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Uni Watch Readers Tell How They First Got It™

Good morning from Uni Watch HQ, where everyone continues to be safe and sound. I hope that’s also the case at your home.

I recently invited readers to share their stories of how they first got hooked on uniforms — in other words, how they first realized that they Get It™. Many of you responded — too many to include in a single blog post. But here’s the first installment:

Frank Seitz

Has to be the Cowboys’ home uniforms and the mismatch of royal blue for the numbers, navy blue for the star and stripe, and metallic blue/green for the pants. I wasn’t even a Cowboys fan, I just wondered why they would have so much contrast in a “uniform.” This had to be in the early ’90s when Jimmy Johnson became the head coach.

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Chris Connelly

My earliest uniform memory is watching Super Bowl XVII between Washington and the Dolphins when I was eight, specifically the burgundy and gold of Washington. What really interested me, however, was Joe Theismann and his single-bar facemask. There was just something about that mask: the contrast between Joe and everyone else on the field, the way the single-bar masks had no “upper portion” near the bumper — everything about it intrigued me. My dad had an old football helmet, and I was obsessed with trying to find a single-bar mask for that helmet so I could look just like Joe. Alas, this was before the days of the internet and Amazon, and my parents weren’t exactly on board with an exhaustive search for a facemask, so I never did find it. To this day, I love seeing pics of that uniform. 

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Matt Battipaglia

I was born and raised a Phillies fan. Jim Thome was my favorite player. Cuffed pants + red pinstripes = me Getting It™.

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Mike Engle

I would have been about seven. I had a small stash of baseball cards (1996-era Upper Deck, probably from the local card shop, which was the brand my parents routinely got me for Chanukah) and I asked my dad, “Why do the Tigers and Royals have the really skinny belt loops, but nobody else does?” He looked at me like I was a real weirdo for noticing and said he didn’t know. Maybe I am weird (my wife definitely thinks I am), but at the same time, I was uni-watching before I knew what I was doing!

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Elena Elms

I was probably around 12. I remember reading about a St Louis Cardinal — maybe Lou Brock or Bob Gibson? — describing how he got a smooth look when high-cuffing his uni pants. He turned them inside-out and, while holding them upside-down, slid his feet into the bottom hems until the edge got near his knees, then carefully took hold of the waistband and turned the upper part of his pants right-side-out as he drew them up his legs. I had a very small teddy bear and made a little Cardinals uni for it, embroidering the birds on bat onto it, and put the pants on it exactly that way. The bear didn’t have socks, but it had a nice smooth cuff.

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Ryan Summers

It was in the lead-up to the NBA season, and as an 11-year-old Suns fan, it had been quite a year. We had acquired Charles Barkley and Danny Ainge, along with the existing core of KJ and my personal favorite, Dan Majerle. I had also learned that the Suns would be getting new uniforms, and I scoured any source I could find to get more information about them. I remember getting a catalog, it may have been Eastbay, that showed a tiny image of their new “streaking sun” uniform, and I fell in love — not just with one of the most beautiful uniforms of all time, but with athletics aesthetics. I started researching all the uniform changes I could find, and started paying more attention to the uniforms. Now I can’t start my day without checking Uni Watch and holding out hope that those beautiful uniforms will one day return.

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Anthony Scandiffio

1978, I was seven years old and I received my first New York Islanders jersey as a Christmas gift from my mom. I was intrigued by how the “Y” looked like a hockey stick and the “I” pointed to the basic area of where they played. Once I saw that, I started to look more closely at other logos that were in the sticker books and baseball cards I collected at the time.

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Randy Clement

I was seven years old and living in San Diego in 1967. I started watching a hockey game on TV — the New York Rangers were playing and I was immediately drawn to the way “Rangers” was diagonally placed on the jersey and the shadow font on the letters and numbers. I was hooked — and this was on a black-and-white TV! To this day, the Rangers are still my favorite sports team. This also kick-started my obsession with sports unis in general, and I am so thankful for Uni Watch and other uni geeks such as myself!

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Jeff Israel

Hockey was the sport I first loved (because it was the fastest and had the shortest commercial breaks!), and it eventually became my gateway to the uni-verse. I remember buying the Panini sticker books from the Scholastic Book Fair in the early ’90s, and occasionally you’d get a sticker that was just a logo. When I saw the “H” in the Whalers’ logo, it blew my mind. That logo, and the Canucks skate logo, were my Rosetta Stone. That led to drawing logos, then uniforms and before I knew it, I Got It™.

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John Horn

The first NFL game I ever watched was the 1967 NFL Championship game between Green Bay and Dallas — the Ice Bowl. It was a couple of weeks after my ninth birthday and I watched it with my dad and uncle. I knew next to nothing about the NFL at the time, but I cheered for the Cowboys in that game strictly because of their uniforms — specifically, their beautiful helmets.

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Mike Kole

It was 1976 and the NFL expansion teams broke the league’s design norms. Until then, I thought the San Diego Chargers helmets were the coolest — no center stripe, lightning bolts, yellow facemasks. The Bucs brought out the funky ’70s colors, and the Seahawks’ helmet was stunningly cool. The silver was sharp, green and blue complemented each other so well, and that bird wrapping around the helmet was way outside the box — I loved it. Maybe it was something about Seattle, but the next year I discovered the Sonics’ jerseys, with the lettering that wrapped around the chest. I’m sure this all really resonated because I was in Cleveland, stuck with the most boring helmet — then and now!

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Eric Bangeman

When I was a little kid, I loved traffic signs. The variety of geometric shapes, numbers, and colors fascinated me to the point where I started making my own traffic signs. Once I became aware of sports, watching WFL and NFL games on TV as a youngster in Hawaii, I immediately focused on the uniforms. I remember looking forward to Howard Cosell’s halftime highlights on Monday Night Football, as I’d get to see the uniforms of teams that I didn’t normally get to see on TV. But where the light really switched on for me was the 1976 Hula Bowl. Two players from the East, Cornelius Greene of Ohio State and someone else who I can’t remember, had their jerseys stolen before the game. One of them played in a jersey with no numbers and the other wore No. 00. Sitting in the stands at Aloha Stadium, I was struck by the combination of a couple jerseys with no name (and in one case, no number), a cacophony of helmet designs and colors, and, especially, the Hula Bowl jerseys. They had contrasting shoulder yokes, stars all over the place, and “HULA BOWL” in large block letters on the front. It was a feast for my eight-year-old eyes, starting me down the athletics aesthetics road.

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Scott Fite

When I was eight years old, I was a casual baseball fan in the sense that I knew the teams and many players from baseball cards. But one afternoon, while watching the NBC Game of the Week (probably the first time I really watched a game on television), I saw the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home whites in action. They were crisp, clean, and looked like an American flag. It didn’t hurt that they had stars like Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, and Don Sutton. Blue was already my favorite color, so it seemed natural that this magnificent-looking club should be my favorite team as well.

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Christopher Falvey

When I was about nine years old, I saw a picture of Pete Rose as an Expo. Knowing Pete as someone who always played for teams in red, this fascinated me. I’m not sure why, but I suppose it is the same fascination I have today with star players in the “wrong” uniform. That remains my favorite corner of the uni-verse, and I still seek out those anomalies.

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Bry West-Whitman

As a middle school kid in the late 1980s, I used to spend my summers with my grandparents in Washington State. I loved to draw, and my grandma was always encouraging me. She was a huge Seahawks fan, and particularly a Steve Largent fan. Two things happened that summer that ignited my interest in sports logos. First, Steve Largent was on the Wheaties cereal box. I drew the Largent pose, showing him stretching out and reaching for a catch. I eventually mailed it to Seahawks HQ and was delighted when it was returned with Steve’s autograph. And the second thing was my grandma asked me to draw her a Seahawks helmet. She loved that helmet so much that I ended up drawing all 30 teams for her. My grandma passed away last year. I went to the hospital to visit her and stayed up all night in her hospital room to draw one last Seahawks helmet for her. Her eyes lit up when I showed it to her in the morning. She was the reason I became an artist and I will always have her voice in my head encouraging me when I draw. So that’s my lightbulb moment — I owe it all to my grandma.

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Tim Bullis

I was around five or six. I was fascinated by football uniforms and liked to cut out players from our Sports Illustrated issues and sort of use them like action figures: “No. 24 moves the ball downfield, spins to avoid No. 66, and he scores!” while holding and moving the cutouts around in the air. I was fascinated by the coordination between the helmets, jerseys, pants, socks, shoes, and how the uniforms with pads looked on the players. I was immediately interested in things like Alabama’s football helmets having one white stripe down the middle, but the pants having two red stripes — stuff like that. Fast forward to when I’m around 11 or 12, we were living in Connecticut and I got really into watching football. Everyone was a Giants or Jets fan, and it bugged me to death that the Giants’ helmets appeared to be navy blue while the jerseys looked more royal blue. Why the heck don’t they match?! This was really the moment — from then on, I paid particular attention to the aesthetics of uniforms, how they coordinated, etc. Discovering Uni Watch has accelerated and enhanced that peculiar habit.

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Dan Cichalski

In fifth grade (1986-87 school year), we were assigned a book report that had only one parameter: It had to be an autobiography. We could choose our own subjects, and at the end of the assignment we had to dress up like the person (not elaborately, as I’ll soon explain) and present a brief summary in front of the class. I chose Tom Seaver, probably because I wanted to do a baseball player. When it came time to dress up, we couldn’t find a Mets cap in the house (even though we were all fans), but for some reason we had a Yankees cap. So my dad took an orange marker and colored in the NY. After my presentation, one of my classmates asked if I was wearing a Yankees cap with the NY colored orange, and that’s when I truly understood the difference in the shades of blue and the style of the interlocking NYs. From that point on, I’ve been pretty good at drawing the Mets’ version from memory, serifs and all.
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Axel Schmidt

I remember being about five years old and looking over my dad’s shoulder as he read the sports section of the newspaper. I remember seeing the page previewing that weekend’s NFL games, with each matchup accompanied by the two teams’ helmets facing off. I was completely fascinated by the Eagles’ winged helmet. I thought that was such a cool idea, and it was the reason that I rooted for the Eagles for much of my youth. But I also studied every other helmet. That newspaper page showed me how a sports team could have a visual identity. From that moment on, a lot of my childhood artwork featured football helmets. I started collecting the gumball helmets from the grocery store. I started tracking every time a team changed their helmet design. And my interest in sports uniforms and uniform design grew from that.

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Michael Baldwin

Growing up a baseball fan in the ’80s, I feel like you couldn’t help but get it. All those amazing logos, especially the Expos’ “M” with the pinwheel cap and the Brewers’ ball-in-glove logo. What a glorious time!

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James Ryan

I was 11. I was at a UNC basketball game, and the first thing you notice when you see the Dean Smith Center is how bright that Carolina blue is. Then, looking on the court, the color pops on a very simple but beautifully designed court, especially the slender outline of the state in the center. So it didn’t even start with the uniform, but seeing the home whites, with “North Carolina” elegantly written on the front and argyle on the sides, completed the whole experience. I wonder how many other people Get It™ because their favorite team looked amazing.

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Jay Wright

Around third or fourth grade, I read a book called The NFL’s Greatest Wide Receivers. Steve Largent was one of them, and I was mesmerized by the Seahawks’ uniforms. That’s how a small-town kid from Iowa became a lifelong Seahawks fan! Also, my dad was the athletic director at Boyden-Hull High School, and we got new basketball uniforms that year. They only had a stripe on one side of the uniforms, which was unique at the time, and that set me off on a course of loving all things uniforms. I can still recall every team’s uniforms from our conference when I was in fourth and fifth grade! 

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Jake Tilley

When I was about five, I saw the movie Rookie of the Year. I remember the manager going out to talk to Henry on the mound, and when he turned around I noticed that there was no MLB logo on the back of his cap. I remember thinking that was odd, because it was on everyone’s else’s caps. I spent the rest of the movie trying to spot whether each player had the MLB logo or not. I remember my dad telling me that most people my age wouldn’t catch that, or even care. But I cared a lot. I think it was then that I realized that the small details of uniform aesthetics mattered to me.

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Dan Herr

When I was 12, my Little League team wore yellow uniforms. Everyone was issued a standard pair of stirrups, and I hated that look. I wanted solid-color socks, like Jim Thome had. So for the entire season, I would wrap the bottom part of the stirrup around my foot to ensure only the solid-color portion appeared. Still have very fond memories of that and how I was probably the only one in the league with a unique look.

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Walter Helfer

When I was in middle school in 1976, my English class was a hotbed of hockey fandom. Kids rooted for a wide array of NHL teams (Rangers, Islanders, Flyers, Bruins, Canadiens), and I was drawn in by a looseleaf binder my friend had that was covered with hockey action photos. He explained to me he pulled for the Flyers, hated the Bruins and Isles, and sketched the Flying-P emblem in the corner of my notebook. Before I embraced the idea of team colors or the differences between football and baseball, I glommed onto the graphic conciseness of hockey crests. Then when I got home, I saw a TV commercial for Sports Illustrated that spotlighted baseball’s upcoming expansion (the Blue Jays and the Mariners). The Blue Jays’ logo socked me between the eyes, like a two-by-four. I was hooked!

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Rick Loomis

It was the day before my 10th birthday in southern California and I was watching the famous 1967 USC/UCLA “Game of the Century.” I noticed how great the game looked with both teams wearing their home uniforms, and how it worked so well because of the contrast, though I’m sure I didn’t use that word at the time. While I was attending USC in 1983, UCLA moved to the Rose Bowl and ended this tradition. Thankfully they brought it back in 2008.

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Rob Yasinsac

I admired the Detroit Tigers’ home jersey and wanted one. The one I was given (a birthday gift, I believe) was a replica jersey that did not have the blue headspoon piping. I knew the jersey was missing something and it slightly bummed me out.

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Ethan Lewis

In 1978 or so, when I was seven or eight, I saw an ad in a Phillies program for a “youth Phillies uniform” from Sixsmith’s Sporting Goods in Philadelphia. My uncle, who was the person who encouraged my love of sports, drove me into the city to get it, even though it was pretty expensive by our family’s standards. The initial rush of having an exact copy of the Phillies’ uniform was thrilling. But then I quickly realized that it was not exact — it had a round pullover neck instead of a zipper, the “P” was different, and the trim on the sides was wrong. I actually became so embarrassed that I kept it in the back of my closet until I outgrew the uniform. I’ve been a stickler ever since.

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John Gogarty

I think my first uniform “Hmmmm” was watching the opening of Monday Night Football in the 1970s-’80s and seeing all the helmets together. It just seemed exciting to me as I waited for the Jets’ helmet to show up. The other thing was the Steelers’ oddity of having a logo on one side. I remember reading in a kids’ book about it being a cost-savings measure that stuck. I loved that it was the logo for U.S. Steel or whatever the governing body was.

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Skott Schoonover

The first time I can remember being fixated on a uniform element was in 1987 as a six-year-old. I noticed that the halos on the Angels’ on-field caps were as thick as the letters, but the halos on the retail caps at the local Big 5 were just a single line. It bothered me to no end that the cap I could buy didn’t match what the players wore on the field. It started my obsession with understanding what made authentic merchandise the real deal, and how much better the quality was over replica merchandise. My dad still doesn’t see the difference.

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Cris Routh

Growing up as a kid in the ’70s and early ’80s without cable TV, I thought uni changes weren’t very common. I was too young to remember the Chargers’ powder blues or the Oilers’ silver helmets. I knew the Padres changed unis every few years and that the Pirates had a bunch of different unis. I knew the Colts wore silver pants for a while and that the Bills switched to red helmets. But I never really gave those things much thought. For me, it really started in 1986. There was something different about my Dolphins’ unis that season that I couldn’t figure out. I finally realized that Miami had changed the stripe pattern on their pants. The following year, it really kicked in for me. I noticed all kinds of changes to Miami’s unis. TV numbers moved from the sleeves to the top of the shoulder pads. There was now a team logo on the sleeves. The jersey numbers had a white outline to them inside the orange outline. The font for the numbers “2” and “7” differed on some jerseys. I haven’t been the same since.

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David Murphy

I first Got It as a young boy in the late 1960’s, growing up attending Braves and Falcons games. I was quickly fascinated by the uniforms, stripes, logos, facemasks, shoes, and socks. A player wearing his stirrups higher than others, like Frank Robinson. Brooks Robinson’s truncated batting helmet bill. Otis Taylor’s twin single-bar facemasks. Willie Lanier’s padded helmet. Football players with taped shoes, cut-off sleeves, and socks pulled up just so, like Fred Biletnikoff and Jim Kiick. Pete Maravich in the Hawks’ blue/green uniform and floppy socks. I would pore over two books: The First 50 Years (football) and This Great Game (baseball), mainly looking at the uniforms. Then in 1972 the Braves introduced their “feather” uniforms. At home (and in class at school) I would draw player after player. I’ve been uni-watching ever since.

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David Tarr

When I was a kid — probably about nine or 10 — my Dad and his cousin had season tickets to the Baltimore Colts (the height of the Johnny Unitas era). Twice a year they would give up one of their tickets so the other guy could take his son to a game. I remember that first Colts game I ever went to with my Dad. I took one look at that cool blue horseshoe on that white helmet with the blue stripe … and I was gone. That’s when I Got It™. And very soon after, I started paying attention to other teams’ helmets/unis, because I knew that their fans were just as passionate as I was. Ever since, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with sports teams’ names, logos, and uniforms. My gosh, I can hardly wait for the details of the new Seattle NHL team to emerge, and I have absolutely no rooting interest whatsoever in the Pacific Northwest!

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Mark LaFountain

There was always a lot of football on TV when I was young — an occupational hazard of being a football coach’s kid. I don’t really remember caring which teams were playing, but I do remember being fascinated with the helmets. Different brands, models, facemasks. Bike-brand helmets had high snaps up on the sides of the helmets, while Riddell had low snaps. I remember Terry Bradshaw wearing a Rawlings model in a Super Bowl (with a black facemask!) and Roger Staubach wearing a Maxpro. As I got a little older, helmets moved from suspension models to different kinds of internal pads, and facemasks moved from grey to team colors. It was fascinating to see the different kinds of engineering that went into these helmets, which I usually learned by taking the helmets apart and then putting them back together. This fascination continued as I grew, and is actually quite helpful in my current position in football equipment sales.

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Nate Meihak

I think part of the reason I became so enamored with sports was how players looked on the field, court, etc. I’m not sure what it was, but athletes looked different — they looked superhuman and larger than life. To me, I think wearing that sports uniform made them look “official” and I just loved the aesthetic. As I got older, I would draw uniforms in my notebooks, either for my favorite teams or for completely made-up ones. Eventually I stumbled across Uni Watch around six or seven years ago and felt validated to learn others felt the same way about sports uniforms and design. My friends get annoyed when a team releases a new look and I break down all the detailed reasons why I like or dislike the new look, but I guess they just Don’t Get It™!

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Colby Greer

My first sports memory is watching Super Bowl XXIV (49ers and Broncos, 1990) with my big brother, who was a huge Broncos fan, and my favorite uncle. I was six at the time, so naturally I started rooting for the 49ers, just to get on my brother’s nerves. After that 55-10 butt whipping by the 49ers, I was instantly a fan, and I was obsessed with the interlocking “S-F” on the side of the 49ers’ gold helmets. I would draw this logo approximately 10,000 times before I reached adulthood and could probably draw it 99% accurately from memory today (I’m 35 now). I always struggled getting the oval around the “S-F” just right, but that didn’t really matter because the “S-F” was the star of the show and I still believe it’s one of the most best and most recognizable team logos.

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John F.

I grew up on a Brooklyn block filled with Jets and Giants fans, but three of us became L.A. Rams fans. It was 1964 and we were seven years old. Roman Gabriel was still a backup for Bill Munson and the Fearsome Foursome were not yet as fearsome as they would become … but those helmets! We became Rams fans because they had the coolest helmet in football (and their white uniforms also looked great on a black-and-white TV). I lost touch with one of my friends when he moved out west for college, but 56 years later, my other friend and I still root for the coolest helmet in football. Here’s hoping that the new logo is not a bad omen.

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Chris Cooper

It was in January of 1989. My cousin gave me two baseball cards from the Score 1989 set: Greg Maddux of the Cubs and Jerry Reuss of the White Sox — the two Chicago teams. I was six years old at the time and did not know much about baseball, but I was informed by everyone in the family that I “could not be a fan of both teams.” That was the day my White Sox fandom started, and it was because I liked the cursive “C” on their hat better than the standard ‘C’ on the Cubs hat. I haven’t looked back since!

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David Eng

CBS had the NHL Game of the Week in the early 70’s. As the 1970-71 season went along, I noticed the goalies wore only No. 1 or Nos. 29, 30, 31, or 35. Skaters’ numbers were no higher than 27 and only defensemen wore 2 through 5. I thought the NHL had banned the number 28. Even today, any non goalie wearing a number above 28 looks strange to me.

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Paul here. Are these stories great or what? Interesting how often the Seahawks came up!

And there’s a lot more where that came from — I’ll run a second installment soon. Big thanks to everyone in the comm-uni-ty for sharing your origin stories!

If you want to share your own story of how you first Got It™ — no more than one paragraph, please — go ahead and send it here (please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address). Thanks!

(Special thanks to Brinke Guthrie for coming up with the idea for this entry.)

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ITEM! Uni Watch featured in new podcast: Got a note the other day from Uni Watch reader Lendsey Thomson, as follows:

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and Uni Watch, especially in this weird-ass time that we find ourselves. I recently started a podcast with my sister where we try to share positive stories to lift people’s spirits. In our very first episode, I share my story of Uni Watch and how much you mean to me and the rest of your readers. I hope you give it a listen. It’s off-the-cuff but (I hope) fun.

You mean a lot to me, man, and to the rest of the comm-uni-ty!

How nice is that? The podcast is called The Filling Station, and that first episode is available here. It begins with Lendsey’s sister Mallory talking about how much she loves the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma. The part with Lendsey talking about Uni Watch, begins at about the 17:20 mark and lasts 15 minutes.

Lendsey didn’t tell me he was doing this — he just did it. And it’s so nice! Aside from the kind words, I love that he thinks Uni Watch and its comm-uni-ty qualify in the category of “positive stories to lift people’s spirits.” Thanks, man!

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Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s April design is now available. As you can see, it’s based on an official Rawlings/MLB baseball, complete with my signature as the “Commissioner.”

This is a numbered edition of 250 pins. Todd Radom and I each took five pins for ourselves, leaving 240 to sell. As of this morning, we had already sold 155 of them in the first two days, so only 85 are remaining. If you want one, I suggest that you move fast.

If you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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Click to enlarge

LAST CALL for the cycling jersey: Today is the last day to get your order in for the latest batch of Uni Watch cycling jerseys, move fast! As always, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB. Full ordering info here.

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ITEM! Spreading the Brannock gospel: As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m a big fan of the podcast Side Door, which examines the stories behind some of the items in the Smithsonian’s collection.

The Side Door folks recently invited listeners to suggest topics for future episodes. I know that several decades’ worth of the Brannock Device Company’s records are at the Smithsonian, so I emailed to suggest that they do a Side Door episode about my Very Favorite Object.

To my surprise, they wrote back, and yesterday I spent about 45 minutes being interviewed via Zoom by Side Door’s host, the awesome Lizzie Peabody — who was in a dimly lit closet at her fiancé’s apartment because that was the quietest spot she had access to! I made this screen shot (click to enlarge):

I really enjoyed chatting with Lizzie about all things Brannock (and holding my Brannock Device tattoo up to my laptop’s camera). Hopefully, this will be used in an upcoming Side Door episode. But even if that doesn’t pan out, it was still fun to meet someone whose work I enjoy so much. If you’re not already hep to Side Door, I heartily recommend it.

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Too good for the Ticker: British artist Andy Brown (who’s been featured multiple times in Phil’s weekend posts over the past couple of years) has been busy during the pandemic. His work is consistently great, as you can see on his Twitter feed and website, but this time-lapse video he posted yesterday, showing his depiction of the Babe, is particularly fun. Keep up the good work, Andy!

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Membership update: Can you guess the uniform that Shea McMahon’s new membership card is based on? An orange jersey with white numbers outlined in powder blue — unusual, right?

Give yourself a pat on the back if you recognized that design from the recent NBA Rising Stars Game! I’m pretty sure that’s the first time we’ve had a request for a card based on a uni from that event.

Shea’s card is one of six new designs that have been added to the membership card gallery, as card designer Scott M.X. Turner and I continue to plow though the recent spike in orders (thank you!).

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Another membership raffle: A reader who prefers to remain anonymous recently ordered a membership card and also purchased one for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Thanks to our anonymous benefactor for sponsoring this one!

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter appears to be wearing last year’s jersey and cap in this video he posted to Twitter yesterday, on the date of what would’ve been the Cardinals’ home opener (from Paul Gardner). … There are lot of really great uni details at the 22:00 mark of this excellent SB Nation video on the Mariners (from Mark E. Kluczynski and Tim Dunn). … Parents of senior baseball players at Prince Avenue Christian School in Bogart, Ga., have hung their sons’ jerseys on the front doors of their houses as a way of honoring them, as they could never finish their final season (from @treyinathens). .. .Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s a look at the various memorial patches worn last season by MLB teams (from Brett Alan).

NFL News: The girlfriend of Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted a video of herself dancing in a Browns helmet with a grey facemask. Is that a new thing? A throwback thing? A girlfriend thing? We’ll find out soon enough (thanks to all who shared). …@NFL_Journal unearthed a photo of Vikings DL Carl Eller wearing his jersey backwards — the NFL 50 patch should be on the left side of the jersey, as indicated by the purple arrow. Guess it was a lot easier to put them on backwards in the days of NNOB.

College Football News: The Athletic has a great article on Washington head coach Jim Lambright switching the Huskies’ helmets from gold to purple in the ’90s (from Jay Jay Dean). … With much attention being brought to the abuse of big cats in private ownership following the release of the Netflix documentary Tiger King, Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper, The Advocate, has published the story of how LSU rescued their current mascot, Mike VII (from Kary Klismet).

Soccer News: The story of how Czech side Slavia Prague brought back their famous red-and-white halved shirts — in defiance of an authoritarian communist regime’s orders — is well worth a read (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: NASA is bringing back its famous “worm” logo, which was used during the early Space Shuttle missions. How cool is that logo? So cool that my sister has a retro T-shirt with that logo and once refused to sell it to a classmate who offered her $100 for it! (From multiple readers.) … With no high school sports to cover, local sports pages are ranking high school logos (from Lauren, who didn’t give her last name). … A college student is making masks for the hearing-impaired community, with a transparent mouth panel that allows a viewer to read the wearer’s lips (from Timmy Donahue).

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Back in the 1990s, people seemed to think I looked like Ben Stiller. I never saw it myself, but several people mentioned it to me, and my bank teller at the time routinely called me “Ben.” The kicker came on a summer night in 1997 — I’m pretty sure it was the night Princess Diana died — when I was at an indie-rock club in Columbus. This guy came up to me and said, “I don’t usually do this, but I’m a big fan of your work, and — well, would you be willing to give me an autograph?” At the time, I published a zine that was quite popular in indie-rock circles, plus my book had come out a few months earlier, so it didn’t seem so unthinkable that a fan might ask for my autograph. I said, “Sure!” and began fishing around in my bag for a pen, at which point the guy said, “I really appreciate this Mr. Stiller.” I should have just rolled with it and signed Ben Stiller’s name, but instead I gave him the bad news.

Anyway: So we’re sitting on the porch yesterday evening (beer for me, just seltzer for the Tugboat Captain because she had a grad school class coming up right after our porch session) when this jogger goes by on the sidewalk. He looks at me as he went, and then his face lights up and he says, while still looking at me, “Hey — Jerry Seinfeld! Holy shit! Yeah, awright!” And then he’s gone.

The Captain and I look at each other. “That’s a new one,” I say.

“You don’t look like Jerry Seinfeld. Not even a little bit.”

“Maybe he was talking about you.”

“No, he was definitely looking at you.”

And then it was time for her class.

Phil will have his usual content this weekend. Everyone stay safe — we’re all in this together, and together we will get through this. Peace. — Paul

Random Photo Leads to Iowa Girls’ Hoops Uni Goldmine

As writers and editors scramble to come up with sports content at a time when no sports are taking place, they’re running stories that sometimes have unexpected uni-related revelations.

Case in point: The New York Times yesterday ran an article about a woman named Denise Rife. Back in the late 1960s, when her name was Denise Long and she played for the girls’ basketball team at Union-Whitten High School in Iowa, she once scored 112 points in a game (!) and was even drafted by the Warriors as a publicity stunt. (The pick was later voided by NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy.)

The only reason I even clicked on the article was because of its thumbnail teaser image — the photo shown at top of today’s entry. I was intrigued by the striped trim on the white uniforms and the hemline striping on the dark uni. So I checked out the article, which ended up sending me down an excellent uni-related rabbit hole.

The player in the dark uniform is Denise Long, playing in Iowa’s 1968 state tournament. The Times article also includes a portrait of her entire team wearing white uniforms. That’s Long in the center, holding the ABA-style striped basketball (click to enlarge):

Look at that collar style! Not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like that on a basketball uni. At first I thought these might be warm-up tops, especially because of the ribbed trim at the hemline, but then I found a game photo of Long wearing that jersey — against a team that had sailor-style jersey collars! It’s not a great photo, but it’s enough for you to get the idea for both jerseys (click to enlarge):

Those photos are from 1968. Here’s one from 1969. That season, Union-Whitten — Long’s school — had changed to block-shadowed jersey numbers and had added their mascot, a cobra, to the other side of the jersey (Long is once again No. 54; click to enlarge):

Here’s another photo of Long in a completely different uniform. Like many schools of this era, Union-Whitten wore even numbers at home and odd numbers on the road, to eliminate any potential confusion at the scorer’s table, so Long is No. 55 in this shot (click to enlarge):

See the small backboard in the background? That was one of many unusual aspects of Iowa girls’ basketball at the time. Each offensive possession started at half-court, for example. The Times article describes some of the other rules like so:

Girls’ basketball was played six-on-six in those days. Three guards played defense on one side of the court, and three forwards played offense on the other side. Players were permitted two dribbles before shooting at baskets attached to half-moon backboards, which prompted a style of uncluttered movement, crisp passing, and ravenous scoring.

Here’s maybe my favorite photo that I found while exploring this topic. Check this out:

That photo is from the 1968 Iowa state championship game. That’s Long again in the dark uniform. The opposing team — wearing skirts and cap sleeves! — is Everly High School. Their boys’ sports teams were called the Cattlemen, and the girls were called … the Cattlefeeders.

Here’s another look at the Cattlefeeders’ uniforms. This team portrait is from 1966, not ’68, but it appears to be the same design (and likely the same physical garments). In addition to the skirts and sleeves, look at the collars:

The dark version of this uniform looked like this (click to enlarge):

So it was the Cobras vs. the Cattlefeeders for the 1968 Iowa girls’ basketball title. Somewhat improbably, the entire game is available on YouTube:

The video quality is grainy, but you can still get the feel of the six-on-six half-court format — it’s interesting! And while watching it, I noticed something that hadn’t shown up in any of the game photos. Remember how we’ve been looking a lot at free-throw circles in the past few months? Check out this one (click to enlarge):

Now that’s a lot of dashes! It’s a little hard to see because the image quality isn’t sharp (plus it kinda looks like one dash might be missing right near the bottom of the semicircle), but I think it’s 30 dashes. Holy moly!

Union-Whitten won that game. But the Everly uniforms — the ones with the skirts — are immortalized on a sign that welcomes people to town (click to enlarge):

And there’s still more: While I was going down the rabbit hole in search of more photos, I stumbled upon another 1960s Iowa girls’ team with great uniforms: the Mediapolis Bullettes (now there’s a team name!). Dig:

Yowza! You can see video of the dark version of that uniform here:

Getting back to Denise Long — remember her? — after she was “drafted” by the Warriors, she got to spend some time working out with the team. One time she wore her high school uniform (click to enlarge):

Another time the Warriors gave her a T-shirt with a variation of the “The City” logo that I don’t think I’ve seen before (click to enlarge):

She also wore that T-shirt — and a polka-dot skirt — while doing a jump ball with a San Francisco cable car operator (click to enlarge):

I could go on (seriously, there’s more!), but I’m gonna stop here, at least for today. That is one serious rabbit hole — all because of a thumbnail teaser photo that the Times used for an article that was basically pandemic filler.

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Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s April design is now available. As you can see, it’s based on an official Rawlings/MLB baseball, complete with my signature as the “Commissioner.” Numbered edition of 250.

We sold 113 of these pins yesterday — our biggest launch-day number so far, and more nearly half of the entire production run! I also heard from lots of people who said this is their favorite Pin Club design so far. Glad you folks like it!

If you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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Click to enlarge

NEXT-TO-LAST DAY for the cycling jersey: In case you missed it, we’re taking orders for another round of Uni Watch cycling jerseys. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.

We’re only taking orders through tomorrow, so move fast. The product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

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Photo taken on Oct. 19, 2014; click to enlarge

Tom Every, 1938–2020: In the fall of 2014, then-Uni Watch galpal the New Girl and I road-tripped through Wisconsin. One of our best stops was at Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron, a bizarre and completely delightful sculpture park created by the eccentric artist Tom “Dr. Evermore” Every.

Longtime Uni Watch reader and Wisconsin resident Nicole Haase let me know that Every died on Monday at the age of 81. It’s not yet clear what will become of his art park, but I’m hoping it will remain open. R.I.P.

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Membership update: Eight more designs have been added to the membership card gallery. That includes Joshua Tretakoff’s card, which is based on the Cowboys’ early-1980s jerseys — the oft-forgotten period when the numbers on the blue jerseys were silver, not white.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The board of education in Paw Paw, Mich., has voted to stop calling its teams the Redskins. A new team name will be chosen by July (from Brandon Weir).
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Working Class Wannabes™: Pittsburgh Steelers RB Derek Watt says he likes playing for the Steelers because “It’s a hard-nosed tough tradition of greatness. It’s tough blue collar. I think I fit that mold well” (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … … A new Tier 3 junior hockey team in Oregon, Wis., will be known as the Oregon Tradesmen. The team uses a lot of blue-collar imagery but is actually walking the walk by offering players the chance to learn skilled trades in partnership with local unions. Good for them (from Kevin Gier).

Baseball News: Not exactly a surprise, but MLB has officially cancelled the Cubs/Cards series that was supposed to take place in London in June. … You can currently stream filmmaker Ken Burns’s epic nine-part 1994 Baseball documentary for free on the PBS website. After viewing it again, GQ magazine declared it a “an unexpected fashion goldmine, tracing the connections between sport and style” (from Brian Ristau).

Pro Football News: The Falcons haven’t announced a specific date for their uni unveiling — they’ve just said it will happen in April — but a business associate of team owner Arthur Blank says it will happen on April 14 (from Andrew Wagner). … The NFL posted a bunch of design concepts showing NFL helmets in the Marvel and Star Wars universes (from Jon Viera). … Cardinals QB Kyler Murray apparently doesn’t like the team’s uniforms (and who can blame him?). … Here’s a look at the best players in Eagles history broken down by uni number (from Sam McKinley). … The CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos appear to be teasing new uniforms (from Moe Khan). … Also from Moe: Check out this pickup truck with Oilers helmet striping. … Here’s a shot of former Giants coach Bill Parcells wearing a windbreaker with a logo showing the team’s helmet — but with a red facemask). … The Saints have set up makeshift draft offices — or should that be draught offices? — in a brewery. … People on YouTube — much like people just about everywhere else — don’t like the Rams’ new logo. … More than a million badly needed N95 masks are on their way from China to Boston — on the Patriots’ airplane.

Hockey News: Golden Knights owner Bill Foley is finally happy with the team’s upcoming gold alternate uni and hopes to unveil it in September. … Moments before the Devils scored the championship-winning goal in the 2000 Stanley Cup Final(s), RW Claude Lemiux had his “A” designation removed from his jersey. “He wasn’t listed as an ‘A’ for that game and wasn’t wearing it earlier in the game,” says James Beattie, to which Mike Oronato adds, “I believe he needed a jersey change and the only one they had on the road had the ‘A’ from earlier in the year. They already had two alternate captains playing that night, so they stripped it off.” … Longtime Uni Watch contributor/pal Rob Ullman has a great new comic, full of excellent uni illustrations, about how the Spanish Flu affected the 1919 Stanley Cup. “I thought it might merit a Ticker mention,” he says, “if only just for getting all the damn stripes on the Seattle and Ottawa sweaters in the correct order!”

NBA/ABA News: Reader Paul Bailey, expanding on an earlier idea from Todd Radom has created a quilt-like graphic showing the chest lettering from 45 different ABA jerseys. “It moves left to right chronologically,” he says, “with jerseys that were introduced in Season 1 followed by those from Season 2, and so on through Season 9. And I managed to avoid having any two same-colored jerseys next to each other.” Nicely done! … 76ers PG/F Ben Simmons has started a coronavirus-awareness nonprofit called the Philly Pledge, which uses a double-P logo in Sixers colors (from Timmy Donahue).

Soccer News: What do you do when there are no soccer games being played? You choose every MLS team’s all-time best jersey (from Wade Heidt). … Or, if you’re Leicester City, you track the evolution of your shirts (from Matthew Hackethal).

Grab Bag: A Michigan school district that had a Confederate-themed team name and mascot has unveiled a new identity (from Adam Twa). … Parents in Ohio whose kids have had their school sports seasons interrupted by the pandemic are putting framed jerseys on their houses to acknowledge the lost season. … Italian pro cyclist Giulio Ciccone has offered to auction off two of his Tour de France gold jerseys to help purchase a respirator for a local hospital. … New camouflage uniform for Italian Navy divers. … After reports of police impersonators in Mercedes, Texas, the town got new police uniforms. … Actor Patrick Stewart says he wasn’t allowed to keep or even purchase his uniform at the end of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. … The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics will keep the same logo, including the “2020.” … New logo for the U.S. embassy in Greece. … The U.S. Navy has relaxed its grooming standards to promote social distancing. Ditto for the Air Force (both from Timmy Donahue). … I’m not sure how this hadn’t already happened, but the 2020 Wimbledon tourney has been cancelled. … Ditto for the British Open. … Tulare County, Calif., has approved a design for its first-ever county flag (from Kary Klismet). … Really interesting story about how medical illustrators were called upon to depict the coronavirus (NYT link). … Our own Jamie Rathjen was rewatching a UVA/Duke field hockey game from last fall and sent this note: “Virginia wore what looked like combination green/purple ribbons that stumped me at the time and stumped me again today — I didn’t know what they were for. I am indebted to UVA sports photographer Matt Riley for getting this close-up shot, which reveals that they’re actually teal and purple and for the ‘Set the Expectation’ campaign, which is dedicated to combating sexual and physical violence.” … Pademic hero Dr. Anthony Fauci is getting his own bobblehead.

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: So we’re out on the porch yesterday evening — beer for me, vodka and cranberry for the Tugboat Captain — and this neighbor, who’s maybe in her early 60s, walks by on the sidewalk. She stops to say hi and then, while she’s talking, she takes a few steps up the walkway. And then a few more steps. And a few more, until she’s basically at the foot of the porch steps, which means she’s definitely less than six feet away from me, at which point I remind her that we need to maintain social distancing. “Oh, right,” she says, with this tone in her voice like it’s all a bit of a joke, and then she obligingly steps back.

After she leaves, I turn to the Captain and ask, “What does she do for a living anyway?” To which she responds, “She’s a doctor. Pediatrician.” Jesus fuck.

Anyway: The great cartoonist Ben Katchor — one of only two cartoonists ever to win a MacArthur “genius” grant, don’tcha know — had been scheduled to be doing a live event at a local bookstore last night for his new book, The Dairy Restaurant. Obviously, the in-person event was cancelled, so they arranged for it to take place via Zoom:

The thing is, while Ben (who I’ve known on and off since the early 1990s, when we were both contributors to the alt-weekly New York Press) may be a genius, he can sometimes be a bit flummoxed by technology, so the Zoom presentation was a bit, well, haphazard. Still, it was good to take in some culture and feel just a teeny bit like I was participating in all the things NYC usually has to offer, even if only from my sofa.

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Our latest raffle winner is Joe Delach, who’s won himself a Uni Watch membership card. Congrats to him, and thanks to Peter McCurdy for sponsoring this one. Everyone stay safe today! — Paul

Uni Watch Classics: How 9/11 Gave MLB ‘God Bless America’

Good morning! Things continue to be more or less fine here at Uni Watch HQ. I hope the same is true for you and those close to you.

Yesterday I wrote about how the pandemic might redefine how the uni-verse salutes heroes. Today I want to look back at something that happened the last time our nation faced a crisis of this scope — the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

One result of that crisis was that “God Bless America” began being played in MLB ballparks during the seventh inning stretch. Most MLB teams still do this on Opening Day, Sundays, and holidays; the Yankees do it for every game.

About a year ago, longtime Uni Watch reader William Yurasko, who lives in DC, told me that he used to know a guy named John Dever, who worked for the Nationals but had previously worked for the Padres. According to William, Dever was the one who’d suggested bringing “God Bless America” to MLB ballparks in 2001, during his Padres stint. So I got in touch with Dever (he had left baseball and moved on to become a PR manager at the PGA, a job he still has) and interviewed him.

I originally published the transcript of that interview last April. But this seems like a good time to run it again, because the pandemic will likely give birth to its own set of new rituals and protocols across the sports landscape, just as 9/11 did. Also, it’s just a good story — I re-read it the other day and was surprised by how many of the details I had forgotten in the course of the past year.

Here we go:

Uni Watch: In 2001, when you were working for the Padres, what was your job title at the time, and what did that job entail?

John Dever [shown at right]: I was the assistant public relations guy, or something like that. I don’t recall the exact title, but I was the number two guy in the baseball PR department.

UW: Prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, what did the Padres do for the seventh inning stretch?

JD: I’m pretty sure that it was just, you know, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” like most places.

UW: As I recall it, after the Sept. 11 attacks, the MLB schedule was suspended for about a week — is that right?

JD: Yes, that’s right.

UW: As the Padres prepared to resume play after that break, what were your concerns about the seventh inning stretch?

JD: My recollection is that this whole thing was birthed on Sept. 11, not after the break. I was on the west coast, so when I woke up that day, I think one tower had already been hit. So I’m getting ready for work, it was like, “Wow, can you believe what just happened?” Then the second one was hit, and you knew something grave was happening.

UW: And at this point it’s not yet clear that the games are going to be suspended, so you’re just getting ready to go to work like on any other day.

JD: Yeah. Nobody knows anything yet, and there’s no social media, so I went in to work. And we’re talking about what could be done — and I think this was before all the games were called. Because that wasn’t an instantaneous thing. It took a few hours.

UW: So are far as you’re concerned, there’s still going to be a ballgame that night.

JD: Right. And we had some talk in the office about how we had to do something different. It couldn’t just be a normal day. So I was in this meeting, and I probably didn’t talk the whole meeting. And I think maybe we talked about doing something after the national anthem — that was going to be a big moment. And I remember thinking that the national anthem is about a battle, okay? And maybe it was just a day to not — a day to be more peaceful. So I said, “Hey, why don’t we think about another song that speaks to America that people in the ballpark can kind of unify around?”

I still wanted to play the national anthem, don’t get me wrong. But I think “God Bless America” came into my head. And then I thought, you know, people’s attention spans are only so long. If we do two straight songs — the national anthem and then another one — that’s a lot. So I said, “You know, is anyone really going to be happy today, or gleeful? Instead of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,’ why don’t we put this other song in there [in the seventh inning] and see if that works.” And people liked it. So that was the plan, just to do it at our stadium.

But what happened was, Larry Lucchino was our president and CEO at the time, and there was an owners’ meeting in Milwaukee, so Larry had headed there to meet with Bud Selig and the owners.

UW: So he was already there? He had flown there before all the airplanes were grounded in response to the 9/11 attacks?

JD: Yeah. I think he had to leave the day before, and I think he might even have been the only owner, or one of the few owners, who’d arrived by then. And of course he saw what was happening and checked in, so Charles Steinberg, my boss, relayed the [“God Bless America”] idea to Larry. And he said, “Wow, that’s pretty good. I’m gonna let Commissioner Selig know about that.” Now, I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell you exactly whether they loved it, whether it was an instant take or they debated it, but the telephone game began and it was in the right person’s ear.

And then at some point, the games were cancelled and we waited a week. And honestly, Paul, I don’t think I thought about the song for one second during that week, when we were all worried about who’s alive, who’s missing…

UW: Right, we all had bigger things to worry about.

JD: And then after a while it was, alright, we’re gonna ramp this puppy back up. And when games resumed, I believe we were in Los Angeles.

UW: That’s correct. I looked up the schedule, and you guys played three games in L.A. and then had an off day before coming back to San Diego.

JD: Yeah, so we didn’t even get to do the song at first.

UW: Did the Dodgers do it for those three games in L.A.?

JD: I kinda remember that they did, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I believe it became a league-wide initiative.

UW: That was my impression as well, that it came down as a league-wide thing. But it sounds like Bud Selig never contacted you, nobody from the MLB offices ever got in touch with you to discuss the idea. They just basically ran with it?

JD: Yeah. Which is fine.

UW: When you got the idea, was “God Bless America” the only song you considered? Or did you consider any other songs, like “America the Beautiful” or “My Country ’Tis of Thee” or “This Land Is Your Land”?

JD: You’re the only person who’s ever asked me that. The truth is, I’m not the most knowledgeable music guy. But yes, more than one song jumped through my head. Now I’m trying to think what the other one was. I think it was “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood [which, as it turns out, Greenwood actually sang prior to Game Four of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium — PL].

Anyway, I had a couple of songs in my head, none of which I was really able to grasp the title of, and this wasn’t really the time and place where you went to meetings with laptops in front of you and could just Google something. So when I said it out loud, “God Bless America” came out. And I think I knew what it was, but I didn’t know — was it Kate Smith? I had no idea who she was, or is. If you had called me a week ago [before the current Kate Smith controversy] and said, “Who’s the famous woman who does ‘God Bless America,’ at Yankee Stadium,” I wouldn’t even have known.

UW: So it sounds like the specific song recommendation you came up with was somewhat random.

JD: To some degree, yup. Some degree of randomness, and a little bit of blind luck.

UW: When you came up with the idea, were you thinking of it as a one-game thing, a “rest of the season” thing, or something more?

JD: I didn’t think anything about that. I thought it was just going to be for the Padres. And really, the Yankees took it mainstream and perfected it. And of course they’re in New York, close to Ground Zero. I said something out loud, but other people perfected it. It had almost nothing to do with me.

UW: Did it make you feel good, though, to see how your idea was playing out?

JD: Oh, I loved it. You know, I worked in Major League Baseball for 17 years, and I sat through “God Bless America” hundreds if not thousands of times. And yeah, sometimes I think about it. And I’m extremely — it’s a neat thing. I’m proud of it. I don’t talk about it very often. My wife knows, a few people know. Obviously, Will [Yurasko] knows. But it doesn’t come up very often.

UW: When the Padres were getting ready to begin the 2002 season, did MLB have a policy about what would be done regarding “God Bless America,” or was it left up to the individual teams to decide?

JD: Paul, I don’t remember the specific timing, but at some point Major League Baseball let the clubs choose their own direction, and I think you saw a divergence. Some teams used it on holidays; I think most did it on Sundays; the Yankees still do it every day. So again, there’s this divergence, and I think that’s so perfect, to be honest with you. I think it’s ideal.

UW: It’s perfect and ideal that the teams get to set their own policies?

JD: Yes, that they can decide what works for them and their ballpark programming and their fan bases.

UW: I see from your LinkedIn page that you went to work for the Montreal Expos in 2003. How did they handle the seventh inning stretch, since they’re obviously not an American team?

JD: I don’t know how they handled it in 2001 and ’02, because I wasn’t there. I know we didn’t use it in ’03 or ’04. It wouldn’t make sense. I think they had a lot of compassion — Canadians as a whole have a ton of compassion for what happened — but it wouldn’t have made much sense [to play “God Bless America” in Canada].

UW: In 2005, when the Expos became the Washington Nationals, you remained with the franchise and moved to DC, right?

JD: Yes, correct.

UW: And how did the Nationals handle the seventh inning stretch during their first season, especially with the team bringing baseball back to the nation’s capital?

JD: I don’t really remember what the Nats did regarding the song. My best guess is that it was a Sunday/holiday thing. Probably Opening Day, too. I can tell you it definitely wasn’t every day.

UW: And is that how it remained up through the end of 2014, which was your last season with the team?

JD: I think so. I don’t remember it changing or being more than Sundays and holidays.

UW: Did your co-workers with the Nats know that the whole “God Bless America” idea had started with you?

JD: Some of them knew. A smattering of people. It wasn’t something I talked about a lot.

UW: It’s now been almost 18 years since you came up with your idea. Are you surprised that “God Bless America” is still being played at big league ballparks, and could you ever have imagined that your idea would become a standard part of the baseball experience?

JD: No, I’m not surprised, because I think it was good for baseball fans, and for Americans who happen to be at baseball games. It’s a nice moment when we all get together and stand up for a moment of remembrance and such. It’s a nice song. It’s not even that long; it probably takes about a minute. So I’m not surprised. I don’t think — I don’t really want to get political here, but I don’t think the 9/11 experience has really left anyone who was there for it, so — yeah. I’ll leave it at that.

UW: There have been some controversies involving “God Bless America.” At one point, for example, the Yankees had a policy of not letting fans move around the stadium during “God Bless America,” and in 2009 they even ejected a fan who tried to use the restroom during the playing of the song, which led to a lawsuit and a five-figure cash settlement. Were you aware of that, and do you have any thoughts on it?

JD: Huh. No, I did not know that, so I don’t really have any comment on it.

UW: Also, in 2004, Carlos Delgado of the Blue Jays protested the Iraq War by not being on the field when “God Bless America” was being played. That was pretty widely reported — were you aware of that at the time, and what did you think of it?

JD: I vaguely remember it, but I don’t have any thoughts on it, and I don’t think I did at the time.

UW: Some fans and sportswriters have said that “God Bless America” may have made sense in 2001. But in the years since then, MLB has added all sorts of other patriotic gestures, including stars-and-stripes uniforms, camouflage uniforms, military jet flyovers, “veteran of the game” promotions, and more. And of course the national anthem is still played at the beginning of the game. So when viewed in that context, the argument goes, “God Bless America” is basically overkill. What do you say to that?

JD: I’d rather not go there, Paul. That’s the kind of no-win question I’d prefer to avoid. Thank you.

UW: No problem. Last question: If you owned an MLB team, or if you were the commissioner, what policy would you set for the seventh inning stretch?

JD: I think the way it’s been handled, with each individual team choosing their own path and their own direction, I think that’s perfect. And in some ways, it’s what America’s all about. I’m proud of my minute role in this, and I’m proud of how the game of baseball has handled it through the years as well.

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Faaaaascinating. To my knowledge, that is the most complete account of this topic that’s ever been published.

Is there another John Dever out there, nursing a post-pandemic idea that will become a staple of the sports world when life gets back to some semblance of normalcy? Time will tell.

(My continued thanks to William Yurasko for bringing John Dever to my attention.)

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ITEM! Pin Club launch: Our usual schedule is to release the new Uni Watch Pin Club designs on the first Tuesday of every month. But considering the state of the world, I decided we could all use something fun to get excited about, and the sooner the better, so I’m launching the April pin today.

Todd Radom and I created this design back in February, before the world blew up. At the time, we figured it would be appropriate to have something that celebrated the start of baseball season. Obviously, there’s no baseball currently taking place, but we’re still really happy with this pin design — check it out (for all photos, you can click to enlarge):

The design, as most of you probably realized immediately, is based on an official MLB baseball:

We had to put the word “Commissioner” alongside my signature, rather than beneath it, due to space considerations. Still, I’m amazed by how well our pin manufacturer reproduced my signature at this size — the entire pin is only 1.375″ across!

We’re producing these in a numbered edition of 250, with the numbering and the month laser-etched onto the back of the pin:

This pin is available here. And if you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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Oh. My. God. Why are domino patterns so satisfying? I don’t know, but this video showing all 31 NHL team logos rendered in dominoes is likely the best three minutes you’ll send today. Enjoy!

(Big thanks to Andreas Papadopoulos for alerting me to this one.)

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Ralph Northam could not be reached for comment: It’s hard to express how little I care about NFL draft caps (strictly merch for merch’s sake), but this new Browns design that launched yesterday — part of a full slate of 2020 draft caps that nobody will be wearing at the draft because nobody will be attending the draft — deserves special attention. At first I just glanced at it and thought, “Oh look, they found a way to ruin Brownie — by rendering him in that dumb-ass neon sign motif.” But then reader Josh Levy pointed out to me that the resulting visual effect makes Brownie look like a minstrel character in blackface. And once he did that, I couldn’t un-see it.

Just to be clear: I’m not accusing the NFL, the Browns, or New Era of intentionally creating a blackface design, I’m not saying that the hat is racist, I’m not offended by it, I’m not outraged, blah-blah-blah. I’m just saying, well, it kinda looks like Brownie is in blackface — because it does! Not just because his face is suddenly black, but because the rest of his facial details are white, which was a standard blackface trope. Obviously, that wasn’t anyone’s intent with this cap (just like the Padres didn’t intend to hide a swastika in their spring/BP cap logo) — it’s just an unfortunate visual effect.

Speaking of, the real problem with this Browns cap is the exact same problem that tripped up the Padres: If you come up with some dumb-ass design template and insist on shoehorning every single team into it, you may end up with some unintended consequences. Stop forcing the dumb-ass design motifs and maybe there’ll be fewer unfortunate visual effects.

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Cycling jersey reminder: In case you missed it, we’re taking orders for another round of Uni Watch cycling jerseys. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.

We’re taking orders through the end of this week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

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Membership update: When we launched the Uni Watch Membership Program in 2007, reader Bob Andrews was a charter enrollee. Since then, he’s ordered nine additional cards (I’m pretty sure sure his total of 10 is the most of any single reader), including three just last week. One of those three was a particularly inspired request: He wanted a card based on the “Here” flag that flew at the spot where Orioles outfielder Frank Robinson hit a ball out of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Bob’s cards are among six new designs that have been added to the membership card gallery. I hope to have those cards printed, laminated, and in the mail by this time next week.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Another membership raffle: Reader Peter McCurdy recently ordered a membership card (he got this Georgetown hoops treatment) and, while he was at it, generously donated an additional membership for me to raffle off, so we’re going to do that today.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Peter for sponsoring this one.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: A doctor at a New York hospital says she was told to use a Yankees rain poncho — complete with an official MLB authentication hologram! — as her personal protective equipment (from @mikeobs). … Lots of uni- and logo-related tidbits in this article about trivia items from all 30 MLB teams (from Warren Ehn). … Reader Michael Konkoleski found something noteworthy in the MLB: The Show 20 video game. When games are played on April 15 — Jackie Robinson Day — during the game’s story mode, all players wear Robinson’s No. 42, a tradition observed throughout MLB.

Football News: The Buccaneers will officially unveil their new unis on April 7. Of course, Uni Watch readers already know what they’ll look like (from multiple readers). … Speaking of the Bucs: As expected, WR Chris Godwin will give up his No. 12 and switch to No. 14 so that new Bucs QB Tom Brady can wear No. 12 (from multiple readers). … Former Eagles OT Tra Thomas has a wall of framed jerseys from teammates and opponents (from Sam McKinley). … Here’s a Twitter thread by reader Alex Rocklein about how he removed the Nike logo from his Washington jersey. … Reader @DrSoup_MD made a giant portrait of Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes out of colored beads. … Florida State is going with digital-only tickets for the upcoming season (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: The NHL Players’ Association has voted the Blackhawks’ sweaters to be the best in the league. To see the results, click through the slideshow until you get to the “Arenas & Teams” tab (from Mike Chamernik). … Here are all 31 NHL sweaters made in the Nintendo video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. If you want to recreate these sweaters for yourself, here are the codes compiled by team into a spreadsheet (from Katie, who didn’t give her last name).

Basketball News: An alleged screenshot of late Lakers SG Kobe Bryant in the upcoming NBA 2K21 video game shows him in a uniform he never wore (from Alan Baca). … Reader Sean Kautzman found several sloppy inconsistencies with this Photoshopped image of new Virginia Tech commit Cartier Diarra: Diarra is depicted with two different numbers, the Virginia Tech logo on one of the balls has been inverted for legibility, and the Kansas State logo on the other ball has been scrubbed.

Soccer News: After a controversy among Russian supporters who boycotted their national team’s 2020 home kit because the sleeve cuff striping looked like the Serbian flag, Adidas has updated the sleeve design (from Josh Hinton). … For more about kit news from around the world, check out Josh’s Twitter feed. … In the NWSL, new Portland Thorns center-back Becky Sauerbrunn has worn No. 4 for the league’s entire existence. It was occupied in Portland by Emily Menges, who agreed to switch to No. 5 in exchange for a coffee (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … A football kit industry insider shared some of his secrets regarding teams and outfitters (from Mark Coale). … Someone has mocked up “pandemic kits” for many UEFA clubs. (from Jacob Gibb). … FIFA is exploring an emergency fund to help out clubs and soccer federations around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Grab Bag: Fashion brand Ralph Lauren has pledged $10 million to make PPE for medical personnel and first responders in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Some journalists have opined that relying on fashion brands to make PPE exposes a failure of the U.S. healthcare system (from Tom Turner). … New York officials will turn some U.S. Open tennis courts at NYC’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients. … Speaking of tennis, many lower-level tournaments on the men’s and women’s pro tours may not survive (NYT link) the disruption caused by the pandemic. … A few things from reader Timmy Donahue: This character in the TV series Royal Pains is dressed up as a boat Captain because he thinks he won a yacht. He is actually wearing a bootleg Marine Corps Officer’s cover. … The World Wars on the History Channel shows a fictional portrayal of Gen. George S. Patton on a tank in Sicily with a Jeep in front of him. The markings on the Jeep correspond to a unit that didn’t actually fight in Sicily. … Mercedes-Benz has “updated” its logo to promote social distancing. … Nissan has filed a trademark for a new logo (from Jakob Fox).

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What Paul did last night: Out like a lamb, my ass. It was 43º for yesterday evening’s Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ session, and I for one am ready for some balmier weather. Fortunately, as you can see, we brought some peanuts to snack on, so that helped.

If you look at the spot where the porch, the left-side railing, and the front shrub converge, you’ll see a black smudge. That’s one of our neighborhood strays, Thom, who darted by just as I was taking last night’s photo.

And speaking of cats, here’s our daily dose of Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin:

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Today is April Fool’s Day. Given the current state of the world, maybe there won’t be many pranks. Or, conversely, given the current state of the world, maybe there’ll be more pranks than ever. So if you hear some hot uni news today — “The Yankees have decided to put player names on their jerseys when baseball returns to action after the pandemic,” say, or “All NFL teams will add a City Edition helmet this fall” — remember to check the calendar and maintain a healthy skepticism before you breathlessly repeat it or retweet it. (All of today’s Uni Watch content is 100% legit and prank-free, no foolin’!)

Stay safe! We’re all in this together, and we will get through it together. See you back here tomorrow. — Paul

Which Heroes Will the Post-Pandemic Uni-verse Celebrate?

Good morning! Everything here at Uni Watch HQ continues to be fine. I hope that’s also the case at your home.

Now then, here’s something I’ve been thinking about: For the past 10 to 15 years, the sports world in general and the uni-verse in particular have largely defined heroism in terms of the military, as evidenced by all the now-familiar military appreciation uniforms. Some people are cool with this; others (myself included) find it problematic.

But no matter which side of that debate you fall on, it seems to me that some sort of reckoning will be at hand when live sports events eventually resume, and that the uni-verse will have to redefine its concept of heroism. That’s because the pandemic had led all of us to redefine our concepts of heroism.

For example, I think the following statements are all fairly self-evident and uncontroversial:

• Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, who are doing their best to battle this plague, often in ways that risk their own health and that of their families, are heroes.

• Pharmacy workers, who continue to make crucial medications available to those who need them, are heroes.

• Teachers, who are meeting the enormous challenge of educating and engaging with our youth while working remotely, are heroes.

• Transit workers, who continue to run our trains and buses so medical professionals and other essential workers can get to their jobs, are heroes.

• Sanitation workers, who continue to collect our trash and thereby keep this public health emergency from being even worse than it already is, are heroes.

• Supermarket and grocery workers, who continue to make food available to us — often under conditions that don’t allow for social distancing and are therefore clearly unsafe — are heroes.

• Food deliverers, who bring groceries and pizzas and other food to us so we don’t have to venture outside, are heroes.

• Letter carriers and UPS/FedEx delivery people, who continue to bring mail and packages to us while we’re stuck indoors, are heroes.

• Utility maintenance workers, who are keeping our electricity, water, phone, sewer, cable TV, and internet functioning at a time when they’ve never been needed more, are heroes.

• The behind-the-scenes support staffs that back up most of these workers — the people who sort the mail, produce the food, drive the tractor trailers full of groceries and packages, clean and maintain the subways and buses, service the garbage trucks, and so on — are heroes.

That list isn’t complete, of course — it’s just a start.

Many of these people, frankly, have been heroes all along; others, to paraphrase Shakespeare, have had heroism thrust upon them by the pandemic. But most of them are literally risking their lives out there, and all deserve our heartfelt thanks. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been saying, “Thanks — y’all are heroes!” to every garbageman, letter carrier, and food deliverer I’ve seen over the past few weeks.

How might the uni-verse acknowledge this heroism when the sports world returns to live action? Camouflage is a very handy visual signifier, so it’s easy (too easy, I’d say) to come up with a military tribute uniform, but it’s a lot harder to conceive of a uniform that salutes, say, a supermarket cashier, or a pharmacist, or a teacher. And aside from the design challenges, the bigger issue is that the sports world likes the visual symbolism of comparing athletes to soldiers but may not so readily embrace the optics of comparing athletes to garbagemen. Still, it will have to be done, at least if we want to be honest about recognizing the genuine heroism of the people who are holding our world together while the rest of us shelter in place.

Personally, I’d prefer to see the sports world stop with the uni-driven heroism themes altogether (it’s mainly just another form of self-serving mythmaking, which sports already has more than enough of), but the industry seems to have decided that sports and uniforms are part of the story we collectively tell about ourselves as a society. I can accept that, but what kind of story will that be in a post-pandemic world? Will it be a story that fairly acknowledges all of these various kinds of civilian heroes? I hope so — the uni-verse, the sports world, and our society at large would be better off as a result.

Finally, if anyone reading this falls into any of the categories I mentioned, please accept my sincere thanks for your service during this national emergency. You, and people like you, are heroes.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Take a look at this vintage beauty! It’s a menu from DiMaggio’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. I’d say 1940s-1950s, judging from the people’s attire and the phone number. And look at the prices! Research shows the location was open from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a stuffed Texas Rangers doll from the early 1970s. He’s kinda dingy in places but maybe some a squirt of Oxy-Clean stain remover will help. Notice no sheriff’s badge in the capital R. And did the Rangers really make the R and S capitalized for owner Robert Short? This 2009 article says yes.

• Looks to be mid-1980s for this NFL ruler showing all 28 teams at the time. Love that period’s helmet style!

• I like the contrasting red sleeves and the ringer-style collar on this 1970s Buffalo Bills T-shirt, although I don’t know that “paper thin” is a great selling point for a shirt costing close to $300.

• Boston Red Sox fans will like this vintage 197os pocket knife.

• There’s no hang tag to back it up, but this Champion jersey does bear a resemblance to a Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Since this is a retail item, what’s noticeable here are the sleeve cuffs — notice how they’re tailored (if that’s the term) rather than the usual look.

• Bucco Bruce is among the helmet designs featured in this set of 1970s NFL helmet air fresheners. I guess they’re still fresh?

• Here’s a Los Angeles Rams boys’ football kit from Rawlings, with shoulder pads and the blue/white helmet (the jersey and pants are MIA). I doubt we’ll be seeing new editions of these in Sears for the upcoming Rams uni rollout. 

• Your entire tabletop hockey team will be comprised of the Great One with this Winnipeg Jets team set.

• Why did they use the powder blue, instead of royal, for the cover of this Amazin’ Mets World Champions 8mm home movie?

• This USA Hockey pin reminds me of a 1960s TV show!

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Cycling jersey reminder: In case you missed it, we’re taking orders for another round of Uni Watch cycling jerseys. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.

We’re taking orders through the end of this week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsGross: The Reds shared shared a “draw your favorite Reds player” template that included the Nike maker’s mark (from Michael Kinney). … Joseph Aronoff has started a petition calling on the Tigers to bring back the old “jersey version” of the Old English D. … The Yankees were selling baseball caps in their team yearbooks as early as 1950 — much earlier than I would have thought! (From @Titan4Ever2488.) … We’ve covered this before, but once more won’t hurt: The Phillies have never worn the word “Philadelphia” on their jerseys, but they considered doing it in 1991, as seen on this prototype (from Steve Kusheloff). … Here’s some great footage of the Royals and Mariners playing the very first futuristic MLB game in 1998. That game was the model for the larger TATC program that followed in 1999.

NFL News: The Broncos signed former Lions P Sam Martin yesterday and used a photo of him in a number-less Lions jersey in their introductory Twitter graphic (from Michael Blake Raymer). … Spotted on eBay: This “prototype” Pats jersey from 1995 — the first year they wore the style with Flying Elvis-clad shoulders (from Kenny Saidah). … Check out the kerning on Giants’ LB Jim Clack’s NOB during the 1978 “Miracle at the Meadowlands” game against the Eagles. You could run a semi through those letters! (From Patrick Henderson.) … Stefan Vasilev took a stab at designing a new logo for the Rams. … Speaking of the Rams, they did a live Instagram session last night and fans just wanted to shit all over the new logo. … Travis DeMarco was watching Season 4 of Amazon’s All or Nothing, which follows the Carolina Panthers. Footage from the show caught a miscolored logo on CB Donte Jackson’s jersey that doesn’t include any grey elements. … Check out this Oilers logo that Bum Phillips was wearing on his cowboy boots back in the ’70s (from @NFL_Journal).

College Football NewsTulane will have new turf and field design when football returns (from Patrick Barnett). … Writers for The Athletic determined the best player to ever wear each number (from @Wilds_Lee). … Clint Richardson hopes that SEC football can return by this fall, but if not, he has a backup plan: Quarantine Ball!

Hockey NewsThe pandemic has halted work on the Islanders’ new arena (from Kary Klismet). … The Canucks’ mascot, Fin, went to visit a boy on his fifth birthday the other day (from Wade Heidt). … A Twitter user had his non-hockey fan friends guess NHL team names based on the team logos — with entertainingly bad results (from James Gilbert). … The Charlotte Checkers of the AHL shared photos of their uniforms through the years yesterday and encouraged fans to submit their own jersey designs (from Canes Uniform Tracker and @CJWinterberg). … The great Wafflebored DIY’d himself a sensational hybrid jersey that combines the Canucks’ “flying V” design with the old Vancouver Millionaires’ design. Note the Wafflebored maker’s mark above the NOB — a first, he says, “to cover a mistake.”

NBA NewsThe Mavericks have updated their Twitter avatar to a logo with neon green accents. Not sure what that means for the future (from Ethan Angel Cardona). … A judge has thrown out a lawsuit that a group of tattoo artists had filed against the makers of the NBA 2K video games. The suit alleged that the game infringed on the artists’ copyright when it replicated LeBron James’s tattoos, but the judge ruled that the tattoos were simply part of the depiction of James himself (from Timmy Donahue). … When NBA and ABA players played exhibition games against each other in the 1970s, both teams wore jerseys with wider shoulder straps (from Tom O’Grady). … Check out future Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain competing in the high jump in high school (using the old forward roll technique) — while wearing a driving cap! (From Michael, who didn’t give his last name.)

Soccer NewsThe Athletic has a great piece about a company that’s making soccer cleats designed specifically to fit women’s feet — as they put it, no more “pink it and shrink it” (from Ed Żelaski). … Speaking of Ed, see more soccer updates over on his Twitter account.

Grab BagDayton, Ohio, is seeking the public’s input on the design for a new city flag (from Kary Klismet). … A police officer in India made a scary-looking coronavirus helmet and wore it out on the streets to encourage social distancing (from Jeremy Brahm). … New uniforms for the Lower Paxton Township Police Department in Pennsylvania (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: The Seal Beach Police Department in Orange County, Calif., will be among the departments wearing puzzle piece badges in April for Autism Awareness Month. … The apparel company Brooks Brothers, which had shut down its domestic factories due to the pandemic, is now reopening them to make masks and hospital gowns for healthcare workers (from Tom Turner).

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What Paul did last night: The Tugboat Captain’s grad school classes were cancelled last week, and the week before that was spring break, so yesterday was her first day of virtual classes. We spent our porch time talking a lot about that (the short version: She didn’t find it very satisfying). Today she has to teach a virtual class herself, as part of her graduate assistantship, so she’s stressed out about that.

Grad school was supposed to be a way for the Captain to reinvent herself career-wise (she was a journalist but decided that that’s too risky, so she’s getting a library/information degree), but now who knows what sort of job market will be waiting for her when she graduates six weeks from now. Plus her graduation ceremony has been cancelled, plus-plus some of her classmates went home to their parents’ houses for spring break (they’re all younger than she is) and then ended up staying there, so she may never see them again. Basically, she’s in mourning — she’s worked really hard on this degree, and now it’s all ending in disarray and uncertainty.

Obviously, those are minor problems compared to, say, being on a ventilator with Covid-19. But still — it’s sad. Fortunately, Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin always brightens the Captain’s mood:

Hope everyone’s keeping healthy and safe. This too shall pass. Stay well! — Paul