By Phil Hecken
We all know that sports, moreso now than ever, is a business. And an unfortunate part of that business, at least for the fans of the city losing a team, is the loss of civic pride, an identity…a way of life in some cases. That’s a topic I’d like to explore in some depth — but not today.
Today, we are going to take a look a a slightly different side of relocation — as envisioned by Alan Filipczak (with an assist from our friend Chris Creamer, as you’ll see below) — teams who eventually moved to cities in which they played as a future franchise. There are surprisingly few (many?) examples of this, and Alan will take a look at the matchups of future past. Confused? Don’t be, here’s Alan to explain the …
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Cities of the Future
By Alan Filipczak
Recently, Chris Creamer tweeted that he had come across a 1979 NHL game in which the Quebec Nordiques traveled to Denver to play the Colorado Rockies. Creamer observed that this was an instance of a team playing in a city where they would eventually relocate to—in this case, when the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Creamer then issued another tweet asking followers if they could think of other examples of this phenomenon. The results were bare, and for good reason. As far as I can tell, Quebec @ Colorado (this happened several times) is the only occurrence in the NHL.
This prompted me to brainstorm other occurrences of this unique situation in the other major North American sports organizations—MLB, the NBA, and the NFL. Some were obvious (Raiders @ Rams) but others took a little digging. Counting the Nordiques/Rockies combo, I was able to find 11 instances of a team playing at least one game in a city where they would eventually move to. To add a little uni-related fun, I also tried to discern what uniforms would’ve likely been worn during the most recent game in which the to-be-moved franchise traveled to their future city.
· I did not count exhibition or neutral site games.
· I’m looking at relocation rather than absorption—for instance; I didn’t count Cleveland Barons @ Minnesota North Stars.
· I don’t count the New Jersey Nets @ New York Knicks because Brooklyn (rather than ‘New York’) was specifically chosen as primary identifier.
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Major League Baseball
Believe it or not, there is only one occurrence of this happening in the American or National Leagues. If interleague play had been around at the turn of the century, the list would be greater, with potential early matchups such as Boston Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles @ New York Giants. The Montreal Expos and Washington Senators (version 2.0) coexisted for three years, but they were never good enough to meet up the World Series. Additionally, the major baseball leagues have had remarkably little relocation over the years—at least relative to other sports leagues. When big league clubs were moving westward in the 50s and 60s, it was a new frontier for the AL and NL.
St. Louis Browns @ Baltimore Orioles
This is the Baltimore Orioles team that would move to New York in 1903 to become the Highlanders and then the Yankees. The final time that the St. Louis Browns traveled to Baltimore was Tuesday, August 19, 1902; the 100th game of the Browns’ season. The Browns beat the Orioles 11-4. Not only were the Browns playing in the city they would move to in 1954, their opponent had a nickname that they would eventually take on. The image above shows the uniforms that were likely to have been worn on that day.
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National Basketball League
Syracuse Nationals @ Philadelphia Warriors
These two early-NBA stalwarts met up numerous times, including a 5-game divisional semifinal series in 1962 that pitted all-time greats Dolph Schayes and Wilt Chamberlain against each other. The final game of that series was the last time that Syracuse would travel to play in Philadelphia. After the season, the Warriors moved to the west coast and the Nats rushed to fill the Philly void—renaming themselves the 76ers.
Buffalo Braves @ San Diego Rockets
Before they blasted off to Houston following the 1970-1971 NBA season, the San Diego Rockets played host to the Buffalo Braves in several inter-conference games. While it is hard to know for certain what the players wore on March 9, 1971, these photos are my best guess.
San Diego Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
The Braves/Clippers franchise has the distinction of being the only team in major sports leagues to play against two of their future cities. These Pacific Division rivals met up many times in the six years that the Clippers spent in San Diego. The last time the Clippers traveled to play the Lakers before bolting for LA was March 25, 1984, a game that would feature a young Terry Cummings and a not-so-young Bill Walton trying to hold their own against the 1980s Lakers juggernaut.
Seattle SuperSonics @ New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
When Hurricane Katrina displaced the New Orleans Hornets, the team played the majority of their 2006-2007 “home” games at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. While this may have been a very temporary arrangement, the official place designator of the Hornets that year is “New Orleans/Oklahoma City.” They even made Oklahoma City Hornets jerseys. The final time that the Sonics traveled to Oklahoma City before moving there was April 4, 2007. For this game, we have actual photos to prove what uniforms were worn. It is certainly bizarre to see Nick Collison playing an away game in Oklahoma City.
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National Football League
Decatur Staleys @ Chicago Cardinals
The one year in which the (then) American Professional Football Association had a team in Decatur was 1920. Before the Staleys relocated, Coach George Halas took his team on a few road trips to play the Chicago Cardinals. The last of these meetings was on December 5 of that year. I do not know for certain what uniforms may have been worn on that day, but the images above are my best assumption. Perhaps Uni Watchers would know for sure.
Boston Yanks @ New York Giants
The Boston Yanks (soon to be New York Bulldogs) last traveled to the Polo Grounds on November 28, 1948. The uniform combination in this game is something of a mystery to me, but it looks like there was a decent chance that it was a color-on-color matchup. Unless the Yanks wore white on the road, it would’ve been green-on-red or green-on-blue. Anybody know the answer?
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams
Here’s a pair that met up a handful of times during the seventies. The final trip that Oakland made to Los Angeles prior to their move was the 1979 season opener. In the first game of his last season with the Raiders, Ken Stabler and company beat up on Pat Haden and the Rams. In this game, the Rams wore white at home.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Colts
While the Colts didn’t pack up the Mayflower trucks until 1984, the final time that the Browns traveled to Baltimore to face the Colts was November 9, 1980. In that game, Ozzie Newsome (playing in his future city) and the Browns held off a comeback attempt by Bert Jones and the Baltimore Colts. The Colts chose to wear white at home for this game.
Los Angeles Rams @ St. Louis Cardinals
These two teams faced off many times between 1960 and 1988—when the Cardinals moved to the desert. The last time the Rams played in St. Louis before moving there in 1995 was November 15, 1987. Neil Lomax and the Cards fell at the feet of Jim Everett and the Rams. Now, these two teams face each other twice a year—though both play in different cities.
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As previously stated, there is only one combination of teams (Quebec Nordiques @ Colorado Rockies) that played future-city matchups in the NHL. The final time the Nordiques traveled to Denver was on Groundhog Day in 1982. Part of the reason that there aren’t more examples in the NHL is because much of the relocation that has occurred has been to new markets (Dallas, Phoenix, Carolina) on the NHL’s frontier. Also, there is a single team in larger cities like Los Angeles and Chicago.
I’m not including WHA matchups, but it is worth mentioning that the Winnipeg Jets played several games against the Phoenix Roadrunners in the seventies. Several years after the Jets had settled into the NHL, they were relocated to become the Coyotes. The last time that Winnipeg traveled to Phoenix was March 5, 1977. Here are what the uniforms (home and road) looked like for each of those two teams that year.
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Those are the eleven examples that I could find in the Big Four. It’s surprising that there are so few, but generally there has to be one of two factors at play: two teams in the same league both relocate within relatively short time periods; or a soon-to-relocate team plays a team in a market large enough to accommodate another franchise.
It was a fun and informative little project. Thanks for reading. If you have any insights or corrections regarding uniforms, please post in the comments.
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Thanks, Alan! Great stuff, and a fun project.
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
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Classic Football Scoreboards – Fifth in a Series
by Gary Chanko
If you’ve been following this series, you know about the left coast’s football stadium building boom during the 1920s. The East coast was also busy with new stadium construction, notably South Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium.
Philadelphia Municipal Stadium
Home of: Philadelphia Eagles (1936-39, 1941), Philadelphia Bell (1974), Annual Army-Navy Game (1939-1980), Liberty Bowl (1959-1963)
Opened:1926; Demolished: 1992
Originally this 102,000-seat brick oval was named Philadelphia Municipal Stadium. It was also known as Sesquicentennial Stadium, named in honor of the Sesquicentennial Exposition (the nation’s 150th anniversary) for which it was constructed. And lastly it was renamed JFK Stadium in 1964.
Although best known as a football stadium (think Army-Navy games), during its six decade history Municipal Stadium was an important venue for many historic boxing matches. It hosted everything from auto races to rock concerts.
During the stadium’s early years there were two scoreboards, located opposite each other at the open end of the horseshoe configuration and installed atop the large rectangular columns. The scoreboard in the illustration depicts the setup for the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1930s.
A Few Things to Know
• The scoreboard appears to be identical to that installed at Columbia University’s Baker Field. Designer and fabricator is unknown.
• The scoreboard design featured a novel ball locator along the bottom. I wonder how useful this was, particularly if you seated near the opposite end zone.
• The stadium served as a concert venue during its final thirteen years.
• The biggest live crowd in boxing history, 120,000 plus, saw Jack Dempsey lose his world heavyweight title to Gene Tunney on Sept. 23, 1926.
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If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom.
The Ducks made it to the first ever Playoff game in NCAA history, absolutely taking the Florida Seminoles behind the woodshed. So, as fate would have it, this will be Tim’s penultimate “Duck Tracker” for this year, since they have a bit of business to take care of on Monday, January 12, with The Ohio State Buckeyes.
Here’s this weeks costume (click to enlarge):
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In what can only be described as a slobber-knocking, The Quackers of Eugene demolished the Seminoles of Tallahassee. Oregon looked great in an all-Fighting Duck green look. The shoulder Ducks and Traditional O helmets were nice touches on a nearly perfect bowl look.
Heading into the National Championship Game, it would appear that Oregon will be the home team. Let’s hope for a similarly fantastic uniform combination for that game (Yellow, Green, Yellow in this latest template!!!) and pray that Ohio State is allowed to go color on color.
(Also, GO B1G!)
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U.W.F.F.L. News — Division II Games
By Rob Holecko
Hello, Happy New Year, and Welcome!… to the first week of the playoffs for the minor league levels of the UWFFL. Four qualifying teams in each of the four Division II Conferences will compete for championships as well as for the right to be promoted into the Premier League next fall. Right here at Uni Watch you will vote on every playoff game from here on out, as a pair of semifinal matches will be held each day both this weekend and next.
But first a little housekeeping. Last week’s regular season game that we had an error with the uniform choice needs to be re-presented here and voted on today before the playoff participants will be decided in the Eastern Association.
St. John’s is again wearing a black-over-yellow combo, while the Brooklyn Uni Watchers are eschewing their normal green pants for a seldom seen mono-white combo at home this week. If St. John’s wins, they will claim the final playoff spot in the Eastern Association, while a Brooklyn Uni Watcher win would mean that the Swisshelm Express of Pittsburgh will grab the final spot.
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pollcode.com free polls
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Now on to the post-season games…
Today we present the Pacific Coast Conference’s two semifinal matches.
The top-seeded British Columbia Lumberjacks (10-1-2) will host the #4 seed Salt Lake City Spikes (8-4-1) and the #3 Calgary Alpines (10-2-1) will head up to Yellowknife to take on the second-seeded other team also called the Lumberjacks (11-2). Will both Lumberjack teams advance and will there be another Big Brown Axe face-off in the PCC title tilt in a couple weeks? Or will there be upsets on tap for either Salt Lake or Calgary? Only way to find out is by voting here and now!
The Spikes will be wearing their standard road fare, sand helmets, white jerseys and sand “britches”, while the B.C. L-jacks will be in their usual Christmas-y red and green at home.
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Salt Lake City
pollcode.com free polls
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The Alpines, who have been known to prefer white at home now and again, get to remain in their standard duds on the road, pairing the white jerseys with their red pants, while the YKL L-jacks are wearing their “rosewood and cream” home uniform set.
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pollcode.com free polls
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So there’s your two Div. II Conference Semifinals matches for today, head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on a full slate of International La Lega matches, and be sure to catch us tomorrow as the Metro South Conference playoffs take center stage, our sister league the AAIFA holds its’ Championship Game and of course there will be a full schedule of Premier League regular season games to vote on as teams enter the stretch run to their playoffs in a few weeks.
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Weeks 19 & 20:
Buckeye Sticker System
In yesterday’s column, as well as in the comments, there was a pretty spirited discussion as to how THE Ohio State University’s pride stickers, which are buckeye leaves, are awarded.
Got an e-mail from Brian Waltz who has prepared the following, which explains it about as well as it can be explained.
Brian also included the “system” for awarding the pride stickers.
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Buckeye leaves are awarded on both an individual and team level basis. This is why some players, who never find the field of play still have a small handful of buckeye leaves. Going in to the game against Wisconsin, he had about half of one side of his helmet filled, as shown in this photo.
Urban Meyer has never provided the criteria to my knowledge of what deserves a buckeye sticker, but below was what Jim Tressel had in place:
If this is the same criteria, he would have 12 for each win, and additional 9 for the Big Ten wins, and 8 for winning the turnover margin for just being on the team going in to the Sugar Bowl. What is defines as a ‘big play’ is ambiguous, so taking that out of the equation, and going straight to the Offensive Unit category for his play in the game against Wisconsin, he would receive another 1 for points scored, 1 for no turnovers and all possession changes across the 50, 1 for ten plays of 12+ yards, and 1 for 4 drives of 8+ plays. That puts him at 33 without the “big play” potentially added. A full helmet can hold 88 leaves, 44 on each side, so there is the possibility of the remaining 11 to come from “big plays” with the time he played against Michigan and Wisconsin, or also from the potential different criteria set up by Urban.
(Click to enlarge any of the images below)
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Ooooh. Check out the beauiful baseball sweaters found on this page. Not only that, check out all the sweater porn on this page! (big thanks to Jeff Wilk for both of those). I mean, how great is this ChiSox sweater? … The A’s have come up with a logo to celebrate their return to Mesa, AZ for spring training. According to submitter Chris Cruz, “The wording around the elephant refers to ‘Mesa, AZ’ and ‘Hohokam Stadium’ while banner under the elephant reads ‘2015 – Inaugural Season.’ It’s worth noting that while it is the A’s first spring at the stadium, it is not the stadium’s inaugural season, as it is the former home of the Cubs (who are now at Cubs Park in Mesa, AZ).” … Check out this Babe Ruth baseball card from 1960 (Fleer Baseball Greats). He still held a shit-ton of records that year, one of which would be broken* the next season. That’s from Bruce Menard, of course. … It’s the off-season, so people have time on their hands — time to build an awesome GABP Sandcastle (h/t Joe Andersen).
NFL News: As you may have heard, the Detroit Lions have earned a rare playoff berth so the City has decided to dress up the Spirit of Detroit statue with a Lions jersey. Apparently, this has never been done before. … The Glendale Police have some special badges for the Super Bowl this year (h/t @SaintWarrick). Apparently, this has been done before (h/t Rich DeMarco). … Check out this gorgeous photo of Broadway Joe in the Jets 1-year helmet — worn in 1964 only — (great find by Bruce Menard). … Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin (and former FSU Seminole) was forced to wear an Oregon jersey after Oregon’s woodsheding of FSU on Thursday — he lost a bet to Oregon Alum Jonathan Stewart.
College Football News: Apparently this was in the ticker last month, but I missed it. So if you’ve seen this already, then feel free to ignore: UCLA’s Brett Hundley has a piece of leather attached to his mask, and I knew not what it was for, until Twitter told me. Or, at least I got a lot of answers. The real reason can be found here (h/t to Daniel Vann). … I think this is simply due to exposure, but Justin Bruce asks why the “Pitt” is red on Tony Dorsett’s helmet. It’s not red, right? … The Houston Cougars got all Stars n Stripesy for yesterday’s bowl game. More here. … Rather interesting tee shirt on display during yesterday’s Taxslayer Bowl (from Brook Weber). Not quite “Roll Damn Tide” but close. … Bama fans were none too happy after THE OSU shocked the world Thursday, but this was before the game. Stay classy (via Hank Gebhardt). … And of course, the Bowls offered some terrific vines: this one may have broken the Interwebs. … And for some reason, this one captivated so many — until you watch it in reverse. Then it’s like, uber creepy (h/t Haley Huffman). … They may not have been able to watch the game, but these guys know what’s up (don’t hate, I’m kidding about the electricity thing). … Here’s some awesome footage of Oklahoma State’s James Castleman’s helmet exploding (OK, paint chips flying and aftermath) during last night’s Cactus Bowl (big thanks to Rob Perez).
Basketball News: The Louisville Cardinals are going to be breaking out some sweet throwbacks against Duke on January 17th. You can read more, and see more photos by clicking this here link. … Check out the gorgeous unis on Catholic University’s hoops team (circa 1923). Says submitter Ben Fortney, “Not a maker’s mark, memorial, conference logo, bowl patch or even university logo in site. Some snazzy shoes and less-than-stylish knee pads though.” … The Celtics wore their color vs. color (have I told you how much I love that Hornets teal?).
Hockey News: The Blackhawks’ goalies (both Crawford and Raanta) had jerseys which had black sleeve stripes which were identical to the attackers, points out Thomas Juettner. Since the switch to the edge system the white goalie jerseys have oddly had unusually thick black stripes. He says, “Since the Winter Classic stripes are essentially identical to their regular ones its strange Reebok can match it on the former but not the latter.” … “Calgary’s black-home pants easily peek out from under their red-alternate shells,” writes @bruins_lou. “Too small?” he asks. … Check out this genius jersey seen at last night’s Leafs/Wild game (great spot by Mark Polansky).
Grab Bag: Binge-watching HBO’s digital remastering of “The Wire” over the holidays, Scott Jamison couldn’t help but notice this ice hockey jersey “Herc” wore in an episode from Season 2. “Baltimore has hosted several ice hockey franchises through the years (Clippers, Skipjacks, Bandits), but nothing remotely of this ilk,” says Scott. “Was wondering if a more eagle-eyed, hockey-enthusiast commenter could identify. Unfortunately his badge covers a fair amount of the logo.” Scott also noticed that particularly in Season 2 a lot of the clothing had uni-like aspects, including this glorious “Hawaiian Warrior” lettermen’s jacket Omar Little wore to testify in. … The Minnesota Swarm, a lax team I’m pretty sure we’ve featured on UW before, will have some sweet new helmets this season (h/t Tony Sullivan). … So why do men buy (and apparently love) camo clothing? According to this article, there are several reason, but “Of course, the deep and lasting infiltration of camouflage can also be seen as part of menswear’s broader adoption of military pieces” (from TommyTheCPA).
Whew! And that’s going to wrap up my first post of 2015. Big thanks to everyone who contributed, including Alan, Gary, Rob, Tim, Alex and Brian, and everyone who tweeted at me or sent in a ticker item. Great stuff!
I’ll be back tomorrow with a big SMUW bowl wrap up, and a very special 5 & 1 from Catherine, plus much more. Catch you guys then.
Follow me on twitter @PhilHecken.
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“When a player can sit on the bench for an entire season and still “earn” half a helmet full of merit stickers, the stickers are effectively meaningless. The team might as well just pass out a sticker sheet to each player and let them customize their helmets at the beginning of the season. At least then we’d get to see if any players do anything creative with them.”
–THE Jeff Provo