Out by a Whisker: MLB Players Embrace Shaving Superstition

Screen shot by Sonny Lee Smith; click to enlarge

The in-game shave — a superstition that tends to go through cycles of popularity every now and then — appears to be in vogue once again. Last Friday, Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen shaved his ’stache during the game. And yesterday, as you can see in the screen shot above, it was Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig’s turn.

The last time there was a spate of mid-game shaving was in 2006. That season, at least three players retreated into the clubhouse and grabbed their razors during a game, beginning with A’s catcher Jason Kendall on April 6:

Next up, on June 27, was Dodgers catcher Russell Martin:

And then on Sept. 4, Yankees DH Jason Giambi got rid of his whiskers:

There are other examples. During Game Six of the 1986 World Series (aka the Bill Buckner game), Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens had plenty of stubble and a shadow of sideburns during the game but later on — after leaving the game but while the game was still in progress — appeared clean-shaven in the dugout (click to enlarge):

Of course, all of those earlier examples took place before the advent of social media. I suspect the current trend will go semi-viral for bit and then play itself out relatively quickly.

Update: Reader Matt Porges informs me that Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres also did a midgame shave the other day, so the current fad is definitely a thing:

“He actually made a shaving gesture after getting on base after the shave,” says Matt!

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For all photos, click to enlarge

Lapel pin reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, we’re now offering the Uni Watch winged stirrup logo as a sharp-looking enamel lapel pin. Full details here.

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IMPORTANT plate reminder: Remember, I’m taking pre-orders on the Uni Watch 20th-Anniversary Plate up through the end of this week. We’ll probably have a very small supply of additional plates available, but not many. So if you want to get in on this one, move fast. Full details here.

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And nobody’s even dodging them: Yesterday’s New York Times had an article about how you can see lots of art and history in the Hudson Valley by riding “an adorable green trolley with bells and brass rails” (shown above).

Green-Wood Cemetery here in Brooklyn, just a short distance from Uni Watch HQ, also offers trolley tours. And if you’ve ever been to Cooperstown, you may have noticed that there’s a trolley there as well.

Or at least that’s what they call these vehicles — trolleys. But of course they are not actually trolleys. They are buses dressed up to look like trolleys.

Lots of towns/cities have these faux trolleys, so we take them for granted. But when you stop and think about it, it’s really weird to dress up one form of transportation in a costume to resemble another form of transportation.

Yeah, trolleys are supposedly “nostalgic” or “quaint” or something like that. But outside of San Franciscans, most people who are alive today have never even seen a real trolley, so it’s an odd form of nostalgia to be peddling.

When and where did the faux trolley trend start? Who manufactures these things? Would tourism really collapse if they reverted to being, you know, buses?

One other thought: Like most forms of “quaint” tourism marketing, this one is peddling a very white-oriented version of nostalgia. In the non-nostalgic real world, black people weren’t always welcome on trolleys, so they may see something very different — something not quaint at all — when they see a faux trolley.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: A high school in Idaho has decided to stop calling its teams the Redskins at the urging of the Shoshone-Bannock and Nez Perce tribes. “Idaho still has two schools whose teams are called the Savages,” says Brett Thomas. “Hopefully those will be next.” (Also from David Augusto.)

Baseball News: The Astros have revealed the first plaques for their team Hall of Fame (from Ignacio Salazar). … Gasparilla-themed jerseys this Saturday for the Tampa Tarpons. … Not sure if we’ve seen this before, but here’s the 2019 Postseason logo. … Since 2016, the Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds have had a “Blue Lives Matter” patch on the back of their jerseys as a memorial for two local sheriff’s deputies who were killed in the line of duty, which has gone largely unnoticed until now. The team insists that it’s not political — a pretty disingenuous position, given that Blue Lives Matter was conceived specifically to be a political counterweight to Black Lives Matter. Seems like there must be a better, smarter way to honor the two local officers.

NFL News: Here’s why No. 7 is important to new Washington QB Dwayne Haskins (WaPo link) (from William Yurasko). … Remember the 1930s throwbacks that the Steelers wore in 1994? There’s a supposedly game-issued jersey from that uniform available on eBay.

College Football News: West Texas A&M will open its new stadium on Sept. 7. You can see renderings of it here and here (from Kary Klismet). … Hmmm, does Ole Miss have a light blue jersey in the works? (From @bk_owens.) … Georgia fans want the team to wear black jerseys against Notre Dame on Sept. 21.

Hockey News: Reader Jeff Wilk found this newly posted video featuring lots of 1964 Blackhawks footage. It includes some shots of then-coach Billy Reay wearing a team cardigan and baseball cap, along with several glimpses of some primitive helmets and other headgear. Good stuff.

NBA News: Here’s one observer’s rankings of every Thunder uniform (from Sam Scovill). … Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson’s shoe deal with Jordan/Nike will reportedly be the richest ever for a first-year player. … For yesterday’s NBA jersey number updates, check out Etienne Catalan’s Twitter feed.

Soccer News: Watford FC received over 4,000 entries in a design contest to create the team’s new logo. Here are some of the best submissions (from @pfangmeyer). … For a roundup of yesterday’s kit unveilings, check out the Twitter feeds from Josh Hinton and Ed Zelaski.

Grab Bag: Here are the staff and volunteer uniforms for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (from Kary Klismet). … Speaking of the Tokyo Olympics, the medals are being made from old cellphones and other electronics (from Rogelio, Orozco). … Marvel fans don’t like the logo for the new Loki streaming series. … Gross: A British woman ended up with an Adidas wordmark sunburn on her leg (from @cttrace). … Pro golfer Justin Thomas will wear the shoes designed by 14-year-old cancer survivor at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (from Griffin Smith). … At an appearance on Tuesday, President Trump spoke in front of an incorrect presidential seal/logo, which had apparently been tweaked to mock him by including a Russian symbol and a bunch of golf clubs. … Check this out: a tattoo that resembles cross-stitching! Now they need to do likewise for chain-stitching (from Manzell Blakely). … New rugby league uniforms for Great Britain & Irish Lions (from Josh Gardner).

93 comments to Out by a Whisker: MLB Players Embrace Shaving Superstition

  • Bernie | July 25, 2019 at 7:42 am |

    I agree, call a bus a bus. But just to mention, there are many Philadelphians and Bostonians who commute by trolley every day. Some are suitably quaint (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEPTA_Route_15#/media/File:Route_15_PCC.jpg) and some are less so (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEPTA_Route_36#/media/File:SEPTA_K-Car_Subway_Surface.jpg).

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 7:45 am |

      Ah, did not know that — thanks!

    • Iain | July 25, 2019 at 8:05 am |

      Toronto too, although none of the cars currently in service have that traditional look. Vintage cars are available for rent – https://www.blogto.com/sports_play/2016/03/how_to_rent_out_a_ttc_streetcar_in_toronto/

    • MJ | July 25, 2019 at 8:14 am |

      Seconding Philadelphia. And aren’t the trolleys in New Orleans still actual trolleys (streetcars)?

      • SingCo | July 25, 2019 at 8:50 am |

        There is a streetcar network in Baltimore (they call it “light rail.”)

        A similar line serves on an old right-of-way between Trenton and Camden, N.J., called The River Line.

        • MJ | July 25, 2019 at 9:56 pm |

          The River Line is more light rail than traditional trolley. (Still waiting for the 2nd line to come south into Gloucester County…)

      • Christopher Falvey | July 25, 2019 at 10:11 am |

        We in NOLA call it “The Streetcar” indeed.

        And it is slow, completely disorganized, and a big PITA to use. But I guess, sure… “quaint.”

        • Michael Stewart | July 25, 2019 at 1:25 pm |

          In the ‘70s, New Orleans had trolleybuses on French Quarter routes made to look like the St. Charles streetcars. I was always excited to ride them. I wouldn’t have been riding the real streetcar on those trips, so this was the next best thing. I think they’ve continued to have some newer versions since then.

    • Peter | July 25, 2019 at 8:31 am |

      What about in Tampa?
      It’s a streetcar, but it’s still another name for trolley!

      • StLMarty | July 25, 2019 at 8:53 am |

        And Desire.

      • Jim | July 25, 2019 at 12:43 pm |

        Tampa definitely counts, although there’s a bit of a difference between Philadelphia and Boston — which have continuously had trolleys/streetcars — and cities like Tampa, which had trolleys once upon a time, got rid of them after World War II, and decades later built a new “historic” trolley line.

    • Ryan M | July 25, 2019 at 8:55 am |

      The St. Louis (U City, actually) neighborhood known as The (Delmar) Loop had a proper trolley installed recently, but it seems to have had continual problems, from installation delays to illegally-parked cars halting its trip. It’s only about a 2-mile run from the western end of The Loop to the other end in Forest Park and, moreover, the touristy stretch of Delmar that it runs along is easily walkable, at only about 3/4 of a mile long.

    • Steve | July 25, 2019 at 11:27 am |

      I haven’t seen one in a few years, but my city’s municipal bus system used to have one or two faux-trolley buses. They looked beautiful, but were really uncomfortable because the seats were crammed in at odd angles/locations and were all hard wood surfaces.

    • Nate | July 25, 2019 at 11:29 am |

      Pittsburgh’s light rail is a direct descendant of the old streetcars, which leads many to still refer to it as the “trolley”. It still runs on the streets in some neighborhoods on the old trolley tracks.

    • Drew B. | July 25, 2019 at 11:35 am |

      This may be outside the scope of your comment, but as some who lived in Hong Kong for several years, I rode their trolley on Hong Kong island. It is a normal part of public transit there.

  • Jeff Stark | July 25, 2019 at 7:53 am |

    It was rumored that Ole Miss might wear powder blue jerseys against LSU last season. Funny to see the Rebel fans embrace the powder blue tradition. It was actually a mistake by the helmet provider many years ago. Instead of the dark blue, they were equipped with powder blue helmets. They decided to go ahead and wear them. The rest is history.

    https://twitter.com/olemissgameday/status/1044738355441934336

  • Matt D | July 25, 2019 at 7:57 am |

    Those pins are quite sharp, Paul. Great medium to convey the layers and details a stirrup and wing offer. One of the best Uni Watch merch items ever. [Goes to search couch for loose change.]

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 7:58 am |

      Those pins are quite sharp…

      Insert obvious joke here. ;)

      Seriously: Glad you like, Matt! I actually rejected an initial batch because the colors didn’t look right, but I’m really happy with how the revised batch turned out.

  • James | July 25, 2019 at 8:13 am |

    Paul, just thought you should be aware that when accessed by iPhone, the Uni Watch site has been plagued with annoying bogus “virus alerts” and ads that take you away from the site to another web address without even clicking any link. It has rendered this site almost unusable from my phone and has turned me off from visiting as frequently.

    • MJ | July 25, 2019 at 8:15 am |

      It’s your phone, it isn’t the web site. It happens to me when I am on UW maybe once or twice a month but it happens when I am on other sites.

  • Todd | July 25, 2019 at 8:28 am |

    Hockey cardigans need to make a return immediately! Sadly, I fear that they would be “modernized” to the point of disaster by the manufacturers.

  • Peter | July 25, 2019 at 8:29 am |

    Unable to read the NY Times article as it is behind a paywall.

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 8:34 am |

      Being able to read that article is not the point. The point is that it’s about a bus masquerading as a trolley.

    • Peter | July 25, 2019 at 8:38 am |

      So why provide a link to something that you cannot see?
      When you click it, you see the image for a second or two then you get: Thanks for reading The Times.
      Create your free account or log in to get 10 articles a month.

      Kind of moot, don’t you think?

      • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 8:46 am |

        So why provide a link to something that you cannot see?

        1) Incredibly enough, not everyone is a NYT non-subscriber like you. Some people subscribe to the Times and *can* read it.

        2) As you yourself just noted, the article is not actually paywalled. You can read it — and nine other articles per month — if you sign up for a free account.

        3) I routinely provide links to things just to substantiate that I’m not making something up. It’s standard web-publishing protocol.

        It’s fine to read the article, but it’s not essential to the larger point I’m making.

  • Chris | July 25, 2019 at 8:38 am |

    Roger Clemens also shaved mid game when he won his 300th game.

  • Jim Dornberger | July 25, 2019 at 8:39 am |

    Cities that operated PCC trolleys from the 1940’s:
    Boston, MA
    Dallas, TX
    El Paso, TX
    Kenosha, WI
    Philadelphia, PA
    San Francisco, CA
    Toronto, Ont, CAN

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCC_streetcar#/media/File:Muni_1051_at_Second_Street,_October_2017.jpg

    These cities operate Trolleybusses (rubber tires, trolley poles to powered overhead wires)
    Boston, MA
    Dayton, OH
    Philadelphia, PA
    Seattle, WA
    San Francisco, CA
    Vancouver, BC, CAN

    http://www.trolleybuses.net/phl/htm/usa_h_phl_newflyer_809_frankfordave_01_sb_20080601_rvible.htm

    • Joe Werner | July 25, 2019 at 11:17 am |

      That’s a list of cities that CURRENTLY operate PCCs, correct (you used the past tense, “operated”)? There are quite a few other cities/agencies that once ran PCCs, but have since retired their whole fleet.

  • Jason Shane | July 25, 2019 at 8:48 am |

    Don’t call ‘em trolleys in SF – they’re cable cars.

    In addition to the cable cars, there’s also streetcars: https://freetoursbyfoot.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2.-Streetcar-Stop.jpg

  • Tim | July 25, 2019 at 8:50 am |

    It’s pretty disingenuous to call the blue striped American flag a political statement Paul. That flag predates the BLM movement and is used to as a memorial for fallen law enforcement officers. The same memorial flag is used for fallen firefighters, except with a red line. They are referred to as the thin blue line/thin red line. It seems you are the one who is being political. Shame Paul.

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 8:54 am |

      I am not being political at all. I am simply suggesting that a team should not use a political logo.

      BlueLM is clearly a political group/movement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but perhaps it would be better not to use their logo on a sports uniform. That’s my only point.

      I was not aware, however, that the logo predates BlueLM. If that is true, then I agree that the situation is more complicated that I initially thought. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

      • Tim | July 25, 2019 at 10:33 am |

        The thin blue line/ thin red line flags have been used for over a decade by non-profits dedicated to helping families of fallen first responders. They are used on t shirts, hats, and other merch sold to raise money for scholarships and other programs. While some of the Blue Live Matter groups have used it, it’s unfair to label it as some sort of political statement about BLM.

        Aside from large urban areas where BLM/BlueLM have clashed, it is recognized as a memorial to fallen cops/firefighters. This is something that isn’t seen as controversial everywhere that hasn’t had a BLM/BlueLM clash.

      • Jeff | July 25, 2019 at 3:57 pm |

        Hi Paul,

        Longtime reader here.

        Wanted to address, as others have, your comment about the Thin Blue Line Flag. This far pre-dates any Blue Lives Matter movement. You can find examples of the thin blue line being used on the Canadian Flag, Union Jack, Israeli flag, etc. I wouldn’t take it as a political statement, and I would trust the organizations reasoning behind it, which is to honor a fallen officer.

        Also, if you have an issue with this flag appearing on a uniform, because it could be perceived as political, which is fair, do you hold the same position for more left wing displays? What about the players wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts? Or a more neutral, “Je Suis Charlie.” If you want to advocate against political statements on uniforms, why not be consistent across the spectrum? The two examples above were not necessarily team sanctioned, but since they clearly were allowed by the team you could argue that they are advocating for the same position. Another example is the “hockey is for everyone” campaign. You could argue that the rainbow flag has become political in the same way. Should the NHL not participate in that campaign? Should they not have their players in rainbow flag jerseys or sell merch with their team logo in rainbow colors? Not saying I’m against it, I just would appreciate some consistency.

        • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 4:02 pm |

          What about the players wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts? Or a more neutral, “Je Suis Charlie.”

          Apples and oranges, Jeff. To my knowledge, no team has ever incorporated either of those on a team-wide basis. As soon as a team does that, like the IronBirds did, I’ll be sure to address it.

          As for individual player messaging (like initials inscribed on caps/shoes, “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, etc), I tend to report all of it without commenting much on it one way or the other unless it’s wildly out of line, like when Yunel Escobar put a homophobic slur on his eye-black stickers in 2012 (which, as I hope you’d agree, is worthy of condemnation). So I’m actually more consistent than you appear to realize.

        • Jeff Ford | July 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm |

          Paul- thanks for your response. Not sure why I can’t respond directly, so I apologize.

          I see what you’re saying on the individual player messaging. I would argue that anything that happens while a player is “at work,” the team is responsible for. Not the same thing as what happened with the IronBirds, I get it, but I think we can agree to disagree on that.

          What about the Hockey is for Everyone campaign? There are direct team-wide mandates on that one from stick tape to warm up jerseys. I don’t have an issue with it, but I can see where it could be perceived as a political message in the same way the blue line would be.

          You do seem to be consistent on your dislike of the use of the American Flag in uni- elements, which I agree on.

        • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 4:42 pm |

          What about the Hockey is for Everyone campaign?

          I’m generally fine with things are that meant to be inclusive. Telling a long-oppressed and -marginalized group that they’re welcome in a sports world that for generations ran on a macho ethos seems like a positive message. I understand why some people might view it as “political”; I just think it’s a decent thing to do, and a good way to help grow the sport.

          Thanks for the civil tone of your communications, which I appreciate. (And as for teams being responsible for whatever their players do, I bet there’s a big group of team officials who’d tell you, “If only!”)

    • Ryan M | July 25, 2019 at 9:04 am |

      The “thin blue line” certainly does predate BLM, but it certainly has experienced a massive surge in popularity or use in the past 5 years or so. Now you see bumper stickers all over… black-and-white American flags with a single blue stripe, police badge with a blue stripe (again, as a bumper sticker), the Punisher logo with a blue stripe (super-ironic, given his role as a vigilante). Not to mention yard signs along the lines of “we support our police” containing, once again, the blue stripe. To call it apolitical is to completely ignore everything that’s been going on in this country for the past 5 years.
      https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=thin%20blue%20line
      https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=blue%20lives%20matter
      https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=blue%20lives%20matter,thin%20blue%20line
      https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=Black%20lives%20matter

      • RS Rogers | July 25, 2019 at 9:30 am |

        Yeah, the Thin Blue Line flag long predates Blue Lives Matter. But it’s been adopted by Blue Lives Matter activists, as well as by overt fascists and by white supremacists, such as at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” riots. Which is why a number of police departments nationwide have stopped using it. (Also, it’s a form of flag desecration, and it is based on a very problematic view of the purpose of policing.)

        But even absent its current association with radical violent extremism, it’s an overtly political symbol. “I support the police” is a political statement! Just because one agrees with a political statement doesn’t make it un-political. A non-political way to honor the fallen officers would be to wear a patch with their names, or a patch depicting their badges and dates of death, or even just a plain black armband. The Thin Blue Line flag conveys a much larger political statement than mourning for two individual fallen officers.

    • AJ Kane | July 25, 2019 at 9:38 am |

      Politics aside, the Blue Lives Matter (and similar flags honoring firefighters and other first responders) are in violation of the US Flag Code, and while there are no legal repercussions for violating the flag code, it does seem like and odd juxtaposition to honor law enforcement by desecrating the flag.

      • C. H. Baldwin | July 25, 2019 at 4:46 pm |

        Why is it disrespecting the flag when law enforcement does it, but it is OK when fire departments, EMT’s, dispatchers, etc., use it in that form also?

        • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm |

          I think AJ meant it’s *always* in violation of the flag code, in all of these cases. But the minor league team that we’re discussing here is specifically doing it to memorialize two law enforcement officers, so he’s saying that that’s a questionable way to honor them — by violating the flag code. The same would be true if the team were honoring two fallen firefighters, EMTs, etc.

    • seriously? | July 25, 2019 at 12:06 pm |

      It’s extremely disingenuous to deny the fact that a flag, of any country, is inherently political. The flag of a nation modified to show support for the law enforcement of that nation is political. The increase in popularity of that symbol as a direct response to criticism of police brutality is clearly political. To suggest otherwise is being willfully obtuse.

      • Long time, first time | July 25, 2019 at 1:49 pm |

        What did you call me? Obtuse, as in deliberate.

  • Clint Richardson | July 25, 2019 at 8:54 am |

    Back in March, Auburn’s Edouard Julien shaved mid game. He had been in a slump, went to the dugout after an at-bat, shaved, and then got a hit the next at bat.

    Naturally I can’t find any of the tweets or videos that discussed it when searching for it.

  • Foot Locker Fiend | July 25, 2019 at 8:54 am |

    One thing to know: the Woodson Jersey is a replica, similar to what would be sold at some of the major sporting goods stores of the time such as Mitchell & Ness.

    Starter did mass-market a cheaper-looking hemmed version of this jersey with full sleeves and no number on front, mostly sold at Foot Locker.

  • DenverGregg | July 25, 2019 at 8:56 am |

    as to trolley nostalgia, chain restaurant Old Spaghetti Factory has featured trolley cars as seating areas in restaurants for fifty years scroll down a bit for details. at the now defunct Denver location, this was especially fitting as the building where the restaurant was located had been a trolley service building.

    the Denver suburb of Englewood features nostalgia for a unique horse drawn trolley. the horse would pull the trolley uphill, but ride in the back for the downhill trip.

    • Joe Werner | July 25, 2019 at 9:29 am |

      There is a museum here in Rochester, NY, that has one of these trolleys on display from the Old Spaghetti Factory location that was in Rochester, but eventually closed. All the tables and chairs are still in place, and they offer it up as a space to have your kid’s birthday party, which includes admission to the museum, and a ride on their actual trolley, which is the only trolley operating “under wire” anywhere in the state of NY. My younger daughter asked to have her birthday party there a few years ago (when she was into trains and princesses!!!), and all the kids enjoyed it.

      http://www.nymtmuseum.org/

    • Block "O Canada" | July 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm |

      We have a similar restaurant chain in Ohio, but it’s called Spaghetti Warehouse.

  • StLMarty | July 25, 2019 at 8:56 am |

    Bill Reay!
    That’s almost exactly the look I show to teach in everyday. That hat is removed, of course

    • StLMarty edits | July 25, 2019 at 9:24 am |

      show up

  • Tony T | July 25, 2019 at 9:23 am |

    Looking at the MLB Postseason logo, it bugs me that they didn’t go completely ROY-G-BIV on the outline. It feels like they tried, going clockwise, but the blue and green are switched around. I wonder if that’s on purpose or if it’s a mistake, and, if it’s a mistake, if they plan to change it? More than likely whoever approved it didn’t notice and just said “Looks great!” and sent it forward for production.

  • DenverGregg | July 25, 2019 at 9:24 am |

    also the double-headed eagle had a venerable history in the later Roman empire before its adoption by Russians and other Slavs.

  • Daniel Tarrant | July 25, 2019 at 9:30 am |

    I definitely have to tip my hat to any Uni Watcher whose eye for detail causes him or her to be able to notice when a baseball player’s facial hair disappears during a game.

  • Johnny | July 25, 2019 at 9:32 am |

    Having lived in Beacon and going to college next door to Cooperstown, I’m familiar with those “trolleys”. They also have one in Poughkeepsie owned by an Irish bar near the train station.

    Now I live in Pearl River, NY and have yet to see a “trolley”. We do have olive mailboxes though.

    • Mark K | July 25, 2019 at 9:41 am |

      Black or green?

      • Johnny | July 25, 2019 at 11:34 am |

        Haha. It’s olive green. With blue paint showing where chipped.

  • Marcus Jackson | July 25, 2019 at 9:37 am |

    If Ole Miss’ football team wears powder blue tops, I hope that it’ll have different striping on its pants, which currently have navy on them.

  • Jay | July 25, 2019 at 9:58 am |

    Scary red hats, Thin Blue Line now a “political” symbol, Trolley’s “peddling white nostalgia”, etc…etc…etc… **FACEPALM**

    This site is increasingly becoming very Social Justice Warrior like. Wait, is “Warrior” still okay to use? I promise I wasn’t referring to Indians..err..Native Americans.

    Anyways, it’s unfortunate because I truly enjoy visiting the site. For now I’m gonna try and keep scrolling past the politics, but c’mon. Give it a break.

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 10:07 am |

      1) My red hat article took no sides. It simply described an interesting and surprising social phenomenon.

      2) I didn’t write the article about the BlueLM patch — The Baltimore Sun did. Simple Ticker item. Are you honestly suggesting that we shouldn’t Tickerize a uni-related article published in a major metropolitan newspaper?

      3) Are you honestly going to argue that most “quaint” tourism nostalgia *isn’t* based on a white version of the past? I’m simply pointing out that a old-timey trolley may resonate differently for different kinds of people, because the old-timey times were very different for different kinds of people.

      4) I have never understood the use of “social justice warrior” as an insult. Wasn’t our country founded by social justice warriors? Weren’t most of our greatest national heroes social justice warriors? Wouldn’t most of us, if we saw a social INjustice taking place, try to do something about it? Wouldn’t you?

      • Bud | July 25, 2019 at 11:22 am |

        ‘Social justice warrior’ became pejorative when people starting using it, particularly the ‘warrior’ piece, for things like trying to get hashtags trending on Twitter instead of going out into the world and trying to enact true social change. Most people who use the term pejoratively would argue that our greatest national heroes were social justice ACTIVISTS, not warriors. That’s why it’s an insult.

        • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 11:26 am |

          Pretty sure the only hashtag I’ve ever used is #NoUniAds.

          Interestingly, when I do try to use the site in an activist manner (pushing back against things like camouflage uniforms, Native American iconography, rental car banners included in color guards, etc.), people come up with insults for activism too. Imagine that.

      • Jay | July 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm |

        1) Like some stated after you posted it, it’s ridiculous that some people can’t distinguish the difference between red sports hats and MAGA hats. Along with people feeling scared, when they see a red hat so far away that they can’t even tell what’s on it. If we go out and talk with our neighbors, and fellow citizens, I think we’d find we’re not at odds as much as Mainstream Media would like for us to believe.
        You may have tried to be unbiased in sharing the “phenomenon”, but in doing so, you portray something silly as a serious epidemic. It’s material best left for tabloids and satire pieces.

        2) As you showed in these comments, you, and evidently many more online, didn’t even realize that the “Thin Blue Line” predates BLM. So in this case, yes. Just because a big newspaper publishes a story doesn’t mean it has to be shared.

        3) C’mon, be real. The comment about “white nostalgia” didn’t need to be added in there. That’s the problem with SJWs these days. They want to find controversy in EVERYTHING. Anybody looking at a trolley, IN 2019, and seeing white privilege, needs to reevaluate things.

        • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 3:15 pm |

          You may have tried to be unbiased in sharing the “phenomenon”, but in doing so, you portray something silly as a serious epidemic.

          No, I did not portray it as a “serious epidemic.” Why do you choose to exaggerate and distort like that? If your argument is as strong as you apparently think it is, why do you need to embellish it with over-the-top language that is self-evidently incorrect? It just makes everything else you say seem less credible and makes it harder to maintain any kind of dialogue.

          I portrayed the red hat thing as an interesting and real social phenomenon — which it is. That was evident not just from the fans and cap aficionados I interviewed but also from the retail sources who told me that red caps are now problematic. I’ve made it clear that I find the whole thing surprising, so you and I actually agree on that point. The fact that you think the whole thing is silly and that the people engaging in it are ridiculous doesn’t change the fact that it’s a real thing. Reality exists whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

          The comment about “white nostalgia” didn’t need to be added in there.

          I disagree. Since the whole point of the faux trolley is to portray a nostalgic fantasy of an idealized past, I think it’s worth noting that the very notion of idealized nostalgia can play very differently to different groups of people. Many black Americans don’t have very fond memories of the country during the quaint trolley era, and some of them may not have fond memories of actual trolleys because they were not permitted to ride them, all of which makes it worth asking why a tourism bureau would choose to go this route. I’m sorry you find that observation troubling. Again, reality exists whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

  • Ryan Adams | July 25, 2019 at 10:09 am |

    Extremely interested in a pin, but PayPal isn’t an option to pay with. Don’t have the other 3 and really don’t want to download one just to buy a pin.

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 10:13 am |

      For complicated and frustrating reasons, I can’t use PayPal.

      If you email me (plukas64@gmail.com), I’ll give you my mailing address so you can send me a check.

      • Ryan Adams | July 26, 2019 at 8:58 am |

        I don’t do checks for complicated reasons as well. Guess I’ll save myself $15

  • Curt Rogers | July 25, 2019 at 10:14 am |

    We had trolleys/street cars on and around Main Street here in Memphis long ago, and they made a comeback in the early 1990s, and have been very popular ever since. Great way to get around downtown.

    However, the city took them out of service for several years between 2014-2018 after a couple of fires broke out, and replaced them with those look-a-like buses you profiled. It wasn’t the same, and usage dropped fairly dramatically. Thankfully the trolleys are being rehabbed and refurbished, and some have been back in service since April of last year.

    https://www.memphistravel.com/trip-ideas/ride-downtown-memphis-trolley

  • Dan R | July 25, 2019 at 10:26 am |

    50 years from now, will people be reading about uni-watch lapel pins and anniversary plates in a “collector’s corner” type of blog?

    I say yes!

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 10:27 am |

      Ha! If so, I won’t be around to see it. Could we dial it back to 30 years? ;)

  • McSean | July 25, 2019 at 10:51 am |

    Minor error, but Loki is a TV/streaming series, not movies.

    And, yeah, SJW as an insult say more about the person dishing it out than the “accused.”

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 11:03 am |

      Thanks for the Loki info. Fixed.

  • Max W. | July 25, 2019 at 10:56 am |

    Interesting to see the Black Hawks (as they were known then) wearing red at home against the Canadiens in 1964, over 40 years before that became the convention

    • LI Matt | July 25, 2019 at 11:31 am |

      The convention (rule, actually) has changed a few times over the years.

      When the league first mandated white-vs-color in the early ‘50s, the teams could choose which one they wore at home. Four teams chose color, New York and Montreal chose white (which meant they only wore their colored sweaters against each other). Then the league made “color at home” universal in 1956, which changed to “white at home” in 1971 and back to “color at home” in the 2000s.

  • Jim Howicz | July 25, 2019 at 11:25 am |

    I never thought about the streetcar issue. I have fond memories about riding the streetcar when I lived in New Orleans. I am disappointed by my ignorance of the social issues surrounding them. I found the attached article that discusses how they were desegregated in 1867. It is an interesting read.

    http://werehistory.org/the-new-orleans-streetcar-protests-of-1867/

  • Tim | July 25, 2019 at 11:30 am |

    There’s plenty of misuses/modifications of the US Flag. You’ll find umpteen examples doing an image search. A few examples:

    Raiders
    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41VJyDCSeJL._SX425_.jpg

    Steelers
    https://fanatics.frgimages.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productimages/_2875000/altimages/ff_2875250alt1_full.jpg&w=325

    Sounders
    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0369/4273/products/06915115_grande.jpg?v=1436308293

    Rams
    https://fanatics.frgimages.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productimages/_2875000/altimages/ff_2875253alt2_full.jpg&w=900

    You’ll note a couple of these come from the licensing arm of the NFL via Fanatics. It’s not right, it just is.

    • Joal | July 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm |

      But just because SOME people (including the NFL via Fanatics) choose to desecrate a flag (at least as defined by the US Flag Code), that doesn’t necessarily make it something worth perpetuating.

      (And for what it’s worth, I’m a Raiders fan…and find that Raiders design hideous on multiple levels!) :-)

    • AJ Kane | July 25, 2019 at 2:02 pm |

      We both agree that it’s not right, but that means there’s not any reason why a civic organization like the police should be perpetuating the misuse of the flag. Especially considering police unions are vocally against other prominent violations of the flag code.

  • Richard Paloma | July 25, 2019 at 12:25 pm |

    The flag displayed by the Aberdeen Ironbirds is frequently referred to as “Blue Lives Matter” but this it erroneous and often used to create controversy. The actual name for the flag represents the “Thin Blue Line.”
    The meaning of the Thin Blue Line Flag: The Blue represents the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds. The Black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.

  • Sam | July 25, 2019 at 3:13 pm |

    I thought the Yankees disallowed facial hair anyways…

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 3:26 pm |

      Beards disallowed, but not mustaches.

  • Jim Vilk | July 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm |

    My dad (who is very much alive) remembers the streetcars of 40s/50s western Pennsylvania, so it wasn’t just a NY/SF thing.

    And while it needs to be acknowledged that not everyone was allowed on a trolley or streetcar, that’s not to say that everyone who pines for nostalgia also pines for segregation. Unfortunately I’ve run into people who think if you miss *anything* from the past, that means you miss *everything* from the past.

    I prefer to think it’s better to just celebrate the return or continuation of trolleys and to be glad that everyone can now enjoy them.

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 3:25 pm |

      that’s not to say that everyone who pines for nostalgia also pines for segregation.

      I didn’t say or even imply that, Jim.

      What I meant — and I’ll spell it out more plainly here — is that presenting an idealized view of the past may be received differently by different groups of people, because some’s people’s pasts were significantly less than ideal. So if you’re a tourism bureau trying to appeal to a broad group of people, it’s worth asking if you may be alienating black people by presenting an idealized fantasy of a quaint past — a past that wasn’t so quaint for black Americans.

      I’m not suggesting that this is intentional or that people who like old, nostalgic things are racists. As anyone who reads this website is probably aware, I like lots of old, nostalgic things myself! But I think the trolley, as a tourism draw, is an interesting and maybe problematic totem of an era that some people may recall much more fondly than others. When you add in the fact that the whole notion of putting a costume on a bus is fairly ridiculous to begin with, maybe it’s worth asking if there might be a better way to attract tourists. That’s all.

  • Michael Emody | July 25, 2019 at 3:44 pm |

    There’s a few Facebook groups that post photos of early and mid 20th century CTA rolling stock. Chicago had the vintage-looking trolleys in regular service until the mid 1950’s. Here’s a photo from January 54 of a boxy-style trolley on Cermack Ave., with a passenger train in the background heading for LaSalle Street Station: https://farm1.static.flickr.com/596/31863028171_b3bdc8bea3_b.jpg
    Chicago also had these behemoths, running on rails and powered from overhead in the 50’s though this photo is from the IL Railway Museum: https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7386/9619771620_134166c3cb_b.jpg. I don’t know if it’s too big to qualify as a “trolley” but it’s on rails. Here’s a mid-50’s photo of both types in service: https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3839/32404500574_518ce0eeee_b.jpg. Btw, the red livery on the smaller trolleys is from Chicago Surface Lines, which became part of the CTA in 1947.

  • Mike C. | July 25, 2019 at 5:10 pm |

    On the shaving during games: I remember watching a game at the Kingdome on the USA Network in the mid-’80s (Yes, USA did carry MLB games at one point), when Mariners pitcher Bill Caudill came into the game to finish out an inning. Caudill, who was known as a bit of an oddball, had a beard when he first came in, but then when he came back out to pitch the next inning, he had HALF his beard shaved off. Then, he came out for the inning after that clean shaven.

  • Shawn Klis | July 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm |

    Paul, your lead reminded me of pitcher, Bill Caudill. Back in 1983, when he was with the Seattle Mariners, he entered a game with a half shaved beard one inning and then shaved it off before the next. I remember listening to this game on the radio (as Paul referred to a couple of days ago, one of those random things I’ve always remembered)

    In googling that incident, I found this piece of game notes from the Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists…

    7. First (and only) Seattle athlete to play a game wearing just half a beard. Between innings of a 1983 contest against Toronto, Seattle closer Bill Caudill shaved off half his beard. After pitching the next half-inning half bearded, during which he took a line drive to the chest off the bat of Barry Bonnell, Caudill shaved off the remaining whiskers.”

    • Paul Lukas | July 25, 2019 at 5:13 pm |

      We need photos — or better yet, video — of this!

      • Scott | July 25, 2019 at 10:15 pm |

        Can’t imagine that, if the game was broadcast, This Week in Baseball didn’t show footage of Caudill. Hope someoe turns up photos or video…

      • Joe Suarez | July 26, 2019 at 1:34 am |

        Not a photo or video, but a quick internet search turns up a mention in “Hairy History Revisited.”

        https://www.espn.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/080410

  • Patrick | July 25, 2019 at 6:08 pm |

    A special mention to Bobby Valentine for doing the reverse facial hair moment. I still laugh about it to this day.

  • Matt Konrad | July 26, 2019 at 3:10 pm |

    I’m not sure if they were the first faux-trolleys, but Historic Tours of America/Old Town Trolleys got their start here in Key West in the 1970s — according to them, with some extremely jury-rigged vehicles:

    “To transport retail customers to the restoration area along the city’s main street, the partners bought a company called Old Town Trolley Tours which consisted of two cut down bread trucks pulling a boat trailer with a metal awning roof and a plywood floor to which garden bench seats were attached. This was our start in the Transportainment business.”

    (From: https://www.historictours.com/aboutus/index.php)

    I must say, “transportainment” is a new portmanteau for me!

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2019 at 3:10 pm |

      You just wanted to say, “portmanteau”! (And I don’t blame you one bit.)

  • Mike Gallagher | July 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm |

    There is a major manufacturer of trolley buses in Chandon, WI: https://hometown-mfg.com/

    Wisconsin Public Television did a story on them: https://video.wpt.org/video/hometown-trolley-gwo7pg/