By Phil Hecken, with Gary Chanko
As most of you fine readers are familiar, almost every Saturday for the past few years, I’ve run a sub-lede on here called “Classic Stadium Scoreboards,” which features both the art and research of Gary Chanko. Gary’s graphic depictions of scoreboards really are works of art in and of themselves, and to date, he’s completed around 60 of them.
I’m here today with Gary to talk about a new project in which I’m hopeful many of you will be interested — the Book of Scoreboards. And we’d like to ask your assistance in crafting it!
At this point, I will turn the post over to Gary.
Classic Scoreboards: An Illustrated History
By Gary Chanko
About eighteen months ago I pitched a project to Phil involving creating illustrations of some of the old classic ballparks. I knew Phil shared a keen interest in these old ballparks and I always wanted to do some sort of poster involving Connie Mack Stadium — where I saw my first major league baseball game.
That monstrous Ballantine scoreboard in right field is a huge part of my of Connie Mack Stadium memories. I knew that scoreboard would somehow be incorporated in the illustration. Researching for Connie Mack Stadium materials, it registered that many of these old ballparks also had distinctive scoreboards in their histories. But there was little written about these iconic scoreboards. Photographic images of old scoreboards, when they existed, were typically lost in the background. Most of the old scoreboards were lost; buried in the larger narrative of the ballpark. I decided “scoreboards” would be the focus of my illustrations.
I originally planned just a few scoreboard illustrations – Connie Mack Stadium, Polo Grounds, maybe Ebbets Field and so on. Many of the Uni-Watch readers enjoyed the Classic Scoreboard weekend series that rekindled their own ballpark memories. With reader interest the project continued on.
Now many months later a project intended as a limited effort, has expanded to over sixty scoreboard illustrations covering not just ballparks, but football stadiums, and even a couple hockey arenas.
Recently I started brainstorming ways to share the collection of illustrations further. Why not publish them in a book? A book project is a big undertaking and I definitely needed a collaborator. So I pitched the concept to Phil and here’s what we’re planning:
Classic Scoreboards: An Illustrated History will tell the story of scoreboards from yesterday’s ballparks, stadiums, and arenas. Most of these venues no longer remain. Many of today’s fans never had the opportunity to experience the quirkiness of these facilities before the age of HD video boards. Still, many generations of sports fans hold treasured memories of having watched games in these forgotten playing fields – they can visualize the scoreboard that told who one the game.
Classic Scoreboards will contain all the sixty plus color illustrations that originally appeared in the weekend edition of Uni-Watch over the past few years. We’ll add new perspectives on the scoreboard combined with fascinating facts and information graphics.
We Want Your Input and Remembrances
Moving the planning effort forward, we thought it might be helpful to hear your thoughts and comments. Perhaps there’s a “missing” scoreboard you’d like to see included. Maybe you have a suggestion on content or a question you want answered.
Also we’re looking for anecdotal stories for inclusion in Classic Scoreboards. As such, we’re inviting you to submit scoreboard related memories, recollections, and accounts. Just a sentence or two will do. We’ll collect the best of those nostalgic experiences submitted and include them in our book.
Classic Scoreboards – A Look Back
If you’re not familiar with the Classic Scoreboards series or missed a few of the early postings, here’s list of some of previous offerings (click on the photos to enlarge — following that, here’s a link to each of those with their full writups):
Connie Mack Stadium
Shea Stadium and Crosley Field
Please CLICK HERE to read the original writeups for each of those scoreboard entries.
And if you you’re interested in touring the entire Classic Scoreboard collection, check the gallery.
Thanks, Gary! OK readers — we’re not only hoping you’ll be interested in a book full of Gary’s Classic Stadium Scoreboard graphics and research and more — but that you’ll also assist with the project by offering your suggestions, questions, personal recollections or anecdotes. Please post any thoughts you might have in the comments below, or you can send an e-mail to Phil.Hecken@gmail.com. OK? OK! We’d love to hear what you think!
A Follow-Up From Jerry Reuss
You folks will recall last weekend I ran one in my nascent series “What’s Your Sig(nature)” — this time for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which featured several photos of Uni Watch reader and friend Jerry Reuss.
Jerry followed up with an e-mail to me on that post that I wanted to share with the UW readership:
Was pleasantly surprised when I viewed my pictures in yesterday’s post. My original purpose for posting was to share them with family and friends but then, I thought, why not with anyone who wants to see them? To use them as a historical record was something beyond my original scope. My thanks for making the Pirates images as well as my other posts more relevant.
In two tenures with the Pirates, I wore three distinct styles of uniforms. The first being the original knit style which was well-balanced with the stripes used around the neckline, sleeves and waistband. The two-tone hat and stirrups carried the old gold/black color theme from top to bottom. Because I enjoyed some success in this uniform style, seeing images of me wearing it brings on a warm and fuzzy buzz.
Second was the mix-and-match of the late seventies. Never liked the pillbox-style hat. The concept of rotating uniform combinations seemed more of a gimmick that drew attention away from the fact that the Pirates sported some excellent teams during those years. However, watching the club play from the bench at Three Rivers wearing the yellow/gold monochrome combination against the green of the Tartan turf and aquamarine-colored fence was a visual treat. Since I wore the various combo sets during two disappointing seasons before a trade to the Dodgers, no happy emotional ties exist.
Finally, the transition uniform I wore in September of 1990 (waistband in ’90 to belt loops in ’91, bold stripes on the sleeves, neckline and pants) was another well-balanced style. The use of yellow/gold as an accent color made this uniform a return to the classic style while still utilizing elements of the ”˜70s and ”˜80s. I walked off the mound at Three Rivers in my last game to a standing ovation followed by a curtain call, the only one of my 22-year career wearing that version of Pirate uniform. That was a lump-in-the-throat moment.
As far as a signature look in the context you present, I can’t provide one. I’m too emotionally involved in all the uniforms I wore. I think what separates me from many of your readers is that I viewed the uniforms from the inside looking out as opposed to outside looking in. Once I invested the time, work, sweat and emotional ties that’s part of being a player, I lost my objectivity to the experience of viewing them any other way.
I enjoyed reading about the concept of signature uniforms as well as the comments, especially yesterday as the Pirates are right in my wheelhouse. I look forward to future discussion.
Thanks, Jerry — Love hearing from you and we all really appreciate your thoughts, insight and dedication to the game!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN looked back at that time when North Carolina State wore unitards in 1989. They were only worn for two games (and so, not that well-remembered). Also, they “didn’t leave much to the imagination”, so the team ended up wearing their shorts over the unitards, which wasn’t the intent of the one-piece uni. Why did they even introduce a unitard? Check out Paul’s article/video for the answer.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: New for 2016: The Chicago Cubs are eliminating their alternate road uni (shown at right), retaining primary road uni (via Paul). … Speaking of the Cubs, they had actual bear cubs at Spring Training yesterday. Yes, actual bear cubs. … In 1992, the Angels went into Russia to sign 3 prospects. Check out the cool cap that Bob Protexter had cap made with hopes of marketing the team in Russia. More here (thanks, Paul). … Still more from Paul: The Reds will wear ’76 throwbacks on June 24, retire Pete Rose’s No. 14 on June 26 (More details here). … In addition, a Reds’ memorial patch this year for former clubhouse mgr Bernie Stowe not unveiled yet, but it may match this shirt (from Paul). … Also, a new MLB rule bans personalized bat knob decals (like Matt Duffy’s). Standardized team design & player number = OK. … We know the IronPigs are going to be the “Cheesesteaks” for one day — here’s the first look at the jersey backs for the game. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are calling those numbers “cheesy.” Their fan shirseys have even cheesier numbers. … ICYMI: #BringBackTheBrown? Yes, the Padres will have both brown and gold jerseys for the 2016 ASG. Why they couldn’t have used this look for their alternate jersey (which looks like this) is beyond me. … The Orioles are giving away this Maryland-themed bobblehead. Submitter Andrew Cosentino says, “I probably like it way more than I should.” … Oakland University’s pants have odd waist striping (from Dave Derreberry). … Here’s a a good sign of spring — the annual removal of David Price’s squatchee (thanks, Paul). … Apparently the Phillies are using a non-existent Blue Jays logo in their spring training programs (good spot by Meghan Goldie). Here’s a better look. … Is there such a thing as too much tequila sunrise-style unis? Maybe (pic from Joe Farris — those are two Arizona High School teams).
NFL/College Football News: Check out this video. Did Kentucky inadvertently reveal a new black football helmet (good spot by Thomas Mims). … Whoops, check that, they already revealed an anthracite helmet earlier this year. … Oooh, check out the patch on Don Meredith’s 1958 Look Magazine All America jacket (h/t Paul). … New Orleans Saints’ coach Sean Payton says the safety of helmets in the NFL will improve at ‘warp speed’. … “You may have got this in the past, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” writes Gene Sanny. “Look at all the no fanfare at this [Bengals] uniform unveiling…still a better look than today :).” … “I don’t ever recall seeing this helmet before” says Leo Strawn, Jr.. “It was worn by Tom Goode, Mississippi State alum who played for the Fins in ’69. GUD lists it as the helmet worn by the East in the last AFL All-Star Game in 1969. Love that facemask! (Photo by Bill Hetrick, founder of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.)”
Hockey News: Here’s your first look at the “military” uniforms being worn by the Utah Grizzlies (the Ducks ECHL affiliate) tonight (from Brian Prutch). Wait, military uniforms that aren’t camo??? … Speaking of green hockey jerseys that aren’t camo, the Johnstown Tomahawks (a junior hockey organization and member of the North American Hockey League) wore those last week (from OTSports). … Tonight, the Allen Americans (an ECHL/San Jose Sharks affiliate) will wear these jerseys (from OTSports). … Also tonight, the USHL’s Black Hawks will be sporting @UNImbb sweaters (from Steve Schofield). … “The Niagara IceDogs playoff slogan is ‘Make Them See Red’, as in the red when the goal light goes off after they score,” writes Wade Heidt. “In a bit of a surprise, they have taken it a step further with the uniforms. They normally wear black helmets and black pants – really similar look as the Chicago Blackhawks. They have switched to red helmets and red pants for the playoffs. Not able to find a full, clear picture of the all red uniform, but the OHL and team website has video highlight package from (Thursday) night’s game.” … This is pretty cool — the first ever St. Louis Blues jersey (once lost) has now been found. … Speaking of the Blues, they’ll be wearing these powder blue Cardinals-esque sweaters during warmups on March 29th (from Josh Brockman). … For the first 25 years of their existence, the Buffalo Sabres had the same logo, which they have since gone back to since 2010. In the mid-90s, however, the Sabres wanted a change and were messing around with some new logos and looks, as teams often experiment with. Well, now a video has surfaced with footage of some of the proposed and rejected logos from that rebrand (great find by Aaron Husul). … The Florida Everblades wore “Guns and Hoses” jerseys to honor local firefighters and law enforcement (h/t Ian Anderson). … Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko was wearing some very cool candy striped pads last night (pic from Dustin Semore).
NBA News: The NBA came out with a strong statement Thursday evening in the wake of North Carolina’s passing of a discriminatory law against the gay, lesbian and transgender communities, hinting that it could impact whether the league will allow Charlotte to host to the 2017 All-Star Game. … The Reno Bighorns (an NBA Development League team, affiliate of the Sacramento Kings) wore these Yoda jerseys last night (from OT Sports). … Color vs. color last evening in Sacramento with the Kings and Suns (h/t Kenton Bevacqua). … Also color vs. *color*: Grizzlies & Spurs (from Zach).
College Hoops News: Yesterday’s edition of the Philadelphia Daily News used a very old Villanova logo (from Franco). … Another stupid uni list? Sure why not — here are the best five uniforms in March Madness history. … Got a neat old photos from Jeff Flynn: check out the light/dark top and shorts for Syracuse. Also from Jeff: check out these rare red, with white and blue striped shorts from the 1930s or 1940s (full listing here). … Hey look, Thomas Bryant is still missing one of his three adidas stripes (he was missing one last weekend too — screen shot by Stephan Proctor).
Soccer News: The new USNT and England white jerseys look awfully similar. Thanks, Nike and your template (h/t Yellow Away Kit). … Both the USMNT and their U23s debuted their black kits last night (from Patrick Thomas). Here is how they looked on the pitch (grab via Robby Aces). And a team pic. … Tweeter Tim Cross remarks, “I didn’t see this before but there’s a subtle color stripe on the US shorts. Other side blue?” … The New York Red Bulls II (The USL side of the Red Bulls) will have new kits for 2016 (h/t Cut Ziti). … We’ve seen these before, but here’s a good look at the at the new Netherlands 2016 home kit, with lots of detailed closeups. And here is the away kit. … England NT is apparently really worried about the GPS tracker covering sponsor logos on practice kits (from Yellow Away Kit). … Oooohhhh — check out this VERY nice alternate kit for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Me likey! (from Mike Nessen). The kit looks even better with white shorts too!
Grab Bag: Today, Marquette lax will wear these awesome unis, which are of course, based on their basketball uniforms bearing the same tiled stripe design (h/t Nicole Haase). … If you happen to have $140 burning a hole in your pocket, you can get a pair of state-themed cleats (from Jason Hillyer). … Australia has a national Quiddich uniform. Yep you read that correctly (from Graham Clayton).
And that’s it for today — big thanks to Gary and Jerry Reuss, and anyone who tweeted or e-mailed for the ticker. With tomorrow being Easter, there might be a slightly smaller post (or maybe not). Everyone have a great Saturday, and if you have any thoughts, suggestions or anecdotes for the Classic Scoreboards book, please either post your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot me an e-mail. Back tomorrow, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“Genuinely curious, because it’s just not something I’ve ever thought about until now ”“ what did people wear before the button down shirt was invented?”