True Colors Vol. V-b: Matt Olbert Strikes Again!

By Phil Hecken

I’m back again today with colorizer Matt Olbert, who I featured in February and again in early May. Matt really needs no additional introduction, but if you missed either of those two columns, I’d recommend clicking either link (the first one contains a “getting to know you” interview as well). Matt, who posts on Twitter as @FenwayPhotoshop, has kept up his colorization skills, though he tells me he recently got a new job (congrats!) but also his laptop — on which he creates his colorizations — died (oh no!). As his name implies, Matt likes the Red Sox, so his colorizations tend to favor the Sawx and games at the Fens (and of course the greatest hitter of all time). But not all of them.

So, without further ado, here is another sweet batch from Matt (with his descriptions below). Click to enlarge. Enjoy!

• • • • • •

Ted Williams, Yankee Stadium

Really went for the realism with this one, hopefully I pulled it off. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and watch these legendary players play in these legendary parks. By the way, another very difficult thing to colorize is the transition from grass to dirt, which is a big part of this one.

• • •

Jimmie Foxx & Hank Greenberg, Fenway Park, 1937

Two of the greatest hitters of all time posing in two of the most classic uniforms of all time.

• • •

Jimmy Dykes, Chicago White Sox, 1933

I don’t know much about Jimmy Dykes or the ’33 White Sox but I love this uniform and this photo. Look at that face! What does he know that I don’t? Probably a lot about the ’33 White Sox.

• • •

All Star Game Starting Pitchers Lefty Grove & Dizzy Dean pose together at Braves Field in Boston prior to the 4th Annual All Star Game, July 7th, 1936

Those Cardinals caps almost look inside-out, like a rally cap, very strange look. Love how little both these jerseys have changed over the past 80 years. Also, the Red Sox lettering in blue with the red trim is MINT.

• • •

Manager Connie Mack and his star slugger, Jimmie Foxx, Fenway Park, circa 1934

Usually it takes me a day or two to color a photo but this one took months, I kept putting it down and coming back to it multiple times. The hardest part was honestly getting Mr. Mack’s hair to look natural, it’s really hard to color thinning white hair. ‘Double X’ is also one of my favorite subjects to colorize.

• • •

Ted Williams

The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived during arguably his greatest season, 1941

• • •

Jackie Robinson watches intently to ensure that Bobby Thomson touches home plate following the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Polo Grounds, Oct. 3, 1951

I recently stumbled upon this photo and couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before, I think it should be considered one of the greatest sports photos ever taken. The jubilation of the Giants andtheir fans celebrating the fact that “the Giants win the pennant!” juxtaposed with the despair and lonliness of defeat that so evident in the body language of Ralph Branca and Robinson, whose iconic ’42’ is so bold in this picture. I hope that by adding color I was able to bring it to life just a little bit.

• • •

Wood, Young, Grove, and Johnson

4 of the game’s greatest pitchers, Smokey Joe Wood, Cy Young, Lefty Grove, and Walter Johnson, pose for a photo in the Fenway Park dugout before an Old-Timer’s game. The great rivalry between Wood and Johnson during the 1912 season is one of my favorite duels in baseball history, I love thinking of the two of them getting to talk about it so many years later. Cy Young looks like he’s probably got a few more good fastballs in him, I bet he could’ve gone out and gotten win #512. I also like how Lefty Grove is dressed exactly like my Dad on his way to a parent-teacher conference.

• • •

Young Ted

A Red Sox stand-out rookie stands by the cage during batting practice, 1939. I love photos from 1939 because that giant sleeve patch makes them so easy to date.

• • • • • •

Wonderful stuff, once again, Matt. Thanks!


Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

• • •

Title: “The Heater Makes History”
Subject: Bob Feller, 1940
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 56″ x 34″

The first time I saw the reference photo I would eventually use to make this painting, I was taken aback by how much energy it had. Nevermind that fact that it depicted a pitch from his no-hitter on Opening Day in 1940. It was the image itself that hooked me. The swooping diagonal of his arm and the ball. The knee almost brushing against the mound. The blur and strain in his face. I had always heard tons of anecdotes about Bob Feller and his intensity, and over the years, had familiarized myself with his wind-up and pitching motion. This particular photograph seemed to capture it all, as I could picture the entire action of his throw – almost like a GIF file, playing over and over again in my head.

In this sort of composition, it was a bit tough to make sure that the viewer’s eyes went to Bob first, especially since he’s not the largest figure in the painting. The catcher, umpire and Joe Kuhel had to really sit back in a secondary role, despite the fact that they were towering over Feller in terms of size. I was able to draw the attention away from them by edge control – keeping them very soft with few sharp lines, as well as cropping tight into them and giving Bob a bit more room to breathe on his left side (the centerfield wall, specifically). They were minor adjustments to the original photograph, but in the end, I think they really did the trick.

Through my research, it was interesting to note how few people attended the game because of the frigid temperatures in Chicago that day – only 14,000 fans were in the stands, including Bob’s mother, father and sister. With that in mind, it was important for me to keep the palette pretty dark and cold in temperature, hence a lot of the icy blues and greens. It made for the ballpark being a pretty uninviting place, but for those of you who have been to games in mid April, you know that it certainly can be as such.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about this painting is what happened to it after it was completed. In the summer of 2009, I presented it to Bob Feller himself to hang in his museum in Van Meter, IA. Upon seeing it he remarked that I had gotten so many of the details right, especially the weather conditions, crowd size, and what it felt like to be in Comiskey that cold afternoon (it should come as no surprise that he remembered all of this, himself).

Soon after Feller passed away in 2010, the painting moved to its new home: Progressive Field in Cleveland. Hopefully it’ll reside there for a long time.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

Beating a Dead “P”?

Weekend readers will recall a topic of discussion last weekend (click here, scroll down to the “Too Good For The Ticker” section) generated by Alan Filipczak which centered around possibly “hidden” elements in the current “P” logo used by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Alan has offered up one last “think piece” and drawn some of his own conclusions on the logo.

Here’s Alan:

Last weekend’s Uni Watch discussions centered around the Pirates’ logo, and whether or not there were intentional hidden images (keystones, hypocycloids) in the P itself. The headslap moment for me was someone pointing out the obvious–the Giants began using the same font at least as long as the Pirates have, if not earlier. I had never noticed that the Giants and Pirates use basically the same font, but once it was pointed out, it was painfully obvious.

So the hidden feature phenomenon can be chalked up as something in between happy coincidence and squint-and-you-see-it confirmation bias. Still, I wanted to see what the P logo would look like with those features, so I mocked up this altered Pirates logo. The lower left portion of the letter is a keystone for Pennsylvania and the pointed corners (upper right) are drawn around US Steel-style hypocycloid curves. The end result looks like a slightly more jagged version of what the Pirates currently use.

Thanks Alan. So how does the “new” logo look with those elements added?

Last year, reader Ed Kendrick provided uniform tracking for us for four teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. This year, he’s added a fifth team, the San Francisco Giants.

Now that we’ve reached the “mid-point” in the season (post All Star Break), Ed has updated all the combos for all the squads.

You can check them all out via this link.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Last night, Martín Pérez of the Rangers pitched to Cleveland’s C Roberto Pérez. Note that both spell their name with an acute accent over the ‘e’. But only one Pérez (Roberto) actually had the acute accent on their NOB (from @bs_brewer). … The conventional wisdom says that between 1999 and 2006, at the height of the Reds BFBS era, the Reds never wore their all-red cap. Our own Alex Hider discovered that’s not true, and the Reds went with their red caps for at least one game in 2000. Eventually, Cody Tescher chimed in with a screenshot of Wikipedia saying that the all-red caps were Sunday specials in the 2000 season … Speaking of the Reds, it seems the Brewers (or whoever makes their officially licensed calendar) don’t know that it was Cincy who wore the last pullover primary unis in the big leagues (from Kurt Rozek). … According to reader Robert Hayes, the Indians have gone with the Wahoo cap the last several times Trevor Bauer has pitched, including with the road greys, a combination never seen before this season. So much for phasing out Wahoo. … The Brooklyn Cyclones’ Seinfeld Night unis are absolutely amazing. And normally, we at Uni Watch don’t like stadium sponsorships, we’ll make an exception for Vandelay Industries Park (from Chris Honeycutt). … Pitcher Jacob Turner is still around, now playing for the Toledo MudHens and inexplicably wearing No. 419 (from Jeffrey Sak). … Travis Woods found a David Ortiz jersey at Goodwill that had a Blue Jays’ 40th Anniversary patch. Judging by the look of the numbers, I think this is a knockoff. … Also posted in the basketball section: new Dodger Manny Machado chose his new uni number not because of Cal Ripken as has been previously reported, but mostly because he’s a big Kobe Bryant fan and even named his dog Kobe (from Mike Chamernik and Griffin Smith). … When the Colorado Springs Sky Sox met with the Memphis Redbirds in Tennessee, not all of their gear came with them, so Sky Sox players had to wear spare Redbirds helmets (from Noah Petro). … Want the DC flag headband Bryce Harper wore during the Home Run Derby? That’ll cost you $15.99 (thanks, Phil).

NFL News: SB Nation has declared that the Bucs’ creamsicle unis are badass, and I’m inclined to agree (thanks, Phil). … SB Nation’s 49ers blog Niners Nation has similarly declared that the Niners’ early 2000s unis matched how bad the early 2000s Niners were (thanks again, Phil). … Not uni related, but there are some great vintage Packers pics in this article (from Chance Plett). … Speaking of vintage photos, Richard Green sends in this NOLA.com gallery of vintage Saints training camp pics. … A Pittsburgh-area theme park will be opening a Steelers-branded roller coaster in 2019 (from Kary Klismet).

College/High School Football News: Nevada revealed their new unis yesterday (from Matt Turley). … There was a minor kerfuffle around Austin recently as some early pics of Texas players appeared to show the Longhorns’ jerseys as a brighter orange than usual. After the AD got involved, it was revealed it was just an Instagram filter that made the jerseys appear a brighter orange (from Joey Breeland). … Florida posted a five second video of their seamstress getting their new Jordan Brand practice jerseys ready (from @DaveDoop).

NBA News: The Chicago Sky’s breast health awareness jerseys went from being majority pink during the Adidas years to majority black now with Nike (from @TheSkyShowCHI). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: new Dodger Manny Machado chose his new uni number not because of Cal Ripken as has been previously reported, but mostly because he’s a big Kobe Bryant fan and even named his dog Kobe (from Mike Chamernik and Griffin Smith). … Also posted in the soccer section: artist and designer Franco Carbajal made some absolutely gorgeous soccer kit designs for NBA teams in the Western Conference. Highly recommended (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: Kind of difficult to see here, but the Renault F1 team has added two stars to their livery (right on the tip of the nose) in honor of France’s World Cup victory (from @bdh_photos). … Josh Hinton writes in with several soccer items, including Hull’s away, Bolton’s away and news that Manchester City will wear the logo of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi instead of Etihad Airways for their first friendly match in the United States. … Cross-posted in the soccer section: artist and designer Franco Carbajal made some absolutely gorgeous soccer kit designs for NBA teams in the Western Conference. Highly recommended (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: Cross-posted from the soccer section: Kind of difficult to see here, but the Renault F1 team has added two stars to their livery (right on the tip of the nose) in honor of France’s World Cup victory (from @bdh_photos). … Rugby fans on Reddit think the new French national rugby sevens kits look like the kits of an unlicensed team from the video game Rugby Challenge. Here’s how they look on-field (Reddit thread from Eric Bangerman, match pic from J Keith Privett). … The following rugby items are both from Josh Gardner: Scarlets, an English team, released their new kits yesterday, revealing an astonishing 17 different uni ads. … Racing 92, a French club, moved their club’s crest to the bottom of their jerseys in order to fit more ads. “Madness,” Josh says. … Wichita State is bringing back its marching band for the first time since 1986, and their unis are…interesting, to say the least (from Paul Deaver). … Here’s a great look at a former pro soccer player’s new “simplistic” sneaker brand (from Tom Turner).

18 comments to True Colors Vol. V-b: Matt Olbert Strikes Again!

  • James Gilbert | July 21, 2018 at 8:01 am |

    I clicked on the Wichita State marching band uniform story without realizing WICHITA STATE DOESN’T HAVE A FOOTBALL TEAM!

  • JM | July 21, 2018 at 8:20 am |

    For anyone who grew up near Toledo, Jacob Turner’s number 419 is easy to explain — it’s the area code.

    • Jake | July 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm |

      and everyone wore it on the front of their for “You will do better in Toledo” Night

  • Bruce | July 21, 2018 at 8:38 am |

    Nice work Matt – cool to see the Wood, Young, Grove & Johnson pic in color.

  • Steve D | July 21, 2018 at 8:52 am |

    Great work Matt. How would you date the first Williams photo at Yankee Stadium? That isn’t Yogi and Ted looks young…I’m thinking around 1941, when a lot of photos of Ted were likely taken.

    How about the Wood, Young, Grove, Johnson pic? I don’t think Old Timer’s games started till the 1940s. Grove played until 1941. Johnson died in 1946…Wood lived to almost 100…died in 1985. I’m thinking Grove could have still been active when this was taken, so maybe 1941 also.

    • teenchy | July 22, 2018 at 1:09 pm |

      Per this auction listing, the game was played on July 12, 1939 at Fenway Park. This 1982 letter to the editor of the New York Times corroborates that date. Here is a scorecard from the game.

  • Jamie Rathjen | July 21, 2018 at 9:01 am |

    Ticker stuff:

    The WNBA black uniforms – or at least that picture – are for a game between Indiana and Dallas. It’s not a Sky player wearing them (though a Sky twitter sent it to us).

    Scarlets are Welsh, not English.

  • The Tribe | July 21, 2018 at 9:24 am |

    Re: Jacob Turner/Toledo Mud Hens/419 – 419 is Toledo’s area code.

  • Jon Rose | July 21, 2018 at 9:26 am |

    Those Seinfeld Unis had better be made of cotton, or GTFO.

  • Heisenberg's Hat | July 21, 2018 at 10:35 am |

    Look, I get it. You hate Chief Wahoo. The Indians have said it will be gone for the 2019 season. They didn’t say it would go away at any point this year so don’t make it seem like they have gone back on their word. It has been pointed out time and again the starting pitcher chooses the uniform from the available options. The Chief Wahoo cap is one of those options this season.

    • The Jeff | July 21, 2018 at 1:15 pm |

      Yeah… turns out the players and most of the fans actually still like Wahoo. I can’t wait for the complaints next season when they do ditch him and piss off a large portion of their fanbase because of some protestors who are going to continue protesting anyway. There’s no middle ground or compromise with a group that thinks the entire concept of a native american mascot is wrong. So they lose a distinctive, iconic logo and replace it with pretty much the most generic thing they can, short of going with no logo at all (which would be Cleveland appropriate I guess), and solve nothing.

      /…and I’m probably still banned so no one sees this anyway

  • Reynolds | July 21, 2018 at 10:41 am |

    Do one of Ted as he looks today.

  • Wade Heidt | July 21, 2018 at 12:22 pm |

    Early 2000s 49ers uniforms > 1996-1997 49ers uniforms.

    The gold pants were better than the white pants with this uniform set.

  • Jerry Reuss | July 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm |

    Kudos to both Matt Olbert and Graig Kriendler for contributions of their respective artwork. These gentlemen are two of the best in the business and it’s always a joy to view the work they post on Uni-Watch!

  • GTV | July 21, 2018 at 3:27 pm |

    That rugby kit with all the ads is how NBA unis will soon look. And check out the CFL to see what the NFL will look like soon.

    Late capitalism. It is what it is.

  • Ethan Lewis | July 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm |

    Great colorizing! Thanks for sharing those.

    Meanwhile, for the Ticker: in Friday’s game against the Phillies, the Padres pitcher, Clayton Richard, who wears #3 was pinch-hit for by Raffy Lopez, who wears #0. Was that:

    a) the first time a single-digit pitcher was pinch hit for a player wearing zero?

    b) the first time someone wearing number 3 was pinch hit for by someone wearing a lower number?

  • DJ | July 21, 2018 at 10:40 pm |

    So how does the “new” logo look with those elements added?

    It’s a downgrade from the Pirates’ current logo. Forcing the keystone into the base causes you to lose the symmetry with the upper-left corner’s serif.

  • Brian Henke | July 22, 2018 at 1:52 pm |

    Soccer: Atlanta United (MLS) wore their away white instead of the Five Stripes at home yesterday.