Skip to content

An Early Example of Uniform Advertising

Click to enlarge

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guestwritten entry by Matthew Algeo, who’s going to enlighten us regarding an early example of uniform advertising. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Matthew Algeo

When I was a tween, I was a huge fan of the Pennsylvania Stoners, an American Soccer League team based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The team name was based on Pennsylvania being the Keystone State. When they won the ASL championship in the spring of 1980, I was as happy as I was when the Phillies won the World Series a few months later.

In 1979 or ’80, the Stoners became one of the first North American pro sports teams to wear an advertiser’s logo on their jersey (see above) — something English League teams had started doing just a few years earlier, in 1977. The advertiser was the dog food brand Alpo, which was based in nearby Allentown. (“Alpo” is an abbreviation for “Allen Products.”)

I recently had a brief Facebook conversation with Bob Ehrlich, who was on the Stoners at the time and was the son of the team’s owner, Willie Ehrlich. Here’s what he had to say about the team’s uniforms:

As for me, I thought having the Alpo logo on the team’s jerseys was very cool. To me, it made the Stoners seem like a big league team. The ASL was the redheaded stepchild of the much more prominent NASL, but the jersey ad showed that the Stoners were on the cutting edge of American soccer, at least from my perspective. And although I’ve never owned a dog, if I did I would definitely feed it Alpo. So, in a weird way, I guess it worked: Advertising on a uniform has affected my behavior — or at least my potential behavior — as a consumer.

•  •  •  •  •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The FBI has warned Cubs fans to be on the lookout for fake memorabilia. … Hallmark has made a Madison Bumgarner tree ornament that shows him wearing a white Giants uni, instead of cream. “He does bear a passing resemblance to Jesus,” says Brinke. … Good story about the potentially great MLB ballpark that never got built in Montreal (from @GKG_77). … The spate of offseason minor league team renamings continues, as the New Orleans Zephyrs are now the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The name refers to the New Orleans Mardi Gras ritual of King Cake, which traditionally has a small plastic baby baked into it. So the team logo is, of course, a snarling baby — your basic boilerplate Brandiose treatment. More on that here. At least they have two different Pelicans throwbacks.

NFL News: Lots of classic 1960s NFL posters on this Pinterest page (thanks, Brinke). … Washington S Duke Ihenacho wants the team to go mono-burgundy for this Sunday night’s game against the Packers (from Tommy Turner).

College Football News: The Fiesta Bowl has a new sponsor advertiser. The only good thing about that is that we won’t be hearing Brent Musberger saying this one is “for all the Tostitos” (from Andrew Costentino). … Consume at your own risk: Here’s one observer’s ranking of this season’s 15 best college football alternate uniforms (from Phil). … Throwbacks on tap this Saturday for Pitt (from James Gilbert). … Iowa QB C.J. Beathard has gotten his helmet back. It went missing in the celebration following the team’s victory over Michigan last weekend, but local cops spotted a kid wearing it around town and retrieved it (from Josh Hinton).

Hockey News: “I’m a season ticket holder for the new Las Vegas NHL franchise,” writes Kaine Messer. “I received an email from the team on Tuesday with a graphic that included gold, red, and black bars. A possible indication of the color scheme to be unveiled next week?”

NBA News: An auto repair shop in Virginia has a very Celtics-esque logo. … Here’s a history of NBA jerseys in rap videos (thanks, Phil). … The Cavs wore red throwbacks at home last night, forcing the Raptors to wear white on the road (from Ilan Shields). … “As an eight-year-old, I attended a Timberwolves game at the Humbert H. Humphrey Metrodome in their inaugural 1989-90 season,” writes Steven Lobejko. “I recent read an article that mentioned that they played several games that season at the Met Center in Bloomington when there were scheduling conflicts with the Twins/Vikings/Gophers. I don’t have any memory of that, and Google Images turned up nothing. I would love to see any pictures out there of a Wolves game at the Met.” Can anyone help with that? … One of the worst-looking NBA games in recent memory last night in Miami: the Heat’s G.I. Joe costumes against the Hawks’ quilted road unis (from Chris Howell). … Oh baby, love this old Miami Floridians pennant (from BSmile). … Back in 1949, long before federal law required every mascot to look ferocious or intimidating, the Chicago Stags ran this ad (great find by Jerry Wolper). … This is interesting: During the 1989-90 season, the Albany Patroons of the CBA had “ALBAN.Y.” on their chests (from Chuck Miller).

College Hoops News: Manhattan went with an all-green court yesterday (from Colby). … Neon vs. neon in yesterday’s Oregon/Baylor game (from Andrew Cosentino). … New BFBS alternate for Texas. “The front just has the Longhorn logo above the number,” says Zack Becerra). … The Dayton hoops team flew south for a game against Alabama on Hillary Clinton’s former campaign plane, with her livery still on the exterior (from Patrick O’Neill). … Belmont wore red last night for the first time in school history (from Jason Piland). … D3 Salisbury College gonig with sleeved jerseys and mismatched cummerbund shorts this season (from Travis Nardella). … Turquoise N7 uniforms on tap this Friday for Gonzaga (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: The newest MLS team, Atlanta United FC, has unveiled its inaugural uniform (from Josh Hinton). … In the wake of some people burning their New Balance sneakers due to a company exec’s support of Donald Trump, a neo-Nazi blogger has declared that New Balance sneakers are now “the official shoes of white people” (from Tommy Turner). … New logo for Lyft. … Here’s a video — 10 minutes long! — about Samford University’s new logo (from B.J. Millican). … Check out the jerseys for this Canadian curling squad (thanks, Phil). … New license plate design for Illinois (from Anthony Zogas). … Three Manhattan buildings will no longer carry Donald Trump’s name after residents petitioned to have the name changed. Key passage: “Tenants got a hint that change was afoot in late October when doormen told residents that they were being measured for new uniforms that would no longer bear the Trump name.” … The uniform outfitter for six Aussie football teams has gone into receivership, which may force the teams to find a new supplier (thanks, Phil).

Comments (69)

    The New Orleans Baby Cakes. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.

    And I thought “Fire Frogs” had jumped the shark…

    At least a baby cake is an actual thing that exists in the world. So by definition, Baby Cakes is a better nickname than Fire Frogs.

    A shame about the snarling mascot logo. The other two mascot logos, with the smiling baby, have a certain link charm and whimsy. The snarling-baby logo is going to look dated and probably shitty in ten years, whereas either smiling-baby alt logo might stand the test of time.

    (from The Ticker) “…long before federal law required every mascot to look ferocious or intimidating”

    Man, ain’t that the truth.

    I really like the Baby Cakes concept, but I think it won’t take ten years for that logo to look shitty. It’s a shitty logo already.

    “Baby Cakes” are not a real thing unless you count the strippers on Bourbon Street. As any South Louisianan can tell you, that is a king cake–the next time I hear it referred to as a baby cake will be the first. The initial reaction in Greater New Orleans to the name change has been overwhelmingly negative. Plus the press release the team issued regarding the new name and how it reflects the region and its people is frankly insulting.

    Granted, I fully realize the anger I have over the new name of a minor league baseball team is ridiculous, but I sure as heck won’t spend a dime on any merchandise for this idiotic rebrand. It’s almost as if the team ownership is looking to drive down attendance so they can move to another city. Never seen an ownership so out of touch with its fan base, and I currently live in Niners Country!

    I’m still calling it Zephyr Field!

    Thanks for the correction. I had thought “baby cake” sounded familiar when the Zephyrs first included it. So never mind; Baby Cakes is equivalent to Fire Frogs after all. King Cakes would have been a much better name, especially if they were just going to put “Cakes” on their jersey anyway.

    with playstation being the new sponsor for the Fiesta Bowl.. now they can say “it’s for all the trophies” as a reference to the PSN in game reward system

    Unless the spelling is embedded and can’t be changed, “cummerbund” is the correct spelling.

    Musberger already wouldn’t have been saying “this is for all the tostitos” – the Fiesta hasn’t been sponsored by them since the ’13 season.

    Baby Cakes is horrible. I can’t believe that was the fan poll winner. I voted for Po Boys. I recommended Fly Catchers (bird native to Louisiana and a baseball centric name) and Rougarou ( or wolf man- the monster is most commonly described as a bayou-dwelling werewolf with glowing red eyes and razor-sharp teeth. ) I too like the Pels throwbacks.

    Crawfish was my favorite. But Rougarous would have been fantastic! Sort of like the New Jersey Devils. America is filled with regional legendary creatures, pretty much all of which would make great sports team names. (In fact, there is an ultimate team in Madison named after our local cryptozoological species, the link.) A partial list (any such list without Wendigo is obviously far from complete) at link

    “Washington S Duke Ihenacho wants the team to go mono-burgundy for this Sunday night’s game against the Packers ”

    Yeah, well I DON’T want them to. Do I get a vote.

    Last year, I remember we had a lot of discussion about basketball players rolling their waistband. I can confirm after my alma mater’s (Wabash College) opener last night, that practice is alive and well. At least half of Wabash’s players had their shorts rolled. What was interesting and maybe relevant, though, is that Wabash is a very young team. The entire team is made up of sophomores and freshmen, save for one junior. The one junior did not have his shorts rolled. Maybe a sign that this trend is going to keep getting stronger as these younger players keep moving up?

    “The Cavs wore red throwbacks at home last night, forcing the Raptors to wear white on the road”

    Those are actually fauxbacks. Cavs never used that logo on wine and gold until a few years ago for fauxbacks.

    It’s good that it’s a gradual phase-in. Those of us in neighboring states will need time to adapt to Illinois cars having attractive license plates.

    “This is interesting: During the 1989-90 season, the Albany Patroons of the CBA had “ALBAN.Y.” on their chests”.

    It took me a bit to figure out.. it is saying Albany N.Y.

    Interesting indeed

    Oh,thanks! I was wondering what that was all about. Now it makes sense! Is that a thing in Albany?

    I’ll bet the kerning between the N and the Y worked a lot better on a jersey than it does on a computer screen.

    Look on the bright side of the new New Orleans name. It’s really close to the name of the Frank Zappa song “Baby Snakes,” which can mean two possibilities:

    1. Someone in the baseball organization asks the Zappa estate permission to come up with a team-themed cover of the song.

    2. We see Zappa Appreciation Night at the old ballpark.

    As a kid growing up in the Lehigh Valley area, I attended Stoner’s soccer camps and went to a few games. Nice trip down memory lane.

    Looks like it is possible the Las Vegas NHL team with have similar/same colour scheme as junior hockey’s WHL Calgary Hitmen.


    Looking forward to the announcement next week.

    Of course advertising works, especially on children! I used to see Marlboro ads on F-1 racecars and Lucky Strikes ads on Moto GP bikes and knew that if I smoked, I’d smoke Marlboro and Lucky Strike. It didn’t hurt that they had such cool colors and logos.

    Same with Bud and Miller Lite, but the grown up me knows better and know that there are far better beers out there–you get what you pay for.

    That AFL uniform supplier going into receivership–that’s BLK Sport. BLK provides the uniforms for USA Rugby’s national teams and referees as well as a number of referee societies throughout the US, including mine.

    Image from the Rugby Weekend in Chicago two weekends ago, showing the All Black Maori (Adidas) and USA Rugby (BLK) kit.

    Maybe USA Rugby can get a deal with some US Based companies if/when it changes. Uniforms from Australia (BLK), main sponsor (Emirates) from the mid-east, secondary sponsor Heathrow Express (UK train from the Airport to London).

    USA Rugby is perpetually cash-strapped and foreign jersey advertisers are much more lucrative than US-based ones.

    Fiesta Bowl has had some real clunker title sponsors “IBM O/S 2 Warp” and “BattleFrog” (sounds like a rejected minor league team name) being the clunkiest.

    The Atlanta United shirts give us a good look at the new template for next year, more specifically the new placement of their trademark (and annoying) stripes. They’ve been link, in a sort of link. Better than the old link, and I think I might even prefer it to the link they unveiled for this year. Less obtrusive.

    I agree Chance. The move under the arms was definitely a good change-up from adidas.

    I’m also a fan when they do smaller plugs of it on various parts.

    I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere, but Duke’s black alternates are slightly changed from last year. Last year they had solid white number and wordmark. link

    This year, they have gone back to blue numbers and letters outlined in white. link

    Personally, I think this year’s uniforms would look better if they added a white outline around the blue side panels to make things more consistent, which would basically bring them back to the black unis they wore for several years: link


    man that logo opens itself up to some really bad and graphic photoshop opportunities

    Not quite related: I play in my church’s ukulele ensemble, and we’re rehearsing for a Christmas concert. After playing through our set list in order for the first time Monday night, several folks complained that verses in We Three Kings and What Child Is This with lyrics like “a life of gathering doom … sealed in a stone cold tomb” and “nails, spears shall pierce him through” were real downers and could we maybe cut those verses?

    Well, yeah. The fact that the son of God was later crucified was definitely a “downer”. But it was also kind of the whole point of the incarnation in the first place. These people know that He rose again from the dead, so it all turned out okay in the end, right?

    1949 Chicago Stags Poster: After the Stags played the St Louis Bombers, the New York Rens played the Philadelphia Hebrews.

    Was “Rens” short for Renaissance?

    In regards to the Las Vegas NHL colors and logo. A local reporter was on the radio last week after being shown the logo and colors in preparation for the unveiling on Nov. 22nd. He said the color scheme features black with silver and gold with “Red Rock Red” prominently featured. The logo has some sort of “Warrior” depiction. I’m assuming the shade of red will be a darker burnt shade to coincide with the color of the rocks at near by Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

    I don’t mind Baby Cakes. Much better than team names that don’t end with ‘s’. Plus it’s something that’s culturally unique, unlike some generic name like Eagles or Wildcats.

    That Baby Cakes logo looks like Babyface Finster.

    Let me wear my New Balance sneakers in peace, dammit! They make good shoes and they actually fit wide footed freaks like me. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Seeing the article on Labatts Park reminded me of the old days of playing High Heat baseball on the PC.

    Someone had altered the “skins”/bitmaps of Olympic Stadium in the game to resemble the design of the new park. It was a relatively simple process of swapping out bitmaps in the game.

    There were a lot of DIY altering/designing from rosters, to stadium signage to uniforms.

    The uniforms were the most fun to alter because the game had default home and away uniforms. A lot of people designed skins of the actual alternate uniforms (again merely bitmaps) and dropped them into the game. But it was not limited actual unis- but custom designs.

    There were whole sites dedicated to this. You could upload your difficulty sliders, rosters, uniforms, stadiums and download those uploaded other designers.

    The best site was which looks like is no longer active.

    But this exercise was the precursors to todays sports game- allowing multiple uniforms and updating rosters.

    It was a fun way to put DIY into practical use.

    I’m happy to see another generation of Beathards playing football. CJ’s uncle, Kurt, was the QB at my alma mater (Towson University, or actually Towson State University, as it was known back then). And of course, his grandfather Bobby brought in some of the all-time greatest Skins during the 80s and 90s. He also brought one of my favorite B- caliber QBs, Stan Humphries, from the Skins to the Chargers.

    I wonder how many times people have walked into the lobby of Provencher Roy and said, “What is this… A baseball stadium for ants?!”

    Chuck Miller, I just wanted to say hello from seeing you in the comments today! I recognize your name from articles you posted elsewhere on the internet, about minor hockey leagues in the east coast and your criticisms of the American Dreams TV series. The Goldbergs will be starting in a few minutes; you won’t like this show either.

    Weren’t New Balance always the shoes for white people? Not in a supremacist kind of way, but just because of what they make, how they market, etc? I know they have a page in the “Stuff White People Like” book.

Comments are closed.