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Here’s Your Uniform — But It Won’t Be Your Uniform

Almost exacty four years ago, on Oct. 29, 2015, the Padres introduced newly hired manager Andy Green and, per the usual custom, had him don the team’s then-current jersey.

As it turned out, Green never wore that jersey on the field, because the Padres unveiled a new uni set about a month later. So that introductory presser was probably the only time Green wore the team’s 2015 jersey.

In a weird case of déja vù, the same scenario seems poised to unfold again in San Diego, as the Padres have reportedly hired Jayce Tingler (one of the all-time great sports names, no?) to be their new skipper. He will presumably be introduced to the media in the next few days — well in advance of the team’s planned uniform unveiling on Nov. 9. So they’ll probably give him one of the outgoing 2019 jerseys, making him the second consecutive Padres manager to wear a jersey at his introductory presser that he’ll never wear on the field.

That got me thinking: How many players and managers have worn a jersey at a press conference or at some other introductory event that they never got to wear in a game? My favorite example — admittedly by default, because it’s the only one I can think of off the top of my head — involves another manager, Dick Williams, who suited up in a Yankees uniform for the first and only time on Dec. 13, 1973 (click to enlarge):

Williams’s Wikipedia entry explains how this happened:

Williams had a surprise for [A’s owner Charles O.] Finley [after the 1973 World Series]. Tired of his owner’s meddling, and upset by Finley’s public humiliation of second baseman Mike Andrews for his fielding miscues during the World Series, Williams resigned. George Steinbrenner, then finishing his first season as owner of the Yankees, immediately signed Williams as his manager. However, Finley protested that Williams owed Oakland the final year of his contract and could not manage anywhere else, and so Steinbrenner hired Bill Virdon instead.

I’m sure there are lots of other examples of this — with players as well as managers, and in other sports as well as baseball — but I can’t come up with any because I’ve never thought about this topic before. If you can document any additional instances, please feel free to post them in today’s comments.

Frankly, the ritual of having a player or, especially, a manager don a jersey at a press conference now feels so predictable and rote that I’d be happy to see it scrapped, or at least dialed back a bit. It might have carried more symbolic weight during the pre-merch era, when only on-field personnel could wear the uniform, so presenting a new player or manager with a jersey would really confer some form of official legitimacy. But nowadays, when a jersey feels more like a piece of lifestyle apparel, the press conference ritual feels a lot less special, at least to me (plus it always looks particularly ridiculous to see someone wearing a jersey over a dress shirt and tie, as Green did in the photo at the top of this entry). I hadn’t thought about this before, but maybe the best thing about NFL, NHL, and NBA coaches not wearing uniforms is that we don’t have to see them putting on jerseys at their hiring pressers.

(My thanks to Bruce “BSmile” Menard for unearthing the Dick Williams photo several years ago, and to the anonymous reader — he knows who he is — who brought up this topic regarding San Diego’s managers.)

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Plus-one raffle reminder: Speaking of the Padres, I’m raffling off my plus-one spot for their uniform unveiling in San Diego on Nov. 9, 6pm. To enter this raffle, send an email to the raffle address by 7pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. Please don’t enter unless you can actually be in San Diego on Nov. 9. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

While we’re at it: The Uni Watch party in San Diego will take place on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Wonderland Ocean Pub. We’ll convene there at 4pm and hang out until at least 7pm. This bar supposedly has great ocean views, but sunset on Nov. 10 will be at 4:51pm, so plan accordingly!

Speaking of the San Diego party, the deluxe sublimated version of our brown shirt is now available and features a custom sleeve patch commemorating the party (along with multicolored collar and sleeve-cuff trim; click to enlarge):

That shirt is available here. Meanwhile, the conventional brown T-shirts (cotton, no sleeve patch, no contrasting collar or sleeve cuffs) are also available in white-wing and yellow-wing versions.

No word on whether Jayce Tingler will be attending the party, but I’m working on it.

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Worth a thousand words: So much uni-related goodness in this 1975 ABA photo — the Spirits’ awesome chest insignia, the lowercase lettering on the Colonels’ NOBs, Marvin Barnes’s FiNOB. Even the Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum’s multicolored (empty) seats look great!

I can’t remember if we’ve discussed Barnes and his FiNOB before, but it was a apparently standard thing for him during his time with the Spirits. Here’s a shot of his home uni (click to enlarge):

(My thanks to Jerry Wolper for bringing Marvin Barnes’s FiNOB to my attention.)

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Click to enlarge

Some new prototypes: Designer Bryan Molloy — the man who created the winged stirrup — surprised me this week by sending me a some samples of Uni Watch toques! They have the winged stirrup on one side and the Uni Watch script on the other, but there’s no way to show both logos on one person in a single photo, so I had to press another model into service.

Yes, I know the shade of green isn’t the same as our usual Uni Watch shade, but that’s the color that’s available for this stock hat. Similarly, it would be fun to have the pom in yellow (or even a mix of yellow and green), but again, this stock hat only comes with same-colored poms, so that’s just the way it goes sometimes. (There are some other hat brands that allow for mixing/matching the hat and pom colors, but those brands have visible maker’s marks, and I will not put out a Uni Watch product with a visible maker’s mark, so that’s that.)

Bryan made these on his own and sent them to me as a possible new project. Should we go ahead and do it? I’m definitely open to it — it’s a fun item, and I always get a kick out of seeing the Uni Watch logo on something (it feels so official!). On the other hand, it’s not a particularly creative project from a design or conceptual standpoint, and I never want to feel like we’re just doing a merch dump.

I’ve been pretty bad at forecasting which items will or won’t be popular. I thought the gumball helmets would sell out quickly (they’ve sold okay, but not like I thought they would), and I had no idea the press pins would be such a hit (if I had known, we would have made way more of them!). So instead of guessing how popular these hats might be, I’ll let you tell me. If you think you’d be interested in purchasing one, please shoot me a note. Thanks.

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So this is a bit awkward: Early last December, when I still worked for ESPN, they asked me to be a talking head for a series of documentaries they were producing to commemorate college football’s 150th anniversary. So I went to a studio, sat in front of a camera, and answered a bunch of questions from a producer. It was nice to be asked to participate on-camera, something that had rarely happened during my time at ESPN.

About 10 days later, they informed me that they wouldn’t be renewing my contract. No hard feelings, I had a good run there.

Nearly a year and one very short-lived stint at Sports Illustrated later, I had forgotten all about the CFB 150 video shoot, but the footage is finally being broadcast. I wouldn’t have known, because I don’t actually watch ESPN unless they’re showing a game that I want to see (sorry, SportsCenter and PTI and all the other shows I don’t watch), but lots of people have been seeing me on TV and tweeting screen shots at me and offering congrats — all of which is nice but also a little weird, given that I no longer work for ESPN.

On the plus side, at least they styled “Uni Watch” correctly (two words, space in between, no hyphen).

Footnote: Less than two weeks before SI pink-slipped me, they had me sit down to be interviewed by two of their baseball writers. It was supposed to be the pilot for a new podcast that the baseball writers were planning to launch. I think both of those writers survived the purge. I wonder if that podcast interview will end up seeing the light of day next spring.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Matthew Emerson

Baseball News: The Yankees announced that D.J. LeMahieu is a Gold Glove finalist at second base by tweeting an image of him playing first base (from Andy Garms and Tony Burke). … With the Nats’ blue jerseys bringing them good luck, the team has changed the Division Champions banners at Nats Park from red/white to blue (from Stephen Kurpin). … William F. Yurasko writes: “[DC] Metro and the Nats have been squabbling for years about late-night service during the playoffs, but now Metro employees will have special Nats hats for the World Series.” … The Texas League’s 2020 All-Star Game logo has been released (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer).

NFL News: The Bears will wear their orange jerseys — my least favorite set in the entire league — Sunday against the Chargers (thanks, Phil). … Joe Werner sends along this video detailing the creative process behind the Steelers’ mono-black alternates, and this video of some Steelers players’ opinions on them. … The Vikings wore their mono-purple alternates last night. … Paul is quoted in this article about the Patriots’ 1990s uniforms.

College Football News: TCU’s ugly mono-grey-with-red-accents homecoming unis are drawing “mixed reviews” (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer and Mark Rybczyk). … Arizona State is going mono-white and will wear Adidas’s sustainable uniform this Saturday against UCLA (from @DervishOfWhirl). … Oregon is going mono-black — err, mono-nightmare-green — against Washington State on Saturday (thanks, Phil). … Red-black-red for Louisville this weekend (from M. Brinston Berry). … UNLV is going white-black-red. … Stony Brook is going mono-white tomorrow (from Alex Peck). … Washington State is going grey-white-grey in one of the least attractive uniform combos of the weekend (from Chad Lehman).

Hockey News: The AHL’s San Antonio Rampage will rebrand as Los Chimuelos de San Antonio for a Dia de los Muertos game, and the sweaters are excellent (from David Kemper).

NBA News: Hawks G Tyrone Wallace will wear No. 8, and Nets SG/SF Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will wear No. 15 (both from Etienne Catalan, who you should follow to stay up-to-date on NBA uni numbers).

College Hoops News: Iowa women have new unis, with a very nice script (from David Hanson). … Hawaii’s basketballs will have a 100th-season logo this year (from Charles George).

Soccer News: Portuguese side Benfica became the first team to wear UEFA’s “Equal Game” logo on their shirts during Wednesday night’s Champions League game against Lyon (from @MikeDfromCT). … The Premier League’s winter ball has been releasedPaul thinks it is, and I quote, “groovy.” I agree! … Liverpool has won its court case against New Balance, paving the way for a new kit deal with Nike (from our own Jamie Rathjen).

Grab Bag: An Ohio high school cross-country runner was disqualified from a competition for wearing a hijab, even though she had previously worn it in competition without incident (from @walbergLines). … Australian rules team Port Adelaide released a 24-page document to all major Australian news outlets giving explicit directions on what the team is to be called (from Shawn Hairston).

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Happy Birthday to Nicklaus Wallmeyer, a card-carrying reader in Alexandria, Va., who’s turning 12 years old today. Enjoy your special day, Nicklaus — hope you get everything you wish for when you blow out the candles! — Paul

Comments (79)

    I like managers putting on a jersey in press conferences. I normally agree with you on the selling out/merchandising angle. But this doesn’t bother me at all. It still feels symbolic to me.

    I wonder if the Padres new manager will wear the current brown alternate to (in theory) be closer to what the team will wear next year.

    Once upon a time, grey/white/grey was Wazzu’s standard uniform on the road – although they looked a lot better with NFL stripes on the pants and helmet.

    Yes, what may be “horrid” to some is a welcome throwback to others (me). Last week’s gray/crimson/gray was nice in that same way.

    Actually, I would love to do bedsheets, in the style of the old Sears/NFL sheets. I even asked a sheet manufacturer about it, but the quantities would have to be larger than we could handle.

    Oh my god yes. Please revisit this. But I’d imagine it must be impossible to offer multiple sizes.

    Hmm, a Uni Watch beach blanket, styled like the White Sox “beach blanket” uniforms, perhaps???

    My Mt Rushmore of best sports names is Pete LaCock, Dick Pole, Rusty Kuntz, and DeWanna Bonner. I doubt there is room for Jayce.

    Dick Trickle FTW!

    I remember around the age of 8 or 9 walking to the store with a friend and each of us buying a pack of baseball cards. The odd part is that at the time, I didn’t collect baseball cards, or even follow sports at all, so I’m guessing I just went along with what my friend was getting. But I ended up getting a Darryl Strawberry card (would have been either his rookie card or 2nd year card), which I traded to him for a Rusty Kuntz. I had no idea at the time who Darryl Strawberry was (clearly my friend did), but the name Rusty Kuntz was instantly funny to me!

    Somewhere there is a picture of Vida Blue in the “new” Oakland A’s jersey, from 1987.

    He signed with the A’s. There was a press conference, with him in jersey and then he abruptly retired a month later.

    People introduced in jerseys they never wore? Sure, Russell Westbrook and the very last Seattle Sonics draft picks, before they became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    There’s a photo of Grant Jackson and a 1976 Pirates jersey that he wouldn’t wear in a regular season game in link.

    Good choice on Wonderland. I was out in SD for business the same time last November, a friend who used to live out there recommended the place to me and agree that it is great choice with amazing views. Excellent spot to watch the sunset. Hopefully there is a good uniform to celebrate. The supposed leaks from the focus groups weren’t particularly encouraging.

    Some 1997 Vancouver Canucks items for “Here’s Your Uniform – But It Won’t Be Your Uniform”:

    -Mark Messier wearing the old Skate logo during practice. Think this was in training camp. Canucks changed to Orca logo in 1997, the season Messier arrived.


    -Trevor Linden wearing the Orca jersey featuring the captain’s “C”. Linden never wore the “C” while skating in the Orca jerseys. Linden gave the captaincy up to Messier in 1997-98.


    While we are speaking about the Canucks and the old Skate logo, here is the throwback gear for both goalies Markstrom and Demko. Worn in practice yesterday. First look at the masks they will wear when they wear the black throwback uniforms.


    At this point, managers almost never are seen wearing the team’s jersey. Usually managers and coaches wear some kind of warmup gear. Many now wear a top with the team logo on the right and a number on the left, or the tops with the lighter contrasting shoulders and sleeves.

    Usually managers and coaches wear some kind of warmup gear.

    Untrue. First and third base coaches always wear the full uniform.

    Some managers still wear the full uni. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts, for example.

    Seeing that hideous script on that Padres jersey is just another reminder of how badly I want the return to BROWN.


    When the Bruins introduced Zdeno Chara in 2006 as their team captain he was presented with the #44 – a number which he never wore, switching to #33 when the season started.


    Similar to that, the Canadiens introduced Jonathan Drouin with a #72 jersey.
    His old #27 (from Tampa Bay and QMJHL Halifax) belonged to Alex Galchenyuk, but for whatever reason Drouin took #92 instead. For whatever it’s worth, the Habs once dished out #72 to Erik Cole, so #72 wouldn’t have looked that weird.

    LeCharles Bentley wore #00 at his introductory press conference after signing with the Browns. He ended up wearing #57 in training camp, but suffered a horrible knee injury and never actually played a down for the team.


    I wonder why they were playing in Cincy? The Colonels got pretty good crowds in Louisville. My dad used to take me to a few Indiana Pacers games a year. It seems like we always either saw the Colonels or the Utah Stars. I never got to see Dr. J even once.

    Trying to remember – I think that the Colonels started playing a few home games in Cincinnati the last few years of the ABA, after the Royals left Cincinnati for KC/Omaha. Just the Colonels trying to expand their territory. I grew up in Louisville; saw the Colonels a couple of times but the last time was in the 73/74 season; seems like both times were vs. the Pacers, and one of the games was in Louisville Gardens instead of Freedom Hall.

    Related to the “Uniforms they never wore” thing…

    I’ve got a team-issued Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform from 2000 (the last year for their original rainbow set) for Brent Abernathy. Abernathy was acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline that season, but he didn’t make an appearance for the Devil Rays until the 2001 season (the first for Tampa Bay’s green set).

    I don’t know if they expected to call him up and something happened, or if they kept those on-hand for everyone on the 40-man as a matter of course.

    So, admittedly, I am not much of a baseball or New York historian, but this is the first time I have ever seen Yankees and Shea together. I was unaware the Yankees played at Shea. It’s kind of jarring, like I slipped into an alternate universe.

    I could be wrong, but didn’t the football Giants play at least one season in Shea as well during the construction of Giants stadium?

    Yep, the Giants and Yankees both played their 1975 seasons at Shea (the Yanks in 1974 as well). Yankee Stadium II and Giants Stadium both opened in 1976.

    Also, Happy Birthday Nicklaus!

    Happy to share a birthday with you, and if memory serves, today is the 12th birthday of my Uni Watch Card!

    I remember when the Blue Jays announced their new uniforms prior to the 1997 season and this was an alternate:


    They had some players model this jersey (I think Carlos Delgado was one of them) but it never made it on the field.

    One example of a coach being presented with a jersey he’d never wear (because he left two weeks later): Manny Diaz was presented with a football jersey at his Temple introductory presser last December. He left to take the same HC position at Miami.

    I think the most frequent example of guys not wearing the jersey are draft picks who end up traded before playing for that team.

    Players selected in the NHL draft often have their rights traded before they ever actually make it to the NHL and, as a result, never wear the team’s jersey or uniform other than on stage at the draft or in promotional photoshoots.

    Perhaps most famously, Eric Lindros was presented with a Nordiques jersey at the ’91 draft but I don’t think he ever wore it.
    Peter Forsberg was given a orange Flyers jersey which he did wear on draft day that same year; by the time he actually was on Flyers roster in 2005-2007 the team ditched that jersey style.

    Lindros did not put the Nordiques jersey on in 1991 at the draft.

    26 years later, did actually put a Nordiques jersey on during a French-Canadian TV talk show:


    Can’t find a pic right now, but in 1996 when the Detroit Pistons unveiled their teal unis Allan Houston modelled them, then signed with the Knicks a couple of weeks later.

    That’s the pic I was thinking of, never seen it in colour though! Good find.

    When Ryan Smyth signed with the Avalanche, he received the Avs’ original sweater for his introductory press conference in the summer of 2007. They began wearing their (unfortunate) Reebok Edge sweaters for the 2007-08 season. link

    All through 1966 spring training new Oriole Frank Robinson wore an Oriole uniform that he would never wear in the regular season because the Birds changed their uniforms when the regular season began.

    Marcell Dareus on the Bills was drafted in April 2011 and presented with this jersey:


    The Bills redesigned their uniforms in June 2011, so he never ended up wearing it.


    In April 2002 the Bills drafted Mike Williams and traded for Drew Bledsoe. They were introduced at press conferences with Super Bowl era red, white, and blue jerseys. That summer, before the season started the team switched to the dark blue monstrosities.

    “UNLV is going white-black-red. … Stony Brook is going mono-white tomorrow (from Alex Peck).”

    The Tweet says they are wearing silver helmets.

    Bonus: the Sabres unveiled the new red and black jerseys toward end of the 1995-96 season with an open practice at the old Memorial Auditorium. The next season they moved into the new Marine Midland Arena down the street. This was the only time wearing the red and black jerseys at The Aud.


    When Paul Pierce signed a one day contract to retire as a Celtic, he was given a jersey with the GE as patch, although he never wore that jersey as a Celtic.

    Uniforms they never wore: I submitted a Ticker item in 2017 on this. If a soccer player suffers a season-ending injury early in the season, they might not get to ever wear one or more of their team’s kits from that season because of the annual replacement cycle.

    “Washington Spirit (NWSL) midfielder Joanna Lohman posted a picture of her Spirit change shirt from this past season on Twitter. The catch is that she suffered a torn ACL 20 minutes into the first game of the season in April, so this is a shirt that she never wore on the field.”

    Also, I can’t think of any particular examples, but I would imagine that many soccer players signed during the summer pose with the previous season’s shirt if their team hasn’t revealed next season’s yet, even though they won’t wear it.

    High school cross country coaches and governing bodies are the worst. I remember reading a lot of stories back when the rubber bracelets were ubiquitous and no one had a problem even during races, then a parent or coach would file a protest after a race and get runners from the opposing school disqualified. It would get overturned after an appeal but it was rare. Ditto with hair scrunchies, e.g. not allowed or not in the same color as the uniform, etc. It is teaching the athletes to hate and have contempt for authority, but the silver lining is that they’re taught that life isn’t fair and rules aren’t applied consistently so it’s actually preparing them for the real world in a cruel and twisted way, especially when the offense and subsequent infractions and disqualification occurs at a league final and the offending accessory (single gold chain) or article of clothing (longer socks than rest of the team) was not aiding the performance.

    When I saw the headline for today’s entry, I thought it was going to look at the fact that a player rarely (I assume, at least) wears the exact same physical jersey they’re given in their introductory press conference in a game. I’d imagine in a sport like football or hockey, where players wear shoulder pads, the press conference jersey is a couple of sizes smaller than a player’s game jersey.

    You guys know I got to have a CFL one for you for “Here’s Your Uniform But It’s Not Your Uniform”.

    Raghib “Rocket” Ismail made waves by signing with the Toronto Argonauts in 1991 rather than going to the NFL.

    He has the old Argonauts jersey (last worn in 1990) at the press conference:


    Argonauts had new uniforms in 1991:


    Paul, you got a shout out in Drew Magary’s column today on Deadspin: link

    You’re mentioned about halfway down, under the Jets/Jags game, talking about why NFL players wear long socks.

    With the exception of the flying Elvis on the shoulders, I really think those 1993-1999 Patriot unis were their best. I suppose they could have had the alternate NE logo on there but unadorned is ok too. I’m probably in the minority on this though.

    How about a Uni Watch pop socket? It could be the winged stirrup logo.

    With the exception of the flying Elvis on the shoulders…

    That’s a big exception! Those shoulder logos are brutal! I’ve always felt like they’re the real visual signature of that jersey.

    As a Patriots fan, those mid 1990s uniforms always seemed clownish, even when the team got to a Super Bowl in them. The flying Elvis helmet logo was great from the start as a replacement for the Pat Patriot helmet logo, but it wasn’t until the team got its current uniform set that the team finally had a solid identity to replace the red jerseys.

    Wally Backman was hired as the manager of the Diamondbacks in 2004 and fired four days later. He wore the Diamondbacks jersey at the press conference but never managed a game.


    Days late on this, but when Lloyd McClendon was hired by the Pirates, not only was he wearing the Pirates 2000 jersey, but it still had the Three Rivers Stadium final season patch the sleeve!


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