Well We're Comin' ... To Your City

moving map

By Phil Hecken

We all know that sports, moreso now than ever, is a business. And an unfortunate part of that business, at least for the fans of the city losing a team, is the loss of civic pride, an identity…a way of life in some cases. That’s a topic I’d like to explore in some depth — but not today.

Today, we are going to take a look a a slightly different side of relocation — as envisioned by Alan Filipczak (with an assist from our friend Chris Creamer, as you’ll see below) — teams who eventually moved to cities in which they played as a future franchise. There are surprisingly few (many?) examples of this, and Alan will take a look at the matchups of future past. Confused? Don’t be, here’s Alan to explain the …

. . . . . . . . . .

Cities of the Future
By Alan Filipczak

Recently, Chris Creamer tweeted that he had come across a 1979 NHL game in which the Quebec Nordiques traveled to Denver to play the Colorado Rockies. Creamer observed that this was an instance of a team playing in a city where they would eventually relocate to””in this case, when the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Creamer then issued another tweet asking followers if they could think of other examples of this phenomenon. The results were bare, and for good reason. As far as I can tell, Quebec @ Colorado (this happened several times) is the only occurrence in the NHL.

This prompted me to brainstorm other occurrences of this unique situation in the other major North American sports organizations””MLB, the NBA, and the NFL. Some were obvious (Raiders @ Rams) but others took a little digging. Counting the Nordiques/Rockies combo, I was able to find 11 instances of a team playing at least one game in a city where they would eventually move to. To add a little uni-related fun, I also tried to discern what uniforms would’ve likely been worn during the most recent game in which the to-be-moved franchise traveled to their future city.

Disclaimers:

 · I did not count exhibition or neutral site games.

 · I’m looking at relocation rather than absorption””for instance; I didn’t count Cleveland Barons @ Minnesota North Stars.

 · I don’t count the New Jersey Nets @ New York Knicks because Brooklyn (rather than ”˜New York’) was specifically chosen as primary identifier.

. . .

Major League Baseball

Believe it or not, there is only one occurrence of this happening in the American or National Leagues. If interleague play had been around at the turn of the century, the list would be greater, with potential early matchups such as Boston Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles @ New York Giants. The Montreal Expos and Washington Senators (version 2.0) coexisted for three years, but they were never good enough to meet up the World Series. Additionally, the major baseball leagues have had remarkably little relocation over the years””at least relative to other sports leagues. When big league clubs were moving westward in the 50s and 60s, it was a new frontier for the AL and NL.

St. Louis Browns @ Baltimore Orioles

image 1

This is the Baltimore Orioles team that would move to New York in 1903 to become the Highlanders and then the Yankees. The final time that the St. Louis Browns traveled to Baltimore was Tuesday, August 19, 1902; the 100th game of the Browns’ season. The Browns beat the Orioles 11-4. Not only were the Browns playing in the city they would move to in 1954, their opponent had a nickname that they would eventually take on. The image above shows the uniforms that were likely to have been worn on that day.

. . .

National Basketball League

Syracuse Nationals @ Philadelphia Warriors

Images 2 & 3

These two early-NBA stalwarts met up numerous times, including a 5-game divisional semifinal series in 1962 that pitted all-time greats Dolph Schayes and Wilt Chamberlain against each other. The final game of that series was the last time that Syracuse would travel to play in Philadelphia. After the season, the Warriors moved to the west coast and the Nats rushed to fill the Philly void””renaming themselves the 76ers.

~~~

Buffalo Braves @ San Diego Rockets

Images 4 & 5

Before they blasted off to Houston following the 1970-1971 NBA season, the San Diego Rockets played host to the Buffalo Braves in several inter-conference games. While it is hard to know for certain what the players wore on March 9, 1971, these photos are my best guess.

~~~

San Diego Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers

Images 6 & 7

The Braves/Clippers franchise has the distinction of being the only team in major sports leagues to play against two of their future cities. These Pacific Division rivals met up many times in the six years that the Clippers spent in San Diego. The last time the Clippers traveled to play the Lakers before bolting for LA was March 25, 1984, a game that would feature a young Terry Cummings and a not-so-young Bill Walton trying to hold their own against the 1980s Lakers juggernaut.

~~~

Seattle SuperSonics @ New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

image 8

When Hurricane Katrina displaced the New Orleans Hornets, the team played the majority of their 2006-2007 “home” games at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. While this may have been a very temporary arrangement, the official place designator of the Hornets that year is “New Orleans/Oklahoma City.” They even made Oklahoma City Hornets jerseys. The final time that the Sonics traveled to Oklahoma City before moving there was April 4, 2007. For this game, we have actual photos to prove what uniforms were worn. It is certainly bizarre to see Nick Collison playing an away game in Oklahoma City.

. . .

National Football League

Decatur Staleys @ Chicago Cardinals

image 9

The one year in which the (then) American Professional Football Association had a team in Decatur was 1920. Before the Staleys relocated, Coach George Halas took his team on a few road trips to play the Chicago Cardinals. The last of these meetings was on December 5 of that year. I do not know for certain what uniforms may have been worn on that day, but the images above are my best assumption. Perhaps Uni Watchers would know for sure.

~~~

Boston Yanks @ New York Giants

image 10

The Boston Yanks (soon to be New York Bulldogs) last traveled to the Polo Grounds on November 28, 1948. The uniform combination in this game is something of a mystery to me, but it looks like there was a decent chance that it was a color-on-color matchup. Unless the Yanks wore white on the road, it would’ve been green-on-red or green-on-blue. Anybody know the answer?

~~~

Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams

Images 11 & 12

Here’s a pair that met up a handful of times during the seventies. The final trip that Oakland made to Los Angeles prior to their move was the 1979 season opener. In the first game of his last season with the Raiders, Ken Stabler and company beat up on Pat Haden and the Rams. In this game, the Rams wore white at home.

~~~

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Colts

Images 13 & 14

While the Colts didn’t pack up the Mayflower trucks until 1984, the final time that the Browns traveled to Baltimore to face the Colts was November 9, 1980. In that game, Ozzie Newsome (playing in his future city) and the Browns held off a comeback attempt by Bert Jones and the Baltimore Colts. The Colts chose to wear white at home for this game.

~~~

Los Angeles Rams @ St. Louis Cardinals

rams vs cards

These two teams faced off many times between 1960 and 1988””when the Cardinals moved to the desert. The last time the Rams played in St. Louis before moving there in 1995 was November 15, 1987. Neil Lomax and the Cards fell at the feet of Jim Everett and the Rams. Now, these two teams face each other twice a year””though both play in different cities.

. . .

Hockey

As previously stated, there is only one combination of teams (Quebec Nordiques @ Colorado Rockies) that played future-city matchups in the NHL. The final time the Nordiques traveled to Denver was on Groundhog Day in 1982. Part of the reason that there aren’t more examples in the NHL is because much of the relocation that has occurred has been to new markets (Dallas, Phoenix, Carolina) on the NHL’s frontier. Also, there is a single team in larger cities like Los Angeles and Chicago.

I’m not including WHA matchups, but it is worth mentioning that the Winnipeg Jets played several games against the Phoenix Roadrunners in the seventies. Several years after the Jets had settled into the NHL, they were relocated to become the Coyotes. The last time that Winnipeg traveled to Phoenix was March 5, 1977. Here are what the uniforms (home and road) looked like for each of those two teams that year.

Images 17 & 18

. . .

Those are the eleven examples that I could find in the Big Four. It’s surprising that there are so few, but generally there has to be one of two factors at play: two teams in the same league both relocate within relatively short time periods; or a soon-to-relocate team plays a team in a market large enough to accommodate another franchise.

It was a fun and informative little project. Thanks for reading. If you have any insights or corrections regarding uniforms, please post in the comments.

. . . . . . . . . .

Thanks, Alan! Great stuff, and a fun project.

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classic scoreboards splashClassic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

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Classic Football Scoreboards – Fifth in a Series
by Gary Chanko

If you’ve been following this series, you know about the left coast’s football stadium building boom during the 1920s. The East coast was also busy with new stadium construction, notably South Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium.

Philadelphia Municipal Stadium

Phila Municipal Stadium UW

Home of: Philadelphia Eagles (1936-39, 1941), Philadelphia Bell (1974), Annual Army-Navy Game (1939-1980), Liberty Bowl (1959-1963)
Opened:1926; Demolished: 1992

Originally this 102,000-seat brick oval was named Philadelphia Municipal Stadium. It was also known as Sesquicentennial Stadium, named in honor of the Sesquicentennial Exposition (the nation’s 150th anniversary) for which it was constructed. And lastly it was renamed JFK Stadium in 1964.

Although best known as a football stadium (think Army-Navy games), during its six decade history Municipal Stadium was an important venue for many historic boxing matches. It hosted everything from auto races to rock concerts.

During the stadium’s early years there were two scoreboards, located opposite each other at the open end of the horseshoe configuration and installed atop the large rectangular columns. The scoreboard in the illustration depicts the setup for the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1930s.

A Few Things to Know

• The scoreboard appears to be identical to that installed at Columbia University’s Baker Field. Designer and fabricator is unknown.

• The scoreboard design featured a novel ball locator along the bottom. I wonder how useful this was, particularly if you seated near the opposite end zone.

• The stadium served as a concert venue during its final thirteen years.

• The biggest live crowd in boxing history, 120,000 plus, saw Jack Dempsey lose his world heavyweight title to Gene Tunney on Sept. 23, 1926.

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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.

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Duck Tracker

Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom.

The Ducks made it to the first ever Playoff game in NCAA history, absolutely taking the Florida State Seminoles behind the woodshed. So, as fate would have it, this will be Tim’s penultimate “Duck Tracker” for this year, since they have a bit of business to take care of on Monday, January 12, with The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here’s this weeks costume (click to enlarge):

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Ducks_2014_G_14

Here’s Tim:

In what can only be described as a slobber-knocking, The Quackers of Eugene demolished the Seminoles of Tallahassee. Oregon looked great in an all-Fighting Duck green look. The shoulder Ducks and Traditional O helmets were nice touches on a nearly perfect bowl look.

Heading into the National Championship Game, it would appear that Oregon will be the home team. Let’s hope for a similarly fantastic uniform combination for that game (Yellow, Green, Yellow in this latest template!!!) and pray that Ohio State is allowed to go color on color.

(Also, GO B1G!)

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Thanks, Tim.

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UWFFL banner

cover January 3_edited

U.W.F.F.L. News — Division II Games
By Rob Holecko

Hello, Happy New Year, and Welcome!… to the first week of the playoffs for the minor league levels of the UWFFL. Four qualifying teams in each of the four Division II Conferences will compete for championships as well as for the right to be promoted into the Premier League next fall. Right here at Uni Watch you will vote on every playoff game from here on out, as a pair of semifinal matches will be held each day both this weekend and next.

But first a little housekeeping. Last week’s regular season game that we had an error with the uniform choice needs to be re-presented here and voted on today before the playoff participants will be decided in the Eastern Association.

St. John’s is again wearing a black-over-yellow combo, while the Brooklyn Uni Watchers are eschewing their normal green pants for a seldom seen mono-white combo at home this week. If St. John’s wins, they will claim the final playoff spot in the Eastern Association, while a Brooklyn Uni Watcher win would mean that the Swisshelm Express of Pittsburgh will grab the final spot.

SJS-BUW

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pollcode.com free polls

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Now on to the post-season games…

Today we present the Pacific Coast Conference’s two semifinal matches.

The top-seeded British Columbia Lumberjacks (10-1-2) will host the #4 seed Salt Lake City Spikes (8-4-1) and the #3 Calgary Alpines (10-2-1) will head up to Yellowknife to take on the second-seeded other team also called the Lumberjacks (11-2). Will both Lumberjack teams advance and will there be another Big Brown Axe face-off in the PCC title tilt in a couple weeks? Or will there be upsets on tap for either Salt Lake or Calgary? Only way to find out is by voting here and now!

The Spikes will be wearing their standard road fare, sand helmets, white jerseys and sand “britches”, while the B.C. L-jacks will be in their usual Christmas-y red and green at home.

playoffs1

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pollcode.com free polls

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The Alpines, who have been known to prefer white at home now and again, get to remain in their standard duds on the road, pairing the white jerseys with their red pants, while the YKL L-jacks are wearing their “rosewood and cream” home uniform set.

playoffs2

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pollcode.com free polls

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So there’s your two Div. II Conference Semifinals matches for today, head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on a full slate of International La Lega matches, and be sure to catch us tomorrow as the Metro South Conference playoffs take center stage, our sister league the AAIFA holds its’ Championship Game and of course there will be a full schedule of Premier League regular season games to vote on as teams enter the stretch run to their playoffs in a few weeks.

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EPL Tracker

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 Weeks 19 & 20:

EPL Week 19

EPL Week 20

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ncf_g_buckeye_sticker_300Buckeye Sticker System

In yesterday’s column, as well as in the comments, there was a pretty spirited discussion as to how THE Ohio State University’s pride stickers, which are buckeye leaves, are awarded.

Got an e-mail from Brian Waltz who has prepared the following, which explains it about as well as it can be explained.

Brian also included the “system” for awarding the pride stickers.

Here’s Brian:

. . .

Buckeye leaves are awarded on both an individual and team level basis. This is why some players, who never find the field of play still have a small handful of buckeye leaves. Going in to the game against Wisconsin, he had about half of one side of his helmet filled, as shown in this photo.

Urban Meyer has never provided the criteria to my knowledge of what deserves a buckeye sticker, but below was what Jim Tressel had in place:

If this is the same criteria, he would have 12 for each win, and additional 9 for the Big Ten wins, and 8 for winning the turnover margin for just being on the team going in to the Sugar Bowl. What is defines as a ”˜big play’ is ambiguous, so taking that out of the equation, and going straight to the Offensive Unit category for his play in the game against Wisconsin, he would receive another 1 for points scored, 1 for no turnovers and all possession changes across the 50, 1 for ten plays of 12+ yards, and 1 for 4 drives of 8+ plays. That puts him at 33 without the “big play” potentially added. A full helmet can hold 88 leaves, 44 on each side, so there is the possibility of the remaining 11 to come from “big plays” with the time he played against Michigan and Wisconsin, or also from the potential different criteria set up by Urban.

(Click to enlarge any of the images below)

Buckeye 1

Buckeye 2

Buckeye 3

Buckeye 4

Buckeye 8

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Ooooh. Check out the beauiful baseball sweaters found on this page. Not only that, check out all the sweater porn on this page! (big thanks to Jeff Wilk for both of those). I mean, how great is this ChiSox sweater? … The A’s have come up with a logo to celebrate their return to Mesa, AZ for spring training. According to submitter Chris Cruz, “The wording around the elephant refers to ‘Mesa, AZ’ and ‘Hohokam Stadium’ while banner under the elephant reads ‘2015 – Inaugural Season.’ It’s worth noting that while it is the A’s first spring at the stadium, it is not the stadium’s inaugural season, as it is the former home of the Cubs (who are now at Cubs Park in Mesa, AZ).” … Check out this Babe Ruth baseball card from 1960 (Fleer Baseball Greats). He still held a shit-ton of records that year, one of which would be broken* the next season. That’s from Bruce Menard, of course. … It’s the off-season, so people have time on their hands — time to build an awesome GABP Sandcastle (h/t Joe Andersen).

NFL News: As you may have heard, the Detroit Lions have earned a rare playoff berth so the City has decided to dress up the Spirit of Detroit statue with a Lions jersey. Apparently, this has never been done before. … The Glendale Police have some special badges for the Super Bowl this year (h/t @SaintWarrick). Apparently, this has been done before (h/t Rich DeMarco). … Check out this gorgeous photo of Broadway Joe in the Jets 1-year helmet — worn in 1964 only — (great find by Bruce Menard). … Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin (and former FSU Seminole) was forced to wear an Oregon jersey after Oregon’s woodsheding of FSU on Thursday — he lost a bet to Oregon Alum Jonathan Stewart.

College Football News: Apparently this was in the ticker last month, but I missed it. So if you’ve seen this already, then feel free to ignore: UCLA’s Brett Hundley has a piece of leather attached to his mask, and I knew not what it was for, until Twitter told me. Or, at least I got a lot of answers. The real reason can be found here (h/t to Daniel Vann). … I think this is simply due to exposure, but Justin Bruce asks why the “Pitt” is red on Tony Dorsett’s helmet. It’s not red, right? … The Houston Cougars got all Stars n Stripesy for yesterday’s bowl game. More here. … Rather interesting tee shirt on display during yesterday’s Taxslayer Bowl (from Brook Weber). Not quite “Roll Damn Tide” but close. … Bama fans were none too happy after THE OSU shocked the world Thursday, but this was before the game. Stay classy (via Hank Gebhardt). … And of course, the Bowls offered some terrific vines: this one may have broken the Interwebs. … And for some reason, this one captivated so many — until you watch it in reverse. Then it’s like, uber creepy (h/t Haley Huffman). … They may not have been able to watch the game, but these guys know what’s up (don’t hate, I’m kidding about the electricity thing). … Here’s some awesome footage of Oklahoma State’s James Castleman’s helmet exploding (OK, paint chips flying and aftermath) during last night’s Cactus Bowl (big thanks to Rob Perez).

Basketball News: The Louisville Cardinals are going to be breaking out some sweet throwbacks against Duke on January 17th. You can read more, and see more photos by clicking this here link. … Check out the gorgeous unis on Catholic University’s hoops team (circa 1923). Says submitter Ben Fortney, “Not a maker’s mark, memorial, conference logo, bowl patch or even university logo in site. Some snazzy shoes and less-than-stylish knee pads though.” … The Celtics wore their horrible gray uniforms last night. … The Cavs and Hornets went color vs. color (have I told you how much I love that Hornets teal?).

Hockey News: The Blackhawks’ goalies (both Crawford and Raanta) had jerseys which had black sleeve stripes which were identical to the attackers, points out Thomas Juettner. Since the switch to the edge system the white goalie jerseys have oddly had unusually thick black stripes. He says, “Since the Winter Classic stripes are essentially identical to their regular ones its strange Reebok can match it on the former but not the latter.” … “Calgary’s black-home pants easily peek out from under their red-alternate shells,” writes @bruins_lou. “Too small?” he asks. … Check out this genius jersey seen at last night’s Leafs/Wild game (great spot by Mark Polansky).

Grab Bag: Binge-watching HBO’s digital remastering of “The Wire” over the holidays, Scott Jamison couldn’t help but notice this ice hockey jersey “Herc” wore in an episode from Season 2. “Baltimore has hosted several ice hockey franchises through the years (Clippers, Skipjacks, Bandits), but nothing remotely of this ilk,” says Scott. “Was wondering if a more eagle-eyed, hockey-enthusiast commenter could identify. Unfortunately his badge covers a fair amount of the logo.” Scott also noticed that particularly in Season 2 a lot of the clothing had uni-like aspects, including this glorious “Hawaiian Warrior” lettermen’s jacket Omar Little wore to testify in. … The Minnesota Swarm, a lax team I’m pretty sure we’ve featured on UW before, will have some sweet new helmets this season (h/t Tony Sullivan). … So why do men buy (and apparently love) camo clothing? According to this article, there are several reason, but “Of course, the deep and lasting infiltration of camouflage can also be seen as part of menswear’s broader adoption of military pieces” (from TommyTheCPA).

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Whew! And that’s going to wrap up my first post of 2015. Big thanks to everyone who contributed, including Alan, Gary, Rob, Tim, Alex and Brian, and everyone who tweeted at me or sent in a ticker item. Great stuff!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a big SMUW bowl wrap up, and a very special 5 & 1 from Catherine, plus much more. Catch you guys then.

Follow me on twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“When a player can sit on the bench for an entire season and still “earn” half a helmet full of merit stickers, the stickers are effectively meaningless. The team might as well just pass out a sticker sheet to each player and let them customize their helmets at the beginning of the season. At least then we’d get to see if any players do anything creative with them.”
–THE Jeff Provo

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50 comments to Well We’re Comin’ … To Your City

  • Rob S. | January 3, 2015 at 7:40 am |

    Regarding the WHA and the future-relocation scenario, there was only one matchup that applied within the confines of that league – Cleveland Crusaders @ Minnesota Fighting Saints. Their last game in St. Paul was on 12/12/75; the Saints folded the following February, and after the Golden Seals moved to Cleveland, the Crusaders ended up replacing the Saints – literally, since they changed their name to the Fighting Saints. The “new” Saints only lasted 41 games, though.

    The only other relocation to a previously vacated market in the WHA was the Denver Spurs’ short-lived relocation to Ottawa. The Spurs were a 1975 expansion team, so they never played the Ottawa Nationals, who’d relocated to Toronto in 1973, and the Spurs only played 7 games as the Ottawa Civics, with only two home games, before the sale/relocation fell through and the franchise was liquidated.

  • Gridiron Uniform Database | January 3, 2015 at 7:51 am |

    The Boston Yanks (soon to be New York Bulldogs) last traveled to the Polo Grounds on November 28, 1948. The uniform combination in this game is something of a mystery to me, but it looks like there was a decent chance that it was a color-on-color matchup. Unless the Yanks wore white on the road, it would’ve been green-on-red or green-on-blue. Anybody know the answer?

    Yes. Yes, we do…

    http://www.gridiron-uniforms.com/weekly/1948/1948N11.html

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 8:04 am |

      Thank you! Don’t know how I missed that, considering how liberally I used your site. Color-on-color, indeed. The Apple Bowl?

  • James Gilbert | January 3, 2015 at 7:52 am |

    Two clarifications to the comment in the Duck tracker referring to “first ever Playoff game in NCAA history”:

    1) This isn’t the first NCAA football playoff. Lower divisions (FCS, II, III)have been doing it for years.

    2) This IS NOT an NCAA playoff. The winner does NOT receive an NCAA trophy.

  • Rob S. | January 3, 2015 at 7:56 am |

    As for Crawford’s stripes, it appears that they used the straight-cut elbow panels for his jersey, rather than the curved elbow panels used on his regular jerseys (which Reebok lazily fills in to the seams on the road jerseys).

  • Scott | January 3, 2015 at 8:42 am |

    Regarding that jersey on ‘The Wire’ – are you sure it is a hockey jersey? It looks like it could be an indoor lax jersey. Considering its Baltimore, I am almost sure it’s a lacrosse uniform…

  • Paul Lukas | January 3, 2015 at 8:49 am |

    Please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to Uni Watch weekend editor and my great friend L.I. Phil Hecken!

    As you can see, Phil hinted at his own bday by using a candle motif to separate the sections of today’s entry, but he was too shy to actually say, “Hey, it’s my birthday!” Now that I’ve blown his cover, please give him the love and fanfare he deserves.

    Have a great day, buddy!

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 8:52 am |

      Happy birthday, Phil. Hope that you’re taking (at least part of) the day off.

    • Rob S. | January 3, 2015 at 9:03 am |

      Happy birthday, Phil!

      –From a guy who just hit the big 4-0 this week

    • Bruce Menard | January 3, 2015 at 9:16 am |

      A Big CHEERS & A Happy Birthday to Phil!!!

    • BvK1126 | January 3, 2015 at 11:02 am |

      Happy birthday, Phil! May all your teams win today – and wear really sharp uniforms while doing so!

    • Phil Hecken | January 3, 2015 at 12:56 pm |

      Thanks Paul (and everyone)!

      • traxel | January 3, 2015 at 3:29 pm |

        Happy birthday Phil Hecken. I wanted to get you one of these: http://www.thcvintagemask.com/billysmithmaskgallery.html
        but you’ll just have to settle for a first place team instead. I hope you make it out to Nassau Coliseum at least once this final year. Do it for Bossy. Or Trottier, Potvin, or Gillies. Or Billy Smith. Mostly, do it for LIPhil. Have a great day, buddy!

    • teenchy | January 3, 2015 at 5:19 pm |

      Happiest of birthdays to you, Phil!

    • Tim | January 3, 2015 at 8:15 pm |

      HBD, Phil

  • George Chilvers | January 3, 2015 at 8:50 am |

    Happy birthday, Phil!

    Facebook told me :)

    Have a good day!

  • Allan Chandler | January 3, 2015 at 9:02 am |

    I like the Hornets’ teal as well, but isn’t that Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavs in that photo?

    and Happy Birthday, Phil!

    • Phil Hecken | January 3, 2015 at 9:08 am |

      Yes — I actually had a coding error (which I didn’t notice until you just made that comment) which combined two basketball items — definitely Rajon in the Celtics’ pic. Second photo was Cavs vs. Hornets

    • Jim Vilk | January 3, 2015 at 11:10 am |

      I love the teal!

      Might have said this before, but I’ll say it again…as great as the original Hornets uniforms were, these new ones are better. Same with the court design.

      Happy Birthday, Phil!

  • Willard | January 3, 2015 at 9:04 am |

    Speaking of Louisville throwbacks, how sweet is this shot of Denny Crum arm wrestling Joe B Hall?

    http://redvbluefilm.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/rvb_converse-copy.jpg

  • Phil Hecken | January 3, 2015 at 9:47 am |

    Wow. Gators going with ORANGE tops today. First time all year.

    • Dootie Bubble | January 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm |

      Orange tops are the only uniform element that breaks the orange/blue/white/blue/orange stripe rule. They break it on the shoulder stripe and the numbers.

  • Matt Beahan | January 3, 2015 at 10:02 am |

    Re. the Braves vs. Rockets in 1971 – you’ve got the wrong Braves unis. They wore blue road unis their first year, with gold & red trim and a gold script “Buffalo” wordmark:

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4120/4812390694_be12eca3db_b.jpg

    Buffalo didn’t adopt the unis with the diagonal stripes until 1971-72.

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 11:15 am |

      Thank you very much. I had a feeling that was off, and was hoping someone would know.

  • Johnny | January 3, 2015 at 11:57 am |

    I was just going to bring that up. The Bills wore blue with red trim. The Sabres wore blue with yellow. In their first season the Braves wore blue with red and yellow.

    Also in that first season, Buffalo had an inaccurate logo along with the old Boston Braves – a full feather headdress. Later both teams adopted a logo with one feather.

    http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608037910617590426&pid=15.1&P=0

    Another “wrong” logo is the Carolina Hurricanes alternate – a hurricane warning is two red flags but the stick only has one.

    I knew about that blue Braves jersey earlier with Uni-Watch. However, my link is no longer online…

    http://www.uni-watch.com/2010/07/21/uni-watch-book-club-basketball-%E2%80%94-the-american-game/

  • Graf Zeppelin | January 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm |

    For some reason that Jets logo on Namath’s helmet looks fake, as in something that was mocked-up for a publicity photo but never worn on the field. The logo just doesn’t look right; the “JETS” font is wrong and the little football is solid green, which I don’t think it actually was. The logo also looks too small. The problem is there are so few good pictures of the actual helmet decals worn on the field that year that you can’t really tell. But I think the fact, also, that Namath never actually wore that logo on the field (his rookie year was ’65), further suggests this is not the same decal they used on the field in ’64.

    • Graf Zeppelin | January 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm |

      I think this is what it looked like.

      More here.

  • Lou | January 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm |

    Happy Birthday Phil.

    I am pretty sure that there was a game in 1969 where the Pilots played the White Sox in Milwaukee. The White Sox played about 6-10 games in Milwaukee that season and the Pilots were one of the vosotong teams. As we all know, the next season the Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers.

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm |

      Good point. Though Milwaukee may not have technically been a “neutral site,” I think that this would be covered by that disclaimer. I didn’t have the time to go through each individual game location for every franchise in the big four, so I stuck with games played in the team’s place name designator.

  • Ferdinand Cesarano | January 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm |

    The Chicago White Sox played several home games in Milwaukee’s County Stadium during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. On June 16, 1969, the Sox hosted the Seattle Pilots in Milwaukee. The following year, the Pilots moved to Milwaukee and began playing at County Stadium.

    This was a Sox home game, not a neutral-site game; so it meets the criteria. But I don’t see any reason to exclude neutral-site games from the list; I’d be just as interested to know about them.

    Furthermore, I vigourously protest the decision to exclude the New Jersey Nets’ visits to New York. No matter what locality name the Nets currently choose to use, the objective fact is that they are within New York City.

    Speaking of the Nets, they qualify in another instance. At the end of the 1967-68 ABA season, the New Jersey Americans and the Kentucky Colonels tied for a playoff spot, so a one-game playoff was scheduled.

    The Americans’ home arena, the Teaneck Armory, was unavailable; so the game was moved to the Commack Arena on Long Island. However, after the teams arrived, the arena was ruled unplayable due to water damage on the court; and the game was forfeited to Kentucky. The next season, the New Jersey Americans moved into the Commack Arena and became the New York Nets. Even though the 1968 playoff game was never actually played, its result (the loss by forfeit) counted. So I’d say that this qualifies.

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm |

      I’ve been waiting for this type of comment. Let’s go point-by-point.

      1. I get the ChiSox/Milwaukee argument, but that seems to me to be splitting hairs. If the team had been billed as the “Milwaukee White Sox” for those games (ala Oklahoma City Hornets) I would’ve counted it. I guess that shows my bias for the place name–good segue to the next point…

      2. I came close to putting the Nets @ Knicks on the list. Count it if you want. I guess in a way, there are 12 rather than 11. Someone from New York should make the call, but I consider Brooklyn to be a separate identity from “New York,” and the Nets (and Dodgers, for that matter) seem to share the sentiment. More than that, though, is that the Nets made only a short, regional move. New Jersey played New York then moved to Brooklyn a few years ago? Barely worth running up the word count on a UniWatch post.

      3. It’s a little bit of a gray (grey?) area that the Nets played that ABA game you mentioned, but I wouldn’t count it for the same reason that I don’t count WHA games. Though the Nets (and Winnipeg Jets) eventually became members of the Big Four, I only counted games played within the leagues that I studied.

      You are very knowledgeable about this topic. I encourage you to expand upon what I’ve done, and make a more all-encompassing list.

      • RobYaz | January 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm |

        I agree, a good list needs definitive limits. And Brooklyn should not count as NYC for this purpose.

        But imagine the quandary we’d have if the New York Rangers existed in 1924-25 and had hosted the Hamilton Tigers. The Tigers essentially* became the New York Americans the following year. Having been overshadowed by MSG co-tenants the New York Rangers, the team changed its name to the Brooklyn Americans for the 1941-42 season although they still played in MSG!

        Actually, I guess there wouldn’t be any debate, since the Tigers/Amerks would have made the list as soon as the move to NY, but the Brooklyn/MSG connection is an interesting wrinkle.

        (*Although he acquired the Tigers players, Dwyer didn’t acquire the franchise; it was expelled from the league. As a result, the NHL does not consider the Americans to be a continuation of the Tigers–or for that matter, of the Tigers’ predecessors, the Quebec Bulldogs. – Wikipedia )

  • Dave Murphy | January 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm |

    Back in the 70’s during the days of the Fearsome Foursome the Rams wore white at home all the time. Very rarely did they wear royal blue. Interesting that the white jersey had just one UCLA-type stripe. The rarely worn royal jersey had two white sleeve stripes.

    In the late 70’s when the Rams changed to the helmets with yellow horns and white jerseys with blue horns and yellow sleeves I can’t remember as clearly. Seems like they wore blue jerseys at home.

    • Gusto4044 | January 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm |

      It was 1973 when the LA Rams substituted yellow for white in their uniforms. John Hadl was the starting QB that season, the Rams season opened with a convincing win over Dallas, and ended with a convincing loss to those Cowboys.

  • Stephen | January 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm |

    Not sure if this exactly qualifies, but on Nov. 1, 1981, the New York Giants hosted the Jets at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ.
    The Jets won 26-7. Three years later, the Jets moved from Shea Stadium in Queens to become co-tenants at Giants Stadium.

    • AlMaFi | January 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm |

      That is pretty interesting. If I could do this article again, I’d put a sub-category for “meh…sort of” examples like this one, the Nets, Barons @ North Stars, Miwaukee White Sox, WHA, ABA, etc. In fairness, one of the examples on my list (Seattle @ OKC Hornets) would fall on the meh-sort-of list.

  • MJ | January 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm |

    Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens has similar issues with extra-thick sleeve striping on his sweaters.

  • Chuck | January 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm |

    I hope the Buckeyes wear the same unis as they did vs Alabama next week! I love the gray on the jersey sleeves. Happy Birthday Phil!

  • Muprhy's Law | January 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm |

    “The Ducks made it to the first ever Playoff game in NCAA history, absolutely taking the Florida Seminoles behind the woodshed.” Shouldn’t that be Florida State?

  • KC | January 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm |

    What’s with the knee pads in all the old hoops photos? I know a little bit about the early days of the game, but I can’t imagine scenarios where guys would be in that much danger of knee banging. Anyone?

    • Jim Vilk | January 3, 2015 at 9:50 pm |

      From this article:
      http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nyc-exhibit-showcases-basketballs-black-141139040–spt.html

      Among the more intriguing items are…
      …a pair of leather-and-sheepskin kneepads, used not only to prevent injuries from rough play but from the protruding nails, splinters and uneven planking of early basketball floors.

      • KC | January 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm |

        yikes. And I complain when the floor hasn’t been swept…

  • Jon | January 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm |

    Have there been any other instances of absorption in the Big Four? I thought Barons/North Stars was the only one.

    • Brett Alan | January 3, 2015 at 11:04 pm |

      Well, there was the time the Steelers and the Eagles merged as the Steagles, but that was always intended to be a temporary response to the absence of many players during WWII and not a permanent combination of the franchises.

      I’m not sure it never happened in the very early days of one of the leagues, but I don’t know of such a case.

    • Kevin B. | January 4, 2015 at 2:57 am |

      In the NFL, absorption could be considered to have happened in 1928 when NY Giants owner Tim Mara purchased the Detroit Wolverines and deactivated the franchise after the Giants added Wolverine QB Benny Friedman to the Giants roster (this transaction was the sole purpose for the purchase).

      Also, the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers merged for the 1944 season only and played as Card-Pitt. This was one year after the Phil-Pitt Steagles merged for only the 1943 season.

  • Chrismess | January 4, 2015 at 4:58 am |

    San Diego Rockets move to Houston. How many other teams that have relocated found that their moniker suited their new location better? Houston Rockets makes more sense then the San Diego Rockets. Of course we know that it usually doesn’t work that way. I know when I think of Utah the first thing that pops into my mind is Jazz.

    • AlMaFi | January 4, 2015 at 10:12 am |

      I had the same thought when researching the San Diego Rockets. It seems like such a long shot. I wonder if the Rockets’ owner was deciding where to move, and was like, “well, we’re called the Rockets. Let’s move to where the space center is.”

      The gentleman below mentioned the Pistons. That’s a great example of an appropriate rust-belt moniker becoming an even more appropriate rust-belt moniker.

      Another example of serendipity is when the Cincinnati Royals moved to KC, a city that already had a ‘Royals.’ That’s how we now have two ‘Kings’ monikers in the Big Four rather than two ‘Royals’ monikers. Similar story with the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals moving to St. Louis.

      In addition to the Jazz, the ones that bug me the most are the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Dodgers.

      On the poetic level, there have been a few moves that have made for aesthetically pleasing sounds. The Tri-Cities Blackhawks moving to Milwaukee gave us the assonant ‘Miwaukee Hawks.’ If Indianapolis (a mouthful of a word) was going to get a team, at least it was a one-syllable nickname. Imagine if they had been the Indianapolis Forty-Niners. Thankfully, we don’t have the Oklahoma City SuperSonics.

  • Allen | January 4, 2015 at 9:11 am |

    Another example of a moniker suiting a team’s new location better is the Pistons moving from Fort Wayne to Detroit.

  • Camron | January 4, 2015 at 2:03 pm |

    How many times has a player of a relocated franchise faced off against his original city/team name as a member of the same franchise? E.g., Charlotte Hornets become New Orleans Pelicans and one of the players who relocated to New Orleans plays against the Charlotte Hornets, a team he never really left.

  • Gav | January 5, 2015 at 11:49 am |

    There is a couple instances of a team that got relocated traveling back to where they were from. For instance the Calgary/Atlanta Flames playing the Atlanta Thrashers or the Arizona/Phoenix/Winnipeg Coyotes/Jets against the current Jets.