More Firsts and Lasts

Current MLB rules require catchers to wear a helmet under their masks (except for those who wear the goalie-style mask, which basically is a helmet). When I was growing up in the 1970s, however, that rule hadn’t yet been enacted, and most catchers still wore a cap. One of the few exceptions was Johnny Bench, shown above, who always wore the helmet. And in this article from a few months ago, he claims to be the first catcher ever to have done so.

That’s one of the fun tidbits in my latest “MLB Firsts and Lasts” column, which is up now on ESPN. ”” Paul

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Father's Day Promo Splash

And now a reminder from Phil: Last year, you guys may remember we had a very special Father’s Day edition of Uni Watch, where I invited readers to send in a photo and brief writeup (50-100 words, give or take) of their Dads in Uniform. It was a great feature, and one I’m going to repeat this year.

The genesis for last year’s post came from Cort McMurray, who wrote me with the following:

Hey, Phil:

I was thinking it would be kind of cool to invite Uni Watchers to share photos of their dads in sports uniforms this Sunday.

The attached image is my dad, circa 1956, running the 880 for the North Tonawanda High Lumberjacks.

Dad died in 1979 ”” I found this photo two years ago, while doing some research at the Historical Society of the Tonawandas.

I think you may have done something like this in the past. Feel free to use this image, if it fits your plans for the weekend.


I’ll again be running the special Father’s Day edition of Uni Watch this coming Sunday, and I want to include as many photos and thoughts of your dads as possible. So if you’d like to be a part of this, please email me by this Friday with a photo of your dad in uniform (any kind of uniform) and a short writeup (50 to 100 words) and I’ll be pleased to include it. Thanks.

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Membership update: Half a dozen new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Eric Hodges’s Georgetown basketball treatment, shown at right). We’re now totally caught up on orders and have two slots available in the current production batch, which means the next two people who sign up will get their cards very quickly.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see how we make the cards here, and you can see all the cards we’ve made so far here.

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Gridiron Uniform Database turns three: Uni Watch isn’t the only uni-centric site celebrating an anniversary. The Gridiron Uniform Database, a labor of love by longtime Uni Watch readers Tim Brulia, Rob Holecko, and Bill Schaefer, turns three years old today. It’s a great site — if you haven’t explored it, you should. One of the best things about it is that Tim, Rob, and Bill are constantly looking to expand the site’s scope and doing more research to make their visual databases as accurate as possible.

Speaking of which, they’ve recently discovered a something that will rewrite a portion of the Bears’ early visual history. There’s a hint of it in this blog post, and they’ll have more to say about it here on Uni Watch this Saturday. Stay tuned.

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Book shout-out: A little over a year ago I was contacted by a writer named Dave Zweig, who said he was writing a book about people who do essential work but generally toil anonymously, without getting any credit or acknowledgement. He wanted to interview me about teams that go NNOB, subordinating their players’ identities to the larger identity of the team.

The resulting book — called Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion — has now been published, and it’s really interesting. Lots of good stuff about all sorts of people who work in relative obscurity, including U.N. interpreters, anesthesiologists, rock and roll guitar technicians, and other people whose work tends to be noticed only when they do something wrong.

There is indeed a small section about NNOB uniforms, which includes a few quotes from me, but the whole book is worthwhile. I have no stake in its sale or promotion — I just think it’s a good project. You can purchase it here.

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Design contest final call: Today’s the last day to submit an entry for my latest ESPN design contest, which is to redesign the World Cup soccer ball. I’ve received surprisingly few submissions so far, so you’re not facing much competition here, people — take a shot at it! Get the full scoop here.

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Mike’s Question of the Week

By Mike Chamernik

Like everyone else, I love free stuff. So when I’m considering which pro sporting events to attend, I always look at the promotional schedule. If the White Sox are handing out garden gnomes or the Brewers are giving away Rickie Weeks bobbleheads to the first 15,000 fans, then I’m getting to the ballpark two hours early. I’ve gotten a good amount of free gameday souvenirs over the years, from bobbleheads to koozies, from drawstring bags to bomber caps. I keep all of it.

What’s your favorite type of gameday promotion? What’s your favorite item you’ve gotten? What’s the oddest souvenir you’ve received?

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Mike Chamernik.

Baseball/Softball News: This is extremely cool: When the Lakewood BlueClaws were created in 2000, another proposed nickname for the team was the Pine Barons. So on June 22, in a “What If”¦” promotion, the BlueClaws will wear Pine Barons uniforms (thanks, Kevin Clark). ”¦ Here’s a look at all of this year’s stars and stripes caps. Unclear why the Rays’ cap isn’t in the American League style. ”¦ MLB is selling stars and stripes jerseys, but Paul confirmed that they will not be worn on the field. We’re on pace to see some real patriotic uniforms in a few years (mock-ups by Joe Mueller). ”¦ “Found this photo of Phil Tomney of the 1888 Louisville Colonels,” says Jonathan Daniel. “It came from an Old Judge Tobacco card. Looks like it has sliding pads built into the pants.” ”¦ New outfield grass design for the Red Sox (from Phil). ”¦ The Rangers zinged the Miami Heat last night (from Phil). ”¦ Jayson Werth’s bobblehead uses real hair for its beard (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ Derek Jeter has a white sweatband in his cap, instead of the standard black (from Phil). ”¦ Grayslake Central (Illinois) High School has some excellent uniforms — cream fabric, the stirrups have stripes and logos, and white shoes (from Jackson White). ”¦ Rubby De La Rosa’s NOB is in all caps with spaces (from Andy Chalifour). ”¦ The Padres created at least one Johnny Manziel jersey (from Phil). ”¦ The jersey Gregory Polanco wore in his MLB debut was sold for $26,100. ”¦ The Reds wore their camo alternate uni last night (from Phil). ”¦ The Rainier (Oregon) Columbians softball team wore pink Ks on their batting helmets to honor a school secretary that died the week before the state championship game (from Alex Allen). ”¦ I love pocket schedules, and my new hobby is collecting out-of-town pocket schedules over the mail. In 2012 I sent out to a Bay Area radio station for a few A’s schedules, and last year I went to the Royals site and asked for five Royals schedules. A few months ago I asked the Royals, Twins and Dodgers to send me some schedules (they were the only teams that had a section on their websites for that) and on Friday the Dodgers responded. Cool stuff!

NFL News: I’m just an underling at Uni Watch, but I don’t care — I’m making an executive decision: This, the fourth installment of Football as Football, is the last time I will Tickerize NFL logos reimagined as soccer crests, as Star Wars characters, as Disney figures, or any adaption to pop culture aesthetics. I just think the concept is way too played out by this point. Are you with me? ”¦ It looks like it takes 11 cameras to capture a player’s likeness for Madden 15 (from Brady Phelps). ”¦ Jim Harbaugh, former wearer of cheap, ill-fitting pants on the sidelines, is now endorsing Dockers (from Brinke). ”¦ Jeremy Edom found a Titans helmet for sale in a Colts online shop. Charge your phone, bro. ”¦ The Buccaneers have inconsistencies among players with the logo on their new helmets. “Some appear to be very close together on the crown of the helmet,” says Wayne Koehler, “while others show a large gap (may just be different size helmets). Some look like they don’t line up.”

College Football News: Looks like the Badgers will have an all-red set this year (from Phil). ”¦ An array of new ACC patches for Virginia (from Steve H). ”¦ “On Tuesday, The Daily Show aired a segment on the unionization of Northwestern’s football team,” says Laurence Holland. “The segment featured former Northwestern QB Kain Colter, the co-founder of the union, lining up in his Northwestern duds against a team in a silver uniform that was suspiciously Oregon-esque. But the rest of his offense was also in silver! A little creative Googling revealed that they are the Colorado Greyhawks, a semi-pro team that helped out with the shoot.” ”¦ Since Notre Dame is switching to Under Armour, the school is selling leftover Adidas gear at a discount (from Blain Fowler).

Hockey News: “I’ve been watching the AHL Calder Cup Finals between the Texas Stars and St. Johns IceCaps,” says Garrett Heller. “Starting in Game 1, the Stars’ jerseys had the CCM logo rather than the Reebok logo. But St. Johns still has the Reebok logo. I had herd rumors around the hockey world that Reebok was going to phase its name out and replace it with CCM, so this further fuels that rumor.” ”¦ Great shot of the old Blackhawks jerseys in this photo gallery of Chicago in the 1940s (from Anthony Giaccone).

Soccer News: Just in time for the World Cup, Bill Radocy created a viewer’s guide ”“ rosters, stats, kits, team histories and TV listings! ”¦ Here’s the history of Brazil’s kit (from George Chilvers). ”¦ Louisville City FC scrapped its proposed logo and is holding a design contest to replace it (from Jason Goede). ”¦ Unsure of what to think of the teams in the World Cup? Here’s every country’s American pro or college sports team equivalent. ”¦ Some controversy Down Under after a balloon maker created an inflatable Christ the Redeemer wearing an Australian team shirt to promote a sports book website. … WWE Superstars wore their native countries’ jerseys and wished their teams luck. ”¦ Landon Donovan isn’t on the U.S. team, but his jersey is still featured at Nike stores (from Tommy Turner).

Grab Bag: Grantland made a 30 for 30 short on Milwaukee’s Mecca Arena court (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Even if you’re not a cycling nut, these posters are still really cool (from Sean Clancy). ”¦ Anyone know why Last Week Tonight host John Oliver would be wearing a 1st Cavalry pin? (Good spot by Coleman Mullins.) Update: Dane Drutis says the pin is because Oliver’s wife was a member of the 1st Cavalry in Iraq.

172 comments to More Firsts and Lasts

  • Matt | June 12, 2014 at 8:18 am | posted on their twitter yesterday that Tampa Bay requested the blue cap to better match their uniform.

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 8:25 am |

      Too bad no team said, “We’ll just wear our regular cap because it better matches our uniform.”

      • Phil Hecken | June 12, 2014 at 8:30 am |

        “Too bad no team said, “We’ll just wear our regular cap because it better matches our uniform.””



        I also heard they were wearing the blue cap because they’re playing an interleague game…but they’re playing the Tiggers that day, so that explanation (which sounds lame anyway) is incorrect.

        Obviously the caps are a sham and a money grab, but I’d rather teams wear BOTH those caps and the America FUCK YEAH jerseys on 7/4 (when at least it makes a modicum of sense) than to EVER wear those camo things, especially on Memorial Day, when it’s not only inappropriate, but borderline offensive.

  • John | June 12, 2014 at 8:23 am |

    I LOVED The Baseball Bunch. Johnny Bench taught me to put the throwing hand behind your back when catching. 30 years later, I still do it playing recreational ball. Also play Wall Ball like Ozzie Smith did in his episode.

    • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 10:10 am |

      Fundamentals baby!

      They stick with me to this day also.

  • Jim Gregg | June 12, 2014 at 8:23 am |

    QOTW: 1. Favorite Promotion for me are the bobbleheads. Some are pretty cool. I also like cap days.

    2. Favorite I ever got was way back in 1967 in St Louis. A bat on bat day. I was 9 and it rocked to me.

    3. Oddest souvenir would probably be the hawaiian t-shirts handed out at a minor league game. Especially since the team is in Alabama and has nothing to do with Hawaii.

  • scott | June 12, 2014 at 8:26 am |

    While MLB teams may not be wearing Independence Day uniforms yet, I’m sure a lot of minor league baseball teams will be. Though I think for most, if not all, it will just be special jerseys. Haven’t seen any patriotic pants, yet.

  • Andrew Seagraves | June 12, 2014 at 8:28 am |

    I kinda like the reimagined logo designs. It maybe over the top, yet I find it fun and different.

    • walter | June 12, 2014 at 9:18 am |

      Seconded, with a caveat: The amount of care put into the project should determine whether a Uni Watch shout-out is warranted. Some redone insignias are lame and slapdash, but this current bunch is totally wizard!

      • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 9:28 am |

        “Football as Football” is awesome; some other “X reimagined as Y” projects aren’t as good (I thought that recent Simpsons project was really weak, e.g.). But they’re all Ticker-worthy.

        – Paul, overruling (but amused by) Mike’s “executive decision”

        • JTH | June 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm |

          Gotta love an underling who makes an executive decision.

          Stick it to The Man, Mike!

        • Iain | June 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm |

          Mike can’t defeat the Uni Watch Establishment

        • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm |

          Gotta love an underling who makes an executive decision.

          When Mike or Garrett is on Ticker duty, they work on it all day, put the finishing touches on it late and night, and have it waiting for me when I wake up in the morning. Then I go thru what they’ve done and edit as I see fit.

          When I saw Mike’s “executive decision” this morning, I cracked up. Thought about removing it but then thought, “Nah, that’s fun — leave it there.”

        • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm |

          Glad you guys enjoyed my line!

          When I handle Ticker duties I include almost everything topical that’s sent in. Sometimes, though, if I’m busy and have 15 emails waiting for me, I might go through them with more of a discerning eye.

          My thinking was, if I’m scrambling, I might ignore some of the non-news stuff that we see around here all the time — logo reimaginations, high school teams wearing camo, high school teams borrowing pro team logos, etc. But if the people want these recurring items, I’ll surely keep including them!

  • Mainspark | June 12, 2014 at 8:32 am |

    QOTD. Not much for bobbleheads but I’ll always go to a game that’s giving away a hat, jersey or t-shirt.

  • Shane | June 12, 2014 at 8:32 am |

    QOTW: I have so little experience with this, as the Red Sox rarely did promotions before this season. Had tickets for the Pedroia bobblehead, but it got rained out and I was unable to make it to the makeup.

    On the plus side, I’m going to a local minor league team’s Star Wars night next month and they’re giving out lightsabers.

    • Richard | June 12, 2014 at 9:50 am |

      I recall the Red Sox having plenty of promotional give away days. For a few years in the late sixties early seventies we made the effort to get to Bat Day. The bats were good quality Little League H&B bats. The Red Sox had a Cap Day too, but I remember they lacked the quality that the bats had.

      • scottrj | June 12, 2014 at 10:21 am |

        When I was 9-10 y/o I was traumatized at a Baltimore Orioles Bat Day at Memorial Stadium. Upon entry, the ticket-taker would give each kid a voucher to redeem inside for a bat. Like many a naïve suburban kid, it never occurred to me NOT to hold the voucher in my hand while working through the mob of kids swarming the area where bats were being handed out, and some kid snatched it away from me. Decades later I still remember seeing kids leaving the stadium carrying 4-5 bats, while I left without one.

        The only consolation was that the bats were of such crappy quality that they usually cracked within a week of using them.

      • Mainspark | June 12, 2014 at 10:53 am |

        I remember as a young kid going to bat day at Crosley Field, I was upset because I got a Pat Corrales bat. My father exchanged it sometime during the game for a Johnny Bench bat. I was the happiest kid at the ballyard in 1968. Of course we used the bat in my CYO League and it cracked but still a great memory.

  • Dane | June 12, 2014 at 8:33 am |

    John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight (correction #1) is wearing a 1st Cavalry pin (correction #2). His wife was a member of the 1st Cavalry while serving in Iraq.

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 8:57 am |

      Thanks. Will update text.

    • Coleman | June 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

      Thanks for the info! He was the guest on Late Night with Seth Myers though. This wasn’t during his own show that you’ve mentioned. But again, thanks for the information!

  • BWags | June 12, 2014 at 8:34 am |

    Favorite promotional giveaway is a tie for nostalgia’s sake. In 1985 or 1986, the Pittsburgh Pirates gave away fielder’s gloves. I don’t remember it being too cheap plastic (although it probably was) and I used in Little League for a season.

    As an adult, my favorite was a pewter Bob Feller miniature statue. I’m not an Indians fan but I respect the hell out of Bob Feller.

    Oddest giveaway: The Florida Marlins gave away a Marlins logo tambourine as the game was immediately followed by a Latin/Salsa concert. A footnote to that game is that I’ve kept the tambourine as that would be the night Roy Halladay threw his perfect game.

  • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 8:37 am |

    “Jim Harbaugh, former wearer of cheap, ill-fitting pants on the sidelines, is now endorsing Dockers”

    Ummm,… I always assumed his ill-fitting pants WERE Dockers!! I thought that’s all Dockers made.

    • Ed | June 12, 2014 at 9:13 am |

      No reference, but I recall a radio interview before last year’s NFC championship where Harbaugh said he went to Walmart and got Dickey’s for $10 a pair. He also said his wife was not amused by the fact that he wears such cheap *pleated* pants on national television…


      • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:18 am |

        Honest question: does anyone actually look good in pleated pants?

        I feel like the pleated front is the sartorial equivalent of the “burned to a crisp” setting on the toaster.

        • mike 2 | June 12, 2014 at 11:18 am |

          Its easy to look good in pleated pants. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pleated pants, its just that they’re horribly out of date.

        • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 11:31 am |

          Its easy to look good in pleated pants.

          Well, it’s easy for *some* people, I guess, whereas flat-fronts work for most people.

        • mike 2 | June 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm |

          Fair point. The way I make everything look good its easy to forget everyone isn’t so lucky.

  • Dan | June 12, 2014 at 8:37 am |

    QOTW: My All time favorite is a tie. The Phillies gave out Couples bobbleheads (two bobbles on one platform) of Phil and Phyllis (70’s mascots) and of Harry and Whitey (Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn). I believe these were given out around the time of the last year of the vet. I still have both on my desk at work to this day.

    • Dan | June 12, 2014 at 8:39 am |

      Sorry: Phil and “Phillis”… Forgot to give her the special Phillies spelling treatment

    • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm |

      The “couples” bobbles are always some of my favorites. Announcers are a popular duo with the Marty & Thom father/son combo being my favorite. The Pirates have had various teammates and battery mates as well.

      On the dual bobblehead front, my favorite upcoming bobblehead is the Reese/Campanella bobble that the Dodgers are giving out this year (recognizing Campanella night at the LA Coliseum). It may be the first bobble featuring someone in a wheelchair.

  • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 8:46 am |

    Bucs logo placement disparity….

    Based on their reveal photos, the logos are supposed to be close together (not far apart) in the front.

    • Graf Zeppelin | June 12, 2014 at 8:59 am |

      That ginormous decal looks terrible no matter how it’s applied.

    • John in KC | June 12, 2014 at 9:42 am |

      The three players have 3 different helmet types:

      #93 has a Riddell Revolution
      #98 has some kind of Schutt (probably one of the Air XPs)
      the receiver has a Riddell Revolution Speed

      The Revolution Speed was the reveal helmet; looks like they are fitting the decals differently to the Schutt shells than the two Riddell Shells.

      • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 10:21 am |

        Still no excuse.

        • John in KC | June 16, 2014 at 9:33 am |

          It’s not really an excuse; from these photos it kind of looks like the fitting guide for the decals is to make sure it fits right on the bottom of the shell – which causes them to look different at the top of the shell. Also it’s kind of an optical illusion between the Revo and the Speed helmets – the shape of the shell makes it look more different than it is.

          They shouldn’t have designed a decal that only looks “right” on a Riddell Revolution Speed helmet.

    • Attila Szendrodi | June 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm |

      Forget the decals; look at those numbers! Woof! You wont be able to read those during games.

      • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm |

        “look at those numbers!”

        no thank you

  • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:04 am |


    I’ve never actually been to a game for a giveaway (I actually had tickets to a Nationals game where they gave away scarves, but commitments came up), but I’d like to go to one where they give away thermal lunch bags, because I could really use one for work.

    So yeah, my favorite kind of giveaways would be the really practical ones.

    • Dan Pfeifer | June 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

      Amen on the practical giveaways. Give me something I can use. A bobblehead of some guy who isn’t even going to be on the team next year creating more clutter around my house? Screw that.

      I was going to say lunchbox or Thermos day, too, but my all-time favorite one the Brewers used to do was Umbrella Night. Now that was something useful. They weren’t the compact ones, either — they were the big, golf-sized ones. A little plasticky and flimsy, but they were usually good enough to last about one year, just long enough for you to go to Umbrella Night the next year. Perfect.

      Unfortunately, it’s usually the most useful items that become the biggest problems.

      1) For umbrella night, folks in groups were opening them and spinning them for visual effect in the stands (held forward so the logos circled hypnotically to the rest of the stadium) and I think they were concerned about safety.

      2) Some of the most useful items were also some of the easiest to throw. Another one that was really helpful the Brewers used to have was Seat Cushion Night. They’d do it once a year in the early 80’s (we still have some). But thanks for ruining it for us, Redskins fans. (

  • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:05 am |

    re: Landon Donovan jerseys

    Well, there’s still one guy proudly rocking the DONOVAN 10 jersey.

    • Connie DC | June 12, 2014 at 9:20 am |

      Good on him.

      • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:40 am |

        You have to love the wallpaper on his computer.

  • Bud | June 12, 2014 at 9:09 am |

    Any sort of clothing giveaway is what I like best. Almost everything else end up just being trinkets to me that I give away myself, sell, or throw out. I will never understand the craze over bobbleheads…never been my thing.

    • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:16 am |

      At a certain point, I think they became collectibles for the sake of being collectibles, where a good chunk of the people demanding them are doing so for a possibly imagined secondary market.

      Like, how Beanie Babies were a huge craze in the ’90s? The limited releases created a buying frenzy, but buyers seriously overestimated the actual demand for them and ended up with an oversaturated market (btw, Ty is back in a major way with their plush toys).

    • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm |

      Hats are great, but I have a problem with a lot of the t-shirts/jerseys/shirseys as the giveaways often only come out in size XL. I wear a size M so I’m often swimming in the giveaways.

      My daughter got a Dodgers Hanley Ramirez giveaway jersey this year but they only came in size Kids XL. She was happy to have a free jersey but she would need to get a belt for it to even resemble a dress, let alone a jersey.

  • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 9:13 am |

    QOTW: Nope, can’t say I recall getting any specific promotional items. Generally not a collector of such things. I rarely ever go to games anyway; the last one I attended was a Pistons game against the Washington Wizards on April 5, 2012 (and that was courtesy of my cousin).

    • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm |

      Actually, I do recall now getting a couple of giveaways – a die-cast model #31 car (Jeff Burton/Cingular, although his actual car had switched to AT&T by then, so it was an older car!) and a cap – when I went to attend the August NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Though these weren’t general giveaways – they were just given to guests of the sponsors of that team, and I just happened to be such a guest, being the “plus-one” for my brother-in-law.

      Unfortunately, rain came into the area and they couldn’t start the race on time, so it ended up being postponed (and when the rain persisted, it was postponed again to Tuesday). So I ended up not getting to see the race itself.

  • walter | June 12, 2014 at 9:20 am |

    Even if you’re not a cycling nut, these posters are still really cool (from Sean Clancy)
    Wow! These are beautiful. The style used here has been reused on some of my favorite gig posters.

  • David | June 12, 2014 at 9:22 am |

    Yo Mike —

    Worst giveaway = schedule magnet
    Best giveaway = bacon bits topping on any and everything in the park

    • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 11:47 am |


  • FiteClub | June 12, 2014 at 9:25 am |

    QOTW:I really liked the bobbleheads when they first began to show up on the Dodgers promotional schedule. I had 4 season tickets so I ended up with multiples that I could trade for other teams’ give-aways.

    After a while, my interest waned but I still have them all. There’s not much use for me to display former Dodgers like Paul LoDuca and Eric Gagne on my shelf, but I still have some more celebrated players like Garvey, Fernando, and Koufax out on display.

    I never got either of the Vin Scully bobbleheads and would sure like one.

  • random reader | June 12, 2014 at 9:26 am |


    My favorite promotion is the Yankees’ “Calendar Day,” which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday home games of the Yankees season. A friend got me into it in 2010 or 2011 and I have been hooked ever since. It’s inherently useful as a calendar but it also shows the team schedule as well as other promotions during the season. Other promotional items don’t do much for me because they’re just material items that I’d probably stuff into a closet or box. With the calendar, I can use it all year until next season (the giveaway calendars run from April to March, ensuring people will come back for more).

    As for Jeter’s white sweatband, it is something I had noticed for the past couple years (I just could not find a convincing photo of it) and I may have submitted it to Uni Watch once (albeit as a comment on a post). He clearly prefers it for some reason; I had wondered if his cap is still made of wool (like how they used to be made) but with a black underbrim and raised MLB logo on back just so it looks like the Authentic caps New Era sells.

    Jeter alone has some interesting quirks: I think he wears a new hat every game, as I’ve never seen him with a cap covered in sweat and other gunk. Also he seems to put his belt on through the right belt loops and around, as opposed to putting it through the left belt loops and around.

    • scottrj | June 12, 2014 at 10:07 am |

      Threading your belt from right to left is considered a quirk? Call me quirky, then.

      • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm |

        His right or the viewer’s right?

    • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 11:58 am |

      I’m with you on calendar days! I got White Sox calendars in 2012 and 2013, but didn’t get one this year. They’re really handy.

  • Pat C | June 12, 2014 at 9:27 am |

    Those NFL Logos as __________ were played out before the soccer ones came out. Not saying the first round or 2 of those weren’t good but I was kinda over them before those came out.

    • random reader | June 12, 2014 at 9:36 am |

      The “team logos envisioned as soccer logos” was played out pretty quickly for me.

      While they are creative in theory, the logos collectively lacked originality when they all had the same design elements applied as if it were a template.

    • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 9:39 am |

      Yeah, I was over the NFL logo remixes before they went mainstream. I’m into Tippeligaen logo remixes now. You probably haven’t heard of them.

      • walter | June 12, 2014 at 10:38 am |


      • Padday | June 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm |

        Pfft. Ever since Celtic started poaching their coaches about a week ago, the Tippeligaen is so old hat. I bet you also still think Jurgen Klopp’s thick rimmed glasses are amazeballs and that 4—2—1—3 formations are cool.

        • BvK1126 | June 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm |

          You still pay attention to soccer? I only watch slåball played with artisanally carved wooden bats.

        • The Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

          I prefer Calvinball.

        • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm |

          You’re still watching sports? I listen to slÃ¥ball games on my 1960s transistor radio.

        • BvK1126 | June 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

          You still listen to the radio? I get all my news updates using this painstakingly restored telegraph ticker.

        • Padday | June 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |

          The tablet I’m using to write this is literally made of wax.

        • BvK1126 | June 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm |

          I always preferred clay tablets myself. Cuneiform is the purest, most authehtic method of written communication. It really lends permanence and weight to your words, you know?

    • duker | June 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

      I like ’em. It’s much more interesting and creative than the “look at this high school team that wears stirrups” links.

      • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm |

        That’s… another thing I’m considering not tickerizing (unless Paul overrides me).

        • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm |

          Speaking of tickerizing, I’m not a fan of the random bobbleheads that get tickered. I sort of collect bobbleheads and think a lot of them are very cool, but would prefer a few ledes every season rather than the hodgepodge of ticker entries (some of which come out when the bobbles are announced, some when they are given away, and some at random times). We don’t get ticker entries on the newest McFarlane figures or the thousand other stadium giveaways (perhaps Uni-Watchers like bobbleheads more?), so bobbleheads would seem to be off the mark as well.

      • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm |

        I will always include a team in good-looking stirrups, because it’s important to encourage, acknowledge, and incentivize good behavior.

        But like everything else in the Ticker: If it doesn’t interest you, don’t click on it — no problem.

        • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm |

          Excellent point, stirrups are pretty central to everything Uni Watch stands for.

  • odessasteps | June 12, 2014 at 9:34 am |

    The thought occurred to me while looking at tyodays mrmbership card.

    We know about purple amnesty day because its banned the other 364 days.

    What about GI Joe/flag descreation designs?

    Are they normally banned from membership card selection?

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 9:46 am |

      Nobody has ever asked for one of those. If someone did, Scott and I would evaluate it on a case-by-case basis, as we do for all card requests.

      • just Joe | June 12, 2014 at 11:19 am |

        Now I’m curious, what designs have been rejected? Other than purple, of course…

        • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 11:29 am |

          Some people ask for the *front* of a jersey. With a couple of very rare exceptions, we’ve always turned that down.

          Other people have asked for a variety of things that are too complicated to execute, or it’s not really uni-related, or they don’t provide good enough visual reference for us to base the design on, or they want to make up a uniform that never existed, etc. We’ve gotten some very unusual requests over the years. Now I wish I’d kept a file of the more outlandish ones….

    • The Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 10:11 am |

      Note to self: if & when I ever get a membership card, I need to request purple camouflage.

      • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 10:29 am |

        You need to come up with a way to request a color-vs.-color card!

        • Mainspark | June 12, 2014 at 11:02 am |

          That kinda begs a question; I have a membership card and I got it for the express reason to support Uni Watch financially, as I get so much enjoyment from the site. I don’t carry my card in my wallet. It’s in an file with ticket stubs from ballgames, concerts, etc. which I keep and someday plan to arrange and frame. Anyway its been a couple of years since I got my card. Do people get more than one card?

        • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |

          A handful of people have come back for a second or even a third card, yes. Often they say it’s because they were torn between two design choices and decided to get both of them!

        • DenverGregg | June 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm |

          I got a standard card early on and when purple amnesty was first anounced had to jump on that bandwagon.

        • The Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm |

          Other people have asked for a variety of things that are too complicated to execute, or it’s not really uni-related, or they don’t provide good enough visual reference for us to base the design on, or they want to make up a uniform that never existed, etc.

          I have to admit that I’m not sure how to do a color vs color card that wouldn’t violate the implied rules posted above, unless I created the card myself at a high enough resolution for it to be printable.

        • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm |

          Jeff, it never hurts to ask. Like I said, case-by-case basis.

          Maybe a two-colored frankenjersey with “Color vs. Color” as the NOB — I would consider that request very seriously…

        • Jim Vilk | June 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm |

          You like the Raiders…do one half in black and one half in, say, Chiefs red. Or Broncos orange.

          Or what was that color vs color game a few years ago…when the Cowboys played the Chiefs (Dallas Texans)…am I remembering that correctly? Do that one.

        • Anthony | June 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm |

          Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy?

  • BurghFan | June 12, 2014 at 9:39 am |

    I have two favorite kinds of giveaways: the unannounced ones, where it actually feels like you’re getting something for nothing, and the all-too-rare promotional item without a sponsor’s logo.

  • Marc-Louis Paprzyca | June 12, 2014 at 9:42 am |

    Does Mike Chamernik live in Chicago? I’d like to be friends with him because my wife does not love getting the the stadiums two hours early for me to receive my giveaway.

    My favorite giveaway was a replica championship ring I received at the Chicago Stadium in 1991. I saw it no less than five years ago in my parents house but I can’t find it. I will keep looking.

    The weirdest/worst were “tumblers” I received at a Detroit Tigers game. They were paper and couldn’t really be re-used.

    I love Brewers games because their bobbleheads are all fan giveaways so you don’t have to get there super early. Funny how the Brewers can give away 40k plus but the bigger market Chicago teams only give away 10-15k.

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 9:47 am |

      Yes, Mike is a Chicagoan.

    • JTH | June 12, 2014 at 11:51 am |

      Where were you on Saturday? You could have met him.

      • Marc-Louis Paprzyca | June 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm |

        I was unable to attend, unfortunately. I was at a bachelor party in Wi.

  • The Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 9:53 am |

    The only free item I’ve ever gotten at a game was a t-shirt at a Detroit Pistons game, so I don’t really have much of an opinion on the subject. I don’t really go to games very often, and when I do it’s to actually watch the teams playing, so any sort of giveaway item is more of a bonus and certainly not a reason to attend if I was otherwise not going to.

  • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 9:56 am |

    I often try to *avoid* promo giveaway games, because I figure it’s easier to score inexpensive and/or better seats for non-giveaway dates.

    • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm |

      For what it’s worth, Stubhub backs up your decision. Dodger game starting prices are usually $6-7 on Stubhub, but are $17-19 for bobbleheads. The one exception is the AJ Ellis bobblehead game, which you can get into for $12 right now. That game was a late addition to the bobblehead schedule and is on a Sunday with a TBD time so people may not want to commit without knowing when the game is.

      • terriblehuman | June 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm |

        I remember last year’s Bryce Harper bobblehead day at Nationals Park – upper level tickets that are usually in the $20-30s going for $50+ and the lines were nuts.

        The worst part? Some people were picking up the bobbleheads, then walking back to the Metro station and not staying for the game.

        • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm |

          People buying tickets solely for the bobble and then bailing on the game really pisses me off. I get it if you have an extra ticket that you can’t use and get an extra for your friend or to trade, but to dismiss the game entirely? Shame on them.

  • Leland | June 12, 2014 at 9:56 am |


    Why do the Tampa Bay Rays have a Blue cap on the 4th of July like the NL?

    • Marc-Louis Paprzyca | June 12, 2014 at 10:49 am |

      They are playing an NL team that day so MLB wanted them to be different, per

      • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm |

        No, that’s not what Chris Creamer said at all. And I quote:

        The exceptions are the AL’s Tampa Bay Rays who will instead wear blue at their request to better match their colour scheme (Logic!) and not-USA’s Toronto Blue Jays who will wear their red maple leaf BP cap (Logic?).

        Besides, the Rays are in Detroit to play the Tigers on the 4th.

  • AMR | June 12, 2014 at 9:59 am |

    Those Stars and Stripes caps are extra-bad when the star is italicized but the main logo is not. It works better for the Brewers, Dbacks, Nats, and Braves, who have italicized logos. It’s especially egregious on the Astros, who have a squared-up star in the main logo.

    But at least the Astros logo is outlined so it doesn’t bleed into the star behind it (Rays, Rangers, Os)

  • Aaron | June 12, 2014 at 10:00 am |

    Great question, Mike — I don’t make it to a lot of pro ballgames, but I often choose the ones I do attend based on gameday giveaways. This question got my attention because I vividly remember the first item I ever picked up. It also happened to be the first professional ballgame of any kind I attended. It was in 1984 at old Comiskey Park; the Sox were playing Seattle. I know it was July 4th weekend, though I can’t recall if the game was actually on the 4th or not. Anyway, the freebie that day was a replica White Sox “beach blanket” jersey to all the kids 12 and under. I was 12 at the time so I just made the cut; my younger brother and sister got them too. I know the giveaway was sponsored by Denny’s because their logo was printed just below the “X” on SOX, which even at that young age struck me as an intrusion. I figured that if the real players didn’t have it on there, my jersey shouldn’t either. Anyway, I kept that jersey for years until that particular uniform set fell out of favor (BTW, I love the fact that it’s back and maybe even more popular than ever). Sure wish I still had it now for my kids to wear (Denny’s logo and all).

    PS: The next year we went to Wrigley and got replica Cub jerseys that had a huge Pepsi logo that covered most of the back. I hate the Cubs

  • PaulS | June 12, 2014 at 10:02 am |

    RE: the photo of the Blackhawks sweaters (yes, I went there; used both the one word name AND didn’t call it a jersey). Curious that Life would have used that photo, since the white sweater would have been an alternate (the NHL didn’t mandate the use of home and away uniforms until later) and probably used on the road, yes? Entirely possible that Chicagoans might never have seen that sweater except in media photos.

    • mild bill | June 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm |

      It is worth viewing all of the Chicago photographs. I found a good one of Ernie Banks in a nice looking Cubs uniform.

    • timmy b | June 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm |


      Actually, the Black Hawks (they usually went by two words until I think c.1985-86 when the law was laid down by W. Wirtz that it was – once and for all – one word) DID wear those white football style jerseys/sweaters for a good chunk of the 1940’s.

      Years ago, doing research for using the archives of the Chicago Tribune, I discovered that the Hawks would use the white jerseys for what appeared to be 2/3 of their games at Chicago Stadium. The black barberpole jerseys were still frequently used for road games, but the white would make occasional apppearances for the road.

      So the photo from Life was almost definitely from Chicago Stadium and a good chance that was from the 1944 Stanley Cup Final.

      • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm |

        Except Max Bentley wasn’t on the 1944 team, as he was serving in the Canadian military at the time.

        Still, Montreal probably wouldn’t have brought their white sweaters on the road unless they were playing in Detroit on that particular trip; over the 1945-46 and 1946-47 seasons, that only happened once, in February 1947. Similarly, Toronto probably didn’t bother packing their white shirts if they weren’t stopping in New York (of course, they had to wear white at home against the Rangers anyway since New York didn’t yet have a white sweater). Such was the way of the NHL back then.

        • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

          I should clarify and say it only happened once where Montreal played in both Chicago and Detroit on the same road trip over those two seasons.

      • timmy b | June 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm |

        To clarify, I meant to say “Actually the Black Hawks…DID wear those white football style jerseys/sweaters at home for a good chunk of the 1940’s.

        • timmy b | June 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm |

          Thanks for clarifying that about Max Bentley. Didn’t bother reading the caption below. My bad.

          However, in the MTL-CHI SCF from 1944, the Hawks wore white at the Stadium for at least one game. I had a Stanley Cup Book from the 70’s where there’s a pic of Toe Blake putting a shot on Mike Karakas. The book, a paperback that was loaded with Stanley Cup lore, has long been lost, sadly.

          From the 40’s, Bruins wore mostly white, Hawks did wear white frequently as well as the black based barber poles, Wings normally wore red all the time, except for when the Habs came to town in their reds, then they’d wear white, Habs returned the favor for the Wings, but also seemed to wear white more often than red when they went to New York for some reason, Rangers of course were always in blue (they actually started to wear white on occasion starting in 1950-51 though that is not reflected on and the Leafs normally wore white at MLG and normally wore blue away from Toronto.

  • Matthew Lohr | June 12, 2014 at 10:04 am |

    QOTW: Favorite giveaway? The Florida Marlins handed out mini replica World Series trophies to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the 1997 World Series championship at a game in 2007 against the Cleveland Indians. A championship which they won on Edgar Renteria’s walk-off single… against, you guessed it, the Cleveland Indians!

    Talking about rubbing it in. The Indians fans were pretty disgusted!

  • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 10:16 am |

    I was 5 years old and my Dad took me to the second-to-last Washington Senators game (not the final one that was forfetied!). Amongst other stuff they were giving away (i.e. cleaning out their closets) was a full-sized (maybe kid-sized, but definitely NOT a mini) Frank Howard inscribed bat!!

    I remember the fans banging them on the floor of the stadium and it was freightening! I thought the stadium was going to collapse!

    I had the bat for many many years, and used it to play ball. I think it finally cracked and I got rid of it.

  • 1vox | June 12, 2014 at 10:43 am |

    Like Alex Allen, I used to write to baseball teams back in the last 60s-early 70s. Wish I still had them, but received quite a few. Sometimes teams would put a bumper sticker or something else additional in the envelope. Was always disappointed that the large majority of teams would not respond, even when a stamp was only 8¢. Grew up in Ohio, and I got a Reds sched every year I wrote to them, but don’t think I ever got a single one from the Tribe.

    QOTW: I personally boycotted baseball for 2 decades (since the lost (partial) season of 1994. I had never been to any big league park besides Riverfront, and don’t ever recall going to a giveaway game (we usually went to the “businessmen special” games during the day, and I guess there was no need for giveaways for those.

    After 20 years, I went to Wrigley (long time dream come true) and watched the Cubbies and Dbacks on the 100th Birthday of the friendly confines on April 23 this year, and received a b-day cupcake and a Chicago Federals (the team who played 100 years prior to open the park) jersey. It took a major event/giveaway to get me back to a game after all that time. Well worth the trip to Chicago (from Columbus, Ohio).

  • StLMarty | June 12, 2014 at 10:50 am |

    I always liked when they gave away those free airplane bottles of Jim Beam in the 90’s.
    Wait a minute. I believe I brought those. Never mind.

    • just Joe | June 12, 2014 at 11:16 am |

      My college always seemed to schedule those on the days I went to games.

  • KSaw | June 12, 2014 at 11:19 am |

    Why would you not get to the ballpark 2 hours early all the time?

    • The Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 11:31 am |

      …because sitting in the stands for 2 hours when there’s nothing going on is boring? It’s not like it’s a movie theater or small venue concert where being the first in means you get better seats.

      • Jim Vilk | June 12, 2014 at 11:46 am |

        If they still let you watch batting practice, it’s worth going early. I used to love sitting in the outfield trying to catch a BP home run. Don’t know if you can still do that, because these days I’m lucky to get to the park by the first pitch.

  • Jim Vilk | June 12, 2014 at 11:21 am |

    Probably my favorite promotion was Camera Day, where they let you on the field to take photos of the players.

    Most giveaways I wasn’t fond of, because even as a kid I didn’t like the sponsor logos messing up the cap or shirt or whatever. I did like Bat Day, though, and another favorite was one of the oddest I received: a wind-up walking pierogi.

  • mike 2 | June 12, 2014 at 11:23 am |

    Assuming the Pine Barons promotion will involve shooting a Russian and burying him in a shallow grave in centre field?

    • DenverGregg | June 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm |


  • alex35332 | June 12, 2014 at 11:24 am |

    Not sure if this was put up here recently, great chart the Washington Post came up with of different world cup uniforms.

  • Daniel | June 12, 2014 at 11:31 am |

    Hope I didn’t miss this mentioned already, but here’s a nice short on the origin (and fate) of the old Mecca floor that Marquette and the Bucks shared:

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 11:36 am |

      In today’s Ticker!

      • Daniel | June 12, 2014 at 11:55 am |

        Dammit! Got to stop treating the Grab Bag like an optional footnote.

  • Brinke | June 12, 2014 at 11:39 am |

    Bench card is from 72–favorite design from Topps. Think I collected cards from 71 thru 76 or 77.

  • BvK1126 | June 12, 2014 at 11:58 am |

    I’ve never been to a game specifically because of a promotional giveaway. I usually go because of, you know, the game. But I was given an orange rally towel when I went to the Denver Broncos/Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game a couple of years ago, so that was pretty cool, I guess. It looks just like this. Who knew a cheap Terrible Towel ripoff could command upwards of $18 on ebay?

  • Mike Chamernik | June 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm |

    Good stuff everyone! I wish I were around for the days when teams would give out souvenir baseballs — the last NL game to be forfeited was in 1995 because Dodgers fans chucked their baseballs onto the field.

    • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm |

      That forfeit is always an “oh, yeah, that happened” moment with me. When modern-era forfeits come up, I always think of the AL incidents first, which all happened in the 1970s (the Senators finale, Ten Cent Beer Night, the Toronto Tarp Incident, and Disco Demolition Night). Then it’s like, “oh, yeah, the most recent forfeit was in the NL!”

      • walter | June 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm |

        Atlanta Braves Frisbee Night – I forgot the year.

    • Iain | June 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm |

      Google Toronto FC seat cushions. In the 5th game of their inaugural season Toronto finally scored their first goal. Thousands of promotional seat cushions were thrown onto the field in celebration.

  • Jeff | June 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm |

    The MECCA floor mentioned in the first item of today’s Grab Bag has long been my Uni Watch membership card design, thanks to special dispensation from Paul.

    • Eric Hodges | June 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm |

      I have been fascinated by and a fan for years of the Mecca’s floor and am glad it is finally getting the respect it is due.

      In this era of team-customized floors, it’s easy to forget how generic the floors were at many arenas.

  • Luke McCarnan | June 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm |

    It’s funny that the Rangers’ had a typo in their Miami mockery. “Recent wave in Texas causes AC to be turned [turned] off, forcing Miami player from game.” Well done.

    • Jim Vilk | June 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm |

      No apostrophe needed after “Rangers” in your sentence. Otherwise, well done. ;)

      (sorry…once a proofreader, always a proofreader)

  • Showing my age, already? | June 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm |

    Anyone else look at the membership card and say “Wait, didn’t Gil Hodges wear #14, mostly? And is that Dodger or Met blue?” before reading the caption?

  • DenverGregg | June 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm |

    I dislike the giveaways of paper objects (posters, calendars, etc.) as they tend to get soaked and ruined. T-shirts also aren’t so good once you get to be an exception to “one size fits all”.

    Caps are good. Got a few decent tote bags back in the 90s. Dollar hot dog night is always good (hence being too big for giveaway tees).

  • Cort | June 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm |


    Toronto Blue Jays Toque Day, September 1977. Blue Jays crest on front, Quaker Oats patch on back. Disappeared sometime in the mid-Eighties. I still miss that hat.

    • Rob S | June 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm |

      Hope that wasn’t the day of the Tarp Incident, where Earl Weaver pulled the Orioles off the field after getting ejected in the fifth for arguing over the condition of the bullpen tarps.

    • mike 2 | June 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm |

      I got a lot of giveaways at the Ex.

      I seem to recall a lot of toques, raincoats (sponsored by Shopsy’s), seat cushions, and other assorted things you needed to make a fall game at the Ex bearable.

  • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm |


    FAVORITE 1: Bobbleheads are my favorite giveaways. I have hundreds of bobbles (literally). I especially like the retro bobbleheads of former players. One of my favorites is the Dodgers bobblehead featuring Rick Monday saving the American flag (in Cubs light blue away and with a cloth flag).

    FAVORITE 2: While not a giveaway, I sort of collect ice cream helmets. I started as a kid when Baskin Robbins/31 Flavors used to have sundae helmets, but I’ve continued as an adult while travelling to MLB and MiLB games. The use of these has expanded to include larger nacho or french fry helmets as well. While primarily baseball, I do have a Phoenix Coyotes ice cream helmet as well.

    ODDEST 1: The Angels gave out nesting dolls (matryoshka dolls) several years ago and one night people (kids?) discovered that you could twist them and they’d squeak. The noise at the stadium was horrific. I got home and my wife said she could hear the noise on TV.$(KGrHqF,!oUE8Vws2sK!BPTV3+mBEg~~60_35.JPG

    ODDEST 2: I wasn’t at this game, but the Dodger had to forfeit a game in 1995 because fans threw giveaway baseballs onto the field. They give vouchers out for balls, bats, etc. nowadays to prevent this from re-occuring.

  • Chris Cruz | June 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm |

    Mike C – I know the online forms don’t have a place to ask for different pocket schedules but the Dodgers have, for at least a few years now, issued pocket schedules with different players on them. It may be worth sending the Dodgers an email or letter asking for the different varieties.

    On the same subject, if people emailed pocket schedules from their local MLB/MiLB teams, you could amass a ton of images for a big story.

  • Dumb Guy | June 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm |


    Redskins seat cushion day (1992) was a good one!

  • Mike Engle | June 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

    I’ve never really been a schedule collector, but when I lived in Montreal, I LOVED having a Habs pocket schedule. They were relatively easy to find at Couche-Tard dépanneurs. Why wait for a stupid smartphone action when you can whip out an analog schedule? I should ask for one in the mail, in future years…

  • MEANS | June 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm |

    QOTD- In 2005 the White Sox gave out “replica” World Series rings and they weren’t too cheap looking. I thought that was a pretty cool giveaway.

    • Mark in Shiga | June 13, 2014 at 10:31 am |

      I got a really nice replica giveaway Mets World Series ring in 1987. Thought it would be junk, but it turned out looking great.

  • Pedro | June 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm |

    QOTW – The Royals had great giveaways in the past before settling into a bobblehead/t-shirt rut the last 10 years. As a kid in elementary school in the 80’s my favorites were the annual August back to school Royals branded giveaway – a lunchbox, a backpack, a “briefcase” with a notepad, then for a few years there were binders with replica autographs of players up until 1990. The last really great giveaway I can remember was a sharp looking Royals wall clock in 1999.

  • Greg B. | June 12, 2014 at 3:03 pm |

    I have no reason to doubt Johnny Bench’s claim that he was the first to adopt wearing a batting helmet behind the plate. But the first one I remember seeing was Ed Hermann of the White Sox, who wore a hockey goalie style helmet and mask setup. This was in the era when the White Sox helmets were red, so I would guess it was the early 1970s.

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm |

      “Hockey goalie style”? In the early ’70s?

      • Greg B. | June 13, 2014 at 11:39 am |

        That’s my recollection. I looked and looked but can’t find a single picture of Ed Herrmann wearing it but I distinctly remember it because I had never seen anyone else wear anything like it. It may have been the Torborg/Sims style noted by others but I don’t think so. I think it was something he and the equipment guy for the White Sox at the time did up themselves. I remember it being red, and I *think* I remember it having a “Cooper” logo on it, which of course is a hockey equipment brand up here in Canada. I think that logo is why I remember it all these years later. When I first saw it, my reaction was, “Hey, he’s wearing a hockey helmet!”.

        Just wish there was a pic somewhere.

    • walter | June 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm |

      I seem to recall the trend to bulk up catcher’s face protection began with the plastic panel hanging from Steve Yeager’s mask, which was 1976-ish. Any goalie-style masks of the time would have resembled Vadislav Tretiak’s mask, which catcher’s masks sort of do, anyway.

  • Big Al | June 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm |

    Could Jeter’s hat band be white as a means of authenticating his gear for his final season?

  • Bob Dlotkowski | June 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm |

    I still have a Kitty Litter sponsored White Sox musical headband given away at Old Comiskey in 1984. Played ‘Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye.’ Cherished!

  • timmy b | June 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm |

    Had several nice items from giveaways, but the best one was an umbrella from a Pirates game in 1999 or thereabouts. It was sponsored by PNC Bank and this baby lasted me for years. A quirk of mine is that I hate umbrellas and I loaned the bugger to lots of people on rainy days and they really liked it. A few even offered to buy it off of me.

  • Charles Noerenberg | June 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

    I’m all in favor of Mike’s “no more sports team logos repurposed as other pop culture shit appearing in the ticker” initiative

  • lose rem | June 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm |

    I wouldn’t say the Werth Bobblehead is “real hair”. It’s a “hair-like substance” which isn’t part of the plastic bobblehead, which is cool. But “real hair” would be kind of creepy. And expensive.

  • superfly | June 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm |

    Thankfully, Brazil and Croatia have given FIFA and their stupid monochrome rules/suggestions the finger, and are in their first choice kits, which provide more than sufficient contrast.

  • DJ | June 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm |

    “Hockey goalie style”? In the early ’70s?

    What Hermann wore later in his White Sox career resembled a black hockey helmet — with the crown removed — with a contemporary red wire catcher’s mask attached. I’m going by memory here; a Google image search was fruitless.

  • Dave M | June 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm |

    Do you think that when MLB groundskeepers are vacuuming at home, they do so with a pattern into the carpet fibers similar to the Red Sox design shown above?

  • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • scott | June 12, 2014 at 10:53 pm |

      Is it definitive that Pete Rose forgot his game uniform when playing in the BP jersey in the 1979 All-Star Game?

  • Adam | June 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm |

    QOUW: My tenth birthday present was tickets to Yankee Stadium, to see the Yanks take on the Twins, on May 17th, 1998. David Wells pitched a perfect game that day. The giveaway that day was neither unique, spectacular, nor free of corporate creep — a Beanie Baby, a white bear with a red heart (since valentines day was….three months previous?) — but because of the perfect game, I suppose it’s a collector’s item, at least to me. It came with a little trading card with the date and a picture of the thing. I eventually framed the scorecard my dad kept, some of the ticket stubs, a picture of me and my name on the scoreboard (happy birthday to me!), and two of the beanie babies (my brother’s one made it into the frame too) with the trading cards. I have no idea if it’s worth anything, but I don’t care since it will be part of my collection forever.

  • Matt | June 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm |

    Mike, I collect pocket schedules too. I usually email the team’s ticket office for a few, telling them I’m a fan from out of town. This year, about 20 teams responded.

  • Anthony | June 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm |

    What’s that you say? Alan Kreit and I were seen doing lunch today in midtown Manhattan?

    Thanks, Alan! That was fun.

    • Paul Lukas | June 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm |

      Always good to hear about Uni Watch readers getting together.

  • Eddie | June 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm |

    My favorite giveaway is always Hat Day. Just something about that sponsor logoed adjustable hat that gets me to the ballpark. favorite one was a High Desert Mavericks (Adelanto, CA) “Stars & Stripes” hat from when 2002 or 2003.