Reader Debbie Woodell works on the sports copy desk at The Philadelphia Daily News. While recently researching something in the paper’s archives, she came across an old piece by sports columnist Stan Hochman. Originally published on April 25, 1967, it was inspired by the controversy that had erupted that spring over Orioles slugger Frank Robinson’s stirrups. With Robinson embroiled in a fight with American League higher-ups over his stirrup height, Hochman decided to take a ruler into the Phillies’ clubhouse and see how high the various Phils players were wearing their stirrups.
The result was pure gold, with lots of great quotes, quips, and observations (along with the revelation that Robinson sometimes wore three pairs of sweat socks). I’m simply going to present it as today’s lede, because it deserves to stand on its own. Enjoy.
Good stuff, right? Too bad they didn’t have a photo of Hochman holding a ruler up to a player’s shin.
Hochman, who died in 2015, was a pro’s pro. He wrote for the News for 55 years and was also a frequent presence on Philly-area TV and radio. Here are some good photos of him that seem appropriate for Uni Watch:
(Big thanks to Debbie Woodell for sharing this great early example of uni-watching.)
Click to enlarge
By Brinke Guthrie
Had one of these! For the Reds, not the Cubs, but still. They were made by Westclox, and I woulda had mine in 1972 or so. They were called “Team-Mates,” and they looked and worked great. Don’t usually see ’em on eBay. Here’s a Cardinals model that sold on Etsy.
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Speaking of keeping time, here’s a 1970s Milwaukee Brewers pocket watch also made by Westclox.
• Retro NFL art just doesn’t come any better than this 1970 Miami Dolphins poster.
• Never seen this before — an “NFL Booster Pack” on a huge NFL shield cardboard display backing. This is a Bengals edition, and while the bobble is common, the set itself is quite unique. It originally came with the bobble, the mini-helmet sharpener, a mini-football, and team pennant. All but the pennant are still present.
• Maybe one day Montreal will have another team, they’ll name ’em the Expos, and we can revel in their retro glory. Meanwhile, check out this 1980s Expos Starter jacket. A timeless logo, right up there with the Atlanta Flames, Hartford Whalers, and the Kentucky Colonels.
• Check out the depiction of Candlestick Park on this 1960s San Francisco Giants pennant.
• Gresh didn’t get the angle of the logo quite right on this Buffalo Bills helmet plaque, did they?
• Here’s a 1970s Stahl-Urban Dallas Cowboys vest with the rare helmet-facing-left design.
• Pretty basic-looking Bears helmet logo on this 1970s serving tray made by Couroc.
• Astros fans will hit cleanup (geddit?) with this 1970s Astros Soapy Slider.
• Cool Chiquita Banana-yellow foam football (think Nerf) from 1971!
• Primo retro ABA logos to be found on this vintage serving tray.
• Here’s a terrific-looking 1960s MLB coin bank from the Louisville Slugger folks.
That’s it for this week. Collector’s Corner will be taking next week off, but we’ll be back here on March 14. See you then.
T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it last week, our latest T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom, is now available. Check it out (click to enlarge):
The design takes inspiration from the old Abe Stark sign at Ebbets Field, which read, “Hit Sign, Win Suit.” Please note that we’re using the shirt fabric color to fill in the dark portions of the design — the outfielder’s cap, sleeves, stirrups, and shoes, and the dark parts of the sign behind him. We think it looks best on Teespring’s dark navy shirt, which is the version shown above. But you can also order the shirt in black (yes, go ahead and make all your BFBS jokes), in which case the design will look like this:
There’s also an American Apparel short-sleeved version and a long-sleeved version, both of which come in a slightly lighter shade of navy. You’ll be able to see all of this on the ordering page. Just make sure you choose the shirt and color you like best.
The shirt is available here through next Friday, March 3. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.
Membership update: A few new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Varun Sarja’s Kansas Jayhaws card, shown at right (which you can click to enlarge). The “Pay Heed” tab at the top is a nice touch, no?
New advertiser shout-out: As you may have noticed in the right-hand sidebar, the site has a new advertiser: the Rafter Club, which sells fine Italian-made dress shoes based on the design of basketball sneakers — a really interesting combination. Their philosophy is spelled out here, and you can see their product line (only two shoe designs for now, but more to come) here.
The shoes are currently available for preorder and will start shipping this summer. But if you order now, you can get 20% off by using the discount code “uniwatch” at checkout.
I hope you’ll consider the Rafter Club for your footwear needs, and that you’ll continue to consider supporting all of our advertisers. Thanks.
By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: The Red Sox and Cardinals went red-vs.-red yesterday (from Tim Britton). … The Reading Fightin Phils are holding a jersey design contest for local high schoolers (from Caleb Mezzy). … Due to limited space, Andrew Miller’s glove for the World Baseball Classic has a 30-star American flag on it (from James Gilbert). … Morehead State has some sharp powder blue jerseys (from an unnamed reader). … North Georgia softball is wearing Hank Aaron-era Braves-inspired uniforms this week. Here’s a clear shot of the jersey and cap. … New gold jerseys for Central Michigan softball (from Christian Taylor). … In 1965, Ray Oyler of the Tigers wore a Little League helmet, with earflaps and a chinstrap, at Spring Training (from @BSmile). … Here’s Goose Tatum and Satchel Paige in their Harlem Stars uniforms in 1962 (from @BSmile). … Tiger Woods wore an Indians cap when he was an up-and-coming golfer. That comes from this month’s issue of Fore magazine (from Andy Garms).
NFL News: Free agent coach Rex Ryan wore a Chargers shirt to the Daytona 500 this past weekend. The theory is that Ryan got the shirt from new Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, who worked under Ryan in both New York and Buffalo. … Speaking of Ryan, Rex Henry found this Jets-themed shirt at Goodwill. The slogan on the back is a reference to something Ryan said while addressing his team during an episode of Hard Knocks.
Hockey News: The USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s U18 team will wear excellent 1976 Canada Cup throwback uniforms this weekend (from Phil and several readers). … Goalie Ben Bishop was traded to the Kings on Sunday. He was still wearing his Lightning mask yesterday (from @GKG_77). … The Coyotes’ kachina jerseys are among the 10 worst uniforms in Arizona professional and college sports history (from Phil). … This NAHL team has some poorly designed numerals. That “1” can be mistaken for a “7” (from Shane Hartline). … The Team Michiana 16U team in Northern Indiana has a Whalers-esque logo and color scheme (from Patrick Thomas).
NBA News: The Pistons retired Richard Hamilton’s No. 32 on Sunday. The blocky numerals on the number retirement banner don’t match the number font the Pistons wore during Hamilton’s tenure. But, the banner does resemble the throwbacks that the Pistons wore in 2008 (from several readers). … A graphic designer imagined NBA teams as soccer clubs. The corporate ads are lame but at least there are relevant tie-ins (from Ryan Keberly).
Soccer News: The red-and-white striped “Waldo” jerseys could be the signature look of the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams (from Jason Hicks). … This was in the NBA section but we’ll put it here too: A graphic designer imagined NBA teams as soccer clubs (from Ryan Keberly). … Looks like Torbay Police FC re-purposed Georgia Tech’s yellow jacket logo (from @the_boot_room).
Grab Bag: This video explains why cartoon characters wear gloves. … Here’s a good collection of transit maps from across the world (from Jeff Ash). … A North Carolina bill would let parents put concussed kids back into games, instead of requiring medical clearance (from James Gilbert). … Bunch of auto racing items from David Firestone: New fire suit for Cruz Pedregon. … New paint scheme for Jack Beckman. … Matt Hagan’s helmet features a memorial to his deceased brother.
Great Escape, Part 1: Twenty-one years ago today (well, it was actually Feb. 29, but that date doesn’t exist this year), I walked out of my office at Billboard Books for the final time and began life as a full-time freelance writer. I’d been freelancing on the side for the previous two and a half years and had decided it was time to take the plunge. Giving up a secure job was a bit scary, but I had to at least give it a try, because I wasn’t happy with my life or career up to that point and knew I needed to make changes or else I wouldn’t be able to keep facing myself in the mirror each morning.
I haven’t had a regular job since then. (Also haven’t had employer-provided health insurance or most other job-related perks, but of course I knew what I was getting into in that regard.) As I like to remind people each year on this date — and also remind myself — the moral of the story is this: If you want to change your life or reinvent yourself, don’t just sit around fantasizing about it. Make it happen. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering about what might have been.
When I’ve run this item in past years, some of you have gotten in touch with me and said something like, “That’s really inspiring. I’d like to reinvent myself too, but where do I start?” The biggest thing, I’d say, is to have a sense of direction. It’s one thing to know that you want to make changes to your life; it’s another to know what you want those changes to be. In my case, I had come to realize that I needed to be a writer. I wasn’t sure I could be successful at it, but I at least needed to try. Twenty-one years later, I’m still trying.
Of course, maybe you already like your life just fine the way it is, in which case more power to ya.
Great Escape, Part 2: I’m about to head off on a little vacation. I’ll be traveling in the Deep South (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) from tomorrow through next Tuesday. The site will still be running while I’m away. I’ll post tomorrow’s content, as usual, and then Mike, Alex, and Phil will handle things while I’m away. Treat them nice — thanks.