Click to enlarge
A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen Piscotty, died of ALS on Sunday night. It was the second time in less than two weeks that an Oakland player’s mom had passed away. The first death came on April 23, when reliever Yusmeiro Petit lost his mother, Rubia.
The A’s memorialized both women on their caps last night, as all uniformed personnel had two sets of initials inscribed on their headwear — “GP” for Gretchen Piscotty and “RC” for Rubia. (I’ve been told that her surname was not the same as Petit’s, but I haven’t been able to determine what it was.)
Cap inscriptions seem to wax and wane over time. As I recall it, the trend first caught on in 1998 and ’99, just as I was starting to write about uniforms. In particular, many Venezuelan players wore “14,” the uniform number of their countryman Andrés Galarraga, who was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time, and many players began adding the uni numbers of teammates who were on the disabled list — a sort of “Get Well Soon” memo.
These inscriptions were usually tucked off to the side of the cap, in the spot where the edge of the brim meets the crown. But a few players preferred more conspicuous displays, most notably Astros pitcher Jose Lima, whose headwear stylings, like everything else about him, were a bit over the top:
The commissioner’s office eventually put a stop to that by banning the inscriptions (I think during the 1999 season, but don’t quote me on that), and caps remained inscription-free for a while, although every now and then you’d see someone going rogue by tributing or memorializing someone with a handwritten number or pair of initials. One such cap — the one that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura wore during Game Six of the 2014 World Series, with a big “RIP O.T #18” memorial for Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who had died a few days earlier — is now in the Hall of Fame. (It kills me that he left off the second period in Taveras’s initials.)
Most cap inscriptions have been done by individual players, not on a team-wide basis. And a team-wide dual memorial, like what the A’s did last night, may be unprecedented. Technically, it was a uniform violation, although the team-wide aspect probably works in their favor (if everyone’s wearing it, then it’s truly uniform), and I’m sure they’d get off with just a warning at most anyway. Who wants to penalize someone for saluting two dead moms?
Since the inscriptions are typically made with Sharpies, which are permanent markers, the initials won’t just fade away. It’ll be interesting to see how many A’s players are still wearing the same caps tonight.
(My thanks to Richard Paloma for bringing last night’s A’s caps to my attention.)
Click to enlarge
By Brinke Guthrie
Here’s one of those “Been doing this for years now and never seen it before” items: NFL Action Darts from Tudor Electric Football. Guess they were trying to do a little brand extension with this, eh? That’s most certainly Roger Staubach on there, and maybe Roy Gerela kicking the field goal. It looks like you got the NFL style on one side and a regular dart board design on the back. Earl Shores of The Unforgettable Buzz, have you seen this one before?
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Bullpen buggies were back in the news last week, as the Arizona Diamondbacks rolled theirs out for the first time. Here’s more on these retro baseball buggies, and you can get a 1970s New York Yankees one right here — MOC (or Mint on Card as they say). And hey, got my Giants one right here!
• Here’s a 1970s Lions helmet buggy, MOC!
• I would be willing to go out on a limb here and say this Steelers Super Bowl XIV shirt was not officially licensed. (Tip to bootleggers: Put the helmet logo on the other side next time.)
• One more for the Stillers: This nice-looking 1970s desk lamp.
• And one more desk lamp! This one has Kra-Lite stamped on the shell of the 1970s L.A. Rams.
• This early-1970s Boston Bruins patch doesn’t even say “Bruins” or “NHL.” Hmmmm.
• Check out this nice-looking 1970s St. Louis Football Cardinals blanket and helmet plaque set!
• If you want to sharpen your skates like the NHL pros, you’ll want this 1970s “hone stone.”
• Take a look at this 1970s K.C. Royals desk set, complete with a Louisville Slugger pen/pencil combo.
• And from reader Stephen in DC, here’s an old wire photo showing comedian Jerry Lewis in a Houston Astros uniform. Look at that star on his stirrup!
Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.
Click to enlarge
Brannock update (literally): It’s been a little over 15 years since I got my Brannock Device tattoo, and it had started to fade and blur a bit. So with my upcoming gig to throw out the first pitch at the Syracuse Chiefs’ Brannock Device Night fast approaching, I thought I’d better get the tat touched up a bit. You can see the before and after shots above.
Not bad, right? Maybe not perfect, but I like the addition of white and grey ink (the original was just black). Should be healed in time for the game.
Now I just have to make sure I throw something close to a strike.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Cards 2B Kolten Wong has been wearing a sleeve of the Kanaka Maoli Flag — sometimes called the “native Hawaiian flag” — in support of the people dealing with natural disasters in Hawaii. Wong grew up in Hawaii (from Mike Chamernik). … Yankees SS Didi Gregorious got kicked in the head while covering second base on Friday. He got the day off Saturday to recover and wore a helmet while on the bench (from Ryan Bower). … A’s LF Khris Davis wore two-in-ones on Friday. Those side stripes don’t extend down nearly far enough (from Mike Davie). … The Angels will give away Orange Coast College caps for OCC Night on May 12 (from Ignacio). … Right city, wrong team: D.J. Miller spotted this poster in San Diego’s little Italy that mistakenly used the Kansas City Chiefs logo instead of the Royals logo. … The Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s NPB will wear their their 1980s Hankyu Braves powder blue throwbacks again on May 27 at a game in Kyoto, where the Braves used to play some of their games (from @bigdaddy45_1969). … Former Cardinals IF Mike Ramsey wore his batting helmet backwards in his 1981 Topps card (from Arthur J. Savokinas). … Lots of good color shots of the 1969 Mets in this clip of Miracle In New York: The Story of the ‘69 Mets. The doc was originally released in 2009 (from Phil). … Speaking of the Big Apple in ’69, here’s a good look inside the Yankees locker room that season (from Ray Hund). … Also from Ray: Not sure if we’ve seen this before, but the Reds had an actual Big Red Machine! Looks like it was used to clean the Riverfront Astroturf in the 1970s. … The Minisink Valley High School (New York) softball team wears some nice white, striped stirrups over dark sanis (from Tom Faggione). … Hunter is a teacher at Sheffield Elementary in Virginia, and the school’s official T-shirt bears a striking resemblance to the Tigers’ old logo. … The Las Vegas 51s have unveiled a new logo to mark the final season of their stadium (from @MaxMetalFriar). … A 1963 Sandy Koufax jersey has set the record for the highest price ever paid for a piece of Dodgers memorabilia.
NFL News: Bears rookie LB Roquan Smith had his car broken into recently. Among the items stolen were his helmet and three jerseys he wore while at Georgia, as well as his Bears-issued iPad (from Brinke). … Nike has filed a trademark for this personal logo for Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: D.J. Miller spotted this poster in San Diego’s little Italy that mistakenly used the Chiefs logo instead of the Kansas City Royals logo. … Mike Barnes sent along an awesome photo of a Dolphins-themed carved coconut that he picked up in Miami in the 1970s. … Pro Football Journal pointed out some number size inconsistencies on some players on the Bears’ 1980 team.
College Football News: This ACC blog ran down a few ideas for potential throwback unis. Which ones did they miss? (From Phil.) … University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, an FCS program, is getting new FieldTurf with red camouflage end zones (from James Gilbert).
Hockey News: The Pacific Junior Hockey League’s newest team will be the White Rock Whalers, who will use a modified version of the old Hartford Whalers’ logo (from Brock Jackson). … Former Caps G Don Beaupre used to have a great mask featuring the U.S. capitol dome.
Basketball News: I think we’ve ticked this LeBron James Sprite commercial before, but it’s weird to see him wearing No. 12 in any uniform, let alone a baseball uniform (from Dylan Darling). … New logo for Maryland basketball’s 100th season (from Matt Shevin).
Soccer News: Lots of stuff from Josh Hinton: Bayern Munich’s home uniform for next season has reportedly leaked. … Longtime Real Madrid supporter Rafael Nadal is under scrutiny for wearing an Atlético Madrid jersey as a scarf during the Atletico-Arsenal Europa League semifinal. … Finally, cool move by Man City, who projected a congratulations message for all its players on buildings in their hometowns around the world (thanks Josh). … This Twitter account tweets photos of some terrific hand-painted tabletop soccer kits, from the Premier League to the fourth-division US clubs (from Ryan).
Grab Bag: The University of Wisconsin is putting on Bucky on Parade, a series of 85 individually decorated Bucky the Badger statues located throughout campus (from Tim Mazurkiewicz). … We may have ticked this before, but comedian Bob Hope had a custom golf cart modeled after his face (from Eric Stangel). … Here’s a feature on Max Nelson, who started his own line of baseball caps, Hood Rat (from Tom Turner).