NFL Ref Has His Own Personalized Coin for Pregame Toss
Every NFL game starts with a coin toss at midfield, and the coins used for those tosses are usually some sort of commemorative edition produced by the NFL, the home team, or a promotional partner. But for last Sunday’s Colts/Titans game in Nashville, referee Ron Torbert used a personalized coin whose design, as you can see above, actually references his uniform!
Torbert’s coin was discovered by longtime Uni Watch reader David Firestone, who spotted a listing for it on the NFL’s auction site. If you search for “coin” on that site, you’ll find listings for a handful of “game-used” coins, but Torbert’s is the only one that’s ref-personalized. David, who’s got a thing for coins, says he’s never seen anything like it before. I’d love to see footage of the toss from that Colts/Titans game, just to hear how Torbert described the head and tail designs.
Torbert, incidentally, reffed the last Super Bowl. According to this article, his biggest concern about the gig was “Don’t screw up the coin toss.”
(Big thanks to David Firestone for bringing this one to my attention.)
ITEM! World Series Preview
The World Series starts tonight, which means it’s time for my Uni Watch World Series Preview. Since the Astros are making their fourth Series appearance in six years, I’ve mostly skipped them and done a deeeeep dive on the Phillies. No matter who you’re rooting for in the Series, I can almost guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two from this piece. Hell, I learned a thing or two while working on it! Ideal for amazing/annoying your friends while watching the Fall Classic.
You can read the first few paragraphs of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Premium content on Substack. (Didn’t hear about my move from Bulletin to Substack? Additional details on that, including the “Pay What You Wish” subscription option, can be found here.)
Also, remember that I also published my Uni Watch Power Rankings for the NHL’s new Reverse Retro designs this week. Again, you can read the first few grafs for free, and then I hope you’ll consider subscribing. Thanks!
Nolan Ryan Update
A few days ago I wrote about the mystery of a photo that showed Nolan Ryan wearing a Mets uniform with No. 20. After consulting a few experts, the most probable explanation appeared to be that the image was from the 1965 fall instructional league. (One thing I didn’t fully explain: That would have been the Florida Instructional League, not the Arizona Fall League, which didn’t come into existence until 1992.)
Somewhat amazingly, reader Steve Presser has a 1965 Florida Instructional League program. When he read that blog post earlier this week, he pulled the program off the shelf and looked up Ryan, expecting to see him listed as wearing No. 20. But instead:
That’s right — Ryan wore No. 45 in the 1965 Florida Instrux League. Not 30, not 34, not 20, but 45! (Also: I love that there was a coach named Bunky Warren.)
So what about Ryan wearing No. 20? Presser did a little digging and came up with this:
That’s clearly Ryan wearing No. 20. And when is this photo from? Presser says it’s from the 1967 Florida Instrux League. So that’s when he wore that number.
Now we just need to get a shot of him wearing No. 45 in 1965.