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Uni Watch Reader Designs High School Baseball Uniforms!

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[Editor’s Note: Reader Steve Dodell has had a long connection to Uni Watch. He told us about his DIY Mets throwback jacket, spotted some subtle changes to the Mets’ logo, accompanied me to a Mets game, and was the first to spot the mis-rendered “4” on the Mets’ Tom Seaver Statue. Today he’s written a guest entry about a very special project he recently undertook. Enjoy. — PL]

By Steve Dodell

I’ve been teaching high school math at Frederick Douglass Academy III in the Bronx for over 15 years. This year, we were awarded our first varsity baseball team, and I was asked to be head coach. I had to quickly design and order our uniforms, using our colors of maroon and gold.

Instead of having separate home and road jerseys, my principal suggested reversible jerseys (I think our basketball team has them as well), which are certainly more budget-friendly, I was given a few catalog options that had uniform-designing apps, so I sat down with a couple of students to create the jerseys.

With our school located in the Bronx, I felt we needed pinstripes for the home jersey. The kids liked that idea but wanted a maroon jersey. The design apps did not work well, and I was strapped for time, so I sketched out some designs by hand with some instructions for the supplier so they could create a mock-up:

As you can see, I tried to explain things as simply and straightforwardly as possible, but the first mock-up did not exactly follow all my instructions:

After I explained what “vertical arch” means and what kind of outlining I wanted, we eventually came to the final version:

It took many tries to get them to put the sleeve logo on the jersey’s left sleeve, instead of the left side of the picture. I also would have liked the “Lions” script to slant up a bit, but my message was not getting through.

The graphics are sublimated. Not as classy as sewn, but you can put almost any design on them, and it’s cost-effective.

For pants, we are getting just one set (again, for budgetary reasons) — grey, which will match the road jersey and also go well with the home side of the jersey

Here is the cap, which I think will go well with both jerseys. The main reason I chose a grey cap was because the logo would not stand out on a maroon cap:

I’ll send photos of the finished product once everything arrives from the supplier, which should be in about a month.


Paul here. I love this story! The budgetary restrictions and communication snafus with the supplier are good reminders that not everyone has access to top-of-the-line uniforms.

Also: Has anyone reading this ever dealt with reversible jerseys? It seems like one side would button left over right (like a standard men’s shirt), while the other side would be right over left (like a women’s blouse), right? Or is there some other aspect to this that I’m missing? Also-also: If the jersey’s reversible, you presumably can’t have the standard inner-collar tagging!

Anyway: I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Steve on his new role as baseball coach and uniform designer, and thanking him for the important work he does as a teacher.



Merch Update

I am down to the last two Uni Watch Koozies. I will not be producing any more of these, so move fast if you want one. They’re available here. Koozies now sold out.

I’m also down to the last two sets of Uni Watch coasters:

Again, I will not be restocking these, so it’s now or never. They’re available here.

As for Uni Watch seam rippers, I’m sold out of red and now have only one color remaining — white:

I have about a dozen of these remaining and will consider getting more if these enough demand. They’re available here.

As for Uni Watch magnets:

The round ones are sold out. I still have 10 of the Winged Stirrup. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. Available here.

If you want to save on shipping by combining any of these items into a single order (and/or by adding a 25th-anniversary patch or a trading card, both of which I have plenty of), email me and I’ll give you a price that includes a combined shipping fee for the whole shebang. Thanks!



ITEM! Raffle-O-Rama

Reader Bob Andrews has generously donated funds to cover not one, not two, not three, but four raffles this week. We’re going to start today with a raffle for a Uni Watch membership card.

This will be a one-day raffe. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle in-box by 9pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, when I’ll also announce the next raffle that Bob is sponsoring. Thanks, Bob!



Mascot Watch

Shave and a haircut — two cats!


Can of the Day

If you live in Rhode Island — or if, like me, you’re a Rhode Island fan — you know that Autocrat is the premier brand of coffee syrup (which is used to make coffee milk, Rhode Island’s official state beverage, don’tcha know). But I didn’t realize until now that Autocrat also made coffee, not just coffee syrup. Then, as now, they complemented their little bird logo with the perfect slogan: “A swallow will tell you.”


Comments (27)

    Great work, Steve! Definitely better legibility on the final version, and love the roman numerals.

    Narragansett made an Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout beer a couple years back (at least for finding it in MD). Knowing there’s an entire subgenre of beverage further piques my interest in a trip there someday!

    I enjoyed reading about Steve’s experience and I like the uniforms he came up with. But they just don’t seem “official” without the storytelling. ; ) Explaining that the pinstripes are meant to evoke the Yankees is a good start, but we need more. Is the lion on the cap meant to symbolize the courage it takes to be part of a first-year program? And there must be some reason why the lion is roaring to the left instead of the right. And most interesting is the vendor’s use of “AHTLETIC GOLD.” How does that differ from Athletic Gold?

    Thanks for sharing Steve! Love it!

    Does FDAIII accept donations, specifically the baseball team? Maybe the Uni-Watch CommUNIty can pitch in & sponsor the Lions, opening the door for more uni options for you next season.

    Best of luck this year!

    Great story, Steve. But I’m concerned about the jersey images they sent you. The front and rear views show the lion patch with the lion facing forward. But the side view shows the lion patch facing backwards. Considering you have the lion on your cap facing left, I’m guessing you have the lion patch on the left sleeve so that lion will face left (forward), mimicking your cap. But if the vendor goes with the side view, your lions will be facing different directions, which seems like an unitended faux pas. Something to consider.

    Nicely done Steve. I remember my junior high basketball jerseys being reversible, blue on one side and white on the other. We wore blue shorts with both. Seems like pull over jerseys would make more sense for reversible baseball jerseys, or are they just not popular with the high school kids? Also, why the need for two jersey colors? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea, but couldn’t you just wear maroon regardless if you’re the home or away team?

    We could stick to one color, but what if another team shows up in the same color? FDA in Harlem is also the Lions and also uses maroon and gold for example,

    this vendor/ rep seems like a mess. Are the people in that role really not that detailed oriented or are they used to dealing with customers that aren’t?

    Nice job on the uniform and telling us the story, Steve. I once was responsible for my company’s uniform orders so I can relate to the trials and travails you went through. I’d wear that cap for sure!

    Love it Steve! Looking forward to seeing pictures of the full uniform. Wondering what you’re going to do for pant and hose now.

    For the wordmark on the maroon shirt, what does it say on the tail? Can’t quite make it out. Love the idea! I did have one humble suggestion, if there’s still time to make a change. What about an American flag on the right sleeve…. or on back below the neck? Always a classy touch on a baseball jersey.

    Paul’s question/musing about the buttons: I’m guessing it’s actually going to be a pullover with a “false button” front.

    It will be actual buttons, but I am not sure how it will work with the reversibility. I don’t want to ask too many questions to hold things up at this point. Not sure what the DOE policy is on the flag…will ask around. If I had my choice, we would wear stirrups, but I think the extra expense and apathy of the kids towards them make that a longer term goal.

    Great story! I appreciate your design sensibilities, Steve. As Paul mentioned, this story highlights the budget constraints that so many secondary schools operate under. What I appreciate is that there are still ways to put together a decent-looking uniform when you find the right vendor to work with.

    Aww man – missed out on scoring those koozies…Cheers to whoever snatched them up!
    Terrific CoTD!

    Steve, good luck to your team… awesome unis…look on the bright side of your Uni miscommunication, though, at least Fanatics isn’t your supplier…

    P.S. I don’t know if you are familiar with Jim Valvano’s famous Espy speech but for me it is an endless stream of inspiration, strong shoulders, how to Carpe that Diem, and enjoy Life, hope that you can show that to your team at some point…

    Thanks for all the positive feedback! I think the suggestion that the lion face forward on the cap and sleeves is a good one! Thanks to all who suggested that and I should have thought of it. Will see if they can still change it.

Comments are closed.