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Tiger Talk

Longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Bruce Menard, who tweets tons of great vintage baseball imagery as @BSmile, came across something really interesting yesterday — the photo shown above of Tigers outfielder Al Kaline, waiting on deck prior to a plate appearance. There’s a similar shot, clearly from the same juncture, here. According to Getty Images, the photos were shot at Fenway Park and are from “circa 1963” (which you should take rather loosely, as Getty tends to take a rather expansive view of the term “circa”).

There’s a lot going on there. First, Kaline’s helmet was flocked. That’s really rare. In fact, out of the many dozens of Kaline photos in the Getty archive, there appears to be only two other shots — here and here — that show him in a flocked lid. Those photos, also taken at Fenway, are dated 1961.

For that matter, it’s rare to see any Tigers wearing flocked helmets. Bruce and I both did some photo research on that and came up with only one other example: this shot of outfielder Bill Bruton. That’s from the same game as the 1961 Kaline shots. (Too bad flocked helmets weren’t more common, as I really like how the textured flocking complemented the texture of the grey flannel uniforms.)

Now let’s take a closer look at the shot of Kaline on deck:

As you can see, the “D” logo was AWOL from his helmet. Moreover, his helmet brim had a large white label with his uniform number, 6. The whole thing feels sort of endearingly rinky-dink. In the 1961 shots of Kaline and Bruton, the “D” logo was missing but there was no uni number label on the brim.

Meanwhile: While looking at Tigers photos, I came across this remarkable shot of pitcher Denny McLain (the last man to win over 30 games, don’tcha know; click to enlarge):

At first I thought his eyeglasses had some really industrial-looking frames. But upon closer inspection, it looks like the frames were taped up at the center, with the tape extending into the lenses. Also, it looks like these may actually be clip-on lenses..? Very odd.

Also notable is McLain’s very thick memorial armband. According to Dressed to the Nines, the Tigers wore that in 1966 for former manager Charlie Dressen. Obviously, it was a lot more prominent than the armbands seen in later years. Here’s how it looked on McLain during a game:

Oddly, I’ve been unable to find shots of any other Tigers wearing this armband. Anyone..?

(Major thanks to Bruce Menard for finding the flocked helmet photos.)

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jersey contest - fauxback

Contest and Father’s Day reminders: Phil here. In case you missed it, over the weekend, I announced our latest jersey design contest (design a fauxback jersey for a team born 1990 or later). If you have any questions about whether a team you’d like to design meets the parameters, feel free to shoot me an email. Deadline is next Tuesday, June 20.

dads in unis

Also, Sunday is Father’s Day, and I’ll be continuing my annual tradition of posting photos of “Dads In Uniform.” It’s something I began doing in 2013, and continued in 2014, 2015, and again last year, and I’m looking forward to keeping it going strong.

If you’d like to have a photo of your dad (or granddad!) featured this Sunday, please send me an email along with a photo (just one, please) and description. I’ll run all submissions this Sunday.

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Naming Wrongs update: I got a Naming Wrongs request over the weekend from reader Justin Howland, who asked if our “Joe fist” design would be available as a tank top. That was an easy request to grant, and the tank is now available in our Naming Wrongs shop.

I hadn’t previously offered tank tops for any Uni Watch or Naming Wrongs shirts, mainly because nobody had ever requested them so I didn’t think anyone cared. But if you’d like to have one of our designs on a tank top — or, for that matter, on a sweatshirt, a hoodie, a V-neck tee, a women’s tee, a women’s tank top, a kid’s size tee, or a onesie — it’s easy enough for me to do. Just ask and I’ll set things up for you.

Also, so far I haven’t offered the Naming Wrongs designs on coffee mugs, because I figure the whole point of these designs is to wear them in public and, you know, be seen. Then again, maybe some people do want mug versions. They might make good gifts, too. So if there’s a design that you you’d be interested in purchasing in mug form, let me know and I’ll get on it.

Also-also, I’ve created a Naming Wrongs FAQ page, to address some of the recurring questions and feedback.

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Phone call: If anyone out there has an old but functional 32gb iPhone 5s, preferably in black, that you’d be willing to part with for a reasonable price, please get in touch. A 64gb iPhone 6 would also be helpful (but not the 6 Plus). Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News:  Cubs P Jake Arrieta wore teammate Kris Bryant’s batting gloves during yesterday’s game (from Jake Cilek). … The Red Sox had a rainbow version of their logo on the mound yesterday for Pride Month (from Cole P.). … Speaking of the Sox, ESPN ran out of room on their graphic to include all of the pennants on the Fenway Park facade, so they had to cut out the banners for the 1903 and 2013 World Series (from  Steve McDermott). …  Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was wearing quite the shirt during a postgame interview yesterday. It’s apparently called the “Great Hambino” shirt, referencing the 1993 classic The Sandlot. You’re killing me Smalls! (From  Jorge Cruz.) …   The Braves gave away a Bartolo Colon bobblehead doll on Friday, depicting him wearing the team’s cream-colored alternate jersey. According to  Austin Gillis, Colon has never worn that jersey in his five home appearances  with the Braves this season. … TSN has been using the jersey version of the Tigers Old English “D.” The Tigers began using the cap version of the logo for their primary mark in 2016 (from  Jeff Pollock). …  Ryan Christoffersen  found  what appears to be a misspelled NOB on a Garrett Richards Angels jersey. … Speaking of the Angels, when your official team name has five words and two locators, people are inevitably going to have problems with it (from Paul Deaver). …  Rich Loup found a This Week in Baseball clip from 1982 of an Astros home game where the home plate umpire was wearing Astros gear — one of those situations where the umps’ luggage was lost or delayed and they had to wear team gear. According to Rich’s research, that ump is most likely Joe West, who’s still umpiring big league games today. … Color-on-color matchup in college baseball between TCU (purple) and Missouri State (maroon camo) (from Ivor van Esch). … Wrestler Dasher Hatfield wears a baseball-themed costume in the ring, including what appears to be stirrups (from  Mark Coale). … Only in the ’70s: Oscar Gamble and his massive ’fro taking batting practice while wearing a visor (from Robert Hayes). … Looks like Tigers C James McCann has some extra stitching in his pants’ buttocks area. Probably to provide extra support from all that squatting (from Matthew Duprey). … Rare sight on Saturday, as notorious super-high-cuffer Hunter Pence went pajamist as a slump-buster move. It didn’t work, so he went back to going high-cuffed on Sunday and promptly broke out of his slump (from Brinke).

Football News:  The Patriots’ Super Bowl rings contain 283 diamonds, apparently referencing the 28-3 deficit the team overcame against the Falcons to win the Super Bowl (from David Firestone). …  Here’s a good look at how Nike’s new jersey template will look in Madden 18 (from  Garrett Beatty). … We’ve seen this before, but check out some of the number and striping discrepancies on the early-’70s Dolphins unis (from CJSFFL Commish). …  New  number assignments  for the LSU Tigers. … Some Twitter account says TCU’s uniforms are the best in Texas. Sure. (From  MWS). … The Calgary Stampeders of the CFL went red-on-red during a preseason game last night. … Mike Reilly, the QB of the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, honored former Eskimo Larry Highbaugh by giving up his No. 13 and wearing No. 0 last night. Highbaugh wore No. 13 when he played for the Eskimos between 1972-83.

Hockey News:  A shot by a Predators’ player in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final left a mark on the logo of Penguin G Matt Murray’s jersey. Last night during Game 6,  the mark was still there, ….  Check out the jersey David Firestone found on eBay: It’s a Red Wings-style jersey rendered in St. Louis Blues colors, worn by former Blue Doug Gilmour during a charity game during the 1994-95 lockout. Via the eBay post: “We got the jersey from his brother’s restaurant and the info was limited, so we hope somebody will help out with some info.”

NBA News:  The Spurs will reportedly have a new secondary logo next season in addition to their  new wordmarks  (from @Alexaitis). …  The shoes Michael Jordan was wearing when he won his first Olympic gold medal have been sold at auction for $190,000. … Looks like a Lids store in San Francisco is jumping the gun a bit in declaring the Warriors the 2016-17 NBA Champions (from  Eric Odden). … Here’s an assessment of Kevin Love’s personal logo (from Jason Hillyer).

Soccer News:  The U.S. Men’s National Team wore blue shorts with their white kits yesterday against Mexico. Looks nice paired with that blue shoulder yoke (from Eric V.). …  New kits for English soccer sides  West Ham United and Sunderland (from  Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag:  Roland Garros tennis club unveiled a new logo to commemorate Rafael Nadal’s 10th French Open title (from Darrel Marusek). … NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wore this helmet during this weekend (from David Firestone). … Members of the Oregon women’s track team wore green lipstick to match their green uniforms during the national championships yesterday (from Matt Shevin). …  Adidas recently took over making the kits for the French national rugby team, but it appears they’re already having problems  keeping the numbers on the jerseys (from  Ian McPhee). …  Ricky Shumaker  found  this  dual-logo sticker with a Memphis Grizzlies motif at a gym in Richmond, Va. … Yet another yellow-clad champion: the Georgia Swarm of NLL (from E.P. Conrad). … In China, wearing a green hat is associated with being cuckolded (from Daniel Littlewood). … Friday night’s winner on Jeopardy! wore an Iowa State letterman sweater (from Douglas Ford).

Comments (34)

    “Cubs P Jake Arietta” Arrieta
    “notorious super-high-cuffer Hunter Pence and promptly broke out of his slump”

    Not many athlete’s bobbleheads have a double chin. FYI – Larry Highbaugh, is the late Larry Highbaugh, he passed away in March. If I remember, he was a great kick returner.

    Calgary Stampeders also wore their black road helmets in this unique uniform combo during this game. Combining the red home jersey and the red road pants and black road helmet.


    This is likely just a one-off for the pre-season. Though the red-on-red is a subtle nod back to what the Stampeders wore in the 1940s.


    The discrepancies in the Dolphins uniforms only happened in their perfect season of 1972. Find their team photo and you’ll see they have the sleeves with stripes and thin numerals. But during the course of the season the jerseys got mixed up. In 71 they all had fat numerals with no stripes. In 73 they all had fat numerals with stripes.

    Count me as one who prefers the 1972 jerseys with the stripes with thin numbers and pants with the solid orange/aqua/orange striping over their current 1966 throwbacks.

    That jersey find from David Firestone is interesting, but it’s not a Red Wings-style jersey in Blues colors; it’s a Blues-style jersey with the Red Wings logo modified and rendered in Blues colors.

    Aside from the oddity of the mash-up, the logo itself is an oddity. It’s got the extra-bold outline that was only worn by the Wings during the 1982-83 season (Mike Ilitch’s first as owner), although that thick outline was also used on Starter’s replica jerseys in the mid-90s. It’s also very heavily skewed, looking like the logo on link from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

    If by skewed, you mean the wing on the crest is angled low, take a look at photos of the Wings from the 30s through the 60s; while there were variances throughout the years (and even in the same season), the normal display of the crest, both wing and wheel, would completely fit within the upper and lower limits of the wheel itself. It was really only after the Ilitches took over that the logo was rotated around so that the top of the wing was almost horizontal.

    I think the wing is always meant to be above the wheel and that jerseys where is does not may have been inconsistent stitching. Check out this team photo where they all seem a little different:




    The USMNT should stick with blue shorts with that jersey. For whatever reason, the contrasting shoulders look terrible when paired with white shorts. The blue shorts help to add some design continuity.

    They’ve played into FIFA’s rules against contrasting shirt/shorts combos implemented for the last world cup, like the 2006 white over blue or classic Germany white over black.

    They looked great yesterday and I’d like to see contrasting socks thrown in also. Enough with the mono color kits.

    The FIFA rule didn’t require mono-color uniforms; many teams simply mistook it as a requirement. Brazil certainly didn’t (primary kit was yellow/blue/white; change was blue/white/blue).

    In any event, Germany wore a white shirt and black shorts in their last World Cup qualifier; they are expected to continue wearing that basic design in Russia.

    The Hy Peskin Collection has some great Tigers photos from the 50’s. In several of them, it appears the Tigers have flocked helmets. Example here:


    Aaron Judge’s postgame shirt tells me that the Yankees have relaxed their dress code when traveling as a team. I thought they still mandated jackets and ties.

    Today’s Pearls Before Swine comic made me think of BurghFan and all of us who help Paul with proofreading:



    I don’t claim I’m doing more than passing along what I notice, since there can always be a post like O Canada’s shortly below this with stuff that I missed.

    Re: Grab Bag – the Ducks Women were at PENN for the PENN Relays in April. The NCAA Championships were hosted by the Ducks at Hayward Field this past weekend. Cool side note: I took my students on a field trip to Florence and saw some athletes in their travelling garb at Sea Lion Caves on Saturday. Got to meet a Head Coach from an east coast team – very nice guy.
    GO Ducks! It’s nice that some of our teams wear green. UO Class of ’03.

    “you’d be interested in purchasing in mug form, let me know I’ll get on it”
    – “and” I’ll get on it

    “Cubs P Jake Arieta”
    – Still misspelled, it’s Arrieta

    “The shoes Michael Jordan were wearing”
    – “was” wearing

    “but it appears they’re already have problems”
    – “having” problems

    I just received an email from reader Stephen about Denny McLain’s glasses:

    “Those were not jury rigged glasses nor clip-on lenses. I had a a similar pair of glasses in the ’60’s that I could wear both when playing football and baseball. The glasses could be worn both while wearing a football helmet as well as a catcher’s mask. The frame was metal, with wrap-around cable temples. The nose bridge (prominent in the photo) was made of fairly soft rubber composition, which was quite forgiving when taking a foul ball off the mask. As I remember, during the football season, the frame needed to be adjusted quite often.”

    I will say this about the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup on the road yet again: it was nice to finally see them hoist the Cup wearing the white gold-sleeved jerseys. (And yes, I’m saying link.)

    I’m not a Patriots fan or hater, but does anybody else find the 28-3 reference in the number of diamonds in their championship ring to be a little bit of a cheap shot at the Falcons?

    Seems a bit petty and unprofessional to me.

    To be fair, rings are for the wearers, and the Pats consider their comeback cause for celebration. (And wouldn’t a Falcon feel the same seeing one of those rings regardless of how many diamonds there are?)

    I’m not so sure about unprofessional, but it’s definitely petty. Especially for a team, cheating or not, that’s been the best in the League for 15+ years now. As BurghFan noted, the sheer fact that the Pats have the rings should be enough of a slap in the face to Falcons players and fans. For Belichick and Brady, who are generally seem pretty reserved–not wanting to even pretend bulletin board material exists and such–the only way they could have been more petty would be to somehow reference Deflategate.

    Unprofessional? Did u watch the super bowl? The only unprofessional thing i noticed was the playcalling by the falcons going for the big play instead of a FG that could have won the game. Cry me a river. Where i come from, the victors get the spoils and the losers dont get to design the rings of the champs.

    Admitedlly bias Pats fan persepective:

    I don’t have an issue with it because if the unprecedented nature of the comeback. A 25-point deficit with less than a quarter and a half left in the Super Bowl deserves commemoration IMO. I’m also a die hard Yankees fan (yes it’s weird, yes I’ve explained it on these comments before) and I have bossier with the Red Sox making reference to the 04 ALCS on their rings from that season.

    From the Hunter Pence article

    “The only time he didn’t was coming up in the minors with the Astros, who forbade it”

    That puzzles me. I would’ve thought the forbidding would run the other way, encouraging the tradition high sock look.

    You disappoint me, Astros.

    If that’s the case, it’s no longer true, as I quickly found photos from a Tri-City ValleyCats game in which one player has high socks and the other doesn’t.

    So what are the chances that the “circa 1963” photos and 1961 photos were from the same series, and Kaline had the label on the brim of his helmet removed between games? And they just tried the flocked helmets for that series and then ditched them? Are there other photos of the Tigers from 1961 or 1963 that show them with unflocked helmets?

Comments are closed.