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It was the 90s and Mitchell & Ness Made MLB Hebrew Hats

M&N catalog 1998 Hebrew caps

By Morris Levin

The National Museum of American Jewish History here in Philadelphia is currently engaged in a public collecting project for the forthcoming baseball exhibition, “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Jews in America.” The exhibit will open in March 2014 and run for the duration of baseball season. Museum curatorial staff initiated this public collecting project to gather the stories and artifacts that vocalize the narrative of the American Jewish community’s social relationship with the game as public institution.

The public collecting project can be found here on Tumblr at Chasing Dreams Baseball.

Pictured above is page 24 of the catalog Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. issued around 1998. The catalog calls these caps MLB Teams in Hebrew. Many of us who worked at Mitchell & Ness at the time called them the Hebrew Hats. Robert Levin still wears his: this is the front view and this is the side view. They were all snap-back with the team logo on the right.

Mitchell & Ness credits Arthur G. Raynes with the idea for the hats. Mr. Raynes was an established attorney in Philadelphia and regular Mitchell & Ness customer at its old shop at 1229 Walnut Street. The store sold Mitchell & Ness baseball flannels, as well as MLB and MILB authentic hats, and Roman Pro and American Needle licensed hats.

American Needle’s Robert Kronenberger introduced many styles of licensed MLB hats. One style in the early 1990s featured team names in Egyptian hieroglyphs. This is the Mets hieroglyphs cap. The Mets NY logo is visible on the side of the cap. Ostensibly ”“ these characters spell Mets. Perhaps a Uni-Watch reader is proficient and can comment.

Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. founder and long time president Peter Capolino tells the story that Mr. Ranyes came into the shop one day. He saw the hieroglyphs hats and asked Peter what they were. Peter explained it spelled out Phillies in Egyptian hierolyphics. Mr. Ranyes said no way would he wear one ”“ but would gladly wear a Phillies hat rendered in Hebrew.

Peter set to work designing the caps and creating the line.

He enlisted Noam and Harris Saltzburg to render phonetic translations of team names in the printed version of the Ashuri alphabet. This is the common block Hebrew used in mass produced liturgical books. Mitchell & Ness sent the art off to American Needle and the caps were selling by 1993.

One of the first customers for the caps was the food vending service in Cleveland. Jacobs Field opened in 1994 with a certified kosher hot dog stand on the concourse by the centerfield entrance. They sold grilled glatt dogs under the supervising authority of Ahron Soloveichik z”sl and offered classic Cleveland mustard and fried onions. It was very good for the Jews in Cleveland.

That Mitchell & Ness had elected to transliterate rather than translate team names made sense.

Today’s daily Hebrew language sports pages render English language team nicknames in phonetic transliteration as opposed to the translation of the meaning of the word. That is, they write about the “Detroit Tigers”, not the “Nemarim shel Detroit”, or the “Boston Garbay’im Adumim”. Likewise – I am unhappy that Real Madrid is trying to sign Gareth Bale, and not that Royal Madrid is trying to sign Bale.

Two Mitchell & Ness transliterations were unsuccessful.

Congressman William Lipinski, who represented Illinois’s 3rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, was a baseball fan and long time Mitchell & Ness customer. The congressman was friendly with Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He told Mr. Reinsdorf about the caps, and Mitchell & Ness sent off samples. Soon after, Mitchell & Ness received a communication from the White Sox organization that they were unable to carry them, and would Mitchell & Ness please stop making them.

The Hebrew alphabet consists entirely of consonants. Contemporary and liturgical Hebrew utilizes the Tiberian vocalization system of diacritic marks developed by the Masoretes at the beginning of the Middle Ages. Such marks are rarely printed, and Mitchell & Ness had produced Chicago caps that spelled White Sx.

Transliterated Hebrew also did not play well in Atlanta. The Hebrew word for duck is bahr’vahz, which is what BRVS looks like, transliterated without vowels. Random Jewish professionals came to Peter and Mitchell & Ness asking about the new Ducks baseball team.

Mitchell & Ness sold the hats to souvenir and synagogue gift shops. Sales corresponded to classic teams in Jewish population centers. The Yankees and Mets, Tigers, Orioles, and Dodgers all sold well. There were no Padres hats made. Athletics were not transliterated.

I first went to work at Mitchell & Ness in January 1993. I did not care for the Hebrew Hats, Sam I am.

It was in the late 1980s that it was difficult to find a shop that carried the on-field MLB authentic fitted caps. Mitchell & Ness was one store in Philadelphia that carried the full line of New Era and Sports Specialties authentic. That was where I bought my burgundy Phillies fitted game cap for $18 in 1989. It was the real deal. The authenticity of my headwear validated the depth of my fan allegiance.

The Hebrew Hats to me were Jewish kitsch, a strange expression of an American Jewish zeitgeist assimilating into a cultural ethnography with an awkward self-consciousness.

I happened to be traveling to Israel in July 1994 and Peter encouraged me to take some with me. In downtown Jerusalem, I showed them to owners at sports apparel shops. No interest.

Do you know what sports are popular in Israel? Not baseball. Definitely not baseball. The hats were a product of the American Jewish experience. The baseball and Hebrew rendering failed to resonate in the Holy Land and I brought the caps back with me to Philadelphia.

Mitchell & Ness continued marketing the hats through the late 1990s when the catalog came out. Mitchell & Ness acquired the license to make NBA jerseys in 1998, and the company began to grow as the jerseys reached new audiences, and Sammy Baugh appeared in hip-hop videos.

Robert Levin still wears his Hebrew Hat. When the weather is mild, he can be found wearing it outside on his bench on South Eighth Street in Bella Vista.


Morris Levin began work at Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. in 1993. He left the company for business school in 2006 and is now the proprietor of Elysian Fields Baseball, LLC, a small business consulting practice in Philadelphia. He dislikes transliterating proper names when he translates books of the Hebrew Bible.


Weekday Uni Tweaks

WEEKDAY Uniform Concepts & Tweaks

Longtime and weekend readers know that I frequently run reader submissions for uniform concepts, revisions, or just plain tweaks. Usually they are in sets of three, but sometimes there are more and sometimes there are less. Sometimes they are so good these deserve their own lede.

During Paul’s monthlong Blogcation, I’ll occasionally run one (or maybe) two of these.

If you have any concept or tweak, and you would like to see it featured here, either during the week while I’m hosting the blog or on the weekends when I return to those, drop me an e-mail. For each particular design, please try to keep your description to ~50 words or so. OK? OK!

And now, here’s what we have for today (click any images to enlarge):

. . .

Today’s concept comes from David Sachs, who is already not fond of the new Astros makeover…and would like to make it more Hook ’em:

Astros Tweak - David Sachs


Given the Astros’ uni history, their newest redesign is a real snoozer. Still, conservative doesn’t necessarily mean bad. I don’t mind the design. I do mind the color scheme.

The bright orange clashes with the classic look Houston is be going for these days. So I replaced a Mets/Miami-esque shade of orange with a one we already associate with Texas, burnt orange. I think a small tweak goes a long way.


. . .

Thanks! I’ll be back with more weekday tweaks/concepts again.


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.

Back today with another edition of Stirrup Fridays…on a Friday!. These usually run on the weekends (when I’m doing those), but they’re a special occasional weekday treat while Paul is on blog-cation. Been a couple weeks since we ran this and heard an update from Comrade Marshall, so let’s get right into the donning of the rups.:

. . . . .

Chip Bell

Chip Bell

Chip Bell:


My son’s Columbus, Ohio area 14u travel team has red and blue striped stirrups to wear this year. Unfortunately they were given pants without elastic at the bottom, so most boys wore their pants pajama-style. Still, I was able to Adam to wear the pant-legs up for a couple of games.


Chip Bell

. . .

Chris LaBella

Chris LaBella, Jr.:


Chris LaBella Jr pitching the 10 y/o silver playoff game for the Deer Park NY All Stars vs rival North Babylon NY.

Chris Sr.

. . .

James Poisso - Red & White

James Poisso:


Here you go!

James Poisso

. . .

Tate Brown - HS Rups

Tate Brown:


My High School baseball team wore stirrups…. with camo.

That’s Cy-Falls High School in Houston, TX

Tate Brown

. . .

Ryan Ganimian rups1

Ryan Ganimian rups2

Ryan Ganimian:

Hi Guys,

Just a couple shots of my son and I representing the revolution at the Coliseum. Banjoman was throughly impressed. I think we might have found some new comrades who will be contacting Comrade Robert for rups.


Ryan Ganimian

. . .

Martyb rups

Marty B.:

Hey Phil!

Just wanted to pass along a shot of my buddy Austin, throwing out the first pitch at last Sunday’s Williamsport Crosscutters game. We took him on a mini minor league road trip (Brooklyn > State College > Williamsport) for his birthday and surprised him with first pitch honors. Since he’s a super cool guy, he was more than happy to sport a pair of Comrade Marshall-supplied 1970 Angels stirrups for the occasion. If you get a chance to check out the Crosscutters ballpark (Historic Bowman Field), it’s a beaut.

Here’s the photo of Austin’s first pitch.

Great work on manning the site by the way! Love the enormo-ticker!

-marty B

. . .

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 when I do weekends I’ll run ’em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.

And now…here’s …


Stirrup Header

Comrade Marshall’s Rupdate:


The summer is near an end, but there is nothing new this week revolution stock wise, so let’s get on to projects…BAH! Our Astro was traded to the Royals at the deadline and our Pirate went on the DL the same day, but despite that I sent some stuff out to a few players, and will do more of the same this week. I hope to have a full detail of the guys to look for with striped hose next week.

We all know as much as this site loves stirrups on players, it is correct in pointing out the issue with socks/stirrups no longer a being part of the uniform and all the grey area that results from it. Understood maaan, I dig. But what the heck, maybe there could be a renaissance some day, and maybe this silly little stirrup revolution can help? After all, some of us out there are already on the cutting edge, and it will be great to say “yeah I listen to Foghat before they were cool.” Alright, alright Foghat was never cool, but I couldn’t think of a band that would make a better penalty kill shift…discuss.

Thanks to everyone still sending in shots, let’s see some more action pixtures.

from each according their strype,
to each according their stirrvp.


ticker 2

Uni Watch News Ticker: “Interesting ND ‘shorts’ for practice,” writes Warren Junium. “Are they bike shorts, super short uni pants, compression shorts? They sure aren’t gym shorts. … The A’s are giving away a Cespedes bobblehead on the 17th. They just showed this photo and the bobblehead is using last year’s helmet design (thanks to Samuel Lam). … This Fast Company article has a pretty nice slideshow of outrageous MiLB unis (good find by Anthony Juliano). … There’s a great thread currently unfolding on the Chris Creamer site about small but bothersome uniform details. Really good stuff, and definitely worth checking out (thanks Paul!). … “AS Roma is asking fans (and random people on the Internet) to vote for their third kit,” says Yusuke Toyoda. “But their away kit is really nice – I hope they have manufacturer issues every year.” … In yesterday’s ticker there was a question as to what David Ortiz was wearing around his neck. Bob Caudill says “Those things around David Ortiz’ neck are called scapular. It’s a Catholic thing.” … Mike Goodman found a story about NHL logos redesigned using pokemon on laughingsquid. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments – no matter what your feelings on the name of the Washington Football team, this article from Slate is a very good read. … The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is in the process of unveiling a new logo for the UW-P athletic department with the final version released on Friday at 11 a.m. (Central). As UW-P AD and a logo enthusiast, Mark Albanese thought we may appreciate the gallery UW put together of their old logos since the University was established in 1968. … Some interesting Texas mock-ups prior to Senators move there, from the Washington D.C. Baseball History facebook group: “When it became clear that the expansion Senators would be moved to Texas, imaginative newspapermen came up with these ideas for the ‘new’ Texas look. Hondo is seen with a ‘T’ on his cap and ‘Texas Mavericks’ across his chest. Denny Mclain models a Texas 12 gallon hat for willing witnesses.” (thanks to William F. Yurasko). … Here’s a shocker. In the list of 25 top CFB uni fails, Maryland’s Pride outfit only ranks 12 (thanks to Chris Mahr). … About 900 of you sent this in: the Ravens dumped the Nike neck roll for the 2013 season. … As part of Fan Appreciation Week 2013, for the first time an Orioles fan will design a team giveaway, a t-shirt on Thursday, September 26. Fans should visit to see a complete list of rules and gain access to Orioles team logos that may be used for this purpose. Submissions will be accepted until August 31. Fans are encouraged to work on their designs now and upload beginning August 15. The winner will receive four tickets to the September 26 game. (Thanks to Tyler Kepner and Andrew Cosentino) … Another day, another new logo. Unlike Yahoo, which will make us wait 30 days, the City of Nashua, New Hampshire unveiled theirs on Aug 7. “Lots of symbolism,” says submitter Tom Mulgrew. … This “8 Need-to-Know Rules Changes for 2013 Season (See 7 & 8)” for NCAA football uniforms comes to us from Rob Bubeck. … Here is a look at some hockey sweater typos (thanks to Chris Flinn). … Reader Adam Szymkowiak went through a Pitt vs. West Virginia program from 1996 and found a couple pages that caught his eye. … George Mason hoops has new green, white & gold unis (from Josh Holman). … Three pieces of news from Leo Strawn: 1) He was checking out the article on the Washington Padres, and in it was a link to this. That article includes a cool shot of the 1901 Washington Senators, complete with pill box hats!; 2) In footy news, here’s a shot of Croatia v Ireland preparing for the opening bounce in the AFL Europe championships. Leo thinks Croatia’s jumpers look like they were made from tablecloths taken out of a spaghetti restaurant; 3) Also, there is a move afoot (pun intended) to persuade the West Coast Eagles of the AFL to drop their current tri-panel jumpers and only use the “wings”, which were the team’s jumper from their inaugural season of 1987 through 1999 (and have been used occasionally since) and are very popular among supporters of the club. The petition is here. On that link, you can see a good shot of the “wings” on the jumper graphics at the top of the page. … Here’s the latest chapter of Blackhawks Meet Food, this time in cheeseburger form (thanks to Robert Shannon). … Oops! Will Edge was at PGA Championship yesterday, and the scoreboard had Rory McIlroy spelled wrong at the bottom. “We chanted at them from across the fairway until they changed it,” says Will. … Another 800 or so of you sent in the news that BYU will not have NOB this year, but instead the players can have “Tradition,” “Spirit,” and/or “Honor” as their SOB (slogan on back), but only for homecoming. … And in what some might consider closing the barn door following the departure of the horse, the NCAA is now getting out of jersey-selling business. … Last evening, Jason Bernard was “Sitting at Vick’s Pizza in Reynoldsburg, OH, obsessing over this Browns poster with the orange pants.” … Every major during the year creates a unique logo, says Johnny Okray. Here is the PGA championship logo. … Hmmm – the ProCap, revisted (thanks, Sully). Also from Sully, check out this new line of NHL “lace up” team caps from @zephyrhats. … The University of Arizona Wildcat Hockey Military Appreciation Weekend uniforms have arrived. Yes, they’re camo (thanks to “Biogenesis” ”@AZJoshM). … No photo (unfortunately), but some new Ohio State uni news from Peter Roser, who writes “I attended a naval commissioning ceremony in the Ohio Stadium Recruit Room on August 3. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture, but there was a display of both the home and away Ohio State uniforms. Both had the Nikelace/flywire collar in colors matching the uniform body (scarlet home, white away). I looked at pictures from last season’s Illinois game and did not see the Nikelace collar.” … More NCAA news from aTm, where in this article, we see a better picture of the trademark treadmarks and “Gig ‘EM” collar lining, and more info (thanks to Matt Sinclair). … In still more NCAAFB news, there are new uni’s for The Citadel this year. Says submitter Derek Summerville, “Fortunately the video is set to everyone’s favorite uni reveal song of the year (read with sarcasm). If you watch it on mute it’s not so bad. Definitely digging the new blue jersey towards the end though!” … Not sure this is breaking news, but warming up prior to last evening’s game in Nashville, Robert Griffin was wearing Adidas socks. Also it looked like he might have taped over the Nike logo on his shorts, but submitter Andy Bartsch could not get a good still of that. … Also from last evening, the Ravens new non-contrasting collar looks good (much better than last year’s neckroll). … The Titans were sporting their 15th Anniversary patch. … Two of the three teams (Rams and Bengals) to keep the neck roll played last night. The Saints should be the third (can’t confirm until we see them in action tonight). … We also got our first look at the Chargers gold NOBs and non-neck roll collars. … Nice find by Brinke with this Fast Company article detailing Nike’s redesign of NFL uniforms. … GREAT spot by Ryan Progin who noticed this image of B1G Commissioner Jim Delaney with Penn State Athletic Director Dave Joyner. PSU gave Delaney a #20 home jersey to celebrate their 20th season in the B1G. But the jersey is clearly from 2010 or earlier (white collar & sleeve ends) — Ryan asks, “So was Penn State trying to be nice or were they just getting rid of an old jersey? As a PSU Alum, I hope they realized they gave him a jersey that is no longer used (though I do not care what the motive was).”


Alright, boys and girls, another week in the books! Thanks (as always) to Morris Levin for gracing us with a guest feature on Fridays (he’ll be back two more times as I continue to fill in for Paul, who is enjoying his blog-cation). Johnny Ek will take you through the weekend, and I will catch you again on Monday.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Being bitter because it’s been 105 years since your team has won a World Series is one thing…but to begrudge an organization that is superior in every way possible is lame.”
–Josh Miller

Comments (99)

    Oh, by the way, the Ravens dropped the neck roll.

    (And Eric Dickerson, circa 1982 SMU says “that ain’t a neck roll, this is a neck roll. )

    Great piece from Morris. As always! On a tangentially related note, one of my prize possessions is a ball from the short-lived Israel Baseball League (2007-2007). I had a chance to chat with the IBL’s commissioner, Ambassador Dan Kurtzer, shortly before the league started play. It was, briefly, an exciting project. Info & memorabilia:



    “… The Hebrew Hats to me were Jewish kitsch, a strange expression of an American Jewish zeitgeist assimilating into a cultural ethnography with an awkward self-consciousness…”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing, Morris.

    I dunno, it may be that, in the USA, at least, self-generated kitsch is a manifestation of tribal success. Those Hebrew Hats would have been unthinkable in the NY suburb in which I was raised in the 1950s: 40% Jewish, 40% Catholic, 20% white Protestant, and reflexively anti-Semitic or worried about appearing too Semitic. Nor was it conceivable back then that people with black or brown skin would actually enjoy wearing unerringly kitsch “Irish” paraphernalia every March 17th. I remember passing a news-stand about five years ago and noticing on the magazine rack a new journal called “Hebe.” Post-Post-Post Whatever.

    I also wear a Paul Lucas T-shirt with the word KNISH displayed in the same way as the word KNICKS, with the savory treat taking the place of a basketball. But then again, Yiddish ain’t Hebrew.

    Assimilation is complicated with both great advantages and great costs.

    I see the resonance of these Hebrew Hats in the Jewish community as a mode of Jewish identity-construction. This is in the philosophical family, so to speak, or earlier efforts to integrate the active use of Hebrew language in otherwise secular daily activity.

    This to me is Ahad Ha’am’s Cultural Zionsim with Hebrew, and the Eastern European effort in the 1890s and 1900s to save Yiddish as the language that could save the Jews from assimilation in the deconstruction of traditional Jewish ritual practice and observance.

    The concept of a Hebrew baseball cap I see as a descendant in this post-Englighment secular movement to preserve a community identity through the language used by Jews. There was not much demand for the Hebrew Hats in Bnai Brak or New Square.

    This is the Mets hieroglyphs cap. The Mets NY logo is visible on the side of the cap. Ostensibly — these characters spell Mets. Perhaps a Uni-Watch reader is proficient and can comment.

    I’m pretty sure that Egyptian hieroglyphics don’t translate directly from symbol to letter like that. That cap is the result of someone having a hieroglyphic font and typing METS with it. It might as well be Wingdings.

    You’re probably right about the actual instance, but hieroglyphics combined ideographic and alphabetic symbols. So it would be possible to create accurate hieroglyphics to represent the sounds of N and Y or Mets. Was the Mets hat a faithful rendering? I wouldn’t bet on it. But was it possible for it to have been? Absolutely. Then again, why? Unless you’re outfitting extras for a Bangles video, it’s a dead language.

    What we need is caps with Cherokee letters and jerseys with team names in Hawai’ian.

    In Cherokee, for example, the Nats would wear a curly Ꮹ. The Yanks and Mets would, I think, wear intertwined Ꮔ and Ᏺ. That’s sort of the direction Hebrew caps should take – rather than rendering a transliteration of the team name, give us the equivalent letters to the regular cap logo.

    That’s a good challenge for a designer – MLB cap logos in Hebrew letter character in team font. For example, the single Hebrew letter Bet, for Boston, in Tuscan font. Some kind of overlaid Yud and Nun for Mets and Yankees. [Orioles, Blue Jays, and Cardinals all keep their bird caps as they are.]

    Ah, but the bird caps would all have to be flipped, left/right, to “read” the proper direction. And the Orioles would need the “O’s” replaced with a Hebrew equivalent on its tiny cap. I’d have guessed ר or Resh, but it looks like they rendered “Orioles” on the Hebrew caps with an Aleph as the first letter:


    Sorta. “Formal” hieroglyphics are a combination of alphabetic type symbols and “helper” symbols. It certainly would not likely have been pronounced as “Mets”.

    You can phonetically spell “Mets” in hieroglyphic’s (Middle Egyptian) but finding a helper symbol for a baseball club might take some imagination. I used an e-book entitled “Middle Egyptian” by James P. Allen to make hieroglyphic versions of “Shiner Bock” and “Pabst Blue Ribbon” beer labels. The book is pretty straight forward, if you can find a copy. I’ll post more later today, maybe some phonetical versions on “Mets” and other team names.

    The Mets cap shown does phonetically spell “m t s” in MIddle Egyptian, but I don’t know the purpose of the first symbol which appears to be the vulture and represents the sound “a” or “aleph (?).” The second bird is the owl, which represents the sound “m”. There are no real vowels in middle Egyptian, so the logo moves on to the small bread loaf symbol, which was used for “t” and then ends with the symbol for a bolt of cloth, which phonetically represents “s.”
    It’s basically taken off a list of Middle Egyptian symbols representing modern sounds. Not bad, but a real expert could suggest variations and such. Most words had a “determinative symbol” following it, if it were spelled phonetically (as opposed to using the “uniliteral sign”). Finding a determinative symbol for a “team” or “city” would take some research and would be loosely interpreted, but it should follow the phonetical symbols.

    Reading of BYU’s replacement of NOBs with “Honor” or “Tradition” reminded me of a Catholic basketball team in Sioux City, Iowa that had “Pride” on the back if the jerseys. At a game I heard someone comment “I know Catholics have big families, but can all those boys be brothers?” Imagine Mormons and their tradition of “big love” might get some similar comments.

    BYU is a fascinating place. (This will be long. If you are disinterested in Utah, BYU, or Mormonism, walk on by.)

    The school is supported by the LDS Church, and everything that happens on campus is perceived as a reflection of Mormon values and standards, including the athletics program: in the mid-1990’s, BYU AD Rondo Fehlberg gave a speech in which he described BYU sports as “the second most important ambassador the Church has, next to our full-time missionaries.” (He was arguing for expansion of the stadium and increasing the budget for marketing BYU athletics related merchandise. He also conveniently left out the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is far better known than, say, Danny Ainge.)

    In the mid-80’s, Cougar fans viciously turned on BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco, who was performing poorly. School president Jeffrey R. Holland convened a university-wide devotional, and lambasted the students, for their failure to be charitable and supportive of one of their own, and for the poor example of sportsmanship they were setting for the world. (Bosco, it turned out, had a torn rotator cuff and the coaching staff pushed him to play through the pain, destroying his arm and ruining his chances at a pro career, but that’s another story.) President Holland also put the kibosh on the student tradition of flinging corn tortillas, frisbee-style, onto the field during the games, arguing that around the world in emerging nations, members of our Church live hand to mouth. Could pampered, affluent BYU students stand in front of mothers and fathers who struggle to feed their children, and explain to them why they throw food at football games? Everything matters at BYU.

    Coupled with that, there is this weird, extremely insular cultural tradition. Mormonism is a worldwide church, but Mormon popular culture takes most of its cues from the Wasatch Front. BYU is the school for traditionalists; University of Utah is the school for radicals, liberals and Democrats. When you wear a UofU tie into a Mormon meetinghouse, you’re making a statement about who you are and how you look at the world. And BYU’s “True Blue” ad campaign from a few years ago was about a whole lot more than a Pantone color. All of this of course ignores the fact that the current BYU president is a Utah alumnus: the lines a lot blurrier than anyone wants to admit.

    The Tradition. Honor. Spirit. thing is an example of the myopia that frequently afflicts BYU. It’s a shot at the Utes. (Utah seems to be moving past the “Holy War” rivalry — their attention is on their new West Coast opponents.) It seems that there is frequently a willful effort to be precious, out of touch, peculiar, and anachronistic, to show that BYU is not like those people up the road in Salt Lake. (This also explains why Mormonism is so enamored of Scouting, which has that same creakiness. One of the highest awards in Scouting is The Silver Beaver, which sounds like the name of a geriatric strip club and cannot be spoken without starting to snicker. Try pointing that out to a True Scout. They look at you like they have no idea what you’re talking about.)

    BYU represents an organization that is actively working to establish itself as a worldwide movement, but the school often makes extremely provincial and idiosyncratic choices. It’s like Ray Kroc deciding to build McDonald’s into an international brand by serving nothing but Albanian food.

    Interesting piece. Thanks! But one quibble. A quick bit of googling reveals that link. Sign me up for those arches!

    Can you imagine the lovable characters? Mayor McHarapash, The Kungullurburglar, and Kabuni, the friendly purple monster who craves a boiled dessert of “rice fried in butter, mutton broth (ram’s neck only), raisins (rinsed first in warm water), and salt, with sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves added as it cools.”

    It’s fun and games until BK switches from “King” to “Bojka” and adopts an all-Serbian menu. Talk about a burger war!

    My first impression was that “pride” would be something to avoid crowing about, being one of the seven deadly sins.

    I recall that there was a lesson in my Catholic education about the difference between “your parents are proud of you” and the deadly sin of pride, but I’ve entirely forgotten it.

    Yes, this is a tricky one. And it’s one of the things that drives people crazy about BYU. BYU is proud, but in a Humble Way (only Mormons who grew up in the 70’s and were force-fed bad Mormon-oriented musicals will get that joke, but trust me, it’s cringe-inducingly funny). “Pride” in this context means, “Super humble, because we’re on a mission from God, which makes us awesome and special.” It’s a tightrope.

    Golda Meier once told a colleague “Stop acting so humble. You’re not that great.” Every time I go to Provo, I think about that line.

    Similarly, Garrison Keillor jokes that Minnesotans are proud of being the second-most humble people in America. Except it’s not a joke – there’s rather a lot of truth in that line.

    Yeah, and the radio station at 1250 AM is now WDDZ, a Disney Radio owned & operated station.

    Sad fate for what was once Pittsburgh 2nd-highest station behind KDKA, as well as the radio home to the Steelers.

    I don’t know who makes them, but Mickey’s Place (can I mention them?) in Cooperstown has a wide variety of Hebrew MLB caps, as well as MLB themed kippahs. The Orioles kippah was particularly eye catching.

    Thanks for the tip on Mickey’s Place, but, alas, no Nationals caps. Senators, yes, Nationals, no. You would think there would be a market for them, since the stadium even has a kosher food stand, and I see plenty of people wearing kippot every game.

    The Nats were selling Hebrew caps in the store at the stadium for a while, but I never bought one because they were black.

    Sort of the opposite of Hebrew Nats caps: In 2009, Israeli security mistook a green St. Patrick’s Day Nats cap for an Arabic Hamas cap. Second item in this WaPo story:


    I really like those lace up caps. Not into the whole flat brim/snap back thing but I like the concept. Hopefully those are fitted caps with a flexible visor if so I will have to snag me a Bruins one…providing its not $40.

    Tonight is the 2nd annual “Night of Unbelievable Fun” with the St. Paul Saints, who will once again turn into the Mr. Paul Aints. In a change from last year, the A in Aints is now red, to signify a “scarlet letter.”


    Mr. Paul is clever, but it would have been even better to have become the Pig’s Eye Aints. St. Paul was originally known by white people as Pig’s Eye, after the name of a tavern. It was god-fearing newcomers who pushed to change the name to St. Paul to make it seem all respectable-like and drive out the irreligious rabble who founded the place.

    (continued hijack)

    Pig’s Eye was the owner of the tavern


    One of the things I miss about living on the Minnesota border – Pigs Eye Pilsner

    And at the time, the settlement was actually called Pig’s Eye Landing or Pig’s Eye Tavern most of the time, not just plain Pig’s Eye. Still. How cool would it be for the state capital to be Pig’s Eye? Except if it had still been called Pig’s Eye in 1856, the territorial legislature’s foiled attempt to move the capital to St. Peter probably would have succeeded. And therein lies one of the great little-known frontier tales of the old Northwest:


    The PGA Logo is a specially designed logo by TaylorMade for their sponsored golfers… they provide the golfers with special tour bags, driver head covers, hats and other ‘swag’ with the logo on it and they are generally pretty symbolic of the location and major…

    This is incidentally not a recent or one off thing. TaylorMade has been doing this since 2003.

    And here is an album of most (if not all) of the prior special edition logos.

    I’m not a lawyer, but could replacing players’ names with Tradtion. Pride. and Honor. be a way to support the NCAA’s contention that those replica jerseys they sell don’t actually represent players?

    I’m just a law student, but…
    If you represent the NCAA, you can’t just roll over in court and say, “We’re wrong.” You need to come up with some kind of argument. What you suggest is as good as anything to sufficiently represent the client. Would that argument outweigh the Jay Bilas crusade, tying key proper noun search terms to “generic” jerseys? Probably not.

    Part of me is thinking that there’s nothing particularly honorable about replacing your players’ names with slogans.

    About 6-8 years ago, when the Sox had a few Jewish players, they started selling shirts that said “Red Sox” in Hebrew. Not sure if they still do.

    If you go down the rabbit hole of that Ghosts of DC site, you’ll find link on the first night game at Griffith Stadium. In that entry there’s a photo of Joe DiMaggio with an unidentified Nat, allegedly from that game.

    Readers link will quickly pick up that this photo is not from 1941 but from the 1936-7 timeframe. The unidentified Nat holding the camera is more than likely link

    Wow David, you NAILED it with the Astro’s color tweak! The little change makes a big difference. Feels more like a conservative baseball uniform. Less cartoonish. Nice work.

    They do look nice, but could there be an issue with going with burnt orange and its undeniable association with UT? Especially when you consider that College Station is only 94 miles away?

    I prefer the Houston MLB team’s current use of a bold color over David’s use of a pale pastel.
    The issues I have with the rebranding is that clunky font and the absence of a shooting star.

    The shooting star is what made the 60’s uniform iconic.

    What they’ve done is like the Yankees coming out with a uniform that features the interlocking “NY” and no pinstripes.

    Navy and bright orange are the colors of the Humble Oil Company, the company that built Houston. Done right, they are perfect.

    Burnt orange is fine, so long as it stays in Austin.

    I like the idea, but the darker orange is just too muddled, too low-contrast, with the dark navy. Gives the logo the aspect of a bruise. Also, bright orange speaks directly to the astronaut, NASA identity in a way that burnt orange does not. But let that bide. If you’re going with a darker orange, something has to change with the blue. Possibly a much lighter, maybe bright pastel, blue, or even regionally fitting, unique-to-baseball turquoise.

    It looks like that Notre Dame player is wearing a girdle. A girdle is usually worn underneath the football pants and holds your hip pads and butt pad in place (and optionally your thigh pads too, although most players put them in their football pants instead). I’m not all that familiar with players wearing them on their own, as they are very tight and thin, and can be somewhat revealing.


    It’s definitely a girdle, and it’s kinda embarrassing that that wasn’t known. Used to wear them all the time on shorts-and-helmets days…

    Clever but poorly executed. Version 4 on right just looks like a bunch of blobs if you don’t know what you’re looking at. Also a curious idea to turn it on it’s side when 100% of the other times I’ve seen this it’s right side up. I think he tried too hard on this one.

    We also got our first look at the Chargers gold NOBs and non-neck roll collars.

    Let me propose another change: Wear the pastel blue sock cuffs with the blue road pants.

    The NFL just needs to allow home & road helmets. They could wear their normal white helmet/navy jersey uniform at home, then bring back a modern version of the 90’s road uniform with the navy helmet & pants.

    Did anyone else notice that the Chargers were also wearing Broncos-style socks with a thin gold stripe at the bottom?

    Check out the sideline in this photo.


    “Leo thinks Croatia’s jumpers look like they were made from tablecloths taken out of a spaghetti restaurant.”

    Seriously? That Croatia uses that design is news to a site that prides itself on obsessive uniform knowledge? Even just a quick peak at their flag should make clear why they wear that.


    It’s known in international athletics of Croatia’s uniform designs. Most unique and, in my opinion, spectacular designs in all of competition.



    While I can’t of course determine the level of seriousness in Leo’s statement (delivered to me via e-mail), I would tend to think his comment was delivered tongue-in-cheek.


    A scapular is something more than a “Catholic thing.” It is two small squares of cloth connected by a ribbon or string. The squares have cetain devotions (usually to Mary) and are worn across the shoulders with one square over the heart and the other in the back. The ribbon is across the shoulders. “Scapular” comes from the word “scapula”, latin for shoulder.

    The nuns at St. Albert’s would definitely be suprised that I remembered this.

    That hieroglyphs hat is incredible. I wish they still made those.

    Was Raynes joking about no way in hell wearing one because of the story of Exodus? I think now would be a good time to mention there is no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Yes, I am Jewish myself.

    The historical record picks up with the Hebrew Bible relatively late in the game around the first exile in 586 BCE. If one traces back with the internal chronology of the Hebrew Bible, the exodus from Egypt would be about 900 years earlier. This is well before our historic record.

    Many Jews to this day annually reconstruct and renew their identity in the Passover Seder in the narrative, “We were slaves to Pharoh in Egypt…” This is an identity based on active and living narrative. As it’s brought down from Superintendent Chalmers, “Religion has no place in public schools the way facts have no place in organized religion.”

    Full quote:

    Ned Flanders: Let’s thank the Lord for another beautiful day.

    Superintendent Chalmers: “Thank the Lord”? That sounded like a prayer. A prayer in a public school. God has no place within these walls, just like facts don’t have a place within an organized religion.

    So, the Bengals keep the neckroll. Why does this not surprise me? What a mess of a uniform.

    Here’s the image Phil linked to last night’s Bengals/Falcons tilt in Atlanta…


    Here’s what the Bengals and Falcons looked like when they played in Atlanta in 1975….


    Yes, I am old and wallowing in nostalgia and yes, I want the NFL to return to the glorious looks of the ’70’s.

    Creamer’s blog about “little” uni things that bother you was quite interesting. A lot of minor details I’ve never noticed (and now, they’ll bug me too!) For me, I’ve always been bothered that Auburn’s helmet and sleeve stripes match, but the pant stripes don’t (no white separating the blue and orange).

    Looks like link. After what sounds like a player revolt, these will only appear on the jerseys for the homecoming game:

    These kind of boolah-boolah things always end up looking foolish.

    My eldest son went to a high school that has a 65% dropout rate. The football coach, in an effort to build Esprit de Corps and A Winning Attitude, dressed the team and staff in shirts that said, “TRADITION NEVER GRADUATES!”

    Neither does 2/3 of the student body.

    It was embarrassing.

    Just shut up an play football.

    איזה מצחיק! אני זוכר את הכובעים האלה, ויש לי את כובע של ×”’מץ’, אבל, למה לא מטס?

    וכן, בטח אני יכול לדבר ולכתוב בעברית, בלי גוגל

    As perhaps the only person who reads this blog AND is experienced in Jewish and Ancient languages, what we really need is Yiddish hats.

    As long as I’m in with the Mormon stuff, I may as well go all in.

    During the Great Basin Kingdom period, when the LDS Church was (literally and figuratively) at war with the United States, Brigham Young authorized development of “the Deseret Alphabet,” as an alternative to the traditional Latin alphabet.

    I’d like to see a Deseret Alphabet cap.

    Those things around David Ortiz’ neck are called scapular. It’s a Catholic thing.”

    Those Hebrew caps..Must be a Jew thing!

    Yanks wearing a white-billed cap tonight against the Tigers … Have they appeared on-field with these in a regular-season game before?

    “with a white bill and button.” Doesn’t he know it’s called a squatchee?? Maybe that’s just a uni-watch thing…

    Watching the pats preseason game. Their jerseys have the old workmark, would have thought they’d have the new one.

    The Bears are wearing white shoes. I’d post a picture but I’m paralyzed with rage.

    I hadn’t even noticed.

    Eh. They wore white shoes for many years, including 1985. I think I’d rather they wear white than the orange-and-navy monstrosities that are now allowed by NFL uniform rules.

    But, to be clear, if I had the authority to choose, I’d go with black.

    Not uni-related (and not sure if it’s been covered here yet) but Yahoo will be changing their logo next month. Until then, they will have a new logo everyday until the big reveal.


    You know how the NFL has a new clear bag policy, well the Eagles network just showed the officially branded bag. Who would have thought the NFL would have a branded bag ready for use so soon.

    Good to see Jerry Reinsdorf is a jag-off even when it comes to his own heritage. What an asshole.

    In modern Hebrew, there are two different letters that could represent a “V” sound when transliterating “Braves.” I’m surprised they simply didn’t go with the less unfortunate one.

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