Reader Chris Alvarez (@chrisinleaucadia) recently stumbled across an old TV commercial that totally delivers the uni-driven goods. It’s embedded above — go ahead and take 60 seconds to watch it.
Lots of things worth noting here: Let’s take one thing at a time:
• First and foremost, it’s so awesome to see have up-close views of those awesome Chargers uniforms. Total eye candy!
• Cars are usually released in the fall before their model year. So a commercial for a 1968 car would presumably have been filmed in the summer or fall of 1967. According to the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database, the Chargers only wore the powder blues during the 1967 preseason and then switched to darker blues for the regular season, which means this spot was probably shot during the preseason or training camp.
• Judging by the columns in the background, the commerial was shot at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. Interestingly, the Chargers’ last season playing there was 1966 (in ’67 they moved to the new San Diego Stadium, which was later renamed Jack Murphy Stadium and has had several other names since then), so they shot the commercial there even though it was no longer the team’s home building. Maybe they still practiced or trained there..?
• Did you notice that the left guard had a blue lightning bolt on his helmet, instead of yellow like everyone else? Look:
The Chargers wore the blue bolts in only one season — 1966 — which is further evidence that this spot was shot prior to the start of the ’67 regular season.
• Also, in that same screen shot, look at the pants — piping instead of lightning bolts! Odd that they got the jerseys right but not the pants. Were the Chargers thinking of scrapping the pants bolts and then thought better of it?
• And in that same screen shot, you can also see a shield-shaped sign behind the quarterback’s head. That’s for the “All-America City” award that San Diego won in 1962. The Chargers wore that shield on their helmets in 1963.
• Another aberration: They used a football with stripes:
That’s a glitch, because the official AFL ball did not have stripes.
• Interestingly, the quarterback didn’t have a chinstrap:
• Speaking of the quarterback: Is that really John Hadl, who was the Chargers’ signal-caller at the time, or did they just use No. 21 to make it look like him? We never get a clear shot of his NOB (and even if we did, someone wearing a Hadl jersey could still be an actor). Here’s a wire photo of Hadl (left), side-by-side with a screen shot from the commercial (click to enlarge):
Tough to say, but I’m thinking yes. (Also of note: The number fonts on the helmets don’t match. But the Chargers were inconsistent about this over the years. Here’s a game photo showing Hadl wearing the same font shown in the commercial.)
• As for the other players in the ad, the only NOB that’s visible is the center’s:
That would be Sam Gruneisen (or an actor playing him), who was indeed the Chargers’ center at the time.
• My favorite part of the commercial, by far, is when Hadl, or whoever the guy is, gets into the car and drives off in full uniform and pads — including his helmet. The glimpses of him driving in the helmet are just too good. (This could be a whole uni sub-genre — photos of guys driving in a full football uni. Are there any other examples?)
• Finally, there’s the elephant in the room: a Charger ad featuring a bunch of Chargers. They never explicitly make that connection, but I’m sure they knew they didn’t have to.
Not bad for one one-minute spot, right? Now if they just had the car in powder blue.
(Big thanks to Chris Alvarez for bringing this one to my attention.)
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ITEM! Behold the Uni Watch race car: Reader Matt Tomelleri has been recovering from a broken collarbone. “With all the down time I have now, I recently jumped back on the PlayStation and fired up a racing game I used to play,” he says. “The game allows for custom imagery to be put on cars and I thought, ‘A green tequila sunrise race car would look pretty sharp!'” Indeed it does (even with the Purp Walk sticker).
Here’s a look at the car “in action” (click to enlarge):
You can see several additional views here.
Raffle reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is running another raffle. The lucky winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand website (like the groovy Giants cutting board shown above).
To enter, send an email to the raffle address by this Thursday, June 6, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
In addition, Vintage Brand is currently running a site-wide 20% sale. No need to enter any discount code — when you get to the checkout page, you’ll automatically get 20% off. Not bad!
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Post(al) service: Post-mounted mailboxes, like the one shown in the little illustration at right, have mostly vanished from our landscape (I’m referring here to collection boxes, where you mail a letter — not the kind of mailbox where you receive your mail). But echoes of them still remain in the form of the pebbled concrete posts on which they were mounted. The four shown above are all in my neighborhood. Three of them still have the now-rusted brackets on which the mailboxes were mounted.
I’ll have more to say about mailboxes in an article I just wrote for a design website. Stay tuned.
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Stump speech: Like many people, I tend not to like most photos of myself. But I really like this shot that the Tugboat Captain took when I hopped up on a tree stump in our neighborhood the other day, so I thought I’d share it.
And why did I hop up on a tree stump? I can’t fully explain it, but it’s an oddly satisfying thing to do, even when dealing with a really low stump like this one. Goats often do it, and I think they’re onto something (besides a stump, that is). I recommend it!
Uni-versary reminders: In case you haven’t seen it already, here’s the spreadsheet showing all the Uni Watch 20th-anniversary gatherings that have been set up so far, along with a list of cities where readers have expressed interest in attending a gathering, although no organizer has yet stepped up. If you want to host or attend such a gather, contact party coordinator JohnMark Fisher.
Meanwhile, I hope by now most of you are aware of our awesome “Turn Ahead the Clock Shirt,” which celebrates the dual 20th anniversaries of Uni Watch and MLB’s infamous 1999 TATC program. You can order it here.
We have other anniversary items — and, of course, non-anniversary items — in the Uni Watch Teespring shop. My thanks, as always, for considering our products.
By Lloyd Alaban
Baseball News: The umpires at last night’s White Sox/Nationals game determined White Sox P Jose Ruiz was wearing a grey glove too close in shade to his uniform, so they made him change it to a black glove (from Max Weintraub). … Rangers 2B Rougned Odor confirms that the “shorts” and high socks combo worn by the team on Sunday were because of RF Hunter Pence. Odor said everyone thought his were higher “because I’m short, it looked higher” but that no one gave 1B Ronald Guzmán any grief (from Chad Johnson). … Bit of a mix-up from ESPN roundtable talk show Pardon the Interruption: The show’s panel was discussing the four-game suspension of University of Louisville P Mike McAvene, but the show’s graphics displayed shots of players from the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Reds (from multiple readers). … A fan in Chicago wore a customized Anthony Rizzo White Sox jersey. Rizzo plays for the Cubs (from Michael Brighton). … This podcast has a theory as to why MLB started wearing throwback uniforms. Starts at around the 35-minute mark (from Jay Wright). … The Clearwater Threshers, Single-A affiliate of the Phillies, will wear patches honoring the late chairman and president of the Phillies, David Montgomery (from multiple readers). … The Corpus Christi Hooks, Double-A affiliate of the Astros, will wear uniforms in honor of Coastal Bend Conservation Weekend from June 20-22. The uniforms feature a speckled trout, which, according to the team, is “the most frequently caught game fish in the bays of the Coastal Bend” (from Ignacio Salazar). … We’ve run a few items in the Ticker about the Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, renaming themselves the Wings for a few games this season. Here’s a more in-depth look behind the temporary rename and the general trend of naming minor league teams after food (from Matt Wilcott). … A Connecticut Brewery-sponsored team uses a tequila sunrise template and a spin on the Brewers’ ball-in-glove logo (from Jeff Wojcicki). … UCLA softball wore throwbacks for the national championship last night (from Bill Roman). … MLB commish Rob Manfred says it’s unlikely that teams will be required to extend their stadium netting in the middle of the season, although a stricter requirement is possible after this season ends. … With Philllies OF Adam Haseley making his MLB debut last night, NBC Sports Philly showed his name in all-lowercase letters for some reason (from @PhillyPartTwo).
Football News: Dolphins WR Kenny Stills has started an unofficial retweet campaign to make the Dolphins throwback uniforms their primaries (from @ohiophinfan1037). … Jets RB Le’Veon Bell came to practice in custom Air Jordan I cleats (from Bronson Black). … Packers LB Za’Darius Smith wore a National Cheese Day-themed helmet visor yesterday. … Blackout/military appreciation uniforms for the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL (from Robert Caplette). … Reader Mike Monaghan has a collection of every helmet ever worn in the NFL since 1960, plus some from as far back as the 1920s. Also in the collection are several concept helmets that never made it to the field. … The 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, S.C., is running a football-related art exhibit that focuses on “identity construction, masculinity, violence in sports and conditional self-worth” (from Jason Rapp).
Basketball News: A Canadian website gave Raptors and Warriors players ’70s makeovers in the form of trading cards (from Jon Crain). … Nike released a Kevin Durant shirt that might give some insight into which team Durant is heading to next (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … More Warriors-related news from Brinke: Here are the shoes Warriors PG Stephen Curry will be wearing for tonight’s NBA Finals Game Three. … Check out this collection of vintage Bucks playoff ticket stubs, plus one from the old WPBA’s Milwaukee Does (from @HardwoodBucks).
Soccer News: New training shirt advertisers for the England national team (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: “I still call it Orlando City Stadium.” … Clothing manufacturer Legea has copied Nike’s Nigeria Design for their “Girona” teamwear (from Josh Hinton).
Grab Bag: Here are some shots of the polos that the head coaches of the Premier Lacrosse League wore over the weekend (from @KNsportsgroup). … Good-looking matchup between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the Cricket World Cup (from Jim Vilk). … New personal logo for golfer Justin Thomas (from Drew Ward). … Burnaby Lakers G Eric Penney has been playing the summer Western Lacrosse Association season wearing the gear of his winter National Lacrosse League team. He has been wearing his mask and pads of the Vancouver Warriors, who he also tends goal for (fr0m Wade Heidt). … The football, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field programs Lincoln High School in Michigan all use grey turf (from Seth Kinker). … This Esquire writer wonders why the president’s khakis are so ill-fitting (from Tom Turner).
Happy birthday to our own Jamie Rathjen, who produces the Tickers that appear on Mondays. Looking forward to finally meeting you in person at the Brooklyn uni-versary party on June 29, Jamie!