By Phil Hecken
Just a little over a year ago, I ran a piece with my pal, Bill Hetrick, A Virtual Visit To The Mississippi Sports Hall Of Fame Museum, and at the very end of that article, I mentioned “That’s all the time we have for now, but I will have Bill back with the best exhibit in the museum — the ‘Wall of Memories’ that includes, among other things, some absolutely killer AFL game worn uniforms.” Well, this article was more than a year in the making, but Bill kept his promise and today we’re going to take a look at some of those AFL unis, plus a bunch of other stuff. I had planned on running this article during Paul’s August sabbatical, but (like a few others), it didn’t make it — so here it is today. Enjoy! (For all images below, you can click to enlarge.)
The MSHOFM Wall Of Memories and more
By Bill Hetrick
When we last looked at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, we teased a future look at the Museum’s central exhibit, “The Wall of Memories” which is rich in our favorite thing – Uniforms!
Here are some photos and brief descriptions of some of the vintage uniforms on display in the Wall.
Charlie Conerly’s 1948 College Football All Star uniform, complete with leather helmet.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum awards the top college football player in the state each year with the C Spire Conerly Trophy. Named in honor of the late Charlie Conerly, former Ole Miss and New York Giants quarterback. Conerly, a Clarksdale native, was an All-American at Ole Miss and a Pro Bowl standout for the Giants who led New York to three NFL Championship games and one NFL Championship. Conerly quarterbacked the All-Star team against the Chicago Cardinals in 1948 after earning All-America honors his senior year at Ole Miss.
Mississippi was well-represented in the American Football League, with two all-time AFL greats – Buffalo’s Billy Shaw and San Diego’s (and later Dallas’) Lance Alworth – being among League members later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The AFL is also represented in MSHFM with these gorgeous vintage jerseys and helmets. Tom Goode of Mississippi State played for the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Oilers. Larry Grantham of Ole Miss played was an original New York Titan, later the Jets, and Tommy Neville, also of Mississippi State, played 159 games on the offensive line for the Boston/NE Patriots.
Of special note, here’s a rarely-seen AFL All-Star game helmet.
A Mississippi icon, Davey Whitney coached some terrific Alcorn State University teams through the years, winning 11 SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) titles. He coached the Braves to the first NCAA Tournament win ever by an historically black university with a 70-62 victory over South Alabama in 1980. Davey’s first love was baseball. After graduating from college, Whitney spent two years playing shortstop for the Negro League’s Kansas City Monarchs. His coaching warm up suit is on display in the Wall.
One of Jackson State University’s most prolific scorers, Purvis was a three-time All-SWAC and All-American and is in the SWAC Hall of Fame. He was selected fifth by the Golden State Warriors in the 1978 NBA draft. He scored a career high 59 points on November 17, 1984. A 6-foot-7 small forward, Short averaged 17.3 points per game over his twelve-season NBA career. Here are his JSU and NBA All-Star game worn uniforms.
A standout pitcher and basketball player at Ole Miss, Joe Gibbon was All-Southeastern Conference in basketball (1956 and 57) and baseball (1957). Drafted by the Boston Celtics, he chose baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates instead, and was a member of their 1960 team that defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Here’s his Pirates uniform for his days in Pittsburgh, and his East-West Shrine basketball All-Star jersey from the 1957 game. Gibbon also played for the NY Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros.
Dave “Boo” Ferris
A Mississippi icon and legend, the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, presented to the top college baseball player in Mississippi each year, is named in honor of Boo Ferriss, the former Mississippi State great and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and long-time Delta State University coach. Were it not for an arm injury, Ferriss might have been talked about with the all-time greats. Boo recorded 21 wins in his rookie season; is one of 7 pitchers to pitch shutouts in their first two Major League games; shares the record with Fernando Valenzuela for most consecutive wins to start a career (8); holds AL record for most consecutive scoreless innings to start: a career (22 1/3); tied AL record with 46 wins in first two Major League seasons; holds Major League record for most consecutive wins in his home park with 13 in 1946; led AL with a 25-6 record (.806 winning percentage) in 1946. His Red Sox jersey, cap and stirrups are displayed here, along with his glove.
Finally, not a uniform, but some memorabilia from Guy Bush, an Aberdeen, Mississippi, native who gave up the last two home runs of Babe Ruth’s career. Of note: The Chicago Cubs purchased his contract in 1919 for $1000 and a jug of corn liquor.
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: “Buck Leonard, 1941” (color study)
Subject: Buck Leonard, 1941
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
The phrase that always seems to go with Buck is that he was ‘the black Lou Gehrig’. Certainly his ability to hit for both high average and power was similar to that of the Yankee legend. His home runs didn’t soar, but were more low flying lasers, just like Gehrig’s brand. Both of the men patrolled first base. With the Homestead Grays, he usually followed slugger Josh Gibson in the lineup, who was himself considered ‘the black Babe Ruth’. It was also their gentle nature and reliable demeanor that would help bind the two together in comparison.
During the 17 years of Leonard’s career, he was voted 12 times to the East-West All-Star teams – he batted .317 and hit three homers in those contests. In the late 1930s and 1940s, Buck’s Grays were also the class of the Negro National League, playing in nine Negro League World Series. They took the title in ’43, ’44 and finally, ’48. The latter club was often cited as his favorite, with players like Luke Easter, Sam Bankhead and Wilmer Fields helping him devour the competition. We don’t have official statistics for most of Josh’s career, but it’s been cited in many places that he hit over .390 that season. At the age of forty.
In this painting he’s pictured with the 1941 club. This is one of 200+ 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.
Uni Concepts & Tweaks
After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
I received the following e-mail from reader Sean Walsh, who has a couple concepts for my favorite NLB uni:
Attached, are my homage to the Homestead Grays, originally designed for a possible old(ish) guys softball team. The team name was to be the Golden Grays, an allusion to gray hair and golden years, and a dumb pun. I used the Tiffany font for all lettering and numbers, which is the basis for the Grays iconic lettering, but isn’t an exact match to it. Couldn’t decide which socks/stirrups I liked better, so included both styles (and yes, both feet are the same foot, though I can’t tell if its a right or a left foot).
After the first one was done, couldn’t stop there, so the road uni alludes to black and white photography, since most, if not all, Homestead Grays pics are black and white. The third is an homage to those old navy and black unis from the early days, particularly the Chicago American Giants and White Sox.
Sean (aka superfly, don’t comment much anymore, but saw the updated Negro League unis a few weeks back, and thought I’d clean these up and send them in)
Thanks Sean. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
2019 MLB Uni Tracking
For the past two years, reader Ed Kendrick provided uniform tracking for us for four teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Last year, he added a fifth team, the San Francisco Giants.
For the 2019 Edition, Ed has now bumped up his tracking to eight teams, adding the Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres.
Now that the MLB Regular Season is complete, Ed has completed his final tracking for the eight clubs!
You can check them all out via this link.
COMING TOMORROW! Reader Alex Rocklein will return with his MLB Playoff Uni-Tracking. Stay tuned.
— James Gilbert (@jamesleegilbert) October 5, 2019
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Dodgers are going sans-MLB150 patch to make room for the Postseason patch (from Jakob Fox). … A’s catcher Josh Phegley had a yellow-and-gold belt for the AL Wild Card game (from Derek Linn).
NFL/CFL News: New Pats K Mike Nugent is wearing No. 2. … The NFL’s London pop-up store features mannequins in full uni, but they messed up the Bears socks, putting the home socks with the away jersey and vice versa (from multiple readers). … @ohhhsourry sends along some awesome 1940s Toronto Argonauts pins.
College Football News: Tom Whitfield was watching a 1992 FSU/Miami game, and noticed that Miami DE Darren Krein was wearing a No. 98 decal inside his U helmet logo. That decal is “for teammate Rusty Medearis, who suffered a career-ending leg injury the previous game against Arizona. Not sure if any other players did the same.” … UNC is going blue-white-blue today (from James Gilbert). … Penn State posted a graphic to break down their “Generations of Greatness” uni (from Chris Grosse). … Speaking of Penn State, here’s a good interview with former equipment manager Spider Caldwell (from William F. Yurasko). … Mizzou is going black-black-gold today (from Jacob Bogage). … TCU is going black-white-white against Iowa State (from Chad Lehman). … Stony Brook is going mono-red for their homecoming game against James Madison (from Patrick Muffley). … All black everything for UNLV against Boise State. … Wisconsin is going with white facemasks today (from Garrett Van Auken).
Hockey News: The Buffalo News has a great Sabres uni interactive timeline on their website to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary (from Matt Wilcott). … New mask for Islanders G Thomas Greiss (from Alex Peck). … The Canucks’ owner has said that he’s open to changing the team’s logo in the future (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers have unveiled their Pink the Rink jerseys for Oct. 12. … The USHL’s Chicago Steel revealed their 20th anniversary uni on Thursday. … UConn unveiled their new alternate sweaters, which look like they were pulled out of a time capsule from 1995. That’s a good thing (from Mike Lucia and Dan Ferguson). … Oregon has teased new sweaters (from Michael Sullivan). … Wisconsin women debuted new sweaters last night. Love that NOB font (from AJ Harrison and Todd Milewski). … The Lightning gave Pinnelas County Sheriff Jim Coats a customized jersey, and misspelled “sheriff” on it (from Griffin T. Smith).
NBA News: @Rettae27 calls the size of the Thunder’s ad patch this season “grotesque” and I’m inclined to agree. … The Nets unveiled their new “Statement” jersey on Thursday. It looks like they used the single most generic “graffiti” font for the wordmark (from multiple readers). … The Athletic has a hugely entertaining (paywalled) oral history of the Pistons’ 1996 uni overhaul (from Chris Chmura).
College Hoops News: Lots of new unis for both the men and women today: New unis for Oregon women (from Allie Kuturbis and @samuel101ts). … New unis for both Notre Dame men and women (from Randy Joseph, Jeff Cox and Jack Quinn). … New unis for VCU men. … New unis for K-State men.
Soccer News: The Athletic has a good (paywalled) article about how powerful the biggest European clubs have gotten in terms of dictating kit deals (from Chris Chmura and Mark Coale). … A site called TheFace.com has done an analysis of how vintage kits have become fashionable (from Anthony Bardaro). … Benfica S Raúl de Tomás changed his NOB from “R. D. T.” to the more usual “R. De Tomás” for Benfica’s Champions League match on Wednesday to comply with UEFA rules. … SoccerBible asks if it’s time to bring back the “90s-style full tracksuit” to warm-up gear, and ranks some of the best from the decade (from Ed Żelaski). … Wolves wore their charity’s logo on their shirts instead of their betting company shirt advertiser for their match in Turkey (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh, new USL League One side Union Omaha has unveiled their badge. … One more from Josh: UEFA kit rules have forced AS Roma to change the sublimated design on their alternate kits. … Last thing from Josh: Bayer Leverkusen will wear a braille shirt ad for today’s match, to celebrate providing audio descriptions of the match to visually impaired fans for 20 years. You can catch the rest of his contributions on his Twitter account. … The FTC has fined FC Dallas’ shirt advertiser (from Chris Mycoskie). … USWNT FB Ali Krieger got a No. 100 jersey and an honorary captain’s armband for her 100th appearance. “The captain’s armband is in spite of Krieger not appearing tonight at all, as she’s not in the starting lineup or on the bench (her 100th appearance was in a friendly in May against New Zealand). However, it’s standard for any USWNT player that is celebrating a milestone to be captain for the day,” writes Jamie. … A couple of kids stole a pickup truck in Dallas on Thursday, and took police on a chase before losing them. One of them was wearing a Marcus Rashford Manchester United jersey, which makes it the most entertaining thing anyone in a United kit did on Thursday.
Grab Bag: As the Florida’s “gator head” logo turns 25, the university put up some prototypes on their website (from @SoFlaMarlins). … NESN, the Bruins- and Red Sox-owned regional sports network, debuted an atrocious new logo yesterday. Their old logo had been used since the station’s founding in 1984. Comparisons I made included “bad erectile dysfunction pills,” “doomed new centrist political party in the UK,” and “untrustworthy insurance company,” but others made better comparisons in the replies (from multiple readers). … Here are the kits for teams in “The Hundred,” a new ultra-short-form cricket league in England and Wales. The team names are here (thanks, Jamie). … Massachusetts Sen. and Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren used a very out-of-date University of Houston logo to reference her time as a student there (from multiple readers). … Towson women’s volleyball wore special autism awareness unis last night. … The Times has a good piece on how the jerseys are to blame for the multitude of handling errors at the Rugby World Cup thus far (from Chris Horymski).