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A Look Back at the 1972 MLB All-Star Game

Greetings, people — happy post-holiday! Hope your extended weekend was as good as mine.

Reader Ferdinand Cesarano’s weekend included watching the 1972 MLB All-Star Game, and he spotted some uni-notable moments. For starters, there were two instances of my favorite All-Star Game trope — players who for various reasons had to wear another team’s batting helmet. I already knew that the ’72 ASG featured Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk wearing a Brewers helmet and Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman wearing a Cubs helmet, but Ferdinand spotted two additional examples, beginning with Giants shortstop Chris Speier stepping up to the plate in an Astros helmet (sorry about the blurry image quality, but the source video isn’t great):

Ferdinand also spotted Tigers pitcher Mickey Lolich coming to bat in a Royals helmet:

Remember, this was 1972 — a year before the DH rule went into effect — so American League pitchers were still hitting and still had their own helmets. But maybe Lolich didn’t bother to bring his to Atlanta for the game.

Ferdinand also picked up on another uni-notable detail from that game. Let’s take another look at that photo of Fisk:

As you can see, he was wearing a pullover jersey and sansabelt pants. Lots of teams were moving to that format in the early 1970s, of course, but the interesting thing about that from a Red Sox perspective is that those newfangled uniforms were making their debut in the All-Star Game. Broadcaster Curt Gowdy mentioned this when Bosox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski came to bat in the top of the 4th:

I hadn’t realized (or maybe just hadn’t remembered) that the Sox made the double-knit switcheroo during the ’72 Midsummer Classic. But sure enough, the changeover is noted in Bill Henderson’s guide, and Dressed to the Nines shows the Sox wearing both the old and new uniform styles in 1972, although it doesn’t note the date of the changeover.

For those keeping score at home: The Pirates did something similar in 1970, as they changed from flannels to double-knits for the second half of the season — immediately after the All-Star Game. The timed the changeover to coincide with the opening of Three Rivers Stadium (which had been slated to open on Memorial Day weekend, but construction delays pushed the grand opening back to mid-July).

The White Sox also made an in-season uniform change, in 1990. The new uniforms had been slated to debut in 1991, but the team started wearing them late in the 1990 season — the final year of the old Comiskey Park.

But I digress. Big thanks to Ferdinand for sharing the fruits of his holiday video watching with us.

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For all photos in this section, you can click to enlarge

Shell game: While taking a walk on an outer-Brooklyn beach yesterday, I came upon a really cool oyster shell. We’ve all seen oyster shells with multiple layers, but in this one you can see each super-thin individual layer that was added to the shell as the oyster grew. The layers look like leaves in a book, or layers in filo dough. They also reminded me of the rings in a cross-section of a tree. Would it be possible to assess the oyster’s age by counting the layers?

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Attention reader Pete Fey: I received the payment for your membership (thank you!) but didn’t receive a follow-up email with the details of what you want for your card design. Little help..?

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Awesome craft project here: Someone on Reddit’s mom made a really cool scarf that tracks the Yankees’ 2016 season, with different-colored stripes for home wins, home losses, road wins, and road losses (big thanks to Cody the Chicken).

NFL News: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott wore an Emmitt Smith jersey prior to last night’s game against the Lions. … Here’s a video showing how a Browns helmet is manufactured at Riddell’s factory (from Peter Kuzdal). … Here’s a good look at Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s one-fingered glove, which he’s wearing to protect a dislocated finger (thanks, Phil).

College Football News: Motorcycle cops in Orlando have Miami Hurricanes-themed helmets (from Big Dooky). … Update on that last photo: Commenter Mike says, “The Orlando police that escort the teams around for the bowl games have their bikes and helmets dressed in stickers of the team they’re assigned to. Here’s a pic from when Mizzou was at the Citrus Bowl a few years ago.” … Vanderbilt and NC State went color vs. color in last night’s Independence Bowl (from Chris Mycoskie). …One Mississippi State player in yesterday’s St. Petersburg Bowl appeared to have a much darker helmet than everyone else had. … When Nebraska plays Tennessee in the Music City Bowl this Friday, the Cornhuskers will be wearing a helmet decal supporting the Gatlinburg fire victims. This is the latest in a pretty strong new trend of teams supporting a cause that’s more associate with their opponents than with themselves (from Lee Wilds). … Here’s what Boise State will be wearing tonight for the Cactus Bowl (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: Some great old uniforms and documents here. Those are all related to Bill Kodatsky, who played for a number of minor league teams in the 1940s and ’50s (from Dave Kuruc). … Love this old NHL Starter jacket ad (from J. Walker). … The AHL was using the white-at-home format this season, but is now switching the dark-at-home for the rest of the season. The ECHL does something similar, switching after its all-star game.

Grab Bag: A controversy erupted around a Taiwanese high school when students marched in a parade wearing Nazi uniforms. … If you like abandoned buildings as much as I do, you’ll love this website devoted to abandoned sites in the southeast (from my buddy Rob Walker). … Trash talk, racist taunts, and dirty tactics are apparently rampant on the Australian national cricket team.

23 comments to A Look Back at the 1972 MLB All-Star Game

  • Mike | December 27, 2016 at 7:48 am |

    That twitter link shows those are Orlando police w/the Hurricane-themed helmets. The police that escort the teams around for the bowl games have their bikes and helmets dressed in stickers of the team they’re assigned to. Here’s a pic from when Mizzou was at the Citrus Bowl a few years ago: http://bit.ly/2iatKsK

    • Paul Lukas | December 27, 2016 at 7:56 am |

      Thanks! Will update text.

  • Scott Johnston | December 27, 2016 at 8:14 am |

    Another question brought up by the 1972 All-Star Game is “when did the A’s add numbers to the front of their jerseys?” The A’s had changed from wool vests to yellow, green and white double-knit pullovers for the 1972 season. If you look at video and photos from the 1972 All-Star Game, there are no numbers on the fronts of the A’s jerseys. At some point, they added numbers to the front of the jerseys, using the same font the Expos wore from 1969-91 (which did not match the block font of the A’s numbers on the backs of their jerseys). The front numbers are there when the A’s played in the 1972 ALCS and World Series. The front numbers were gone in 1973. The question remains did the A’s add the front numbers for the postseason only or did they add them during the regular season sometime after the All-Star Game. http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/baseball-world-series-oakland-athletics-jim-catfish-hunter-on-mound-picture-id177153728?s=594×594

    • Ferdinand Cesarano | December 27, 2016 at 11:03 am |

      Excellent observation!

      The front numbers must have been added some time in the second half of the season. When you look at 1972 pictures shown in the 1973 baseball cards, some (including the team picture card) show a front number, and some don’t. And, of course, all of those pictures shot during the post-season do show a front number.

      And, as you note, the front numbers were of the Expos font, and not the same number font that appears on the back of the jersey. The use of two different number fonts on the same jersey has to be a unique occurrence.

      • rick | December 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm |

        Looking at the 7th edition of the Game Worn Guide to MLB Jerseys by Bill Henderson it says the front numbers were added after All-Star Game on all 3 styles of A’s jerseys. Interesting to see that the A’s removed all front numbers in ’73 and probably recycled them from 1972.

        • scott | December 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm |

          Question asked more than six years ago in the comment section, but still no answer as to why the Red Sox made the uniform switch mid season:
          http://www.uni-watch.com/2010/07/29/sweet-16/

      • Brett Pasternack | December 28, 2016 at 8:46 am |

        On that video…specifically, the frame that shows up before you hit play, how come Bobby Grich and Brooks Robinson are wearing Orioles uniforms of different colors? Dressed To The Nines only shows one uni that year with “Baltimore” on the front. Am I missing something?

        • Ferdinand Cesarano | December 28, 2016 at 10:54 am |

          I think that that is just an effect produced by lighting and/or sunlight. Both those uniforms are the Orioles’ normal grey road uniforms.

          Look at Bobby Murcer on the far left of the frame. Due to the lighting that he is in, his uniform looks almost white; yet that, too, is his team’s normal grey road uniform (which, incidentally, is in its last year before the Yankees improved their uniforms by adding white outlines on the road and by changing the numbers to block style for both home and road).

  • Gusto4044 | December 27, 2016 at 8:25 am |

    To carryover from yesterday, I read on a Pittsburgh TV or newspaper website, the Steelers are working on a new throwback idea, but it won’t be ready or approved by the 2017 NFL season. Forget the name of the site.

    Sunday’s uniform set seems to be a hit, and winning the division in those uniforms doesn’t hurt. My guess is next season the mono black will be brought back for a couple of games, with the next throwbacks debuting in 2018.

    As far as a Color Rush uniform for 2017 goes, I’m guessing the Steelers will be on the road for that game, and will were all white for the first time since the 1970 or 1971 season(s). The white pants back then had a large black stripe.

    • Andrew Harrington | December 27, 2016 at 9:24 am |

      The Thursday uniform was basically the same as the home jersey from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, but there were a few different white versions that were worn with it. Because of the single shell rule, I would lean against any of the early sets that had a gold helmet Which were just white/black versions of the one they wore last week), leaving the 62-65 uniform with the gold sleeves as the best option, as well as the rare preseason version with the yellow diamonds on the sleeves, both of which featured white pants and would make for a good Thursday uniform.

      There’s also the 66-67 Batman uniform.

    • walter | December 27, 2016 at 9:34 am |

      Mind you, a solid gold (yellow) Steeler uniform is a possibility. Some among us might need the eye bleach but I’d like it. It would contrast with everything the NFL could dish out.

      • The Jeff | December 27, 2016 at 11:43 am |

        Given that the Packers wore white instead of yellow for color rush this year, I don’t see the Steelers doing it either. It’s stupid as hell, but apparently football teams just can’t wear bright colors unless they play in the Pacific Northwest.

  • BurghFan | December 27, 2016 at 9:00 am |

    Proofreading:
    “that’s more associate with their opponents than with themselves” associated
    “but is now switching the dark-at-home” switching to

    FWIW, I found the Steelers’ numbers harder to read than normal from my seats Sunday.

  • Tim | December 27, 2016 at 10:48 am |

    Interesting to see that the helmet stripes are now one piece of tape. Back in the day you had to put on three separate pieces of tape one for each stripe.

    • The Jeff | December 27, 2016 at 11:59 am |

      It probably stopped being multiple decals when the little ridge on the helmet went away.

      • Slow 40 Time Either Way | December 27, 2016 at 12:44 pm |

        I’m sure aerodynamics probably came into play as well.

  • James | December 27, 2016 at 11:19 am |

    The decal on the Nebraska helmet could have something to do with their opponent, but my first thought was they are playing the game in Tennessee, the home state of the tragic fires.

    No examples of decals worn in bowl games that note a local/state occurrence come to mind immediately, but perhaps you or your readers can recall an instance.

  • Jerry | December 27, 2016 at 11:24 am |

    Listening to Curt Gordy for two minutes just reminds me how low we’ve fallen in the state of sports broadcasting. I know, I’m old get off my lawn. With that in mind however, clear simple direct game calling is in short supply.
    I thought Paul was done with his beach walks for 2016?

    • Paul Lukas | December 27, 2016 at 11:44 am |

      We didn’t walk in the surf this time (too cold), so it’s not the same thing as our previous walks. Was nice to be down by the water, though.

  • Michael Emody | December 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm |

    I’ve wondered if the White Sox wore the new black road uniforms at the end on 1990. According to the Chicago Tribune archives, the White Sox debuted the black and silver pin stripes on September 25 for the first game of a series against the Twins and continued wearing them thru Sept. 30. A three game series against Seattle followed, with a make-up game against the Brewers between the two game set with the Twins. The Sox finished on the road in Boston, Oct. 1-3. And yes, a photo in Oct. 2nd’s Tribune shows Ozzie Guillen in the new road uniform.

    • DJ | December 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm |

      Yes, the White Sox wore their new gray and black away uniform in Boston, complete with a black varsity-letterman-style jacket. That latter item flew off the shelves come Christmas/the 1991 season (IIRC, my brother got one). Jerry Reinsdorf got permission from Fay Vincent to change uniforms early so that the White Sox could close out Old Comiskey Park wearing the new uniforms.

  • Holt Hogan | December 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm |

    Uni watch: The #1 source for the latest shell news.

  • Jeff | January 1, 2017 at 1:25 am |

    Looks like Zeke’s Emmitt Smith jersey is a really bad knock-off. Not even close to any design Emmitt or the Cowboys ever wore. Then as he walks away, the wrinkled tackle twill numbers give it away.