By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk
A couple weeks ago, Jim Vilk DM’ed me a couple pictures which really piqued my interest, and mentioned they came from a book he’d picked up while thrifting. Intrigued, I asked if he thought they might make for a good article on Uni Watch. He thought they would. With Pitchers and Catchers reporting for most teams, this is a great way to kick off the baseball season. (You can click some of the images to enlarge.)
Here’s Jimmer with his Uni Watch book review on…
how to get to FIRST BASE
When I go thrift shopping my favorite part is the search for the unexpected find. Sometimes I’ll have a particular item in mind, but mostly I go hoping to be surprised. Last month was different. I went to my nearby consignment store with a small list, actually found every item on it and scored a couple of unexpected gems. One of those gems is the book I’m going to review today, “How To Get To First Base: A Picture Book Of Baseball.”
This fun, quick read from 1952 is the product of Marc Simont, famous illustrator of more than 100 children’s books, and Red Smith, legendary sportswriter. At first glance this looks like another of Simont’s kid books, with plenty of clean, detailed yet charmingly simple drawings.
A couple of the anecdotes shared by Smith give it a PG rating instead of a G, though.
There isn’t really a story to be told here. The book is more a sampler platter of the game. As Smith says, “There is no special continuity in the scenes depicted here. You can’t learn the score going through this book, but you can get to meet some of the boys with their heroics down.” There are gentle pokes at the rituals of the game, as well as the fans and media.
Certain rules are quoted, with humorous illustrations to highlight them.
There are hypothetical game conversations, one of which would fit right into the script of Bull Durham.
Along with the anecdotes, there are scenarios that say a lot with very few words.
Scattered throughout the book are some wonderful two-page spreads that really give you the feeling of having a ticket and sitting in the seats.
One of them even takes you back to the pre-merchandising days and gives you an idea why souvenir ballcaps have become so popular.
The final part is a collection of portraits showcasing the stars of the early 1950s in all their stirrupped glory.
Some of them are obvious caricatures …
… others are just about spot on — especially the one of Big Klu.
After finishing the book, Smith’s introduction seemed accurate. Despite the choppiness I felt as if I’d just spent an afternoon, maybe even a whole season, at the ballpark. If you find “How To Get To First Base” in your book or thrift store, I recommend heading for home with it.
Thanks Jim. What a fun little post to start Uni Watching spring training, eh? Pitchers and Catchers have already reported (for most teams), and position players will arrive as soon as Sunday! Spring is just around the corner, peeps.
A 1967 Saints Helmet Discovery
A little over a week ago, Uni Watch stalwart Leo Strawn sent in a nice bit of detective work, as it relates to Jim Taylor, of the 1967 Saints. For any photos below, you can click to enlarge. I’ll let Leo take it from here:
Jim Taylor with 3 different 1967 Saints helmets
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
I know you’re familiar with the training camp helmets the Saints wore in their opening camp from the SI cover featuring Jim Taylor and Gary Cuozzo in 1967 and possibly this photo of the pair, as well.
We all know Saints wore black/white/black helmet striping in 1967 regular season, as seen in this photo of Taylor rushing against the Rams in the season opener in New Orleans.
Thanks to the hard work of the guys at GUD, we also know they wore white/black/white helmet striping for the last 12 games of 1968, and after wearing black helmets the following preseason, they went back to the black/white/black striping pattern for the ’69 season and beyond.
So, at the very least, he wore one style in training camp and wore two other styles during the season.
While he was wearing the helmet the entire team would be wearing for the better part of the 1968 season, the rest of his teammates in 1967 wore the normal black/white/black pattern.
We know that the Saints were somewhat less than uniform in their early existence, as seen in this 1968 photo where the tackle is the only one wearing black/white/black striping down the pants leg…
…and also in this 1967 photo of a #67 who doesn’t show up on the roster on the Saints’ website and was sporting an unusually wide center stripe on his helmet while Taylor appears to be either wearing the training camp helmet or the white/black/white pattern (tough to be certain from that angle).
He is definitely wearing white/black/white this photo.
Both are likely from their only regular season meeting with the Browns that year. (I can’t find concrete info on the preseason.) Though I have my doubts, if that first shot really was the training camp helmet it might not have been the only time he wore two different striped helmets in a single game for New Orleans.
In this video, beginning at about the 13:30 mark, you can see that the Saints wore white in their home game against the Eagles. Notice in the video, Taylor is seen holding and wearing the black/white/black striped helmet that his teammates also wore, but in this photo, he is wearing white/black/white.
Two weeks later, in Philadelphia, the Eagles wore white. Not being certain of their preseason schedule, I can only assume the video and photo showing the Saints in white were taken at the same game (the Saints’ first regular season victory).
(Side note: A couple of other oddities in the video can be seen at 9:10, where Obert Logan can be seen in his #0, and starting just after 20:30, where the upside down end zone lettering can be seen in Washington; i.e., it is readable to the folks sitting behind the goal posts.)
— Leo Strawn Jr
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Have several colorizations today — two from an old friend, John Turney, and one from old pal Bruce Menard.
Click photos to enlarge.
The first two are from John, and the final is from Bruce.
“The Hit Heard ”˜Round the World,” is one of the greatest defensive plays in Buffalo Bills history.
Bills photographer Robert Smith took this B&W shot on December 26, 1964 during the Bills AFL Championship Game versus the San Diego Chargers. I have colorized it.
Mike Stratton was an outside linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, an All-AFL selection as was Charger running back Keith Lincoln.
Daryle Lamonica had a couple good seasons, even coming in for Jack Kemp and pulling out some wins for the Billls in his years before he was sent to Oakland.
Note #75 Jess Richardson, no face mask, one of the last two to do that, other: Tommy McDonald.
So here’s my latest colorization, one that I’ve been meaning to do ever since I sent the original photo to Uni Watch a few years ago. It’s a classic pic of Babe Ruth and his teammate Al DeVormer as they enjoy some time off in Hot Springs in their amazing Yankees sweaters. This would have been in late February 1922 – during the Yankees early workouts before their official spring training in New Orleans.
Great job, John & Bruce!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN takes a look back at the Minnesota North Stars’ uniforms throughout their history; it’s timely as today (as part of the Minnesota Wild’s “Stadium Series” weekend) the Wild/North Stars’ Almuni Game will feature uniforms based on the old North Stars. The article also features some neat historical unis and concepts.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Here’s a pretty nice look at the Baltimore Orioles new spring training tops (from Andrew Cosentino). … Also from Andrew, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the cartoon Oriole Bird. He says, “Call me a biased Baltimorean, but I think that it’s one of the best logos in all of sports.” … Here’s a nice up-close look at the St. Louis Cardinals spring training jersey — love that chain stitching! (from Stephen Combs). … The Atlanta Braves are wearing “Dewsy” patch on left sleeve to honor longtime coach Bobby Dews, who passed away in December (from Grant McAuley). … As many of you know, the Mets will be retiring Mike Piazza’s #31 later this year (due to his enshrinement in the MLB HOF) — so where on the wall should they put it? Good question, actually. … New jerseys for the Delaware Blue Hens (h/t AdamMorrisonCrying). … Nice catch: The Tigers new belt-tunnel allows MLB logo, but retains historic belt-loop (grab by Steve Vibert). … Are the Yankees keeping the Yogi “8” memorial asks OneOfTheMongos. Here’s another look at the NYY ST uni/cap. … Yesterday, the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” (and later, “Go Set A Watchman”) passed away (h/t Paul). … “In an article posted on the Kansas City Star website, it states (Paulo Orlando) is wearing a Omaha Storm Chasers hat (KC’s AAA affiliate),” writes Peter Corcoran. “But this is incorrect, he’s actually wearing a mid-90s Omaha Royals cap. They were the O-Royals until 1999, then the Golden Spikes until 2002, back to the O-Royals until becoming the Storm Chasers in 2010. I know that this cap is from that time, because I have an official MiLB wool fitted cap from the mid-late 90s that matches it. He could be wearing the cap from the following Omaha giveaway (which incorrectly states its a Royals inspired cap). … New Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel wears a camouflage wedding band (h/t Robert Hayes). … The Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders will be wearing these unis today (h/t Chris Mycoskie). … Jacksonville State University will have a new home white jersey this year (and it’s awful — from Ryne Strickland). … Florida State University has new batting practice jerseys (h/t Ryan Kelly). … The University of New Mexico Lobos appear to have many cap options this season (via Rob Montoya). … Here’s a look at BYU’s baseball uniforms with the alternate sailor coug logo on the jersey (from All Blue Everything). … In case you missed it (I know I did), here’s Barry Bonds in a Marlins uni. Shane Bua asks, “Have Marlins NOBs always been that massive?” … New road unis for Boston College baseball (h/t BC Baseball). … I know this looks white (or VERY light gray), but this is the Cincinnati Bearcats’ new road jersey (h/t Doug Smith). Here it is in action (from Nickzingis). … Oklahoma and Northeastern hooked up in a battle of beautiful hosiery (thanks to Trayton Miller). … Hate to see a guy with such a high number wearing his stirrups so beautifully — that’s White Sox rookie Carson Fulmer — if only because the odds he’ll make the team are probably pretty low (from Sir Psycho T). … More gorgeous lower-leg stylings on display between Pitt. State and UM Duluth (from KOAM & FOX 14 Sports). … Trinity University (TX) sported full anthracite for their home opener. When it’s worn like that, and with lovely rups, me likey! (from TrinityU Equipment). … Check out the mismatched logos on these University of North Carolina baseball caps. Revised (2015) logo on left, old on right (from James Gilbert). … Jimmer Vilk and I are mentioned a couple of times in this Sully baseball podcast in which a possible new name for the Cleveland Indians is discussed. Part of that comes from this twitter conversation, as well as this.
NFL News: The Vikings haven’t even moved into their new stadium, and it already needs a major repair. Contractors are going to have to take about 30 percent of the roof off U.S. Bank Stadium to fix leaks — The cost of the repair is estimated at $4 million (thanks, Brinke). … Not sure if this was ever brought up, but Keith Clowers spotted an “Epic Fail” at this year’s Pro Bowl, as the Buccaneers representatives all had their team flag shoulder patches put on backwards. … Is it possible the Falcons have leaked a preview of new unis? (Yeah, I don’t think so either, but you never know…).
Hockey News: “Throwbacks done right,” tweets Paul Kingsmith: WHL’s Kamloops Blazers bringing back Cooperalls. … “Remember how not too long ago, there was a discussion on how different makers had variations on the thickness of the Ducks’ one orange pinstripe?” asks Mike Engle. “Well check out this insane width discrepancy between the Rangers goalie and his teammate.” … This ESPN feature, 40 over 40, has Gordie Howe wearing what appears to be a Whalers jersey. “Interesting,” says submitter Alex Dewitt. … Good news (so far): the NHL and NHLPA have yet to sell corporate ads for World Cup uniforms. … Here is the Lake Erie Monsters new Autism Awareness sweater, which they’ll wear February 27th (from Brad Foster). Yes, it’s Lego-themed. … “I was looking through some old Olympic hockey pictures and came across some photos from the 1980 Olympics and saw that some of the Soviet players were wearing actually Adidas hockey skates,” writes Miles. “Pretty rare and bizarre. I seem to remember that the Japanese men’s hockey team wore them in an Olympics as well, way back when.” … There was a gray vs green uni matchup last night for Alabama-Huntsville at Northern Michigan (from Myles Johnson). … Earlier this week Dave Coulier wore a Red Wings Yzerman jersey in a skit on the Jimmy Fallon show (from Chris Flinn). … Check out this from the Sabres: Jamie McGinn has superscript, Jake McCabe subscript (from jeffreybigmoney).
NBA News: The Milwaukee Bucks have a new 1977 ‘All Star’ selection of fan merch (from Johnny Okray). More info here. … The Sacramento Kings debuted their “throwback” court last night. Here’s an article with a video showing the new court being laid down. … Quite possibly the court and uniform matchup of the year last night between Denver and Sacramento (from Chasen Rogers). … “Last night was 90s night at the Bulls game,” says Jimbo Huening. “Here’s the shirt they gave away. Did they wear the unis the shirt is based on? Nope. They went with the 70s/80s script Chicago red ones.”
College Hoops News: Looks like Mississippi State did a pink out — yep, it was a pink vs. white/pink game against UK. … Check out the font on these Warren Wilson College senior night unis. Also NOB for seniors only (h/t Paul). … The Arizona Wildcats will be wearing these
Hyper Elite Disruption Nike uniforms at Colorado on 2/24 (via Michael). Here’s a closer look (from Zona’ Nation). … Annnnd, here’s the Hyper Elite Disruption Nike uniforms Duke will be wearing today at Louisville (h/t Erik Spoonmore). … Meanwhile, the Louisville Cards will sport their Cream Throwback uniforms vs. Duke to honor their 1986 National Championship Team — note the Apostrophe Catastrophe (thanks, Douggie Keklak). … Houston will be going Black for Black’s sake on Sunday (h/t Chris Rocha)
Soccer News: With all the new kits coming out for MLS teams, Timmy Westside asks, “FC Dallas teasing a new uniform for this season?” … Looks like there is a new New Balance soccer boot out (from Casey Hart).
Grab Bag: Here’s a pretty nice look at some past and present uniforms for Chico State, juxtaposing the 1970s with the 2010s. … This is a very in-depth article which takes a look at the name/logo saga of the UND
Fighting Sioux Sioux Fighting Hawks. … Here’s another take on that (from Tommy Turner). … All tires for the Indy 500 will feature a special sidewall honoring the drivers of our 66 all-time Indy wins (thanks Paul). … Players in the NRL World All Stars team had their country of origin flag inside jersey numbers. … Check out Alabama NASCAR racer Grant Enfinger’s Crimson Tide-themed helmet. … Goldline has been named “Official Uniform Supplier” to Curling Canada. I’m not totally bummed aboot this, as Goldline is a pretty big name in curling, but I hate template-y unis, which these are sure to be. … When Brabham driver Hans Joachim Stuck was interviewed prior to the start of the 1977 German Grand Prix, the team put a temporary patch on his racing overalls in order to gain some extra publicity and advertising (thanks to Graham Clayton).
That’s all for today, kids. Big thanks to Jimmer, Bruce, John & Leo, and anyone who tweeted or emailed for the ticker. Back tomorrow with more good stuff, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Since I have never sat in the fancy seats before, the Yankees seem to think that I am not worthy to ever sit there. Are they afraid I will offend their elite season-ticket holders by using the wrong fork with my hot dog?”
— Vernona E