A fellow named Mickey Wittman is feeling justifiably nervous these days. Wittman played a lot of basketball for the University of Miami a few years ago. Not to the level of his roommate Rick Barry, of course, but he did score more than 1,300 points as a varsity player. He also had played as a freshman at Loyola of New Orleans before transferring to Miami. Miami gave up basketball last year; Loyola is giving it up this year. Wittman was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks after his college career ended. He was eventually cut but not before he had put his mark on St. Louis: soon after his brief tenure there the franchise left town for Atlanta. Wittman was also drafted by the Anaheim Amigos of the ABA. You don't remember the Amigos, and no wonder. They disappeared the following year.
Wittman reestablished his amateur standing and joined the famous Phillips 66 Oilers of Bartlesville, Okla. The Oilers had been playing as an organized team since 1920. Wittman played one season with them. The day he left, the team disbanded. Undaunted, he joined the crack Goodyear Wingfoots of Akron, who had been a team for half a century. What happened to the Wingfoots? They gave up the sport.
Wittman says he is currently confining his efforts to YMCA basketball. He admits he is worrying about the imminent demise of Christianity. And because he now works for Goodyear in public relations, he is keeping a close eye on the Goodyear blimp.
On picket lines or baselines, major league players are wearing stylish double-knit uniforms this season. Harold Bowman of Wilson Sporting Goods, which makes uniforms for 16 big-league clubs, says almost all of Wilson's customers have ordered what the company calls "warp-knits" instead of traditional flannel. Well, sort of traditional flannel. For the last dozen years or so, baseball flannel had been a blend of synthetics instead of the sturdy wool that used to flap around second basemen's thighs.
"You'd be surprised the way men's styles carry over into the sport uniform field," Bowman says. "Soon after men began wearing flared pants, basketball teams were ordering flared bottoms for their warmup suits. When kids took to hip-hugger pants, we began getting orders for hip-hugger football pants, particularly from schools in the Southwest. Now the same thing is happening to double-knits and baseball.
"The double-knits are ideal for baseball uniforms. For one thing, they feel just beautiful. They give lots of freedom but also have a snug, trim fit—but no matter how snug that fit is, the uniforms have plenty of give.
"The double-knits also let us do a lot more with color. The San Diego Padres have ordered gold knit uniforms and the Chicago White Sox blue. And wait until you see the new Texas Rangers uniforms. They have an elastic waistband, and the players don't need to wear belts. The waistband is 2�" wide and has red, white and blue stripes matching the trim of the cuffs and collars.
"I've been in this business for 30 years, and for a long time I've thought someone ought to do something to dress up baseball uniforms, something that would hit the spectator in the eye. Now we've got it. Even though a team may be playing bad, at least it will look good."