Uni Watch Bookshelf: ‘The Fabric of the Game’

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Today is Nov. 3 — a date that many of us have been awaiting with increasing anticipation and anxiousness. For those of us of a particular persuasion, it’s a date we thought might never get here. Indeed, as the pandemic has dragged on and this crummy year has done its worst to make our lives as miserable as possible, the promise embodied in Nov. 3 has served as the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel that’s kept us going. We’ve been counting down the months, weeks, and day for what seems like forever, but now that date has finally arrived.

I’m referring, of course, to today being the official publication date for Fabric of the Game: The Stories Behind the NHL’s Names, Logos, and Uniforms, the much-anticipated new book by longtime Uni Watch pals/allies Chris Creamer and Todd Radom. It’s a sensational book, as you’d expect from these two gents — you should own it.

The book examines the origin stories behind every past and current NHL franchise, including how the team came into existence, how it got its team name, and how its logo and uniforms were developed. The text is packed with quotes and passages from archival sources, and is supplemented by tons of color photos and illustrations (including some developmental logo sketches, which are fascinating!).

Each team gets its own chapter. I’ve decided to share the one for the Ducks, because it does a particularly good job of showing the book’s range in terms of text, photos, logos, and so on (for each page, you can click to enlarge):

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Great stuff, right? The book is hardcover, color throughout, has a foreword from former NHLer Lanny McDonald, and runs 280 pages. As you’d expect, there are lots of great little details, like sweater-themed endpapers and the hilarious authors’ photos:

Obviously, I’m biased, because Chris and Todd are both longtime friends of mine. But seriously, it’s an excellent book — an essential addition to any uni-centric library, and a great gift item to boot.

And at $24.99, it’s a bargain. You can order it from the online behemoth, of course, but consider getting it from your local indie book shop — they need all the help they can get these days. No matter where you order the book from, though, you’re going to enjoy it. Trust me.

But wait — one lucky Uni Watch reader will get the book for free, because Chris and Todd have offered to let me raffle off a copy!

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email with your mailing address to the raffle in-box. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck!

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ITEM! Quadrennial Election Day purple project: As you may be aware, there’s another reason Nov. 3 is a notable date on this year’s calendar. That means it’s time to revisit, as we do every four years, a phenomenon I’m mildly obsessed with: the trend of TV reporters and pundits wearing purple on Election Day.

For the uninitiated: The idea here is that the Democrats are blue and the Republicans are red, so mixing the two together yields the supposedly nonpartisan color of purple. Wearing purple thus becomes the reporter’s way of signaling, “Just reporting the facts here. Not rooting for either side.” (Yes, I realize many reporters are rooting for one side or another, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is simply the phenomenon of TV reporters wearing purple on Election Day.)

Longtime reader Griffin Smith, knowing my interest in this trend, already tweeted some screen shots this morning! Dig:

In the past, I’ve invited people to email Election Day screen shots to me, but that eventually became overwhelming, so let’s stick to Twitter this year. If you spot any TV news reporter, pundit, analyst, or talking head (local, national, broadcast, cable, public access, whatever) wearing a purple necktie, purple dress, purple suit, or any other purple clothing or accessories, take a screen shot and tweet it with the hashtag #PurpleReporters2020. (Please do not tag @uniwatch in your tweet — just use the hashtag.) Also, please include the name of the reporter and the TV station or network. Thank you in advance!

Speaking of Election Day: This political season has been stressful for many of us, but I’m really proud of how we’ve stayed on-topic and kept the Uni Watch comments section free of partisan electioneering. Let’s please keep it that way today. Thanks.

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NBA leaks, continued: The latest purported City alternate leak from Brazilian spigot @camisasdanba is the laughably bad Kings design shown above. About eight hours after the leak began circulating, the team went ahead and officially announced the design:

In other NBA developments:

• The purported Warriors leak is now confirmed, as the team officially unveiled the design. Note that they managed to include their jersey partner’s advertiser’s name in the headline and, in what may be a record, a whopping 12 times in the text.

• The Nets’ previously unveiled tie-dye throwback now has a matching court design:

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

With today having special significance in the United States, Collector’s Corner is happy to lead off with this dynamic presidential duo of Washington Nationals Abe Lincoln and George Washington racing bobbleheads. The seller notes these were from the 2018 All-Star Game FanFest. Perfect for Election Day!

But wait, there’s more! How about a complete set of racing president bobbleheads (and one garden gnome)? This is quite the impressive collection, and includes Hoover, Coolidge, Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, and Taft bobbles, along with a Teddy gnome. If you’re a Nationals fan, you’ll likely vote for this set, right? 

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• This 1970 NFL poster should be quite popular with People Who Get It™. It’s called “The Evolution of the Uniform.”

• The NFL Players Association endorsed this 1970s faux-Steelers Mean Joe Greene jersey shirt.

• Terrific NFL helmet logos on this 1970s spiral notebook.

• Check out this 1960 set of 13 vintage penny arcade baseball mini-telescopes, from the Plastic Processes Co. of Freeport, N.Y. Peer inside and you’ll see stars like Mickey Mantle, Warren Spahn, Yogi Berra, Eddie Mathews, Gus Triandos, Joe Adcock, Luis Aparicio, Nelson Fox, Don Drysdale, Roy Sievers, Elston Howard, Chico Carrasquel, and Willie Mays.

• This 1939 42-page booklet is called Play Ball America!. “Baseball Centennial 1839-1939; How You Can Celebrate Baseball’s Birthday In Your City!” The problem here, of course, is that the notion of baseball having been invented in 1839 is a myth.

• Another baseball milestone item here: This is a Jim Beam decanter celebrating the 1969 MLB 100th anniversary.

• Did Joe DiMaggio really play in these Starline baseball shoes? They’re about as low-tech as you can imagine, but then these are from the 1950s. “It Pays To Play With EJ” — that’s a reference to the Endicott Johnson shoe brand, which was a big deal back when we actually made shoes here in America.

• This Babe Ruth pocket knife has a great illustration of the Babe right on the handle. Uni Watch colors, too!

• Wilt Chamberlain endorsed this mint condition 1960s Spalding basketball. It’s naturally official size and weight, with a “NY-Weave Built Permalite Cover.” 

• Finally, in tribute to one of my heroes, we have this 1966 Corgi Aston Martin DB5. R.I.P. to SC, the original 007. 

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Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for November is now available. It’s a limited/numbered edition of 200, and we already sold 105 of them in the first day. You know what to do!

Need to get caught up? Here are the January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, and October pins (sorry, April sold out!), along with our 2020 Press Pin and our basic winged stirrup pin.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: While going through his dad’s stuff, @uselessdoug found an old 1988 World Series program that included a six-page spread on the history of baseball uniforms by none other than the great Marc Okkonen. … Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio wore a Rockies pullover during a press conference on Monday (from @sportsdenpod).

Football News: The turf tape that Saints RB Alvin Kamara wears on his arms goes all the way up to his shoulders (from Benjamin Thomas). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Broncos coach Vic Fangio wore a Colorado Rockies pullover during a press conference on Monday (from @sportsdenpod). … Columbia has published a history of its football helmets on its website to celebrate the program’s 150th anniversary (from Jace McKeighan). … The ACC Tracker has been updated through week eight.

Hockey News: We have our first look at the Sharks’ 30th-anniversary patch, thanks to this video. The team all but confirmed its authenticity in a subsequent tweet (from Kurt Zamora and Chris Avila). … Golden Knights G Logan Thompson has a new mask design (from Wade Heidt). … LW Patrick Maroon has won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Blues and Lightning, but his name isn’t engraved consistently on the Cup — he’s listed as “Patrick Maroon” with the Blues and listed as “Pat Maroon” with the Lightning (from Wade Heidt). … Quinnipiac’s new alternate uniforms have reportedly leaked (from @nickyguerrero). …New 65th-season logo for the Rochester Americans of the AHL (from Joseph Pitirri). … This 1978 interview with then-NHL President John Ziegler discusses the Maple Leafs’ decision to use NOBs only on the road. He also discusses the decision by Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard — who also owned the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats — to paint the Tiger-Cats logo on the boards against league rules (from an anonymous reader).

Basketball News: The Heat’s jersey advertiser has been bought, so the team will have a new ad patch next season (from @livensleazy). … Not the best photo, but we have our first look at the new uniforms for the Temple women’s team (from @UntillTheNight).

Soccer News: This blog counts down the seven best uniforms Diego Maradona wore during his time with Napoli (from Ed Żelaski). … Barcelona wore a new combination of their third uniform this weekend, wearing black shorts and socks instead of green. Reports indicate that players pushed for the changes because they thought it looked better (from @texastrevor). … In the UK, schoolchildren from low-income families are eligible for a free school lunch every day. That offer is typically extended during winter holidays, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been slow to move on legislation that would make that possible in 2020. According to Mark Gillingham, a group of soccer fans started the #KitsForMeals movement, where fans wear “notable, obscure or interesting football shirts,” post photos of the shirts on social media, and donate to Fare Share, a charity supporting meal provision.

Grab Bag: Syracuse is adding championship banners and retired numbers to the rafters of the Carrier Dome (from @PhillyPartTwo). … Michael Jordan’s new NASCAR team, 23XI Racing, unveiled the new paint scheme for Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 car on Monday, and it features a very Bulls-esque color pallette (from Mike Chamernik). … We’ve got another NASCAR/football jersey crossover from Luis Fernando, this one for driver Chase Elliott. … English Rugby Super League club Wigan Warriors have a new badge (from Mark Cartman). … Splenda incorporates an American flag into their UPC code to indicate that it is made in America (from David Raglin). … The U.S. Navy has approved new uniform rank tabs that should stand out better on camouflage uniforms. The old tabs were harder to discern, which led to sailors having to stare at each others’ chests to discern their shipmates’ pay grades (from Joshua Tretakoff). … “I voted in Maryland by dropping my ballot in a drop box,” says Andrew Hoenig. “They did not include any ‘I Voted’ stickers in the envelope. But today, when I received an email notification that my ballot was accepted, I was given the option to download a digital sticker.”

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I’m making an exception to my usual anti-electioneering rule, because our own Anthony Emerson, who compiles the Tickers that run on Fridays and Saturdays, is running for a seat on the school board in his hometown of Portland, Me. Keeping my fingers crossed for you, Anthony! — Paul

31 comments to Uni Watch Bookshelf: ‘The Fabric of the Game’

  • MJ | November 3, 2020 at 8:16 am |

    In my haste to get dressed this morning, I completely forgot the purple tie thing. But because claret and sky blue (Carolina blue for any right-thinking person, but I defer to the Brits here) is a great combo, and I wanted to wear my oxblood loafers, I went with a claret and blue tie. So I guess I melded left and right…
    I will have to buy that book. And an independent bookstore opened up in the next town over. I can go win-win for an early birthday gift to myself.

    • RS Rogers | November 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm |

      I worked the 6am-1:30pm shift at my local polling place today and took care to set out my clothes last night: blue shirt, red argyle sweater vest, khakis, and Abe Lincoln socks. I have too much clothing that an observer might regard as partisan, and a mostly blue wardrobe, so I wanted to be sure I didn’t come close to the edge of the rules for what’s permitted inside the polling place.

      Now that my shift is done, I’ve switched from my Ebbets Field Flannels US tour of Japan hat to my New Hampshire Fisher Cats “Primaries” throwback cap with the animal symbol of my preferred party.

  • Bernie | November 3, 2020 at 8:29 am |

    Yikes- while reading Uni Watch today, the page is constantly being redirected to malware pages. Is this just me?

    • Dumb Guy | November 3, 2020 at 8:32 am |

      not happening to me.

      • MJ | November 3, 2020 at 3:39 pm |

        Nor to me. On desktop or on iPhone.

    • Mike D | November 3, 2020 at 8:50 am |

      I also had that happen to me, both yesterday and today.

      • Paul Lukas | November 3, 2020 at 8:51 am |

        Guys, can you please describe what’s happening? Or, even better, email screen shots to me? plukas64@gmail.com

        • Bernie | November 3, 2020 at 11:38 am |

          Of course, now it’s not happening. But basically, after reading the page for about a minute, it would suddenly open a new page (same tab, as if I clicked on a link), and that page would be pretty suspect. The most recent one claimed it was a McAfee anti-virus page, but it seemed malware-y. Will send a screenshot if it happens again.

    • Dave Holland | November 3, 2020 at 10:44 am |

      Yes! Several times yesterday and today.
      And it’s only happening on Uni-Watch.
      Haven’t had this problem on any other site.

    • Andy M. | November 3, 2020 at 4:34 pm |

      Add me to the list of people that has also run into this issue. I’ll be scrolling down the website and all of sudden the site closes and in its place is a McAfee “ad” blocking this website.

    • Matt | November 3, 2020 at 6:22 pm |

      It happened to me yesterday and today.

  • Jerusalem Stone | November 3, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    Thanks for the great book review, Paul! Just ordered a copy for my father’s birthday.

    My second UW-related gift for him–first was an “I Still Call it Mariucci” sweatshirt, which has personal significance for us since we took in quite a few games there together in my youth.

  • Wade Heidt | November 3, 2020 at 9:28 am |

    I was one of those fans in 1993 who thought the name Mighty Ducks was ridiculous. Got used to it as time goes by.

    Going with Ducks much better than keeping the Mighty. I would really like to see them return to the original colours with the eggplant and jade.

    Maybe not the original uniforms, but I have seen many mock-ups with the original colours which look better than the current uniforms. They owned that colour scheme. Ducks are on the leader board for teams needing a uniform redesign in the NHL now.

    • Will S | November 3, 2020 at 10:39 am |

      I thought the same in 1993. Got somewhat used to it; realized immediately I was far from the target market.

      Like to see them with at least one uniform with the actual full body of a duck.

  • Will S | November 3, 2020 at 9:44 am |

    Pre-ordered Fabric of the Game book. Got an email yesterday from amazon.ca that it has shipped. Looking forward to it. No local bookshops where I am. Only 1 chain bookstore (plus one used bookstore).

    • Bob A | November 3, 2020 at 10:43 am |

      Did the same but just got an email that shipping here is delayed.

  • ChrisH | November 3, 2020 at 10:26 am |

    Good Luck, Anthony!

    I hope the 23XI entry stays primarily white with those red/black accents.
    I really dislike that they went with the slanted number style…far too common these days.
    Denny Hamlin’s #11’s are usually very consistent when it comes to their on-track appearance; hopefully, the #23 secures a full-season spons…err, advertiser so they don’t have to change their look week to week.

  • Wafflebored | November 3, 2020 at 10:34 am |

    Todd depicting himself in the Flying V……..awesome!

    • Paul Lukas | November 3, 2020 at 10:38 am |

      I knew you’d like that!

  • AlMaFi | November 3, 2020 at 10:40 am |

    The purple clothes remind me of a uni-detail about the Louisville Bats that was uncovered by Paul Caputo a few years back. They chose purple so that they would be in the neutral ground for fans of Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats.

    https://news.sportslogos.net/2014/11/01/for-the-purple-by-the-purple-the-story-behind-the-louisville-bats/baseball/

  • Robert Eden | November 3, 2020 at 10:45 am |

    I had the malware problem too and had to get off my desktop and check out today’s entry on my phone. Yikes.

  • wittnesss | November 3, 2020 at 11:09 am |

    “Laughably bad” is RIGHT! Uni-watch doesn’t usually make me LOL, but I almost spit out my coffee when I saw “SACTOWN”.

    • Will S | November 3, 2020 at 4:15 pm |

      Queue and cue the obvious sophomoric jokes.

      Is it particularly hot, sweaty and sticky there in the summer?

      • MplsMike | November 4, 2020 at 7:11 pm |

        Mostly just hot. Regularly over 100 F. Not exactly humid though.

  • Rich P | November 3, 2020 at 11:38 am |

    Big day today, hope that however you choose to vote you made it out to vote! Here’s hoping for a safe and speedy trip to your local polling place.

    We are all Americans and a large group either way will be happy/disappointed, but no matter what we need to treat everyone with respect!

  • PWalk | November 3, 2020 at 1:04 pm |

    Book is purchased! For those using the Rainforest megastore there is only 6 left in stock as of 1:00pm EST

  • Rob S | November 3, 2020 at 5:29 pm |

    I actually went mono-gray today… didn’t really think about it too much, I had already laid out my charcoal gray pants last night, and my gray polo just happened to be the first shirt I grabbed this morning.

    Anyway, as for Pat Maroon and the Stanley Cup, inconsistencies are one of the great traditions of the Cup! Who could forget the time the Habs were engraved under their English name (Montreal Canadiens) rather than their preferred official French name (Le Club du Hockey Canadien)? And that’s not even getting into the typos (e.g. LEAES, BQSTQN).

  • Patrick in MI | November 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm |

    Will you be doing a PAC-12 preview this week?

    I entered the raffle for the book but kinda hope I don’t win just so I can patronize my local book store. Thanks for that link!

  • Matt | November 3, 2020 at 6:24 pm |

    Is it just me or is that Oakland text on the Warriors jersey way too low? I don’t think you can call that chest lettering …

  • StLMarty | November 3, 2020 at 7:07 pm |

    I just ordered mine from Left Bank Books on Euclid Ave.

  • Wade Heidt | November 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm |

    So here is a photo of one of the tigers painted at centre ice at Maple Leaf Gardens. There were 2 leaping tigers like the Tiger-Cats logo at centre ice:

    https://static.torontopubliclibrary.ca/da/images/LC/tspa_0098049f.jpg

    Questionable to have that at centre ice for the Maple Leafs. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are an arch rival of the Toronto Argonauts.

    Here is Harold Ballard in a classic photo. Wearing his half Tiger-Cats, half Maple Leafs jacket with a real tiger in front of Maple Leaf Gardens:

    https://dynamicmedia.zuza.com/zz/m/original_/6/d/6d4934fe-e732-41e4-8fd1-e72283762ddf/B823503339Z.1_20170822054108_000_G391UI8GN.6_Super_Portrait.jpg