Monday, February 27, 2017

Harvard Crimson (1937-46)

Back in the leatherhead days -- and even in the early plastic era -- football helmets were constructed with stock designs that made for some interesting possibilities when it came to painting pretty patterns (you can see examples here, here and here). 

Harvard was no stranger to the party, as you can see here. But the Crimson's 1930s-40s helmet is an odd one, indeed. The helmet was crimson, except for the back panels, which were left white, giving the whole thing an unfinished appearance. I have no idea why it was like this, and I've never seen anything like it anywhere else. But then, I knew a guy in high school who had a bowl haircut in the front, and a shaved head in the back. Maybe one of his ancestors designed this helmet?

The Harvard uniform, circa 1947. The helmet's missing something in the back.

Harvard in action against Penn -- which had its own unique helmet pattern -- in 1942.

Judging by photos from the Harvard yearbooks (called the Class Album at the time, but with Harvard yearbooks, you can never really tell what they're called) the helmets were closer to a true red than crimson.

The rest of the uniform has the familiar crimson jersey and tan pants, with Red Sox-style numbers of varying sizes that were used through the end of the decade.

This photo, from some time in the 1940s, provides a good look
at the Harvard helmet's pattern, not to mention one of those
cool homemade facemarks. 

Other Harvard unis you may have missed: 201620152012-142008-111980-831975-79; 1972-73; 19721967-701962-631950-521948-49. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Holy Cross Crusaders (1981-85)

The 1980s truly were the best of times and the worst of times for Holy Cross football. On one hand, the Crusaders fielded outstanding teams during the decade, including an undefeated squad in 1987. On the other, there was tragic suicide of coach Rick Carter in 1986 that stunned the campus and college football. Somehow, under the most difficult of circumstances, the Crusaders were able to recover under new coach Mark Duffner and win 9 to 11 games in each of the next six seasons.

The 1981-85 Holy Cross uniform at home (top)
and on the road (above).
Before his death, Carter had turned around a program that had enjoyed just one winning season since 1967, going 35-19-2 from 1981-85, the exact time span of the uniforms presented here. The Carter-era garb, as alluded to in this post on the late-70s unis, bear a passing resemblance to the 1980s New York Jets, especially the big, wide numbers on the shoulders in Champion font. And speaking of Champion, this is the earliest uniform I can find in this project with a manufacturer's logo on the sleeve. Meanwhile, the all-white socks and shoes scream 1980s.

Not that it means anything, but I wonder why the home jersey has only two stripes on the sleeves and the road has three? I'm sure football historians will up around the clock trying to solve that one.

Another shot of the home uniform. Check out the Champion logo on No. 85's sleeve.
This shot sums up the 1980s college football uni in one fell swoop:
High-cut fishnet mesh jersey, slashed sleeves, white socks and white pants.

Want more from Holy Cross? Look here: 20162015201420132004-0819921986-91, 1976-801973-74197219711967-701963-651956-591951-55. Rivalry Week: Boston College-Holy Cross.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dartmouth Hockey

No, I'm not turning this into a hockey site. ... yet. But I did compile an informal history of the Dartmouth hockey jersey, er, sweater, for today's Valley News (my longtime place of employ). Above are a couple samples, and you can check out the rest here. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Columbia Lions (1978-82)

I guess one logo wasn't enough for Columbia in 1981.

In 1978, the Lions added a Detroit Lions-esque logo on the helmets after using blank helmets the previous year,  then replaced it with a block "C" in 1980. (That "C" is almost a dead ringer for what Cornell has worn for the last 30-plus years, BTW.)

Columbia began the '81 season with the "C" ... but in mid-season brought back the lion logo IN ADDITION TO the block "C" that was already there. The result was a fustercluck helmet that resembles something out of a high school all-star game.

The helmets gave the '81 Lions more logos (2) than wins (1), which must be a record for any team with at least one win, at least before teams started changing their helmets on a weekly basis. The only other team I can think of with two simultaneous logos is the Fresno State helmet with the green "V" for the San Joaquin Valley on the back. Despite the color clash, the Bulldogs' helmets are rendered far more tastefully than Columbia's mishmash. 

The 1981 Columbia Lions began the season with just a block "C" on the side of the helmet ....

... but slapped a Detroit Lions-style logo on top of the "C" in mid-season.
Columbia Spectator pics.

In 1982, both logos were declared losers and Columbia went to a script "Columbia" on the side. You can read more about that uniform here and here

Other Lions unis that'll make you roar: 2015-16201420132003-051996198419831974-761971-7319701965-671955-561952-54.

Another shot of the helmet at the end of another long season in NYC.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Inside the Jersey: Cornell Big Red (1977-79)

Haven't done one of these in a while. Let's take a closer look at a jersey from my modest collection.

The Jersey: Cornell, 1977-79, the first three years of former Dartmouth legend Bob Blackman's coaching stint in Ithaca.

How It Was Acquired: eBay, about $40-$50. Considering the jersey's vintage and uniqueness, I'd call that a bargain.

Who Wore It: Good question. I found a '77 roster on an eBay program listing, but no No. 53 was listed. Considering the size of the jersey, my money's on a lineman.

And you thought Rawlings was just those guys who handed out the
Gold Glove awards after the baseball season.

Who Made It: Rawlings, a name you don't normally see on football jerseys.

Size: A very roomy XL. My other Rawlings football jersey is the same way.

Jersey Construction: Mesh, mesh, mesh. The team name and numbers are screened on. The screen printing is extremely thick, almost like plastic.

Design: You can read more about that here, but it's definitely different. Curved numbers, long sleeves (although a few teams, like Princeton, also had long sleeves during this period, they were definitely on their way out),  HY-OOGE sleeve numbers and a big ol' CORNELL across the top. The shirt has a rounded neckline, another jersey element that was on its way out by the late 70s. (My original graphic had a v-neck; it's been corrected below).

Condition: Well worn; a few small tears here and there, and one of the numbers is cracking.

Final Verdict: A really unique jersey from a time when the uniforms were better than the team itself. 

Can't get enough from the Big Red? Check out these uniforms: 2016, 20152013-141999-200119941985-8919871983-84, 1977-821967-75,  196619651961-6419521950-51. Rivalry week: Cornell-Penn.