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Painting Uniforms on Uniforms

Reader Douglas Ford recently alerted me to the work of an artist named Dan Stromme, who has an interesting specialty: He paints sports scenes on helmets and jerseys.

Let’s start with the helmets, which are particularly cool. Here are some of my favorites (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

You can see more of the helmet artwork here and here.

Pretty good, right? Stromme also does paintings on jerseys. Here are examples from each of the major pro sports:

I love these. Similar to Sean Kane’s wonderful painted baseball gloves, although not as intricate or detailed. Reasonably priced, too.

According to Stromme’s online bio, he’s been doing this type of work since 2001 — surprised he hadn’t come across my radar until now. Major thanks to Doug Ford for bringing him to my attention.

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Click to enlarge

Birthday girl: People sometimes tell me I don’t look as old as my age (51). I must get that from my mom, who turned 91 yesterday and really doesn’t look it! This photo was taken yesterday afternoon in her apartment, just before my brother and I took her out for a birthday lunch.

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

A few weeks ago, an anonymous reader sent in a tale of what’s been going on at his home: His 17-year-old son’s favorite shirt, a House of David T-shirt, is starting to age and get worn out. While doing laundry, his wife took the shirt and set it aside so the son wouldn’t wear it (she hoped to find a similar tee to replace it). The son, though, found the tee and went back to wearing it.

We’ve all had our favorite shirts and articles of clothing over the years, and we’ve all had the battles either with others or with ourselves over continuing to wear something that’s become old, ratty, faded, stained, or ill-fitting.

Did you have any sports-related shirts that you once loved but eventually had to get rid of? Who forced you to stop wearing it? Instead of tossing it, did you do anything creative with it? Or, were you the parent/husband/wife in this scenario, and did you have to convince someone to cease wearing a shirt that had seen better days? Post your answers in today’s comments.

One of my favorite T-shirts was this Dwight Howard one that I got six years ago. I really dug the Free Darko-inspired artwork. I stopped wearing it because he changed teams, and the shirt got too big. Also, when I was in seventh grade, I wore an Allen Iverson AI-branded red football jersey. I wore it and it got washed so often that it faded to pink. And I still wore it until my mom made me shelve it.

T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s latest limited-edition design, jointly inspired by Cinco de Mayo and the Brewers’ “Cerveceros” jerseys, is available from now through next Monday. Full details here, or go directly to the ordering page. Heck, years from now maybe this shirt could end up being your answer to Mike’s question!

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: These donuts with throwback Padres logos on them look delicious. … Speaking of the Padres, they had an interesting giveaway for their home opener: a team-branded fedora. ”¦ Included in this minor league season preview is an infographic on affiliate changes and a look at themed promotional jerseys (from Phil). … Chicago’s ABC 7 is now broadcasting Cubs games, and the station’s MLB graphics package had several errors. … New jerseys, caps and number font for the Pawtucket Red Sox (from Phil). … Here’s a photo gallery of Indians home openers (from Phil). … A Redditor found a misspelled Madison Bumgarner jersey for half off in the Mariners team store. … We’ve talked about the 1906 New York Giants’ “World’s Champions” unis, but here’s a GIF of it in action (from Ben Fortney). … Last night, the Phillies wore 1915 throwback caps and even the team’s ushers turned back the clock. [I had previously reported, based on this item, that the Bosox would also wear throwback caps in this game, but they didn’t. ”” PL] … Kyle Romine was looking at hats in the Royals’ online store and found that the reverse photo of an on-field cap was of a Brewers cap. “The Royals on-field caps have a white squatchee and a blue and gold MLB batterman logo,” he says. “This is obviously the Brewers on-field cap because of the blue squatchee and the blue and yellow MLB batterman logo.” … Jonathan Daniel found a photo of Babe Ruth wearing a memorial armband for Ray Chapman, the Indians SS who died after being hit in the head with a pitch while playing the Yankees in 1920. … This may have been seen around here before, but Georgia’s North Gwinnett High School wears unis inspired by the White Sox’s 1980s beach blanket look (from Spin Hansen). … The Nippon League’s Rakuten Eagles unveiled their Tohoku Green alternates for their summer games (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Great uniform matchup between two Mississippi high schools. Brandon wore horizontal stripes and Petal wore mono-dark gray (from John Benal). … Want to discuss your favorite national drug store chain on Reddit? Don’t go to /r/Walgreens. … The third item in this piece says the Braves require their minor leaguers to go high-cuffed, so the Carolina Mudcats, the Braves’ new Class-A team, had to order new pants because the old ones were too long. It’s not clear why they couldn’t just re-hem the old pants (from Elena Elms). … The New York City Fire Department has a Yankees pinstriped firetruck (from Matt Shevin). … Latest MLBer to wear stirrups: Padres pitcher Nick Vincent . ”¦ The Mets’ new alternate road cap, with the grey “NY” logo, made its on-field debut yesterday. ”¦ Here’s a great shot of the Astros lining up for Opening Day in 1971 in their shooting star uniforms. ”¦ The Double-A Tulsa Drillers, now affiliated with the Dodgers, have Dodgers-themed uniforms.

NFL News: With the Browns set to unveil new uniforms, here’s a rundown of all the changes they’ve made over the years (from Phil). … Check out this team photo of the 1969 Miami Dolphins. No. 41 at the far right is wearing mono-aqua! (From David Caveda.)

College Football News: Paul showed a photo of an uncommon 1980s Tennessee logo yesterday. Daniel McMullen points out that Tulane had a very similar logo at the time. ”¦ If you play for Oregon, you end up with a lot of jerseys.

Hockey News: Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling has a Chicago-themed mask. Darling is from nearby Lemont, Illinois (from Gil Neumann). … Chris Wautel noticed that for goalie masks, white backplate straps do not have an NHL logo on them, but black ones do. … The Sharks wanted to wear their teal uniforms last night, so they asked the Oilers to wear white at home. … Tiger Woods’ caddy is wearing a Rangers shirt under his jumpsuit at the Masters (from Alan Kreit). … In the first matchup of last night’s Frozen Four, Providence and Nebraska-Omaha wore Frozen Four patches on the fronts of their jerseys. In the second game, Boston University and North Dakota (couldn’t find a photo for them, unfortunately) wore patches on their sleeves above the numbers (from Dane Drutis).

Soccer News: In February, the Portland Timbers shot photos of fans posing with an axe (from Yusuke Toyoda). … David Templeton, of the Scottish Championship side Rangers, had a misspelled jersey last night. He got it fixed for the second half, though. ”¦ Liverpool’s new home kit has leaked.

NBA News: LeBron James’ recent habit of playing without his usual headband has been turned into a T-shirt (from Andrew Cosentino). … The Pacers received permission from the league office to wear their Flo-Jo throwbacks tonight in Detroit. … Rockets guard James Harden and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich compared beards the other night.

College Hoops News: Yesterday Paul talked about baseball players and football quarterbacks wearing gloves on their throwing hands. According to this article, Louisville’s Milt Wagner wore black golf gloves during a game in 1982 (from Martin Sumners).

Grab Bag: Yoga pants are now being marketed towards kids (from Tommy Turner). … Here’s an interesting look at why movie directors wear blank baseball caps (from Jason Hillyer). … Antarctica has a legit retro bowling alley, complete with manual pinsetters! Very cool (thanks, Steven Zerhusen). … I’m burying the lede here, but new logo for the Belize History Association.

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On the road again: The next few days are going to be a bit tricky, because Phil and I are both traveling. Let’s start with Phil: He’s going to be taking a road trip getaway this weekend, which probably won’t affect tomorrow’s content but might result in a lighter-than-usual post on Sunday. Of course, “lighter-than-usual” for Phil is still plenty substantial by anyone else’s standards, so I’m not too worried.

As for me, tomorrow morning I’m flying to Milwaukee, where I’m going to spend the weekend attending to two personal matters — one of which should be very joyous, the other deeply painful. I’ll stay in Milwaukee so I can cover the Bucks’ logo unveiling event and some other ESPN duties on Monday afternoon and evening (intern Mike Chamernik will come up from Chicago to assist me), and then I’ll fly to Cleveland on Tuesday so I can cover the Browns’ uniform unveiling that night. I’ll fly home on Wednesday.

We’ll definitely have content each day, but it might be on the light side, especially some of the Tickers. But I’ll be turning out plenty of ESPN content during this period. For the Bucks unveiling, I’ll have a reaction/assessment piece on Monday night, and then on Tuesday I’ll have a big feature on how the team’s new colors, typeface, and logos were developed. I was given exclusive access to the design firm that handled the project — a small shop here in Brooklyn — and they showed me their preliminary sketches, developmental logos, and more. It’s a good story, and a rare glimpse at how a team redesign really works. And for the Browns’ unveiling, I’ll write something for ESPN on the fly that night.

My usual work routines are gonna be all disrupted, and a lot of stuff will no doubt fall through the cracks. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Comments (73)

    Hey Paul is Mets new alternate fitted made out of that Diamond Era mesh material or the Polyester material that the on-field caps are made out of? Can’t tell by the screen shot. Thanks.

    I was at the Mets ballpark on Monday to watch opening day on the big screen and spent some time in the shop. The ones they were selling appeared to be the Diamond Era mesh. As I don’t want to encourage the unnecessary proliferation of alternative caps and uniforms for the sole purpose of boosting merchandise sales–and because I am cheap, I did not buy one. I tend to stick to the clearance rack.

    Went to the Gwinnett Braves home opener last night, and noticed all G-Braves players wearing hi-cuffed pants. Odd, I thought, since last year most players wore pajama pants.

    Their opponent, the Durham Bulls, also went 100% hi-cuffed, including coaches. Todays ticker proves that the Braves are directed to do this, but I wonder about the Rays affiliates?

    I thought many of the lower-level affiliates have (or had) some kind of directive to wear high cuffs. I believe that’s part of the problem with MLBers not going high-cuffed — if you take away the mandate, the attitude becomes, “well, I’m a big kid now and I can wear my pants however I want, so I will.” There’s no requirement to wear proper hosiery so the players don’t…because they can.

    It would be nice to know how many teams have the high cuff requirement and how many don’t. I would bet it’s less than half of the MLB teams, but I could be wrong.

    That is always the explanation of why so few Cardinals who came up through their system wear the beautiful striped socks showing in St Louis– because it was a minor league requirement to go high-cuffed.
    The Durham Bulls do always go high cuffed but I don’t know if it’s a requirement throughout the Rays system. Last year when a Rays player was doing a rehab stint with the Bulls they said he [and all MLB rehabbers] are exempt from wearing high cuffs when with the Bulls.

    Oh, and great photo of you and mom, PL!

    Is that the bespoke suit jacket?

    “We’ll definitely have content each day, but it might be on the light side, especially some of the Tickers.”

    No worries. I’ll just post a bunch of crappy comments to make the page seem longer.


    Ditto. She looks awesome. Not very kind of Paul to flaunt the totally unmerited genetic inheritance that keeps him so trim and feisty while the rest of struggle with torpor and waist expansion, but you know.

    Happy birthday, Paul’s Mom! She does look great. Hope y’all had a nice lunch.

    I know, right? Look, if you’re embarrassed to be wearing a hat called a trilby, then don’t wear it. Wearing a trilby but calling it a fedora isn’t the answer.

    Regarding the Pacers’ “Flo-Jo” jerseys…is this a common designation for these jerseys or a Uni Watch designation? Where did the term originate?

    I actually don’t care for the term myself, but it’s in fairly wide use, because Florence Griffith Joyner supposedly came up with the uniform design.

    It’s a fairly common term for those uniforms. Florence Griffith Joyner (aka Flo-Jo) was a former Olympic sprinter, and actually designed those Pacers uniforms in 1989.


    Also not familiar with that Tennessee logo. Had to do an internet search on the “interlocking UT” and according to a trademark infringement lawsuit UT filed in 2008 that logo had been around for 80 years.

    In the past I’ve had a couple of my lucky shirts get holes in them, instead of tossing them I made them into pillows that I put on them on the couch every gameday.

    And would make an amazing gift for someone nearing the end of a career or stint with a specific team.

    How does he paint on the mesh jersey fabric? I’m way more into the helmet art than his jersey art, but that Butkus jersey has me transfixed, wondering how he did it.

    QOTW- I find that I wear out favorite hats a lot more than t-shirts or jerseys. Maybe because I’m more attached to a nice fitting and nice looking hat. I’ve taken to buying things I really like in pairs or multiples to prevent being left out in the cold without my favorite gear. Jeans especially as nowadays they just seem to be hard to find in the style I like. (No designer marks, no faux fade, no skinny.) I also try to buy shoes in pairs but that’s hard to do because of the price. I really wish I could find an old-school Raptors fitted hat that sits just right. I would probably buy 4 or 5 of those. Sigh.

    ^ THIS^

    In 2003, I attended a wizards game while visiting DC. I had to grab a cap at the game during their unfortunate shytblue/gold phase. It was a twins enterprise cap and best fitting cap I ever owned. Of course by the time I realized it, twins enterprise stopped making them. I buy a couple caps a year in hopes I can find that one perfect fit……but alas, 12 years and counting.


    That picture of the guy with the Phillies throwback sweater is not an usher, it is the Phillies PA announcer Dan Baker. Matt Stairs of the Phillies broadcast team also had one on earlier in the broadcast.

    Poor Dan. He gets bounced as the Eagles’ PA announcer and is demoted to usher for the Phillies. (jk)

    The significant aspect of the 1971 Astros photo on Opening Day is that it was the first game in which the Astros wore orange caps. And the uniforms were new — the lettering that had been navy from 1965-70 became orange and the trim that had been orange became navy.

    The PawSox’ paw-in-P and polar bear’s foot in Red Sox logo: Great stuff. Where have these been all my life?

    Glad to see that they went with the full “Pawtucket” on the away jerseys for what will likely be one of the final seasons there. Although I prefer the version in the classic “Red Sox” font.

    The art helmets and jerseys are incredible. Really like the Dickerson and early helmets.

    The “leak” of the Liverpool kit is obviously fake. They’re launching the real thing as we speak (or as I type, rather): link

    More details here: link

    It adopts a chequerboard pattern inspired by the red and white mosaic formed when supporters on the Kop hoist aloft their Liverpool flags and scarves on a matchday.

    I’m guessing the counterfeiters who made the “leaked” kit got a hold of the description and made their best guess with the checkerboard/stripes design.

    I always suspected that leak was a fake, because the NB logo looked really sloppy. I don’t really have a good eye, but that stood out to me

    QOTW: As a kid I had a favorite Michigan shirt. It had cartoon wolverines running across it and holding M flags. The pattern was the same on the front and back so when it finally became too shredded to wear, my mom cut out the pattern and turned it into 2 pillows. 20 years later and now the pillows need to be retired.

    QOTW: For years my brothers and I had a running battle trying to save two of my dad’s tattered old softball jerseys from the dreaded “ragbag.” After one finally disappeared, we took to washing the other by hand and hiding it from our mother when it was not actually being worn.

    I ended up with it and heard the same “that shirt is just a rag” from my wife, so had to hide it from her for years, also. When my dad was almost 80 we had a family reunion with a baseball/wiffleball theme so I removed the lettering from the old jersey (which truly had been falling apart for decades) and sewed it onto a new one for him to wear.

    I like the helmet/jersey artist. I just hope that, as he gets more attention, that he doesn’t get pursued by the photo/press syndicates for “unauthorized copying” (c.f. the Shepard Fairley case)…


    love the Padres fedora but too bad it wasn’t with the brown&gold or brown&orange

    Much more importantly – Happy Birthday Ma Lukas!!!

    Is Tiger’s caddy wearing 94 because of the Rangers and their last Cup win or is that just a coincidence?

    Masters caddy numbering system starts with ‘1’ for the defending champion, then the rest of the golfers in order of entry. Tiger waited till the last minute to decide that he was playing, so it makes sense that he got a high number.


    I had a 2005 Liverpool jersey that I wore occasionally. Then I left it lying around and my wife put it in the laundry and the printing peeled off. Oh well.

    Oh, and happy birthday, Paul’s mom!

    Being a White Sox fan, I wear out hats due to the sun turning then from black to a “sun-baked brown” (Jimmy Stewart as “The Six-Shooter”.) My favorite shirts (a 2005 World Series Champions T, and a Joe Crede jersey shirt) sit in a rag box.
    My dad had a 1983 “Winning Ugly” shirt that got so worn you could strain spaghetti through it. You guessed it, rag box.

    QOTW –

    A replica Charlie Manuel ‘Kintetsu Buffaloes’ jersey.

    Reason why I can’t wear it anymore – Mr. Manuel signed it for me. And had a huge grin on his face when he first realized what I was showing him.

    Bittersweet, since it was my absolute favorite sports-related garment, but it’s even more special now.

    I noted this above, but wanted to expand on the liverpool fake leak. The key is in the NB logo, it doesn’t look italicized enough in the leak, and the B looks really odd and not heavy/bold enough

    The striping on the ‘N’ looks sloppy too. Though that’s easy for me to say now that the real thing is out.

    The thing is, if someone who saw the real thing and relayed the key features to a counterfeiter–checkerboard on the chest connecting to vertical stripes, gold trim around the collar–you might get something like the leak.

    I don’t think I’ve ever forcibly given up any favorite shirts but a couple items I must have outgrown and had tossed (by my parents or by myself) that I’d like back include a Waterbury Indians ringer tshirt and a New Haven Nighthawks raglan shirt.

    I’ve had plenty of shirts in general get ruined by pitstains and thus taken out of commission, and then I resized it was due mainly to aluminum found in most antiperspirants. Haven’t had the problem since switching over to Crystal products.

    Well, if the Dallas Cowboys organization visists the site today, they should be well prepared for a Tom Landry tribute (both the helmet and the SD Padres-inspired fedora).

    I found some orange baseball sleeves in the trash back in the 90’s. It said Kruger Industrial Smoothing on the front. The back had the name Koko and the #00. I wore the heck out of that shirt. I must’ve given it to Goodwill or something.

    Alexei Ramírez wearing Minnie Miñoso’s retired number 9 today, with “MINOSO” instead of his own name on the back.

    Good stories as usual, everyone. I have link by Boyz II Men playing on Spotify right now.

    I also had a white throwback Indians shirt that had a very slight stain on it. After rubbing Shout on it before a few washes, a hole formed in that spot and I had to throw the shirt away.

    The bowling alley in Antarctica was torn down about five years ago. I had many a great night in that building. In theory, all of the equipment and lanes are still down there in shipping containers waiting for another chance at life.

    I hated the new Mets road caps until I saw them in action yesterday. Now I want one. I’ve been wearing my black alternate cap that they retired a few years ago because I still think it was their best look.

    First time I’ve ever seen the Mets cap logo anything but orange. But it’s not grey, it’s white – or so light it looks white. Wouldn’t you expect it to match the silvery grey on the jersey?

    QOTW: I had a small collection of Durene hockey sweaters from the 1970’s. White Islanders, white Rangers, black Bruins and red Red Wings. The Boston jersey had an indestructible rubber crest on the front. I’d still have them if I weren’t fifty pounds heavier than I was as a teenager, so I gave them to Goodwill. No regrets.

    QOTW UPDATE! I couldn’t recall a favorite sports shirt that I wore in particular but as luck would have it my family and I got together on Saturday and my nephew found some of my old stuff in a duffel bag in my mother’s attic. In it was a black Michael Jordan Bulls jersey that I wore the heck out of. It also had a Rodman Bulls jersey that my brother wore. We both tried them on and miraculously they both fit (mine a little better than his, he was pretty young when he got it.) I wore it Sunday while working on redoing the screens for my house. It was a perfectly timed find.

    Re: Mississippi high-school baseball video:

    How I’d loved to have had a 326-foot center field fence to aim at!

Comments are closed.