By Phil Hecken, with Ethan Dimitroff
Hey kids, welcome to the day after the day after the Fourth of July (hope everyone had a safe holiday!), when many people are on a four-day vacation/holiday, and we enter the ‘dead’ period just before things start picking up with the MLB All Star Game (and of course, we have the USWNT playing for the World Cup tomorrow, and Wimbledon underway, among other things — so it’s not that dead, but it is relatively speaking). Anyhoo, I pre-loaded this post way back on Independence Day because I’m curling in another bonspiel this weekend. But not just any bonspiel — this one is the first ever “Firecracker” bonspiel and it’s being hosted by my home club, LI Curling. It’s going great so far, and I was at the rink all day yesterday, and I’ll be there most of today. When I’m not playing, I’m part of the “volunteer” crew, so I am basically not on social media or the interwebs at all. There’s no ticker today (or tomorrow) since Paul gave Anthony the day off, and I’ll be unable to do one tomorrow, so apologies in advance for that. I will have coverage of the Spobacks for tomorrow (hopefully I won’t be writing that post at 2:00 am), and there will be some sub-ledes, so make sure you tune in tomorrow as well. OK? OK!
Now then. Onto today’s lede.
If the name Ethan Dimitroff sounds familiar to you, it’s because I have not only featured several of Ethan’s uniform (usually WVU, but he’s done others) concepts on here several times, and for those who follow Sunday Morning Uni Watch during college football season, Ethan also tracks both the B1G and the SEC. He also is the founder of the Mountaineer Uniform Database. A little over a month ago, Ethan mentioned on twitter that he had the privilege/honor of designing a high school football helmet. I asked if I could have an “exclusive” for Uni Watch when the project was done, to which he replied:
I saw on twitter that you wanted an exclusive on my high school helmet design project. I didn’t know if you were serious about that or when you wanted to do that. What would you need from me to do that? Just let me know coach and I finally decided on a design (aka I finally talked him into my favorite design). I’m not sure when we’re gonna order the decals since he’s getting them off me.
Be forewarned it does include a lot of purple.
With that set in motion, I was just waiting for the final project to be complete. Before we hear about it from Ethan, a few quick looks at it (and a pic of the man himself holding his finished product):
Now, let’s hear from Ethan about his design:
The process of designing these helmets really begin in April of 2018 when Coach Alex came to me about designing the helmets when he took over as head coach. The previous coach had already sent off the helmets for reconditioning and changed the color of them from silver to white. So with my options on color limited I went to work mocking up several designs, including an updated version of the Warriors script logo worn in the earlier years of the school. Since white is not one of the three school colors (purple, silver and black) I tried to keep as many as the school colors in the design. However I did not supply the helmet decals so my original design really lost a lot of my details.
Which leads us to this year; after not being satisfied with the service of the previous helmet decal supplier, I took over the contract to do so. Coach Alex really giving me a lot of rein to do so. I wanted to bring back the purple shell for years past during the early successful years of the school. The players however wanted a matte finish so as long as they are purple I guess. With that base I really wanted something that would stand out under the Friday night lights so I wanted chrome decals. With the black facemasks, each of the three school colors is represented within the helmet. After going through 10-12 designs I was finally able to convince to keep an updated version of the warriors script that I made for the helmets last year.
I never believed I’d actually be designing team helmet decals and getting paid for it. I’m really hoping this becomes a success business of mine. Various schools in my area (as well as all across the country) use generic letters or ripped off pro/college logos. I’m trying to change that and give teams their unique identity.
Thanks, Ethan! Obviously, I don’t have the problem with purple that Paul does, so it’s fine by me! And I think it turned out splendidly. Here are a few more views of the helmet:
You can (and should) follow Ethan on the Twitter @Ethan_Dimitroff.
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “Josh Gibson, 1931” (color study)
Subject: Josh Gibson, 1931
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
The 1931 Homestead Grays are considered one of the greatest Negro League teams of all-time. Playing in the American Negro League that year, it’s been said that they had a record of 163-23 against all levels of competition. We won’t ever know whether those numbers are fully legitimate, but it’s very probable that they did dominate their competition – the club boasted the likes of Oscar Charleston, Jud Wilson, Smokey Joe Williams, Vic Harris, Tubby Scales and a young catcher named Josh Gibson.
Many sources credit Josh with hitting 75 home runs that season, though ‘officially’ he only had 10, while slugging at a .545 clip. Regardless of the actual numbers, the following years instilled very little doubt that Gibson was one of the league’s premier sluggers. One of his most famous (and perhaps apocryphal) feats is the ball he supposedly hit out of Yankee Stadium during game action. In an article written by the great Gary Ashwill for his blog Agate Type (which you NEED to follow), he discusses a home run in 1930 that at least one player claimed to have gone out of the ballpark.
This small portrait is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.
Today’s scoreboard comes from reader “ojai67”.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
This one probably rates a 3 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. Sorry about the watermark, but it won’t detract from the game.
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
If you guys like this, and want to continue this as a weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
Tom Seaver, New York Yankees
What, you didn’t know The Franchise was a “Yankee”?
Got an e-mail from Ferdinand Cesarano, with a bit of forgotten history, as it were. I’ll let Ferdinand take it from here…
Paul and Phil,
Here is a rare shot of Tom Seaver wearing a Yankee cap and jacket!
On July 4, 1989, the 50th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech, the Yankees’ broadcast opened with a shot of the announcers wearing caps and jackets in the 1939 style. And so there was Seaver, alongside the Scooter and George Grande, decked out in Yankee-wear!
Seaver’s work in the Yankees’ television booth was exemplary. He was a brilliant anaylst whose explanations were always very clear; he taught me more than any other announcer. Seaver had begun his announcing career even during his playing days, when he worked briefly for ABC and then for a long time for NBC on post-season games, and showed amazing poise and professionalism right from the start. Also, his rapport with the Scooter in the Yankees’ booth was amazing; he acheived the impossible task of filling the shoes of Bill White. (The Scooter never stopped ribbing Seaver about having won his 300th game on Phil Rizzuto Day.)
And Seaver has several other points of connection with the Yankees. His first appearance in New York after his trade from the Mets came at the 1977 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. And there he received the biggest ovation of all participants, bigger than for any Yankee player or for Yankee manager Billy Martin, who was skippering the American League team.
That ovation reflected Seaver’s unique position amongst Met players. When we were growing up in the 1970s, though the rivalry between Yankee fans and Met fans was pretty intense, Seaver was universally respected. My fellow Yankee fans could make fun of Bud Harrelson or Cleon Jones, but never Tom Seaver.
And then, of course, came Seaver’s 300th win at Yankee Stadium in 1985. It was a remarkable event in that it was the only time a Yankee Stadium crowd ever completely turned and began cheering for the opposition.
We know that Yankee fans have always been arrogant; but, the form of their arrogance has changed drastically. In recent decades the phenomenon has turned ugly, as Yankee fans have become brutish and thug-like. But, when we were kids, Yankee fans were almost scholarly in their approach to baseball history. Indeed, my fascination with baseball history is inextricably tied to my having become a Yankee fan as a kid. If I were coming up now, there’s no way I would be attracted to today’s loutish Yankee fans. But the Yankee fans of my day were historians who admired greatness and who respected Seaver, whom they considered to be above any team rivalry. It is this respect that led to the remarkable event that day in 1985.
People talk about the time in 1975 that the Madison Square Garden crowd turned in order to cheer Eddie Giacomin in his return to the arena with Detroit just days after he had been cut by the Rangers. But Seaver’s 300th win at the Stadium was bigger. First, it was baseball. Second, the game didn’t even take place at Seaver’s old team’s home park.
The cheering started tentatively; but, eventually, the Yankee Stadium crowd began openly supporting Seaver and rooting against the Yankees. By the end of the game, there was no doubt that this was a “home” event for Seaver. We can look at his effect on the Yankee Stadium crowd that day as the Miracle Mets’ final miracle.
The Yankees as an organisation played along, bringing in longtime Met announcer Lindsey Nelson to call the ninth inning on television. The Yankees had already shown a degree of respect to Seaver. We know that the Mets lost Seaver to the White Sox when they failed to protect him in the days of the free agent compensation draft. But the Yankees also had a pick in the January 1983 compensation draft, on account of their having lost Goose Gossage; and they avoided picking Seaver. The White Sox, of course, showed no such restraint. (One cannot help but wonder how Seaver might have contributed to the very close divisional races that the Mets waged with the Cubs in 1984 and the Cardinals in 1985, a period during which he won 31 games for the White Sox.)
With the sad news of Seaver’s declining health, I wanted to affirm that this greatest of all Mets touches the emotions also of the Yankee fans of my era.
Yours in a love of history,