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A Very Merry Vilkmas – The Lucky Ones

By Phil Hecken and Jimmer Vilk

Happy New Year, Uni Watchers!

As you guys will remember, a couple weekends ago I did a post with Jim Vilk where he graciously decided to raffle off a number of his prized possessions. A slideshow of the prizes is above — if you can’t see that click here to see the show or click here to see the set.

More than 130 of you sent in entries, and now Jimmer his here to announce the 15 lucky winners. Thanks to everyone who sent in — I forwarded each and every entry to Jim and I know he read them all. I don’t know if he’ll be responding to everyone, but for the 15 of you listed below, you’ll be hearing from him soon, I’m sure.

Thanks again (BIG thanks) to Senor Vilk for his generous gifts. I’ll turn the rest of this over to Jimmer right now. Here’s the big guy:

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Vilkmas Raffle Results
By Jim Vilk

I had the option of doing a random number drawing for this raffle. Instead, I wanted to read every email, see every name and imagine meeting all 138 of you in person. It was cool to see the many places from which you come, especially since I only recognized two or three names from the comments section. I may never meet most of you in person, but know that we *have* met, and that I’m grateful for your readership/friendship.

Unfortunately, for most of you, that’s all you’re gonna get. After putting on some Christmas music, writing down your names and raffle choices, cutting them out and putting them in my meshback Richfield Coliseum cap, I pulled out these 15 Very Merry Vilkmas winners:

1. Chris Gleason – KMart baseball MVP cards

2. Ben Potter – Herschel Walker “rookie card”

3. David Barndollar – Pirates stuff

4. Jake Patterson – Uni Watch Jackie Robinson Day t-shirt

5. Ryan Feuerstein – Arena Football stationery & photo

6. Andy Chalifour – MLB sticker set

7. Michael Tomassi – World League football cards

8. Chris Shockey – Pittsburgh Maulers button & Anthony Carter figure

9. Leah McClellan – Baltimore CFL (…Colts!) Matchbox truck

10. Michael Jaworski – CFL card set

11. Mark Murray – soccer stuff

12. Joanna Zwiep – 1984 USFL championship electric football teams

13. Dan Nester – ABCs of NFL Football book

14. Joshua Mancini – Pittsburgh Maulers electric football team

15. Mike Rengel – CFL Magazine & photo

Congratulations. I will get around to sending everything out soon. In the meantime, have a very Happy New Year!

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Wonderful, Jim — I hope all of the UW readership will take a moment to give him a big THANKS in the comments below!

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2016 Winter Classic

Click to enlarge

If you weren’t too busy recuperating or watching football yesterday, the 2016 edition of the NHL’s annual “Winter Classic” was played at Foxboro — home of the New England Patriots — between the hometeam Boston Bruins and the visiting Montreal Canadiens, in a matchup of “Original Six” teams. We pretty much knew what the uniforms were going to look like going in — basically a fauxback for both teams. Our buddy Chris Creamer actually had the best description/comparasion:

All that we didn’t know for sure were the pants. Boston went with black pants and the Habs went with (what looked like) a lighter blue version of their current set — designed to match the fauxback blue in their sweaters.


Winter Classic Hockey

It was quite a striking (if not quite historically correct) matchup. The Bruins jerseys were basically black adaptations of their original 1924 jerseys, except they weren’t rendered in brown. The pants were standard black, and basically what they wear today, except the “Circle B” on the pants appeared not to be spoked. The Canadiens wore a basically white version of one of their 1920’s jerseys, with the sleeves bearing a globe patch which they wore as a crest during the 1924-25 season. Both squads added tv numbers to the sleeves.

I actually caught a few minutes of the game in between brunch and watching football, and while it was overcast, the game looked really nice on television. They’ve gotten these things down to a science now in terms of tv broadcasting, with overhead and long shots, and tight shots when necessary. Wonderful game to watch. Below are a few more shots from the game, but you can check out a ton of more photos from Getty here.

Winter Classic Hockey




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classic scoreboards splash

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a favorite 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 Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko

In this edition, Classic Football Scoreboards travels to East Lansing, Michigan to the home of the Michigan State Spartans and a look back to the Game of the Century.

Spartan Stadium_UW

Spartan Stadium

Football Home of: Michigan State University (1923-present)
Formerly Named: College Field (1923”“1935); Macklin Field (1935”“1948); Macklin Stadium (1948”“1956); Spartan Stadium (1956”“present)
Opened: October 6, 1923

A comprehensive pictorial history of Spartan Stadium’s evolution can be seen here. Originally built with 14,000 seats in 1923, after five expansions the Stadium now holds 75,000 – for football. In 2010 the stadium provided the venue for the The Big Chill at the Big House, a Spartan college ice hockey contest against Michigan attended by 104,173.

Spartan Stadium scoreboards similarly evolved with the stadium expansions. The original end zone scoreboard (somewhat viewable in the photo history link above) appears similar in design to the University of Detroit structure covered in a previous Classic Scoreboard edition.

In 1948 the stadium capacity was doubled to 51,000, including the addition of an upgraded scoreboard located above the north end zone stands. That scoreboard (featured in today’s graphic) lasted until another upgrade in 1973. Today that same end zone location features the latest scoreboard video technology.

The scoreboard graphic depicts the ending of the Game of the Century played on November 19, 1966. Going into the game, Notre Dame was 8-0 and ranked No. 1; the Spartans were 9-0 and ranked No. 2.

A record capacity crowd of 80,011 was on hand to see which team would be declared the national champion. Instead they witnessed the historic and controversial 10-10 tie. Sports Illustrated and LIFE Magazine covered the game details. Most of the game video survives on YouTube; this end of game clip provides a glimpse of the fans frustration with the ending.

In the aftermath the final AP and UPI ranked Notre Dame No1, Michigan State No.2, and undefeated and untied Alabama No.3

A Few Things to Know

• Surprisingly the game was not shown live on national TV (Notre Dame had already used their allowed one game, national TV appearance). So unless you lived in the regional broadcast area, you would have watched (as I did) the game on tape delay.

• Michigan State did not play in a bowl game and their season ended with the Notre Dame tie game. Big Ten rules at the time disallowed repeat Rose Bowl appearances. In contrast Notre Dame smashed the SC Trojans 51-0 in their season’s final game. This victory probably cinched capturing the AP and the coaches’ poll.

• Spartan Stadium is the tallest building in East Lansing. Huh?

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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

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colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Got a nice one this week from our friend Bruce Menard, our colorization guru. It’s the day after New Years, but Bruce has a timely (and multi-sport crossover) turn-back-the-clock from the Granddaddy of them all.

Click photos to enlarge.


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1954 Ralph Kiner Miss Jr Rose Bowl Beverly Gould  (edit)8

1954 Ralph Kiner Miss Jr Rose Bowl (bw vs colorized by  BSmile)

Hi Phil,

Here’s the latest colorization along with a black & white vs. color comparison:

Miss Jr. Rose Bowl 1954 Slides Into Ralph Kiner

~ I’ve had this classic photo on-deck for colorizing for the longest time, so here it finally is. That’s Beverly Gould sliding into baseball great Ralph Kiner, who was with the Chicago Cubs at the time. The photo appears to have been taken at Gilmore Field (home of the Hollywood Stars) during the MLB off-season. The Junior Rose Bowl was a game that pitted the California Junior College football champions vs. the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) champions (later renamed the Pasadena Bowl).

Happy New Year!


. . .

That’s it for today. Great job B!

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UW Friday Flashback

UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it, on Friday, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN gave us a neat look-back at the various rose shoulder patches and helmet stickers worn over the years. Yesterday’s game between Iowa and Stanford was a great looking game, but neither team chose to adorn their unis with any “special” rose tributes, stickers or patches (other than the Rose Bowl patch they’re required to wear). But back in the day — lots of teams really embellished their unis. Let’s hope the tradition didn’t die thisyear.

Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!


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Uni Watch News Ticker
[NOTE: Many of these entries came from tweets — if no name is associated with the submission, just click on the link to see who tweeted it — PH]

Baseball News: The Mets did a few things right in 2015 (including making the World Series for the first time in 15 years). Arguably, their uniforms are better now than in the past, but they still have too many alts (although they are dumping the camo cap — read into that what you will). Rising Apple did a nice, comprehensive review of all the uniforms the Mets have worn since their inception.

NFL/Pro Football News: Tomorrow the Browns will go brown/white/brown. … The México professional Football League will have next year their inaugural season. Their unis. … Hoodie-gate continues in the NFL — this time it was Dwayne Bowe of the Browns. Here’s an even better look (scroll down). … To show respect for Malcom Floyd as he prepares for his final NFL game, the entire team wears “Thank You 80” shirts. … Crossover alert! Looks like Belichick’s NFL shield logo is blacked out here (from Brinke).

College Football News: Interesting mouthguard for Corey Clement. … Meh, no one will remember the real score, right fellas? Nah. Print it anyway. … Not only is there a bunch of shit going on on this backplate, it looks like the Ducks practiced in their Bellotti-era helmets the other day. … Sean Maguire hurt his ankle in the Peach Bowl and came back with a heavily taped, garnet colored brace. … Alabama doesn’t have pride stickers on their helmets, but they did add this cap sticker, which was worn by the 29 graduates playing in the Cotton Bowl. … Oops — ESPN mixed up the logos for Michigan State and Alabama. … Notre Dame had new gloves for their bowl game against THEosu. Didn’t help. … Here’s Oregon’s costume for today’s Alamo Bowl vs. TCU. … Man, Notre Dame has one skinny player (nice grab by Richard Paloma). … The Arkansas Razorbacks will be busting out some shiny new hats for today’s Liberty Bowl vs. K-State.

Hockey News: Here’s a look at the ugly sweater jerseys the Muskegon Lumberjacks wore. Lumberjack/sweater vest hybrid. … The Winter Classic logo was created at Foxboro on the field of play. Neat. … Not so neat — there wasn’t any (or enough) real snow to cover the field, so the Winter Classic organizers used fake snow. … But this is neat — a timelapse of the Winter Classic being set up. … This is also neat — Bruins Coach Claude Julien did his best Bill Belichick at the Winter Classic… Check out these awesome formal uniforms worn on NYE for an OHL game. … Blues goalie Brian Elliott wore Curtis Joseph inspired pads the other day (from Ed Bauza).

NBA News: Paul had a really great piece on the Harlem Globetrotters the other day (if you missed reading it, you can by clicking here). On that theme, the Trotters wore throwbacks on New Year’s Eve. … Great look at HOFer Paul Arizin’s Philadelphia Warriors road jersey in 1961–his final year in the NBA.

Soccer News: Reader Todd writes, “Love your page and have been reading it for years. I found a nice Manchester City logo article. Just an FYI. The club members voted for change but a lot of people hate it. Take care.”

Grab Bag: Unholy sports mashups: Pittsburgh version. And the Philadelphia version. … Kanye West calls out Nike, mentions LeBron James and other athletes in new track (from TommyTheCPA).

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And that’s it for today — once again, a very happy new year to all Uni Watchers. Thanks to Jimmer (again) for his great generosity and for his kindness of spirit as well — make sure you give him a virtual high-five in the comments below. Thanks also to Gary and Bruce for the scoreboards and colorizations respectively. Hope everyone had a great beginning to 2016. I’ll be back tomorrow with the last of the bowls, a Bowl Wrap from Terry, another 5 & 1 from Joe, and a Power 5 Bowl uni wrap from the uni trackers, plus more! Big day for me tomorrow too…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“UCLA used to have a top 5 classic look. What a tragic abortion their unis have become. You might as well grommet their new crap.

Happy new year!”

— KikiDee

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Comments (25)

    Winter Classic was great! It was a rare treat for me to see my favorite team on national television, and of course the score pleased me too.
    My girlfriend pointed out to me that the rink was inside the event logo before I put the two and two together. She Gets It! She’s a keeper.

    “The Big Chill at the Big House” was played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, NOT at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

    Yes, thanks for the correction. My research assistant was confused about the “Cold Wars.”

    The outdoor hockey game at Spartan Stadium was called “The Cold War.” It was in 2001, and attracted 74,544 fans.

    Yes, it was the game at Spartan Stadium in 2001; it was sold as “The Cold War” before 9/11, when suddenly it wasn’t quite as serious. I missed the first two periods on TV thanks to Comcast, who lost my feed in relatively good weather. Funny, but about the last thing I saw was a Comcast commercial talking about the effects of weather on TV reception.

    If I’m not mistaken, the uniform patches for the Rose Bowl game became standardized when the game became part of the BCS rotation.

    RE: Tallest bldg in East Lansing. Hubbard Hall ( a 12 floor dorm) is probably the tallest Building. The elevator to the press box and upper concourse is listed as 8th Floor.

    Another PS about the Winter Classic: The alumni game was on the 31st, with the teams wearing straight up 80’s throwbacks (Boston black, Montreal white) with twists on fonts. The changes: Boston took the gold on white numbers à la the current thirds, and conventional stock NOB’s. For Montreal, the tweaks resulted in real weirdness: I don’t know what happened with their NOB’s, but the Montreal numbers were blue-on-white-on-red in the current Boston font, just like the current homes and roads (they’re three-layered there too).
    They aren’t publishing a photo gallery as of yet, so just enjoy the video highlight reel on

    Aside from the font weirdness, the only strange number was Hal Gill. He was #25 for the first part of his career, including Boston, but starting with Montreal (where all the numbers are taken), Gill ended his career wearing #75. He took his more recent #75 at the alumni game, despite the fact that Gill wore #25 in Boston. And no, it’s not a duplicate number thing: there were two #28’s on Boston–Mark Recchi and Tom Fergus.

    Steve Heinze also wore 57 during the game however the Bruins never let him wear 57, he was 23 in Boston, he switched to 57 when he went to Columbus.

    Hal Gill did actually wear 75 during his rookie season with Boston. In fact, they used his uniform on link. He played the rest of his career in Boston wearing 25, though.

    I watched the Citrus Bowl yesterday (Go Blue!) and the production team committed the following errors that I noticed:
    1-Showed an info-graphic on top of a developing play (turned out to be only a few yards gained but was annoying nonetheless)
    2-Didn’t switch the camera to the ref while he was calling a penalty, and the announcers didn’t say what the penalty was, and the box score notation in the bottom corner didn’t say it either.
    3-Multiple camera decisions that left the viewers at home from seeing the play as the camera was focused on a single player that was nowhere near the ball.

    Also of note: The Clemson v Oklahoma game on the ESPN app when you streamed it from your android only let you select the Spanish feed. That was an interesting experience.

    Too bad the Bruins did not go with the original brown. Can’t imagine why the designers/consultants are so afraid of that color (i.e., San Diego Padres). The Canadiens were classy, as usual.

    BTW, does anybody know who are the designers/consultants used by the NHL?

    Happy, and Healthy, New Year to all!

    I wouldn’t blame the designers here. That was Cam Neely’s call. He loves black, I’ll concede that the Bruins are much better known as black and gold, and then the black enabled the cream NOB and numbers to look just right. Brown and gold is a lot more evocative of the San Diego Padres than the Bruins. For whatever it’s worth, the black and gold meant the brown bear stood out a little better.
    Both teams looked great, and the final score looked even better to me. (Sorry to be so heavy-handed on the bias today, but while I am a fan, this is Uni Watch and we’re talking about a one-afternoon special set of jerseys.)

    That Philly logo mashup was a disaster. Not only was the Eagles logo facing the wrong way (it intentionally faces left to be the only NFL animal logo that does so), it was a Phillies logo from the past. This site often complains of players put into uniforms they never wore. Those four logos were never in play at the same time.

    I won something, awesome! Thanks so much Jim, this was really nice of you to do! :)

    Oregon always practices in plain green helmets unless they’re breaking in that weeks one off helmet.

    Thanks Jimmer! I’m excited to be one of the winners. I’ll be sure to donate to the local food bank, as you asked of the raffle winners.

Comments are closed.