Phantastic Phind: Phils Used a Comic Book to Promote 1988 Season Tix
Reader Jonathan Conner was recently going through some of his late father’s possessions and came across something really special: a season ticket renewal package that the Phillies sent to Jonathan’s dad in the fall of 1987. The cover letter on Phillies letterhead, shown above, is cool enough, but the real prize is a small comic book featuring the Phillie Phanatic and former Phils star Richie “Whitey” Ashburn, who was a broadcaster for the team at the time. Here’s the front cover:
Look at that super-stylized apostrophe — love it! As you can see, the cover illo is signed “Len Epstein.” I hadn’t heard of him before, but he’s apparently a longtime Philly-area illustrator.
Here are the comic book’s five interior spreads:
And here’s the back cover. If you look closely, you can see that Jonathan’s dad marked a few dates that he was eyeing for his partial season plan (“I was probably in tow for a few of those games,” says Jonathan):
The promo package also came with a little insert offering a free Phillies garment bag to fans who renewed their season plans by a certain date:
Jonathan says he’s been hoping to find the garment bag among his dad’s belongings, but no luck so far.
Man, what a sensational artifact. Please join me in thanking Jonathan for sharing it with us.
One Last Yo La Tengo Update
Amidst all the hubbub about Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan throwing out the first pitch at last Thursday’s Mets game, reader Scott Nathanson sent me this photo of an old baseball-themed YLT shirt that he says he bought from the band over 25 years ago. I showed the photo to Ira, who said, “Oh, Michael McMahon designed that!”
Michael (who fronts the band Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co., which I’ve mentioned many times here on Uni Watch) is one of my best friends. As it happens, he hosted a little party on Sunday, so I showed him the photo of Scott’s old T-shirt and asked if he remembered designing it. He confirmed that it was indeed his handiwork and, better still, said he still had one squirreled away. He retreated to his closet and quickly emerged with the proof:
If you’re a Mets fan of a certain age, you probably recognize the Mr. Met-like character on the shirt, because he’s adapted from a Mr. Met rendering that appeared on an old Mets pennant. I got one of those pennants at the very first ballgame I attended, and it was on my bedroom wall throughout my youth. I don’t have it anymore, but I do have a shirt with that same design, which I was wearing when Ira threw out the first pitch last week. See how everything comes full circle?
A Great Uni Watch Story
Reader Ben Zoss recently sent me the photo shown above, along with the following note:
I am a Spanish teacher and football coach at Morton High School in Morton, Ill. One of my students recently wore a Green Bay Packers shirt that had the “G” backwards on the helmet. I pointed this out to her and she said no one had ever noticed. I told her that one of my favorite websites is Uni Watch and explained that this is the type of thing that the site’s readers notice.
Fast forward to today: She surprised me with a custom-made backwards UNI (my alma mater) T-shirt! This has to be the best surprise I’ve received from a student in 23 years of teaching — and I think there’s another uni-watcher out there.
How great is that? Thanks for sharing this story, Ben, and thanks also for the important work that you do as a teacher.
For Father's Day
Need a good gift idea for Father’s Day? Might I humbly suggest that you consider Uni Watch grilling tools, produced by our friends at Baseball BBQ. Available here.
Grilling tools aren’t quite what you’re looking for? Check out the rest of our Uni Watch merchandise, or consider a gift subscription to Uni Watch Premium on Substack or Uni Watch Plus. Thanks!
Too Good for the Ticker
Someone on Twitter — I no longer recall who, unfortunately — recently pointed me to a 1954 Armstrong’s catalog, featuring spectacular midcentury linoleum, rug, and wall tile designs. The entire catalog is available for online viewing here. Not to be missed!
Can of the Day
Here’s one I recently acquired. “NIF-TY” with a hyphen would be amusing enough, but “NIF=TY” with an equals sign is endearingly bizarre. Really nice design all around.