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Longtime reader Jerry Wolper spends a lot of time looking through old newspaper archives. He recently came across a UPI wire story about the ’Skins uniform expenditures in the Oct. 23, 1965 edition of The Pittsburgh Press. The entire article is shown above for your reading pleasure.
The article is jam-packed with fascinating info, so I’m going to single out some excerpts that deserve a closer look, beginning with this one:
A Warrior’s wardrobe now costs more than $250 ”” and this figure covers only the basic game equipment.
Interesting to see “Warrior’s” capitalized. Was “Warriors” a standard nickname for the ’Skins at the time (like “G-Men” for the Giants, for example)? Hadn’t heard/seen that before.
The club pays $35 just for the helmet shell, plus another $25-$40 for the inner protective lining that has to be fitted individually.
Never would’ve guessed that the inner lining could cost as much as, or even more than, the shell.
[S]hoes [cost] $20 per pair with a player using an average of three pairs a season. … Even a little item like shoelaces runs into considerable expense. The [’Skins] purchase about 1100 pairs a season.
In 1965, NFL rosters were limited to 40 players. If you multiply that by the stated three pairs of shoes per player, you get 120 pairs of footwear. And if you divide that into the stated 1100 pairs of shoelaces, you get 9.17 pair of shoelaces per pair of shoes. Seems like a bit much, no? Granted, the shoelaces are probably used by the coaching/training staff as well, and maybe teams had taxi squads back then, like they do now (anyone know?). Even so, the ratio of laces to shoes seems a bit lopsided.
The [’Skins] were the first team in the National Football League to bear the entire cost of uniform equipment. A few teams still require players to pay for their own shoes.
Wish they had said when the ’Skins began picking up the full equipment tab for their players. In any case, it’s nice to see that they were once at the leading edge of a progressive team policy.
NFL rules regarding uniforms are rigidly standardized. For example, the jersey numerals must be exactly the same size for every player and every team. This is a far cry from the days of the old teams, some painted on their jersey front for deception purposes.
Obviously, there seems to be a word or two missing there, but we can all get the basic point. I have no idea what they’re talking about regarding painted jerseys for “deception purposes,” though. Anyone..?
The Boston [’Skins] original burgundy uniforms were as close as Owner Geoge Preston Marshall could come to re-creating Harvard’s 1933 gridiron wear. Marshall figured that the Harvards were probably the best-dressed team in football.
I hadn’t been aware of this ’Skins/Harvard connection. The ’Skins uniform in question appears to be this one, as shown on the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database (click to enlarge):
Standardization breaks down occasionally. Sammy Baugh used to wear a cheap pair of shoulder pads he purchased himself in a five-and-dime store ”” he liked their lighter weight.
I was hoping to find a photo of these pads but came up empty. I did, however, find this article, which includes the following: “Baugh played on and on — eventually wearing out 100 jerseys and 60 pairs of shoes — leading the NFL in completed passes five times. Yet he never changed shoulder pads. Their tattered remnants were called Blue Jays, and they shrank to no bigger than a corn plaster.”
At the start of each season, a player gets two complete uniforms, one for home games and the other for “away.” If he’s still with the team the following season, he wears the old uniforms for the exhibition games and is issued fresh equipment at the start of the regular season. … Discarded uniforms are given to charity organizations if they still are usable. They seldom are. No uniform lasts more than three seasons ”” one in regular play, the following exhibition season, and the next season’s practice sessions.
Very interesting to hear that old game unis could be repurposed for practices two years down the road.
Each player gets two sports shirts at $3.80 per shirt. Even his post game grooming gear is supplied by the club.
Extremely surprised by this. Never would have guessed that teams were paying for the players’ shaving kits, Brylcreem, etc.
In cold weather, the cost goes up. Linemen are given gloves at $4 per pair.
Very surprised by this as well, as I don’t recall seeing photos of NFL linemen wearing gloves in the mid-1960s, except maybe on the sidelines. But they’re clearly not talking about the sidelines here, because they referred specifically to linemen, suggesting that ball-carriers couldn’t wear gloves because they’d lose their feel for the ball. Hmmmm.
Speaking of weight, the equipment “weights” more coming home from a game than flying to it. It seems a uniform picks up about two pounds of sweat during a game.
This suggests that road teams in the mid-1960s didn’t launder their uniforms until they got back home. Pretty sure that isn’t the case now.
One additional thought: Given the degree to which we now obsess over who manufactured what, it’s remarkable that not a single uniform or equipment brand is mentioned in the course of this article.
And that’s it. Great article — big thanks to Jerry for finding and sharing it.
While we’re at it, Jerry also found an interesting item in the Oct. 14, 1965 edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It’s a small excerpt from a column by sportswriter Jack Sell. He wrote:
As it turned out, of course, the NFL didn’t adopt NOBs until after the merger in 1970, nearly five years after this column was written.
JosÃ© FernÃ¡ndez update: The uni-related tributes for Marlins pitcher JosÃ© FernÃ¡ndez keep coming. Here are yesterday’s developments:
• The Marlins went back to wearing their regular numbers and NOBs last night, but they added a “16” memorial patch. The patch design matches the mark that was shown on the scoreboard and outfield wall on Monday night. I think there’s a decent chance they’ll wear the patch next season as well (just as the Yankees did with their Yogi Berra “8” memorial, which was added late last season and then retained for this season), although that would make for a crowded jersey, because they’re also slated to be wearing the All-Star Game patch next year.
• The latest teams to honor FernÃ¡ndez by hanging a jersey in the dugout are the Braves, Giants, and Cardinals. Meanwhile, the FernÃ¡ndez tribute jersey that the Mets hung in their dugout on Sunday and Monday has been signed by the Mets’ players and will be given to the Marlins.
• Players around the majors continue to salute FernÃ¡ndez with handwritten cap inscriptions, as was the case last night for Blue Jays P Aaron Sanchez. Also, Cardinals SS Aledmys DÃaz, who grew up with FernÃ¡ndez in Cuba, wore a “16” wristband.
• The Marlins’ team barber, who gave FernÃ¡ndez a haircut before each of his starts, has memorialized FernÃ¡ndez with a tattoo.
• And in a creepy and sad development, a bag of baseballs signed by FernÃ¡ndez washed up on a Miami beach.
It’s always sad when a player dies, of course (it’s happened quite a bit over the past decade), but I can’t recall another death that’s prompted as big an outpouring of grief and support as this one has. Part of it, I’m sure, is that FernÃ¡ndez was an extremely talented player. Another part is that he appears to have been very popular with teammates and opposing players alike. Yet another part is his inspirational backstory of having defected from Cuba, and his symbolic importance to the Cuban-American community.
I think there are some additional factors at work here that go beyond FernÃ¡ndez, including our cultural shift toward less stoic, more demonstrative responses to death and the sports world’s increasing tendency to use uniforms as vehicles for collective and personal expression. Combine those factors with FernÃ¡ndez’s personal narrative and you get the wide range of salutes and gestures we’ve seen over the past three days.
It’ll be interesting to see if the response to FernÃ¡ndez’s death establishes a new protocol. The next time a player passes away — which, unfortunately, will inevitably happen at some point — will his team respond by having all the players wear the deceased’s name and number? That had never been done before, but now that it’s happened once, will it become standard procedure? Or will FernÃ¡ndez remain a special case?
(My thanks to Phil and Christopher Overholt for their contributions to this section.)
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PermaRec platinum anniversary: Twenty years ago today I attended a party for my friend Gina’s 30th birthday, which was held in the gymnasium of the old Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. While I was there, I poked around the school a bit and found an old file cabinet that was about to be thrown out. I opened the drawers and found hundreds of 1920s and ’30s report cards from a girls’ vocational school. They were fascinating, so I took a bunch of them and showed them to my friends Matt, Daniel, and Kenny. They each took some cards as well. After the party, we went to get cheap food in Chinatown and sat there poring over the report cards as we munched on egg rolls and fried rice.
After keeping the cards in my own file cabinet for more than a decade, in 2009 I decided it was finally time to do something with them. The result, in 2011, was Permanent Record, a series of five articles (later supplemented with five more in 2012) that I wrote for Slate. It’s easily the most important project — probably the only important project, in the grand scheme of things — I’ve ever undertaken. It’s no exaggeration to say it changed my life, and I know it changed the lives of many of the people I wrote about as well.
Permanent Record lives on, of course, as a project devoted to the stories behind found objects. But it all started with that party in the Stuy gym. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years. So happy birthday to Permanent Record (and also to Gina, who’s still my friend to this day).
Baseball News: The Smithsonian Institution is collecting items that show baseball’s impact on Latino history. … Scheduling note: As was done on the final day of the season last year, all MLB games this Sunday will begin at the same time — 3pm Eastern — so that teams competing for a playoff spot will all be on equal footing, scoreboard-wise. … Oooh, look at this nice design the Dodgers came up with to mark Dodger Stadium’s 10th anniversary in 1971. … Speaking of the Dodgers: After the team’s plastic 3-D helmet logos kept breaking and cracking, they switched to a flexible rubberized logo. That has pretty much solved the breakage problem, but Joc Pederson’s logo was peeling off last night (from JoeyE). … Angels P Ricky Nolasco’s cap didn’t have the Anaheim 50th-anniversary patch that everyone else was wearing last night.
NFL News: This display of Cowboys uniforms at the team’s practice facility has a glitch: In the front row, second from right, is a blue version of the team’s “double-star” throwback, and it has the league’s 75th-anniversary patch from 1994. But as Stephen King points out, the Cowboys didn’t wear that jersey in ’94 — only in 1995, when there was no league anniversary patch. … Ravens coach John Harbaugh has changed to a new sideline shirt (from Will Shoken). … The Dolphins are getting ready to wear mono-orange for tomorrow night’s game against the Bengals (thanks, Phil). … Buried on this page is the news that NFL players can’t get tattoos of a football, because the rulebook bans “headgear or any other equipment or apparel which, in the opinion of the Referee, may confuse an opponent because of its similarity in color to that of the game football” (thanks, Mike). … Southwest Airlines was doing some sort of football-related promotion at ATL airport yesterday, complete with uniform and helmet designs (from GJ Marmet). … A Virginia Beach restaurant is using a Colin Kaepernick jersey as a doormat. … Steelers WR Antonio Brown has confirmed that he’s been told to stop wearing his blue shoes or stay in the locker room (thanks, Phil).
College and High School Football News: Michigan State is planning an assortment of uniform memorials for former player Mylan Hicks, who was shot to death last weekend (from @TomboyChick). … Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini isn’t a huge fan of this week’s mono-red uniforms (from Robert Hayes). … Check it out: Jim Harbaugh in Zubaz (from J. Huckel). … Illinois is apparently using white facemasks on the white helmets this week. Usually navy. … Here’s Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz talking about the team’s new yellow shoes (from @hawkeyenick). … New matte black helmets for UNLV (from Phil). … Here’s a trend I hadn’t been aware of: As we enter homecoming season, a Maryland high school has adopted a gender-neutral homecoming court this year, which means “those honored at halftime on Oct. 7 could include two boys, two girls, transgender students, or a boy-girl duo.” According to the article, this is becoming more common at high schools and universities.
Hockey News: New centennial
branding logo for the NHL. Have to wait and see how it’s deployed, but for now I’m a bit underwhelmed. … Bloomington Thunder G Logan Halladay will raffle off his mask as part of a season-long charity initiative. … Admirably simple Gordie Howe memorial patch this season for the Red Wings, plus they’re painting a “9” behind each net. Although not shown there, the Wings will also be wearing an arena-farewell patch (from Derrick Vergolini). … In a related item, an annual rite of autumn took place last night, as the Wings played their first preseason game and, true to form, used straight, block-lettered NOBs, just as they do every preseason. They’ll switch to their standard vertically arched NOBs when the regular season starts. … Pucks at the World Cup of Hockey have been implanted with microdata chips. … The WCHA is retiring a deceased referee’s number, and on-ice officials will wear memorial decals in his memory this season (from Daniel Donell). … Here’s the logo for the Penguins/Flyers Stadium Series game, which will take place at Heinz Field on Feb. 25 (from Jared Grubb). … Speaking of the Pens, their new road uni made its preseason debut last night (from @AceMcTasty). … Drummonville’s belly striping and sock striping are, in Patrick Thomas’s words, “an OCD nightmare.”
NBA/WNBA News: The Trail Blazers plan to “modernize” their look when Nike takes over the NBA’s uniform contract in 2017-18. Further info here (thanks, Phil). … Reports continue to indicate that NBA jersey
sponsorships advertising may not be as big a cash cow as everyone had expected. As you can imagine, I’m so upset about this that I walk around giggling (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a decent look at the Knicks’ 70th-anniversary patch (from Robert Hayes). … “The Minnesota Lynx are playing the first two games of their playoff series at the Xcel Energy Center,” says Dustin K. “It makes for an odd sight with the hockey boards and glass still up around the court.”
College Hoops News: Slight update for UConn. … New uniforms for Butler (from Brian Miller). … Pitt’s new uniforms have the same annoying number font as the new football unis. Yes, I know the font is inspired by the Cathedral of Learning on the Pitt campus, but that doesn’t make it a good piece of typography; it just means it has a “story.” … Just like last season, Adidas has come out with retro-style fauxbacks for a bunch of schools. And just like last season, they look pretty good. … New uniforms for the Colorado School of Mines. … No visuals yet, but Arizona’s new uniforms will reportedly look like Team USA’s Olympic uniforms (thanks, Phil).
Soccer News: New third kit for BarÃ§a. … A French soccer team is letting fans choose the team’s new seat-replacement scheme (from James Gilbert). … A Columbus Crew fan wants people attending this Saturday’s game against the Chicago Fire to wear colors that will create a checkerboard pattern in the stands (from Bobby Gindal). … Real Madrid right back Danilo has a lowercase “i” in his NOB.
Grab Bag: Signed up the other day for the fall-winter season of curling at Prospect Park here in Brooklyn. When I learned to curl in 2010, it was something of a lark, mainly so I could write an article about it. But I found I really liked it, so I jumped at the chance to participate when they started offering curling at Prospect Park in 2014. Now I’m hooked. … Signs of Pinktober: Green Bay police officers will wear pink badges next month. … Nike and Under Armour are competing to score uniform deals for DC-area schools (from Tommy Turner). … For reasons that aren’t clear to me, police officers in Fairfax, Minn., wear a sleeve patch that shows a baseball game. Color vs. color, too! (From Brad Koenig.)