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The (D)evolution of MLB Hall of Fame Plaques

HOF Plaques 550
Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken

A few weeks ago, just after Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame Ceremonies, reader Anthony Giaccone asked if I’d ever written anything regarding the design of MLB’s HOF plaques. I had not (and I don’t think Paul ever covered anything on that, although I know he’s covered several aspects of the HOF before).

Anthony noted that, “With the advent of digital lettering, laser cutting, and computer aided design over the years, I’ve noticed that the plaques of the HOF have changed dramatically (well, to me at least) over the years. This includes both the style of the bas-relief sculpting of the faces and the type-set lettering.”

Additionally, he felt the new plaques (1990’s to present) are “devoid of character and charm due to the coldness of the computer-aided design used.”

Intrigued, I hoped he’d provide some examples, and he was gracious enough to accommodate. Let’s take a look at a few of the older and some of the newer plaques and you’ll see the differences (click any photo to enlarge):

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HOF - Ruth
George Herman (Babe) Ruth

1936 ”” beautiful hand carved face (no background texture) and hand set lettering.

Notice for all of the Babe’s accomplishments, his description is just 5 lines long. (Wait until 2015’s version) Also, the lettering is well-spaced and flush left.

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HOF - Crawford
Sam Earl Crawford

1959 ”” Still done the old-fashioned way it was done in 1936 ”“ hand sculpted face and hand set lettering.

The type is aligned down the center.

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HOF - Mantle
Mickey Charles Mantle

1974 ”” the hand sculpting is still quite beautiful, yet the lines are starting to add up ”“ but still seem typeset by hand.

The lettering is centered.

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HOF - Schmidt
Michael Jack Schmidt

1995 ”” Looks hand sculpted but the lettering is very easily typeset ”” Although Schmidt played for just one team, the number of lines on this one is 11 and each line is compact with the alignment justified with the last line centered.

Notice the background texture behind the portrait.

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HOF - Martinez
Pedro Jaime Martínez

2015 ”” The image “looks” very computer rendered and the typesetting is as equally computer-aided. We now have 10 lines and the letter spacing is very very tight.

The alignment is justified with the last line flush left.

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Great stuff from Anthony there.

On a somewhat unrelated note, despite living within only a couple hours’ drive of Cooperstown, and having gone to an upstate New York State school for four years, I’ve never actually been to the Hall of Fame. On my “Bucket List” for several years decades now has been a sojourn to the HOF. One of these days…one of these days. Any of you readers (and I’m assuming there are many) been to the Baseball HOF (or any of the sports’ halls-of-fame)? If so, what struck you most — did you ever notice anything like the detail of the plaques? What stood out for you (and hopefully most of it was uniform related, but anything of note)? Let’s hear in the comments below.

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Next Up For Oregon: Glow-in-the-dark Reflective Unis

Oregon Reflective

The uniform above you see was teased in this tweet by GoDucks, with the hashtag “#GlowInTheDarkPoster.” Will this be a new uniform that sees the field this year? Who knows.

Funny thing (as pointed out by numerous folks), the uniform itself likely isn’t “glow-in-the-dark” but rather appears to be made of reflective material. It’s a minor, but important distinction. Reflective material has been used on uniforms before — I’m fairly certain no one has yet put phosphors on a uniform — but I could be wrong. I’m no rocket surgeon, but I believe the uniform being depicted would have reflective properties.

But the “Glow-in-the-dark” hashtag is catchy and the uniforms are being called “glow in the dark” by many who cover such things. Hmmmm…

Oregon Football teases glow-in-the-dark uniforms for 2015

Oregon keeps teasing actual glow-in-the-dark football uniforms

Oregon teases either uniforms that glow in the dark or actually light up

Is Oregon really going to wear glow-in-the-dark uniforms?

Did the geniuses at Beaverton really create a uniform that glows in the dark? Or is it just reflective material. Or will it even see the field?

Of course, as far back as 2013, people have been thinking Oregon may have a glow in the dark uniform. Didn’t happen then.

Will it now?

Should be an interesting Duck Tracker this fall.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

YMCA1970
Click to enlarge

I noticed these vintage 1960s “Dekalb Football Champions” trophies, and thought they looked familiar. Indeed they are familiar. Here’s mine, the exact same guy, from the Louisville 1970 YMCA “Gra-Y” team I played on. (Above. Wonder where they all are now.) I remember being so surprised at the end of the year “team banquet” when I got a trophy with my name on it — a real Charlie Brown moment. Now on with the rest of this week’s Collector’s Corner:

Speaking of trophies, if you’re a Phillies fan, this one is for you!

Luv Ya, Blue! Take a look at this 1967 Houston Oilers pen (in powder blue, natch) from Your Local Piggly Wigglyâ„¢ store.

The Reds uniform patches back in the day were indeed chain-stitched, and if you wanna buy one, here’s your chance. This auction ends tonight.

Just great artwork on this April 1970 game program for the Black Hawks and Canadiens.

I can safely say I’ve never seen this Vikings logo depiction before.

Here’s a lot of ten promotional Montreal Expos T-shirts sponsored by Budweiserâ„¢. And also one of those terrific Big Signs, from Fleerâ„¢.

Definitely Anthony DorSETT on this 1970s Dallas Cowboys poster.

Great artwork on this 1970 Atlanta Falcons Fact Book.

Here we have a collection of 1960s to 1990s NHL logos “on thick board cut outs” from Chunky Soupâ„¢.

Still one of the (IMO) greatest sports team logos ever — on this 1970s Atlanta Flames tin coaster.

Follow Brinke on Twitter @brinkeguthrie.

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All Ireland Championships

Got a longish e-mail from Robert Brashear which deals with some unis we almost never feature on here: Gaelic football and hurling.

He sent this Sunday, so I didn’t want to hold it any longer (click any photo to enlarge).

Here’s Robert:

The all-Ireland Gaelic football and hurling championships have now reached the quarter and semi-final stages. These games are drawing 45-50,000 a game to Croke park, one of the most iconic stadiums in Europe. The finals will draw 85,000, more than the Super Bowl or World Cup Final…

All teams represent their counties and wear the same jerseys for both sports:

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Football semi-finalist Donegal

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Galway and hurling quarter finalist Killkenny

IMG_4762
Tipperary

IMG_4764
Donegal

IMG_4763
Dublin

IMG_4765
Cork

IMG_4766 IMG_4767
Kildare

IMG_4768
Meath

IMG_4769
”‹both sports….Kerry

From the Gaelic Athletic Association Shop at Croke Stadium

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Uni Watch News Ticker
Compiled by Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Old Bay Seasoning is honoring the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak (from Andrew Cosentino). … A Japanese pro baseball player wore triple digits. … Cool video of Japan’s Sapporo Dome transferring from baseball to soccer (from Dustin Semore). … Star Wars Night last night for the Hudson Valley Renegades. … Ken Levine sounds like a fascinating guy: he was both a play-by-play announcer who worked for multiple MLB teams, and he’s a screenwriter that has written for The Simpsons, among others. Basically, he’s living my dream. Anyway, in his “It’s Gone!…No, Wait a Minute…”, Levine mentions that he likes the Tigers’ road uniforms (from Stephen Hayes). … I wrote a short piece on MLB’s partnership with Maytag for a trade magazine. Not really for the Uni Watch audience, but I threw in some uniform tidbits! … Surprised there aren’t more: 40 bad New Era Yankees caps you can buy right now (from Aaron Husul). … This image was Instagrammed by Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Submitter Mike Nessen justifiably asks, “What the heck is going on here?”

NFL, College & High School Football News: Maybe it’s an illusion, but the Texans helmet logo seems a little bigger. … The t-shirt designer at Virginia Tech must have skipped work (from Andrew Cosentino). … Also from Andrew and also regarding the Hokies, DE Houshun Gaines has some serious logo creep in his headshot. … Bowling Green blanked out its Adidas patches. … “Looks like the Badgers have done away with the adidas Tech Fit and added the TV numbers back after a year of not having them,” says Alex Bauer. Here are a couple more looks at the jerseys. … Buckeyes QB/WR Braxton Miller switched from No. 5 to No. 1 (from Phil). … Kyle Toler designed the new football uniforms for West Virginia’s Mingo Central High School. I really dig the black and light blue color scheme! … Nike is selling glow in the dark Ohio State shoes.

Hockey News: The Ducks have worn several third jerseys over the years (from Phil). Speaking of Anaheim third sweaters, the Ducks are planning on releasing a new third in October. … A graphic designer created country-themed goalie pad concepts for international competition (from Phil). … Here’s a video clip of the 1938 German hockey championships. About 20 seconds in you can see a goalie that has a symbol and letters on his back (from Will Scheibler).

Soccer News: “Hertha BSC wore a previously unannounced third kit tonight in the German Cup,” says Ed Å»elaski. … Germany’s Euro 2016 kits were leaked (from Conrad Burry). … New soccer (and volleyball) uniforms for Evansville (from Braden Pretzsch).

NBA News: Among the six new uniform reveals this offseason, fans enjoy the Hawks and Raptors’ sets the most (from Phil). … Under Armour will sponsor the NBA Draft Combine and have a greater presence within the league (from Phil). … Clint Eastwood posed for a photo with the Boston Celtics way back in the 1960s (from Phil Lawson). … Bruce Jenner was photographed wearing a four-digit Kansas City Kings jersey back in the day. “Looks like a decathlon score on a Kings jersey,” says Jerry (no last name given). “1976 is an obvious guess for the year.” … Here’s a cool time-lapse video that shows the installation of Stephen F. Austin’s court (from Josh Sánchez).

Grab Bag: New Zealand is choosing between 40 new designs for its national flag (from Phil). … Nick Symmonds was left off the U.S. track team for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing because he refuses to wear Nike for the event. The team requires that all athletes wear Nike, but Symmonds is sponsored by Brooks (from Phil). … Last year, France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Bannabad was disqualified and stripped of his gold medal because he took off his vest before crossing the finish line of a 3,000-meter steeplechase event (from Graham Clayton). … Someone tattooed his foot to look like a Nike high top sneaker (from Phil). … Sales of sport bras are on the rise (from Tommy Turner). … “While watching the Argentina vs South Africa rugby game this weekend, I quickly noticed that the Pumas did not have a sponsor logo on their uniforms,” says Joe Alrvernaz. “Upon a little more inspection, I discovered there was no evidence of logo creep! Nike, the company that made logo creep an art form, designed a uniform with no visible manufacturers logo.” … Converse All Stars are technically classified as slippers. The shoes’ felt soles allow them to be taxed at a lower rate (from Rand Martin).

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And that’s a wrap for today — big thanks to Anthony, Brinke, Robert & Mike for their portions, and anyone who tweeted or e-mailed for the ticker. You fine folks have a great Tuesday and I’ll catch you tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Phil, I’ve found myself watching more soccer also”¦I watch replays at about 10:30 pm. Beats the heck out of using a sleeping pill to get you to sleep.”
— Tim

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66 comments to The (D)evolution of MLB Hall of Fame Plaques

  • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 7:30 am |

    Personally, I think the biggest problem with the plaques, both new and old is using a whole written paragraph instead of something resembling career stats. But that’s just me.

    • DJ | August 11, 2015 at 8:05 am |

      By using a written paragraph, you get a more uniform style. If you went with career stats, you’d get a LOT more variance, as the explosion of metrics in recent years gives us new statistics. So, a plaque created in the 60s would list batting average, home runs, and RBI (the Triple Crown stats), one in the 80s might add On Base Percentage; one created today would add OPS, Offensive and Defensive WAR, and much more.

      • scott | August 11, 2015 at 8:21 am |

        I like that the newer plaques have more creative writing. “Batting wizard who lined, chopped and bunted his way to 3,053 hits” and “towering and intimidating lefthander whose crackling fastball and devastating slider paralyzed hitters” are more interesting narratives for Rod Carew and Randy Johnson than “Right handed hitting outfielder and first baseman, won American League batting championship four times” and “Most Valuable Player in NL 1951-1953-1955” are for Harry Heilmann and Roy Campanella.

        Seeing the plaques in person remains a great experience; you don’t get a sense of the three-dimensional portraits from photographs.

      • Dan Pfeifer | August 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm |

        Agreed; stats have evolved, writing is always writing. Furthermore, I sometimes get frustrated with the fact that baseball is moreso a “Hall of Stats” than a “Hall of Fame.”

        A museum that is based moreso upon a guy’s statistics than his lore and legend sounds pretty doggone boring to me. I’m glad baseball emphasizes the “fame” with the paragraph moreso than the “stats,” although I prefer the older style with much less prose because, honestly, if he’s “of fame” enough to be in the hall, you shouldn’t have to say a ton about him because he’s already “of fame” enough that people should know who he is.

        Also, on the emphasizing the fame over stats piece, I’d like to see voters do the same.

    • scottrj | August 11, 2015 at 9:07 am |

      I’m with The Jeff on this one. The prose is ridiculously overheated, not to mention nightmarish grammatically (umm, if a player’s “unprecedented” skills make them “unusual” by definition). The things kinda read like a middle-schooler trying to satisfy a word limit on his/her book report.

      Saddest of all, the florid prose is totally unnecessary given that we live in an age where anyone, anywhere, and at any time can see for themselves what a particular player could do.

      • scott | August 11, 2015 at 9:33 am |

        Obviously the Hall of Fame feels differently, as they recently rewrote Jackie Robinson’s plaque to ensure that it no longer contained merely his career accomplishments, but added his pioneering status.

        • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 9:54 am |

          That seems like it’s probably unnecessary to me… don’t they have some sort of display already dedicated to that? If not, why not? I’d think that the breaking of the color barrier would warrant it’s own space in the Hall, regardless of whether Robinson himself was a HoF worthy player or not.

        • scottrj | August 11, 2015 at 9:56 am |

          That’s a disingenuous reply on several levels. First, that Jackie Robinson made it clear when he first became eligible for induction that he wished to be considered on his baseball achievements alone, and his initial plaque respected his desire. Second, that adding language extolling his “tremendous courage and point in the face of intense adversity” somehow has equivalence with a player’s “exploding” and “confounding” arsenal of pitches in an era of “high octane offense.”
          http://m.mlb.com/news/article/3000773/

    • CortMc | August 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm |

      I love the “And Museum” part of Cooperstown. The “Hall of Fame” part was underwhelming, sort of a mausoleum, where all the dead people are depicted wearing baseball caps.

      • scott | August 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm |

        Obviously, most visitors to the baseball Hall will spend much more time in the museum areas. But the plaque gallery is still fantastic; more like a church than a mausoleum, I’d say – and far better than either the football or basketball Halls do their galleries.

  • Anon | August 11, 2015 at 7:57 am |

    Anyone who notices, the O’neills Galic football tops have the adidas 3 stripes,

    pretty good court case about it that went in O’neills favour when they proved the stripes where negative space, so not the same as Adidas positive space stripes. i believe its something like that.

  • Tom Stevens | August 11, 2015 at 7:57 am |

    Syndergaard wears compression tights under his uniform, and since his pants are worn low just regular NYC skyline socks.

  • Kyle | August 11, 2015 at 8:08 am |

    The Texans need to change to white helmets and leave the decal the same with either navy or white masks and that would give them a top 10 helmet in the league. IMO

  • Andy | August 11, 2015 at 8:18 am |

    Regarding the Converse All Stars, this has been going on for like 15 years on some sneakers and canvas shoes. Not sure why it was finally noticed about the fabric soles, etc……

  • Cab647 | August 11, 2015 at 8:25 am |

    Those Argentina jerseys were a special throwback to honor the first Argentine team who traveled to South Africa 50 years ago. I think they only wore them for that game. This article says they will only wear them once, but it also got the wrong location for the game and suggested it was part of the RWC, also incorrect.

    http://footballfashion.org/wordpress/2015/08/04/argentina-rugby-1965-tour-50th-anniversary-nike-jersey/

  • Dave | August 11, 2015 at 8:48 am |

    My beef with the newer Hall of Fame plaques is the sudden belief that people can’t figure out that two-syllable names are commonly shortened.

    For example, Thomas Michael Glavine’s plaque has “Tom” written under it, and Gregory Maddux’s plaque has BOTH “Greg” and “Mad Dog.”

    Was there some confusion there?

    Back in the day, the Hall didn’t do this. If fact, Tom Seaver’s plaque has George Thomas Seaver without “Tom” on there, despite the fact that he didn’t use his first name. Back then, the Hall gave us credit.

    As the Ruth plaque shows, the Hall added nicknames in quotes only of it was colorful or very different from the given name. For instance, I’m sure Theodore Williams’ plaque has “The Splendid Splinter, ” but not “Ted,” “The Splendid Splinter.”

    I vented at length after last year’s particularly bad batch: http://metsguyinmichigan.blogspot.com/2014/07/baseball-hall-of-fame-thinks-fans-are.html

    • scott | August 11, 2015 at 9:35 am |

      You’re wrong: Williams’ plaque does have “Ted” in quotes – but Jack Roosevelt Robinson’s original plaque didn’t have “Jackie” on it.

      • Dave | August 11, 2015 at 9:59 am |

        I should have checked Ted’s first! Good catch!

        I think Joseph Paul Torre’s plaque last year with “Joe” is the one that set me off…

  • James | August 11, 2015 at 9:13 am |

    A quick internet search for HOF plaques found an ESPN page 2 article by Paul, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/090723, but it’s no longer there.

    YouTube has a 5-minute video on the sculpting process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmPJpCSQwps

    • Phil Hecken | August 11, 2015 at 9:22 am |

      Ahhh, good catch — yes, the woman who sculpts the plaques. I’d totally forgotten about that.

  • walter | August 11, 2015 at 9:25 am |

    Brinke hit the nail on the head about the Atlanta Flames insignia. I have a pin badge I wear with some of my Arcade Fire finery; it’s nice to keep it in circulation.

    I agree the Tigers have splendid road greys. They’d be splendider if they did away with the white outlines.

    • Rob S | August 11, 2015 at 9:39 am |

      I really like that the Calgary Flames brought back the Atlanta logo as an alternate captain’s patch beginning in the 1996-97 season, which was the franchise’s 25th overall.

      Agreed on the Tigers’ roads, the white outlines are totally unnecessary.

  • Rob S | August 11, 2015 at 9:29 am |

    8618 is indeed Jenner’s decathlon score from the 1976 Summer Olympics.

  • marc | August 11, 2015 at 9:32 am |

    Yesterday, I went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Baseball definitely beats football in regard to honoring their enshrinees. Sure, the busts are cool, but all they tell you is what the guy looked like. The shelf upon which the busts rest has a small plexiglass “wave” featuring super-small text telling you for whom the guy played.

    The room in which all the busts are displayed is terribly designed. It starts off nice and wide at the entrance where the original enshrinees reside, but the last 15 years are jammed into a claustrophobic hallway. Very odd considering there’s at least a few hundred square feet of empty space directly behind the inner free-standing wall.

  • Ran Isaacs | August 11, 2015 at 9:39 am |

    The Nick Symmonds issue isn’t about him not wearing Nike at the meet; rather, it’s about him wearing Nike 24-7 when at the World Championships. After all, USATF is bought and paid for by the swoosh.

    Sarah Barker has a great write up: http://goo.gl/RDyMr2

  • Rob S | August 11, 2015 at 9:55 am |

    Here we have a collection of 1960s to 1990s NHL logos “on thick board cut outs” from Chunky Soupâ„¢.

    It’s amusing just how off those eBay descriptions can get. For one thing, the set it pretty clearly based on the 1995-96 NHL season. Also, they’re pretty clearly pogs, part of the pog craze of the 1990s. Here’s a complete set for sale (the one listed in Collector’s Corner is missing the Sharks pog).

    • Rob S | August 11, 2015 at 9:56 am |

      … I could’ve sworn I closed the italics tag at the end of the quote…

      • Phil Hecken | August 11, 2015 at 10:00 am |

        You were just missing a front slash before the “i”. Fixed it for ya.

  • jedi54 | August 11, 2015 at 10:03 am |

    My alma mater is putting in a new scoreboard at Bowers Stadium. Go Bearkats!!!! We need a 1-AA Championship.

    http://www.gobearkats.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=19900&ATCLID=210024490

  • Mike Monaghan | August 11, 2015 at 10:10 am |

    Here is video of Pedro’s plaque being done by hand this year. There is no computer involved. Maybe the sculptor has gotten more keen to detail but it is still done by hand https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/05/16/step-step-foundry-with-pedro-martinez-plaque/oM7Dqe0KTHEY55YwI9rRDN/story.html

    • arrScott | August 11, 2015 at 3:02 pm |

      Yeah, looking at the full range of bass-relief portraits, I don’t see anything that makes me think the modern ones use digital engraving. Rather, I see changes in styles over the years that you’d expect with a variety of artists. The current portraits look hand-made to me. Badly handmade, but the product of a human hand nonetheless. I get that the artist is trying to achieve greater detail within the portrait. At that scale, such a choice would seem to be an obvious mistake. But if that’s what one is going for, then the background of the bass-relief should itself be much plainer and flatter. All those pointless lines in the backgrounds of the recent portraits create an evenness of texture that de-emphasizes the details in the likeness. “Too many notes.”

      The typography is its own issue. But it’s worth noting that justification and precise letter spacing do not require computers to achieve. Just look at the very earliest plaques: Clearly not laser-cut or computer-designed, and they’re justified with very precise kerning and spacing. Even so, there’s really no good reason not to use digital typesetting for an object like this if the technology is available.

      I suspect the growing wordiness is a result of a couple of independent phenomena. 1) Modern baseball careers tend to require more words to describe, given free agency and the greater variety of achievements that land players in the Hall; 2) The ratchet effect, which will naturally tend toward wordiness over time; 3) HOF plaques were originally designed solely to be seen in person in the Hall from a few feet away. Concision was key. Now, HOF plaques are as often seen online as in person, and they’re also now highly merchandised commercial objects (mini plaques, posters, postcards, etc), and for the out-of-museum and commercial audiences, longer descriptions are probably better.

  • Pete The Yeti | August 11, 2015 at 10:16 am |

    In regards to the “glow in the dark” Oregon uni, the Casper Ghosts of Casper, WY (a former Rockies affiliate), once had an actual glow in the dark element on their hats. Not a full uniform, but still.

    http://www.theclinkroom.com/on-field-caps/glow-in-the-dark/

    • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 10:34 am |

      I thought someone had done glow in the dark before…

      Personally I can’t wait to see a team go full Tron on us with some sort of LED lighting sewn into the jerseys.

    • scottrj | August 11, 2015 at 10:40 am |

      I had one of those caps (I have extended family in Casper). It didn’t glow for shit.

      • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 10:46 am |

        It’s probably the same stuff they use on those cheap cardboard ghosts they sell for halloween.

    • Phil Hecken | August 11, 2015 at 10:46 am |

      Yep. I remember the cap launch well. They really played it up at the time. I also remember people complaining that it didn’t really *glow* particularly well.

      That’s part of the problem with supposed glow-in-the-dark stuff…it generally doesn’t work for very long. Now, if the Duckies have some kind of reflective strips and use black light in the tunnel or something — then you might get a pretty cool effect. Otherwise, it’s just more marketing-speak.

  • Brent | August 11, 2015 at 11:05 am |

    Texans logo does look bigger. I wish they would also go white helmet, But go red facemask with luv ya blue colors. Too many dark blue teams. Just do the Oilers uniforms with that Texans logo.

    • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 11:19 am |

      I’m gonna guess that the Titans might not approve of that idea.

      • Brent | August 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm |

        Bud Adams is dead though. He was the one being spiteful about taking everything. That heritage belongs in Houston. The colors,retired numbers. Earl Campbell never ran an inch in Nashville and he means nothing to them.

      • walter | August 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm |

        It breaks my heart that oil derrick no longer graces the sides of an NFL Helmet.

    • jedi54 | August 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm |

      Their hats are just fine.

      • The Jeff | August 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm |

        We’re not talking about what they wear on the sidelines.

  • Ski U Mah Gopher | August 11, 2015 at 11:16 am |

    Ohio St is only selling jerseys numbered 1 & 15. Until recently #1 was Johnny Dixon (who?).

  • SWC Susan | August 11, 2015 at 11:20 am |

    I don’t think the Texans logo is bigger. The helmet in the photo is leaning over on the ear hole making it look that way. Our helmet logo has always been TOO big.

  • Eric Romain | August 11, 2015 at 11:25 am |

    That 1938 German hockey video is great.

    Not only does the goalie have symbols on his back, he appears to have an entirely different color sweater like a soccer goalie.

  • Jim Hayden | August 11, 2015 at 11:31 am |

    New personal rule: do not read anything about any Oregon uniform (or any other modern mess, be it Nike, Under Armor, or whoever) while watching ESPN Classic – in this case the 1999 Fiesta Bowl. Apparently UT and FSU made it an entire season and bowl game with 1 helmet, 1 pair of pants and 2 jerseys (home and away). How could they possibly have competed in such a deprived state!!??

  • Brian Clark | August 11, 2015 at 11:37 am |

    I was flying out from Denver to Cooperstown to meet my wife and son, who were in the middle of an East Coast baseball stadium trip. Our itinerary had been scheduled down to the minute for weeks, but a few days before I flew out we learned President Obama had scheduled an impromptu speech at the Hall of Fame on the same day we were scheduled to be there. That meant the place would be closed to the public, which rarely happens. Fearing we would miss out on our one chance to visit the hall, I called in every favor I could think of. Long story short, we ended up getting on the presidential guest list and were the only tourists in attendance among a sea of upstate New York’s political and social elite. We sat right next to the Mayor of Cooperstown, who gave my son a pin and could not have been nicer.

    Here’s a somewhat Hall of Fame uniform related anecdote … my uniform anyway. My flight out of Denver was delayed because of a tornado, causing me to miss my connecting flight and resulting in a sleepless night spent in the Washington Dulles terminal. I caught the first flight to Albany in the morning, but my luggage went to Syracuse. I had to go straight to the Hall from the airport, so while everyone else in attendance was wearing suits and ties, I was unshaven and going on 36 hours of no sleep and wearing my travel clothes … a polo shirt and shorts. We have a picture of us standing in the hall and I look like death warmed over.

  • AJ | August 11, 2015 at 11:51 am |

    When I was at the HOF, I couldn’t help but notice that at some point the HOF also added a copyright symbol on every plaque on the bottom center. I’m not sure what year they started appearing, or why they need to be there, but once seen, it cannot be unseen.

  • Ben | August 11, 2015 at 11:59 am |

    The baseball HOF is amazing. Have been there twice and still would go back tomorrow. The older plaques look way better and would prefer the basic write-ups of accomplishments versus the “book report” style using adverbs extolling how great the player was. He’s in the HOF, we gathered that he’s great.

  • David | August 11, 2015 at 12:33 pm |

    My two best friends and I celebrated our 50th birthdays in November 2013 by visiting the Hall of Fame, and it is, was, and always will be one of the greatest trips of my life. As a museum, it is without peer. To stand right in front of, or beside, some of the greatest artifacts, uniforms, etc. … and the Plaque Gallery is breathtaking. Literally. The first time I walked in, I hyperventilated (yes, I was just a bit excited).

    I have noticed the difference in plaque lettering for many years, and while I chalk it up to the advancement of technology, I found myself reading the older plaques more than the new ones. Oh, I glanced at the plaques of my childhood heroes and the players I admired, but I truly read Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, etc.

  • Matty Smith | August 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm |

    Honus Wagner’s bats!!! They are insane. The handles are almost as thick as the barrels. Never seen anything like it. George Brett’s pine tar bat is also a highlight.

  • John Dougherty | August 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm |

    I visited the HOF a few times as a child, in the early 1970’s, and as recently as a few years ago. Of course, I may be mistaken, but I recall the plaques as being larger back in the 70’s, and was dissapointed that they seemed much smaller when I returned as an adult. I just assumed that they had to make them smaller to increase the space needed for each year’s new inductees. I would be interested to know if this is true.

  • Simon Lindsay | August 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm |

    As a person from NZ I can tell you that from the 40 flag designs shown there it will be taken down to 4 designs, then in one vote NZers will choose their preferred design and then in a 2nd vote they will either choose from the selected design will take on our current design to be the NZ flag.

    The whole exercise is costing 26 million dollars despite the government said they don’t have 7 million to feed hospital patients in the south island, the current polls show that the current design will win by a landslide and most people have caught on that it is nothing more than our current Prime minister trying to leave his mark on the nation’s history in the laziest way possible so it will fail terribly and hopefully leave a stain on his polling numbers next election.

    • arrScott | August 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm |

      It’s a shame, because every one of the 40 on the “long list” is hugely superior to the current flag. Other than New Zealanders and, maybe, about half of Australians, nobody in the world recognizes the New Zealand flag as the New Zealand flag.

      Still, the NZ government’s process on this is all kinds of messed up. Here’s how you do major public design projects like this: First, you decide whether to retire the old flag or not. Only after deciding in favor or replacement, you solicit the maximum of public input and participation at the beginning, then you have a commission with broad buy-in from legislative parties work with technical experts like designers and artists and whatnot identify a preferred alternative. Then you have the legislature vote on the matter. If the new flag is adopted legally, then the people will either embrace it or they won’t. You give it a decade or so; if the old flag remains ubiquitous everywhere except government buildings, a future parliament under a PM from a different party can easily reverse course at no political cost. Do it that way, and the cost to the public purse becomes marginal and you avoid the kind of public rancor that a series of plebiscites is bound to stir up.

      Doing a series of competitive selections leading up to a final faceoff against the status quo nearly guarantees that the status quo will be upheld. That’s usually the whole point of structuring a choice that way! You see politicians sabotage unwanted reform proposals all the time by setting up the decision process this way. Even if a vast majority of people dislike the status quo, putting the alternatives up against each other in Thunderdome while giving the status quo a bye into the final will tend to produce a majority vote for the unwanted status quo.

  • Johnk | August 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm |

    I highly recommend a visit to the baseball HOF. As a baseball guy, the actual HOF part (the plaque gallery) feels almost shrine-like, with many people talking in low voices. I personally like the understated feel of the older plaques. And I agree that the “and Museum” aspect really puts it over the top. At every turn you come upon an artifact that really brings the history of the game, and the parallel time in US history to life. I once visited with a friend who had only a marginal interest in baseball, but who raved about the excellence of the museum.

    And if you really want to take the time to enjoy the HOF, avoid visiting during the induction weekend.

    • scott | August 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm |

      Or go during the induction ceremony. I had friends who did that this year and said the Hall was empty that afternoon.

  • Thomas | August 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm |

    The image you have captioned “Tipperary” with three jerseys is actually one Tipperary (L) and two county Mayo jerseys (Center & right).

  • Matt Moschella | August 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm |

    Dammit Phil, make Cooperstown a priority. It’s more than just the Hall. The whole town is wrapped up in baseball, especially for Induction Weekend.

    I’ve been three times, once when I was 9 (1990), and again for inductions of Carlton Fisk (2000) and Pedro Martinez (2015). I noticed the plaque difference this year (the first time I had ever been without parents and free to do things on my own), but wrote it off to new technology and didn’t think much of it. I know the actual faces are still all hand-sculpted by a company outside of Pittsburgh. I learned this year that they’ve been doing the plaques for about 30 years, so maybe manufacturer changes have something to do with the changes.

  • Dan J | August 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm |

    If you ask me, any hat with a Yankees logo is an awful hat…

  • Will S | August 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm |

    Was at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto many, many years ago. Don’t really remember much in the way of specifics. Wasn’t as much into uniforms, history, etc. back then.

    At my city/regional sports hall of fame, things that stick out in my memory are an early set of curling stones in a case, Al Hackner’s curling sweater with the Northern Ontario crest on the back, Olympic gold and silver hockey medals and a Canada hockey sweater from the 1936 Olympics, and some nice old trophies including a soccer one for champions of ‘New Ontario’, and a few mascots sitting up high – from various teams and events.

  • RoryJ | August 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm |

    The Bruce Jenner Kansas City jersey photo was from 1977. The Kings drafted him in the seventh round that year and it was reported that they would retire his jersey. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19771027&id=_6RVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=M-ADAAAAIBAJ&pg=2480,7155328&hl=en

  • Phil Hecken | August 11, 2015 at 6:15 pm |

    Hey everyone — thanks for all the HOF stories, recollections and recommendations.

    As I mentioned to a reader privately in an e-mail, at least three separate times the HOF was not only a bucket list item, it was on an agenda… the first time was going to be with my then-wife — she graduated from Ithaca, I graduated from Hamilton, and we were going to visit both our alma maters (materi?), and hit the HOF in between. Sadly, that planned trip never came to fruition; a second time I was going to visit with a buddy…that was more talk, but it never happened and the third time was recently — when I’d gotten a new lady-friend who is big into baseball and who had also never been; sadly again, our relationship didn’t last and the trip never occurred.

    I guess the baseball gods are telling me this is a pilgrimage I need to take on alone.

  • It's Ricky | August 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm |

    Fuzz on the Converse soles is news to me. I remember mine were all rubber in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Then I stopped buying them because production moved from the U.S. to Vietnam in the mid ’90s. Guess the old ones didn’t need fuzz since they weren’t imported.

    • Thomas Kaine | August 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm |

      Yeah, that’s what irks me about Nike/Converse. Modern athletic shoe companies like Nike promote new “foam” and “air” soles that leave Converse in the dust in the 70’s and 80’s, fair enough. But, Chucks were THE classic American shoe, made in North Carolina even through the 1990’s. They lose their market share because they aren’t hip anymore (I remember buying them new in the 90’s at Army/Navy surplus stores, they didn’t even sell them at Sports Authority and the like). THEN, after they go bankrupt, and Nike buys them, production is shipped overseas to Asia. Finally, Nike pumps a huge marketing campaign selling them on Americana, classic styling, just-like-your-dad-wore, etc, all the while adding fuzz to the soles to import them cheaper as slippers… Give me a freaking break.

  • Winter | August 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm |

    I enjoyed this clip from Fantasy Island, for a couple of reasons

    * George Brett wearing #25
    * Ellis Valentine in that gorgeous Expos uni
    * Being reminded how much I hated (for what reason, I don’t know) the uber-upright batting style of Steve Garvey.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHb9FLb_kTU