Skip to content

A Very Merry Vilkmas (2016 Edition)

Vilkmas hed

By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk

You fine readers may remember that last year my pal Jimmer Vilk did a wonderful thing (following it the footsteps of Paul’s annual Reader Appreciation Raffle) and donated (and shipped!) several wonderful items from his exclusive collection (much of it Yinzer-related) to needy readers. This year, the man is back again — this time with a few less (but higher quality) items, this time with a, *clears throat* “City of Champions” bent (that would be Cleveland for those of you who aren’t sure to which city we’re referring). The prizes will be distributed the same way as last year (after viewing the items, instructions on how to enter will be posted).

I’m now going to turn it over to Jim, who’ll take you through the free loot (you can click on the photos to enlarge slightly):

. . . . . . . . . .

A Very Merry Vilkmas
By Jim Vilk

2016…bad for celebrities, but really good for Northeast Ohio! Lake Erie Monsters hockey, the Cavs, AFC Cleveland soccer and Akron RubberDucks baseball all won titles this year. The Tribe won a pennant…and even the President-elect got nominated in the City of Champions (and the Browns). That school south of Michigan had a pretty good year as well.

To share in my region’s good fortune, and to celebrate the holidays, this year’s Very Merry Vilkmas is all Ohio. Even if you’re not from here, you know you want a piece of us. So let’s see what you can get…

+ + + + + + + + + +


For starters, let’s get this BFBS Cavs championship t-shirt out of my house.

I’m glad they won, but the uni-watcher in me is still furious they did so in those AWFUL alternates. Hopefully *you’ll* enjoy this shirt (which, like all the others, is an XL).

+ + + + + + + + + +


Next we have a warm and toasty Cavs winter hat.

A little unnecessary blue thrown in there, but it’s still 100% awesome.

+ + + + + + + + + +


You think that looks warm…dig this Timofey Mozgov Russian-style hat!


All you need is a scarf and you can handle whatever Cleveland or Siberia (or even Chicago) throws at you this winter.

+ + + + + + + + + +


Next we have a 2015 Finals placard, an NBA Finals patch (it’s adhesive but I’d sew it on anyway), a picture of the Cavs’ “Big Three” sliced from the pages of Slam Magazine and a 2014-15 Cavs yearbook (lots of nice full-page photos inside).

+ + + + + + + + + +


One more Cavs item, and we’re throwing back to the Richfield days with a Mark Price jersey lapel pin. If you win this one, make a resolution to work on your free throws.

+ + + + + + + + + +


Switching gears now, you’re looking at a piece of history.

Until this year I never wore anything Tribe-related. My brother-in-law had an extra Caveman jersey, so he gave it to me and I wore it to a game (Cleveland won, by the way). No Wahoo, but there’s an ad for a local maker of ballpark sandwich meats. Shortly thereafter I found a red version at Goodwill so I’m making this one available to you.

+ + + + + + + + + +


Now we head south to Columbus.

The Clippers are the Tribe’s AAA team. I gave this shirt the JV-neck treatment (next best thing to a V-neck…I cut the collar off a crew neck shirt), so to make up for my alteration I’m throwing in my copy of the book “How To Get To First Base.”

+ + + + + + + + + +


This Columbus item is a replica Crew jersey from back in the ad-free days.

If you just can’t wear a Columbus Barbasol jersey, you have another option now.

+ + + + + + + + + +


More soccer, but we’re going indoors.

THIS is Cleveland’s original “Big Three.” In 1994, prolific scorers Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic, along with goalie Otto Orf, led the Cleveland Crunch to the first of three NPSL titles. These cards are from the 1992 MSL set, which was the final season of the original MISL.

+ + + + + + + + + +


And finally, for you puckheads, we go way back with a Cleveland Barons throwback t-shirt.

The Monsters gave these away last year, so it’s new. There’s a big ad on the back, by the way. Blame the bank who bought the naming rights to the Pirates’ ballpark.

+ + + + + + + + + +

That’s it for this year. For details on your chance to win, here’s Phil. Happy New Year, and congrats on surviving 2016!


Thanks, Jimmer! How awesome is this??? Incredibly awesome, that’s how. OK, this is very similar to Paul’s raffle so here is how you enter:

1) Send an email to and put in the SUBJECT “Vilkmas Raffle”

2) In the BODY of the email, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 5 prize choices, in order of preference, by number. If you’re only interested in, say, two or three items, then just list your top two or three choices; if you want to list more than 5, you can do that too, but I don’t really expect anyone to go that far. Jim will do his best to accommodate all the winners’ choices.

3) One email per person. Entry deadline is next Sunday, January 8, 7pm Eastern. The winners will be announced on January 14.


And please, everyone ”” give Jimmer a nice round of thanks in the comments below. Thanks, Jimmer — you’re still the best.

line of christmas trees

UW Friday Flashback

UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it on Friday, Paul’s ESPN column mentioned the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing in the Centennial Classic on New Year’s Day (additional info on the uniforms is available here), followed by the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks facing off in the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 (additional uniform info here). He covered those briefly, and then went of to rank past matchups, in typically awesome Paul-style.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.


line of christmas trees

Too Good For the Ticker

Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Brian Spiess who is a glutton for punishment took a very careful look at this year’s Color Rash jerseys and noticed that some of the teams changed more than just colors — a few went with different number fonts as well (why couldn’t you do this too, Tampa Bay???). It’s a bit too long for the ticker, so I’ll run it in TFGTT. Here’s Brian…

. . .

By my count, four NFL teams altered their number fonts for their Color Rush jerseys. The attached photo shows a side-by-side for each. Other teams changed their number colors, but not their font. Here are the four teams that altered their fonts, based on my subjective opinion of the largest change to the smallest:

NFL Font Changes

Click to enlarge

(1) Cincinnati Bengals: On September 29, the Bengals switched from a rounded font to a block one. Not only that, they switched from a two-color number to single color.

(2) Pittsburgh Steelers: On December 25, the Steelers also switched from a rounded font to a block one.

(3) Denver Broncos: On October 13, the Broncos used a block font as part of a throwback look.

(4) New Orleans Saints: On November 17, the Saints also tweaked their number font in a throwback look. The font was similar to their normal block, but the bottom of Drew Brees’s “9” is slightly changed.

The Giants’ and Raiders’ numbers on their white Color Rush jerseys may have gotten thicker, but the font style seems unchanged. Likewise for the Cowboys, whose block font on white appeared to be the same or similar as the font for their rarely worn blue jerseys.

Since all of the changes switched to block or stayed block, could this be a sign of a trend toward more block numbers?

Brian Spiess

. . .

Thanks, Brian! And nice research to put that all into one neat graphic too!

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

line of christmas trees

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

NFL News: Farewell footwear for Steve Smith (Jr.)? From Andrew Cosentino: Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. will don cleats Sunday, during what is likely his last NFL game, that feature the names of the teams and people who have helped him throughout his career.

College Football News: Strideline is a Seattle company known for its collection of collegiate socks, but they had a big “whoops” the other day: an $18 Christmas pair of Strideline Wazzu “Cougar Socks” in red-and-white socks have a not-so-Cougarish slogan printed on the inside cuff. It reads, “Go Dawgs.” Thanks to Markus Kamp. Here’s a bit more on that from Richard Paloma. … Nice DIY! — “In a nod to Alabama fan(s) on playoff weekend, #15 jersey worn in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump,” writes Tom M.. “Made of simple cotton with sewn on tackle twill numbers.” … Have we reached peak Arkansas? Yes, yes we have. … Here’s a look at the Rose Bowl patch on a Penn State jersey (the Granddaddy of the All will be played on Monday, Jan 2 — the Rose has never been played on a Sunday — this year at 5:00 pm EST). … And here’s a look at that same patch on USC players (from Grant). … Today is the 5th anniversary of the last football game Jimmer Vilk watched: the 2011 Sun Bowl. “I lift my glass to those playing in (yester)day’s game.” … Your early morning game today is LSU vs. Louisville, and here’s what the Cardinals will be wearing in the Citrus Bowl. … Tennessee gave Nebraska a special Sam Foltz jersey ahead of Friday’s game. The orange jersey featured Foltz’s No. 27 and signatures from the Volunteers team. Tennessee wanted to help honor the late Nebraska punter. … Here’s a good look at the two different thicknesses of the Michigan “M” logo (from JP). … Here’s (presumably) a look at the gold jerseys Georgia Tech will wear in today’s TaxSlayer Bowl (from Douglas King).

Hockey News: Scott Darling Has Another Winter Classic Mask. This one pays tribute to his favorite Cubs player Anthony Rizzo. Further details are here (from Marc-Louis Paprzyca). … “Longtime reader from Sweden here, I felt I had to show you this,” writes Simon Magnusson. “DjurgÃ¥rden, the most storied hockeyteam in Sweden played in these beautiful throwbacks for (Thursday) night’s SHL-game to celebrate the clubs 125 year anniversary. They are based of the uniforms used in the 1962 season when they won the Swedish national championship. The uni’s used (Thursday) night. The old uni’s. As you can see it’s a fairly accurate throwback and it’s also without advertising, something that’s unusual in swedish sports. I might be biased as I’m a huge fan of the team but I really liked the uni’s.”

NBA/College/High School/Hoops News: The Philadelphia 76ers development team, the Sevens, will wear the logo of esports team team-dignitas, which they acquired, on its jerseys (from Omar Jalife). … On Thursday night, the 28-year-old DeAndre Jordan — accompanied by Los Angeles Clippers teammates as well as friends and family — piled into a room at Christian Life Academy’s new campus in Kingwood to have his No. 12 jersey retired. … In 108 years of basketball, Auburn had never worn “Tigers” on a uniform. Until Thursday night (from Clint Richardson). … Lagerald Vick of Kansas hoops is officially a member of the short-shorts club, much to the approval of Jimmer Vilk (h/t Steve Carlson). … Ice Cube has created a 3-on-3 basketball league for retired NBA players (from Paul Lee). … Also from Paul, here’s the “Big 3” website & logo.

Soccer News: Over in the EPL, in what has been one of the worst kept secrets in sports, it appears Tottenham might have finally completed a huge new kit manufacturing deal with Nike (from John Muir).

Grab Bag: If you hadn’t heard, women’s tennis star Serena Williams recently became engaged in Rome to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. “Serena Williams engagement announcement cartoon of course includes Nike logo,” says David Leiphart. “This dumb engagement announcement of course included the Nike and Reddit logos on the (?) characters.”

line of christmas trees

And that’s it for today. Big thanks, again, to Jimmer Vilk for his second year of wonderful uni-generosity. Please (even if you don’t want to participate in the Vilkmas Raffle) give him props down below in the comments.

Hope everyone had a safe, healthy & happy holiday (whatever it is you celebrate or don’t celebrate) and I for one can’t wait to put a cap on 2016.

That’s all for me for this year! Everyone stay safe tonight, and I’ll catch you next year, but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Amen to Good Riddance 2016”“what a dumpster fire this past year was.”

— Ted Mark

line of christmas trees

Comments (25)

    Nice giveaways from Jimmer Vilk (like that Cavs ring too!).
    Happy New Year to Phil, Paul & the entire Uni Watch community.

    ~ Bruce

    Thanks for the raffle jim. And thanks to Paul and Phil for the great site thats pops up for me each morning.

    All 4 teams mentioned in the color rash font change improved their look. Even with the same color pants. If I were grading football uniforms, a non block font gets you a zero. Except the Bears. The Steelers could go from a zero to a 10 so easily. I don’t get it. Why would you purposely want to look bad?

    Because all my sports following life, they have used those numbers.40 some odd years. Something about them works. They don’t change uniforms every 5 years either. They should be rewarded for that.

    Pittsburgh is probably the best of the asinine fonts. Solid color. No drop shadows.But knowing what they had, it’s a severe detriment.

    Teams without block font should have to start every offensive drive 1st and 25. 15 yards for stupidity.

    According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the Bears have worn their distinctive number font since 1950. Sixty-six seasons.

    I think they had a season or 2 in the early 70s with the block numbers. I have a book with Dick Butkus in white tackling a Packer and it also shows them playing St Louis. Maybe it was pre season? But still. Thats a long time.

    I just looked myself. 71-75 it looks as though it was the white jersey only. Anyone know the story on that? Have we ever discussed it here? If so it had to be in my dark period of 2012-2014.

    The Djurgarden throwback looks black to me while the team photo clearly shows them in Mighty Ducks green. Monitor or lighting issues or did they go with a really dark shade of green? The sunbursts on the sleeves also appear more pronounced than the elbow stripes on the originals. Cool jerseys nonetheless.

    The Djurgården throwbacks are blue, but definitely a shade darker the the original blue jerseys.
    I also think the picture from the sixties is a bit of colorwise given how dark the red looks and the fact that the blue almost looks green.

    Here is a better picture of the throwbacks:


    -Djurgarden wear blue, red and yellow. The uniform from Thursday is navy blue. It may be possible that they wore a lighter shade of blue with the originals? Contributor Simon may be able to shed some light on that.

    -Thanks for the generous donations Jim. I do think that is a really cool looking Cavs toque (us Canadians always get confused by the term winter hat):).

    -Happy New Year to Paul, Phil and to all the readers!

    The four teams that went with different numbering styles for Color Rash did so as a way of throwing back to design elements of older uniforms (also why the Patriots had the shoulder loops, a nod to their Pat the Patriot uniforms). For the Saints it worked because the uniform had throwback elements to it but for the Bengals it was less obvious. I’m not as sold on that being a trend towards more teams going with block numbering.

    Thanks for the raffle, Jimmer, and Happy New Year to Paul, Phil and everyone who contributes to this great site.

    You missed a number font change. The Falcons’ fauxbacks use a block font, while their regulars are sort of italicized.

    Something about the Raiders in Color Rash that I noticed: yes the silver numbers have a black base that is even on the standard black jerseys, but the NOB font went out of its way to go from the standard font to the Jets’ font, which has many more serifs. I’m not aware of this being a throwback move (the Giants, yes absolutely), and sure it looks good, but it’s such a small move so it surprised me.

    PS Thank you Mr. Vilk for your contributions. I personally will not participate (all that stuff deserves a better home than mine), but this helps validate y’all as one of my favorite internet communities. Happy and Healthy to all!

    Anyone else notice that the Alabama center doesn’t have a chromeflex Nike swoosh on his jersey? Maybe it got ripped off in the first quarter?

    Block numbers not only look much better, but they are also much easier to read from a distance. As the P.A announcer for my sons’ high school baseball and football teams, I hate it when we play a team using non-block font numbers on their jerseys (or single color numbers on digi-camo jerseys, but that’s another story). They may look good up close but from a distance, they can sometimes pose problems for announcers, even at the pro level. I remember when the Dolphins unveiled their new unis back in 1997, it was sometimes difficult for the TV announcers to distinguish between a 3, 6, 8, and 9 on their white jerseys due to the thick, navy drop shadow off of the aqua numbers.

    Thank you Jim for the raffle and thank you Phil, Paul and the Uni Watch crew for an amazing website! Happy New Year everyone!

Comments are closed.