Skip to content

Tigers Honor School Shooting Victims with Handwritten Cap Inscriptions

Photo by Raj Mehta, USA Today Sports; for all pics, click to enlarge

Interesting development last night in Detroit, as the Tigers held “Oxford Night” in support of the town of Oxford, Mich., which was victimized by a school shooting last November. (If you’ve lost track of all the school shootings that happen in America nowadays, the Oxford incident was this one.) As part of the commemoration, all of the Detroit players wore “Oxford Strong” inscribed on the left-front panel of their caps, as seen on starting pitcher Rony Garcia in the photo shown above.

A Tigers rep tells me that players had the option of writing the inscription themselves or having it done for them. The result was an interesting mix of handwriting styles, cap/lowercase styles, and so on:

A few players deviated from the standard protocol. Outfielder Derek Hill (who did not appear in the game) spread the inscription across the entire front of his cap:

In addition, reliever Jason Foley wore the slogan on the right side of his cap, instead of the left; outfielder Robbie Grossman wore “Tate Myre,” the name of a 16-year-old student who was killed in the massacre; and reliever Andrew Chafin had no inscription:

I asked the Tigers about Chafin’s blank cap but didn’t get a response.

The game-worn caps will be auctioned off to benefit the Oxford Therapy Dog Fund, which was a charitable organization selected by the school.

In addition, the Oxford High School choir sang the national anthem, an Oxford staffer threw out first pitches, and several hundred people from the school and the community were in attendance.

Meanwhile: Most teams don’t seem to bother with first initials on NOBs anymore, but I noticed while watching last night’s game that the Tigers have three players who wear one — infielder Harold Castro, outfielder Willi Castro, and last night’s starter, Rony Garcia.

The funny thing about that is that there’s no other Garcia on the Tigers’ active roster (or even on the 40-man roster). They did have pitcher Bryan Garcia last year, but not this year. Anyone know why Rony still has the FIOB?

One last thing: If you look at all the head shots in this post, you can see that the Tigers have a lot of facial hair.

(My thanks to Scott Crocker for letting me know about the cap messages.)

• • • • •


• • • • •

Mystery solved: As I predicted yesterday, the lightning bolt that had appeared on the back of Cubs rookie Christopher Morel’s batting helmet for the previous three games was nowhere to be seen last night.

As for why it was there in the first place, a Cubs rep told me, “He saw some of the lightning bolt stickers lying around in our dugout, liked them, and decided to throw one on the back of his helmet.”

I also heard from Bear Mayer, founder/CEO of Bruce Bolt batting gloves, who said, “That is definitely our logo. It’s actually a helmet sticker that we include with our gloves, along with other little things. I’m assuming Morel got it from [teammate] Ian Happ, who is one of our Signature Players.”

And there you have it. I wonder how long Morel would’ve kept wearing the bolt if I hadn’t asked the Cubs about it!

• • • • •


• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Here we have one of the truly great sports names ever. This is a 1941 Sunday newspaper comics ad for Camel cigarettes featuring Dit Clapper, longtime star of the Boston Bruins (part of the Bruins’ “Dynamite Line,” don’tcha know). Check out some of that dialogue — “That’s stompin’ ’em, Dit!”

Now for the rest of this week’s pics:

• Check out this 1982-1983 Good Humor ice cream NHL promo deal. The seller says, “This mail-away offer has a complete set of 21 die-cut team logo discs on a type of spongy styrofoam board measuring 10-1/2” x 8-1/2” and is 1/16” thick.  This promotion ran for two years in a row in which they offered an ‘NHL Team Badge’ in their 8-pack boxes of chocolate-covered ice cream cookies (shaped like pucks) called Slapshot.” 

• Yes, I know we did a DeLong varsity jacket for the Bears last week. But I saw this gorgeous one for the San Diego Chargers at the same time and said, “Will save for next week.” 

• Calling all Patriots fans! This humble little vintage 3″ snow globe needs a new home. (Not to mention some more water or whatever they put in there!)

• This Pack will STARR in ’75″ button refers to former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr becoming the team’s head coach that season. 

• Here’s a 1960s Pete Rose Wiffle Ball. Why did they put “Reds” in quotes? 

• “Exciting new jewelry for fans of all ages,” says the ad copy! So check out this 1972 “22K gold” New Orleans Saints key fob

• Take a look at this pale-yellow 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers blazer. Did someone just spray-paint the word “Steelers” all over?

• Really nice-looking 1979 poster here for the Buffalo Bills. That’s No. 68, Joe DeLamielleure, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. 

• This 1975 Sportoys Cincinnati Bengals helmet buggy is in great shape! No telltale peeling of the helmet decal. You could always go the DIY route and paint that facemask black, too.

• Another one for the Bengals: I never knew iHop sold the NFL helmet magnets like they did with the gumball helmets!

Luv Ya Blue! Store all your picnic supplies in this huge 1970s Houston Oilers Picnic Flair helmet.

• And we conclude with one from reader Will Scheibler, who spotted this snappy-looking 1950s Cleveland Barons (AHL) cardigan sweater. Move fast, because the listing ends tonight!

• • • • •


• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Shipping discount reminder: Remember, you can save on shipping if you order any combo of Uni Watch koozie, trading cards, magnets, seam rippers, coasters, pins or chain-stitched patches, because those items all ship out from the same place (i.e., right here at Uni Watch HQ).

If you’re interested in any combination of these items, please email me and I’ll give you a quote, including the combined shipping charge. Thanks!

• • • • •


• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Royals players wore full NBA uniforms — shorts included! — during their road trip to San Francisco. The Giants also got in on the fun when 3B Evan Longoria wore a Golden State Warriors jersey while taking infield practice (from @JAIR_UH_ME and @Spesh98). … The New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League will wear Star Wars jerseys on June 18 (from John Cerone). … Stanford and UConn went black vs. navy for their NCAA Tourney matchup yesterday (from @valleyshook). … Here’s a tutorial on how to wash a baseball cap (from Jon Vieira). … Looks like Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle is using former teammate Chris Davis’s glove. Davis retired after the 2020 season (from Marcus Hall).

Football News: The Jaguars have sold the naming rights to their new practice facility (from Timmy Donahue).

Basketball News: Yesterday’s Ticker included an item about Marquette G Tyler Kolek’s plan to switch to No. 11 next season, breaking with years of precedent at the school. The Golden Eagles had taken the number out of circulation to honor the Apollo 11 moon landing. Patrick Reed sends along photos of Apollo 11 warmup jackets the team wore in 1970, and a sign in the team’s locker room in the old Bradley Center, which noted the retirement of No. 11. … Lots of great photos of hoops-related artwork in this article about how basketball has become a big thing in modern art. You can see even more pics if you follow the links within the article. … Cross-listed from the Baseball section: Kansas City Royals players wore full NBA uniforms — shorts included! — during their road trip to San Francisco. Giants players also got in on the fun when 3B Evan Longoria wore a Warriors jersey while taking infield practice (from @JAIR_UH_ME and @Spesh98).

Soccer News: Croatia’s men’s national team has a new logo and jerseys to honor the national federation’s 110th anniversary. … The next three notes are from Kary Klismet: New home kits for FC Porto of the Portuguese Primeira Liga. … Turkish Süper Lig club Kayserispor has new home jerseys. … New away shirts for the Bosnia and Herzegovina men’s national team. … New summer kit for Japanese side Ventforet Kofu (from Jeremy Brahm). … Irish club Bohemians has a new alternate kit inspired by bus seat design.

Grab Bag: Reader Keith Winney recently visited the elementary school he attended as a kid back in the 1980s, and sends along this excellent pennant that he found during his trip … A judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by a former Home Depot employee who claimed he was fired for wearing Black Lives Matter messaging on his uniform. … New flight crew uniforms for Australian airline Bonza (from Kary Klismet). … We may not know how the University of Akron’s new logo looks on a football helmet or basketball court yet, but we now know how it looks on a stock car. That’s Daniel Hemric’s No. 11 Xfinity series car (from Jacob Farrar). … We’ve probably shared this Calvin & Hobbes strip many times, but it always hits home (from @FormerDirtDart). … Japan has unveiled their track and field uniforms for the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Oregon (from Jeremy Brahm).

Comments (22)

    Bryan Garcia is on the Triple A Mud Hens roster currently + he started the year on Tigers roster before being sent down. I would guess he certainly has the potential to be called up at some point.

    With the way they’ve played all season, a complete change of roster might be in the cards anyway.

    “As part of the promotion, all of the Detroit players wore ‘Oxford Strong’ inscribed on the left-front panel of their caps, as seen on starting pitcher Rony Garcia in the photo shown above.”

    I don’t know if promotion is the word you are looking for there. Maybe commemoration or recognition?

    Good for the Tigers for showing support for the community.

    RE: the Reds in quotes – I’ve got a book from 1972 about hockey and the NHL, and all of the team names are shown in quotes. Apparently they weren’t as (for lack of a better word) ‘formal’ as they are these days. Looking at this and other reference materials from those days, the team name was rarely part of the corporate name of the franchise.

    Nicknames may not have part of the corporate name, but by 1972, they were absolutely formal. They were part of logos and uniforms, and even if alternate nicknames like Habs and Blueshirts were floating around, those were for writers who didn’t want to keep repeating themselves; Canadiens and Rangers were official.

    I’ve never come across exactly when nicknames went from newspaper inventions to official parts of teams’ identities, but I’m pretty sure that had taken place by 1922.

    I think we learned definitively that baseball players do not look good in basketball uniforms.

    I had hoped we’d have a better view of Amir Garrett (middle of the back row in a Raptors uniform) who actually played basketball in college.

    Missed yesterday’s feature, sad to see the follow up today means the lightning bolt is gone. As other’s noted yesterday it immediately made me think of Roy Hobbs and his teammate wearing a lightning bolt patch after hearing the origin of Hobbs’ bat. Said teammate then having a great game, leading to the entire team adopting the patch on the uniform.
    That little story beat is one of many reasons it is my favorite baseball movie. Fictional yes, but I can imagine many early 20th century uniform quirks developing that way. Not from some design firm addition, but organically from the clubhouse level. Certainly would be fun to have seen Morel play well to the point other teammates starting wearing the bolt on their helmet. A natural uniform evolution… (I’ll see myself out).

    “That is definitely our logo…”

    It is a single lightning bolt, something ten year olds draw in their notebooks. I understand your point but I hope Bruce Bolt didn’t spend more than two or three minutes on their “logo”.

    Unnecessary note about the New Jersey Jackals: The Can-Am League folded in 2019. The Jackals are now members of the Frontier League

    Never wash your ball cap in the dishwasher! That’s just about the worst method. I soak a soiled cap in slightly warm water and oxyclean with a little woolite thrown in. Gently scrub the sweatband with a toothbrush. Rinse with cold water. My trick is to inflate a balloon inside the rinsed cap. Let it dry and you have a perfectly shaped crown.

    Or just wear it with the sweat stains intact, like I do (was going to mention John Wetteland here, but, um, he’s not exactly someone I want to pattern my life after).

    “But– but that’s hard worrrrk!”, cried the masses who did not want to wash their caps individually by hand.

    I actually haven’t had one in years, but I used to wash ’em by hand when I did.

    I agree that it looks really nice, but it’s strange that the Bills poster shows the players wearing gray facemasks…they switched to blue before ’79 (and ‘should’ have gone back to them last season).

    Can verify that the dishwasher is a great way to wash a hat. And, if you have one that has shrunk a bit, forgo the rack drying and put it on your dome wet. It will hurt at first, but will adapt to your head.

Comments are closed.