By Phil Hecken with Jared Pike
You guys will remember that over the summer (during Paul’s summer hiatus), and then again a couple weeks ago, I was able to bring you a couple of columns from Jared Pike, who brings a great new perspective to Uni Watch, by examining sports history (and thus, some unique lookbacks at uniforms) via interesting television takes. Following Jared’s last submission (which itself had been a bit of a holdover from the summer), I asked him to let me know the next time he had something he thought might be an interesting column for Uni Watch. Sooner than expected, he e-mailed me earlier this week with this:
You asked me to let you know when I published a new blog entry. All this year, I’ve been tweeting all of Warner Wolf’s Plays of the Week from 1986, exactly 30 years after they happened. This past Friday, Warner was let go from the Imus in the Morning radio show. It gave me the perfect opportunity to look back at this year-long project, to showcase how many athletes from the 80s retweeted me, and propose why Warner’s 5-minute once-a-week format is exactly what the modern sports world needs.
This is a timely story (at least for the next week or so), so once the World Series aura fades, and the election nonsense goes away, this might fit the bill for you.
It is indeed timely, and since I’m still recovering (and exhausted) from this past week’s election (more on that in the outro), today is a great time for this one to run. So once again, please welcome Jared back as he examines why…
Five Minutes Is All You Need
By Jared Pike
When sportscaster Warner Wolf was unceremoniously dismissed from the Imus in the Morning radio show last week, media insiders speculated that he had chosen to retire; the Huffington Post questioned whether there is a market for the 79-year-old to do something new in the Internet age, like a blog or a podcast.
I can tell you with certainty: yes, there is.
For the past year, I have been vicariously publishing a Warner Wolf Twitter feed and YouTube channel, sharing his insights from 1986 with the Internet generation, exactly 30 years later — and the response has been incredible. Fans, sportscasters, and the athletes themselves have demonstrated that Warner had something special on his hands. Compared to the dreadful shoutfests that make up sports television today, Warner could give us all the sports we need in 5 minutes, once a week.
How can the VHS era of sports highlights survive during the Internet age? I’ve found that the two are actually a perfect fit. In 1986, Warner could only laugh at an athlete’s embarrassing moments (“Nice catch, Jose.”) But now in the social media era, we can ask them about it! Kicker Fuad Reveiz loves to relive slapping a Patriots linebacker across the face. Kelly Hrudey knows exactly why he smashed his stick after a random game. Howard Johnson revels in a botched spring training catch with John Gibbons. Danny Ainge tells us why he was smiling after falling down at the Garden!
And it wasn’t just big-time names that Warner highlighted. In 1985, Bruce Morris of Marshall University sank the longest in-game basketball shot in history: 89 feet 10 inches (it’s such an important moment, Morris’ footprints are still painted on Marshall’s home court.) On the shot’s 30th anniversary, it seems all of Herd Nation relived the moment on Warner Wolf’s vicarious Twitter account — including Morris’ daughter Madison, who now plays for Marshall!
Likewise, it’s been fascinating to see the children of famous athletes — some of them now famous in their own right — reacting to their parents’ highlights on Twitter. Check out these tweets from Orlando Woolridge’s son, now a rapper and aspiring NBA forward; Gary Pettis’ son, now an actor on Days of our Lives; and Boomer Esiason’s daughter, now a sports broadcaster. These young people are tweeting about Warner Wolf’s Plays of the Week from 1986!
Warner also made some amazing predictions, which would have seemed like wild ideas 30 years ago, but are now commonplace. In 1986, he proposed that professionals compete in the Olympics; that older-style baseball parks like Wrigley Field are better than “modern” parks; that in overtime, both NFL teams should have the opportunity to touch the ball; and that instant replay challenges should be called by coaches.
Even something as momentous as the World Series benefitted from some Warner Wolf magic. In 1986, Warner’s hometown Mets were the story of the year — so much so, that he put together an ’86 Mets highlight reel before they had even won the pennant. He also showed how loose they were in the clubhouse; Darryl Strawberry pranking Lenny Dykstra with a pie in the face during a commercial shoot (Dykstra later tweeted me, saying “I always love a good prank, and this ranks up there.”) After the Series was over, Warner finished with a hot take on the Red Sox, giving them the Boo of the Week for having a parade after *losing* the World Series!
So what would a 5-minute Warner Wolf podcast look like? Check out this segment from November 14, 1986 — exactly thirty years ago. First, he comments on how a late hit by the Eagles’ Evan Cooper should have resulted in an ejection. Then, a montage of successful athletes who happen to be short (Marvin Hagler, Spud Webb, Doug Flutie, etc.) Next, he gives the Boo of the Week to the ridiculousness of the quarterback-in-the-grasp rule. Then, a suggestion that pitchers shouldn’t be eligible for both Cy Young and MVP awards. Finally, a gleeful Plays of the Week montage featuring hockey fights, football players tackling officials, and the relatively new invention of trampoline basketball trick shots. He even finds time to poke fun at himself for being short (claiming that he, Bob Costas, and Jim McKay all see eye-to-eye.)
There it is. All the sports you need for the week, condensed into 5 minutes — no shouting, and no angst. Warner: we can make this happen. With your help, we can bring joy back to sports broadcasting.
Thanks, Jared! Tremendous piece — I basically grew up getting my sports from Warner Wolf and George Michael (who remembers “The Sports Machine”? C’mon, speak up), so this was both a great look back on the career (especially that wonderful year of 1986) of Warner Wolf, but a trip down memory lane for me as well. And after the week that just was, I think we can all appreciate the throwback to simpler times. And I’m willing to bet you and a few others will have some new Twitter followers after today too!
“Leo’s World” is a new, semi-recurring feature here on Uni Watch weekends, featuring some excellent uni-related finds from Leo Strawn, Jr.. Each installment will feature a new, unique or just very cool collection of related uniform observations and research. You can click most of the images below to enlarge. — PH
Leo’s got an AWESOME LW today (especially if you love the Canadian Football League, which I do). This is just one of several CFL pieces he has planned, so sit back and enjoy!!!
Cool and Unusual Helmets and Uniforms from the Great White North
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
I love CFL, ou LCF, pour nos lecteurs franÃ§ais (please excuse my French if that’s not 100% correct; I googled). I believe a gridiron football game should be able to have a final score of 2-1…why not? Plus, there’s more actual “foot” ball in a game with only 3 downs and the possibility of a missed field goal or long punt providing the difference in the final score. Etc., etc. (If you want proof of my love of Canadian football, check out some items from my collection of “things I own”.)
So, as the CFL winds down toward the 104th Grey Cup, I wanted to spend some time sharing some (I think) cool and (definitely) unusual Canadian Football uniforms.
Decades before the NFL’s recent “color rush”, Canadian teams would wear what could qualify as “colour rush” uniforms and they looked pretty damn nice.
Calgary wore red pants and red jerseys with some cool shoulder stripes and vertically striped leather helmets in their first Grey Cup appearance, a victory over Ottawa in 1948. They also wore mono red in the 1950s.
In the 1952 Grey Cup against the Argos, the Eskimos wore all green. The 1950s also saw Edmonton wear green/green with a large swath of gold on the shoulders. It’s possible that the Esks wore the reverse of that colour layout in the 1920s wearing gold/gold with a large swath of green on the shoulders (players on right in this photo). Those uniforms featured the team nickname oddly in singular form across the chest.
When the Tiger-Cats played (and won) their first Grey Cup in 1953, v Winnipeg, they were in mono yellow. When they played (and won) their second Grey Cup in 1957, also v Winnipeg, they were again wearing mono yellow. When they played their third Grey Cup in 1958, a loss to Winnipeg, they were still wearing mono yellow.
More recently, MontrÃ©al has worn colour-over-colour. I haven’t been able to locate any older instances of mono colour, but they have traditionally worn mono white throughout their history, shown here playing against Ottawa in mono red during the early 60s and here in the early 70s.
Jimmer Vilk will love this part: Canadian uniforms have also featured some big numbers. On helmets, like the back of Edmonton’s golden domes in the early 1960s. On front of uniforms, like the Toronto Argonauts wore in the 1946 Grey Cup, the Blue Bombers wore in 1959 and the Esks wore in the early 60s. On sleeves, like the early 60s Als. And big in a different way on some QBs like Bernie Faloney, Jackie Parker and Sam Etcheverry.
And, the stripes. Lots of stripes. Odd stripes. Stripes on socks. Stripes on shoulders. On shoulders and down the sides. Stripes on sleeves. Stripes on officials’ caps. Wide stripes on helmets. Widely spaced stripes on helmets. Stripes over the knees. Stripes v stripes. Stripes. Stripes. Stripes!
Did I mention the newsboy caps? In 1910, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues wore them and players continued to wear them into the 1920s. And, like the NFL back in the day, so too did the officials in Canada wear them.
I hope you enjoyed part one of our look at uniforms from north of the border! I’ll get into some other uni-details for teams from Western Canada next week, then we’ll finish with the East the week after that, just in time for the 104e Coupe Grey.
Till next time…
Great one today and looking forward to the next edition!
Jimmy Corcoran, Uni Designer
Got a note from my pal Jimmy Corcoran earlier this week (while I was still deeply enmeshed in campaign-related minutia). Jimmy’s *moved on* from colorizations and Pro Magazine covers and onto…the field of high school football uni design.
Check it out:
I know you’re busy and won’t see this for a few days, but I have moved on from colorizing King Corcoran pictures to designing my own alternate jerseys! My nephew and his teammates were really happy they got to wear the blue on blue for the last game of the season, they usually wear black pants with the blue. Connor told me all the guys wish they could wear black alternate jerseys next year. The school is only four years old and this is only the second year of the football team so I don’t think alternate jerseys will be in the future, they need a scoreboard first!
But I decided to see what I could come up with myself, I don’t have the uniform templates like some of the Uni Watch readers do when they come up with their great uniform concepts, I just use my mouse and add color. I first took a plain Nike jersey and added a white number, but that didn’t pop enough to me so I added a blue number with white trim. I always liked the high school style of the 1980’s with the school name across the chest in large letters, I also wanted just standard college style numbers, nothing fancy. I like the alternates to have a clean streamlined look, no stripes or neck decorations, this simple look not only looks clean to me but it would keep the costs down if they ever wanted to order ones that looked like this. I then actually added the jersey on a picture of Connor with my other nephew Logan after a game. I really think this looks good for a high school uniform, I know mono chrome is not a Uni Watch favorite but all the kids on this team love the Ravens all black uniforms so I made them close to that look. If these ever go into production I want a JC on the sleeve! just kidding.
Take care Jimmy Corcoran
Here’s a look at his designs — the first uniform below, on the left, is their current uni — the other three are Jimmy’s designs (you can click on any photo below to enlarge):
College Football Uni Watch
Some looks, via Twitter, at what you’ll (probably) see on the NCAA Gridiron Today.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) November 11, 2016
Oregon tomorrowâš«ï¸ðŸ£ pic.twitter.com/YTDvjonkPs
— Cyrus Habibi-Likio (@cyrri3e) November 11, 2016
Tomorrow's attire â¤µï¸ pic.twitter.com/eX7OUrsdNU
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 11, 2016
Breaking out the ORANGE helmets this weekend!!
— HokiesFB (@HokiesFB) November 11, 2016
Check out Under Armour's video touching on the history behind Notre Dame's Shamrock Series helmets https://t.co/XwMU1PjKNL
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 11, 2016
God, Country, Notre Dame.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) November 10, 2016
Notre Dame unveils amazing helmets for Shamrock Series https://t.co/99869Mr63m
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 10, 2016
— Illini Football (@IlliniFootball) November 11, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 10, 2016
— VirginiaFBRecruiting (@UVAFBRecruiting) November 10, 2016
— Penn Football (@PENNfb) November 10, 2016
— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) November 10, 2016
— Colby N. Wood (@Colbynwood) November 10, 2016
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) November 10, 2016
— Matthew Corey (@mp_corey) November 10, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 10, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 10, 2016
— NunesMagician.com (@NunesMagician) November 9, 2016
— UCF_Equipment (@UCF_Equipment) November 9, 2016
— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) November 9, 2016
— âš”ï¸âš”ï¸âš”ï¸âš”ï¸âš”ï¸âš”ï¸âš”ï¸ (@TroyTrojansFB) November 9, 2016
— The Best Gear (@TheBestGear) November 9, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 7, 2016
Terps' new all-red 'Red Ops' uniforms for Saturday's game vs. Buckeyes are very red (good gallery) https://t.co/Fuxiwf48Kl
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 7, 2016
— Sal Alosi (@Coach_Alosi) November 9, 2016
UCLA football team to wear military-themed uniforms Saturday https://t.co/RaRPQXXoTG
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 8, 2016
— MT Equipment (@MTSU_Equipment) November 9, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) November 9, 2016
— Air Force Football (@AFFootball) November 9, 2016
— Rod Barr (@barr_rod) November 8, 2016
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) November 8, 2016
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) November 8, 2016
— Stony BrookEquipment (@StonyBrookEQ) November 7, 2016
Holy Cross FB will be wearing the matte black helmets with the new decal for the game at Yankee Stadium pic.twitter.com/yPVBdAcTDJ
— D1EquipMgr (@D1EquipMgr) November 7, 2016
— Marshall Equipment (@HerdEquipment) November 6, 2016
UW’s Friday Flashback
With the Chargers having worn their powder blue alternates last Sunday, Paul’s latest Friday Flashback piece on ESPN takes a look at the team’s original powder era (as exemplified by John Hadl and Lance Alworth, shown here), which was more varied and nuanced than you might think.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Ohhh, check out the 20th Century Fox Studios Baseball Club (c.1940) Amazing uniforms, those striped stirrups! (from the one and only Bruce Menard). … Also from Bruce, in honor of Veterans’ Day yesterday, check out these covers of Baseball Magazine. … How bout Cleveland returning to these unis? That’s Bob Feller with his teammates after he returned from the Navy in WWII (from 216 Sports History). Note the Hale America patch on the sleeve too, which Paul documented beautifully a few years back. … Hard to believe it’s been 35 years since the Brewers (then in the AL) were also in the World Series. But they didn’t win it. Still, some phantom 82 World Series Champs merchandise exists (from Ben Danner). … Interesting Colon factoid (from Mike Chamernik). … Astute observer Ty asks if the Diamondbacks are switching to “tan” numbers on the front of their jerseys next year. He also asks if they are eliminating the snakeskin pattern from the backs of their pants. I can neither confirm nor deny these questions. He did NOT ask if the D-Backs are extending the stripe the full length of their pants for next season. Had he, I wouldn’t have been able to confirm or deny that either. Take from that what you will. … More from Bruce Menard: here’s 1945 Chicago Cubs catcher Paul Gillespie wearing the “Ruptured Duck” honorable discharge patch on his uniform. … Tweeter Eric Trager asks, “Why is this employee of a Mets affiliate wearing a Cubs cap?”
NFL News: It’s no secret we love long NOBs on UW, so this is great: “Recently, I was watching some videos on the old AFL on Youtube,” says Joe Hollomon. “Caught a screenshot of then Buffalo Bill player Marty Schottenheimer’s NOB.” … Von Miller and DeAndre Hopkins will be wearing special shoes for Veterans Day (h/t Paul Murphy).
College Football News: Check out this photo of Jeff Rutledge (on right) while at Alabama. Says Adam Kelley, “Pic of right is Jeff Rutledge showing three separate fonts (helmet, jersey and sub behind) in one pic. In late 70s as you know, ‘tearaway’ jerseys were common so I am sure this is his 3rd or 4th of game. Jeff was a longtime backup in NFL as well. He is a honorary captain at Saturday’s Mississippi State game in fact.” … I love it when someone spots something from (not so) long ago (like when a millennial I work with had no idea how to put a piece of paper into a typewriter in my office — it had been buried under a stack of papers and unused for years — but he was curious and wanted to know how it worked). So when I received this e-mail with the subject “Football jersey with buttons?” from Nolan Jones, I was expecting to see something like a button-front baseball jersey. Instead he asked, “Ever seen this before??? This is a UAB jersey that has a tail(?) that wraps under the crotch and buttons to the front of the jersey. I’m guess this is to keep he jersey tucked. Not sure because I’ve never seen before.” That’s awesome — has it really been that long since these were standard? Damn, I’m old! … Oops — I could see ESPN’s graphic department confusing the logos of two teams with Tigers for a mascot, but confusing Razorback (Hogs) with Mizzou Tigers? Good spot by Seth Shaw.
Hockey News: Anyone know what this sweater is (from Brian). If you said the World Hockey Association’s Los Angeles Sharks, you’re a winner (from FakeDamonSelmon). … When the Blues unveiled their new redder jerseys in 1994 they used forward Brendan Shanahan and goaltender Curtis Joseph as models. Submitter John Muir adds, “Odd that CuJo was dressed as a regular skater.” … Several items came in yesterday from Will Scheibler: “Since today (Nov. 11th) is Remembrance Day thought I’d try to find something sports uniform related. Came across these photos of the Royal Newfoundland Regimental hockey team from 1917.” Also from Will: St. John’s Ice Caps yesterday “revealed design details of their new Royal Newfoundland Regiment tribute jersey which will be worn during Military Appreciation Weekend, November 25th-26th at Mile One Centre.” Finally, the Royal Newfoundland Regimental hockey team had influence on elimination of the rover position in hockey in Newfoundland. … Do you love the Pittsburgh Penguins new white jerseys? You can see them today, AT HOME (as God intended). From @Bro_Lesko. … Looks like BC Hockey is teasing a new ‘gold’ alternate (from Matt Sottile). … The Edmonton Oilers wore poppies on their buckets yesterday (from Chuck Loads). … The Wheeling Nailers wore these camo jerseys last evening for “Military Appreciation” Night (from Jeff Tasca). … Last evening the Flyers wore Lindros jerseys with Pat Quinn patches for warmups (from Lou Bimov). Here’s another look (from Thom Pucks). Those commemorate Lindros & Quinn’s inductions into the Hall of Fame. … Here’s a look at the camo jerseys the Colorado Avalanche wore in warm ups last evening (from Adam Ure). … A Veteran at the Blackhawks game altered his 88 Kane USA jersey to have a Captain America logo (from Eric Lovejoy). … It’s baaack — the Cincinnati Cyclones will have Star Wars themed jerseys soon. Yay (from Bill Fenbers). … Poppy on helmet for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
NBA News: Yesterday morning, Muggsy Bogues was on a Canadian TV program sporting a throwback Toronto Huskies sweatshirt, and a poppy (thanks, Mike Chamernik). That, folks, is how you remember Armistice Day. … Also from Mike, here’s a look at the San Antonio Spurs camo jersey which they wore for Veterans Day. Here’s a look at them on the court (if you dare). OK, just one more. God these are awful.
College Hoops News: “I’m a student at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia (D3), and our basketball team has new home greys this year,” writes Spencer Cornell. “It may seem like GFGS, but our school colours are Garnet & Grey, so it works out.” … Here’s a look at the new uniforms for St. Mary’s (from Nick). … New home white uniforms for the Gettysburg College Bullets (from Jeff Slanovec). … Auburn has added SEC graduate patches for their two graduate students (from Clint Richardson). … Last evening the UAB Blazers wore special Veterans Day shooting shirts during warmups (from UAB Men’s Basketball). … To kick off the hoops season, Kansas and Indiana went color vs. color last night (from DJ Jenkins). Here’s another look. … For 2016, Nike N7 is partnering with 9 colleges (across men’s & women’s programs) to honor Native American Heritage Month (from Conrad Burry).
Grab Bag: Hey, UWers — li’l help? “My friend’s relative found and dug up this medal in Poland, near Krakow,” writes Ken Traisman. “Could someone identify it? Polish? German? A chaplain’s insignia? Thanks for help. It’s a pretty cool find.” Hey Scotty Rogers, any ideas? … Paul Lukas, master scribe, (the guy who writes lots of stuff besides Uni Watch/ESPN) shows up in the strangest places: “I love that I saw this on drudge and remembered that you mentioned a similar note in your column so I thought you’d be interested — then I saw the byline,” writes John Gogarty. “So funny.”
And that’s it for today. Thanks to Jared, Leo and Jimmy for their contributions today!
I’m still recovering from this past week (in case anyone is wondering, or cares, my boss was reelected this past Tuesday, so I’ll still have somewhat gainful employment on January 1st — which is more than a small relief). As far as what happened nationwide Tuesday…let’s just say we have a deeply divided nation, and there are wounds that will take a long time to heal. But I have to say, I do like what I’ve heard from both major parties since that evening. Let’s hope we’re somewhat on the road to cooperation, and a feeling of general goodwill. We’re more alike than we are different, and I hope we can begin to accentuate the ways we’re alike and work on understanding how we’re different. That will go a long way.
I’ll be back tomorrow with the SMUW crew. But until then, follow me on the Twitter @PhilHecken.
“A one year anniversary? Isn’t that called ‘last year’?”
— Jon Rose