Photo courtesy of Sonya Abrego; click to enlarge
As you may have noticed in our left-hand ad sidebar, our friends at Grey Flannel Auctions are running another catalog auction, so it’s time for another edition of “Auction Action.” But this one is different, because the catalog features a very special item that I’ve known about for several months now — the 1905 Princeton football gamer shown above.
This jersey — along with some very unusual pants, which I’ll get to in a minute — is being sold by my friends Sonya and Tony Abrego. They’re fashion historians and are very active in the vintage clothing world, where they buy and sell a lot of goods. In addition, Sonya has a Ph.D. in Design History, Decorative Arts, and Material Culture. She teaches at Pratt Institute and the Parsons School of Design, where I’ve twice been a guest speaker at her Fashion and Masculinity class.
As Tony and Sonya poke around in search of vintage clothing, they sometimes come across old uniform finds. Back in April, for example, Tony found this old New York Golden Gloves warm-up top (note the zippered sleeves, to allow for the boxer’s gloves). About three months ago they were at the Brimfield Antique Show, a huge multi-day event that takes place three times a year in Massachusetts, and Tony spotted the old Princeton uniform being sold by a new vendor who was mostly selling furniture and blankets. He immediately knew it was historically important, and probably worth a lot more than the vendor was asking for it. He and Sonya would rather not disclose what they paid, but let’s just say they got a steal. (Not ten bucks or anything crazy like that, but still a lot less than what the jersey is worth.)
When they brought the uniform home, Sonya showed me photos of it and asked me what I thought. I immediately recognized it as a Princeton jersey — that was obvious from the “P” and the sleeve stripes. I had seen old photos of jerseys with sewn-in padding, but I had never seen one in the present day. You can see the front view in the photo at the top of this page, and here’s the rear view:
I wasn’t sure of the exact year, but I figured it was likely from around the turn of the century. Sonya knew the key to determining the exact date was the Spalding label on the jersey, because the Spalding logo evolved over time:
That tagging helped Sonya determine that the jersey was from 1905. As you can see, the label also includes a handwritten name — “Tooker.” Sonya did some more research and found that the jersey had been worn by a player named Norman Tooker. He’s listed as a 1905 All-American selection, and she even found a photo of him — he’s No. 17 in this 1906 shot (click to enlarge):
Sonya later learned that Tooker got into sports medicine and ended up teaching at Princeton later in his life. He died in 1967.
Here’s an illustration, copyrighted 1906, of this uniform, or something very close to it, in action (click to enlarge):
The uniform also includes some pants or leggings, complete with pajama-like feet. Check it out:
I’d never seen anything like that before. I figured it was a base layer.
The pants also include a beautiful label from the local sporting goods shop that sold the uniform to Princeton — Alex Taylor & Co. of New York City:
Sonya and Tony wanted to sell the uniform and asked if I could offer any advice. I steered them toward a few reputable auction house contacts I have, including Michael Russek at Grey Flannel. They eventually decided to go with him, in part because Grey Flannel had sold another early Princeton jersey for nearly $70,000 back in 2010.
There’s no guarantee that Sonya and Tony’s uniform will sell for that much, of course, but we’ll see. The auction runs through Dec. 20. If you want to see more information or place a bid, you can do that here.
Meanwhile, here are some other noteworthy items from the auction catalog:
• This is pretty cool: a complete run of Yankees World Series tickets, from 1921 through the present.
• This 1976 A’s jersey, worn by Bill North, includes the team’s bicentennial sleeve patch.
• Speaking of sleeve patches you may have forgotten about, here’s a 1984 Orel Hersheiser Dodgers jersey with the 1984 Dodger Stadium Olympic Baseball patch.
• Can never get enough of the Astros’ old shooting-star jerseys.
• One more MLB patch: I’ve always thought that the Pirates’ Pittsburgh 250th-anniversary patch from 2008 was a bit underwhelming. So much blank space, no pizzazz.
• I think this one may have come up in a previous edition of Auction Action, but once more won’t hurt: Here’s the uniform worn by Ken Griffey Jr. for the Reds’ “Father-Son Day” promotion in 1974, when Junior was only four years old!
• Oh baby, check out this amazing Team USA baseball uniform from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Spectacular!
• Speaking of the ’36 Olympics, here’s an American uniform from the opening ceremonies.
• Love this Brooklyn Royal Giants cardigan sweater from the Negro Leagues.
• Speaking of cardigans, this 1960s Maple Leafs sweater is another keeper.
• Here’s an assortment of flannel jerseys — Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Cardinals, and Braves — that were worn in the movie 42. (As an aside, here’s an ESPN piece I did back in 2013 on the making of the uniforms in that movie.)
• I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I absolutely love this 1977 New York Cosmos Pele jersey.
• Look at the beaded trim on the collar and armholes on this 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks jersey. Very subtle! Really nice.
• By now most of you probably know that I love old basketball warm-up tops like this late-1960s Cincinnati Royals beauty. Love everything about it, from the vertically arched chest lettering to the UCLA stripes.
• Two unusual things about the NOB on this 1988-89 Sacramento Kings: The NOB is below the number, and the Kings used nameplates instead of direct-sewn lettering.
• You don’t often see game-used XFL jerseys, but here’s one from the Memphis Maniax.
Want to see more? You can browse the complete auction listings here.
A simple question: When an NFL team wears its throwbacks, as the Dolphins did for last night’s game against the Patriots (lots of additional photos here and here; note that they also updated their nose bumpers), there’s usually a chorus of voices saying, “They should wear these full-time!” and “Why did they ever move away from these?”
But that chorus of voices was particularly loud last night. I received a mountain of emails and tweets from people who wished the Dolphins would go back to their original look. (And I agree with them, of course.)
All of which brings up a question: Is there anyone out there — anyone at all — who prefers Miami’s current uniform set? If that’s you, don’t be shy. Speak up and tell us why in today’s comments. It would be interesting to hear from you.
For those who prefer the throwbacks, I ask that you please hold off from commenting. We already know that the throwbacks are popular. Let’s hear from the other side, if there is one. Thanks.
Dot-dot-dot: The Steelers posted an interview with coach Mike Tomlin the other day, and it includes some very interesting info about the team’s green dot protocol, especially in the wake of linebacker Ryan Shazier’s injury:
Q: About the green dots on the helmets that designate the defensive players as being able to get communications from the sideline. I understand that only one guy can be getting calls from the sideline at a time, but because of in-game injuries or sub-package football, how many different guys have helmets with a receiver in them?
A: By rule, we can have three guys, because the NFL acknowledges that a second-level defender wearing the green dot, whoever he may be, is not an all-situations player. Sometimes you may have a guy who stands in front of your huddle on first and second downs, and he’s a Vince Williams-type, and on third down you might have an oversized safety standing in front of your defense. We’ve never had those issues because of Ryan Shazier. He’s an all-situations player. He wore the green dot. He was on the field at all times. As we adjust to his circumstances, he’s out, it requires us to rely on the rule a little more, and we have more flexibility there. You’ll see Vince Williams with the green dot on first and second downs. You’ll see L.J. Fort with the green dot in some passing situations, because it’s going to be more than one man replacing Ryan Shazier and his impact on the game.
Q: Would they have to change helmets?
A: No. They just can’t be on the field on defense at the same time. They can both be on the field on special teams at the same time, so if they’re covering a kick, for example, Vince Williams and Fort can both cover a kick at the same time, but they can’t both be on the field for defense at the same time if they both have a green dot on their helmets. If both guys happened to be on the field on defense at the same time, one of the guys would have to have an alternate helmet – that would be Fort, because you don’t want to inconvenience Vince. But that’s a non-issue. It’s just two helmets on the sideline being handled by the equipment people. It’s not the logistical thing maybe I just made it seem to be.
Q: Have you ever had, or considered having, a defensive back wear the green dot?
A: No. Nobody wants to take instructions from a little man in a huddle. Let’s be honest. Football is a big man’s job. We’re not going to stand Will Gay in front of Tuitt and them and tell him to tell the group to shut up because he’s going to deliver the information. That’s just the reality of it. That’s another element of football play that people ask about that I laugh when I get that question. Big guys don’t like to take instructions from little people.
Great info. Now, I can already hear some of you saying that the swapping of green-dot helmets must violate the one-shell rule, but remember, the rule is not designed to eliminate multiple helmets; it is designed to minimize multiple helmets.
(My thanks to reader Jerry Wolper for letting me know about this one.)
Click to enlarge
By Brinke Guthrie
Got a few collectible banks for you this week. First up is this nice-looking Buffalo Sabres hockey puck bank. Standing five inches tall, this is without any type of advertising logo, so perhaps it was a retail item, not a giveaway. Sabres logo on one side, and the NHL logo on the other.
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Here’s a 1970s A’s mini-helmet bank, still in the bag.
• Here’s another baseball bank, this one is from Louisville Slugger, with bats from all the 1960s National League teams.
• These glossy NFL medallions were quite cool around 1972-1974 or so. They were available for all teams — I still have mine for the Cowboys and Bengals. Here’s a Vikings medallion in perfect shape. They come with a little adhesive strip on the back for mounting. As I recall, once you stuck ’em up, they were hard to pry off!
• This Vikings poncho goes back to the 1970s, a promo giveaway from Northwestern National Bank. I would think it snowed more at the Met than it rained, right?
• We’ll file this 1970s photo of Bob Griese on the bench under “Had a bad game,” or perhaps he was out due to injury?
• Check out the helmets on this late-1970s NFL zip-top supply bag. NFC on one side, AFC on the other.
• This Maxwell House promo thermal cup for the 1970s-era Houston Astros is in good condition given its age “No cracks or chips,” says the seller.
• Fairly plain look to this 1970s Philadelphia Eagles jersey made by Sand-Knit.
• Going back to 1972 for this slick-looking Atlanta Falcons poster by George Bartell.
• And we wrap up with one from Paul: a 1975 MLB All-Star Game uniform bag featuring the Brewers’ Barrel Man mascot.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Giancarlo Stanton will wear his familiar No. 27 for the Yankees. Coincidentally, Stanton’s high school coach, Tom Dill, has had a No. 27 Yankees jersey hanging in his office for years. Dill also coached former OF Chris Dickerson, who once wore No. 27 for the Yankees (from Brinke). … Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, Esquire has a good piece on how the Yankees cap revolutionized modern fashion (from Tommy Turner and Jason Hillyer). … Giants fans were outraged when it was reported that pitcher Matt Moore would wear Tim Lincecum’s No. 55 next season, but those reports turned out to be false (also from Brinke). … The Tampa Yankees are changing their name to the Tampa Tarpons, which has already led to an avalanche of tampon-related jokes on social media. They’ll unveil their new uniforms in January.
NFL News: In addition to the Dolphins’ throwbacks last night, the field was dressed up too, with a throwback midfield logo and classic argyle end zones. Finally, Miami’s social media team tagged all its photos from last night with a classic wordmark (from @QuintenHLVB and Robert Hayes). … In that same game, Patriots WR Bernard Reedy had his TV numbers overlap onto his shoulder stripe (from Michael Daley). … The backdrops of the Colts’ and Broncos’ websites indicate both teams will participate in Color Rash on Thursday (from Andrew Walker and Zeke Perez Jr.). … Packers LB Clay Matthews wore his father’s Browns jersey after Green Bay’s win over Cleveland on Sunday (from Ignacio). … Speaking of the Brownies, Cleo Macin spotted a Browns player (No. 20) wearing a wedding band following the 1949 AAFC Championship Game. “This isn’t game action, but based on the soiled unis, this has to be immediately after the game.” … We’ve seen this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: In 1990, the Falcons dropped one set of TV numbers for their 25th anniversary patch (from Russell Goutierez). … Vote for the best uni matchup of week 14 here (from Uni Watch Facebook Page).
Hockey News: NHL writer Kevin Woodley gives out an unofficial Bunny Larocque award each year to the best back-up goalie. Now, the award has an actual trophy (from @GKG_77). … The British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association is requiring all its players to wear full-face protection starting next season (from Wade Heidt). … The Chicago Wolves of the AHL will wear jerseys honoring first responders on Jan. 20 and 21 (from Jonathon Cain). … The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League wore special unis for their teddy bear toss game over the weekend (from Bruce Brodersen). … The Cleveland Monsters of the AHL will wear Captain America uniforms on Dec. 30 (from David Uhrin). … Markus Kamp was watching Soul on Ice, a documentary about African-American and African-Canadian hockey players. One section of the film focuses on a program that aims to make hockey accessible for inner-city youth, and features some sweat Rangers-inspired Harlem sweaters.
Basketball News: It was previously reported that the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars would keep their team name when they moved to Las Vegas next season. However, the league announced yesterday the team would change its nickname to the Aces (from @loneranger158 and @TheSkyShowCHI). … Check out these commemorative soda cans from the University of North Carolina’s 1982 National Championship (from James Gilbert). … Correction from Sunday: Middletown (Ohio) High School wore throwbacks in their final game at Wade E. Miller Gym on Friday, not Saturday. Incidentally, Middletown’s new gym has a pretty wild court (from Brian Henke). … Shortridge (Indiana) High School’s nickname is the Blue Devils, but they often used “Satans” on their uniforms in the 1970s (from @iufbcommenter).
Soccer News: Nike is set to introduce a line of keeper’s gloves that don’t include any straps or velcro (also from Josh Hinton). … Whoops. Sheffield United of the Championship spelled its own name wrong on its team calendar (from Josh Hinton). … The newest team in the United Premier Soccer League is Nebraska Bugeaters FC, who unveiled their new badge today. More info here (from Jonathan Collura).
Grab Bag: Lots of speedskaters will be wearing blue uniforms during the Olympics this year. Why? Because blue suits “skate faster” (from Phil). … Tasman’s Rugby Union has clarified that the plural of its team name is “Mako,” not “Makos” (from Camryn Brown). … Cincinnati high schools Mother of Mercy and McAuley will combine next school year and be known as the Mercy McAuley Wolves (from K.C. Kless). … Do you miss United Airlines’ old tulip logo? You’re not alone (from Edward Hahn).
Happy Hanukkah to all who are observing tonight. And tasty latkes, too!