The good news is that the estimable Tom Shieber at the Baseball Hall of Fame turned up an old Sporting News article confirming that Parker did indeed make one plate appearance wearing "a mask similar to those worn by hockey goalies"; the bad news is that Uni Watch spent the better part of an afternoon poring over old Boston Globe microfilm at the library in a fruitless search for the aforementioned photograph. (Memo to Walter Graham: Next round's on you.) If anyone has any tips regarding photos of this particular mask, which is shaping up as Uni Watch's personal Great White Whale, please send up a signal flare.
Meanwhile, in a related item, John Katricak contributes the following tidbit: "Notre Dame is primarily a football school. So, what do members of the baseball team do while recovering from face and jaw injuries? Attach football facemasks to their batting helmets, of course." True enough, as can be seen here and here.
Still more mask news: One of the small oddities of the past NFL season was that the the big helmet painted on the RCA Dome's turf still had a blue facemask even though the Colts had changed their facemasks from blue to gray. That incongruity should be corrected next season, because the Colts have just announced plans to install new turf, which presumably will include an accurate helmet illustration.
And in the last word (for now) about the University of Michigan's endlessly adaptable football helmet design, Nicholas McAlister points out that current Michigan goaltender Al Montoya has come up with the ultimate interpretation: His mask mimics the winged helmet logo and depicts a wolverine.
"In European soccer, there is a trend of using tape [on a jersey] to create plus signs, to get your desired number if someone else already has it. For example, Clinton Morrison of Birmingham City wanted to wear No. 10, but this was taken, so he took No. 19 and used two pieces of tape to make a plus sign between the 1 and the 9. Ivan Zamorano did the same with No. 18 when No. 9 was taken."
The great thing about this is that it opens up the door to all sorts of other mathematical symbology: division and multiplication signs, fractions, square roots, pi, infinity, exponents, factorials, maybe even that weird squiggle thingie that gave Uni Watch so much trouble in 12th-grade calculus. Don't give up on wearing 51 just yet, Randy Johnson -- it can still be yours, with a bit of creative annotation.
Paul Lukas finds it nearly impossible to say, "Metallic Stretch Air"
with a straight face, and would like to think most of his readers can't do
it either. Archives of his pre-Page 2 "Uni Watch" columns are available here and here. Got uni-related feedback for him, or want to be added to his mailing list? Send him a note here.