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I came across this photo online. It’s supposedly from 1970 (the topic was the name change of San Diego Stadium to Jack Murphy). As you can see, the third base coach’s box appears to say, “Cubs.” Was that a thing?
This was new for me — or at least I thought it was (more on that in a sec). I couldn’t recall ever seeing an MLB coach’s box emblazoned with a team name. I was intrigued, so I posted the photo on Twitter and asked if anyone knew more. Twitter-er @Anthony858, looking at highlights from Dock Ellis’s famous LSD no-hitter, which took place on June 12, 1970, spotted a glimpse of “Padres” printed in the first base coach’s box, It’s blurry, but it’s definitely there:
So it appears that the Padres put the team names in the coaching boxes during that season. I had no idea! It’s sort of like how NFL teams used to put the visiting team’s name in one end zone.
But a lot of other people responded to my tweet, and that’s how this topic went from an “Ask Me Anything” question to a full-blown blog entry. First, Uni Watch proofreader Jerry Wolper reminded me that he had noticed team names in the San Diego coaching boxes back in 2019, when he was watching some footage from a 1977 Phillies/Padres game:
So the Padres apparently did this for a while. We ran that in the Ticker on May 1, 2019; I even tweeted about it! But I had no memory of it when Matt Newman sent in that AMA question.
Good thing I didn’t remember, because my tweet in response to Matt’s query brought lots of other interesting info to light. For example, Jerry Wolper dug a little deeper and found this shot from Opening Day in 1979:
So it now seems fairly safe to say that the Padres were doing this throughout the 1970s. Interesting!
But this phenomenon wasn’t limited to San Diego. Jim Carlisle (@VintScoreboards) responded to my query with this photo of Dodger Stadium from the 1965 World Series:
If you look closely, you can see that the third base coach’s box has the Dodgers’ familiar script. Here’s a close-up:
The American League team in that World Series was the Twins. So did their logo appear in the first base coach’s box? It’s hard to tell from that overhead photo, so I scrolled through some video highlights from the ’65 Series. Sure enough:
Who knew? Not me!
Also: You may have noticed in the Dodger Stadium overhead shot that there were some odd grassed-in patches in the home plate region. Here’s a better view of that (it almost resembled a smiley face!):
I’ve never seen this before — not at Dodger Stadium, not anywhere else. So bizarre! Does anyone know anything more about it? (As you may recall, Dodger Stadium currently has unusually thin lines for its batter’s boxes. Apparently that part of the field has always been the home of unusual design details!)
But wait — there’s still more! Another Twitter-er who responded to my tweet about the San Diego photo was BW Radley, who came up with this photo of the Polo Grounds from the 1911 World Series (that’s Christy Mathewson on the mound):
Check out that big “VISITORS” lettering on the field near the third base line — never seen that before either! (While I can’t tell for sure, I assume the dark lettering on the other side of the field said, “GIANTS.”)
I feel like we’ve learned so much here! Let’s recap:
The Padres had team names in the coach’s boxes throughout the 1970s.
Dodger Stadium had team logos in the coach’s boxes in the 1965 World Series.
Dodger Stadium also had a really funky-looking design around home plate in that World Series.
The Polo Grounds had big team designations printed on the field in the 1911 World Series.
It’s entirely possible, of course — perhaps even likely — that these phenomena were not limited to the specific instances listed here.
All that because of a simple “Ask Me Anything” query by Matt Newman (and also because of my lousy memory). Thanks for sending me down this rabbit hole, Matt!
ITEM! New Raffle
Longtime reader/pal Kary Klismet marked my birthday yesterday by generously providing funds for a raffle. The lucky winner will get a one-year subscription to my Premium content on Substack, along with a pair of Uni Watch magnets and some stickers.
This will be a one-day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email with your shipping addressto the raffle in-box by 9pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck, and big thanks to Kary for sponsoring this one!
Can of the Day
I like this one for several reasons: the green (duh), the overall design, but also the functional specificity — a product for lubricating washing machine wringers! Too bad they gave it a name that sounds like a laxative.
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My thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings my way yesterday. Greatly appreciated! — Paul