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MLB Ties One On for Father’s Day

For all photos, click to enlarge

Pirates catcher Elis Díaz got in the spirit of Pa’s Day yesterday by wearing a clip-on tie (with logo creep, groan) on his chest protector.

Okay, so that’s a fun gag. But did he actually wear that on the field? Yup:

And Díaz wasn’t the only one. Royals backstop Martín Maldonado wore the same clip-on accessory (a bit disappointing to see that it was a multiple-player gimmick, not a unique thing for one player), but he scribbled a bunch of names on his:

The inscription appears to be a series of names — Pay, Bimbo, Kojac, Edgar, Efrain, Jon, and Cito, which I’m told are the names of Maldonado’s siblings — followed by “Happy Father’s Day.”

And in case you’re wondering, the ties definitely flapped a bit in the breeze:

Much like the broadcaster in that clip, I’m a little surprised Díaz and Maldonado were allowed to wear the ties. I mean, I’m not sure which rule they’d be violating (which is how Bill Veeck got away with all sorts of shit back in the day), but it seems a bit suspect, no?

Lots of people asked me if this is the first time a player has worn a tie in an MLB game. And honestly, I’m not sure! It’s almost certainly the first time a clip-on tie has been worn. As for neckties, there are lots of team portraits that show 19th-century teams wearing those, but it’s not clear to me if those ties were actually worn on the field or if they were just for the portraits. I asked Threads of Our Game historian Craig Brown about this, and he said he suspects some players did wear ties on the field, although he didn’t have any readily available photographic evidence. He said he’d look for some — stay tuned. (Either way, it’s worth noting that umpires routinely wore neckties until about 1970.)

In other MLB Pa’s Day news:

• There was lots of “dad plaid”:

• In a nice happenstance, the Astros and Blue Jays played each other, so Lourdes Gurriel Sr. — father of Jays shortstop Lourdes Jr. and ’Stros first baseman Yuli — threw out the first pitch while wearing a Franken-jersey:

• Players wore light-blue “tie-dye” (read: not even remotely tie-dye; more like acid-washed) caps, which mostly looked ridiculous:

• The Brewers, as per their usual holiday custom, went the extra mile with their batting helmets:

Okay, thank god that’s over with. Next up on MLB’s holiday calendar: Independence Day Independence Four-Day Festival, during which we’ll have have to look at stars/stripes caps for four straight days. Can’t wait! Meanwhile, if you want to see some really excellent Pa’s Day content, check out Phil’s post from yesterday about Uni Watch readers’ fathers in uniform. This is an annual Uni Watch tradition that Phil has developed, and it’s really special — don’t miss.

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A bad case of mono: Brutal-looking game in yesterday’s College World Series opener between Vanderbilt and Louisville, as the Commodores went mono-olive and the Cardinals went mono-black. Pfeh.

As an aside: While I don’t follow college baseball myself, I’m definitely noticing a lot more interest in the CWS on social media this year. Way more CWS tweets being sent my way than in years past. Interesting.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Yet another one-day raffle: Reader Paul Bailey has generously purchased a Uni Watch membership for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Paul Bailey for sponsoring this raffle.

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ITEM! Uniopolis update: On Friday I mentioned that there’s a small town in western Ohio called Uniopolis and that it would be great to have a Uni Watch gathering there on June 29. About half a dozen readers responded, and it looks like such a gathering may take place — although not Uniopolis proper, because there are no bars there! The nearby town of Lima is shaping up as a likely option.

Remember, if you want to organize or attend a gathering in your city, contact party coordinator JohnMark Fisher. Here’s the updated map and spreadsheet showing all of the parties that have been scheduled so far (including a newly added gathering in San Francisco, nice!).

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: A’s manager Bob Melvin said that the team no longer has their gold jerseys because they were replaced by the second of the team’s two green alternates (from multiple readers). … Many readers told us that Paris Saint-Germain winger Kylian Mbappé threw, or perhaps kicked, out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. He received a No. 10 jersey, which is the number he usually wears for France, instead of his No. 7 for PSG. … Michigan wore white as the away team for the first College World Series game because Texas Tech chose to wear black (from Chris Mycoskie). … Bit of a cap inconsistency yesterday for Auburn. … New powder blues for the Ogden Raptors (from @GRTx3). … The Orix Buffaloes have new black summer alternates (from Jeremy Brahm). … San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood features street banners saluting famous Italian-Americans. The current theme is baseball and one of the featured players is Drew Butera, who’s shown in a Royals uniform (he’s currently in the Rockies’ organization) with a Kansas City Chiefs logo (from Chris Alvarez). … New Genesee Brewery-inspired uniforms for the Rochester Red Wings (from Joe Werner). … Mitch Nathanson has written a piece about the history of No. 33 on the Phillies.

Football News: The CFL’s BC Lions added a memorial decal for equipment manager Ken Kasuya, who passed away in the offseason. Coaches wore a button version of the decal, including opponents Winnipeg’s coaches (from Wade Heidt). … More from Wade: Calgary Stampeders WR Eric Rogers switched from No. 15 to No. 4 for this season, while CFL officials’ hats now have New Era logos. … Greenland High School in Arkansas has managed to poach the Packers’ and Buccaneers’ logos. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood features street banners saluting famous Italian-Americans. The current theme is baseball and one of the featured players is Drew Butera, who’s shown in a Kansas City Royals uniform (he’s currently in the Colorado Rockies’ organization) with a Chiefs logo (from Chris Alvarez). … Joe Werner found a 1986 shot of Steelers K Gary Anderson wearing a grey facemask. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the last time the Steelers wore grey masks was in the 1977 preseason.

Basketball News: Reader Richard Meloy tells us that a sports blogger writing about Australia’s National Basketball League mistakenly referred to one of the league’s teams, the Perth Wildcats, as the Perth Bandits. The mistake somehow went viral and the fictitious Bandits now have their own Twitter page with logo and uniform concepts.

Soccer News: Let’s start with Josh Hinton‘s section: Trinidad and Tobago signed a kit deal with Capelli which the federation implied is just for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. … Pictures of Manchester City’s supposed first and second shirts for next season have appeared. … New kits for German 2. Bundesliga team Hannover 96: red is first, black is second, and green is third. … Turkish team Galatasaray’s first shirt is apparently to be released today. … Japanese team Vegalta Sendai released a 25th-anniversary shirt. … The Premier League’s match ball for 2019-20 may have been inadvertently released yesterday, because Nike’s article on the ball could be Googled but was mysteriously gone. … Sprinter Usain Bolt wore No. 9.58 for an annual charity game put on by UNICEF between England alumni and a Soccer Aid World XI (from Eric Garment and Alex Peck). … Cross-posted from baseball: Multiple readers told us that Paris Saint-Germain winger Kylian Mbappé threw, or perhaps kicked, out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. He received a No. 10 jersey, which is the number he usually wears for France, instead of his No. 7 for PSG. … Costa Rica’s first kit for the Gold Cup is black and gold. It has black numbers that you can’t see on the back and are not much better on the front. … Chile wore the match info for yesterday’s Women’s World Cup game against the U.S. on the back of the shirt (from Jakob Fox). … A Twitter-er points out that USWNT right-back Emily Sonnett’s number at the World Cup is 14, which is the number of lines in a sonnet. It’s unclear if that’s intentional or not; she’s primarily worn No. 16 at club level and multiple other numbers for the national team. … Crystal Palace became the latest English women’s team to remove “Ladies” from their name. … The NWSL’s Reign FC wore rainbow numbers this weekend. … New shirts for Scottish Premiership team St. Mirren and a whole kit for Scottish Championship team Dundee. … Wait, two more from Josh Hinton: Watford has a new shirt advertiser and is also accepting submissions for a new fan-designed logo.

Grab Bag: India and Pakistan’s cricket teams represent one of the biggest rivalries in world sports — certainly in TV viewers, with a billion people estimated to have watched them play at the Cricket World Cup yesterday — which makes it all the more odd to see Frankenjerseys for the two teams (from @PeskysPole). … A golfer at the U.S. Open, who I assume is Rory Sabbatini, used yellow balls bearing the Slovak coat of arms. Sabbatini is the only Slovak in the field because he changed his citizenship, and his country of representation for international golf, to Slovakia from South Africa at the beginning of this year (from Joe Canales). … Not sure who sent this in a few days ago: The Brumbies, the Super Rugby team based in Canberra, wore a shirt with art from the the Polynesian island groups represented on the team.

Comments (35)

    Those olive green Vandy jerseys are awful. The last few years the team has done some sort of “USA” jersey or “Military appreciation” jersey…and I have no idea why. Nobody has any specific military ties on the team, and red/white/blue or olive are not team colors. The light gold jerseys and the white jerseys are so great, no clue why they don’t wear them all the time.

    Least the team is good.

    The last item in Grab Bag should probably be in Baseball, as it deals only with #33 on the Phillies, not other Philadelphia teams.

    I’m going to assume Gary Anderson’s mask was painted black originally, but like so many other black painted plastic masks (Bartkowski, Kenny Anderson) the black paint chipped a rubbed and wore off over time leaving just the grey.

    Anderson also wore a grey single bar while playing for Tennessee at the end of his career.
    He may have had his mask painted black during his second season with the Eagles (who switched from grey in 1996).


    I suppose that’s possible, but I wouldn’t expect a kicker’s face mask to get subjected to so much wear and tear that the black is completely gone like it is in the picture. Unless maybe Gary or someone else decided to remove all the paint for a cleaner look (as opposed to adding a fresh coat of paint). As an aside, I seem to recall during the strike games in 1987, a few Steeler players were wearing gray facemasks. I’m guessing they didn’t take equipment from regular players and re-issue it to replacement players, so that may have been a product of the need to quickly outfit a new team. I’m sure they’re out there, but I have yet to stumble across pictures or videos from those games to validate my memory.

    See comment below; IIRC it wasn’t unusual in the ’80s for punters and kickers who still used the old one- and two-bar facemasks to have them in gray on teams that used colored facemasks. See, e.g.: link and link, and his successor on the Jets, link.

    More accurately, that Nathanson piece is about Phillies in 33, not all Philadelphia sports.

    Not MLB, but the Class A minor league Charleston RiverDogs wore a ridiculous jersey that had a painted on bow tie for their “NBA Draft Night” on April 13, 2019.

    Well, lots of minor league teams have worn tuxedo jerseys with printed bow ties. But come on, that’s not the same thing!

    Diáz and Maldonado invoked the Air Bud rule. “It doesn’t say anywhere that you CAN’T wear a clip-on tie.”

    Some thoughts:

    -The catchers wearing the necktie on the chest protector. We have now crossed the line to just ridiculous with these special baseball uniforms to commemorate Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc., if we had not already.

    -Watford does need to and shouldn’t change their logo.

    -I was at the BC Lions game in person on Saturday when they honoured equipment manager Ken “Kato” Kasuya. He passed away at age 53. Worked 4 decades for the Lions, starting as a volunteer waterboy at the age of 13.

    Rather than a moment of silence before the game, the fans all stood and there was a standing ovation for Kato. The effect of it on me tugged at the heartstrings more than a moment of silence could.

    I have often felt like cheering during the requested moment of silence. Not as a disrespect but as an appreciation.

    Wapakoneta would be a better Uniopolis option. Birthplace of Neil Armstrong so there’s a museum. Really cool 100+ year-old bar downtown called the Alpha that’d be a great place for the get-together.

    Punter link wore a gray facemask in 1988-89 with the Jets, who had been using white facemasks since 1978. So did link, who punted for the Jets from ’85-’87. Jennings previously had a gray facemask link, who also used white facemasks at the time.

    IIRC it was not unusual in the ’80s for kickers and punters who still wore the old single- and double-bar facemasks to have them in gray even on teams with colored facemasks.

    (N.B.: Prokop’s mask link, along with the rest of the team.)

    Random soccer question: While watching the USA-Chile women’s World Cup match yesterday, I saw that the sunshine seemed to be a factor. Players were frequently squinting, yet not one of them from either team wore any kind of eyeblack. Do soccer players ever wear eyeblack? Or do men wear it and women don’t?

    I don’t recall anyone ever using eyeblack. Sunglasses wouldn’t be allowed. Edgar Davids wore goggles to protect his eyes after eye surgery. The lenses were sometimes tinted but I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the sun.
    You will sometimes see goalies wear hats to shade their eyes from the sun but this wouldn’t be an option for other players

    I’m not aware of anybody wearing eye black. It’s hard to speak for the entire world but in many places soccer is a winter sport, so the sun isn’t out often and isn’t high in the sky.

    Plus, a large proportion of games take place at night, and many stadiums have covered stands that the sun might disappear behind (as it did yesterday).

    The only sun-related thing you might see sometimes is goalies wearing caps, as Iain said. FIFA’s equipment regulations usually require some sort of protective reason for any extra equipment, except for caps for goalies and gloves for all players.

    Didn’t know sunglasses are disallowed, but that would be a terrible idea! What if you take a ball to the face? Play on because it’s not a hand ball, but shattered glasses!
    My guess would be that eye black would not be popular because instead of stopping and starting that is inherent to baseball, pretty much everybody is perpetually running in soccer. So the eye black would run.
    Tinted contact lenses, perhaps?

    Hey, does anyone have that link to MLB fonts?

    Would greatly appreciate it.


    If you’re talking about Eriq Jaffe’s old page, Ricko, I believe it’s no longer up.

    Best source for MLB fonts these days is to purchase them from Bill Henderson: link

    Say what you will about the “No Fun League”, the more baseball uniforms are desecrated by mismatched undershirts, non-uniform socks, holiday caps/jerseys, this clip-on tie nonsense and what have you, the more I appreciate the NFL’s strict uniform policies.

    Now if we could only get the NBA to reinstate the rule that a player’s shoes have to be in team colors…

    The Denver Broncos will be adding a decal to their helmets for the upcoming season honor/memorialize owner Pat Bowlen’s passing


    I went to Gulf High (New Port Richey, FL) and our nickname is the Buccaneers and we also have a history of poaching both the Packers G (and the kelly green and maize) and Bucco Bruce.

    As an A’s fan, I may be a bit partial in saying that their gold jerseys were the best uniforms in the MLB.

    This is a tragic loss.

    Phillies writer Mitch Nathanson (of the “33” article) has some excellent taste. I quote:

    “I’m not even going to address … any number above 54 because all of them are just plain stupid and are selected, I’m convinced, precisely because they make no aesthetic sense on a baseball diamond. If your goal is to look like a fool on the field I’m not going to call you out for achieving it. The most I’ll say is, “Mission accomplished, big guy.”)”

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