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Signature Style: A Close Look at the Rusty Staub Memorial Patch

As Phil reported in yesterday’s Ticker, the Mets have added a memorial patch for Rusty Staub (shown at right; click to enlarge). Interestingly, instead of going with the more typical approach of using Staub’s uni number or initials, they used his signature. It’s nice that they rendered it in orange, which is both a Mets color and a Rusty color, matching his hair and his Le Grand Orange nickname.

Off the top of my head, I can think of only three other memorial patches that have featured a person’s signature or autograph:

• The Twins wore an “Eloise” patch for team owner Carl Pohlad’s wife, Eloise Pohlad, in 2004.

• Five years later, when Carl Pohlad himself died, the Twins wore a “Carl” patch.

• In 2013, following Stan Musial’s death, the Cardinals wore a patch with his number and signature.

(Update: Reader/commenter JediJeff points out that the White Sox wore a memorial patch with Nellie Fox’s signature in 1997.)

But here’s the thing: The signatures on the two Twins patches were clearly legible even from a distance, and the Musial signature is legible if you take a reasonably close look. But the Mets’ new Staub patch, even if you stare at it up close, just looks like a random squiggle. And on TV this past weekend, it was just a blur.

One reason the patch looks so random is that is that the “t” in “Rusty” isn’t crossed. And the reason for that is that Staub had an unusual signature. Here, take a look:

There are lots of additional examples here, and almost all of them show the same thing: After finishing his script “Staub,” Staub would loop around and cross the two “t”s in his first and last names.(while inadvertently crossing the capital “S” as well, which looked a bit awkward). It wasn’t the world’s most dynamic-looking autograph, but it was a style he apparently liked and stuck with for many years.

But because the Mets only used Staub’s first name on their patch, they were left with an uncrossed “t.” That’s problematic on two levels: It makes the patch even harder to decipher, and it’s not true to Staub’s actual signature.

It’s no fun to critique a memorial patch. And I don’t mean to pick on the Mets, who I’m sure thought that using Staub’s signature would make the patch feel like more of a personal, intimate gesture, especially when compared to the boilerplate number or initials treatment that so many teams use. And they’re right about that, at least in terms of the concept. But in terms of execution, there’s no getting around it: It’s not a successful design.

(My thanks to longtime reader/pal Tyler Kepner for pointing out how the patch differs from Staub’s signature.)

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April Fool’s recap: Yesterday was April 1, so of course the uni-verse was awash with pranks (although not as many as usual, I guess because the date fell on a Sunday and a holiday). For example:

• Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel suggested that the team’s upcoming uni tweak would be, well, a lot more than a tweak:

(And no, I don’t know what happened to sneak peek No. 1 — no sign of it on his Twitter feed.)

• said that MLB teams would be wearing pastel-colored uniforms for Easter. Chris went the extra mile with this one, coming up with an Easter-themed MLB logo that would supposedly be appearing on the jerseys:

• The Nashville Predators said that the Tennessee Titans’ upcoming uni redesign would be mono-yellow, so the two teams would match:

• The Jaguars posted a tweet designed to look like they’d inadvertently leaked their upcoming uni redesign:

• SB Nation’s Browns blog said that the team would be phasing out Brownie the Elf, “due to how [Brownie] is perceived by some organizations.”

I’m sure there were other uni-related pranks floating around out there. If so, feel free to post them in today’s comments.

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NCAA Numbers Game
By Jamie Rathjen

This 1955 photo of Bill Russell wearing a satin warm-up suit, which appeared in Saturday’s Ticker, prompted a follow-up question from reader Malcolm Spicer, who noticed that Russell was wearing No. 6 on his hip:

Of course, 6 is the number Bill wore in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, but I’ve always assumed that he didn’t wear No. 6 at U. San Francisco because college ball, or at least the NCAA, only allows the numerals 0 through 5. Apparently, that wasn’t the case in 1955. When did the NCAA impose that rule?

Russell did indeed wear No. 6 in college. So when did the NCAA introduce the 0-5 numbering system? Sources that mention the subject treat it as if it has existed since time immemorial, but I did find a 1957 Final Four program where most, but not all, of the players fit the 0-5 system. So perhaps it was introduced around Russell’s time, but remaining players were grandfathered in. Anyone know more?

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Baseball stirrups: Is there anything they can’t do? Got a note the other day from longtime reader/contributor Tris Wykes, as follows: “That sound you heard this afternoon was my exclamation upon paging through the 1978 Dartmouth yearbook in the sports information office. Behold, a fencer wearing what appear to be baseball stirrups!” Indeed — and Northwestern-striped, to boot. That other fencer was clearly outclassed, at least in the hosiery department.

Stirrups used to be routinely worn by football players (albeit with crew socks covering up the cutouts) and basketball players (also usually with crew socks over the cutouts, but sometimes without crew socks). Now it turns out they’ve also been worn in fencing!

When you consider that stirrups were dreamed up as the MacGyver-ish solution to a very specific problem (i.e., the need for an extra layer of hosiery due to ballplayers getting spiked in the shin and then having their wounds get infected due to stocking dyes not being colorfast), it’s pretty amazing how wide their reach has turned out to be. Anyone know what other sports they’ve been used for?

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Flower power: It’s a longstanding Opening Day tradition that the Mets’ manager receives a horseshoe-shaped wreath of flowers, usually from members of the Shea family, as a gesture of good luck. I’m trying to collect photos of this ritual from as many seasons as possible. At present I have 1962, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1972, 1978, 2008, 2011 (shown above), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018. If anyone out there has photos from other years — personal photos, photos from old yearbooks, screen shots from home movie footage, whatever — please get in touch. Thanks.

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Print update: Todd Radom and I met up at a Brooklyn diner on Friday to sign the limited-edition prints that we’re selling. The photo above shows me adding my signature to print No. 1, which Todd had already signed.

Here’s how it looked after I’d added my John Hancock:

Todd will begin shipping these out later this week. If you want to buy one, they’re available here. We’ve already sold through more than 40% of the print run — once they’re gone, they’re gone, so move fast.

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Culinary Corner: Here in NYC, where there are lots of Jews, it’s common for supermarkets to offer a special on Passover matzos. At my local supermarket, the deal is usually “Get the five-pack of matzos for free if you spend a certain amount.” Cool — but what the fuck am I gonna do with five boxes of matzos?

Enter the Tugboat Captain, who said, “I’ll use them to make toffee.” And she did! Yesterday afternoon, when we were supposed to be planning a spring vacation, she disappeared into the kitchen and whipped up something amazing. Here’s how she did it:

1. She covered a baking sheet with foil and parchment paper and then laid out a bunch of matzo as a base (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

2. She made some caramel from butter and brown sugar, spread it over the matzo, and then put the caramel-clad matzo in the oven for a bit:

3. She sprinkled some chocolate chips over the caramel-clad matzo. After a couple of minutes, the hot caramel had softened the chips enough for her to spread the chips into a layer of chocolate:

4. She chopped some almonds, sprinkled them over the chocolate, and then pressed them into the chocolate so they’d be firmly embedded:

5. She put the pan in the fridge to firm up. Then she took it out and cut it into squares. Et voilà.

The resulting treat is a lot like a Heath bar, only better. Am I a lucky guy or what?

(Footnote: I still have about 4.7 boxes of matzos left. But I’m sure we’ll find a way to go through them.)

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: According to Indians beat reporter Paul Hoynes, the team won’t wear Chief Wahoo on any future throwbacks that may have otherwise featured the logo, or else will simply avoid Wahoo-era throwbacks altogether. Here’s the key passage (from multiple readers). … There was a blue-vs.-blue matchup in Japan’s Pacific League between the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Saitama Seibu Lions (from @GraveyardBall). … The Rays wore their throwback batting helmets with blue alternates (from @r_p_w81). … Athletics alumni appearing in the team’s 50th-anniversary-in-Oakland celebration wore the Kelly green Friday alternates, but with gold (not white) numbers and NOBs (from David Fisher). Oakland has also opened the season wearing four different jerseys in its first four games: white, Kelly green, yellow, and dark green (from Richard Paloma). … A nursing home in the Bronx installed a kiosk that smells like Yankee Stadium (NYT article from Tom Turner). … The Marlins will not be wearing their orange jerseys this season (from Louis M).

NFL News: In addition to his April Fool’s shenanigans, Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel confirmed that the team’s new uniforms will be unveiled on April 19. That’s the same date as the Jags unveiling, so that’ll be a busy day (from @frankie__doodle).

Hockey News: Canadiens winger Logan Shaw, a mid-season waiver pickup, has a standard NOB on his home jersey but goes FIOB on his road whites. “Can’t think of any other player with separate treatments,” says Mike Engle “For the record, teammate Andrew Shaw (no relation, and has been on the Habs longer) has a standard NOB.”

Soccer News: New second kit for NWSL team Sky Blue FC, of Piscataway, N.J. … Both the Chicago Red Stars and Sporting Kansas City changed to second-choice black kits at home. SKC have changed for all three home games so far. … Two blue-vs.-blue matchups: Brighton and Hove Albion/Tottenham Hotspur in the English women’s second tier and Dundee/Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premiership. … Over the international break, Scotland’s starting lineup against Costa Rica featured five McNOBs, with four more on the bench. The team record appears to be eight starting at once. … Now for USL time with three items from Josh Hinton: the entire supporters’ section at Louisville City’s game Saturday got a police citation and possible ejection because some fans were wearing masks. Apparently the wearing of masks in public places is illegal in Jefferson County, Ky. … Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake’s reserve team, are wearing a memorial sleeve patch for Irish midfielder Liam Miller, who was a former assistant coach with the team. … A banner advocating for promotion and relegation between the tiers of American soccer showed up at the Richmond Kickers’ game March 24. Ironically, Josh says, the Kickers would have been strong candidates for relegation, if such a thing existed, from the USL last season.

Grab Bag: The ball to be used in the field hockey competitions at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, was revealed in a video showing how it’s made. The competitions, as with the Games themselves, start Thursday.

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I have a meeting this morning, so I’ll be off the grid from 9:45am until 1:30pm-ish. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Yes. Thanks. — Paul

Comments (66)

    Tom Garfinkel’s first “sneak peek” has apparently been taken down. It was basically just tight shot of the team nameplate and NFL shield from a jersey…seemed to hint at more orange. Here’s a link to an article about it….


    “like a Heath bar, only better”

    If you’ve got any of this left come May, can you bring it with you to Syracuse?

    Whoa! Signing with a pencil?
    Maybe it’s a “military thing” with me, but I thought providing a signature with anything non-permanent was a social faux-pas. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids.

    While it certainly wasn’t worn right after he passed, the White Sox had a memorial patch on their uniforms in 1997 for Nellie Fox which had his number and signature:


    Here it is on the field of play:


    The matzo toffee idea is brilliant.
    As far as college numbers go, it isn’t clear when it was standardized. But NC State has honored jersey numbers in the 70s and 80s, and according to their biographies, Lou Pucillo wore #78 through 1959. I always wondered why they had so many unusual numbers; the only honored jersey we had at UNC that did not fit the 0-5 convention was Jim Jordan’s #8, and he played in the 1940s.

    So every college player wears some combination of numbers from 0-5? I’ve been following for years and never noticed that.

    The bigger question is …why? What’s the big deal?

    The NBA uses their fingers as well. Difference is the NCAA rules allows the use of just one hand instead of two hands per digit. This is also a high school level rule. Well at least when I played high school basketball.

    Kind of funny how Oakland’s green and gold have gone through a few different iterations, and have had different names (at least, according to ColorWerx).

    When Charlie O. Finley first changed the A’s colors to green and gold in Kansas City, the colors were listed as “Kelly Green, Tulane Gold, and Wedding Gown White”. When the team moved to Oakland, the colors were renamed “Pacific Coast Green, Fort Knox Gold, and Polar Bear White”. The gold was slightly tweaked, but the green and white remained the same.

    Then, when the team moved past the Finley era in 1982 and darkened the green, they just called the colors “Forest Green, Gold, and White”. The gold and white remained the same.

    Finally, you have the modern era, from 1993 to present, with darker shades of green and gold, but they’re just “Green, Gold, and White”. The Kelly Green alternate, meanwhile, is darker than the old Finley-era green, but still lighter than the Forest Green of the 80s.

    No idea, but that’s how ColorWerx has the colors listed for the Kansas City Athletics during that time.

    ColorWerx doesn’t list athletic colors for Tulane from before 1972, just “official colors” of Olive Green and Columbia Blue until 1971.

    Wikipedia uses “Fort Knox Gold” for the colors in KC under Finley’s entry there.

    So, yeah, all sorts of questions.

    Tulane fan and New Orleans Lifer here. Tulane University has NEVER worn “gold” or Yellow of any kind. Never once referenced or mentioned in 50 years of following Tulane, particularly in the 60s-80s when we had two daily newspapers that constantly refered to school history and how LSU and Tulane both began to wear their respective colors when purchasing Mardi Gras colored ribbons to wear in their original early athletic contests (Mardi Gras colors are Purple, Green and Gold – LSU managers chose Purple and Gold, Tulane chose Green). Maybe the term “Tulane Gold” refers to the Tulane Shirt Company, a menswear company that for many decades manufactured mens’ shirts.
    Interesting. Wow.
    Never once saw or heard the term “Tulane Gold” anywhere, ever.

    My recollection is that the A’s broadcasters in at least the early ‘70’s referred to the colors as Kelly Green, Fort Knox Gold and Wedding Gown White. The same with their corporate sisters the California Golden Seals.

    Usually not a big fan of alliteration but I’m thinking Tugboat Toffee is a marketable product. You could use the other 4.7 pounds of matzo to make more and sell it…proceeds go towards the upkeep of Uni Watch.

    Fun idea, but problematic on many levels (not the least of which is that the Captain already does more than anyone else alive to support Uni Watch, so I don’t want to make more kitchen work for her).

    Also, selling food prepared in a non-city-approved kitchen is a quick way to get slapped with a health code fine.

    In fact you should get a food truck. Sell some Derby Pie as well, along with your other creations.

    Re college basketball uniform numbers, paraphrasing “nobody knows when they stopped using numbers higher than 5”: link

    “According to Indians beat reporter Paul Hoynes, the team won’t wear Chief Wahoo on any future throwbacks that may have otherwise featured the logo” or else will simply avoid Wahoo-era throwbacks altogether.”

    Will the reporters of Uni-Watch, who are often so critical of inaccurate throwbacks, applaud this move? Or will they simply, quietly, let it pass since they do not approve of Wahoo?

    “or else will simply avoid Wahoo-era throwbacks altogether.”

    And does this mean any team that wants to wear a throwback from 1947 to 2018 when they play the Indians will be forced to postpone their celebration, else have the home team in a throwback and Cleveland in a current uniform?

    Phil is already on record as wanting any throwbacks to be Wahoo-accurate:

    I would prefer that they simply not wear any throwbacks from the Wahoo era.

    As I posted in yesterday’s commentary, the Indians uniforms worn in Seattle over the weekend (with Chief Wahoo on the shoulder and solid caps with Chief Wahoo on them) were so blue they appeared black on TV. Looking at a couple of photos, however, it does look to be blue.

    My wife made the same matzoh crack (minus the nuts), delicious. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe.

    Ha, my wife made it last week with that exact same Smitten Kitchen recipe. It was the hit of the seder.

    Just a small fix. It’s “Le Grand Orange” with no “e” at the end of “Grand”

    I don’t know what the problem is, but my computer won’t load any of the images hosted at

    I’m curious if it’s a dns issue but I don’t have an easy way to test that at the moment.

    Please post the recipe for the toffee. Us Jews are always looking for new Passover dessert recipes and the toffee looks amazing!

    Yes, but as a Jew myself there are a couple of red flags in his recipe. I.e. depending on your custom, the nuts that are used on top may or may not be Kosher for Passover.

    The “Rusty” patch is fine …. your review is unnecessary and a clear over reaction. I give the Mets credit for remembering him is a unique way and not the cookie-cutter way most do by putting a number patch on their uniform sleeve. (by the way, Rusty wore both “4” and “10” as a Met so would you have criticized them for using one over the other?) Frankly, I find your review more of a “let me find something to complain about” piece ….

    Actually, Ron, if you read last Friday’s piece, I said the Mets made the right call in putting “10” (rather than “4”) behind the mound on Opening Day.

    No, I wasn’t looking for something to complain about. I was giving my honest assessment of what I feel is a sincerely attempted but poorly executed piece of design. That’s all.

    If you think it’s OK for the patch to have a design that is (a) illegible and (b) not an accurate representation of Staub’s signature, I’d welcome your thoughts on those two points.

    For other signatures on memorial patches, check out the Ottawa Senators for Roger Neilson.

    Does that presence of that bottle of ketchup near Paul’s stack of lily-white limited edition prints make anyone else nervous? :)

    I think the prints with ketchup on them are REAL LIMITED EDITION.

    As for Uni-Foodie, I think a Uni Watch Meat truck would sell MILLIONS

    My understanding of the amateur basketball rule was that players could wear 0-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, and 50-55. But I guess that’s not true, at least for the NCAA. I have a distinct memory of learning somewhere that refs would face one of their palms inward or outward to distinguish between, say, 24 and 6. Anyone else remember learning this?

    I know from watching Deadliest Catch that crabbers use that system to communicate the crab count to the captain on the bridge.

    I distinctly remember the 1-5, 10-15, etc. rule. What I don’t understand is why we couldn’t wear zero or double-zero.

    We also had the even numbers at home, odd on the road thing happening.

    Auburn Softball played a little bit of an April Fool’s joke by wearing mismatched socks in their game against Ole Miss. Joke was on Auburn though, as they lost 3-2 in extras.


    Am I wrong for kind of liking that Jags’ April Fools design?

    The gold-gradient contrasts surprisingly well with the teal jersey and a gold flecked black helmet might look good.

    I, like many others, want the black helmet/teal jersey/white pants. I am now really worried we will not be getting that because it is the look on the April Fool’s image.

    My bad…. The Coopers (supporters group) weren’t all kicked out, they were all given a citation and a select few were kicked out. Sorry, there are several conflicting stories on this.

    You’re good, that’s what I got out of what you said. I attempted to phrase it to say that everyone got a citation but some people got ejected.

    Two things:
    There was a fansided April fools article that the Ducks would be changing back to ‘Mighty’, and it was really funny. Here is the link:


    You forgot the NBA team logo standardization prank from That one was great.

    Re: Matzo:
    There are multitudes of recipes one can make with matzo, like matzo lasagnas, matzo pizza, and matzo Brie, (which is basically a cinnamon cake with matzo as the base) and many others. But as a warning, before you go crazy with the matzo recipes, beware of it’s effects on your stomach.

    NCAA numbering system:

    So yesterday I found a breakdown of which players have worn what number at Virginia since 1960, and they all fit the 0-5 system. Obviously it’s only one team, but that again seems to point at some late-’50s/1960 date for the introduction of the system.


    Not a memorial patch, but Jackie Robinson’s signature is on the four versions of the patch MLB teams wore in 1997 to recognize the 50th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers (on 4/5/47).

    Re: the GREAT 1957 Final Four program – three of the teams have numbers using 0-5 (Kansas has a 27 or 29) but the University of San Francisco had quite a few above five: 6, 8, 16, 17, and 18. Maybe the 0-5 rule came into effect by conferences. I just read the Wikipedia article on USF and they’re a Jesuit operation – not part of the CA state university system. Maybe as a private school they didn’t have to conform to the 0-5 rule? It’s a stretch, I know.

    Egad, PLEASE don’t give Nike, Adidas and UA any ideas on uniform design. Next thing you know, the Yankees will be in grey and blue.

    I know about technigraph helmet plaques, but in this estate sale listing they have “Logopic” plaques that I’ve never heard of. They look like framed embroidery.




    Duke has a wonderful database of Duke basketball stats. link

    Some quick research indicates that numbers higher than 55 were used from the 1938-39 season through the 1945-46 season. Numbers ending in 6, 7, 8, or 9 were used from the 1936-37 season until the 1950-51 season. The database is arranged to make it look like some numbers were used by multiple players the same season. The early 1950s would be the best guess for the 0-5 system.

    Per Duke the following “non-standard” numbers were used:

    6 — Don Farinella 1949
    8 — George Godfrey 1948-49
    9 — Tommy Hughes 1948-50
    16 — Dick Gordon 1946-49
    17 — Red Kuplan 1950-51
    18 — Carl Sapp 1947-49
    26 — Ray Campbell 1949
    27 — Dayton Allen 1950-51
    46 — Stoop Minor 1937-40
    47 — Herbert Cheek 1935-37; Lang Hobgood 1938-40
    48 — Joe Riley 1935-37; Abe Hendrickson 1938; Sidney Larkin 1943-44; Bill McCahan 1940-42; Dick Van Schoik 1945
    49 — John Hoffman (1935-38); Tom Connelly 1939-41; Lou Dubois 1940; Bill Bailey 1940-44; Garfield Loftis (1942-47); John Lentz (1945)
    56 — Robert Metzler 1943-44; Cliff Lewis 1945
    58 — Bill Wright 1944; Henry Hyde 1944; Harry Bell 1945; John Steele 1945
    60 — Ray Brown 1940-41; Ted Villanueva 1945
    61 — Tom Cowdrick 1939-41; Samuel Gantt 1943-44; Warren Nordin 1945
    62 — John Seward 1942-47; Howard Hartley 1944
    63 — Alex Miller 1942-43; Pat Curry 1944
    64 — Kelly Mote 1944; Joe Brand 1945-46
    65 — Gordon Carver 1943-45
    66 — Bob Roellke 1945-46
    67 — George Balitsaris 1944

    RE: NCAA basketball uni numbers.
    I emailed Paul some screenshots a couple of months ago after watching a documentary about the 1951 CCNY point shaving scandal because I spotted some players wearing weirdly high numbers. Happy to pass along screenshots again. The specific numbers I remember are 84, 78, 77, 79. Seemed kinda strange to me. Full video here for those who are interested: link

    I have a feeling we will end up liking the jags April fools unis better than the ones they trot out on April 19th…

    What does Yankee Stadium smell like and which version?

    For me, the 76(?)-13(?) stadium smelled like stale beer, stale piss and weed.

    Re: the toffee. My wife makes it every year and uses either crushed almonds or more often walnuts along with KfP Chocolate so that it is KfP. We have always referred to it as chocolate matzah since that’s what it was called in the cookbook she first saw it. I wholeheartedly recommend it – it makes Pesach much tastier.

    The Louisville police have backed off. They announced that the no adult mask in public rule will not be enforced against LCFC fans in the stands at games or on the street marching toward the stadium. Sanity has prevailed for once.

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