My favorite Mets blogger, Mets Police honcho Shannon Shark, recently poked some fun at Tom Seaver’s 1972 Topps baseball card, noting that Seaver was still wearing his jacket while pretending to throw a pitch (a fairly classic spring training pose that Topps often used back then):
As it happens, 1972 was the first year I collected baseball cards (I was eight years old at the time), and I remember that Seaver card well. But here’s the thing: The ’72 Topps set included a series of cards called “In Action,” which consisted of game photos instead of posed shots. Seaver had a card in the “In Action” series, in addition to his regular card, and the “In Action” card was even worse”:
I mean, it’s a swell photo and all, and it’s nice to see Seaver having fun out there, but you call that “action”?! This is the best pitcher in baseball (and, obviously, the best player on my favorite team), and that’s the best you can do? As a kid, I found it very unsatisfying and even confusing. Why would they have chosen that photo?
After telling Shannon about this, I looked back at the “In Action” series and was reminded that Seaver’s card wasn’t the only curious entry. Many of the cards did indeed feature cool action shots of players hitting, pitching, sliding, fielding, and so on. But the series also included some real head-scratchers. Here’s a sampling, in rough order of head-scratchiness:
1. Roberto Clemente
Here we have one of the best and most exciting players of his generation … rolling his head back after taking a called strike. Maybe even a called third strike. You call that action?
2. Ron Santo
You could be forgiven for thinking this card was actually for Giants catcher Dick Dietz, who mostly obscures Santo from view. Judging by where Dietz is looking, Santo has just hit a pop fly. Action-packed! (Dietz, incidentally, had his own “In Action” card, which was actually pretty good.)
3. Reggie Jackson
Much like this Seaver card, this isn’t a bad photo (it’s actually pretty good), but come on — where’s Action Jackson? I mean, is Reggie following the flight of a foul ball, looking at a jet flying overhead, checking out some chick in the second deck, or what?
4. Bob Barton
Yeah, nothing says action like a resigned, forlorn gaze after you run out of room chasing a foul ball.
5. Ed Kirkpatrick
A catcher ripping off his mask can look dramatic, but Kirkpatrick looks more like he’s swatting away a bothersome insect, not engaging in an action-packed baseball play.
6. Jose Pagan
Man, was Topps looking to mess with the Pirates or what? “Just stand still, relax — good. And now move one step forward so you’re blocked by the catcher. Perfect!” (Incidentally, that might be Dick Dietz again behind the plate — tough to say.)
7. Pete Rose
Let me get this straight: You have a guy nicknamed Charlie Hustle and your “action” shot of him shows him standing still? (Footnote: Dick Dietz makes yet another cameo here. Crazy.)
8. Vida Blue
Vida Blue had one of the most distinctive and dramatic wind-ups in the game, and he had just won the Cy Young and MVP Awards in 1971. So why would you show him tracking the flight of a pop fly, and in a weird knock-kneed pose to boot?
9. Bobby Bonds
Again with the pop flies. I actually love Bonds’s body posture in this shot — the angles are really nice — but even as a kid I thought to myself, “Why are they showing him making an out?”
10. Thurman Munson
Okay, I don’t actually have a problem with this one. A catcher going to the mound is a real (if not particularly action-packed) part of the game, so why not? I’m including this one mainly because it shows Munson’s orange chest protector and orange-trimmed shinguards — weird for a Yankee, right?
Honorable Mention: Billy Martin
No gripes about this one. It’s actually my favorite card in the “In Action” series, because it was pretty clever of Topps to include a manager. Too bad they didn’t also have one for Earl Weaver.
I’m sure there are some contrarians out there (looking at you, R. Scott Rogers!) who think some of these shots, non-action-y though they may be, capture the rich tapestry of what goes on during a ballgame. And you’re right, they do! But the card series wasn’t called “Rich Tapestry”; it was called “In Action.” Judged against that self-declared standard, some of these cards were real stinkers.
But there were plenty of “In Action” cards that lived up to their name. You can check out pretty much the whole series here.
Timberwolves-redesign contest reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Timberwolves. Details here.
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There, my friends, is the classic Sears NFL sweater styling from the 1970s. The famous “Big Ol’ Honkin’ Zipper Pull Ring Thing” (for lack of a better name) means you’ve got the real thing from the Sears NFL Shop. One hundred per cent Orlonâ„¢ Acrylic, too. A keeper for all Vikes fans. (Ditto for this pennant, too.)
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
- Here’s a massive lot of 1970s-1980s NHL stickers, buttons, cards, patches, and more.
Just another Tequila Sunrise Astros jersey — this time No. 8, made by the folks at Ravens Knit.
Don’t often see a facemask facing left, like on this (I’m thinking late-1960s) Packers jacket from Stahl Urban.
Here’s a “World Champion Oakland A’s” tee from the 1970s –unopened in the package.
This listing for a 1969 New Orleans Saints helmet never mentions that it was game-worn, though it does look like it’s seen some battle. Note the striping and the extra trim around the fleur de lis. Helmet by Kra-Lite.
Check out the “California” font used on these 1970s California Angels stickers by Fleer.
Helmets? We got more helmets right heah. Check out the artwork on this cardboard NFL/AFL helmet set.
Like this 1970s-era San Francisco Giants window decal. As a Giants fan, I’d sure like them to use this as a primary logo or even an alt. (This was one of the kind that you had to get wet and then slide off onto the glass. Virtually impossible to do w/o destroying it, as I recall happening with more than once when trying to affix a “University of Cincinnati” decal onto the back window of my old VW Beetle.)
And take a look, will you, at what appears to be a hand-drawn 1960s San Francisco Warriors pennant.
Our next ’47 cap up for raffle is this Astros pillbox snapback:
To enter, send an email with your name and shipping address to this address (not to the usual Uni Watch email address, please) by 8pm Eastern TODAY. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, and I’ll also announce tomorrow’s raffle cap, and then we’ll keep repeating that process for each remaining weekday this month. If you win one of the raffles, please be nice enough to step aside and stop entering the remaining ones. Thanks.
StripeRite reminder: In case you missed it last week, I’ve partnered with Scott Turner and American Trench to produce a new line of crew socks with great stripe patterns down toward the ankle, where everyone will be able to see them:
KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a little metal tag that says, “Caius” — which is pronounced “keys.” I really like this one. Check it out here.
By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: Kris Bryant isn’t necessarily a company man. The Cubs 3B said that the Pirates have his favorite uniforms in baseball. He’s a fan of the black and yellow. … The Mariners’ Dae-ho Lee has been wearing white spikes (from Mike McLaughlin). … Also, the M’s are 1-7 on home Sundays this season, and manager Scott Servais (jokingly) blamed the cream alternates for the poor performance (from Phil). … The Bowie Baysox will honor their heteronym with a clever David Bowie Tribute Night on Friday. The team’s name rhymes with “buoy” (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Myrtle Beach Pelicans will wear Mermen jerseys, a nod to the HBO show Eastbound & Down. The main character, Kenny Powers, played for the Mermen in season three. … The Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League wore Cicada jerseys and hats the other night to honor the 17-year cicadas that have returned to western Pennsylvania. Here’s a good look at the logo (from Yancy Yeater). … The PCL’s Los Angeles Angels had great sweaters (from @JDaniel2033, via Phil). … The Brooklyn Cyclones will wear these caps for Irish Night on Thursday (from Phil). … The Lehigh Valley IronPigs will wear ’Festers jerseys, in honor of the region’s 10-day Musikfest, on Aug. 4 (from Phil). … A couple uni-related anecdotes here in this 1987 story on the retirement of Pirates exec Joe O’Toole. One, as a kid O’Toole stole hall of famer Al Lopez’s catchers mitt, and two, an old clubhouse guy was able to distinguish one player’s jersey from another by smelling them (from Jerry Wolper). … We’ve seen this before, but here’s a really good shot of the MLB logo tattoo on the back of Cubs INF Javier Baez’s neck (from Solutionzâ„¢). … Fred Garvin says he heard Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper mention on the air that eight MLB teams, including the Cubs and Mets, will be wearing throwbacks tomorrow.
NFL News: The Packers will wear their 1937-48 throwbacks on Oct. 16, the same day they will honor Brett Favre during a halftime ceremony. … The NFL is placing data chips into the game balls used in the preseason and Thursday night regular-season games. The data retrieved could lead to a narrowing of the goal posts. … Mmmmmmmm Rams pancakes. … A Trump supporter eschewed the standard political party logos and made a Trump logo based on the Detroit Lions’ lion (from @longlivetheboy). … Here’s a cap with an interesting variation on the Oilers’ logo.
College Football News: North Carolina will stop selling NNOB jerseys that had the same numbers as current players (from Dan Tarrant). … Speaking of UNC, here’s a good history of Carolina Blue (from @JohnnyDax). … Jon Solomonson found this awful football player statue at Home Goods. “It looks like someone sculpted it from a description of a football player,” he says. … Virginia Tech’s football team showed off new uniforms, and the hoops team introduced its new players with a jersey graphic with each NOB. “Note the new Virginia Tech number font and the new sweatback,” says Andrew Cosentino. All of the Hokies’ programs will have new looks for the fall. … New gradient facemask for Kansas (from Alex Boyer). … It looks like Iowa State is switching to a dark gray facemask. The Cyclones wore light gray last year. … New jerseys for Oklahoma State. The inside of the collars read “These Boys Ain’t Ready”, which is what players chant in the tunnel before running onto the field (from Justin Southwell). … Speaking of Oklahoma State, they’re another school that will no longer sell jerseys with current players’ numbers. Instead, they’re selling No. 16 this year, for 2016 (from Dan Medina, via Phil). … Washington will wear VICIS helmets this year. The helmets are designed to better reduce impact (from @JayJayDean). … Nike released a Volunteers T-shirt that has the stars of the Tennessee flag misaligned (from Lee David Wilds). … Hey, a mascot dance off! … New uniforms with silver helmets for Idaho (from Phil).
Hockey News: Centennial (MN) High School combines Wild, Flames, and Avalanche uni elements into its third jerseys (from Teddy Ice). … Someone created a concept for the new expansion team, and he called them the Las Vegas Vipers.
Basketball News: Non-Nike players on Team USA had rival makers’ marks obscured in the team photo. Harrison Barnes (second from left) and Kyle Lowry (No. 7) had their Adidas logos blocked, and Klay Thompson (fourth from right) had his Antas logo hidden. This has become commonplace now, as similar posing maneuvers were done with Dwight Howard (Adidas) in 2008 and Kevin Love (361 Degrees) in 2012. I understand why Nike does it, but at this point, doesn’t this just draw more attention to its competition? Further info here . … Kevin Durant is still using a Thunder keychain/lanyard. … Here’s the history of the logo and mascot of DePaul, my alma mater. I loved the demon on the rim as much as I dislike their generic current logo. The alternate logo is no better (Thanks, Ken Traisman).
Soccer News: New third kit for Creighton (from Trent Rogers). … Here’s a slideshow featuring the jerseys of all of the German Bundesliga teams. “Most interestingly, note that Darmstadt’s jersey features diagonal stripes with 18- and 98-degree angles to honor the fact that they were established in 1898,” says Anthony Zydzik.
The next level of uniform advertisements should be subliminal ads. I can certainly use a refreshing lemon-lime soft drink right about now.
Grab Bag: Solid piece here on how athletes choose their uni numbers, along with general rules and guidelines by sport (from Phil). … Here’s an examination of the fashion at this past weekend’s Open Championships (from Kevin Byrne). … Good collection here of bad political campaign cartoons and logos (from Brinke). … NYC’s new fleet of subway cars will be colored blue and gold, not yellow, as stressed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (from Heather McCabe).
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What Paul did last night: I first saw the great New Jersey texture-pop band the Feelies in 1985, when I was 21. At the time, I thought I was pretty late to the party — the band had formed in 1976 and released an important LP in 1980, so I was playing catch-up. Incredibly, they’re still playing, and I’ve seen them many more times over the years.
Last night they played a free show in Central Park, and it was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen them do. As usual, I couldn’t take my eyes off frontman Glenn Mercer, one of my heroes, the perfect mix of geek and punk. Ya ever know someone who, for whatever reason, always pushes your buttons and makes you think, “Man, you are so fucking cool”? That’s how Mercer is for me. Three decades after I first saw him on a stage, he’s still what I wanna be when I grow up.
My favorite Feelies album is their second one, 1986’s The Good Earth (which you can listen to in its entirety below). Must be their favorite these days too, because they played almost all of it, along with plenty of other stuff from their catalog. Then they threw down some markers and showed their classicist roots by encoring with five covers: Modern Lovers, Stones, Velvets, Beatles, and Televison. Perfecto.