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Remembership, Part 5: Fictional Teams and Characters

[Editor’s Note: Membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner is back with this week’s installment of Remembership, his retrospective series about the Uni Watch membership card program. Enjoy. — PL]

By Scott M.X. Turner

This week’s Remembership focuses on fictional teams and characters. Most are from movies, a couple are from television programs, and there are three mascots, a practical joke, and a complete retelling of sports history. Let me just say that forgoing your favorite team for one that doesn’t exist is a bold membership choice indeed.

Before diving in, a big mea culpa to any Uni Watch members whose fictional card designs I’ve inadvertently omitted from this report. It’s so easy to miss them when looking back through our archives. If I’ve stiffed you, please let me know in the comments.

• • • • •

For this first batch: I didn’t know there was a football sequence in Starship Troopers (Dennis McMillan). I’d like to see the Cincinnati Bengals take the field in this Buenos Aires Tigers uni. I captured a lot of stills from Rollerball to get just the right curves on Jonathan E.’s orange jersey (Masao Okazaki and Mark Rybczyk). Patrick Weekend asked for the bright-red jersey worn by a young Forest Whitaker in Fast Times at Ridgemont High because the story was based on his high school. And goodness, did I love The Love Bug when I was a kid.

Clockwise from to left: Chico’s Bail Bonds team from The Bad News Bears (Mike Ortman and Jason Glenn), Buenos Aires Tigers jump ball team from Starship Troopers (Dennis McMillan), Jonathan E. from Rollerball (Masao Okazaki and Mark Rybczyk), Herbie from The Love Bug (Frank Serpas III), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Patrick Weekend), Roy Hobbs from The Natural (Brady Phelps), The Dude’s Medina Sod bowling shirt from The Big Lebowski (Mark W. Nunneker).

Next batch: Paul often says that some of the most garish jerseys make for the best cardbacks. That’s the case with The Mighty Ducks — the film, not the NHL team. Adam J. Vitcavage and Connor O’Baker opted for the movie’s swell Mardi-Gras color scheme, curtain-drape yoke, and sharp block-shadowed digits. The Warriors‘ leather gang vest was one of our rare non-sports designs — even if they did defeat the Baseball Furies on their way home to Coney Island.

Clockwise from upper left: The Mighty Ducks (Adam J. Vitcavage, Connor O’Baker), Charlestown Chiefs from Slap Shot (Matt Bachovchin), The Warriors (Ran Isaacs), The Hawks from The Mighty Ducks (Yianni Varonis).

Only two cards based on television shows have made it into the Membership program. (I think…): Buffy Summers’s cheerleading uniform from the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Leela’s 7/8 uniform from an episode of Futurama. (The fraction was meant to invoke Eddie Gaedel’s 1/8 when he came up to bat for the St. Louis Browns in 1951.)

Left to right: Buffy Sunnydale High (anonymous member), Futurama’s New New York Mets blernsball team (Bob Sukovich).

Are mascots fictional? Well, they don’t exist except in the execution of their duties. That’s enough for me to include these three mascot-based cards. Mike Oberholtzer not only went with the Philly Phanatic, but he chose the Phils’ Saturday Night Special throwback uni. The San Diego Chicken/The Chicken (Michael Rawson) and the Detroit Pistons’ Hooper (Aenaes Koosis) round out the mascot collection. In retrospect, I could have done a better job of conveying Hooper’s glowing LED lights.

Clockwise from top left: Philly Phanatic Saturday Night Special (Mike Oberholtzer), The Chicken (Michael Rawson), Detroit Pistons mascot (Aenaes Koosis).

As absurd as George Plimpton’s brilliant April Fool’s piece in Sports Illustrated was, I was completely taken in by the Sidd Finch story. I’m a Mets fan. I love eccentric athletes. (Esa Tikkanen is my favorite hockey player.) I love the possibility of a Mets rookie pitcher with a 180-mph fastball. I love a zen Buddhist workboot-wearing phenom taking the mound at Shea. Perhaps Dan Grunfeld shared my feelings. With this design choice, Dan’s repping the hopes and desperate dreams of Mets fans everywhere.

Sidd Finch (Dan Grunfeld).

Finally, a card design that’s not so much fictional as an alternate reality. It’s Mike Sullivan’s 1990 Buffalo Bills design. The nameplate speaks for itself.

• • • • •

One housekeeping item from previous weeks: Way back in the Remembership’s first installment, we featured mesh jerseys. Apologies to member Drew Pearson, whose late-1980s Boston Red Sox batting practice jersey I left out.

Next week: Banners from banner years.

Comments (23)

    Did I miss the explanation of the pinstripe #9 jersey in the first group? I belive that is Roy Hobbs’ New York Knights jersey in “the Natural”.

    Looks like they omitted it in the caption but the New York Knights has to be it.

    Apologies to Brady Phelps for leaving him out of the caption. Brady’s inspired choice was Roy Hobbs of the New York Knights from the movie The Natural for his card back.

    I swallowed the Sid Finch story as well. As Paul wrote, it was so absurd. It just never occurred to me that SI would do an April Fools prank.

    (Remember when SI was great?)

    Leela’s 7/8 jersey is a joke that all the whole numbers have been retired. Not saying there’s no inspiration from Eddie Gaedel, but it’s really more of a joke about nunber retirements.

    Good call, Grant. As Psych’s Shawn Spencer always said, “I’ve heard it both ways.”

    You know what fictional athlete would be an interesting choice for a card (and this just occurred to me after reading about Sidd Finch)?

    Taro Tsujimoto, the fictional hockey player of the “Tokyo Katanas” invented by Buffalo Sabres GM Punch Imlach during the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. The hoax came about because the draft was being held over the phone, and with the calls being one-on-one (no conference calls), the process was very tedious, but it was all an attempt to conceal the draft results from the WHA until the NHL draft was completed. The hoax didn’t become public until training camp, and the NHL retroactively ruled Buffalo’s 11th-round pick as an “invalid selection”. Still, Taro remains part of the Sabres lore, even though he never actually existed.

    These Remembership pieces have become the highlight of my Fridays and will continue to be so until the conclusion of the series. Great job on these, Scott!

    I considered getting a card for Roy Kent (He’s here, he’s there, he’s every-f*cking-where) from Ted Lasso, but opted for the Believe banner instead. Maybe the banner will be included in next week’s collection?

    Surprised there’s no Ray Finkle, or “laces out”. Also no mr baseball, or major league references. Of course, the list of great sports movies and references is a mile long… I guess I need to get one.

    Missed one television one. My one card for the Hamilton Steelheads from the Canadian 90’s hockey drama Power Play.

    card in the gallery here;

    Some information on the jersey and the show on my mostly abandoned blog here:

    I knew it. Sorry ’bout that, Will. This is, perhaps, the deepest dive of all of the fictional teams. I’ll get you in with next week’s post. Thanks for letting me know.

    “…the Baseball Boys…”?

    No, no, no. They were the Baseball Furys. Or, maybe, Furies. I forget how the credits had them listed.

    I think I may be the only one who got a card modeled after the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant’s softball team from the all-time classic episode “Homer at the Bat.” I love how the lettering is definitely in the Matt Groening/Simpsons style! Fortunately I didn’t get gigantism from the nerve tonic.

    I never got around to joining the program. I may still as a farewell thing.

    That said, if I do, I honestly want my card to have my name and number with the jersey I designed for my fantasy football team when I was in middle school. I made a whole logo package and wordmark and everything for that team. It’s kind of the ultimate example of how I’ve at least tried to Get It™ my whole life.

    The George Plimpton / Sidd Finch piece was the best. I totally fell for it. It just shows how great journalism can be.

Comments are closed.