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A Look Back at the Uni-Verse, 54 Years Ago Today

Today is my birthday. I’m 54, although most people tell me I don’t look or act that old (I tell them it helps to be really immature), and my Brannock Device tattoo, which I got on my 39th birthday, turns 15 today. Can’t believe it’s been that long.

When I was growing up, my parents always taught us that birthdays were important. I think they did that in part because our family wasn’t religious, so we kinda missed out on a lot of holidays, and in part because my mom’s birthday was a few days after her older brother’s birthday, so her celebration always got lumped in with his when they were growing up, which she still resents to this day. She raised me to believe that we should each get our own special day.

Anyway: I can’t believe I haven’t thought of doing this before, but I decided to see what was going on in the uni-verse on the day I was born — March 21, 1964. Here’s what I found:

1. On the day I was born, the UCLA and Duke basketball teams played each other for the national championship. This was back when March Madness was entirely confined to March. I couldn’t find any color photos, but reader Matt Olbert generously agreed to do some colorizations for me. We’ll start with those, and then I’ll add a few black-and-white shots (for some of these, you can click to enlarge):

Those UCLA uniforms were nice, right?

In addition, longtime reader Bruce Menard (aka BSmile) found the program from that game and was nice enough to share it with me:

2. There was a soccer match between Blackburn Rovers and Everton. Once again, Matt Olbert did the colorization honors. I love the jester-style jersey that Blackburn was wearing, right down to the two-tone collar:

3. The annual 12 Hours of Sebring auto race took place in Florida. Here’s one of the very groovy cars that was competing:

4. This isn’t really a uniform thing, but it’s related: The comedy duo Allen & Rossi did a sketch at the Hollywood Palace, and Marty Allen was dressed up in golf attire. Kudos once again to Matt Olbert for the colorization:

As I was putting the finishing touches on this entry, I decided to see if there was any Allen & Rossi footage on YouTube. The good news is that the very first hit was the golf sketch that they performed on the day I was born! The bad news is that it wasn’t very funny:

5. Down in spring training, 43-year-old Stan Musial was beginning his first season as a Cardinals coach following his retirement at the end of the previous season. Although he was no longer an active player, he still looked pretty sharp in a uniform:


Obviously, there was a lot more going on in the uni-verse on that date than these five items I singled out, but those were the only ones I was able to find in various photo online archives.

And now, with apologies to those who’ve already heard this story, here’s a little birthday tale: Forty-five years ago today, when I turned nine years old, my outdoor birthday party was rained out and I was pretty inconsolable. So my father, thinking quickly said, “Oh, don’t you know? Rain on your birthday is a sign of good luck in the year to come!” — a very sweet lie that he made up on the spot. He was really good at saying Just the Right Thing at moments like that.

Ever since then, with one exception (2008), no matter where I’ve been on my birthday, it has rained. Or snowed. And one time it hailed (which was actually quite exciting, because I figured it meant extra-good luck). As for this year, it’s snowing here this morning, so the tradition has already been upheld, and they’re saying we may get as much as a foot, so I’m looking forward to an excellent year.

One thing about having shitty weather on your birthday is that you really appreciate how great your friends are when they trudge through the crummy conditions to celebrate with you. Tonight I’ll be meeting a bunch of friends at a special little bar, and then we’ll head over to a Chinese banquet hall for a big feast. Should be a great time.

Thanks for listening. Oh, and happy birthday to reader Tyler Evans, who recently mentioned to me that he was born on this date in 1982, and to anyone else who’s celebrating today. 3-2-1!

(Special thanks to Phil for his assistance with this entry, and mega thanks to Matt Olbert for his colorizations. You can see more of his work here.)

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Titans stay one step ahead: As teams post teaser photos of their upcoming uniforms on the internet, it’s become fairly common for some people (occasionally including myself) to try to deduce additional info from the teaser images by fiddling with them in Photoshop. By adjusting the various levels of brightness, contrast, etc., you can sometimes find details that were meant to be hidden.

The Tennessee Titans were apparently thinking about that when they recently promoted their upcoming uniform unveiling by posting a teaser photo on their website. It shows a player cloaked in shadows (click to enlarge):

And what happens if you play with the levels in Photoshop? Titans Uni Tracker (@TitansUni) decided to find out. Here are the results:

That is completely brilliant. If anyone from the Titans is reading this, please accept my congratulations — well played. And if you’d like to talk about the story behind this little maneuver, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Thirty-three minor league teams will wear Latin-themed jerseys with new team names for the MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión (“It’s Fun to Be a Fan”) program. Among the highlights: The Round Rock Express will become the Round Rock Chupacabras; the San Antonio Missions will become the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio (Flying Flip-Flops); the Bowie Baysox will become the Bowie Cangrejos Fantasmas (Ghost Crabs); and the Oklahoma City Dodgers will become the Cielo Azul (Blue Sky) (thanks to all who submitted). … The Tulsa Drillers will have matte blue batting helmets this year (from Joe and Nick Lineback). … A pair of underwater archeologists have been exploring Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. According to this story, they once found a gym bag in a sunken boat, and because it contained the owner’s drivers license, they were able to return his Twins T-shirt (from Greg Franklin). … Houston is offering residents one last look at the Astrodome before it begins construction to renovate the stadium. The event is being dubbed “The Domecoming” (from Ignacio). … The Brewers broke ground on the renovation of a local baseball park, and the ceremony included Brewers hard hats and bat-shaped commemorative shovels (from Garrett). … Check out this awesome video of the then-World Champion Cleveland Indians during spring training in 1949. Stick around to see Bob Hope in a Cleveland uni! (From @History_Cle.) …  W.W. McClyde found this classic Rangers jacket in his mom’s closet. Good stuff. … This 1987 Chicago Cubs/WGN-TV brochure that promotes the team’s high television ratings to potential advertisers does a little trash talking at the hands of the Sox and other Chicago teams (from Ray Hund). … Texas has added a memorial patch to their caps for manager Augie Garrido, who died last week (from Griffin Smith). … This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tigers’ 1968 championship, so they had Todd Radom celebrate the ’68 team on these awesome season ticket designs (from Jason Law). … Our own Phil Hecken is ranking the top dozen Negro Leagues uniforms. Here are his picks for No. 12 and No. 11.

Pro Football News Has anyone else seen old Mile High Stadium refered to as “Mile Hi?” At least one sign spelled it that way in 1972 (from Steven Marks). … This blog post has a good breakdown of the inconsistencies with the Eagles’ shade of midnight green through the years. … Anyone else ever notice that the Rams are wearing red-striped practice pants in the 1978 movie Heaven Can Wait? (From Willie Gabel.) … The new XFL won’t be the only football league to launch in the coming years. It was announced yesterday that the Alliance of American Football will begin play in spring 2019 — and one promotional image sure looks like it made use of a touched-up Bills uni (from James Gilbert). … Here’s a rare sight: former Washington QB Joe Theismann in a non-single-bar facemask (from Bill Kellic). … Texans DL JJ Watt wishes the team could wear Oilers throwbacks (from Christian Zummer).

Hockey NewsRed Wings G Jimmy Howard lost his skate blade last night after he caught it on the post (from Tris Wykes). … If the NHL decides to put an expansion team in Houston, here is a concept they could follow (from Denis Costello). … And if Seattle gets a franchise, here’s a pretty good concept for that team (from Barry Brite). … Team USA’s development team will be wearing fauxbacks this weekend that honor the 1976 Canada Cup team (from Garrett Kolodziej). … Goalie captaincy alert! That’s Harvard’s Merrick Madsen, who was just signed by the Coyotes (from ‏ @OlegKvasha).

College Hoops NewsAfter fracturing his elbow in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Purdue’s Isaac Haas has been practicing with a brace that is not NCAA-approved. Now Purdue is asking its engineering students to design a brace that could protect Haas and be up to NCAA specs (from @mrmichael21). … Yesterday, we linked to Alex Gerwitz’s color-blocked bracket. Today, we have a jersey bracket from @thefontsavant.

Soccer News: The USA’s 2018 home kit has leaked. Ditto for the change kit. They’ll be officially unveiled on Friday. … Here’s a look at different jerseys that Poland has worn in international competitions. … We have a bunch of soccer notes from Josh Hinton: World Cup jerseys have been leaked — including South Korea, Germany, Russia, Japan, Spain and Sweden. Also, Louisville City FC of the USL unveiled their new kits. … Speaking of Germany, Julian Draxler’s NOB proves there’s some issues with the blocky font (from Patrick O’Brien). … New second uniforms for the Scottish national team (from our own Jamie Rathjen). …  Newcastle’s under 18 team wore their first team’s kits — which include a gambling site ad — in a recent match. Alcohol and gambling ads are no-nos in English football for under 18 teams (also from Jamie Rathjen as well as Jonathon Sluss). … Interesting concept: Re-imagining Premier League teams as Formula 1 cars (from Doug Kalemba). … The Orlando Pride of the NWSL pranked their staff with a fake kit reveal before unveiling the real designs (from Bill Weiss).

Grab BagAre tennis balls green or yellow? Roger Federer says tennis balls are yellow, which is technically correct by definition of ITF rules. What say you? (From Mike Chamernik.) … Pretty cool interactive look at David Bowie’s stage costumes (NYT link).

Comments (83)

    “Allen & Rossi footage on YouTube….. it wasn’t very funny:”

    That was gold, Lukas! Gold!

    It made me smile and I got a couple of chuckles out of it.

    Happy Birthday, Paul! Hope you have more than your fair share of chuckles today.

    I genuinely laughed out loud at that Titans “reveal”! Very nice! Congrats to whoever thought that up in the Titan’s office!

    Oh! Happy birthday, Paul! Thanks for all that you do to keep up informed and entertained!

    Paul Happy 5-4 on the 3-2-1! Gotta be some luck in those numbers. Cheers to a great upcoming year!

    “Mile Hi” was commonly – though not exclusively – used until around 1976 when “Mile High” became pervasive IIRC. I think the standardization came when they put up new signage not long after the McNichols Sports Arena (“Big Mac”) opened at the edge of the stadium parking lot. Used to go by it often because it was on the way to where my grandparents lived at the time.

    Happy b-day whippersnapper!

    “Texans DL JJ Watt wishes the team could wear Oilers throwbacks ”

    Don’t we all?

    Why would the Texans wear Oilers throwbacks? It would be the ultimate AFC South troll move.

    -Lifelong Oilers/Titans fan

    Looks like Alex decided to celebrate your birthday by misspelling Phil’s last name!

    Regarding the disparity in “Eagles’ Midnight Green”…. This site was very upfront in outlining the manufacturing problems Nike had with the green die on the new template.

    I will tell you… the attempt at Midnight Green on the OFFICIAL NFL brand Championship tee shirts is an travesty and abomination.

    I can only imagine the difficulty for a designer. The green is really a trim…or highlight; however, the color is more dark teal/turquoise than any shade of Midnight green.

    Given that, the tee-shirt is still the greatest thing I have ever bought!!! :)

    Happy birthday Paul! I’m looking at 54 myself in early December…when the hell did that happen???

    “Newcastle’s under 18 team wore their first team’s kits… in a recent match”

    Sorry, I should have said this, but the youth teams I’ve seen always wear the same kits as the first team (except they’re NNOB), so the reason they’re being called out now is seemingly that nobody thought to do it before, rather than it being a mistake or a one-time thing.

    Also, so nobody yells at me, happy birthday Paul (again)!

    Also-also, the Blackburn/Everton game in the lede was an English First Division game (as the top tier was called then), if you want to be more specific than “a soccer match.”

    Jamie, I’ve noticed that the clubs with gambling sponsors (which is almost half of the PL) go sponsor-less for their youth kits, but I’ve also seen Southampton go sponsor-less despite their sponsor being Virgin Mobile. Do you know why that is?

    Also, do you know if Everton in a grey kit vs Blackburn in the lede post? And if not, would that not be considered a kit clash?

    Re: Southampton, I actually didn’t know that they did that, which is why I said “youth teams that I’ve seen.” I guess Virgin kind of-sort of counts as a gambling company (they have an internet gaming part somewhere), even if Southampton’s ad is specifically Virgin Mobile, so maybe they’re just being careful.

    Re: Blackburn/Everton. I think Everton’s actually wearing a third kit in that picture. It’s yellow/white/yellow, not mono-white.

    Look here: link

    According to that site, their white kit from that period is plain, while the yellow kit in question (which is listed as “1963-64 3rd”) has the dark cuffs and sock stripes that you can see in the picture.

    I also just found the original B/W picture (link?) and to my untrained eye it looks like Everton’s shirts are a different shade than the other white elements in the picture.

    Another uni-related birthday item for a certain guy who digs music is the All-American Survey from WABC radio in New York for the week of March 21, 1964. The Beatles — who wear matching black suits, a uniform of sorts — have four songs in this week’s Top 10 on Musicradio 77, including three of the top four.


    Thanks for the link, very cool. I was more of a WMCA Good Guys fan but would switch to 77 if MCA played a song I didn’t like. That chart brings back some good memories.

    I have to wonder if whoever thought that up for the Titans was inspired by the hidden messages in Homestar Runner’s Halloween teasers. Details link.


    “The USA’s hew home kit…”

    Should be “The USA’s new home kit…”, and, if you want to be a little bit more specific, it’s the 2018 home kit. (Soccer teams almost always get a new kit every year.)

    The Seattle NHL concept was previously posted in the link. And much like I said then, I like the presentation, but don’t care much for the color scheme or the jersey design.

    Happy Birthday Paul! You share a bday with a great man…my dad.
    I remember well that UCLA-Duke game. Gail Goodrich just ripped Duke apart.

    Ah, give Allen & Rossi a break. Funny guys, and clearly having a blast doing it. And Rossi could sing!

    Marty Allen just died a month ago. Uni-related photo on his NYT obit:


    Allen and Rossi hunter skit from Dean Martin Show was hysterical. I have the Dean Martin Show collection on DVD and for some reason I play this episode when I’m wrapping gifts at Christmastime every year, no real logic why, but its just as funny every year.


    While its obviously your site and your bday to boot (not trying to tell you how to decide on content), I somewhat expected to see a full rundown of the MiLB Copa hats and your opinion today. Such a big initiative I thought was a no-brainer to get a lead story about. It would be great to get your perspective on all of the new identities… any chance we get more of your opinions on them soon?

    Hey Paul,

    First of all, Happy Birthday!

    Secondly, I’m not sure if you have seen this or not, but Blackburn Rovers (who play in the third tier of English soccer but are looking like they may promote to the second tier) still have the half and half kit with a two-time collar, albeit front to back instead of side to side: link

    Slightly unrelated, but until Leicester City won the Premier League in 2016, Rovers were the only team not named Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Manchester City.

    Happy Birthday Paul. I definitely would have guessed you were 5 to 10 years younger!
    And that Titans prank is pure gold. Well done. Let’s hope their actual uniform design is as well thought out.

    Happy birthday Paul! I place a similarly high importance on birthdays.

    On another note, to Alex, I think that the item in the ticker about the Brewers’ local baseball park should note that this park is local to their ST venue in Maryvale, Arizona, not Miller Park in Milwaukee.

    Happy Birthday to our fearless leader…enjoy fine Brooklyn Chinese Food. I’d also like to recommend a great Chinese place in Queens called King Yum. It’s in Jamaica near St. John’s. Old school with the thatched roof and the waiters in white shirts and bow ties.

    That ticker item about Theismann wearing a different face mask..i was just watching that YT video this morning and hadn’t gotten to that part yet! Pretty funny.

    That USA Hockey jersey looks like a straight-up throwback to me, not a fauxback. Or is the term “fauxback” commonly being misused now?

    I think Metropolitans is the shoo-in name the new Seattle NHL team should take, yet it isn’t even on the city’s list. Too long for modern marketing, perhaps?

    Happy Birthday, Paul!

    Maybe put the Seattle Anything-but-Metropolitans in the Metropolitan Division and keep the division name?

    Happy Birthday, Paul! Hope the snow holds up just enough so you and your friends can have a great time tonight!

    Regarding JJ Watt and the Oilers uniforms, now I want to see a game between the Texans and Titans in Houston where both teams where different Oilers throwbacks. Like the Texans in 1978 Oilers uniforms and the Titans in 1966 Oilers uniforms.

    Happy Birthday Paul!

    Happy Birthday Paul! Thanks for making UniWatch a part of my early morning routine! my day isn’t officially begun till I finish reading every last comment.

    Happy Birthday Paul. Growing up in Southern California I was too young (6 years older than you) to remember seeing this team, but started following UCLA basketball with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar). They changed from “BRUINS” on their home whites to “UCLA”. His first year playing as a sophomore (freshman weren’t eligible) the “UCLA” lettering was similar in gold to the earlier “BRUINS”, but then switched to the blue lettering that most UCLA uniforms have had since.

    I think that Seattle NHL concept just looks too much like the Seattle Supersonics with a different color scheme- great execution, but the colors are a bit drab. Just my opinion. the worst thing to happen to sports uni design has been photoshop- it takes all the creativity out of classic uniform design what with crazy unreadable number fonts, piping and weird stripe patterns on the undersides of the sleeves (capitals, senators), shoulder yokes on baseball jerseys (d’backs), I could go on. we need top go back to basics in all sports uni design.

    In the Twins sunken boat story, he didn’t get his hat back…”Twins baseball T-shirt back,”

    First and foremost, Happy Birthday! I hope the snow brings with it another great year for you.

    Second, I’ve never cared much for the Titans, but this morning I find that I like them just a little bit more. Well done, Titans.

    Enjoyed the UCLA/Duke colorizations…especially the one of the UCLA bench where a bald guy seems to be offering a player a squirt of lime juice.

    Happy Birthday, Paul. I’m about 4 months younger than you, so today’s post was extra special for me. I recently bought a subscription to, and it really helps you realize just how much the world has changed during our lifetimes.

    Have a great birthday!

    Happy Birthday Paul!
    The Titans are doing a great job of not leaking anything about their new uniforms, and that photoshop trick was great. Let’s hope the unis live up to the hype.

    J.J. Watt is right. I 100% want to see Oilers throwbacks, as a Texans fan myself. The Oilers unis were some of the best I have ever seen, and the fact that the Titans are holding on to their rights angers me to no end. I mean, other than the league-mandated AFL throwbacks, the Titans have never used any of the Oilers branding (First few seasons in Nashville are unimportant). The Texans uniforms are so generic now anyway that they need an upgrade. If you were to google ‘generic football uniform’ the Texans would show up.

    Sorry, the Texans wearing Oilers throwbacks would be… weird.
    There is no connection between the teams, other than the city they played in. Sheesh, not even the same stadium.
    It would have been like if the St. Louis Rams wore Cardinal uniforms: Weird.


    Right, so the teams have nothing in common, except for the single most important thing that two teams can have in common. It only seems weird because it’s unusual in football. In baseball, exactly this sort of uni tribute happens all the time. It would stop seeming weird to basically everybody after the second time an NFL team did it.

    Happy birthday, Paul!

    Gotta give a big “no thank you” to that Houston hockey concept. The NHL already has one jet-themed theme, and I’d prefer that the NHL have less military worship and not more. Your mileage may vary.

    My thoughts as well. More military planes?? Lame.
    How about a design where the central object isn’t something who’s express purpose is to kill humans?


    Except the name of Houston’s hockey team is Aeros. Always has been. There are 2 weather related teams, 2 birds names, why can’t there be two flying man made object teams?

    We did have both the Jets and the Aeros in the WHA when it was only an 8 team league.

    But the navy blue concept in the ticker is too similar colour wise the Jets 2.0. New Houston Aeros team would be better off staying with the original colour scheme which would be unique to NHL. Royal blue with the powder blue colour scheme.

    Also – Happy Birthday Paul!

    Aeros, as a nickname, offers a lot of possible logo/mascot options other than fighter jets. Civilian planes, jet engines, pilots, aviation symbols, clouds and contrails, propellers … lots of options other than military fighter jets. I’m less opposed to the militarism aspect of it, but Winnipeg’s logo is so strong that any second logo using a fighter jet will inevitably look like a derivative also-ran. (Sort of like no matter how good the Golden Knights look, they inevitably look like Kings ripoffs.)

    Happy Birthday Paul! Enjoy your day and quality time with friends.

    Every year, I forget how close your birthday is to mine. I’m somewhat coincidentally 3-1-2! Not so much a pattern as yours.

    Happy Birthday to Paul, Bastion of the uni-verse. Defender of all that is cool and antiquated. Cheers from Hagerstown, MD!

    Now to get something off my (less than Pauls) hairy chest…
    MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS REBRANDING FOR ONE GAME BUGS THE PISS OUT OF ME. There I said it. i don’t understand why so much effort is being put into changing an entire outfit and “brand” for one game. The names are generally idiotic and we’re reaching the point of overkill. Is it fun to see a hat with a new and different logo? Yes. Is the hat generally ugly and obnoxious? Yes. Im not sure where the line is drawn but this whole thing has gotten way out of proportion. I fear the morning that i wake up to read the news that my beloved hometown Suns “will become the slippery pot pies for one game this summer” then have to watch the stupid hats and jerseys roll out. Please God save me from this fate.

    Happy Birthday Paul! Hope you are reading this tomorrow and not today because why are you here if its your birthday.

    Can I vent? Do we have to live in a world wear teams wear the same color v. same color in Spring Training?

    In case anyone is wondering what kind of car that was that participated in 12 Hours of Sebring, it was a Shelby Cobra 289. Additional facts: That car was raced by Ford of France, finished 6th overall and was driven by Jo Schlesser and Phil Hill. Color was Princess Blue and the stripe was yellow

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