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Nine days ago, when I was still on my August break from the site, there was a one-sentence Ticker item that I think deserves a closer look, so that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
The Ticker item was a link to this short video clip from 1968, which is actually an excerpt from a larger clip (more on that later). It’s only 58 seconds long, so please take a look at it before reading further.
A few thoughts on the video:
• The narrator is clearly ABC Sports broadcaster Chris Schenkel.
• The office building shown near the beginning of the video has a sign for the Celanese Corporation, which is a big Fortune 500 company. They have lots of patents relating to fabrics (look here and here, for example), but I’ve never heard their name used in connection to uniforms before.
• The money shot is the view of Cardinals then-manager Red Schoendienst looking at some uniform mock-ups (see screen shot above), which were apparently prepared by the Celenese crew. Despite the less-than-optimal image quality, we can see several eyebrow-raising elements here. For starters, these uniforms anticipated the move toward the low-cuffed look. Also, the jersey appears to be a vest.
But the most intriguing thing is what’s missing — it looks like there’s no belt! Was this designed to be a one-piece uni, sort of like a baseball version of overalls?
I showed these mock-ups to Brian Finch, who runs the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. He said he’d never seen them before (although he joked, “It appears that we used those styles in 1999 — in the Turn Ahead the Clock game!”). When Brian is stumped on something Cards-related, you know it’s seriously obscure.
I contacted Celanese’s media desk yesterday to see if they had more info on this project. The reply: “I’m sorry, but we do not have any information on this. Celanese moved away from the textiles industry many years ago and our business has evolved to a different product line with our acetate fibers business.” Dang. I’d still like to know more. If anyone has any info on this, please speak up. Thanks.
Meanwhile, I was able to find the original film that the 58-second clip was taken from. It’s a nine-minute promotional piece called Sports in Action, and it includes short segments on the changing aesthetics of auto racing, football, golf, tennis, boating, and swimsuits. Unfortunately, none of those other segments has anything as interesting as the Cardinals mock-ups, but the film is still a fun document. You can check it out here.
(Big thanks to Todd Abramson, who first submitted the 58-second clip, and to Bill Morrow, who provided the full nine-minute film.)
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By Brinke Guthrie
With the NFL season kicking off, we’re all NFL this week, beginning with this Jets turtleneck. I remember these from the Sears catalog (I think I had a Bengals version with black sleeves), but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one on eBay.
Continuing with our NFL theme:
• I’ve seen a ton of vintage Bengals merch in my day — I haven’t missed much — but this 1970s “Pride of Cincinnati” helmet plaque is a first, and I bet I know why. This absolutely looks like it was carved out from a Hudepohl Beer display. (Update: I was right! Thanks to Michael Neuhaus for the confirmation.) This one is more familiar, and this one has terrible lettering. And then there’s this Technigraph gem.
• This is a tremendous auction: a collection of 65 NFL media guides from the 1960s through the 1990s. Hit the arrow on the auction images to scroll through all the artwork.
• Ha! Look at the goalposts on top of this vintage 1970s Patriots alarm clock.
• Here are three 1970s NFL board games I’ve never seen!
• Here’s a 1970s 49ers gumball-style helmet buggy still on the card, though it’s been opened.
• He might not be wearing a Steelers uni, but by golly that’s Lynn Swann at lower-right on the cover of this 1979 Mattel Intellivision video game cartridge from Sears. The illo is based on this photo.
• Terrific artwork on this 1968 “This Is the NFL” schedule booklet.
Membership update: Some new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Pete Harwan’s 1980 Phillies treatment, shown at right. I’ve always found the “1” in that Phillies number font to be odd-looking — such a big serif at the top, like Pinocchio’s nose!
People are always telling me how they’ve “been meaning to sign up for a membership” and will “get around to it one of these days.” Now that I’m back from my annual August break, allow me to suggest that there’s no time like the present.
And hey, while I have you here, I only have a handful of Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches left. If you want one, better move fast.
Baseball News: You knew this was coming: The Yankees will be wearing Derek Jeter patches on their caps and jerseys from this Sunday through the end of the season. This is similar to what they did for Mariano Rivera last year, and a handful of teams have done similar things for their retiring stars (the Braves for Chipper Jones, the Orioles for Cal Ripken Jr.), but I still think it’s unseemly and inappropriate to wear a patch for an active player, and even more so for Jeter to wear a patch honoring himself. … Absolutely spectacular work by Cork Gaines, who’s chronicled some of the surprising ways in which MLB’s replay system has essentially become a big Samsung advertising campaign. ”¦ The Mets will wear orange Los Mets jerseys on Sept. 12. ”¦ Lots of MLBers wore “Strike Out Cancer” T-shirts during BP yesterday. Some additional examples here. It’s not clear to me why cancer struck out looking instead of swinging, but I guess the T-shirts have a great curveball. ”¦ The Columbus Clippers wore flag costumes for their regular season finale on Sept. 1 (from Leo Strawn Jr.). ”¦ “In what some might consider a refreshing alternative to all the branding that’s normally part of postgame press conferences, Rays manager Joe Maddon has been wearing a different charity’s T-shirt at each presser and then featuring them on his Twitter feed,” reports Clint Wrede. “He just solicited more T-shirts to finish out the season.”
NFL News: Here’s a story on Eagles throwback jerseys (from Jim Dornberger). ”¦ Good two-part overview of the Panthers’ uniform history here and here (from Scott Moody). … Dave Dragonette DIY’d himself a Giants motorcycle helmet. “The decals are all Scotchlite, so the pictures flare a bit, but the colors are true in natural light: metal flake blue, red stripe, white letters and numbers,” he says. “I’d love to make it more realistic and would welcome any suggestions you or your readers may have, especially locating the additional stickers for the rear of the helmet.” What say ye, people? … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The Browns are letting fans vote on the team’s end zone design (from Tony C.). ”¦ Check out this Campbell’s Soup ad featuring Kiko Alonso of the Bills. He’s never actually worn that collar style on the field (from Tom Migliaccio). ”¦ Several readers have noted that the new Madden game mistakenly shows the Patriots’ jerseys with silver side piping instead of the proper red.
College Football News: Western Michigan is using cowboy hat merit decals to honor former coach Bill Doolittle (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: “Paul Rogers, the play-by-play guy for the University of Louisville, was on a local radio show,” says Brian D. “One interesting story he shared was that his cousin is Rogers Redding, the National Coordinator of Football Officials. He said they recently had dinner together and discussed uniforms. Mr. Redding told him he gets shipments of all the uniforms to check to make sure the numbers are legible. His method for testing is he puts a uniform on his wife and has her go stand out in their yard. If he can read the number from 30 to 40 yards away, it’s okay.” ”¦ Temple has added a memorial helmet decal for donor Lewis Katz (thanks, Phil). ”¦ You already knew that the college football uni scene is a bit out of hand, but here’s a really good piece on the current state of affairs. Recommended reading (Phil again). ”¦ Here’s an article about the College at Brockport’s new uniforms. … UNC will wear blue over black this Saturday. … Important change to Wisconsin’s jerseys that I hadn’t previously noted: no more TV numbers (from Alex Bauer). ”¦ In a related item, Louisiana-Lafayette’s new unis have, among other things, traded in the TV numbers for fleur de lis (from Tom M.). ”¦ Fresno State will wear white-white-gray on Saturday (from Jared Buccola).
Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The Penguins are scaling new heights in chutzpah by soliciting orders for their new third jersey even though it won’t be unveiled until Sept. 19. Icethetics says it will be mostly gold.
Soccer News: SC Bastia had to wear its opponent’s practice jerseys for a recent match (from Trevor Williams). … Here’s the inaugural uni set for the USL’s new team, the Tulsa Roughnecks. ”¦ Here are some Bayern Munich players in traditional Oktoberfest garb (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ The USA’s kit colors and numbers have been assigned for the game against the Czech Republic (from webmaster John Ekdahl). ”¦ “In 1995-1996, Italian Serie A team Lazio had Banca di Roma as their shirt sponsor,” says Graham Clayton. “Roma happens to be their closest and most fiercest Serie A rival. It must be the only occasion when a team has a shirt sponsor which features the name of a rival team.”
Grab Bag: New “signature jerseys,” whatever that means, for the Edmonton Eskimos (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Speaking of the CFL, lots of negative reaction to the gun logo on the new Calgary Stampeders jerseys. … The Gaelic football teams Donegal GAA and and Kerry will both be able to wear their traditional colors for an upcoming match. ”¦ Interesting article, written by a Navy enlistee, on the increasing tendancy of military service members to wear their uniforms in non-military settings in order to get stuff for free. … For those of us who love design — which means pretty much everyone who reads this website — nature offers few better examples of design excellence than a spider’s web. … “I’m shamefully late to discovering PBS’s excellent The Mind of a Chef and spent the holiday weekend getting caught up on Season One,” says Markus Kamp. “In episode three, master chef David Chang goes golfing with hip-hop producer extraordinaire Dan the Automator, with both of them attired in some tasty knickers, fully bloused.” … Love this original style guide for WABC Channel 7’s logo (big thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Nice little appreciation of white sneakers. … Walmart employees aren’t thrilled about the company’s new dress code. … Phil does not approve of Roger Federer’s shoe/sock pairing. ”¦ Good piece on what might happen to the Union Jack if Scotland votes for independence (from Mike Thompson). ”¦ Despite all the high-tech synthetic fabrics out there, wool is making a comeback (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Hmmm, what does this U.S. Open ballboy have under his shirt? (Screen shot by Chris Perrenot.)
What Paul did last night: A retrospective of the great documentary filmmaker Les Blank began last night in my neighborhood. Blank made dozens of films during his career but I’ve only see a couple of them, so last night I went and check out the first installment of the program, which consisted of two early-1970s films about the Cajun culture of southwestern Louisiana — Dry Wood and Spend It All, both of which feature tons of great zydeco music performances, hog butchery, cooking, fishing, eating, drinking, and general exuberance. Here are the trailers:
If you like the looks of those, Dry Wood is available in its entirety here.