By Phil Hecken
If you’ve been reading Uni Watch for the past couple months, you’ve (hopefully) noticed a new Saturday feature this year: “Classic Scoreboards,” which are the brainchild of Gary Chanko. When Gary approached me about doing this series over the summer, I was ecstatic, because aside from uniforms, there are two things I really enjoy about sports: old scoreboards and ballparks. (Longer-term readers probably remember I used to run a series called “Guess The Game From The Scorebard,” and I’ve covered some of the older stadia in columns past). So I was very psyched for Gary to bring these to us.
I had hoped to “properly” introduce the series with a lede, but with college football and the WFL design contest, I never really had the chance. Until today.
Rather than do a “Q & A” with Gary (as I normally do when I feature an artist or designer), I asked Gary a few questions about his project and then to just put it into his own words. So, today, I want to reintroduce you to Gary and have him describe this undertaking, and then he’ll kick us into the next phase of the project: old football scoreboards. So, without further ado, here’s Gary with…
Classic Football Scoreboards – First in a Series
by Gary Chanko
This week begins a new series of scoreboards covering classic college and pro football venues. The illustrations, similar to the recent classic ballpark series, will retain a minimalist theme and depict scoreboards from the decades before the jumbotron era.
But before moving to the first classic football scoreboard, I want to share a brief overview of how this series began and the process for creating the art work.
I’m a baseball fan with a long time, hardcore interest in ballparks of the past. Many months ago I came across a series of MLB ballpark illustrations that triggered my interest to create something similar. I had always planned something involving Connie Mack Stadium and that huge Ballentine Beer scoreboard that dominated right field.
So the classic scoreboard series began with Connie Mack Stadium, then Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and soon I had completed about six illustrations. After a couple of months of weekend postings and eighteen illustrations later I thought it was time to pause. But requests for classic football scoreboards started arriving…so the work continues.
The art is created as a digital vector graphic. This allows the graphic art to be resized without loss in image quality – important for printing poster sized prints. Each scoreboard illustration requires on average about 8 hours. Complex illustrations like Crosley Field, where the scoreboard is surrounded by advertisement billboards, takes considerably longer. All the advertisement graphics are hand created, a tedious task.
Add to the graphic creation time several hours for research and it all adds up to a few days work to reach the end product, but spread over about a week or so.
This week we start with a Bay Area classic, Kezar Stadium.
Home of: San Francisco 49ers (1946-1970); Oakland Raiders (1960)
Opened:1925; Demolished:1989; Reconstructed 1989-1990
Few, if any, stadiums, ballparks, or arenas could match Kezar Stadium’s resume for hosting such a wide array of sporting and entertainment events. The stadium was the home field for high school, college, and pro football teams. But during its life span it also hosted track, soccer, cricket, baseball, horse racing, auto and motorcycle racing, rugby, lacrosse, boxing and music legend concerts.
Kezar survived six decades without major renovation improvements and eventually fell into obsolescence. The manually operated scoreboard in the east end zone was modernized with matrix electronics (probably in the 60s), but was as minimal as the definition allows.
The illustration depicts that manual east end zone scoreboard on October 24,1954 as the 49ers improved their record to 4-0-1 with a 37-31 victory over the Detroit Lions.
A Few Things to Know
• The “Yards To Go” indicator was manually operated. The scoreboard operator had only an end zone view of the field, so there had to have been direct communications with a spotter along the sidelines. Changing this display on every down must have been an exhausting effort for that operator.
• The analog time clock seems almost comical compared to today’s technology. Back then the scoreboard clock wasn’t the official game time.That rule wasn’t changed until the NFL-AFL merger. The AFL had already adopted the field clock as the official game time in 1962.
• Although Harry Callahan’s Kezar Stadium caper was never displayed on the scoreboard, the final score would have been shown as Harry 1 – Scorpio 0.
• Bob St. Clair, 49ers legendary Hall of Fame OT, could claim a special relationship with Kezar’s scoreboard. He played nearly every home football game in high school, college, and the pros in Kezar Stadium.
• They probably couldn’t see the scoreboard all that well, but the game admission tickets were pretty cheap.
Next time we’ll head over across the San Francisco Bay and visit Memorial Stadium on the campus of Cal Berkeley.
Thanks Gary — you can see the entire set of images for Gary’s “Classic Scoreboards” here. Great, great stuff — and I’m very much looking forward to the gamut of the football scoreboards to come!
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
You can see Gary’s Classic Scoreboards on every Saturday Uni Watch, usually just below the lede. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
It’s beginning to look a lot like…
…Xmas Jersey Time.
Yesterday, the NBA unveiled the Christmas Day jerseys which will be worn by the 10 clubs playing that day. Three things immediately are evident: 1) they’re sleeveless; 2) they look a LOT like the current jersey, save for a logo swap, and 3) FNOB (First Name On Back):
Of course, if you read Uni Watch with any regularity, this isn’t news. Paul broke this story back in mid-July — but we’re just seeing the actual “product” now. Anyway…
Not only do the new jerseys feature the player’s first name (above is an example of the Wizards’ John Wall), but those names are placed in an off-color nameplate beneath the number (further freeing up space for ads in the future?).
Here’s a look at those more of these templated wonders:
The “Christmas” jersey isn’t new for the NBA (they’ve had them for the past several years), with last year bringing about the disastrous sleeved things that looked like $150 t-shirts. This year, thankfully, they are back to tank tops. But they’re not much of an improvement over the sleeved gems of 2013.
As noted above, they’ll have FNOB placed under the number (outlined in a contrasting color nameplate). Reader Michael Kann thinks the Bulls jerseys “are horrible, at least to my eye. Team logo on the front and player first name on the back, outlined in a reverse white box and below the number? Just awkward. Feels almost like a Chinese b-ball Jersey.” The NBA store has more (h/t Russ Flynn). Want to see more? There’s a giant gallery here.
Of course, it didn’t take long before the photoshoppers had a bit of fun with the D-Rose version:
My take? Meh. I don’t watch the NBA on Christmas Day (any TV I do watch is devoted to You’ll shoot your eye out, kid), and I don’t wear any NBA paraphernalia, so I’m clearly not in the demo the NBA is shooting for anyway — but at least they don’t have sleeves or ads, so that’s good, right?
What say you?
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Week 11 — Part II (click to enlarge):
U.W.F.F.L. News — Division II Games
By Rob Holecko
It’s time for Week 9 of the UWFFL Season.
The races are heating up in the Division II Conferences and there are some big matchups on tap today. In the Eastern Association, the Brooklyn Mariners travel to Connecticut to take on the Convicts and the Swisshelm Express are in Montreal to battle the Machine. Raleigh takes on Charleston and Carolina faces Greenville in the Metro South, while Duluth, Dallas and Rapid City are in action in the Central League, and Colorado at British Columbia and Sacramento at Salt Lake City are among the big games in the Pacific Coast Conference.
But today’s headline match-up comes to us out of the Eastern Association as the very meta Brooklyn Uni Watchers take on the Staten Island Swordfish in a game that is sure to have no small impact on these teams’ playoff chances.
The Swordfish are channeling their inner Seattle Seahawks and debuting a gray alternate jersey this week, and of course you all know about the Uni Watchers – they are the quasi-official representatives of this website and the study of athletic aesthetics in general and stand for all that is right in the universe of sports uniforms. They metaphorically rebel against all forms of evil in the UWFFL, whether it be the color purple, corporate douchebaggery or military camo. (The Uni Watchers are not officially endorsed by this site, Paul Lukas, Phil Hecken or anybody else, but we’d like to think that if Paul Lukas did have a favorite UWFFL team, it’d naturally be the Uni Watchers.)
This season the Uni Watchers are unofficially wearing the official Uni Watch 15th Anniversary Patch, which I’m sure you’re familiar with if you read this site regularly.
That’s all for today, head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on the rest of today’s games. Next week we’ll have a rundown of the Division II standings as the playoff chase heats up, and we’ll be back tomorrow with Premier League & La Lega action.
for the Ticker
Got a couple e-mails from Jimmy Corcoran, who you may remember is the son of King Corcoran, the former quarterback of the Philadelphia Bell of the WFL. The e-mail(s) he’s shared (and which I’ve shared with you guys) are great, and a wealth of information. Once again, it’s just Too Good For The Ticker:
How are you Phil, I saw this photo of my father on ebay today, I don’t even remember him being this young?
He wore number 7 when he was with the New York Jets and there is a story with the King and the number he hated the most of all number 7. He wore 12 his freshmen year at Maryland and then switched to 15. Growing up Irish Catholic it was his goal in life to play football at Notre Dame but Notre Dame didn’t recruit him, for the rest of his life he hated Notre Dame with a passion. John Huarte wore number 7 while at Notre Dame and the King was always jealous because he thought that should be him. Considering Notre Dame never even called him for a visit I’m not sure why he felt this way, but he always lived in his own world.
When my father got to the NY Jets they issued him jersey number 7, John Huarte’s old number from when he was with the Jets a couple of years earlier, he went to the equipment guy and said, I can’t wear this, I hate number 7 and am not going to wear Huarte’s old jersey, what other number do you have for the King? He was told he was a free agent and wasn’t even on the roster yet, he would wear the jersey they issued him. After being cut by the Jets the King resurfaced with the Patriots where he would wear number 15 again but was cut after the 1968 season. This is when he arrived in Pottstown and would wear the number that would become part of his identity number 9. Something about that number just clicked with him and he became King9, it was on his license plate, on his robe all his workout clothes had number 9 on it, for some reason he said the number brought him good luck.
In 1971 he would get one last shot at making it in the NFL when he went to camp with the Eagles, the King was always very confident and was telling my friends they would be watching him on TV playing against the Redskins, he thought he would have no problem beating out Pete Liske and Rick Arrington, he felt he had a stronger arm and a quicker release. Of course this didn’t happen and being the self destructive guy he was he showed up to camp with his Lincoln with the bull horn, and his white alligator shoes and decided to even bring his own PR man with him. After a couple of days there he managed to wear out his welcome with just about everyone except Tim Rossovich who was a friend of his and would play on the Bell with him. But the King got a big surprise on the day of his first practice, in his locker was the dreaded number 7 and like the Jets the Eagles would not issue him another number, a WR was already wearing number 9. My father even said I’m done! they gave me number 7, I can’t play in that number it is bad luck. I know it sounds crazy but he was never playing with a full deck, my mother once sent him to the store for hot dog rolls and he came home three days later.
Well the Eagles cut him and that was the end of his NFL dream, he played in Montreal of the CFL where he wore number 10, he wasn’t there long enough to decide if he liked that number or not. Then came the WFL and the Philadelphia Bell in 1974, this is where he played his best football and led the league in TD passes. He got to wear number 9 again and the best game he ever had was against John Huarte and the Memphis Southmen beating them 46-15 and throwing four TD passes and earning WFL player of the week. For some players it makes no difference what number they wore, they could care less, for some reason it was important to my father and it was ironic that the number he hated most of all number 7 was the one that was issued to him with the Jets and Eagles.
But Jimmy wasn’t done — he followed that up with this gem:
Yesterday I sent you a Topps picture of my father that was never produced into a football card. One of my majors in college was graphic art, I designed a 1968 Topps card to go with the picture and it came out pretty good even if the King was wearing number 7!
I read the stories on Uni Watch and really enjoy them, people contact me all the time to tell me how much they liked the stories I told in the NFL Films movies. I figured I would share some stories that most people would never get to hear, some are pretty funny and others show how childish my father would act sometimes. In the summer of 1975 we were laying out in the backyard by our pool in Maryland, the King’s life was perfect, he had the silver reflector under his face to maximize getting tan and his 8 Track was blasting the Disco music that he loved. He said to me “I don’t want to go to camp next week” Philadelphia Bell camp would start in one week. I said, I thought you loved playing football?
He said “I have been doing this for 10 years now, when I had no car and no money I couldn’t wait to get to Jets camp and have Weeb Eubank scream at me, I wanted a town house and a car and this is how I was going to do it. I still love playing but my body’s tired and beat up” He really had to drag himself to that last WFL camp in 1975, and he wasn’t in good shape, I don’t think Disco dancing all summer really gets you ready to play football!
Great stuff Jimmy — thanks so much for sharing!
OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Former (early 80s) Chicago mayor Jane Byrne passed away yesterday, and “this photo from the Chicago Tribune from her tenure (thinking 1982/3-ish?) is a chestnut for you guys, from a uniform vote process the White Sox held, with her’s as the first vote,” writes Tim Hanlon. “Don’t know which design she chose — suspect some of your Chicago-based readers/fans will know?” That was also sent in (a bit larger) by Joe Drennan (and others). … Here’s a look a one (of what will surely be many) new baseball uniforms for Maryland (looks nice — if you’re into color pullovers). … Oooohhh — check out this amazing photo of Babe Ruth (of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938), colorized by Bruce Menard (with the 1939 Worlds Fair patch). Ruth was a first base coach that season.
NFL News: NFL Owner uni watching: Stephen Ross has an unusual spot for his initials to be monogrammed on his shirts as seen after the Thursday night win over Buffalo. Says submitter Preston Feiler, “I have seen men do this on the cuff of the shirt. I have see others do it on the shirt pocket. But in the middle of the front panel? This is a new one for me.” … UW reader Johnny Okray didn’t know if this was mentioned, but Lance Briggs had some serious decal issues vs Green Bay Sunday. Johnny also wants to know if the Calgary Gators have permission to use their “Greatness” logo. … I guess this is news, considering their penchant for wearing mono-black, but the Saints will go gold/black/gold tomorrow. … “Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt tweeted this out,” says Eric Wright. “Looks like ESPN thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick still plays for the Titans (and that we’re still celebrating our 15th season as the Titans!)” … Matt Bryce notes, “From (Thursday) night — Tannehill is clearly violating the NFL’s footwear policy banning all non Nike or UA logos…no?” … Here’s an article on the indigenous art behind the Seahawks’ helmet (thanks Todd Gaines). … When copy editors go on break: TKTKTK. Cue the “State of Journalism is in the terlet” jokes.
College Football News: Eastern Washington University (they of that awful red field) will be debuting white helmets next weekend versus Portland State (thanks to Bart Mihailovich). … Oops. Not quite as bad as the Patriots’ mistake, but someone is probably going to get shit-canned for that (nice grab by Andrew Lawrence). … It’s probably going to be pretty cold in Arkansas today, so LSU is prepared. … ICYMI, Maryland will be going
Black Ops all black today vs. MSU in a B1G matchup. … UA “releases special @ToledoFB uniform to honor local heroes for our rivalry game” (thanks to Bryan). … The NYT ran another investigative piece about the preferential treatment that Tallahassee law enforcement personnel give to FSU players. When the NYT tweeted the link, somebody at FSU created an organized campaign to have the tweeted link classified as spam (thanks, Paul). … Or was it? … Virginia Tech going maroon/white/maroon today vs. Duke.
NBA News: Here’s a pretty interesting article on how Dirk Nowitzki became number “41” and why he didn’t want to change it when he could have. … Have we read enough articles on whether or not jersey ads are coming? Well, here’s one more, anyway. … Last night, the Suns and the Hornets played a game in Phoenix that made Jim Vilk happy, as color vs. color should look. … The Nuggets and Pacers also went color vs. color, but it paled in comparison (see what I did there?).
Hockey News: Pat Kaleta, member of the Sabres, has his helmet set up with jaw protection and a tinted visor — interesting! (via Sully). … The Iowa Wild will be celebrating G.I. Joevember this weekend. … Winter Classic? It appears the Avalanche are likely to host an outdoor game at Coors Field next season — probably as one of those “Stadium Series” games that the NHL had last year (but not as the New Year’s Day game). … Here’s a look at the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend patch (from Sean McLaughlin). The Penguins also had stickers on their helmets. Here’s the patch on the jersey in action. The Refs and the Pens opponents, the Maple Leafs, had them too (more pics here).
Soccer News: On Thursday we got our first look at the new NYCFC jerseys — but did we get a close up of the number fonts? Looks like the new number fonts will have the new MLS badge (thanks to NY is Blue). … We had coverage of this last week, but Orlando City SC introduced their inaugural unis (with great pics) last week. Club site is here. Reader Daniel Britt wanted to make sure this wasn’t missed. … FC Dallas has hopped on the league-wide bandwagon honoring fans on jerseys.
College Hoops News: Butler University basketball (@ButlerMBB) has a new template this year, with bigger names on back (thanks, Derek Cole). … The NCAA season opened last night, and both Rick and Richard Pitino were featured earlier yesterday wearing warm-up jackets with special logos for the Armed Forces Classic game in Puerto Rico (via Mike Menner). … The Manhattan College Jaspers have a new look after switching from Adidas to Under Armour (thanks to Christian Hanna). … The Aggies have updated uniforms. They have scrapped the template that the USA Basketball team wore in the 2012 Olympics, writes Brian Watts. Here’s the old (2012-14) uniform, and these are the new 2014-15 uniforms. … Eastern Kentucky University has a new floor (from Brett Miller). … Tennessee Basketball honored former Navy Football player & Tennessee native Will McKamey who passed away last spring, on their warmups, here’s another shot (from Jason Yellin). … The Minnesota Gophers had special G.I. Joevember getups for the Armed Forces Classic, as did Louisville. Predictably, the game looked like shit. And Louisville’s jerseys said Semper Paratus (USCG slogan) for NOBs (h/t to CJ Fogler). Their pants stripes were supposed to mimic the Coast Guard logo. … The VCU Rams broke out some gray unis last night vs. Tennessee resulting in a color vs. lack-of-color game. … Southeastern Louisiana wore throwback warmups last night (via Will Radtke). … New navy uniforms for St. John’s last night (h/t Johnny TBird). … Loyola Marymount has new uniforms. A gallery can be found here (thanks to Dennis Ittner).
Grab Bag: Nike Football vice president and creative director, Martin Lotti, had a lot to say about design and the future of shoes in a Wall Street Journal interview (thanks to Tommy Turner). … Reader Tom Konecny noticed Paul mentioned the Lady Vols situation in Wednesday’s ticker, and thinks it would make a great, full-scale column for Paul one of these days. He adds, “I briefly touched upon uniforms in my humble, unnoticed blog — https://dadmarketing.wordpress.com/.” … This comes from The Onion, so it’s a goof, but Ben Fortney found this: “Florida State Coaches Award Helmet Sticker To Tallahassee Police Officer.” Says Ben, “That’s definitely an NYPD officer though.” … WOW! MLive Ann Arbor just posted a ton of historical pictures from Michigan Athletics over the years, which features a lot great uni shots” (big thanks to David Poupard).
And that’s going to do it for today — big thanks to Gary, and also Alex & Rob for their contributions as well, plus all of those of you who tweeted at me and sent in ticker contributions. Back with more stuff tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I blame Susan St. James and that 49ers jersey on “McMillan and Wife”. And Mary Tyler Moore, washing her car in Fran Tarkenton’s number 10. You whippersnappers won’t get those references, but of us whose formative years were spent in the 1970s will understand the awesome wonder of a woman in an oversized athletic jersey.”
— Cort McMurray