By Paul Lukas
Special to Page 2

If you announce it, they will come. That's the lesson of Uni Watch's first-ever design contest, in which readers were invited to submit uniform concepts for the relocated Montreal Expos, who'll be playing in Washington next season. Over 200 entries poured in, not a single one of which featured purple, a heartening sign of Uni Watch readers' impeccable taste (or at least their ability to follow the "No purple allowed" contest stipulation).

OK, then -- without further ado, here are our winners:

BEST OVERALL DESIGN
Eric Glickman, Croton-on-Hudson, New York
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
Over a dozen readers suggested that the Expos' M-shaped logo should be flipped upside-down to form a W, for Washington. But this was the only entry to incorporate that idea into a larger concept -- check out the M on the home jersey, which is an inverted treatment of the old Senators logo.

Even better: the sleeve patch of George Washington posed as former Senator/Twin Harmon Killebrew, an ingenious little touch that turned out to be Uni Watch's favorite design element of the entire contest.

BEST OLD-SCHOOL DESIGN
Scott M.X. Turner, Brooklyn, New York
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
With its colored plackets, striped stirrups, cream-colored home uni with no name on the back and solid navy alternate uni (a style that may look odd today, but was actually quite common in the early 1900s), this is a retro fetishist's dream. The fabric style isn't specified, but heavy wool flannel is obviously the way to go here.

BEST REGIONAL DETAILS
Lukas Johnson
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
Do you know what the District of Columbia is shaped like, or that it has its own flag? You will after seeing this uniform's sleeve patch and sleeve striping, both of which were big hits here at Uni Watch HQ. Bonus points for the excellent cap design, which creates a W out of a draped flag -- nicely done.

BEST SATIRICAL DESIGN
Johnny Driggs, Los Angeles, California
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
There was a whole sub-category of entries that essentially were commentaries on Washington's political scene (suggested team names: the DeCeivers, the Interns, and the Greenbacks). This one, referring to political action committees, was the cleverest of the bunch. Best detail: the yellow-dot pants piping. And imagine the possibilities for dressing the stadium ball girls as Ms. Pac-Man!

BEST LOGO
Chad Ferguson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
Now that's a logo. Whatever the D.C. team's final uniform turns out to be, they really ought to have this design as a sleeve patch.




HONORABLE MENTION
R. Scott Rogers, Alexandria, Virginia
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
Several entrants lamented that the White House's current occupant has turned the letter W into a rather loaded proposition. So why not base the cap logo on "D.C." instead? Here's the best such submission (whose creator also runs BallWonk, an excellent blog devoted to Washington-area baseball).

Mike Mezzacappa, Clementon, New Jersey
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
Probably the best design in the contest, at least in terms of sheer professionalism and integrated graphics. But points had to be deducted for the main logo, which bears an unfortunate resemblance to the New England Patriots' "Flying Elvis" design. Tsk-tsk.

Kevin Callahan, Milwaukee
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DESIGN
A simple rule: Abbreviations on uniforms are almost always cool.

So there you have it -- let's see those clowns at Major League Baseball do better! Big thanks to all who contributed, and a special tip of the baseball cap to Uni Watch research fellow Chris Herles, who suggested running the contest in the first place.

Pine Tar, Continued
Readers Chris Kellogg and Shawn Brandt have moved us a step closer to a determination of the first player to smear pine tar on his batting helmet. They both directed Uni Watch's attention to this photo, which clearly shows that George Brett was tarring his lid in 1992. That appears to eliminate John Kruk, who by most accounts began tarring in 1993. So now it's down to Brett and Ozzie Guillen as the potential pine pioneers.

And just when you thought we'd run out of ways to discuss pine tar (for the record, Uni Watch does not own any stock in pine tar companies), reader Shane Schirmer adds the following: "It should also be noted that several students of the Charlie Lau theory of hitting would end up with a patch of pine tar on their back shoulder after several at-bats. If they achieved what they considered 'proper bat positioning' before getting to the 'launch position,' the bat would touch their back shoulder, just above the handle of the bat."

Finally, in non-pine tar news -- yes, there is such a thing -- reader Don Frese points out that a uniform trailblazer of sorts recently died: Glenn Presnell, who was the first player signed by the Detroit Lions for the team's inaugural 1934 season. As Presnell explained in a 2002 interview: "The day I was up there and signed my contract, [the owner] said, 'There's a table out there in that next office covered with uniforms. Why don't you pick out the colors you like?' So I went out, my wife was with me, we saw this Honolulu blue and silver, and we fell in love with it."

And that's how the Lions got their color scheme. Which just goes to show that you don't have to enter a contest to be a uniform designer.

If Paul Lukas had been choosing, the Lions would probably be wearing green. Archives of his pre-Page 2 "Uni Watch" columns are available here and here. Got a uni-related question or comment for him? Send it here.



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