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True Colors Volume IV - The Colors of Spring Training

Joe D 550
Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken

It’s been a while since I ran a “True Colors” lede — but it’s back today, and it features some of the amazing colorization work of UW stalwart Bruce “B Smile” Menard, whose great work usually can be found in the sub-lede, “Colorize This!” Bruce will entertain us with several amazing efforts, all of which are colorized photos from spring training…of yore. You probably also know Bruce well for his many wire service photos, which Paul has run off and on for years. He not only acquires and cleans up the photos — he also colorizes many of them, as you’ll see today.

I’ll have Bruce give us a short introduction, after which we’ll take a look at six of his favorite Spring Training colorizations, complete with their wire service descriptions. As I do in the colorize this section, you’ll see the colorized photo and the original photo from which he started. You can click on any photo below to enlarge.

Here’s Bruce with…

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The Color(ization) of Spring…Training
By Bruce Menard

Spring officially arrives this Sunday, and even if the impending snow storm here in the Northeast belies that fact, it still serves as my inspiration for this latest batch of colorizations: spring training baseball.

There’s several factors involved in which photos I choose to colorize, including the date they were originally taken, their historical value, cool uniforms…and of course, colorful characters! That’s why this batch features the ’34 St. Louis Cardinals “Gashouse Gang” and two different Casey Stengel pics. It’s funny to see a fairly “young” Casey still manage look so old, and in uniforms you typically don’t think of with him wearing, like the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was just 45 years old and the Boston Bees (Braves).

Actually colorizing a photo takes many steps, starting with cropping and “cleaning up” the original image. From there I typically convert the black & white edit into a sepia image. I find that doing this makes the image more cohesive and the colors that I add seem richer and somewhat more natural. Finally, there’s an effect that I’ve been experimenting with lately, it’s called the “Retro Lab” filter on PaintShop Pro (version X5). Finishing a photo with this effect allows me to adjust the focus of a specific field as well as the hue and saturation of color in it. One thing this really helps with is that skies can be a more complex series of blue hues, making the image seem deeper and less flat.

. . .

1934 (Mar11) StL Cardinals SpTr Frisch Durocher LG z  (combo1)Wxx

1934 (Mar11) StL Cardinals SpTr Frisch Durocher LG (bw vs  color by BSmile)

The Gashouse Gang Gets Some Spring Training Guidance (March 11, 1934)
~ (Wire Tag) “This Is The Way It Goes, Boys…” – Manager Frank Frisch (kneeling, left) gives the St. Louis Cardinals infield a few instructions. From left to right, standing: Leo Durocher, Lewis Riggs, Thomas Carey, Burgess Whitehead, and Edward Delker. From left to right, kneeling: Ripper Collins and Pepper Martin.”

. . .

1935 (Mar16) Casey Stengel Brooklyn Dodgers SpTr striped  jersey (2016)7xBWxx

1935 (Mar16) Casey Stengel Brooklyn Dodgers SpTr striped  jersey (bw vs color by BSmile)

Casey Stengel Has His Sights Set On Spring Training!
~ Brooklyn Dodgers manager Stengel at training camp in Orlando, FL (March 16, 1935)

. . .

1937 (Mar13) Detroit Tigers SpTr Hank Hammers One  (2016)5Wxx

1937 (Mar13) Detroit Tigers SpTr Hank Hammers One (bw vs   color by BSmile)

Hank Greenberg Hammers One During Spring Training (Lakeland, FL – March 13, 1937)
~ (Wire Tag) “Hank Hammers One – Proving that last season’s broken wrist is no handicap to his hitting, Hank Greenberg, Detroit first baseman, hammers out a hit during inter-squad game at the Tiger training camp here. Doing the catching is Mickey Cochrane.”

. . .

1938 (Mar4) Casey Stengel New Mgr Boston Braves  (2016)zTag2W

1938 (Mar4) Casey Stengel New Mgr Boston Braves (2016 bw  vs color by BSmile)

New Boston Bees Mgr. Casey Stengel at Spring Training (Bradenton, Florida – March 1938)
~ (Wire Tag) “Casey Watches Squad Workout – Casey Stengel, new manager of the Boston Bees (Braves), casting the well-known eagle eye over his squad as they worked out recently at their spring training camp here.”

. . .

1939 (Mar8) SpTr DiMaggio Runs For Ball (2016)6TbW

1939 (Mar8) SpTr DiMaggio Runs For Ball (2016)zz Compare  bw color

Garden Coverage Demonstrated By DiMaggio (March 8, 1939)
~ (Wire Tag) “Out for his first day’s spring training here with the New York Yankees, Joe DiMaggio gives a sample of how the garden spot should be covered to rob opposition batters of hits.”

. . .

1951 (Mar12) Roy Campanella Brooklyn Dodgers SpTr sons  (edit)7W

1951 (Mar12) Roy Campanella Brooklyn Dodgers SpTr sons (bw  vs color by BSmile)

Roy Campanella Teaches His Sons The Art Of Catching (March 12, 1951)
~ (Wire Tag) “Dodgers Have A Family Act – If the boys turn out to be chips off the old block, the Dodgers will be all set in the catching department if, and when, catcher Roy Campanella hangs up his mask and gloves. Here is Campanella with his sons, David, 7, and Roy Jr., 2, as he put them through their paces at Miami Stadium. The Dodgers won their first game yesterday in the Grapefruit League by shading the Boston Braves, 10-9 in an error-spangled game. 3-12-51”

. . .

I hope everyone enjoyed this latest installment, to see what I’m working on next you can follow me on Twitter @BSmile and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BaseballByBSmile/.

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Great stuff, Bruce! Thanks for the intricate look at your work. As one who once (tried to) colorize, I am well aware of the time and effort that goes into an undertaking like this. It’s yeoman work you’re doing, and it’s great to see how those old photos we only knew in black and white to come to life anew with your colorizations.

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classic scoreboards splashClassic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” — now in Series III — which are created by Gary Chanko. 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 III
by Gary Chanko

For this edition of Classic Ballpark Scoreboards we visit baseball’s quintessential Green Cathedral, Fenway Park. Much is written about this classic ballpark and one can spend weeks pouring through all the available books and research articles. If you want the Cliffs Notes version of Fenway Park history, try the Fenway Park Diaries.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park Scoreboard_UW Revised

Baseball Home of: Boston Red Sox (MLB) (1912”“present); Boston Braves (MLB) (1914”“1915)
Football Home of: Boston Bulldogs (AFL) (1926); Boston Redskins (NFL) (1933”“1936); Boston Shamrocks (AFL) (1936”“1937); Boston Yanks (NFL) (1944”“1948); Boston Patriots (AFL) (1963”“1968)
Opened: April 20,1912; Closed: Probably never!

Even if you’re not a hard core baseball fan, you probably know Fenway Park’s signature feature – the Wall. The Wall, or more commonly known today as the Green Monster, was there from the beginning. The original 1912 structure contained two scoreboards along the 25 ft high outfield wall. The base of the wall sloped down about 10 ft. toward the playing field (think Crosley Field), so the wall height above the field was about 35 ft.

The Original Scoreboards

The high wall was designed to block any free viewing from neighboring apartment roof tops. One of the manual scoreboards in dead left field provided the line score and lineup information. The second board in left center featured lights to indicate balls, strikes, outs and the current batter. This photo shows the scoreboard placements. Notice the predominance of advertising along the entire wall – a feature that would continue on for several more decades.

A New Wall

In 1934 Fenway saw it’s first major renovation and expansion that created the basic configuration seen today. The original left field wall and scoreboard were removed, the outfield slope was leveled, and a new 231 ft long and 37 ft.-2 in. high wall was constructed. The now classic hand-operated scoreboard was added to the lower have in left center, it featured innovative red and green lights to indicate balls, strikes, hits, and errors. An electronic matrix display indicated the player number AT BAT.

The birth of the Green Monster, however, was still a few years away. Billboard advertising continued to plaster the left field wall. Calvert Whiskey, GEM razors, and Lifebouy Soap were typical sponsors. But in 1947 lights were added to Fenway and the wall was painted green and finally free of billboard advertisements.

The Same but Continuing Evolvement

The scoreboard layout has continued to evolve over the years since 1934 while maintaining the original concept. The American and National League expansion in the 1960s required reconfiguration to accommodate the increased number of teams. In 2001 the original scoreboard was actually replaced with an exact replica.

The scoreboard illustration recreates the Green Monster as it appeared for the July 4, 1942 game with the Yankees.

A Few Things to Know

• In 1936 a 23-foot high screen was installed over the top of the Green Monster to protect nearby buildings. To retrieve balls from the screen, a permanent ladder was installed on the face of the Green Monster. The ladder still remains in place today and is considered in fair territory.

Balls ricochetting off the ladder resulted in two inside-the-park home runs. One of the home runs was attributed to Dr. Strangeglove, one of baseball’s notable tortoises.

• The scoreboard today contains 127 slots manually operated by a team of three score keepers that move 12 x 16 in plates for the score. Meet one of the operators in this article.

• The scoreboard interior structure contains autographs of players that ventured inside. Babe Ruth’s autograph reportedly is there among them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN looked back at the (in)famous Marquette hoops untucked jerseys, which first appeared during the 1975-76 season. Not only were they a uniform *first* — they were also designed by forward Bo Ellis, a 6-foot-9 junior majoring in fashion design! The Marquette team already had worn some awesome designs during Coach Al McGuire’s tenure, but the untucked unis were another step in the evolution of uni design. We look back on them now with fondness (if not outright joy), but I’m wondering if swooshie or adidas came out with a similar “innovation” now if we’d simply pan them. Of course, uni design back then wasn’t done (or driven) by marketing considerations first and foremost — it was a different era.

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

Enjoy!

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Uni Watch News Ticker

Baseball News: Many (most?) people picture Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon as one who is, shall we say, less than svelte (although what appears to be *fat* is definitely all muscle — and I’ve had the privilege of seeing him on a tour of Shea Citi Field wearing a compression shirt), but he didn’t always look this way: Here’s a look at some of baseball’s oldest players during their first spring training years (h/t Bruce Menard). The Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota’s Double A team) will be unveiling a new look on Wednesday, March 23 (h/t Mark Paczewski). … White Sox pitcher Chris Sale showed support for former teammate Adam LaRoche and his son, Drake, by hanging their jerseys in his locker on Friday. … Lots of Pittsburgh Pirates fans love Roberto Clemente (and with good reason). They also show up to games with custom jerseys featuring his NOB. There’s just one tiny problem with that — Clemente never wore NOB (the Pirates didn’t add NOBs until 1977). Now, I *get* that some of today’s younger generation *may* not have heard of Clemente, and putting his NOB *may* be a special way of honoring him — but c’mon man. That’s almost as bad as this. Not only have the Yankees never gone NOB, Ruth never wore pinstripes with the interlocking NY on them either. … Looks like Yasmani Grandal is joining the matte finish catcher’s helmet trend (thanks to Ben Hibberd). … Here’s a 1966 Topps Baseball Cards Uncut Sheet, from 50 years ago (from Bruce Menard), who adds, “I count at least 6 HOF’ers.” … Here’s a jersey with an American flag of significant size as a nameplate for Abingdon-Avon High School (Illinois) softball (from Jackson White). … For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, Joey Votto went NNOB and N#OB yesterday (h/t Hoosier Steve) — anyone know why? … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The 2016 Topps “Opening Day” baseball card set includes a 15-card “Alternate Reality” insert set. It features players in one of their teams alternate jerseys. This card links an appearance in the uniform to a big night the player had (from Brett Alan). … According to Michael Carpenter, the Royals will wear a gold “KC” and “Royals” for their first two games of 2016. Here’s another look. Those games are opening night (April 3) and April 5. Here’s a bit more on that. … The Royals and Rangers went royal vs. royal blue last night in the Alamodome (h/t Connor). … Did Matt Kemp lose his jersey or something? (from Isaac Hoppe).

NFL News: Ouch — there are at least three incorrect NFL helmet logos on this graphic posted by Navy football (good spot by Ian Thompson). … The Indianapolis Colts are going to retire Peyton Manning’s #18 jersey and build a statute of him outside Lucas Oil Stadium. … Here’s our first look at the new New Orleans Saints 50th Season patch on a jersey (via JJ Sledge). As Paul noted in yesterday’s comments, “Interestingly, it doesn’t include the team name on the top or the date range on the bottom.”

Hockey News: The SPHL’s 6th-Annual Legends of Hockey Night is tonight. Here are the uniforms the teams will wear (from OT Sports). … Kevin Spacey has a custom, Fetty Wap-themed Florida Panthers jersey. Yes, you read that correctly. … The Springfield Jr. Blues of the NAHL are outfitted with jerseys that resemble the set worn by the St. Louis Blues during the mid-1990s (from OT Sports). … Yesterday in Lake Placid, Dartmouth and Quinnipiac played a color-on-color game at the ECAC semifinals (from Cassian Wykes). … In the B1G Tourney, Minnesota and Ohio State also color vs. color (h/t Adam Phillips).

NBA News: The Sioux Falls Skyforce (an affiliate of the Miami Heat) wore Native American Heritage jerseys (presented by Sisseton Waheton Oyate) last evening (via Paul). … Kobe Bryant’s 2016 All-Star Game jersey set a record on NBA Auctions (selling for $100,040, nearly double the previous high of $50,040 set by LeBron James’ jersey from his first game back in Cleveland last season).

College Hoops News: Whoa — here’s a rare game-used example of NC State’s infamous 1989 basketball unitard (from Paul), who notes it “Looks more like a wrestling uni!” … Hmmm — March Madness is now using a blue “S” for Syracuse (h/t Mike Dahlstrom).

Soccer News: Tweeter Joshua Gleason “Had to make a new Twitter header upon the release of the amazing new @ussoccer jerseys” — that is pretty cool (even if the new jerseys are less than spectacular). … I think we just saw these, but here are some more photos of the new kits for the New York Cosmos (from Yellow Away Kit). … Here’s a look at France’s Euro 2016 kit. … Here’s a look at the new Netherlands home kit for 2016. … BFBS works? It’s statistically proven in English Premier League soccer that at least this season, goaltenders are having more success keeping goals out of the net when wearing black or grey jerseys in game action compared to when they are sporting yellow, orange, green or any other color.

Grab Bag: Nike has announced the USA’s AeroSwift track and field uniforms for Rio 2016 (from Conrad Burry). … Somebody ran out of the official World Cup jersey for Kagiso Rabada of South Africa, forcing him to switch into a shirt with a sponsor after Stokes wicket ball (via Peter Della Penna). … Douchebaggery at its finest (but this is really nothing new). … “Every year, the Washington Post has a diorama competition in which the artist must use Peeps,” says Andrew Hoenig. “This year, there were several sports themes, including 2 versions of Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper. (slide 14 and 34)”

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And that’s all for today kids. Huge thanks to Bruce and Gary, and anyone who e-mailed or tweeted for the ticker. Back tomorrow with more! Until then,

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“(W)hy exactly does all the money Coca-Cola paid to the NCAA trump all the money Pepsi paid to have their name on the arena? Is there some sort of doucebaggery duel to declare King Douche for the day?”

–jacket18

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24 comments to True Colors Volume IV – The Colors of Spring Training

  • Gusto4044 | March 19, 2016 at 8:49 am |

    Regarding the NOB of the Clemente jerseys, we have to keep in mind it’s the manufacturers which make that decision. If you want a Clemente jersey, it’s very difficult to find one without the NOB. Maybe impossible with the gold and black versions.

  • Andrew | March 19, 2016 at 9:07 am |

    Very nice graphics Arsenal posts for players’ birthdays. https://www.instagram.com/p/BDIUE9rEriy/

  • BurghFan | March 19, 2016 at 9:18 am |

    “the Pirates didn’t add NOBs until 1977”

    1979.

    And Clemente would have only worn white and gray unis in those days before BP jerseys, so none of those black or gold shirts are historically accurate. However, I doubt any of the people who were photographed for that piece, with the possible exception of the vest-wearers, really thinks that they’re wearing what Roberto wore. So I’m content to let them honor a Pirate legend without giving anybody grief.

    • Gusto4044 | March 19, 2016 at 9:43 am |

      And for those Pirate fans who remember those 1977-79 teams,
      those were some of Clemente’s teammates from the early 70s, so there’s somewhat of a connection.

  • Brent | March 19, 2016 at 9:42 am |

    Regarding NOB, I keep seeing the old baby blue Rangers jersey around here with Nolan Ryan’s name and number. Always younger people too. Sometimes you see the current set with his name and number too. Which he also never wore.

  • Bruce | March 19, 2016 at 10:22 am |

    Great job on the Fenway Park “Classic Ballpark Scoreboard” Gary!

  • Steve D | March 19, 2016 at 11:01 am |

    Phil,

    Do you intentionally model the lead in to the title of your article off 1950s Batman comics or is that a coincidence?

    • Phil Hecken | March 19, 2016 at 11:43 am |

      Steve,

      I’ll assume this is snarkasm, but since I’ve never read any Batman (or any super hero) comics, I’ll bite. How is my lead in “off” 1950s Batman comics?

      • Steve D | March 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm |

        I wasn’t being snarcastic…an example would be:

        “see if you can interpret the clues skillfully enough to identify…The Man Behind the Red Hood!”

        I like your dramatic lead-ins.

        • Phil Hecken | March 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm |

          “I like your dramatic lead-ins.”

          ~~~

          I wouldn’t say they’re dramatic, but thanks. I try, but often fail, to be as parsimonious with my introductions as possible.

  • Jerry Reuss | March 19, 2016 at 11:29 am |

    Many thanks, Bruce for sharing with us the colorization process. You’ve taken an art form to a whole new level! I always look forward to viewing your work.

    • Bruce | March 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm |

      Thanks so much Jerry, always great to hear from you!

      Cheers!
      ~Bruce

  • Matthew Prigge | March 19, 2016 at 12:27 pm |

    During the Brewers TV broadcast yesterday, they said that Votto had lost his jersey and was expected to play in a blank one. However, he had his usual uni on during the game. That shot looks like it is from the pre-game, so my guess is that he found it right before first pitch.

  • Bill Walsh | March 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm |

    The original fenway scoreboard is in Fort Meyers at city of palms park

  • Tom | March 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm |

    Between the colorizations of spring training long ago and the Fenway scoreboard background that led to tangential clicks and searches that make the Internet what it is, this was a great issue today. I’d never seen that incline in left field at Fenway and the detail in the pictures was superb!

  • ChrisChris 26 | March 19, 2016 at 1:36 pm |

    Am I missing something here? “Ruth never wore pinstripes with the interlocking NY on them either.”

    Doing a very quick image search brings back many photos of him wearing that very top.Is it a different style ‘NY’ or something?

    • Steve D | March 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm |

      He wore the interlocking NY plenty…all during old-timer’s events. He never wore it in a game. The Yankees did not wear it from 1917-1935.

    • Phil Hecken | March 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm |

      What Steve D. said.

      Ruth never wore the iconic interlocking “NY” on a uniform as a player for the Yankees. He did wear it other times, when they were honoring (or damn near memorializing) him. But as an actual player for the team, the Yanks never wore the interlocking NY on the uniform during his tenure.

      • ChrisChris 26 | March 19, 2016 at 4:55 pm |

        Thank you very much for clarifying guys. I was unaware of that info.

  • LarryB | March 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm |

    Thanks to Bruce for sharing his colorizing process. Always fun to get an idea what some guys do.

    • Bruce | March 20, 2016 at 11:55 am |

      You bet LarryB ~ Cheers!

  • Harvey Lee | March 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm |

    All of the high tech Nike puts in the new track and field uniforms seems to be nulled out by the ludicrous oversized bibs that athletes still have to wear. In non-Olympic competitions, I assume this is because of the large sponsorship they can place on the front of every competitor, but I don’t know why they insist on this for the ad-free Olympics. There is no reason why they can’t print names and numbers on the uniforms like other sports. This is especially true for women’s singlets, which are typically bikini tops and it’s super dorky to see the plastic bibs spilling over onto their abs and backs.

  • Ted Mark | March 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm |

    Great colorized pictures! One of my favorite things1

    • Bruce | March 20, 2016 at 11:55 am |

      Thanks Ted, glad you enjoyed them!