For all images, click to enlarge
The lockout has put a serious damper on MLB uni news, but the Astros got things cooking yesterday by unveiling a 60th-anniversary logo. As you can see in the photo above (a horribly backlit shot that I can’t believe they used for their official announcement), the commemorative mark will be worn as a cap patch, and the press release says it will also appear on jersey sleeves. There’s no photo yet of the sleeve treatment, at least that I’m aware of, but you can get the general idea from this retail mock-up:
So it appears that the cap and sleeve patches will be the same design (instead of having a simplified version on the cap, which is how it often works).
Here’s a closer look at the patch design, along with the digital version (click to enlarge):
As we’ve discussed many times before, teams usually celebrate either a milestone season (which I generally don’t care for) or an anniversary (which I prefer, because there’s usually a better symmetry to the date range). For the Astros, the 60th season would have been last year, and the 60th anniversary is this year, but they’ve taken a third route with wording of this patch: “60 Years.” Personally, I find this a bit unsatisfying, like they’re trying to have it both ways but are ending up with neither.
The Astros have a long, muddled history with milestone logos. They’ve sometimes used the word “Anniversary” (both accurately and inaccurately), sometimes used “Years,” sometimes skipped using any word at all, and never used “Season.” All this is complicated by the fact that the franchise spent its first three seasons as the Colt .45s, so they’re sometimes celebrating a franchise milestone (as in the case of the “60 Years” patch) and sometimes just an Astros milestone. Here’s their full collection of milestone logos, some of which have been worn as patches while others have been used just for marketing purposes:
What a mishmash!
According to the press release, the ’Stros will also mark the anniversary with “Flashback Friday games” throughout the season, so we’ll likely see some fun throwbacks — something to look forward to.
(And yes, we know, the Astros are cheaters and the patch design should include a garbage can. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s please stick to uni-related talk. Thanks!)
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Follow-up: Yesterday’s entry about Jonathan Allen being the last NFL player to wear a Washington Football Team helmet prompted a note from reader Chris Edwards, as follows:
I was teammates with future MLB player Brad Wilkerson in high school. Gotta admit it was pretty cool having a friend in the majors, getting travel to stadiums and getting comp seats!
Anyway, he was the last player to wear an Expos uni, during the Japan All-Star series in 2004. Once he retired, I got him to sign an Expos batting helmet as “The Last Expo.”
Very cool — thanks for sharing, Chris!
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By Brinke Guthrie
Well, this didn’t take long: The Washington Commanders have existed for less than a week, and we’ve already got some DIY gumball helmet kits, like this burgundy kit and this black version. Stick one of those on this 1967 NFL gumball helmet goal post kit, and you’re all set!
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• How to Knock Home Runs and Other Tips to Batters is the title of this 1934 booklet by Babe Ruth. Sponsored by Quaker Oats, who get their plug in toward the back: “If you want lots of ‘steam’ and ‘muscle,’ eat Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice.” (And here I always thought the Bambino lived on hot dogs and beer.)
• Never seen this before — a 1971 Cincinnati Reds season ticket ordering booklet, featuring the timely and hip slogan “Right On Reds.” It talks about how great the 1970 championship season was, and promotes “one of the finest new stadiums in the world” with its “computerized scoreboard.” (Here’s that fine stadium being blown up 31 years later. Ahem.)
• NHL goalie Jacques Plante authored this 1971 title, Hockey Tips for the Goaltender,. Plante was with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time, hence his generic blue/white uniform on the book’s cover.
• With the big game coming up this Sunday, here’s a 1980 History of the Super Bowl record album (from Fleetwood, of course), narrated by Curt Gowdy.
• Speaking of Sunday’s game, Rams fans are probably hoping they’ll play better than they likely sang on this 1970 Christmas album, The Rams Sing Holiday Halftime. It includes Merlin Olson soloing on “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” which probably wasn’t far off the mark.
• One more SoCal record album for you: This one is called Dodgers ’59, with KMPC play-by-play highlights of the team’s second season on the West Coast. Brought to you by Vin Scully, of course.
• In keeping with the Collector’s Corner Equal Time Rule for Super Bowl teams, here’s a late-1960s Chase & Sanborn promo coffee mug for your Cincinnati Bengals. Never seen this one before! For once, the lettering on the helmet depiction closely matches the real-life version, as opposed to those GIANT CAPITAL LETTERS more commonly used during that era.
• Here’s a T-shirt commemorating the 1983 Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series appearance.
• This mid-1970s bar glass set features all then-current NHL team logos.
• With the Olympics currently underway, here’s a Labatt’s promo hockey puck from the 1988 Calgary Games.
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Too good for the Ticker: Oh man, how awesome is this old cross-stitch piece featuring all of the Kansas City pro sports teams! Yes, I know, the football facemask is the wrong color (by the time the KC Kings existed, the football team had switched to white masks, which I guess would’ve been tricky to depict on a white background), but it’s still pretty amazing.
The photo was posted on Twitter by Ethan Bryan, who says, “My grandma and grandpa made this for me 40 years ago. It hangs on the wall right next to my writing desk.” An excellent family heirloom!
(Big thanks to Jimmy Lonetti for pointing me toward this one.)
By Paul (swapping days this week with Alex Hider)
Indigenous Appropriation News: Four Iowa lawmakers have introduced a bill to phase out Native American-based mascots in the state’s schools by 2024 (from Eric Patterson). … While the NFL no longer has a team called the Redskins, many high schools still do. … Two more Connecticut high schools have dropped their Native-themed team names (thanks to all who shared). … Jamestown (N.Y.) High School, whose teams are known as the Red Raiders, has dropped its logo featuring a Native American-style feather in favor of a red cougar-like cat head (from Kary Klismet).
Baseball/Softball News: The Hanshin (Osaka) Tigers will wear 1936 road throwbacks for a game against the Tokyo Giants this season. Look at that overhanging “A” at the center of the jersey — never seen anything quite like that before! (Big thanks to Sean Kane.) … Clemson’s softball team received its 2021 ACC championship rings (from Kary Klismet). … Always fun to see a photo of the Happy Days softball team at Wrigley Field (from Alan Kreit). … Latest fun sports item to appear on Antiques Roadshow: a scorecard from the famous 1951 Dodgers/Giants “Shot Heard ’Round the World” game (from James Gilbert).
Football News: After a full season’s worth of weekly uni/mascot-themed illustrations, here’s Jason Von Stein’s illo for the Super Bowl. … The tossed coins from the NFC and AFC championship games are up for auction (from David Firestone). … Ohio State has unveiled its new turf design. Here’s a video showing the changes that have been made. … The Kitten Bowl may be moving to a new network (from Bryan Martin Firvida). … I only watched a few snippets of it so far, but this 45-minute video presentation on the evolution of football equipment and uniforms looks promising (from James Gilbert). … The number fonts on the Super Bowl Media Day hoodies have changed this year from team-specific to generic.
Hockey News: Due to delayed processing of some Covid tests, the Canadian and Russian Olympic women’s hockey teams played while wearing N95 masks for the first two periods of their game on Sunday night. Russia removed their masks for the third period after the negative test results finally became available, but Canada retained their masks for the full game (and won). Here are additional photos and info. … With the AHL moving into the second half of its season, teams will switch from wearing white at home to color at home. … 1973 throwbacks last night for Boston University men’s (from Phil Santos). … We all know that hockey refs wear red armbands while the linespeople have no armbands. But in the women’s hockey games at the Olympics, the refs have red but the linespeople have white armbands. Is that a new thing, an international thing, or what? (From Derek May.)
Basketball News: The D League’s Iowa Wolves are partnering with a local art nonprofit to create unique uniforms for six themed-promotion games celebrating “the many diverse communities in Iowa.” The patterns at the top of that linked page are apparently what the uniforms will look like. … Truman State men’s will honor the school’s past incarnation as Northeast Missouri with these throwbacks (from Kary Klismet). … The Athletic has a (paywalled) story on how Bucks players chose their uni numbers (from Maverick Johnson).
Soccer News: Japanese side JEF United Chiba’s new shirt has two gold stars above the crest, for the team’s League Cup championships in 2005 and ’06 (from Jeremy Brahm). … From our own Jamie Rathjen: “A Sunday match in England’s Women’s Super League between Aston Villa and West Ham United saw West Ham wear a fairly unusual mashup of their dark-blue third shirts with light-blue shorts and white socks, which were the opposite of Villa’s white shorts and light blue socks. Villa midfielder Remi Allen is color-blind and said she had trouble telling the teams apart.” … New home shirt for semi-pro Welsh side Barry Town United (from Ed Zelaski).
Olympics News: Cross-listed from the hockey section: Due to delayed processing of some Covid tests, the Canadian and Russian women’s hockey teams played while wearing N95 masks for the first two periods of their game on Sunday night. Russia removed their masks for the third period after the negative test results finally became available, but Canada retained their masks for the full game (and won). Here are additional photos and info. … Also cross-listed from hockey: We all know that hockey refs wear red or armbands while the linespeople have no armbands. But in the women’s hockey games at the Olympics, the refs have red but the linespeople have white armbands. Is that a new thing, an international thing, or what? (From Derek May.) … Several competitors in the mixed team ski jumping event were disqualified for uniform violations (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: Here’s a really good interview with brand-design expert Debbie Millman. Recommended. … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: Fun article about the evolution of the Rolls-Royce hood ornament. … Firefighters in Trenton, N.J., are protesting the new department director’s decision to redesign a uniform patch. … Britain’s new Royal Air Force uniforms are being mocked for resembling the unis from Star Trek: The Next Generation. … Headwear retailer Lids is partnering with several Black sports organizations — the Negro Leagues Museum, Black Fives, and the Harlem Globetrotters for a new apparel line. Uni Watch pal/ally Todd Radom tells me he’s a brand ambassador for this one (from Tom Turner). … New developments in the works for U.S. Space Force uniforms.
Our latest raffle winner is Alex Dewitt, who’s won himself a 2021 Uni Watch Press Pin. Congrats to him and thanks to Frank Seitz for sponsoring this one.
Tomorrow: The Uni Watch Super Bowl LVI Preview! — Paul