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Uniforms Appear as Part of George Floyd Protests

Good morning. Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where all three inhabitants continue to be safe and sound (more on that in minute).

Now then: Remarkable uni-related moment yesterday in Boston, where Celtics center Enes Kanter appeared at one of the George Floyd protests in his Celtics jersey. The video above shows him participating in an “I Can’t Breathe” chant, and he also addressed the crowd, as seen here:

Kanter wasn’t the only Celtics player to rep his team at a protest over the weekend. Forward Jaylen Brown, who’s a vice president of the NBA players’ union, drove 15 hours from Boston to his native Georgia, where he took part in a protest in Atlanta while wearing a Celtics cap:

Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Spurs guard Lonnie Walker wore shorts from his alma mater, the University of Miami, while volunteering to clean up on Sunday after Saturday night’s protests (you can get a decent view of the shorts at the 7:00 mark):

In addition to athletes joining the protests, some athletes have protested on the field. As Phil noted in yesterday’s Ticker, American-born midfielder Weston McKennie, who plays for Schalke the German Bundesliga, wore a “Justice for George” armband on Saturday:

Another Bundesliga player, Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, celebrated a goal yesterday by removing his jersey (and thereby earning a yellow card) to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd” on his undershirt:

Embed from Getty Images

In another Bundesliga match yesterday, Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram showed support for the protests by kneeling after scoring a goal:

If you know of other uni-related or visual developments regarding the George Floyd protests, let me know. Thanks.

Meanwhile: Because I live in Brooklyn, which is one of the places where the George Floyd protests and the police response to them have turned violent, some of you checked in over the weekend to see if Mary and I are okay (thank you for your concern!). Yes, we’re fine.

Obviously, what’s happening in our country is upsetting on multiple levels. But I’ve been really heartened to see that uniformed police officers in many cities have joined the protesters, shared the protesters’ messaging, joined them onstage, kneeled with them, and even, in one case, shared a hug with them. Pretty amazing stuff — gestures like these give me hope that we can get past the us/them narrative of citizens vs. cops, which ultimately serves no one.

Most importantly: I’m incredibly fortunate and privileged to walk through this life without having to feel nervous or fearful due to the color of my skin. As such, I know that no amount of goodwill or empathy on my part can even come close to making me understand what that kind of fear feels like, and no amount of outrage on my part can make me understand the anger that results from living with that fear and indignity every day. As a white man with a relatively comfortable middle class life, I’m trying my best right now to shut up, listen, and learn.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re staying safe, both from the pandemic and from the civil unrest.

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Click to enlarge

History mystery: I remember Cardinals third baseman Ken Reitz’s 1979 Topps card from when I was a kid. He had that big “44” on the side of his batting helmet. That’s a classic uni oddity — to my knowledge, no other Cardinal wore the big helmet number — but for some reason it never occurred to me to investigate it.

That changed over the weekend, when I got a note from reader David Swingle. He was watching old video of Tom Seaver’s 1978 no-hitter (Reds vs. Cards) and noticed Reitz’s helmet number in that game:

I posted those images on Twitter, asking if anyone knew more. @TexasTrevor quickly responded with a photo showing that Reitz also had a huge number on the back of his helmet:

And then @Whittness found a shot from a 1978 Cards/Phils game showing Reitz without the side number, so it definitely wasn’t a season-long thing:

That game against the Phillies was on April 15, so we know Reitz didn’t have the number then. We also know he did have the number while playing in Seaver’s no-hitter, which was on June 16. We can also see that the Topps photo was clearly taken at Wrigley Field, where the Cards played on May 19-21, Aug. 1-3, and Sept. 15-17 of that year. So it appears that Reitz wore the numbered helmet for at least a four-week span — mid-May to mid-June — and possibly much longer. (It’s not clear to me where the other photo — the one showing the number on the back — is from. Definitely a stadium with artificial turf. Anyone..? … Update: Several readers/commenters think that photo was taken at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. If so, that doesn’t add any new data to our helmet timeline, unfortunately, because we already knew Reitz wore the numbered helmet in Cincy during Seaver’s no-hitter. Dang.)

One possibility: Maybe a teammate mistakenly used Reitz’s helmet at some point (in which case the large numbers would mean, “Yo, this is my helmet, don’t touch it”), or maybe Reitz mistakenly used someone else’s (“Hey dummy, this should help you find your own helmet from now on”).

I’ve asked Cardinals historian Brian Finch about this, and I’ll also ask the Cardinals if they can put me in touch with Reitz. Stay tuned.

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ITEM! June Pin Club launch: All of our previous Uni Watch Pin Club releases were designed before the full scope of the pandemic became clear. So when Todd Radom and I turned our attention to the June pin, we wanted to acknowledge the current state of the world in a way that made sense for Uni Watch. So we came up with this (click to enlarge):

Our idea was that there will likely be no high-fives or fist bumps when the sports world starts up again, so we depicted an elbow bump. And we showed one player wearing green and one wearing purple, to symbolize how we really are all in this together.

This is a numbered edition of 300. Because of the cutouts in the design, it has two clutches on the back:

At present, we have no plans to do any other pandemic-themed pins (July, August, and September are already designed, and I already have an idea of what we’ll do for the final three months of the year), but we thought it was important to do something that reflected what’s been happening in 2020. I’m proud of the design, and I hope you like it too.

This pin is available here. If you need to get caught up, we still have some of the May pins left, along with the March, February, and January pins. (Sorry, April is sold out.)

Speaking of which: If you order multiple pins and find yourself getting hit with multiple shipping charges on the one order, go ahead and place the order and then email me with your order number — I can arrange for the extra shipping charges to be refunded.

And remember that you can save a 15% on all of the pins, and on everything else in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

While we’re at it:

• Don’t these cream and grey Brats mockups look nice? Wouldn’t it be fun, just theoretically, if they existed for real? If you agree, let me know.

• In case you missed it earlier, Uni Watch cufflinks, which usually sell for $26.99, are now just $16.99. Perfect for all those formal events on your busy shelter-in-place social calendar!

• I was about to run out of green seam rippers, but I just got another shipment from the factory, so I’m well-stocked on all colors.

• Don’t forget about the awesome Uni Watch chain-stitched patches, hand-made for us by the great Amy Bengtson!

As always, thanks for listening, and for your consideration.

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1930s EPL Trading Cards

Too good for the Ticker: Soccer radio guy Jason Davis recently posted these 1930s EPL cigarette cards on Twitter. Aren’t they amazing? There are 17 of them, and it’s definitely worth clicking through the entire set. You can also see them as a group here.

(Big thanks to reader Will Hughes for bringing this one to my attention.)

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Time for this month’s Vintage Brand raffle: Our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is once again sponsoring a raffle. The lucky winner will get to choose any item from the Vintage Brand website (including the Orioles T-shirt shown above).

This will be a three-day raffle and will be open only to people with American shipping addresses. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern on Wednesday, June 3. One entry per person. Again, USA shipping addresses only. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

Speaking of Vintage Brand, they’re currently running a 30%-off sale. Use the code WINNER at checkout.

And speaking of raffles, the winner of Friday’s membership raffle for non-USA readers is Matthew Walthert. Congrats to him, and big thanks to reader AJ Santiago for sponsoring that one.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball and Softball News: Yesterday’s Korea Baseball Organization NC Dinos/Samsung Lions matchup featured both teams wearing dark blue jerseys and white pants (from @taewoongii). … Here are some of the team logos from the late-’70s men’s softball American Professional Slow Pitch League (from Jeremy Brahm).

Football News: As a follow-up to yesterday’s entry, Wade Heidt tells us that Canadian junior football’s Langley Rams have a helmet design like the NFL team, but with inconsistencies in the shape of the horns. … James Gilbert finished a project to map most of the defunct venues where North Carolina played football. … Raiders RB Marcus Allen wore a black facemask, instead of the Raiders’ usual grey, in the 1986 Pro Bowl. Here’s another view (from Johnny Garfield).

Basketball News: Here’s Adam Childs’s list of the 15 “ugliest” men’s college uniforms. As usual, you’ll disagree. … A picture that Australia’s National Basketball League’s Adelaide 36ers posted to show the results of an “all-time greatest players” poll featured SF Robert Rose having what Brandon Sparks calls a “wild uniform malfunction.”

Soccer News: After Borussia Mönchengladbach D Mamadou Doucouré made his debut, teammate Marcus Thuram put Doucouré’s shirt on a corner flag and waved it around. … This is supposedly Real Madrid’s third shirt for next season (from Josh Hinton). … New shirts for Brazilian team Fortaleza and Swedish team Djurgårdens IF. … With the Premier League set to return with two games on June 17, the powers that be are considering holding certain games at neutral venues due to fears of crowds forming outside stadiums, something that hasn’t been reported elsewhere. … The NWSL’s return-to-play tournament, the Challenge Cup, is to have its own trophy. It’s generally assumed for now that the tournament is a replacement for the 2020 season. … The NWSL’s Orlando Pride posted two uni-related teasers yesterday, with a release coming tomorrow.

Grab Bag: Reader Harvey Lee points out that Cooper, a bygone hockey equipment brand (and the namesake for Cooperalls!), still lives on in Ireland through hurling, where players must wear hockey-like helmets with facemasks. Incidentally, hurling is near the top of my sports-watching list in quarantine becuase the Gaelic Athletic Association has been posting old matches of its sports on YouTube. … Chris Sale he was not: Before the Australian Football League’s 2007 Grand Final, Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams cut up the guernsey worn by a player who tore his Achilles in the previous game into 22 pieces, having one sewn to the guernsey of each player who participated in the final. No, it didn’t help. … Since AFL teams would have worn indigenous-themed jumpers last week, some Collingwood players wore last year’s design during training on Friday. … Still in Australia: The National Rugby League’s Sydney Roosters wore black armbands for second-row forward Mitch Aubusson’s father, who passed away recently. … The NRL is also letting fans have cardboard cutouts of themselves put in the stands where their team is playing. The league is currently using six stadiums for all its games.

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Saturday was really warm, so we got our first porch session in shorts, but yesterday was cooler, so it was back to long pants and jackets. Still a beautiful day, though.

We talked about the protests, about the country, and so on. And we watched for birds — I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but the past few weeks have been migratory bird season here, so we’ve seen lots of species that we wouldn’t normally see. In addition to our everyday birds that we see all the time (cardinals, blue jays, starlings, and soooooo many sparrows), we’ve seen woodthrushes, cedar waxwings, a scarlet tanager, an oven bird, mockingbirds, an oriole, a towhee, a house finch, and more. They’re all so amazing — nature is so fucking cool.

The branch is still there.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.

53 comments to Uniforms Appear as Part of George Floyd Protests

  • Shane | June 1, 2020 at 8:44 am |

    Schalke’s Weston McKinnie wore an armband during their game this weekend that had “justice for George Floyd” written on it, as well

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 8:54 am |

      Oh, duh — that was even in Sunday’s Ticker. I’ll add it to today’s text as well. Thank you!

  • Nick | June 1, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    Jadon Sancho would have received a yellow card for removing his jersey whether or not there was a message underneath.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 8:59 am |

      Thanks, Nick. I’ll clarify that in the text.

  • Harvey Lee | June 1, 2020 at 9:03 am |

    Cooper helmet: here is a link to where you can buy a helmet. https://www.ushurling.com/products/cooper-hurling-helmet
    Description is We used to believe that all hurling helmets were basically equal. We were very wrong. This helmet features adjustable hardware for a flawless fit. The liner is cloth covered as well as the cupped chin pad. The outer surface of the chin pad is rigid, the vents are incredible, and every single part is replaceable. This is truly the ultimate hurling helmet on the market today.

    Here is a young Gretzky wearing the SK 100.
    https://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2013/07/26/hockey_stick_teenager_wayne_gretzky_used_to_score_1000th_goal_on_auction_block.html

  • Dumb Guy | June 1, 2020 at 9:07 am |

    The latest Uni-Watch pin speaks to a lot more than just the pandemic–especially with the skin tones you’ve chosen.

    I did not think immediately of the the pandemic and elbow bumping, but of two hands/fists raised in unity.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 9:09 am |

      We didn’t plan that aspect of it, obviously, and it’s sad that it’s turned out to be topical in that added way.

      But yes, you’re right.

    • Frank from Bmore | June 1, 2020 at 9:22 am |

      I was thinking the same thing. This pin is even more relevant than it’s original intent.

      • Lou | June 1, 2020 at 9:39 am |

        And purple on a Uniwatch item in June!

        • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 9:41 am |

          Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures!

    • RS Rogers | June 1, 2020 at 2:41 pm |

      Came here to say that. The pin is really speaking to me this month. Thanks to Paul and Todd for this one.

      And I love the purple and light blue color scheme. Exactly what I wish the Rockies wore.

  • Ornery Ori-troll (O'stensibly) | June 1, 2020 at 9:12 am |

    O my – that Vintage Brand Orioles t-shirt is O sO sweet!
    Never seen that logo on any apparel before. It’s on the inside of the round 1966 World Series jersey sleeve patch…
    Gonna have to get me one of thOse.

    • Rick | June 1, 2020 at 9:51 am |

      May 3 deadline for Vintage Brand raffle…I got some time then.

      • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 9:53 am |

        D’oh. June 3, obviously. Now fixed.

  • Johnny O | June 1, 2020 at 9:33 am |

    Very powerful message via the pin design this month. Kudos to you and your team.

    I already purchased mine this morning. I am very excited to put them altogether some day.

    I know it has probably been mentioned, but has anyone crated a way to organize all the pins in the end in a way to display nicely? In the end I may just go to a craft sore to have them framed, but I will try and get creative myself first.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 9:41 am |

      Glad you like the design, John.

      I’ve posted photos of a few readers’ pin displays. I’ll continue to do that if/when people send me photos.

    • Greg | June 1, 2020 at 11:19 am |

      Agree. As well as with the opinions of others on here that the pin looks much more like symbol of solidarity amid racial unrest as opposed to being coronva related. And I actually prefer that because I hope a few years from now it has a special meaning as maybe this is the time our country finally comes together to address the numerous problems that exist below the surface, rather than the superficial shouting that invariably just leads us back the same horrific scenes again and again. A uni-watch reminder on display somewhere that this was the time we finally got our act together. And an appropriate one too, as I think Paul has always acted as great advocate for working together to make positive social changes.
      As far a display. I was thinking of framing a small piece of cork board to mount them on.

  • ML | June 1, 2020 at 9:34 am |

    I think the Langley Rams’ horns are the same shape, but the big fella’s horns were angled to wrap around his ear hole. Not sure why. That particular set is usually worn how the other players are wearing them, above the ear hole.

  • Anthony S. | June 1, 2020 at 9:50 am |

    Answering … It’s not clear to me where the other photo — the one showing the number on the back — is from. Definitely a stadium with artificial turf. Anyone..?

    I think it is Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

  • Alan from Cincinnati | June 1, 2020 at 9:51 am |

    It looks like the Ken Reitz photo with the number on the back of the helmet is from Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 9:54 am |

      OK, that’s two people who say Riverfront. I’ll add that to the text.

  • Eric | June 1, 2020 at 10:16 am |

    First thing i thought of when seeing this month’s pin is Celtics-Lakers as an ode to past NBA Finals (a June event, obviously).

  • Jay | June 1, 2020 at 10:25 am |

    As (probably) one of the few black guys who regularly comments here (I’m sure plenty more are lurking) let me just say thanks for the “More Importantly” section as well as the design of that new pin (whether or not the skin tones were intentional).

    The most important thing you said there was “listen”. I cannot stress enough how infuriating it is to try and explain to a white acquaintance how difficult (and not at all new) situations like what happened in MPLS are, only to have that person spout back words about “black on black crime” and “respect for authority”.

    None of those things saved George Floyd’s life, nor the lives of any other black men and women who’ve found themselves in a similar situation. What will work is trying our damndest as a society to show empathy and compassion for others.

    So thanks. And I’m ordering my pin now.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 10:30 am |

      Thanks, Jay.

      The skin tones were definitely intentional — we wanted the pin to be inclusive — although, obviously, we couldn’t have imagined or anticipated that that particular design element would resonate the way it’s turned out.

      Stay safe.

      • Jay | June 1, 2020 at 11:13 am |

        Thanks again.

    • Phil Hecken | June 1, 2020 at 11:38 am |

      Well said, Jay.

      We’ll get through this (and by “this” I mean not just COVID but everything else that’s transpired over the past months, weeks and days) together. Somehow. I’m confident.

      • diggerjohn111 | June 1, 2020 at 11:48 am |

        Absolutely, Paul! The phrase “We’re all in this together” seemed rather cliche after a while, but in light of those horrible events in Minneapolis, they REALLY ring true. The pin is a very fortunate yet apt circumstance.

  • Artie | June 1, 2020 at 11:25 am |

    Paul, I’m not sure if you’ve changed policies recently, but it looks like you used the Tugboat Captain’s real name midway through your column. If that was not intentional, I just wanted to give you a heads up.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 11:30 am |

      I’ve used it a few times lately. It’s fine. But thanks!

    • RICKAZ | June 1, 2020 at 11:45 am |

      I also noticed this. Extraordinary times with this and purple on the pin.

  • Brinke | June 1, 2020 at 11:30 am |

    Absolutely Riverfront in that photo. And I remember the Reitz helmet, wondered the same thing with the side #44.

  • Sean | June 1, 2020 at 12:15 pm |

    I’ve read through today’s post three times now, and I’m starting to feel a little stupid, Paul.

    “Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where all three inhabitants continue to be safe and sound (more on that in minute).”

    I can’t find the “more on that” that explains the “three inhabitants”. What am I missing?

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 12:27 pm |

      “Meanwhile: Because I live in Brooklyn, which is one of the places where the George Floyd protests and the police response to them have turned violent, some of you checked in over the weekend to see if Mary and I are okay (thank you for your concern!).”

      I guess I should have added, “Yes, we’re fine.” Which I have now done.

      • Sean | June 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm |

        Actually, Paul, I think “mike 2” below lifted the wool from my eyes. I was expecting some kind of note about the addition of an inhabitant. Forgot about Caitlin.

        But I’m glad to hear you’re all well!

        • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm |

          Ah, that. Yes, I’ve been referencing “all three inhabitants” pretty much every Monday since we’ve been sheltering in place, just as a way of saying, “We’re still OK — including Caitlin!”

    • mike 2 | June 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm |

      I suspect he means Caitlin the official uni-watch cat

  • Jim | June 1, 2020 at 12:22 pm |

    if it helps you Ken Reitz is active on facebook, you may be able to contact thru there, hope this helps, I appreciate Uni-Watch and all of the hard work that goes into it

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm |

      Thanks for the tip!

  • DAF | June 1, 2020 at 12:44 pm |

    I hadn’t heard of the oven bird before. I briefly wondered if it was a slang term for a chicken.

    I’ve started noticing house finches around my apartment too. They’re good-looking birds.

  • Patrick in MI | June 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm |

    I wonder if there is an oversized 44 on the left side of that batting helmet. We only see the right side and the back. Looking forward to having this mystery solved!

  • Daniel E | June 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm |

    Just some random bird-related information from your friendly neighborhood nerdy biology professor that may or may not interest you:

    House Finches are beautiful and fascinating birds, and the story of how they got to NYC is also fascinating. They’re actually a desert bird by nature and not native to anywhere in the eastern US. In the early 1900s they were sold as pets in New York under the name “Hollywood Finch” (because everything sounds cooler if it’s associated with Hollywood, right?). Then the Migratory Bird Treaty Act made it illegal to own them, and pet shop owners just released their stock en masse.

    The birds thrived and eventually spread all across the eastern US, all the way back to their native range in the west, so they now occupy basically the entire country.

    And Scarlet Tanagers are just BEAUTIFUL birds. I’m fortunate enough to see a few of them every year, depending on where I travel, and they never get old.

    • Paul Lukas | June 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm |

      I had never seen a scarlet tanager until two weeks ago. Absolutely ELECTRIC red — amazing!

      • RS Rogers | June 1, 2020 at 4:03 pm |

        They are a real treat to see! Here in southern Wisconsin (also true of my childhood southern Minnesota), we have but rarely see indigo buntings. A similarly bright, saturated plumage, but in shimmery iridescent blue. They prefer edge habitats, which we’ve got in plenitude in and around our neighborhood, but I think I’ve only seen one indigo bunting in the last five years.

        My 7th-grade science teacher, Mr. Stets, included a question on his spring final exam that required students to have remembered a digression in one of his fall lectures about optics where he mentioned the indigo bunting and talked a bit about light and color theory. My friend Dan was the only student in the class who correctly named indigo bunting on the test. The sight of an indigo bunting always reminds of of Mr. Stets, who was a fantastic and inspiring teacher, despite that tricky final exam question.

        • Daniel E | June 1, 2020 at 9:07 pm |

          I’m guessing the question was something related to how their blue coloration is produced by diffraction of light rather than by pigment?

          I’m in central Florida, at the southern extreme of their range. We get them mainly in winter and only in very small numbers, so always a treat to see.

  • John F. | June 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm |

    I love the 1930s cigarette cards and was wondering if any of you soccer fans know the background on the Crystal Palace card. It looks similar to anti-semitic cartoons from that era.

  • Keith S | June 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm |

    Really great words on the current situation nationwide Paul. As a white man I feel exactly the same. I’ll never be able to understand what it’s like to be in constant fear or the anger that can come from the injustice we see all to frequently. I can only offer my heart and hand to those most affected.

    Not that I didn’t already respect you, but this just reinforced that respect!

  • Ben Cox | June 4, 2020 at 11:22 am |

    I’m convinced the Celtics just give their team so much branded gear that they have nothing else in their closets. Used to work at a Chipotle near their practice facility where they were frequent guests (especially Danny Ainge, who was there so regularly that Chipotle gave him a lifetime “free meal” card). We could always tell who was with the team because (in addition to being freakishly tall and in very good shape) they were always wearing team outfits. The Bruins players came in all the time too, but they rarely wore branded stuff from the team.

    Regardless, it’s great to see them represent the team and the city during these protests.