By Phil Hecken
Got an interesting e-mail yesterday from reader Chris Proctor. It plays into a number of themes on Uni Watch, including my recent (and soon to be re-started “What’s Your Sign(ature)?” series) — namely, what team looked their “best” when they won a championship? Much as I believe a team’s best uniform and the one for which they’re most likely to be remembered (their “signature” uni, if you will), are not necessarily the *same* uni, Chris brings up a great topic that I’m sure deserves more discussion — and clearly opinions will come into play here. I’ll let Chris take it from here:
By Chris Proctor
This is something I’ve been thinking about since the Cavaliers won the title last summer, what are the best “Championship Looks”? By that I mean, which teams looked the best when they won their respective titles? It was such a huge moment for Cleveland but, unfortunately, the lasting image will always be them celebrating while wearing, what look like, t-shirts bought from Academy. The Cubs win was a historic moment, but the pictures will always be of them wearing their batting practice jerseys instead of “CHICAGO” proudly across their chest. Obviously teams usually look better when they win at home, but the Indians were wearing their batting practice jerseys too.
So, what do you think are some of the best looking championship moments? Here are some of my recent suggestions:
2013 World Series — White Red Sox over the beautiful grey Cardinals against the backdrop of Fenway Park. Hard to top.
Super Bowl XLV — The home Green Bay Packer uniforms are always great.
2008 and 2010 NBA Finals — Lakers and Celtics both winning on their home court. Would have look great even if the road team had won. Best looking match up in NBA history.
2013 Stanley Cup Finals — Blackhawks over Bruins. Two classic, basically unchanged, uniforms.
And finally, my personal favorite. I’m a Cowboys fan so for me, this looks the best:
Classic Cowboys white vs. very solid Buffalo Bills blue against the backdrop of the Rose Bowl. Can you imagine if the Cowboys were to go to the Super Bowl and wear their blues? That would just look weird.
Anyway, I always think about this kind of stuff and my wife simply says, “I don’t care.” Lovingly though, but still. Not many people care about this kind of stuff and I thought you might. Thanks for your time.
Phil here. Good stuff, Chris — and certainly a good basis to start a discussion.
Those are certainly some solid choices, but they only cover the past 15 years or so (or say, from 2000 to present). While the Packers are a fantastic choice for football, might there have been an even better matchup than the Steelers (lotsa gold pants there)? You might be hard-pressed to find a better looking matchup in the 2000s (one could argue the Colts vs. Bears was a great one as well). Another solid choice with Sawx vs. Cardinals — was there a better one in the 2000s? The 2006 Series was Cards vs. Tigers, but that one ended with the Cards at home, Tigers in their roads — which would be even more classic if they were reversed? What about other decades or the other sports? Blackhawks is (again) a solid choice — but what about 2010 when the ‘hawks were in white and the Flyers were in orange? Just throwing that out there. In hoops, it’s hard to argue against the Celtics or Lakers, as long as they’re in their classic unis.
What do you guys think? What are your choices for best “Championship Looks” — as defined by the unis being worn when the team won the final game? Let’s hear your choices for the 2000s — did Chris nail it, or do you have other thoughts? How about other decades? What were the top ones of the 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, 1960s? Which decade had the best overall looks?
Let’s have your thoughts down below!
In Search of…
…the “Perfect” Baseball Card
Earlier this year, I ran a post in which reader Ray Hund described his quest — and “rules” — for a “Perfect” baseball card. I had asked readers to submit their own submissions for what they considered to be their own version of the perfect card. I’ll run these periodically. If you have a submission for your own “Perfect” baseball card, shoot me an email with a short(ish) writeup and of course, an image (or images) of your own perfect card.
We begin today with Jeff Spry (who actually had *two*):
I love this idea and hope you print all of the entries ”“ I loooove reading about old cards. Here are my two nominees:
1976 Johnny Bench
The Reds won the Series in 1975 and Bench was in full power as the game’s greatest catcher. This card always captured my attention ”“ I love the look of the warrior, who surely has just tagged out some would-be run-scorer, no doubt in a collision where the other guy is in great pain, with nothing but a cloud of dust remaining. This captures the essence of Bench well. The uniform is obscured, though you can see part of the “C” logo and should be excused because of his position and the tools of ignorance. As much as I hated Bench destroying the Yankees later that summer, there is NO question ”“ this is a GREAT CARD.
1978 Reggie Jackson
Reggie was coming of the most amazing display of power in World Series history, hitting three home runs off three Dodgers’ pitchers to win the 1978 championship. Here, Reggie is coming out of his shoes once more to launch another moon shot. The classic Yankee logo is obscured but you can see the pinstripes in all their glory. Perfect card for Reggie.
And we conclude today with Carl Anderson (with THREE plus some Honorable Mentions):
Three Cards come quickly to mind. Though, I’m sure I can think of more.
1. Paul Molitor, Topps 1979.
Simply put, Paul Molitor’s ’79 card is the most beautiful baseball card I own. It’s the sunlight, the gorgeous Brewers batting helmet, and Molitor’s downward glance and almost demure smile. He’s a kid at the beginning of what will be a Hall of Fame career. He kind of reminds me Montgomery Clift in “Red River.” The Brewers were second in the AL in 1979. Molitor hit for .322 and scored 88 runs.
2. Gorman Thomas, Topps 1980.
“MY NAME IS GORMAN THOMAS AND I HIT HOMERUNS.” My favorite baseball card design and perhaps my favorite baseball uniform. Gorman hit 38 HR in 1980 and lead the AL in strikeouts. As you can see, he also had nice hair and a great mustache. The 1980 Brewers went 86-76.
3. Bret Saberhagen, Topps 1988.
Topps’s minimalist design and the simplicity of this photograph are perfectly matched. And the powder blue Royals uniform goes great with the green and white border. Shame about the elastic pant cuffs, though. 1988 was a down year for Bret. He went 14-16 with an ERA of 3.80
Joel Youngblood, Topps 1978. Looks like a lumberjack or a steel driver. The shorter sleeves remind me of an earlier era.
–Carl Robert Anderson
I received a bunch of submissions from you guys already, and I’ll continue to run them — if you’d like to send me your “perfect” card, my e-mail address is above.
In Case You Missed It…Paul’s Latest ESPN Piece
With the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, Paul asked readers for their concepts on how they might look “after getting a facelift” for their relocation to the desert. Tinkering with the Raiders’ look is a dicey proposition because most fans like the team’s uniforms just the way they are. How can you mess with the iconic silver and black? Still, there were some interesting entries!
If you didn’t read Paul’s latest piece, here ya go. Totally worth the read if you’re at all into redesign contests (or even if you’re not).
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Here’s the Prince-themed T-shirt Minnesota Twins players will wear during batting practice on “Prince Night” June 16 (from Tyler Mason). … I’ll be honest, I had to google “Guy Harvey” when I saw the Daytona Tortugas were wearing special Guy Harvey jerseys for last night’s game. Turns out he is a Jamaican marine wildlife artist and conservationist. Here’s how they looked on the field (from Daytona Tortugas). … Beautiful colorization from Bruce Menard of Babe Ruth smacking home run number 710. … If you like patches and the like, The Emblem Source has just gotten space in the Mariners shop, so you can get many items at several MLB ballparks now (Currently there are fixtures at Yankee Stadium, Safeco Field, and Wrigley Field.). … The great Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams, was and will always be known as a member of the Red Sox, but he also managed the Texas Rangers (from Bruce Menard), and prior to that the Washington Senators. It’s still odd to see him in anything but Red Sox garb. Almost like seeing Joe DiMaggio as a member of the Athletics. … Andrew Mccutchen was “rocking (a) Griffey logo on arm band!” exclaims Jorge Cruz. He then adds, “Wouldn’t be cool if this became the official Nike baseball logo?” … The Oakland A’s were sporting Golden State Warrior-themed BP jerseys yesterday (from Kris Vossmer). Here’s another look (from kyle rancourt). … Columbia University wore some pretty gorgeous hose yesterday (from Forward Progress T’s). … The Jacksonville Sharks will wear special jerseys for their Military Appreciation Night game on May 6, which will feature World War II B-17 bombers on the front & back. … Check out this beautiful jersey the Phillies wore for ONE season — 1938. Their last season at Baker Bowl and first season at Shibe Park — a mid-season switch (from Alex Cheremeteff). Here’s how that jersey looked on the players in their last game at Baker Bow. (also from Alex_. … It’s tough to see in this pic (but I watched the game live and can confrim) — but Addison Reed was wearing the wrong cap last night (it *should* have the white outline, as the mets were wearing their alt-blue smocks). From Alejandro DeJesus”). Here’s another view (from James Beattie). Best view is here from Niko Goutakolis”). It just proves the stupidity of having an alt-cap that’s essentially the exact same as the primary cap. I’m sure this won’t be the last time this happens. … The Gwinnett Braves had a sort of crossover theme night with Atlanta United FC. If you’re interested in bidding (they’re auctioning them), go here (from Cody Fortune). … The San Diego Padres script & logo were rainbow colored on their scoreboard in support of Out at the Park night (from Brandon Wright). … The Pittsburgh Pirates honored the Steelers’ Dan Rooney last night with a hypocycloid logo on the pitcher’s mound and his name and birth/death years behind the plate (from juice).
NFL/College/High School/Football News: Roary (yes, that’s the name of the Lions’ mascot) was spotted yesterday wearing the teams new uniform. I still hate the “LIONS” on the northwestern sleeve stripe, but otherwise, I’m definitely not hating the new unis (from Douglas). Yes, I know this was in yesterday’s ticker. … WHOA!!! Check out this gorgeous, color film of a true, sandlot football game from Pennsylvania in 1940 (from 216 Sports History). … Also from 216, check out this magazine ad for the phantom “CB” helmet design that the Browns nearly wore in the 1960s. … Upper Iowa University (the Peacocks) have a new helmet logo (from sam). Actually, they have a whole new “brand identity” and logos. … We can never have enough articles about Packers’ seamstress Florence Van Sistine, can we? That’d be a “no” (from Michael Bialas). … Here are some photos of the Iowa Barnstormers First Responders night uniforms. Jerseys will also have badge numbers of 6 local fallen officers (from Connor Ferguson). … In College “uni” news, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved delaying a rule until the 2018 season that requires players to wear kneepads and pants that cover the knees. It is “recommended strongly” that the pants cover the knee for the 2017 season (from Harrison Huntley)… That Michigan Wolverine football field trip to Italy is just packed full–not only is Harbaugh having his son baptized and daughter 1st communion at Vatican, the Pope is even getting a helmet (from PJ Kuzdal). … Tweeter Victory Cheeseballs thinks the model for the 49ers QB in this 1996 Monopoly game is the Patriots’ Drew Bledsoe.
Hockey News: Tweeter Thomas Smith writes, “Possible rematch of 06 Western Conf Finals between @AnaheimDucks & @EdmontonOilers. Ducks jerseys were 10x better than current.” I gotta be honest — I don’t remember that Ducks alternate at all. And yet, there it is. … Remember that awful Capitals/Maple Leafs frankenjersey I had in last weekend’s ticker? Well, he’s a Constitutional lawyer and Dan Steinberg of the WaPo got the story behind it (from Ted Arnold). He’s probably going to do it again. … Unlike the Washington Wizards (as you’ll see in the NBA section below), the Edmonton Oilers have actual playoff jerseys that fans can purchase in stock.
NBA/College/Basketball News: When the Wizards announced in late March that they would wear their white stars-and-stripes uniforms at all home playoff games this spring, the response seemed pretty close to unanimous approval. There’s just one problem: Fans loved them so much that the team sold out its entire supply of retail inventory before the postseason started (from David Goodfriend). … So you think wearing your favorite team’s shorts helps them win, or are one of those It’s only weird folks, you’re not alone. The youngest Kardashian sister ‘has all these little rituals that she has to do before every big game, including sleeping in one of Tristan Thompson’s jerseys from last year,’ reveals a source. She’s convinced it’s magic.
Soccer News: This article contains a very nice gallery of those recycled “Parley” ocean plastic jerseys that New York City FC will wear this Sunday (they’re one of several clubs wearing the kits, the others being Orlando City, the LA Galaxy, and the Seattle Sounders to “celebrate Earth Day and in conjunction with MLS’s Greener Goals initiative.”) … Here’s a “first look” at photos of the 2017-18 BarÃ§a home kit. Says Conrad Burry, “It’s not the authentic kit, but real one won’t be too different.”
Grab Bag: Those new Mickey D’s unis? They “Promise to Usher in the Logan’s Run Dystopia We’ve All Been Waiting For”.
And that’s it for today. Thanks to Chris Proctor for what turned out to be a pretty interesting Think Piece (in a manner of speaking). But certainly a subject that’s not only ripe for debate, but also one where the beauty of the unis is oftentimes in the eye of the beholders.
I will have (barring any breaking uni news) a pretty fabulous lede tomorrow and ALSO the name of the Winner of the USA Baseball Jersey Raffle. So make sure you check back in then. But until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“If you find it exhausting/depressing to read much of what’s in the Ticker, imagine what it’s like to *compile* it. ;)”
— Paul Lukas
Gwinnett offering “game worn replica jerseys” for auction seems really oddly worded.
It makes sense in the full context – “Game-worn Atlanta United replica jerseys”, with the emphasis on the jersey being a replica of another jersey.
college football national champs best looks:
Florida State over Auburn in the Rose Bowl
Alabama over Texas in the Rose Bowl
Texas over USC again in the Rose Bowl
a lot of others to mention
The best DC championship look hasn’t happened yet…
Based on the three championships I remember happening, I have to give the edge to Washington’s Super Bowl XVII win. As much as I like the Broncos and Bills uniforms that DC faced off against, the contrast with the Dolphins worked better and a game in the Rose Bowl breaks any tie.
I suppose Bullets vs. Sonics wasn’t too bad either, though in the cave that was the Capital Centre, it surely didn’t look as good as it could.
The 1942 NFL Championship between Washington and Chicago must have looked pretty good too. I’m fairly certain it was color vs. color.
The 1924 World Series appears to have been too old school for my taste.
Though not a championship, the most recent Rose Bowl was the best looking bowl game my alma mater Penn State has ever played in. They lost to USC it was cloudy in Pasadena, but what sartorial splendor.
Bullets beat the Sonics in the Seattle Center Coliseum. That was a nice venue for a nice matchup.
So many teams have worn their best uniforms when they won championships. Hard to pick favourites.
I have a 1970s NBA nominee for which team looked their best when they won a title. A nostalgia pick because it is something we cannot have again (at least in the immediate future).
* 1979 Seattle Supersonics winning on the road in their great green-and-yellow uniform. Playing against the Washington Bullets in their whites.
Can’t rate the 2013 World Series at the top because the Cardinals aren’t wearing their navy blue caps. I’d say the best of the 2010s for baseball is the 2011 World Series, with the classic Cardinal home jerseys and very good Rangers road jerseys.
Cardinals never looked good in navy caps. Traditional schmaditional…the red caps were a massive and overdue improvement.
Super Bowl XL didn’t involve theâ€‹ Packers. I think you mean XLV.
Super Bowl XL was played in Detroit between the Steelers and Seahawks.
Correction: Jacksonville Sharks item in the baseball section is for a football team in the new National Arena League.
The Packers wore their home uniforms against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV (not in Super Bowl XL as the article currently states).
I’m kind of partial to the 1997 Red Wings when they won the Stanley Cup at home against the Philadelphia Flyers
Definitely the best-looking of the Red Wings’ four Cup wins over the past couple of decades. Better-looking than the 1998 win at the MCI Center over the desaturated blue/copper/black Caps, better-looking than the win at home over the Hurricanes, and definitely better-looking than the win at the Igloo over the Edgeified Penguins.
Speaking of the Pens, their best-looking win was probably at Chicago Stadium in 1992, though I’ll also take the 1991 win at the Met Center (I have a fondness for those North Stars unis in particular). The 2009 win at the Joe gets downgraded again because of those ugly Edge unis, and the same for last year in San Jose (though even if they had won at home, wearing the throwbacks that are now their regular jerseys, the Sharks would be downgraded due to their poor stripe game).
In the 1960s, it had to be the Mets winning Game 7 of the 1969 World Series. For me, everything that’s great about sports boils down to that game. Anticipation, excitement, raw emotion. The Mets never looked better – classic pinstripes, the beautiful royal blue and orange against the cold, chilly green background of Shea Stadium, every cuff and stirrup perfect.
Oooops, I meant Game 5.
The Boston Bruins jerseys have changed a lot…their logo has changed a lot…they even switched from brown to black. I would hardly call them unchanged and classic. Whereas the Hawks have had essentially the same uniform since 1955. Just my 2 cents.
Agreed. These are things many don’t realize until you dig in and look at the uniforms, era by era. The Bruins spent the first 40 or so years of their existence cycling though at least a dozen unique uniform designs across white, brown, black, and gold before finally introducing what’s basically the uniform they wear now, and with it, aesthetic stability.
You might think that’s all there is to know, but you’d be wrong…
The Bruins have only been back in their “classic” uniform for 10 seasons (11 if you count the previous season when the black jersey was worn as an alternate, though that one still had the classic logo). That original version of this uniform? It was only worn from 1967—1973 (7 seasons!). They did win two Stanley cups in the middle of that era, though, so one can definitely see why this would be the era that people have become attached to.
For comparison, the subsequent version (without the contrasting shoulder yoke) was worn for 21 seasons (definitely signature in terms of longevity!). After that, in the mid 1990s, the Bruins went a little crazy, clumsily adding black outlines to their logo, donning a strange hybrid uniform that clipped classic stripes inside contemporary sleeve-length panels, and adding a wild alternate uniform in gold.
In 2007, they more properly addressed the logo modification (culminating in the mark they currently use), and brought back the short-lived uniforms that Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito made famous.
Brooks Robinson jumping for joy as the Orioles sweep the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series wearing their best classic uniforms.
Habs Kings 1993. It’s the Forum, white at home, the Gretzky blacks make a great contrast look, and let’s face it they don’t make arenas like that anymore. And for that matter, spectators don’t wear dapper civvies in the stands anymore. The jerseys are on the players. They all pop.
Also bonus points for the blue kick plate on the boards in the Montreal Forum. This can’t happen anymore as NHL rule now states all kick plates must be yellow.
It is a great contrast, to be sure, but as far as the Habs go, I think their red unis are a league above their white ones.
I miss the light blue kick plates.
Another great uniform matchup COULD OF BEEN the 2000 WS between the Yankees & Mets. Unfortunately the Mets were mired in their “black period” uni’s at the time. link
Meh. The Yankees were wearing the road grays in the clincher. I’ll take the wins against the Braves, 96 or 99, take your pick.
Yes, I can imagine the Cowboys in a superbowl in their blues… just not the current blues…. it happened in the 1971 superbowl vs the colts, and it’s a top 5 superbowl look for me… gorgeous. They might consider those bad luck, but the royal blue jersey was beautiful.
Personally, I liked the outcome of that Colts-Cowboys Super Bowl game, although I preferred the Colts look in their home blue jersey. The only time the Colts franchise ever won a championship wearing the blue jersey was 1959. Otherwise the blue jersey was bad luck as they lost the NFL championship game in 1964 and Super Bowls III and XLIV when they wore the blue jersey.
Please don’t combine Baltimore and Indy history in any context. Just not right.
It’s the same franchise. Get over it.
It was such a huge moment for Cleveland but, unfortunately, the lasting image will always be them celebrating while wearing, what look like, t-shirts bought from Academy
Yeah, I’m still not happy about that. Try as I might I can’t unsee that mess.
Hard to argue with the Lakers/Celts. There hasn’t been a matchup that good in the finals since the ’94 Rockets/Knicks.
2001 was a good looking World Series too.
The Reggie Jackson card in the photo is his 1980 card not the 1978 card.
Chris, great discussion.
Of course if you go back far enough all, or most, of the championships are great. Even some Super Bowls when the winning teams wore white. Love Super Bowl III with the white Jets over the Colts. Even V with the blue Cowboys and the white Colts. Any Dodger/Yankees match up. So this points out how bad many of the “modern” uniforms are. We long for classic match ups. This is why an USC/Michigan match up in the CFB title game would be the best possible CFB game for uniforms. I’m a Trojan so I’d want SC in the home Cardinal, but with Michigan going white pants now on the road it would probably look better to have Michigan in the blue. Notre Dame would also be a classic match up against USC in the title game, unless they wear one of their lame alternate uniforms, except if they broke out their classic kelly green like in the old days.
Jeff Spry: I like your choices for the “perfect” baseball card. Mine (if I ever find it) will almost certainly be an action card like the ones you proposed. The posed cards just don’t do as much for me.
And Carl, I love the ’83 Topps cards with the combo action and pose photos. Those ’78 Topps cards were nice too.
Colts v. Cowboys in Playoff Bowl in Miami after 1965 season, gets an idea how Super Bowl V would had looked had Dallas been allowed to wear white. (Can’t find a color photo).
Color video of 1965 Playoff Bowl!
Cool to see Tom Matte at quarterback, and Mike Curtis on offense! The Colts really made the best of a meaningless game, just like the Steelers introducing their black uniforms and helmets a couple of years earlier.
It was great to see the Colts in blue and the Cowboys in white. Maybe Super Bowl V would have turned out better if they could wear those uniforms.
I’m generally opposed to color vs. color, but as far as great looking championship games go, you could do worse than 1993’s NCAA basketball title game with Michigan in maize and my Tar Heels in blue with the then-new, now classic, argyle trim:
As a perfect capper to the Pre-Super Bowl NFL you had the classic Packers in green vs classic Browns in white and a whole lot of mud in the 1965 NFL Championship.End of an era, classic look.
Tigers/Cardinals in 1968. Uniforms, ballparks, day baseball.
I thought of this one also since both have great uniforms. However this would have been better if the Tigers won at home, instead of wearing their gray flannels.
Best “Championship Look”? Easily this:
Not sure if its the best of its era but the 1972 Grey Cup looks pretty good to me:
Reds/A’s 1990 game 4. Classic Cincinnati unis (and what the need to go back to) vs. a timeless A’s look.
I am definitely a big fan of this championship look.
Dodgers Yankees any year. Honorable mention Dodgers A’s. Worst is 1997 Marlins Indians
One thing about Harbaugh giving a helmet to the pope: Why is there an Italian flag on it instead of a Vatican flag?
The Holy See is a sovereign country completely surrounded by Italy. The pope isn’t even Italian, either.
It always irks me how virtually any photo of the Cowboys that wasn’t snapped in real time, especially any photo released by the Cowboys, is always slightly doctored to make the pants appear to match the helmet and the blues on the whites to be closer to navy blue than royal blue. If the Cowboys home whites looked like they do in the picture above they would be just sheer perfection. Today the blues contrast more than ever and the pants are more green than ever. Sure wish Jerrah would just make some minor adjustments. Tex Schramm would hate the current uniforms.
Although I love the Skins current look of Burgundy jersey/Gold pants at home, it’s their current White jersey/Burgundy pants on the road that is always recalled for their glory days, and is a beautiful look on any field.
In Skins fans’ case- the whites are both their best, and most iconic.
I love the Cowpies’ blue jersey curse!