By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Think your friendly neighborhood Uni Watch is the only one obsessing about on-field attire? Think againthe Web is crawling with uniform-related sites, most of them maintained by fans with an admirably single-minded passion for their subject matter. A very partial listing of Uni Watch's favorites shapes up as follows:The Helmet Project (nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project): Here's the best of the many sites devoted to football helmets, with high-res illustrations and detail-oriented footnotes. Team-by-team breakdowns show the evolution of each club's helmet design since 1960, with an impressive range of coverage: NFL, NCAA, Canadian, and Arena leagues, plus defunct leagues like the WFL and USFL. Did you know that the 49ers switched from gray face masks to red in 1996, or that the Cowboys briefly had a red helmet stripe in 1976? You will now. And a discussion board too! Such a valuable repository of crucial information, one can only hope it's backed up on a secure server in an impregnable subterranean bunker. (Want more? Check out the trove of vintage helmet photos at Helmetpix: mikestanhope.com/Helmetpix.)
Professional Game Socks (geocities.com/witesock): Spectacularly obsessive site devoted to every uniform's most overlooked element. Pseudonymous webmaster Witesock has assembled what is undoubtedly the sports world's largest collection of official team socks and has obligingly posed for photos while wearing them. The result is a useful compendium of lower-leg stylings (not to mention a hosiery fetishist's dream). The focus here is on football, with a smattering of hockey, soccer, and rugby, so Uni Watch's holy graila site devoted to baseball stirrupsremains a fantasy, at least for now.
Painted Warrior (users.aol.com/maskman30/pwhpnf.html): Although NHL Uniforms (nhluniforms.com) and the Hockey Sweater Museum (hockeysweatermuseum.com.my100megs) are the most comprehensive hockey-themed uniform sites, Uni Watch has a soft spot for the Painted Warrior, a specialty site featuring vintage and contemporary photos of goalies and their masks. Dig those Gerry Cheevers pix!
Mets by the Numbers (mbtn.net): Brilliant site that lists, by uniform number, every player, coach, and manager ever to have worn a Met uni. Plus there's astutely worded commentary on each number's role in team history, along with charts, sidebar articles, breaking news, and pretty much anything else you could possibly want on this topicfirst-rate. (Also handy: the Met uniform timeline at ultimatemets.com/uniforms.html.)
The Uniform Experiment (uniformexperiment.deep-ice.com): Think you can design a better uni? So do plenty of other people, several of whom have posted a few dozen of their baseball, football, hockey, and basketball designs on this site. The results range from appealing to appalling, but the overriding sense of possibilities is oddly addictive.