Today's Tidbit... The Ugliest Uniforms Ever
I have written before about the ugliest uniforms in football history. I declared the 1930s as the decade with the ugliest uniforms. I noted that BYU would have been better off had they not installed lights in 1940 since the darkness would have prevented their fans from seeing their ugly uniforms.
However, I believe a new level of ugliness has been identified in the form of the 1921 Stanford team. Like many of the era, they plastered their jersey chest and sleeves with friction strips (aka stickem or stickum cloth) to reduce fumbling. Also, like others, the functionality of the friction strips was overtaken by the aesthetics, but Stanford took things to a new level, and it was not a good thing.
You might look at the team picture above and think, “Those aren’t so bad,” but you would be mistaken or misinformed. As further evidence, I submit the full-body image of team member Shorty Mertz with the two ovoids, each surrounding nine circles and accompanied by double pairs of stripes on each sleeve.
Though the uniforms likely were not the reason, coach Gene Van Gent left Stanford after one season, and they hired Pop Warner. However, since Warner was coaching Pitt, and they would not release him from his contract, Warner sent his assistant Andy Kerr to Palo Alto. Kerr coached Stanford for two years until Warner could exit Pitt, at which point, Kerr returned to being an assistant. Of course, the important issue for this article is that the ugly jerseys were not worn under Kerr or Warner.
Enough talk about ugliness. While the Class of 1923 yearbook included images of the previously-discussed uniforms, it also had a fine illustration of Stanford Stadium when it opened for the Big Game in 1921.
Let me know if you have nominations for the ugliest football uniforms hall of shame.
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