Sunday, April 8, 2018

Boston College Eagles (1962-63)

In this day and age, it's common for sports teams to find the flimsiest excuse to wear a commemorative patch. It seems many teams will slap on a patch whenever it reaches an anniversary ending in "1" or "5." (The worst examples: The Chicago White Sox wearing a 95th anniversary patch in 1995 and the Bruins wearing a 90th anniversary patch in 2013-14.)

But in the olden times, teams wore patches only when they REALLY meant it. Take Boston College. In 1963, the Eagles celebrated the school's 100th anniversary with a patch on its football uniforms in 1962 AND '63. While the player's left sleeve bears a uniform number, the right sleeve bore the school's seal. If you look closely in the photos below, you can see some words in an arc above the seal, presumably to note the school's milestone.

The Boston College seal.

The '62 BC Eagles in action. Note the patch on the right sleeve.

While we think of BC's colors as maroon and gold (selected by the Jesuit school because of their connection to the papacy), those traditional shades only appear in certain places -- the helmets and the numbers/trim on the road jerseys. Everything else is rendered in something closer to red and yellow. Throw in the shoulder stripes, and it's easy to mistake these unis for USC. 

BC and Holy Cross face off at Alumni Stadium in 1962. The stadium
was roughly two-thirds the size it is now. Note the red and yellow
in the Eagles' uniforms.
The team itself was pretty good, racking up a combined 14-5 record under coach Jim Miller. In '62 quarterback Jack Concannon thew 15 touchdown passes, which in those days, when passing was considered a mortal sin in some corners, was tied for the national lead. That wouldn't lead the nation after the first month in the 2010s. 

(BTW, check out the schedules from this era. Before Joe Yukica came in '68 and gradually brought BC back to the big time, the Eagles were playing schools such as Detroit Mercy, Wichita State, VMI, Villanova and Boston U. -- not exactly the SEC we're talking about, which is probably why BC didn't receive any bowl bids.)

The '63 Eagles huddle up and listen to quarterback Jack Concannon (3).

In '64, the jersey number returned to the right sleeve, only for an eagle logo to replace it in '66, ending BC's brief jersey symmetry. 

One fun postscript: When Topps made football cards in the 1950s and '60s, the bubble gum lords didn't always have the most up-to-date photos handy, and sometimes had to resort to desperation in order to obtain a certain photo of a player. On top of that, Topps colts be just plain lazy. (If you don't believe me, check this out. Topps used the same poorly colored Joe Kapp photo no fewer than SIX times over the years between its CFL and NFL issues.)

This perfect storm gathered in 1965, when the Boston Patriots drafted tight end Jim Whalen out of Boston College. Topps, which back then usually waited a year to put newcomers into its sets, elected to issue a Whalen card during his rookie year (as it did with a few other '65 rookies, including some guy named Joe Namath). With no photo of Whalen in a Pats uniform handy, Topps did the next best thing and performed a paint job on a black-and-white photo of Whalen in a BC uniform. How can you tell? Check out the centennial patch on the sleeve! At least the Eagles and Patriots used a similar jersey template, particularly with the  shoulder stripes. 

Jim Whalen, in all his airbrushed glory.

This airbrushing might have been more convincing if Topps hadn't chosen to give Whalen a silver helmet and pants and light blue shoulder stripes. Instead of looking like an Eagle or Patriot, he resembles, well, no team ever.

And to add insult to insult, Topps used the same photo in 1966 AND '67, not bothering to find an updated photo of Whalen in red, white and blue. 1960s Pats fans who found the recycled Whalen photo in their packs were probably ready to throw their bubble gum and funny rings against the wall. (If you peruse the Vintage Football Card Gallery, you'll see that even Pats stars such as Gino Cappelletti weren't immune to photo recycling.)

Jim Whalen's 1966 (top) and '67 Topps cards.
Say, these look familiar. ...
Craving some more BC unis? Look right here: 20172016201520142013200720001995-9619941989-90198419821978-801968-771958-60, 19571955-561950-5219391935-38, Rivalry Week (w/Holy Cross).

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Boston College (2017), UMass (2017), Yale (2017), New Hampshire (2017)

OK, it's been a while, so let's wrap up our review of 2017 uniforms. Because of other projects, my posts are likely going to be less frequent, at least until next season. But I still plan on posting little goodies to the Facebook page, and, well, there are plenty of archives to pore through here. So awayyyyy we go ...

Boston College (7-6 overall, 4-4 ACC, lost to Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl) put names on the back of its jerseys for the first time since 2012; otherwise, everything stayed the same, right down to the bandana-man tribute alternate. 

Craving some more BC unis? Look right here: 2016201520142013200720001995-9619941989-90198419821978-801968-771958-60, 19571955-561950-521939, 1935-38, Rivalry Week (w/Holy Cross).

UMass (4-8 in the cold, lonely world of the independents) added a couple of trick plays to its ensemble: A kick-arse 1972 throwback helmet to honor that season's Boardwalk Bowl team (discussed here), and an all-black Veteran's Day uniform worn at the Fenway Park game against Maine. (I was at the game, and good God, the fans were as drunk and uncouth as the weather was cold. I was walking back to my seat with a spiked hot chocolate and one drunken loudmouth yelled at me, "Hey, how do you like your overpriced COLD chocolate?" And he was a Maine fan!) The black jerseys all had "MINUTEMEN" on the back in lieu of names. I thought the black uniforms died with the Charley Molnar administration, but oh well. ...

Much, much more from UMass: 20162015201420132000-021986-871978-841975-771974197319721966-681960-621953-541951-521938-39, 1930. Tribute: Dick McPherson.

UNH (9-5 overall, 5-3 CAA, reached final eight of the NCAA FCS tournament) wins the Gridiron Garb Fashionista Prize for trotting out the most uniforms, with nine, ending Dartmouth's two-year reign at the top. (The all-time record: 2013 UMass, with 11 in 12 games.) Gray pants retuned after an absence of several years, and a blue alternate helmet was added with the vintage "NH" logo on one side (yay) and a uniform number on the other (boo ... I hate it when teams -- usually Nike teams -- do this).

One small observation from a jealous Maine fan: For all the talk of UNH's 14 straight NCAA playoff appearances and utter dominance of Maine (winning 15 of  their last 16 meetings), don't you think the Wildcats would like to trade a few of those tournaments and Brice-Cowell muskets for an NCAA title or two, considering they've never made it out of the final four during that stretch? 

There are plenty more Wildcat uniforms where this came from: 201520142010-1320001998,  1979-83, 1976-7719751968-71 (part 1) (part 2)1966-671965 195519501947-4819381936. Rivalry Week: Maine-UNH.

Yale (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy League, first Ivy title since 2006) wore only two uniforms (again), and gets the fourth and final KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Award in addition to its Ivy crown. Which title do you think the Bulldogs cherish more?

More Yale uniforms that'll make any Bulldog salivate: 20162015201420132006-111997-981994, 19961979-8219781974-771972-731967-6819651959-601954-58,  1949-53, 1934-361930. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Rhode Island (2017), Sacred Heart (2017), UConn (2017)

The Parade O' 2017 Uniforms continues!

Rhode Island (3-8 overall, 2-6 CAA) revived its light gray camo pants after a one-year absence. My suggestion: The overall template is great (well, except for the camo pants), but ditch anything where navy blue is the primary color, which resembles CAA rival Maine too much. Change the helmet to white and/or light blue, make navy a trim color on the numbering and lettering and you have a winner.

Ram on with more Rhody unis: 20162015201420132003-071997-991983-921976-821967-7119661963-6519621957-6119511947-501936-39. Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhody.

Sacred Heart (4-7 overall, 2-4 NEC) modified its uniform across the board. The jerseys now bear a passing resemblance to Louisville, and the shirts and pants were given some odd striping. Also, the "SHU" on the helmet was given a nice sheen. The all-gray uniform, with last year's template, was used again. 

The Pioneers wore a special star-spangled 9/11 uniform, complete with blue numbers dotted with white stars. The "SHU" on the helmet was given the American flag treatment for the second straight year, and the look also was worn for one road game.

More Sacred Heart uniforms: 2016, 2015, 201420132008-12.

UConn (3-9 overall, 2-6 American Athletic Conference) retained its 2016 uniform under Randy Edsall in the first year of his second stint as Huskies coach. The all-gray uniform was ditched (yay!) as was the red facemarks UConn wore on occasion last year. Two years after wearing nine combos, only three were used in '17.

Going by his recent tweets, Edsall has all but said the 2003-12 "C" logo is returning next season. After seeing the clunky designs of the post-Edsall era (see links below), I approve.

UConn coach Randy Edsall recently tweeted this helmet,
featuring the classic 2003-12 "C." Here's hoping it sees game action in 2018.

More UConn unis for the Huskymanicas: 20162015201420132003 (Inside the Jersey)20021989-931984-881971-7219701966-6719651958-6019571951, 19501948-491934Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Maine (2017), Penn (2017), Princeton (2017)

The look back at 2017 in uniforms continues with my Black Bears and a pair of Ivy League rivals!

Maine (4-6 overall, 3-5 CAA) gets a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) award for using just two uniforms -- the same ones the Black Bears wore last year, although I prefer the earlier helmets (The 2000-15 "Maine" script and the 2015 half-season "M" logo) to the busy current version.

OK, this has nothing to do with uniforms, but indulge me for a moment: Maine running back Josh Mack was voted a first-team FCS All-American, but after his decision to transfer to an FBS school, Maine opted not to publicize his accomplishment. Hey, I don't like his decision to transfer, either (and let's face it, any athlete at Maine these days who has a half-decent season seems to want to get out of Orono), but the decision to pretend Mack doesn't exist is beyond petty and has a whiff of Orwell's "1984" to it. Ah, the thrills of being a Maine fan ...

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here you go: 2016201520142011-13, 20011997-9919851976-84197519741965more 19651963-641957-591949-501939-461928-29. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire. Inside the jersey: 2010-13.

Penn (6-4 overall, 4-3 Ivy League) changed its navy home jersey, with "PENN" replacing "PENNSYLVANIA" and maroon numbers replacing the white versions. Also note the "sleeves," which use the same striping pattern as Cornell's new home jerseys. These aren't bad or anything, but I prefer last year's home shirt. The road and gray alternates remain the same. 

More Penn unis: 2015-16201420131995-99, 1992-941983-841981-821979-801971-78, 19701965-661956-641954-5519481935-38. Rivalry Week: Cornell-Penn.

Princeton (5-5 overall, 2-5 Ivy League), made one small, but needed, change, as the white pants now match the orange and black versions. I give the Tigers plenty of credit for not mixing and matching the uniforms so much; I like how the orange jerseys and pants are kept together.

More unis from Old Nassau: 201620152014201319961993-95, 1994, 1987-901984-861975-771979-831970-72, 1956-571955, 1949-541947-481945-46. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Delaware (2017), Harvard (2017), Holy Cross (2017)

Time for some more of 2017 in Uniforms ...

Delaware (7-4 overall, 5-3 CAA) gets a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) Award for wearing only two uniforms -- home and road -- all season. Bonus points for using the same design three straight years, a rarity in today's world. 

As an aside, I think Delaware might be the only Gridiron Garb team in the 21st century other than Yale to eschew alternate jerseys, helmets or pants. With that kick-arse helmet, why mess with a good thing?  

There's more from the Delaware hen house: 201620152011-142004-061997-20031989-921980-881975-791973-74197219651967-711950.

Harvard (5-5 overall, 3-4 Ivy League, worst record in 17 years) didn't change a thing from last year, other than the tan pants were worn with the white jerseys this year instead of the crimson shirts. I know tan's not an "official" team color, but Harvard's just not Harvard without the tan pants. And any team called the Crimson shouldn't be wearing black jerseys.

Other Harvard unis you may have missed: 201620152012-142008-111980-831975-79; 1972-7319721967-701962-631950-521948-49, 1937-46. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale.

Holy Cross (4-7 overall, 3-3 Patriot League) added a couple end-arounds to its uniforms this year. First, the Crusaders added a gray alternate that shouldn't have gone past the concept stage. Gray makes for an ugly jersey, and the curved, heavy-serif numbers are hard to read. A shame, because the basic home and road uniforms are virtually flawless. 

Second, Holy Cross added an "academic excellence" patch, with a little cap and tassel (see below), worn by players with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. I've never seen a sports team do something like this before. Perhaps the 'Saders should take it to another level and add a dunce-cap patch for those under academic probation (joking!)

Want more from Holy Cross? Look here: 20162015201420132004-0819921986-911981-85, 1976-801973-74197219711967-701963-651956-591951-55. Rivalry Week: Boston College-Holy Cross.