Friday, September 30, 2016

Brown Bears (1972, 78)

Here are a couple odd one-year styles from Brown that share common traits -- they both use teeny-tiny helmet logos despite wearing blank helmets the rest of the decade (OK, until 1979). The logos are so small, they could almost pass off as dirt marks after a muddy Saturday afternoon at Brown Stadium.

Plenty of celebrating in 1972. Actually, Brown won only one
game that year, against Penn. If you look closely, you can see the
logo on No. 7 on the left. 

The 1972 version has a bear face over a bizarre-looking "B" that looks more at home on a minor-league hockey jersey. This was the last year Brown used gold as a helmet color before switching to silver in '73, which leads us to ...

The other tiny Brown logo, in action against Rhody in '78.
From URI's Renaissance yearbook. Or was it still called the Grist?
I can't keep track.

This stylized grizzly from '78. This logo was used elsewhere, such as in media guides, but was used on helmets for one year only. Two things about this Bruin: 1) It's not very good-looking; 2) Something this detailed needs to be bigger than a thumbprint.

Perhaps Brown felt the same way; in '79 the bear was jettisoned for an arced, serif "BROWN."

The old Brown logo, taken from a Dartmouth media guide.
The head is nice, but the rest looks, well, awkward.
More unis from the sons of Bruno: 20152014, 2012-132004-082001-03, 1997-20001984-891981-831975-771973-741967-711957-58, 1951-56.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Columbia Lions (1984)

Columbia football was known for two things in the 1980s: Losing and constant uniform changes. (OK, maybe only the first one, but I'm looking to change that.) After a one-year style in 1983 that resembled a prehistoric Tennessee Titans, the Lions went a different route in '84, replacing the weird stripes with a pair of crown shoulder patches (a rarity then and now). 

Why a crown, you ask, and not a lion? Well, Columbia was originally known as King's College in the 18th century, and while the name changed, the symbol of royalty stuck around and is used to this day ... just not on the athletic garb. You can read more about the crown here.

It's too bad the crowns stayed only one year, because in addition to being different, they're classy as hell. But after an 0-9 season, Columbia turned to a new coach ... and a new set of uniforms.

The '84 Lions at home. Notice the crowns on the shoulders.
With the light color and dark numbers, the home shirts don't
look that different from the road models.

The '84 Lions on the road. Columbia Spectator pics. 

One other note: '83 marked the first year of Columbia's current stadium, originally called Baker Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, but later renamed Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium -- yes, as in the New England Patriots owner, a Columbia grad. As a Pats fan, I get a kick out of New Yorkers seeing the name of the owner of their least favorite team on a stadium in their own city.

Other Lions unis that'll make you roar: 2015201420132003-05199619831974-761971-7319701965-671955-561952-54.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Inside the Jersey: Dartmouth Big Green (1999-2002)

With the Big Green starting up this weekend, let's go Inside the Jersey with this vintage Dartmouth jersey from the turn of the millennium, which seems more like 1,000 years ago these days.

How is was acquired: At an equipment sale in 2012 for a whopping 10 bucks. I bought this and three other Dartmouth football jerseys for $10 each and a game-worn baseball shirt for $25.

Who wore it: WR Evan Fitzpatrick wore No. 25 in 1999, followed by LB Gordon Quist (2000-01) and OL Steven DeMarco (01-02, the Green had two Nos. 25 simultaneously in '01. An offensive lineman wearing a back's number? Who knew?)

Who made it: Wilson, identifiable by the small square logo on the left sleeve. The jerseys with the Wilson tag were made from 1999-2002.

Size: A comfy XL.

Jersey construction: Mesh body, nylon everywhere else.

Design: Clean and simple, with green numbers on the shoulders and Northwestern striping on the sleeves. This was Dartmouth's jersey design from 1987-2002, an eternity by today's standards.

Condition: More hammered than a Dartmouth frat house on a Saturday night. I mean, look at this thing. Tears and rips, stains and stitches; this thing is disintegrating as I touch it. Why is it so beat up? These shirts were recycled for YEARS as jayvee, freshman and practice jerseys. (I'm an editor at the Valley News, Dartmouth's hometown paper, so I've run plenty of practice photos over the years and can attest to this.) No wonder these were $10 each. Hey, at least you know it's been used. 

Yup, this jersey's been through a few battles.

Triviata: This jersey may be battered, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying it and wearing it around town. One day, a guy on a bicycle approached me and said, "Is that a Jets jersey?" My reply: "Nope, Dartmouth." Him: "Oh. I was going to say, that's a tough load to carry." Hey, until the last few years, being a Dartmouth fan was a tough load to carry.

Final verdict: A ripped-to-shreds gamer from an era when Big Green football hit the skids, but still fun to wear. As long as it's not mistaken for a Jets jersey.

Some other unis from the Green Machine: 2015201420132005-062003-04, 1978-861970, 1957-611955-561951-5419441936-38, 1929. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Rhode Island Rams (1951)

As most fans know by now, college football has become a bizarre fashion show in which teams spend almost as much time preparing for their game day garb as they do for their opponent. I, for one, am waiting for the day when the Oregon Ducks take the field with a different helmet for every player on the roster.

Nos. 88 and 10 in the picture have the striped helmet ...

... while two players here have the leather pinwheel helmets
and another has the plain plastic shell. Pics from the 1952 Grist yearbook.

Actually, the Rhode Island Rams seemed to have that in mind in 1951, as they trotted out three different helmet designs, all used simultaneously -- plain, white stripe and pinwheel, almost like what Dartmouth tried in another era. The pinwheel helmet, which was used more often, appears to be a slightly lighter shade of blue than the other models, and matches the rest of the uniform more properly. Judging from photos, it looks like the pinwheels are older leather helmets, while the others use the newer plastic shells.

Late season action; check out the snowbank in the background.

This photo has everything: one guy's arguing with the ref, another's
hiding his face and another official is making a first-down measurement.
I believe the player on the left is from New Hampshire.
One last thing: check out the racing stripes down the sides and the wide white belts, which seems to more at home in a 1970s tuxedo. All in all, it adds up to one of the more unique uniforms of the era.

There are more uniforms out there from Rhody: 201520142013, 2003-071997-991983-921976-821967-7119661963-6519621957-611936-39. Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhody.

Two things: 1) This scoreboard rules, and
2) Rhody beating UNH was an upset even then.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Inside the Jersey: Maine Black Bears (2010-13)

With my Black Bears opening tonight at UConn, let's go inside the jersey with this 2010-13 Maine jersey, my personal game day favorite.

How it was acquired: At the Bear Necessities merchandise store inside Alfond Arena last year for $40. I bought three jerseys from a rack of two or three dozen gamers.

Who wore it: Josh Spearin, an offensive lineman, is listed as wearing No. 74 from 2010-12. No one is listed as wearing in in '13.

Who made it: Adidas, which made Maine's jerseys from c. 2009-13.

Size: A nice, roomy 52.

Jersey construction: Mesh body, with polyester/Spandex on shoulders, sides and "sleeves."  Everything is stitched on, which gives the shirt a high-quality look and feel. The bottom is made of elastic, presumably so the shirt won't pop out during the game. The tag reads "+6 LEGNTH," which means it goes down to my knees, like many modern jerseys. The shoulders are cut for pads, and thus is appears I'm have pads underneath whenever I wear the jersey.

Yup, it's a looooong jersey. Were those player ID tags ever used?

Design: This is one of the classier looks Maine has trotted out, and I wish the Bears still wore these today. It's simple and effective, but still has a modern appearance. The only misfire: The blue side panels. (The navy home jersey didn't have alternate colored panels.)

Condition: Pristine, so I'm guessing Mr. Spearin didn't see much game action.

Triviata: The road version of this style debuted a year earlier than the navy home version (2011-13). 

Final verdict: A quality jersey from a quality era when Maine made two NCAA FCS tournament appearances. The current New Balance uniforms are fine, but this is one of the better efforts the Bears ever put out on the field.