Two weeks ago I ran the first installment of photos from the merch catalog collection of former Cubs executive E.R. “Salty” Saltwell, which was shared with me by Cubs historian and Uni Watch reader Ed Hartig. Today I have the second installment — and I don’t mind saying that it’s a doozy.
That first installment featured a hodgepodge of one-sheets and brochures. But today we’re going to focus on a single publication — a 1960 catalog from NFL Enterprises, which was the name of the league’s merchandising arm at the time. This is the oldest wholesale catalog of this type that I’ve ever seen, and it’s from a pivotal time in pro football history. Remember, the NFL’s first nationally televised game had just taken place in 1958, and the league’s explosion in popularity was just starting.
The catalog’s front cover is shown above. Here’s the inside front cover, which has a Lions logo I don’t recall seeing before:
Next up is an essay touting pro football as the hot new thing (as opposed to college football, which according to the essay was for the “mink coat” crowd):
Next up: Uniforms! I’m a little surprised to learn that the league was selling full youth uniform kits — including helmets, pants, and even shoulder pads! — in 1960. The jerseys were really plain, though:
Sideline capes? Got those right here:
Next comes my favorite page in the entire catalog: Hey, kids, wanna dress up as the guy who gets booed? Here’s your official ref uniform! Note that the sleeves are striped the wrong way, and the socks are actually stirrups:
The NFL was already on the bobblehead bandwagon in 1960:
Here’s an assortment of merch that’s pretty much what you’d expect — cigarette lighters, picnic sets, seat cushions, beverage glasses:
Now, finally, we get to the apparel section, beginning with these nice varsity-style jackets:
There’s also this spread devoted to other sorts of jackets, with the NFL logo on the pockets:
These shirts had team logos embroidered on the pockets, although the illustrations don’t really show them off to best advantage:
Gotta love these — NFL boxer shorts and pajamas! Sign me up:
Next up is neckwear — including bolo ties (!):
Incredibly — at least by today’s standards — there is only one page devoted to hats. But remember, this was when most men were still wearing fedoras, not ballcaps:
Next we have some kids’ apparel — jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, and PJs:
The inside back cover has a stylized color map of the league’s TV markets:
Finally, the back cover, which you’d think would be a showcase spot, has a rather underwhelming ad for NFL blazers:
And that’s a wrap. So fascinating to see what NFL merchandising consisted of way back when!
There’s more where that came from, as we’ll see in future editions of The Saltwell Files.
(My continued thanks to reader Ed Hartig for sharing this archival content with Uni Watch.)
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Sorry, no Ticker again today, because the whole crew had yesterday off. The Ticker will return tomorrow.
Shout-out to longtime reader and pal Jeff Ash, who’s recovering from retina surgery. Here’s to a smooth and speedy recovery, Jeff! — Paul