn. I neglected to take photos, but the edge of the ring apron had a series of sponsors’ placards: One for Applebee’s, one for State Farm Insurance, one that I forget, and — my favorite by far — one for a local pest control company. Major bummer: Eighteen fighters, and only one wore striped socks. ”¦ Here’s an article about the Padres’ old Taco Bell caps (from Andrew Domingo). … Wigan Athletic midfielder James McArthur has been wearing a protective mask lately (from Rocky Lum). … USA Gymnastics will now be outfitted by Under Armour. … Slate’s sports podcast recently discussed the Warriors’ sleeved jerseys. I haven’t yet listened to the podcast, but I’m told that they mention me and my work a fair amount (from Daniel Fletcher). … If you go to this link and then drag the page to the right, you’ll see a good shot of the Reds’ subscript NOBs (from Jerry Wolper). … New St. Paddy’s Day warm-up jerseys for the Sharks. “Not gonna lie, I kinda like ’em!” says Sean Robbins). … Meanwhile, Notre Dame hockey wore green for Senior Night. Here’s some video footage (from Warren Junium and Anthony Nuccio). … Robert Morris and Marshall went color-on-color on the softball field the other day (from Steve Santillo). … Latest team to go pink: the Toledo Walleye (from Gregory Dewulf). … Holy moly, check out all the stripes for Hofstra baseball. Not sure if that’s a throwback, a one-off alt, or what (from A.J. Frey). … Raiders RB Mike Goodson posted this photo of a black Raiders helmet to Instagram the other day (from Ryan Dunsmore). … Good piece on baseball gloves. Buried in the middle of it is this passage: “Before [Pat] Neshek even got to the minor leagues, he used a glove produced by an obscure company, Katz, out of Meriden, Conn. — and he still uses it. ‘Goes back to around 2004,’ he said. ‘After my first good year in the minors, Mizuno wanted to sponsor me. I told ’em to just stick their logo patch on there, and they did. But then I had Tommy John surgery in ’08, and they dropped me. So much for their logo. Back to Katz'” (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Thanks to the NCAA’s new rule mandating that a football team’s jersey and/or pants not match the color of the playing field, Marshall will no longer be able to wear solid green (from Brice Wallace). ”¦ The Allen Americans (CHL) wore McDonald’s-themed uniforms last Friday (from Robert Eden). ”¦ No photo, but an interesting note from Josh Miller, who’s the P.A. announcer for the Giants in Scottsdale: “Cole Gillespe, a mostly career minor leaguer who signed with the Giants in the off-season, is wearing No. 2 in camp, and there’s an orange ‘2’ decal above his name on the back of his batting helmet. No other player has such a decal. I looked through binoculars from my booth, and it appears that the decal is round, and the ‘2’ is in the style of the Giants numbers on their uniforms. It looks like a Pro Helmet Decals bat knob sticker, but I have not been in the clubhouse so I don’t know for sure.” ”¦ The Chicago Mustangs, a semi-pro football team, have managed to rip off the Broncos and the Oregon Ducks simultaneously (from Rich Aleman). ”¦ Douglas Ford was watching the 1977 Ohio State/Michigan game and noticed a Michigan player who wore No. 99 on defense and No. 51 on special teams. You can see him pulling off one jersey to reveal the other one here. ”¦ White Sox VP of communications Scott Reifert wrote a little piece about how Jake Peavy forgot to bring his jersey to yesterday’s Padres/Chisox game and briefly had to wear a No. 54 jersey with an NOB fashioned out of white athletic tape (from Clint Wrede). ”¦ Mike Raymer recently took a tour of Busch Stadium and was pleased to see a row of plaques showing all the cardinals to have appeared on the Cards’ jerseys. “At one point the guide mentioned that the latest uniform finally has the cardinal ‘ornithologically correct’ (he really used those words),” says Mike. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the yellow beak.” ”¦ “I was looking around eBay and found this guy who sells old retro NFL helmet decals,” says Clint Richardson. “Some of these look amazing, some look flat-out crazy. But check out this one, which looks like an alternate Houstan Texans logo — it looks great!” ”¦ We all know that Hillerich & Bradsby make Louisville Sluggers. But it turns out they also used to make police batons, complete with their familiar logo. No “Powerized” stamp, though (from Michael Clary). ”¦ Bob Cooke is a little obsessed with the Uni Watch Membership Program. “I wondered which uni number is most popular and whether all the numbers have been used at least once,” he says. “So I input all the numbers shown on the cards in the card gallery and sorted and totalled them. ( I am an accountant so I’m pretty fast on the keypad). I found that the only the number between 0 and 99 that has not been used at least once is 95. No doubt someone will decide on that one before too long. The top five most popular are 17 (47 times), 13 (45 times) 8 (44 times), 3 (43 times), and 9 (43 times).”

Comments (84)

    Regarding the 2010 new penny reverse design…suitability to pair with Lincoln aside, visually it is too close to the Warner Bros. logo for me.


    I’m not a big fan of it either, but they made the last penny reverse design change after exactly 50 years, so this one was kind of “on schedule”.

    Last December I got some change (at the post office) that included pennies from 1909, 1959, and 2010: three coins, three back designs. And the 1909 one was by far the oldest coin I’ve ever gotten in change. It made me feel connected to the past, and happy that, despite the unforgivable inflation of the past century and particularly the past 40 years, we’re still able to use 100-year-old coins. Most other countries would have had that made impossible by inflation, new currencies, or both.

    OMFG link leads to an “untrusted connection” in which site identity can’t be verified. However changing “https” to “http” in the URL takes you to the column.

    I found it serendipitous in that I was talking to someone about the design of US nickels not 10 minutes ago.

    Re your observation on party affiliation of figures on coins: would the Presidential dollar coin series not serve to address that? I’m guessing no as dollar coins aren’t circulated as widely as perhaps originally intended (the “ghetto” you describe).

    That’s as far as I want to speculate on that, as I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of which coin or paper denominations should be eliminated.

    I’ll go down the rabbit hole because that’s very simple.

    There should be 3 coins: a dime, half dollar and dollar. There should be 6 bills: two, five, ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred.

    This solves the unnecessary political issues: the current quarter can be revalued to the dime so it has Washington on it and not FDR, and then you can take the Jefferson design on the nickel and resize it for the half dollar. As for the dollar coin, bring back the Peace dollar like the plan originally was in the 60s. Eliminate the dollar bill because the dollar coin is cheaper in the long term to produce than the dollar bill.

    It’s a win-win. Republicans get rid of FDR and JFK and I knock off the penny and the nickel.

    Omission in your OMFG column: You say the last roster change was putting Kennedy on the half-dollar in 1964, but Eisenhower was put on the dollar coin in 1971. And then replaced with Susan Anthony in 1979. Those Eisenhower dollars are my favorite American coin – they feel as substantial as a dollar ought to. Closest we’ve ever had to Britain’s perfectly sized and weighted pound coins.

    As, shoot, and then I read on to the very next paragraph. Reading comprehension!

    This is hearsay, but the lack of popularity for the Eisenhower dollar and JFK half-dollar is the heft of these coins tend to wear out the average pocket quickly.

    I actually wrote a fairly extensive piece about the JFK half-dollar (for Spin, of all places) in 1997. Here’s what I learned:

    Prior to the JFK, people used half-dollars a lot — much more than we do now. So what happened? Two things:

    1) The JFK was issued mere months after JFK’s assassination. Many people, still mourning the president’s death, kept the coins as keepsakes instead of spending them.

    2) 1964 — the first year of the JFK coin’s issue — was the last year of solid silver coins. In 1965, the “clad” coins were introduced — silver on the outside, copper sandwiched in between on the inside. This made the first-year JFKs more valuable, and people held onto them.

    So you had double-hoarding going on right from the outset of the JFK’s issue, and it basically killed the 50-cent piece denomination.

    This information puts Bobby Brady’s decision to part with his “real” Kennedy half-dollar in order to incentivize his friend to pretend to be Cindy’s secret admirer into question. Was he concerned about getting a hole in his pocket (doubtful…that’d be Alice’s worry) or did he know he was carrying around a worth-less ‘clad’?

    Yet another thing that we got right in the first 150 years of the republic and completely muck up today: Why put presidents on our money at all? We’re not Rome, and they’re not emperors. Lincoln or Washington if we absolutely must, but I’d much rather honor and celebrate Americans of achievement beyond politics. Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, or Scott Joplin for music and Whitman, Welty, or Charles Schulz for literature, for example.

    For sporting achievement, I’d put either Jackie Robinson, Jim Thorpe, or Jesse Owens on the $10 bill. Just think how awesome it would be to carry around in your wallet the beautiful uniform any of those three would be shown wearing!

    That’s it, Scott, throw another shovelful of clods on the corpse of white male Christian heterosexual primacy. Just a coincidence, I suppose, that your roster of ten nominees includes exactly one white straight Christian male. Granted, Sparky Schulz is a towering figure, but c’mon.

    Connie an interesting point about our current lineup. The number of Communion-taking practicing Christians depicted on American currency?


    (I’d satisfy the white-dude quota with bills for science and business. Also, I’d put American art on the backs, and mostly that’d be by white dudes like Ansel Adams, Grant Wood, Thomas Cole, and Thomas Eakins.)

    Several links in from that link, here’s the whole set of currency redesigned around iconic American brands. Not only is the $1 bill the NFL, but it’s the Pro Bowl!


    That article inadvertently gets to the heart of our coin inertia: one doubts we any longer have the taste or craftsmanship to match the existing designs, much less surpass them. At this point, any replacements are almost certain to be highly depressing.

    Good work, Bob Cooke, I’ve often wondered that same question myself.

    Lot’s of good helmet decals from that ebay seller…gotta do a lot of them on their own.

    The photo you show for the Allen Americans McDonald’s jerseys is the Kalamazoo K-Wings version of the jersey.

    There’s a photo of the Americans jersey here:


    Let’s hope Brendan Ryan can wear striped hose during the season. Me thinks there’s a little lee-way regarding uniform sets during Spring Training.

    Related to the coin design piece: I saw this article on Yahoo a while back, and I was fascinated with the test designs minted on coins while testing new materials. They are all very similar to the real coins, but with very distinct differences. Now I want to know if anyone collects these test coins.


    I think I’m going to have to declare “Ni Gdo Ew Tsurt” my family motto. Maybe with “Rtyebli” on a banner below. (Actually, the Martha Washington likeness is pretty cool.)

    This is the first time I ever heard of the Padres intentionally having the shape of a bell on their caps.

    I knew, back in the 70s, that the front “panels” of batting helmets were curved and I thought the Padres duplicated this on their cloth caps.


    Y’know, that was how I thought they came across that design at the time, too. I wondered why the Orioles and Blue Jays, among others, didn’t copy the tapered design. But that Padres’ cap is my all-time favorite. A green Phillies’ design surfaces from time to time (I can’t remember them ever wearing it) with a white bell, presumably for the Liberty Bell.

    Speaking of the Padres, those Spring Training caps they’re wearing are horrendous.

    Also, Good Morning, America interview those New Rochelle High School basketball players who pulled off that miracle shot this weekend. Their school mascot is a Huegenot, which begs the questions: how many high schools sport mascots based on obscure sects of religious dissenters? Are there Mennonites, Anabaptists and Fighting Amish mascots out there somewhere?

    Former Huguenot, here (Class of 1980). I was chuffed to discover the neighborhood of Huguenot in Staten Island, but somewhat put off that all parties involved insist on pronouncing the “t”. It gratified me to hear John Cleese get it right, and say “Hyoo-gun-oh”.

    Kevin Spacey kept pronouncing the T as well in The Ref… which is funny when you consider he was doing so while insisting on the French pronunciation of his character’s last name.

    If you’re not already familiar with it, there’s a link in the South Carolina Lowcountry that pays tribute to the French Protestant settlers of that region. Not an incorporated town but it does appear as a destination on highway signs.

    Well spotted! In addition, there is also a Huger Street in Charleston–just a few blocks from yours truly.

    Well familiar with both, Le Cracquere, as I’m a Lowcountry native with many relatives in all of the coastal counties of SC.

    Sadly, no. They retired the Turkey Bowl about 30 years ago. The two schools are in different conferences, now.

    As a birder, and blogger who has frequently covered the subject of avian-themed uniforms, I can say that the most ornithologically-correct Stl. Cardinals logo is the 1927-28 version: link

    As pointed out in the ticker, the most common errors in logos depicting the Northern Cardinal are a yellow bill (where it should be orange) and a white eye (where it should be black/dark). Good birding, everyone!

    When I was playing baseball in highschool we had a strict uniform code of standard blue socks without logos or stripes. We also made a team decision of pants being midshin or below (down basically). Nothing was more infuriating for the team and coaches than the rich kid that liked to be an individual and wear the underarmour socks with the giant front logo and his pants up. The uniform is a sacred thing and him doing this made us look sloppy. He was later kicked off the team for refusing to switch to black shoes instead of his metallic blue cleats.

    I would love to see the sh*t hit the fan if a Yankees player tried to wear striped stirrups…

    Wait…is there any more context/information about the Raiders helmet that you know of Paul? Is that going to be an alternate possibly?

    Given the Raiders history, I’d almost guarantee that the only purpose of that black helmet is to “look cool” on a display shelf.

    Since everyone weighed in with invective after seeing the new Adidas’ college basketball uniforms, I propose we have a design contest, called “Don’t Give Them Any More Ideas!!” Entrants do exactly that, chiming in with God-awful blingy uniform concepts to appeal to ADD-addled teenagers. Postings that come closest to anticipating the real 2014 Adidas’ uniforms receive a chicken dinner.

    I was watching the recaps of the World Baseball Classic and on this one (0:24 mark Japan vs China) I noticed one of the ushers at the stadium and some fans wearing helmets. From what I’ve seen in the US, that’s not a commmon practice for ushers or is it? Also, all three helmets have some wording which I can only think to be “Japan” so they are probably team sponsored.


    Stephon (Steffon?) Curry also changed shoes midway through the first half of the game vs. the Celtics on Friday night

    MY EYES!! I can’t unsee those Ronald McDonald jerseys. I think there is a new champion for the worst novelty minor league hockey jersey. Allen Americans, raise the cup and take a lap. Ouch.

    The K-wings did it first years ago with essentially the same McDonald’s jerseys and with the addition of colouring the ice yellow so I think they still retain that cup.

    Me too.

    My first thought was that they might look really cool centered on the crown with the horns wrapping around the side like the Rams or Vikes.

    A commenter makes a good point (?!): If the intent is to further establish a post-Armstrong identity, then it was a mistake to have kept the LIVESTRONG text treatment in the logo. Should have reversed the bolding to be the LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION.

    I agree completely. I currently wear one of the ubiquitous yellow bracelets for reasons that have nothing to do with Lance, and I’ve looked at it a hundred times and thought the emphasis should be reversed.

    So, no Marshall green-outs. I wonder if the CFL has heard about the rule change, given Saskatchewan is about the highest-profile remaining green-mono team.

    And, as an aside, is there any rule about this for any soccer leagues?

    In Canada, we have had some many different quarters (125th anniversary, millennium quarters, vancouver olympic quarters, etc.) issued since the 1990’s that some times you don’t even get the regular caribou quarter (been around since 1936) in a pile of change.


    I suspect we are stuck with the queen on all our coins and on the 20 dollar bill. The only thing that will likely change that is when we get a next monarch or if we finally abolish the monarchy.
    Replacing the queen on our coins would be great, but I suspect it’s less likely than the U.S. changing theirs.

    Sadly (other than the 1969-79 series) our bank notes look a lot worse (more the back than the front of them) since the monarch has been replaced on most bills.


    In fact, they should paint the field white, then when an opposing team that only has white pants comes to play in their road white jerseys, they’d win by forfeit. It’s worth a try, anyway.

    That might work one time… then the NCAA would come up with another rule that specifies field markings must be white, and therefore white fields are banned.

    The whole damn thing is stupid anyway. They’ll allow an Oregon or Maryland to wear a different uniform every week, they allow these stupid ass camouflage uniforms and star spangled uniforms and bullshit pink accessories and god knows what else, but a team can’t wear their actual school color because it’s the close to the same color as the turf? Give me a break.

    I don’t think its a bad rule. Boise’s turf is tailored to be the same color as their uniforms which makes it difficult for opposing coaches to spot where Bronco players are lined up, substitutions in/out, etc. from the press box and on tape. It essentially keeps teams from having an unfair home-field advantage by camouflaging their players within the turf color.

    You know, I could totally accept that argument if it wasn’t for one thing: Boise State has had blue turf since 1986.

    Why did it take over 25 years for it to become an issue?

    Just saw a tweet from Saragh Baicker of Comcast Sports Network re: the Bryzgalov mask fiasco where Yoda and his lightsaber as miscolored.

    Apparently, Lucasfilm aka Walt Disney requested that it be changed to reflect the movie franchise’s images and colors. Because the Flyers had to get licensing rights to wear it, they demanded the change be made. Not the Flyers, not Bryz, not the designer.

    Love those Raiders black hats. Would love to see them if The Greatness wore silver shirts and black britches.

    I may be in the minority, but what is the deal with stirrups. I guess you have to be a big baseball fan to understand.

    if you haven’t checked out today’s “Catch of the Day”…click on it. you’ll be glad you did. the site is very cool.

    Agreed..Ronnie… Way Cool. (I work in downtown DC and now when I go look at the area around here.. I will be thinking ~ what movie…)

    With the talk of the Chicago Cubs changing their uniform style for next year can we look at the history of the 1940 -1942 Chicago Cubs vest uniforms and how they came to be .The Cubs were the first team ever to use vests uniforms they had three styles ,the home The road and the alternate powder blue old vests. I truly hope that they go back to using the style uniform next year

    Never been a big fan of the vest(well…ok, I was for a season or 2, but that was a long time ago):


    The Cubs ’62-’68 look is the one I prefer:


    Sports page-a-day calendar entry for today: link

    Here’s the text if you need an account to access:

    The Philadelphia Phillies announce that they are changing the team nickname to the Blue Jays. For years, the club has been mocked as the “Phutile Phillies” because the franchise has had just one winning season since 1917, a 78—76 mark in 1932. New owner Bob Carpenter Jr., who bought the Phillies in November 1943, hopes the switch will provide a cure. Although “Phillies” continues to appear on the front of the club’s uniforms, both at home and away, a patch depicting a blue jay will be featured on the left sleeve of the jerseys. After a 1945 season in which the Philadelphia team posts an abysmal record of 46—108, the attempted nickname is quietly dropped.

    Being a white nerd/drunken Rooskie/dumb Pollock/drunken Irishman I’m neutral on the whole issue but I saw this one posted on the Premiership Rugby’s page today. Some will say “meh” others will headbutt the walls. I’m somewhere in the middle:


    Those Raiders helmets look like a good idea, but I’m certain they would diminish the look of the uniforms. They would end up looking like every other team with black helmets…

    The Raiders uniforms are perfect – and I’m not a Raiders fan!

    The new Nike NFL unis taught us that the logo is supposed to point forward at all times. Are the Nike logos on LeBron’s shoes in the first half both facing the wrong direction?

    As a Calgarian I’m required to hate the Canucks, but their Millionaires jerseys are pretty sweet looking


    Uni-related news I looked up Sunday for my own edification: Ryan O’Reilly is now wearing number 90, and I suspected the occasionally small-minded Colorado Avalanche had given away his old uniform number during his contract impasse.

    Nope, O’Reilly’s decision: he wore 9 as an amateur (link), which is taken by Matt Duchene in Colorado, so he went with 90. His old number 37 was assigned to him as a rookie, at which point — as a third-round pick who’d played in Junior just the year before — he wasn’t expected to make the team.

    O’Reilly as number 90 at far left: link

    The “Powerized” process was patented by the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. in 1931 and has pat. pending beneath the stamp. They introduced the “Powerized and Bone Rubbed” logo for the 1932 season and in 1933 and 1934 you will see it stamped “Powerized and Oil Tempered” which usually is a very light heat foil type print. Beginning in 1935 until present, they go with just “Powerized” The Powerized” process is to harden the surface of the bat much like the bone rubbed finish of the 1920’s

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