By Phil Hecken
The 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is today, and the Class of 2015 has some pretty impressive guys to wear the uniform. As is more and more the case these days, 3 of the 4 guys played for at least three teams, and a couple played for more than that. But Craig Biggio played his entire career with the Astros (quite a feat in this day and age). He’s (obviously) going in as an Astro. Also going in is John Smoltz, who played almost his entire career with the Braves — so there’s no question as to which cap will appear on his plaque.
Two of the other inductees, however, played for numerous teams, and had pretty decent careers in more than one uniform: Randy Johnson, who wore many caps over the years, was dominant and played for the majority of his early career with the Mariners. He also had two stints with the Diamondbacks (including winning the World Series with them in 2001), and pitched for the Yankees, Expos, and Giants. Pedro “Petey” Martinez also played for a number of teams, having an outstanding career as an Expo before dominating with the Red Sox. Martinez began his career with the Dodgers, and also pitched for the Mets and Phillies before it was all over. While one might have had an argument for Pedro going in as an Expo, he’ll be wearing a Sox cap; The Big Unit will go in as a D-Back.
Here’s a look at the class of 2015 (for all photos below, you can click to enlarge):
But who had the best (I realize this is probably a relative term) uniform? And…if you want to play six degrees of separation between the four players…you can get there in four easy steps: Biggio (Astros 1988-2007) -> Randy Johnson (Astros 1998)/Randy Johnson (Expos 1988-89) -> Pedro Martinez (Expos 1994-97)/Pedro Martinez (Red Sox 1998-2004) -> John Smoltz (Red Sox 2009). Easy, eh?
OK — lets take a look at (some, since there are far too many to list ALL) the uniforms worn by the inductees:
Craig Biggio: He only wore an Astros uniform, but he went through three separate uniform designs over his decades with the team:
Poor Biggio — he came up at the end of the “rainbow” (but not Tequila Sunrise) era for the Astros, and ended just before their retro/fauxback uniforms of today — probably putting him in the worst period of Astro uniforms there were. None of those look particularly good, but the best of those may be the red cap/star alternate. You could make an argument for the rainbows too. But that’s a rough bunch of unis a wonderful player put on his back for all those years.
Randy Johnson: The Unit got to wear some gorgeous unis throughout his time in the bigs, beginning with the Expos in his early years, then the Mariners (some good, some pretty good). His stint with the Astros landed him in the Biggio quandry, and he went downhill with both stints with the Diamondbacks. Between the D-Backs, he put on one of the best unis in the game, that of the Yankees (although success didn’t follow him to the Big Apple), and he closed out his career with another beautiful uniform in the San Francisco Giants:
Tough call on the “best” uniform, but you’d have to put the Expos, Yankees and Giants all up there. Funny that his “best” work came in the Mariners, Diamondbacks and (for a half-season) Astros uniforms.
Pedro Martinez: Petey also got to don some great unis throughout his career, which began in LA and ended in Philly. In between he wore Expos, Red Sox and Mets uniforms. The Dodgers, and Red Sox are certainly up near the top of the uni world.
Another tough call on the “best” uniform — it’s probably the Dodgers, but the Sox are certainly a close second. All the others (if you count only the Mets pins, anyway) are pretty darn fine as well.
John Smoltz: Smoltzie is a lucky guy in that he didn’t wear a bad uni in his career (unless you want to count softball tops), and while we’ll always most remember him as an Atlanta Brave (gorgeous home and roads), he was also fortunate enough to get on the bump for the Red Sox and Cardinals, whose uniforms are also top notch.
Tough call here — all good unis, but since he played so long and we’ll always remember him as a Brave, that’s probably tops. But you can’t overlook the Cards (too bad his one year on Boston had the Sox wearing the plain “BOSTON” font — if it were the current road uni, that would be up there too).
OK — that’s your look at the HOFers and their uni histories — who wore it best? How would you rank the unis/teams for each? Let’s hear what you have to say! If you want to learn more about these guys — their bios and achievements — or the Hall of Fame in general, click here — great stuff from the Hall of Fame!
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Got a few this weekend, and from new colorizing guru ManCave (aka Chris Whitehouse) and an old friend, George Chilvers.
First up, a couple from ManCave:
Hey again guys,
A twofor for today. Satchel Paige in 1945 and Casey Stengel in 1915.
Satchel: Every reference I’ve seen puts a big K C on the front of the Monarch’s cap at this date. But I can’t see anything there at all in this image. I didn’t want to force one on there, so I left it as it appears. The jerseys were lightly creme colored and the hats white, so what may look like a mistake is intentional.
I chatted with the President of the Negro League Baseball Museum in K.C. and he told me that they are presently digitizing their photo collection. This is great news. Because the Library of Congress, which has a lifetime of work for me covering the old White leagues, has nothing at all for the Negro League.
Casey: Cool shades. What else can I say?
Chris wasn’t quite done — he wanted to show us the before/after on the Satchel Paige colorization:
I guess some might like to see the before image too:
It is hard to look at the original after finishing up the color. Baseball players and uniforms deserve the full palette.
And here’s a (gasps) non-soccer colorization from George (who almost always includes the b&w for comparison’s sake):
Well, after all the comments that I only colourise football, comments which have had me sobbing my way to sleep at night, I thought I’d better have a go at another colonial picture :)
Now in all my years on this Earth I have never come across this fellow before (I just liked the picture and the possibility that adverts give to a colouriser), but I presume your faithful readers will recognise Matty McIntyre here in 1912. Matty had a famous (so I read) and long-running feud with the infamous Ty Cobb, who appears to have been a really thoroughly unpleasant person. To you guys this is old well-known history – it’s all new to me. You learn something new every day, they say.
So, here Matty McIntyre is in glorious technicolour. But remember – wear loose fitting underwear!
That’s it for today. Great job, Chris and George!
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Diego BauzÃ¡ who has a new look for the USNT:
I actually put these together well over a year ago, before the start of the 2014 World Cup, but I never finished adding the shorts or socks. Regardless, I wanted to share what I had put together.
I brought back the sash, but made it out of 7 stripes. I created a new crest to replace the current version and the third kit was to celebrate the centennial. I hope you all enjoy it.
And we close today with Mark McLean who has a slight tweak for the Buffalo Bills:
Paul & Phil,
The Buffalo Bills look great with blue pants in their away uniform set except for one issue: They wear blue socks with their blue pants. I can’t help but wonder what it would look they went back to their 1970s red socks with blue pants.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
With August approaching, Paul will be taking his well-deserved sabbatical from the daily Uni Watch posts, and, as we’ve done the past six or seven years, I’ll be handling the content for the weekday posts.
If you’re interested in working with me for a uniform-related piece, I’m always looking for contributors. If you have an idea for a good uni-related story, shoot me an email: Phil.Hecken@gmail.com.
Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll discuss the parameters!
for the Ticker
Gumball helmet king Bill Jones sent in the following e-mail, which was a follow-up to yesterday’s lede on the PIFL/IFL logos and uniforms.
I’ll let him explain:
I really enjoyed today’s post with the article on the old PIFL and the transition to the IFL. I had actually been thinking about contacting you to discuss the possibility of me covering uniforms and helmets for all of the various Indoor and Arena Football leagues each year – there are lots of them. Maybe we can discuss that later if you are interested.
Anyway, I also wanted to share these IFL prototype logos – these teams were announced for year 3 but never played. I am not sure if the same artist worked on these or not, but they are pretty cool.
I’ll run these as a slideshow below, but if you can’t view them, you can click here to view the helmets and logos.
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Here’s a pretty neat article on “Major League Man Caves” (from Ted Arnold). … Here’s a tremendous shot of the 1980 Baseball Hall of Fame Group Portrait – w/new inductees Al Kaline & Duke Snider (thanks to Bruce Menard). … The Eugene Emeralds will wear these special Civic Stadium uniforms on August 16 vs. the Everett AquaSox (h/t Eric Mahler). … Cool View Master (anyone remember those?) set showing Little League World Series uniforms, probably from the early 70s (via Stirrups Now!). … Three digit number alert! Here’s a Japanese minor leaguer sporting number 120 (h/t Carter Woodiel). … The Eugene Emeralds will wear special jerseys today in honor of fallen Eugene police officer Chris Kilcullen for Kilcullen Night (from Eric Fisk). … The Iron Pigs wore Christmas in July unis last evening (via David Thomas). … Check out this photo from the 1967 World Series — seems pretty safe, no? (h/t Stirrups Now). … Here’s a neat old Cincinnati Reds scorecard, seen at Macadoo’s in Blacksburg, VA (via Berserker). Pretty sure a whole bunch of the opponents’ logos wouldn’t fly today. Here’s the flip side. … More Christmas in July uniforms, this time from the Memphis Redbirds (from Brendan Surmeier). … “Thought you’d get a kick out of this vintage Mets shirt I saw at Rad Vintage in Chicago,” says Matthew Robins. … The Royals wore their Los Reales jerseys yesterday. … And not to be left out, Los Astros broke out the orange “Los” tops as well (h/t Houston Astros), as the Royals celebrated Hispanic Heritage Day yesterday. Here’s a look at Los Astros in action (h/t RN’s Funhouse). … Yesterday the Wilmington Sharks vs. Edenton Steamers went dark color vs. dark color (via Wilmington Sharks). … THe Brazos Valley Bombers will be wearing this jersey today representing nations around the globe for International Millionaire night (via Brazos Valley Bombers). … The Tennessee Smokies wore some really ugly Christmas sweater jerseys yesterday. More here. … Still more ugly Christmas sweater/jerseys yesterday, this time from the Harrisburg Senators (h/t Joey OBarr). … Not to be outdone, the Wisconsin TimberRattlers also did the X-mas jerseys thing (from Brian Kerhin).
Football News: Thanks to Tres Lawless, we get a first look at some new Vanderbilt jerseys (looks like the one on the right is gold). … Here’s a shot of LSU Head Coach Les Miles dressed up as a referee (via Ted Chastain). … Hmmm: “Per [yesterday’s] article on Uni-Watch about the PIFL, unfortunately, it looks like the Duluth Lumberjacks font and saw blade were taken directly from the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks’ logo first used in 1996,” writes Chris Spisak. … The new UMass football uniforms will feature Massachusetts state logo with the Amherst star. … Chris Buttgen notes this Osceola, AR (from 1957) jersey and “the way the 6 could be a 9. Possibly to save money.” … Looks like
ASU adidas will be releasing their football unis for ASU on July 30th.
Basketball News: George Mason, who reached the Final Four 10 years ago, has commemorated the achievement by releasing a 10th Anniversary logo (thanks Paul). … Tremendous photo of Wilt the Stilt with a cotton top and tighty whities (h/t Stirrups Now!). … “While I’m not a fan of the gimmicks that come out of Nike headquarters, this is one product I can stand behind,” says Julie Streeter. “(Yester)day in the WNBA All-Star game Elena Della Donne is wearing shoes designed by Nike for those with disabilities. Which is the result of a campaign started by Mathew Walzer, who wrote to Nike asking for a better designed shoe for people like himself who had trouble tying laces.” … Check out this wonderful old photo of “Pistol” Pete Maravich with LSU — and “look at that Duke uniform. Not their traditional colors of today,” says Stirrups Now!. Tweeterer Justin McGuire notes, “That’s likely the Duquesne Dukes, not Duke,” as did JMLedgewood.
Grab Bag: Whoa. Check out this Long Island Tomahawks lacrosse program — check out the helmets — is that a hockey helmet with a football facemask? (nice find by Sports Paper). … One of the greatest and funniest movies of all time, Caddyshack, is 35 years old! Here are 15 things you might not know about the movie. … Douglas Ford “was flipping through a digital Sports Illustrated recently and whose mug should appear, but our Paul Lukas with eight tiny reindeer? Oops. I mean ‘with The Rock, Francona and Herschel’.” … Also from Douglas, the “only thing cooler than this jersey is the quote. … “Interesting. Check the date at bottom,” says John English. “North Stars kinda sorta lifted this, it seems.” … “So was doing a bbq and a friend brought a flat screen and for whatever reason had Tom Hanks the 70’s on,” says John Przebieglec. “Saw this…Ted Bundy wearing a Seattle Mariners shirt under his suitcoat, the fonts are pure 77-80’s Mariners.”
…Aaaaaaannnnnddddd that’s it from me — this is my last weekend until after Labor Day (since I’ll be taking over the weekdays beginning in August). I’ll catch you real soon — hopefully some of you will want to work on articles with me during Paul’s sabbatical. Thanks to the colorizers, the concepters and everyone who sent in or tweeted for the ticker.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Great post today.”