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A Very Merry Vilkmas (in July)

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By Phil Hecken, with Santa Claus Vilk

Readers of Uni Watch know that our own Jimmer Vilk is a very generous hombre — so generous, in fact, that whenever he feels the need to throw out his excess trash is in a particularly giving mood, he gifts some of his most prized possessions to our readership (including shipping!). We thusly had Vilkmas in December in 2015 and again last December. Rather than having a LOT of items to ship during the holiday season, this time Jim has decided to breakup his generosity into two Vilkmases — one now, and then another one at holiday time. Hence, today’s Very Merry Vilkmas (in July).

I’ll let Jimmer take it from here:

• • •

Vilkmas in July
By Jimmer Vilk

In three months I don’t want to see holiday decorations in the stores. In November I do NOT want to hear Christmas songs on the radio. And don’t get me started on Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow and It’s A Marshmallow World…you play those through half of Autumn, then just three days into Winter you stop playing them? Pffffft. “Christmas in July” is another story. I can have some cocoa and listen to some holiday/snow tunes for just a couple of days and thoroughly enjoy it. I can also give away stuff now! In fact, for as long as I’m able to do Vilkmas, I’d like to give away five items in July and five more in December. It helps break up the postage, if nothing else.

. . .

Athletic Christmas stocking

So, to kick off our first Vilkmas in July, we have a Yinzer-ish crocheted football stocking.

This way, the lucky winner can use it in five months instead of waiting until December 2018. My aunt made this for me forty-some years ago when I gave up the Oilers for the Steelers. Now that I’ve given up the Steelers for volleyball and cricket, I’m giving up the stocking, which is still in great shape.

. . .

Bandits long sleeve T

Another football item is this Tampa Bay Bandits long sleeved t-shirt, size Large.

Thirty years ago I went to Disney World with my brother’s family and found this in an Orlando sporting goods shop. It is starting to show its age, as it’s a *teeny* bit on the sheer side. So if you have a hairy chest and/or back, you may want to frame it instead of wear it. It’s only a suggestion, though. I won’t stand between anyone and their love of BanditBall.

. . .

Warriors "Authentic Fan" t-shirt

Next we have a Golden State Warriors “Authentic Fan” giveaway shirt, size XL.

Two questions: first, is there such a thing as an “authentic” Warriors fan? I kid…a little… Second, how did this end up in a Northeast Ohio Goodwill store? Anyway, with this item you can proclaim your “undying loyalty” to the defending NBA champs. I’m going to make you earn this one, though. In your entry, write down your guess for my all-time favorite Warrior. If no one gets it, that’s OK…it’s just for fun. Also, you must promise, if you’re ever in a pickup hoops game, that you’ll never flop or punch someone below the belt like my least-favorite Warrior.

. . .

2016 HR Derby replica jersey

Now we move on to baseball with a 2016 American League Home Run Derby replica jersey, size 44.

Bring back those colors full-time, San Diego!!!! I would recommend wearing an undershirt with this, because of the stitched letters. Really tempting to hang on to this, but even though I like more AL teams than NL, I consider myself a National League guy. Just take it from me before I change my mind.

. . .

1987 Pirates yearbook w/ 2 photos

Our final giveaway is a 1987 Pirates yearbook, with early 70s photos of Willie Stargell and Manny Sanguillen.

This is the 130th anniversary of Pirates baseball. To celebrate you can have this centennial yearbook I got 30 years ago. The book has a nice fold-out cover…
Bucs yearbook (foldout cover)

…and inside there’s a great piece on the uniform history of the Bucs, with a couple of Marc Okkonen drawings that you won’t find in his Dressed To The Nines website!
Bucs yearbook (inside w/ uni history)

A real uni-watcher’s delight, eh?

. . .

That’s it until late December. Here comes Phil with the details, which are the same as previous Vilkmases. Season’s Greetings!

• • •

Thanks, Jimmer! Your generosity never ceases to amaze.

OK, this is very similar to Paul’s once-yearly raffle so here is how you enter:

1) Send an email to and put in the SUBJECT “Vilkmas in July”

2) In the BODY of the email, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 3 prize choices, in order of preference, by number. If you’re only interested in, say, one or two items, then just list your top one or two choices; if you want all 5, you can do that too, but I don’t really expect anyone to go that far. Jim will do his best to accommodate all the winners’ choices.

3) One email per person. Entry deadline is next Sunday, July 30, 8:00 pm Eastern. The winners will be announced in August.


And please, everyone ”” give Jimmer a nice round of thanks in the comments below. Thanks, Jimmer ”” you’re still the best.

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Classic Ballpark Scoreboards

After an almost year-long hiatus, I’m pleased to announce that the “Classic Stadium Scoreboards” series is making a return to Uni Watch — this is a project conceived and created by the great Gary Chanko. This is now “Series IV” in the set.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

. . . . . . . . . .

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series IV
by Gary Chanko

This time Classic Scoreboards visits San Diego for a look at one rookie’s first step toward Cooperstown.

The Murph_UW

The Murph (aka Jack Murphy Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium)

Baseball Home of: San Diego Padres (MLB) 1969 to 2003; San Diego Padres (PCL) 1968
Football Home of: San Diego Chargers (AFL, NFL) 1967 – 2016
Opened: 1967

In late summer 1967 the relocated San Diego Chargers opened the newly completed San Diego Stadium. The multi-purpose sports facility would experience three more name changes beginning in 1981. One of the name changes lasted a brief ten days, but more about that later.

Jack Murphy was a local sports columnist who championed bringing professional sports to San Diego. After his death, in 1981 the San Diego stadium was renamed in his honor.

In 1997 Qualcomm Corporation acquired 20-year naming rights to the stadium and a deserved place in the Naming Wrongs Hall-of-Fame. In 2011 a Qualcomm marketing effort to rename the facility Snapdragon Stadium lasted only 10 days. As it turned out the renaming was illegal; read about it here.

Locals never warmed to the misappropriated name Qualcomm Stadium. Most still hold fast to the old moniker, Jack Murphy Stadium or simply The Murph. In fact you can even buy a tee shirt to express that sentiment.

The Scoreboards

The original scoreboard located in right field was a basic matrix display manufactured by All American Scoreboards. The company’s resume also includes Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

In 1978 the scoreboard was upgraded by American Sign and Indicator. The $1.4 million (about $5.25 million in today’s dollars) cost was completely covered by stadium advertising sponsors. The right side of the display featured full animation graphics.

The next upgrade in 1987 added three message boards to surround the display board. New outfield seating was added, but The Murph retained the open right field architecture and its ballpark feel.

All of this changed in 1996 with the full stadium enclosure. The new Jumbotron scoreboard addition retained its original location in right field. But The Murph was now a football stadium.

Tony Gwynn’s First Base Hit, July 19, 1982

As depicted in the illustration, the time is 9:20 p.m. and the bottom of the 8th inning. Tony Gwynn has just connected for the first of his 3141 hits. You can listen to his post-game comments here.

A Few Things to Know

• The 1978 scoreboard renovation by American Sign & Indicator Corp. was the sports world’s first color animated scoreboard.

• In 1998 The Murph was the first ballpark/stadium to host both a World Series and Super Bowl in the same calendar year.

• Although the Chargers are now playing in Los Angeles (their original home) and the Qualcomm naming rights deal expired this past June, the facility lives on as Qualcomm Stadium. The stadium will host the San Diego State Aztecs and the Holiday Bowl for the next couple of seasons (at least) while the City Council plans the next evolution of the facility. Meanwhile, you too can host your own event at The Murph. Rental details for your event (up to 70,000 friends and neighbors) can be found here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at

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To the Victor…

…Belong the Spoils

Once again, I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Fauxback Jersey Contest winner Brent Hatfield, who you will recall submitted a nifty “1975 Marlins” jersey (click to enlarge any image below)…

Hatfield, Brent - 1975 Marlins

Our partner, Steve Rosenbeck from Garb Athletics, has now finished creating Brent’s jersey, a picture of which you can see below.

Garb Athletics Contest Winner

Fantastic, right? I know from speaking with Brent via e-mail that there were several others who wanted to order that jersey. If you’d like to order one, let me know and I’ll pass along your information to Steve.

Here’s a look at the jersey being created:

Big thanks to Steve for offering the Uni Watch contest winners a custom jersey! You can follow Garb on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The next contest will be announced shortly. I think you’re really going to like it…

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Too Good For the Ticker

Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail yesterday from Domenico Delgado on a subject that should be near and dear to every Uni Watcher’s heart. I almost titled this the “Rajai Davis Sock Tracker,” but it’s just too good for the ticker.

Here’s Domenico with more:

• • •

Haven’t been following the site super closely so I’m not sure if this has been discussed already but Rajai Davis has been wearing a lot of different sock styles with the A’s this year. Including some pretty weird ones like the white sanis under stirrups and even solid gold. I included the best pictures I could find.

. . .






. . .

Also worth noting that he hasn’t worn Stance at all this year besides special events.

Domenico Delgado

Thanks! It should be noted that last pic, with white sanis, is a crime against A’s hosiery. But hey, any visible hosiery is better than none.

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Though sadly he is no longer a member of the Mets organization, it’s good to know this specialty Bartolo Colon shirsey exists (from David Smolowitz). … Interesting look for the Cleveland baseball team, who paired the solid red Block C cap with the navy blue jersey yesterday (from Ben Teaford). … Here’s a gorgeous photo of the great Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs, from 1945. A year later, he would be playing in Montréal – on his way to making history, from Alex Cheremeteff”. … Also from Alex, guess which professional baseball league was the first to install lights? That’s awesome. … On a related note, a Minor League club would also install lights in 1930 (from Chris Williams). Not sure who flipped the switch first. … According to Graveyard Baseball, this was an awkward matchup of black vs blue for the Rakuten Eagles choosing the black tops vs Orix Buffaloes. … Here’s the perfect gift to get someone who will never have enough caps in his/her collection. Otherwise, who buys that shit? (from Brad Serton). … Host of the HOVG Podcast and very cynical Shawn Anderson notes that you can now buy dirt touched by Tim Tebow. More specifically, “That’s right, for a mere $50, fans of the Atlanta Braves Class-A Florida Fire Frogs can secure themselves a great seat and, wait for it, a ‘commemorative bottle of dirt’ from the batter’s box at Osceola County Stadium.” … Here’s a look at the Mighty Ducks tribute jerseys which were to be worn last evening by the Potomac Nationals (from Gregory Koch). And here they are in action. … A Phenix City, Alabama, little league team wore some very patriotic socks yesterday (from Scott Rogers). … For their ’87 “reunion” weekend, the Minnesota Twins wore ‘throwback’ “M” caps with their home unis (from Chad Jorgenson). … You know those “Mr. I” patches the Tigers wear (for Mike Ilitch)? Well, apparently they’re system-wide (those are the Connecticut Tigers — Class A affiliate of the Tigers). From Ryan Bugaj. … The Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League threw back to the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (1990’s team in the Northern League) for the second straight year – different jerseys than last year. Will Scheibler notes it as a purple vs orange game as the Border Cats wore purple and the Mankato Moon Dogs wore orange. The right fielder of the Moon Dogs was numbered ’00’. One of the Border Cats pitchers of the night had a single digit ‘8’. The jerseys were auctioned off for charity PRO Kids Thunder Bay. … Last night, the Mariners invited Mike Cameron back to throw out the first pitch. Tim Dunn says, “Note the differencebetween Mike Cameron’s 2001 era Mariners Jersey and today’s Mariners Jersey worn by Guillermo Heredia.”

NFL/CFL/College/High School Football News: “Found this [Bears Throwback Poster] for my apartment,” says Adam Foxman. “Thought you may enjoy.” … Blake Rios thinks the Jacksonville Jaguars should return to these classic unis. Not sure many would disagree. … Former Cyclone Darius Reynolds is shown here rocking the AFL Philly Soul’s new white helmets on grey jerseys/pants (from Connor Ferguson). … Tweeter Steve Sher spotted this Ari{?}ona Cardinals tee shirt at Walmart yesterday. He asks. “Is that a ‘z’? a ‘s’ turned around? a ‘2’? a backwards ‘5’? YIKES!!!” … Check out these custom “Flash” cleats for Chicago Bears Cam Meredith (from Xcessive Celebration). … Unsurprisingly, given the number of teams who’ve switched, but Michigan will be wearing the new Nike jersey template (with the name we hate to even speak) this season (from Andrew Lind and Broc). … Oscar’s restaurant in Myrtle Beach features some throwback NFL helmets (some of which may not have been throwbacks when they were put up on the wall). From =[⁴][⁴]=====[⁴][⁴]=. … We’ve seen *some* of these before (but not all … wait for it … NINE combos): Marshall football has made some adjustments to its uniform combinations, and has some new looks set for the 2017 season. … A squirrel got loose at the Stamps/Riders game (from Liáµ±schitÉ€ ®).

Hockey News: Back in the day, if you rocked a Hockey sweater, it fit you: “It’s rare to find anyone in the seventies posing in yearbooks wearing sports jerseys of any kind,” says Ray Hund. “When it happens it’s usually a guy in a nondescript Sears-like fake football jersey. Hockey was a little different. We wore them small, like shirts (Check the first row, far right, for an example). Even Phil Collins was styling this look. It reminds me of the no-tuck dress shirts on the market these days.”

NBA/Summer League/G-League/College Basketball News: Yesterday’s ticker contained a link from our pal Conrad Burry showing some new jersey number fonts for the Cavs, Wolves, Sixers and Blazers; Here’s another look at the Philadelphia 76ers new blockshadow font (from Robert Hayes). … Is this Phoenix Suns jersey leak legit? It does match the font on this Suns Fanatics-branded tee that Conrad found a couple days ago. … Reader Jonté Robertson noticed the basketball court next to the LA Clippers facility has the old logo. Never has such a dated logo looked better than the current one.

Soccer News: “I was watching a video on English World Cup moments and came across this clip where England player Gary Lineker was revealed to be wearing what appears to be a wedding ring in the 1990 semi-final match against Cameroon,” says Jameson C). “Here’s the youtube link (ring moment at 2:25) and I included a screen capture.” … Reader Bryan Justman writes, “I was not aware that the English Premier League was to begin allowing advertising on the sleeves next season, but here it is in this story about Chelsea’s new sleeve ‘sponsor’.” … Real Madrid have unveiled their new fan-designed third kit for the new season. … Yesterday, Stoke CIty were wearing their sleeve sponsor @topeleven on the front of their kits. Normally that sponsor is Bet365 (from Ron Duany Derksen).

Grab Bag: Kyle Busch famously drives the candy car in NASCAR. Sometimes the No. 18 Toyota looks like a Snickers bar, sometimes he’s driving with giant M&M’s on the hood and sometimes ”” like with the car he’ll pilot Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ”” it looks like he’s driving around a bag of Skittles. Now, he has a helmet that is literally dispensing candy. I shit you not. … Our own Brinke really got a kick out of this vintage Burger King commercial, saying “This is just the best ever. Look at ’em all excited. Honey, tonight, we’re eating OUT!” Why, you may ask? Well, that’s because he also sent along this article on Fast Food Uniforms from the 1970s. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. was given the No. 8 from the old IMS pylon. But he’s holding it upside down (good spot by James Gilbert).

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Jimmer Vilk for (again) donating a tad of his collection to the Uni Watch readership. Hope you see something you like and shoot me an e-mail.

As we’re almost to August (and Paul’s well earned sabbatical/sanity break), this will be my last weekend post until after Labor Day. I’ll be taking over the weekdays beginning August 1st — and I have a LOT of good stuff ahead, including the honor of hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins alternate sweater design again this year — and we’ll be kicking that off ON August 1st, so make sure to check the blog out that day; there will also be some special guests, new designers, interviews — probably an appearance or two from the one and only Bill Henderson — so we should be set for some good content whilst Paul’s away. If anyone has an idea for a column, or would like to collaborate on one — shoot me an e-mail. I’m always hoping to involve UW readers and their various uni-obsessions and confessions. So, that’s all for me for about 10 days — until the First of August…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“I remember when we got our first PC (ah, those were the days”¦for the simple graphics, mind you, not for the dial-up access). When I realized I could look up and read about Japanese baseball it hit me that it truly *was* a word wide web.”

— Jimmer Vilk

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Comments (25)

    Did anyone notice that in the Michigan picture the guy is holding a ball with the Michigan logo and the CFB playoff logo. Funny as they officially haven’t been in the playoffs

    Hockey jerseys were a regular part of Phil Collins’ wardrobe back in the late ’70s.
    If you find the video for the song “Ripples” on You Tube, he’s wearing a Minn. North Stars jersey in it. Lots of live footage out there with him wearing jerseys from different teams.

    Tony Banks wore them on occasion as well. Then he moved into rugby shirts (not so much particular clubs, but heavy cotton with stripes and collars).

    Some years back I saw the Genesis recreation band The Musical Box in NYC, and “Phil” was sporting a Rangers jersey. Alas, it was a Reebok Edge jersey.

    Good to see the return of Classic Ballpark Scoreboards. Don’t know exactly why but I always preferred watching televised NFL games from Jack Murphy Stadium as opposed to MLB games.

    One of my sisters worked at Burger King in the mid-70’s and had that exact uniform, including the funky hat.

    Cleveland wearing the red cap with navy jersey is supposed to be the default look this season. Or at least it is in MLB The Show.

    The Indians red cap with blue jersey is the “official” home pairing. However since the starting pitcher decides the look, it’s only been worn when Danny Salazar pitches. Salazar was making his first start since June so that look hasn’t been seen in awhile. Related, Trevor Bauer seems to prefer the home whites & road grays over the navy. I personally hate the red cap. Would look better with a blue bill but that block C is dull. Give me the caveman C from the 70s.

    I wish the MLB powers-that-be would forbid teams from using the words “home,” “road,” and “alternate” to describe uniforms if they let the pitcher, or any player, choose what the team will wear on a given day. If it’s the uniform you wear at home most of the time, it’s your home uniform. If it’s one of several uniforms you wear depending on the mood some guy who mostly doesn’t even play, then that’s just a white or blue or red or whatever uniform. So it should be called, and most importantly sold at retail as, your red or white or blue or whatever uniform. Not your “home” or “alternate” uniform. A minor change, but honesty can only be a virtue in this situation.

    I agree It would be a good fashion decision for the Jacksonville Jaguars to change their uniforms back to their vintage style.

    I would prefer to see them go more vintage than the uniform suggested in the tweet.

    Small difference, but I would rather have the original uniforms from the first 2 seasons. These featured more of a standard block number. A little less black and a bit more gold in the pants stripes.


    I love the red cap with blue jersey look for the Indians. Easily my favorite since they got rid of the cream Sunday uniforms.

    That Potomac Nationals “Mighty Ducks” jersey is … not terrible. Combined with yesterday’s also not terrible Salt Lake Bees “Star Wars” jersey, maybe MiLB is getting beyond its recent fad for garishly large sublimated graphics on special-event jerseys.

    “Entry deadline is next Sunday, July 29, 8:00 pm Eastern.”

    Please clarify. Next Sunday is July 30.

    Grrrr. Sorry — Meant to say Sunday July 30 (now fixed). But really, it’s a raffle, I would think you’d get your choice(s) in well before then.

    Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow… play those through half of Autumn, then just three days into Winter you stop?

    I always wonder why they don’t play them during January and February blizzards, just to be clever.

    I agree; none of those songs have those elements of Christmas that would make them problematic to play after December 25. And don’t forget “Marshmallow World”, especially the Phil Spector Christmas album version; the slow orchestral start and Darlene Love’s enthusiastic performance make it one of my favorites for the season.

    I have a playlist of strictly Snow Tunes that I play from the first snowfall to the beginning of Spring.

    The holiday stuff gets played from the beginning of Winter to Feb. 2nd.

    I’m going to hazard a guess that the change of shirt-front advertising for Stoke City yesterday was because they were playing in France. France has pretty strict legal restrictions on what can be advertised on sports uniforms, so anything related to alcohol or sports betting has to be covered by overseas visitors. I suppose that for Stoke, it was more financially beneficial to advertise a non-headline sponsor for a game than their regular headline sponsor, so Top Eleven (a video game) was promoted to front and centre on the shirt.

    One additional interesting little note about the restrictions on jersey sponsorship in France relates to rugby league. Whilst the United Kingdom tends to dominate European rugby league, France is the second biggest market for the sport, and as a result there are French teams in both of the top two English-centric leagues, the Super League (Catalans Dragons) and Championship (Toulouse). Both of these leagues have a sponsorship agreement with Kingstone Press cider, though, which not only means the advertiser’s logo cannot be shown on the uniforms of either of the French sides in question, but must be covered on the shirts of any of the English teams crossing the Channel to play away games in France. Maybe a lack of foresight, or just desperation for ‘sponsorship’ income, perhaps?

    Classic Scoreboard critique:
    The “Time” field should have a space for an extra digit to the left of the “9”. This is depicted in the photo posted in the writeup below.

    Not sure why I was drawn to that right away, but immediately I wondered what happened when the clock struck 10:00. Or you know, at the beginning of Chargers games.

    Also, is nobody picking up on the disparity between the thickness of the numerals on the Marlins concept jersey vs the execution of said jersey? This should be drawing the ire that the Phillies throwback fails drew.

    Is that Carl from the Walking Dead in the hockey jersey photo (not Phil Collins one)? :-P

Comments are closed.