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Valerie Solanas Would Be Proud: A Brief History of Cutting Up Uniforms

The situation regarding White Sox pitcher Chris Sale reportedly cutting up his team’s throwback jerseys is certainly unusual. But it’s not the first time a uniform or uni element has been been cut, sliced, or scissored. Here are some examples, although I’m sure there are others:

1. When Pedro Martinez pitched for the Red Sox in the late 1990s, he routinely cut slits into the bottom of his sleeves:

MLB eventually banned that practice, so Martinez had his subsequent jerseys tailored with extra-billowy sleeves (and sometimes with mesh panels added to the sleeves, in order to make them even roomier).

2. Back in 2006, when the Swooshkateers tried to foist their Nike pox undershirts upon MLB diamonds, umpires ruled that pitchers couldn’t wear the spotted sleeves because the pox pattern could be a distraction to the hitters. That led to Cubs pitcher Scott Williamson having his undersleeves cut off right there on the mound:

It’s a little hard to see in these screen shots, but Reds pitcher Brandon Claussen went through the same routine when an ump told him he couldn’t wear spotted sleeves on the mound:

3. Also from 2006, we ran a Ticker item submitted by reader Alisa Carrigan, who had this to say about the French Open tennis tournament: “Right before the Martina Hingis/Lisa Raymond match, the chair umpire sent Hingis off the court for a moment. Hingis came back, grabbed a pair of scissors, and left again. The commentators were guessing that she had been told to cut off one of her sponsor patches.”

4. From reader Brad Pramberg: “Back in 1986, Doug Risebrough of the Calgary Flames fought Marty McSorley of the Edmonton Oilers. Risebrough lost the fight but ended up with McSorley’s jersey in the penalty box, which he shredded to pieces with his skates.” No photos of that, alas, but the incident is referred to here and here (in both instances, just search on “McSorley”), and you can hear a broadcaster mentioning that Risebrough is taking McSorley’s jersey with him into the penalty box at the 1:50 mark of this video:

5. Earlier this year, Ghana’s under-17 female national soccer team played a U-17 World Cup qualifying match in badly oversized jerseys. According to that report, “The embarrassment reached a crescendo when officials of the team had to quickly look for a pair of scissors to cut the sleeves of the jerseys in a bid to reduce the size and weight of the kits.” They won the match, 6-0.

6. We’ve talked many times about how Frank Robinson and other MLB players lengthened their stirrups in the late 1960s. In order to do that, they had to slice open their standard-issue stirrups — presumably with scissors — and then have additional strips of fabric sewn in.

I’m sure there are lots of other examples that are slipping my mind. Feel free to post them in today’s comments.

It is appropriate — even necessary — to conclude this discussion with the following song. Enjoy.

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LAST CALL for the Timberwolves-redesign contest: In case you missed it last week, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Timberwolves. The deadline is tonight. Details here.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

Raffle results, and today’s new raffle: The winner of the White Sox cap is Todd Kortemeier. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered.

Our next ’47 cap up for raffle is this A’s cap, which has a cloth adjusta-strap in the back:

Here’s a closer look at the logo on the side (against a different background). There’s a ’47 maker’s mark on the other side.

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.

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Membership update: I’m going to be sending a new batch of memership cards to the printer on Friday and should have them in the mail by Saturday. That means anyone who signs up this week will get his or her card by early next week (and so will Doug Bass, whose Rangers-themed card is shown at right).

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed membership card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we product the cards here.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a black ceramic wedding band. It’s a very short, very good story. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: It’s not unusual for MLB teams to conclude a weekday series with a Thursday-afternoon getaway game. But the Mets and Rockies will play an afternoon game tomorrow as the first game of a series. That’s pretty rare. … The Phillies and Giants are planning Grateful Dead promotions (from Ed Hahn). … Mismatched Tigers caps — and some spectacular striped stirrups — in this 1970s photo (from Tyler Kepner). … The Indianapolis Indians will wear Negro Leagues throwbacks as part of a Civil Rights Night promotion on Friday. Further info here (thanks, Phil). … The mighty Fleer Sticker Project has put together a good entry, with lots of photos, on the Orioles’ rarely seen late-’60s vests. … The Fresno Grizzlies will become the Fresno Tacos on Aug. 18. Additional views here, and here’s some additional info (from George Takata, John English, and Mike Lineback). … As had been rumored, the Mets will indeed wear a Mike Piazza sleeve patch on Saturday. Note that the number and NOB have period-appropriate (if loathsome) black drop-shadowing. The patch will also appear on the team’s caps. … There are little bobbleheads and then there are really big bobbleheads (from BSmile). … Oh man, if the Chisox are looking for a new throwback to make Chris Sale happy, they could do a lot worse than this. … After a fan vote, the Lynchburg Hillcats are keeping their current name. … Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig wore Vin Scully tribute cleats the other day and has been told he’ll be fined if he wears them again (thanks, Mike). … Base jewels at last night’s Indians/Nationals game mistakenly identified the Nats as the Senators. … I’m not sure which Iowa high school this is, but purple is the least of their problems (from Jay Wright). … Rangers P Cole Hamels doesn’t like throwbacks any more than Chris Sale does (thanks, Phil). … Boy, there’s a lot going on with this American Legion pitcher, what with the striped stirrups, the tequila sunrise jersey unbuttoned to reveal a distractingly lettered undershirt, and the eye black. For good measure, the opposing team is desecrating the flag (from Tris Wykes). … Here’s a shot I hadn’t seen before of Dick Allen’s “Wampum” NOB (from Jerry Wolper). … Orioles P Darren O’Day recently did a rehab stint with the Bowie Baysox, where he had to wear the team’s David Bowie uniform. “Probably the worst jersey I’ve ever worn,” he said (from Kyle Geralds). … With the Democratic National Convention currently taking place in Philadelphia, the anchors of MSNBC’s Morning Joe wore Phillies apparel this morning. Anyone know if they did something similar last week for the GOP convention in Cleveland? (From Willard Kovacs.) … Really hate MLB’s new Stance socks with the double-logo creep. That’s Mets OF Yoenis Céspedes from the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals (from Sander Bryan).

NFL News: Here’s someone’s picks for the five most memorable unis in Dolphins history (thanks, Phil). … The Vikings’ new stadium sure has a lot of purple (from KK). … In a related item, Max Levy was taking a tour of the Vikes’ new building and spotted some art on the wall that shows former Vikes DL Alan Page wearing No. 89, instead of his usual 88. … Madden 16 shows the wrong design for the Titans’ sleeves (from Eric Wright). … Sure, each NFL team’s ugliest uniform, why not (from Clay Marbry). … In the late 1960s, Lions owner William Clay Ford bought a used Continental Mark II and had it redone — inside and out — in Lions colors (from Mike McLaughlin).

College Football News: New military-appreciation helmet for Bowling Green (from Derek Zyski). … The U. of Texas has told a Mississippi high school to stop using the Longhorns logo (from Jeff Stark). … LSU had an interesting end zone design back in 1986. … New uniforms for Rutgers (from Jason Yellin). … New uniforms for Delaware State (from Larz Roberts). … Florida’s new media guide shows a Gators player wearing a white helmet (from @DaveDoop). … New logo for the Las Vegas Bowl (from Rob Montoya). … Not sure if we’d seen a rear view of Wisconsin’s new jerseys until now. Also, as you can see, RNOB alert (from Jared Haack). … Here’s what Tulane will wear for the season opener. … Houston Astros INF Alex Bergman, who went to college at LSU, has an LSU football helmet in his locker. … New helmet for Southeastern Louisiana (from Chris Mycoskie).

Olympics News: The Olympic torch relay has had its share of problems on the way to Rio. … Drug dealers in Rio are using the Olympics logo to sell cocaine (thanks, Brinke). … Diet Coke’s Olympics-themed can design looks a bit like a Frank Stella artwork. … Olympic swimmers, sailors, and windsurfers are being warned to keep their mouths closed while competing, because Rio’s water is basically a petri dish of fecal sewage. Hey, at least it’s better than Zika, right? … Here’s how America’s top Olympic athletes suit up for competition (from Drew Stiling).

Hockey News: New 25th-season logo for the Mississippi RiverKings. … Here’s a new one: a NASCAR/Blackhawks crossover (from Alex Sinclair). … There had been some rumors that the Canucks might be scrapping their Orca logo when Adidas takes over as the NHL’s outfitter in 2017, but apparently that’s not going to happen (from John Muir). … A KHL team that had copied its logo from a video game has changed to a new logo.

NBA News: The WNBA has rescinded the fines for the teams and players who were sanctioned for wearing pregame T-shirts protesting recent shootings by and of police officers.

College Hoops News: Back in 1997, when Scott Novosel was in grad school, he wrote a piece for a friend’s newsletter about the best- and worst-looking college basketball teams. If you’re curious, look here, here, and here. … The four Division I schools in Western New York — SUNY-Buffalo, Canisius, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure — have agreed to wear throwback uniforms on Dec. 17 as part of the Big 4 Basketball Classic. The uniforms will be based on an online fan vote. Here are the design options for Buffalo, Canisius, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure.

Soccer News: New uniforms for Chelsea FC (thanks, Phil). … New uniforms for Hull City (from Ben Karnish). … New jerseys for Górnik Zabrze (from Ed Å»elaski). … What’s with the No. 2021 jersey? “Kid signed a contract through 2021,” explains Ian Gerig. … The guy who dresses up as the Richmond Kickers’ mascot — a kangaroo named Kickeroo — sweated off nine pounds while wearing his mascot suit the other day (from Tommy Turner).

Grab Bag: The New Museum here in NYC has a new exhibit about collecting, which I hope to see this Saturday. In connection with that, The New York Times invited readers to submit stories about their own collections, and some of them are really good. … Under Armour is moving into the old FAO Schwartz building here in NYC, and is also expanding its distribution deal with Kohl’s (from Tommy Turner). … Good article on Star Trek uniforms (thanks, Phil). … Even with all the purple, anything from Northern Iowa makes me happy. … Good little video clip about the guy who designed the movie titles for Star Wars, The Exorcist, and Raging Bull, among other movies (from Scott Lederer). … Naturally, the Chris Sale incident is leading to lots of lists of history’s worst uniforms. Lazy and predictable, but somewhat entertaining (from Brinke).

Comments (87)

    “The cap will also appear on the team’s caps.” Should that be ‘patch’?
    “(from Kyle Geralds.” no end paren
    “William CLay Ford”
    “Drug deals in Rio” ‘dealers’?
    Tagging issues on the second hockey item
    “The New Musuem”

    Regarding the Tigers photo, it was from either 1971, 72 or 73. Could’ve been the coaches wore the white Olde English D, while the players wore the orange. Isn’t that also around the time the A’s had the white hat for the coaches?

    Yeah, the A’s coaches and managers wore white hats dating back to the 60’s…and who was the one who ended that practice? None other than Billy Martin.

    That’s Norm Cash with the white cap. I recognize his noggin any time, anywhere.

    If only if one of those guys ended up head over heels after a horrendous slide. In either case, it still looks like their ankles have been bleeding.

    One suggestion for the Diamondbacks- ditch the snakeskin, add a minimalist diamond pattern as pants stripes. Oh, and lighten up the charcoal to a normal road gray. That way, it doesn’t look like the annual umps-only exhibition game every time they play…

    With you until the gray. The dark gray is the best thing about the new D-Backs unis for me. Which makes it the only good thing about their current unis. But it doesn’t work with black and dark red, not even with tiny teal highlights. Too much dark, not enough contrast, so it’s a dreary, largely illegible uniform. Keep the dark gray and use bright colors on the lettering, numbers, and NOB, and it would look great – provided the team also did everything else you recommend to un-suck those unis. Teal would work, or the team’s old copper, but so would white with black and/or dark red and/or teal accents.

    Maybe the Mississippi RiverKings in celebrating their 25th anniversary, should have another logo recognizing they’re probably the first minor league hockey team in the deep south to survive (last) 25 years, they must have good ownership.

    I believe UNI is Northern Iowa, not Illinois. (Well, both schools are UNI. But the one with the purple is Northern Iowa.)

    I can’t believe I wrote Illinois. Believe me, I know it’s Iowa! Must’ve been trying to do too many things at once. Now fixed.

    You probably wrote it because it incorrectly says Illinois in the listing.

    Correct that that’s Northern Iowa. Northern Illinois is NIU and the Huskies, not the Panthers.

    “According to that report, “The embarrassment reached a crescendo when … ”

    I always hate when the word “crescendo” is (mis)used this way. 99.9% of the time (to a musician anyway) a crescendo is NOT the “peak” or “apex” of anything, it is the gradual increasing of something (volume). For instance, when playing music softly and then gradually getting louder, one is crescendoing. So to “reach a crescendo” means to reach the part where you START getting louder.

    Sorry. Music nerd.

    FINALLY!! an ugly NFL list that puts the Cowboys white unis front and center

    I have a mixed reaction about the news of the Canucks keeping the orca logo.

    I feel they should do what many teams before them have done (like the Penguins recently). They should adopt their present 3rd uniform as their new primary and introduce a white version of the same. Feels like when the Canucks went back to the traditional blue and green, the updated stick-in-rink logo should have been adopted as the main crest on the jersey.

    The orca is not a bad logo, I like it lots, but it fit better with the previous uniforms and colour scheme. My other issue with the orca is that when the logo is displayed on its own, it is not the team colours. It is a blue and black logo with some silver.

    I can live with the orca – if they put some green in the logo. They could put the green where the red used to be on the previous rendition. As well, there is one fix with the uniforms that I have been waiting for. They need to remove the “Vancouver” script from the chest above the logo on the jersey. It is way too busy and the logo alone would suffice.

    Typo in the Ticker:

    “Rangers P Darren O’Day recently did a rehab stint with the Bowie Baysox, where he had to wear the team’s David Bowie uniform. “Probably the worst jersey I’ve ever worn,” he said.”

    O’Day is an Oriole, and the Baysox are an O’s affiliate.

    Also unique note on the O’s vests. At first glance they look like just a sleeveless version of the basic 1969 jersey, but there is 1 major difference. The NOB are radially arched and not vertically arched like on the normal version.

    The Madden thing with the Titans is a glitch that happens for a lot of teams when a jersey is supposed to have the longest sleeve option. For the Chiefs, it’s a yellow sleeve. It’s fixed by editing the player to use one of the other sleeve options.

    I love how thoughtful the Rio Cocaine dealers are; ‘don’t use near children’ …drug dealers who care

    The stupid and explanation-less “worst NFL uniform” thing from USA Today had this line about the Browns current (and worse, which is true) uniforms.
    “The Browns look like they should be playing in the MAC.” Well, specifically, they should be the Bowling Green Falcons (link). They get kind of close here and actually might do better than the Browns! (link)

    Also I can’t wait until Paul is invited for a uniform unveil at the new Viking’s stadium. I imagine you’ll send someone else because of the purple aversion.

    Don’t give the Falcons too much credit. The one game I caught this season saw them wearing grey and camouflage uniforms that were puketacular.

    Ah, hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right — that should’ve been included!

    See, that’s why Mike’s a member of the Uni Watch team. Always one step ahead!!

    Augh — can’t believe I didn’t think to include Big Klu, esp since I just wrote about him in a recent Flashback. Shame on me!

    1. The “NASCAR/Blackhawks” racecar is for the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, not NASCAR.

    2. A pretty good list of worst NFL uniforms. But I’d definitely have to disagree with the pick for the Jets. I thought the NY Titans throwbacks looked great, and definitely weren’t worse than their color rash unis last year.

    Why couldn’t Chris Sale just do what Pedro did and cut the under sleeve to his jersey? Also yesterday when he said he never pitched in an untucked jersey, I call BS. He has probably practiced tons of times in shorts and a t-shirt or some other untucked shirt in the off season.

    Should we be pushing tweets from Tulane Sports Guy? That Angry Wave helmet was an obvious fake and the best sources are from the teams’ official twitter accounts.

    First there’s this tweet, busting the Angry Wave helmet tweet:

    However, Tulane’s director of Athletics posted these actual pics of the Angry Wave Helmet with different colors back on June 7th:

    and today’s picture in question appears to just be from a recent photo shoot:

    Tulane’s football and equipment twitter pages mention nothing about when the combinations will be used, as they do here for baseball:

    While the helmet was way off with the colors and maybe the uniform combo could be true (although I question a color jersey on the road), it is yet to be verified by official sources

    Good to see the Vikings put the locker room logo on the ceiling. So many stories about “Respect the Viking!” will be avoided, unlike the idiotic “Don’t walk on the logo woven into the United Center carpet!” stories the Blackhawks put up with.


    Do other teams have such unwritten rules about not walking on a logo? If so, why put that logo there in the first place? Why put that logo on the field of play or ice if it’s just going to be trampled on?

    Not defending the practice, but perhaps the team wishes to instill virtues of mindfulness, shared hardship and shared sacrifice by placing the insignia in a spot where it must be reckoned with, not ignored.

    Given the limited space in the underbelly of a massively expensive (and probably tax payer funded) sports arena, why would anyone design in a 100 square foot area that needed to be “reckoned with?”

    First thing I thought of was my HS football days, when many of us would cut the underside of our (mesh) practice jersey sleeves. Some would do that for the game jerseys as well.

    Then I figured…The Boz must have done this at Oklahoma, right? He seemed like the prototypical mesh, cut-off-wearing, sleeve-slicing 80s college player. Didn’t immediately find any evidence of him doing that at OU though. But he apparently DID do it in Seattle.



    I remember that, as it seemed the exact opposite of today’s ‘wear everything tight, don’t provide a way to grab’ football tailoring.

    I know Jim Burt had lace-up sides of his jersey, but would that mean he had to do some cutting first?
    Also, I’m pretty sure Paul Coffey used to lace his skates so tight that he had to cut out of his skates after every game.

    That purple jersey in the ticker is a stupid template. I was umpiring the Ohio Hot Stove state tournament this weekend and at least 2 teams had it. The repeated word mark on the yoke is just the team name over and over. Looks horrendous.

    George Plimpton had suit cut up by the Bruins when he was trying to play goalie for an article for Sports Illustrated. (I consider his suit to be his writer’s uni.)

    I love that the Detroit Tigers have a color on their road costume that is nowhere to be seen at home. Wonder how many other teams, baseball or otherwise, do the same? I can’t think of any.

    The St. Louis Football Cardinals used to have home jerseys that were red and white; the road uniforms were white, red and black.

    From 1981 thru 1988 the Minnesota North Stars had black as a prominent accent color on their white home jerseys and socks but there was no black on their road green jerseys or socks.

    Padres are good at banishing the yellow on their road uniforms, as are the Twins ditching the gold; I have a feeling that’s the opposite of your thesis.

    For obvious reasons, I always picture orange in my mind when I see/hear/read anything about the Tigers. Its very interesting that they don’t have a stitch of orange on their home unis.

    Hey Paul,

    Just an FYI that Blackhawks car is definately not in any NASCAR touring series nor is it even a stock car. It’s an from the IMSA Sports Car series: link

    I never saw a picture but is it true that Darryl Sittler cut the captain’s “C” off his Toronto Maple Leafs jersey after the Leafs traded his buddy Lanny McDonald to the (NHL) Colorado Rockies?

    Marino use to cut his sleeves. Remember a broadcast in the mid-late 90s about they sewed an extension under his sleeve so the jersey wouldnt rip totally off. there are several pics on The Google

    The Team Canada sweater worn by Paul Henderson in Russia in 72 has the cuffs cut short and very frayed.

    I got to meet him when they were touring the sweater on the 40th anniversary, and he said he had cut the cuffs himself. He said the sweaters were very heavy, especially at the end of a game when they were sweat soaked. He said the white sweaters worn in Russia were made in Russia.

    Great video on movie title designer Dan Perri.

    Growing up, I used to be obsessed with lettering and fonts. Whenever I enter logos into these redesign contests, it’s always a letter that’s modified.

    When I was very young and learning my phone number and other important personal data, I saw 701 in the cap logo of the Washington Senators. That was my first memory of seeing shapes and negative spaces differently from others.

    When I was playing baseball, the pitchers didn’t like the pullover tops unless they were a size or two larger than they needed. Restrictive is what they would say though I don’t see them anymore restrictive than buttoned jerseys. All of them also hated banded sleeves that came with pullovers for same reason and would cut the sleeves for that reason. i was a catcher and cut my jersey sleeves both underneath up the sleeve and cut them shorter for arm movement.

    When I was in high school, also played football. Lot of cut sleeved jerseys and cut shirt tails if you will. Guys cut them to wear jersey just came to top of pants and didn’t need to be tucked in. All said it was for freedom of movement and feeling cooler.

    Not sure if any of these reasons were real or just imagined. But, it as the thought at the time.

    Curious what year you played? If in the 80’s or 90’s I could imagine since the cut was tighter back then. Now if you get an XL jersey and normally wear a XL you are still swimming in it.

    Perhaps I missed it in the comments, but didn’t LeBron rip his sleeved jersey recently because they didn’t feel right for him? Also, “Base Jewels”… I’ve never heard of them before, nor have I ever noticed they were there (yes, I’m Captain Observation here). What’s the purpose of them?

    didn’t LeBron rip his sleeved jersey recently because they didn’t feel right for him?

    Yeah, but he didn’t CUT them. Tore them with his hands, didn’t use a blade.

    Cabrera cut up throwback sleeves in 2009.

    Visible (barely) at 0:46

    It was the 100 year anniversary of the 1909 World Series Tigers vs Pirates so they wore old throwbacks. The sleeves were EXTREMELY long – mid forearm. Cabrera cut his down to the elbow. I remember it really well at the time but could not find a picture on the net just the video.

    Those uniforms would be harder to pitch in than the Chicago untucked.

    Paul – what about link cutting the sleeves off of his 1997 Cincinnati Reds road jersey in honor of Jackie Robinson? The rest of the Reds followed suit I believe.

    I was surprised that the scissor work of Payne Stewart on his rain jacket before the final round of the 1999 US Open wasn’t mentioned.


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