After the tragic death of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández on Sunday, there was an outpouring of grief and support around the baseball world. Teams and players saluted Fernández by writing tributes to him on their uniforms, and Marlins players all wore Fernándezs name and number for Monday nights game against the Mets. Following that game, the Marlins added a 16 memorial patch.The Marlins numerical tribute Monday night was unprecedented for a contemporary player (the only other MLB instance of everyone wearing the same number is the annual Jackie Robinson Day ritual, when all uniformed personnel wear No. 42), but the basic concept of memorializing a fallen comrade on an MLB uniform wasnt new or surprising. Its something weve come to expect.The surprising thing is that it used to be more the exception than the rule.Consider this: Big league baseball existed for nearly a century before the first memorial patch appeared in 1973. Up until then, a team only marked a notable death by wearing either black crêpe or black armbands. And the bar for being memorialized on a uniform during the armband was extremely high. When Lou Gehrig died in 1941 -- Lou Gehrig! -- the Yankees didnt wear an armband for him. Neither did any other team.The number of patches and other memorials has definitely increased over the years, said Tom Shieber, senior curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, who charts the history and progression of uniform-borne memorials on the Halls website. Its a phenomenon that was a lot easier to keep track of in the old days than it is today. According to Shiebers records, only 10 MLB teams wore black memorial armbands in the 1950s and 60s combined. By comparison, at least eight MLB teams have worn memorial patches this season alone. And get this: There have already been more memorials appearing on MLB uniforms since the year 2000 than there were during the entire century of the 1900s.Whats the reason for the increased pace of uniform memorials? It appears that there are several explanations -- some logistical, some cultural and most of them interrelated:? Part of it is just a numbers game -- there are more teams and more players now than there were in, say, 1965. From a simple actuarial standpoint, that means there are more MLB-affiliated people who are, sadly, going to die, which in turn means there will be more situations that call for uniform memorials.? In addition, the scope of whos considered to be memorial-worthy has become much broader and more inclusive. Teams now routinely wear patches for deceased broadcasters, clubhouse managers, groundskeepers, minority owners, owners spouses, scouting directors and other figures who never would have been honored in years past.? Moreover, as sports teams have increasingly viewed themselves as part of the fabric of their local communities, uniform memorials have expanded to include the victims of natural disasters, mass shootings, or other public tragedies, as well as fallen civic and political leaders.? Culturally speaking, we now appear to be in a less stoic, more expressive era, where outward gestures of all sorts -- including expressions of grief or sympathy in response to death -- are much more common and acceptable than they used to be. One result of that is that the sports worlds default response to a death is to acknowledge it in some way on a uniform. Even the patches themselves have become more expressive, with simple numbers or initials often giving way to more elaborate designs.That spirit of expressiveness can even extend into the opposing dugout. In 2013, for example, the Angels wore a memorial patch for longtime team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum. When the Mariners came to Anaheim for a three-game series in June of that year, several Seattle players wore the Yocum patch, creating the once-unthinkable scenario of players on one team wearing the patch of another team.? The explosion of sports media coverage, social media and jersey merchandising (and, um, uniform columnists) has led to much more attention being paid to small uniform details. One result of this is that fans now expect and sometimes even demand that a team respond to a death on its uniform.? Finally, the advent of digital design software and digitally driven embroidery machinery has made it much easier for patches to be designed and produced very quickly. What once took days can now often be done in hours, so adding a patch is much simple than it used to be.Add all of that together and you have our current remembrance-intensive uniform scene. But it took a while to get here. Black armbands didnt give way to memorial patches until 1973, when the Pirates wore a 21 patch for Roberto Clemente, who had died in a winter plane crash during a humanitarian mission. And even then, the Pirates took a series of steps before wearing the patch. They wore a simple strip of black fabric during spring training, then briefly covered the fabric with what appears to have been a paper cut-out (details on that part of the story are sketchy), and then finally adopted the regular patch.If you look again at the list of uniform memorials compiled by Shieber, the Hall of Fame curator, you can see that patches didnt immediately catch on in the wake of the Clemente patch. With a couple of exceptions, black armbands remained the standard for the next 10 years or so, until patches began to overtake them in the mid-1980s. Today the black armband is nearly extinct (perhaps it deserves its own memorial). The last team to wear one on an extended basis -- as opposed to a one- or two-game placeholder stint until a patch was ready to go -- was the 2012 Red Sox, who wore a black band for Johnny Pesky on their road jerseys but used a patch on their home and alternate jerseys.As uniform memorials have spread, theyve also become more personal, with players increasingly inclined to add their own memorial messaging to their uniforms, regardless of whether the team has added a patch. Technically speaking, this practice violates MLB uniform rules, but team and league officials tend to allow it these days.Most of these personal memorials take the form of handwritten notes on the players caps, but a few players have gotten more creative. After Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile passed away in 2002, for example, teammate Jason Simontacchi saluted him via a memorial ankle-band -- presumably the only such accessory ever worn in MLB history. And when another Cardinals pitcher, Josh Hancock, died in 2007, his former college teammate Tim Hudson, then pitching for the Braves, had Hancocks initials sewn onto his jersey.Still, no memorial gesture -- team-based, league-based, or personal -- can top what the Marlins did for Fernández on Monday night, with the entire team wearing his jersey. Itll be interesting to see if other teams do something similar when the next tragedy inevitably strikes. Heres hoping we have to wait a long time to find out.Would you like to nominate a uniform or uni element to be showcased in a future Friday Flashback installment? Send your suggestions here.Paul Lukas still thinks the best memorial patch worn by any team in any sports is the fedora patch that the Dallas Cowboys wore for Tom Landry in 2000. If you like patches, youll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so youll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here. Cheap Jerseys From China . The veteran safety was a starter for the Bengals from 2008-2012. He totaled 41 tackles and three interceptions while starting all but four of the 13 games he played last season. Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys . The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling "puts an end to my dreams of being a top player," the 27-year-old Troicki said in a statement. "I worked my entire life for it, and it has been taken away from me in one afternoon by a doctor I didnt know," said Troicki, whose ranking peaked at No. http://www.wholesalenflcheapjerseys.com/ . -- Mike Smith never saw his first NHL goal go in. Authentic Nike NFL Jerseys China . In the response filed Wednesday to the complaint by 30-year-old Alexander Bradley, attorneys say the former University of Florida player is invoking his Fifth Amendment right that protects people from incriminating themselves. NFL Jerseys China . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. RIO DE JANEIRO -- A few months before U.S. table tennis player Tahl Leibovitz left his home in Queens, N.Y., for the Rio Paralympic Games, his wife, Dawn, heard a bang late at night. They didnt identify the source of the noise until their neighbor told them her air conditioner had fallen onto their car.The neighbor was low on money but wanted to pay for the damage eventually. Leibovitz refused the offer.He understands what its like to be in a dark place, his wife said.Amid a childhood scarred by an uneasy relationship with his father and long periods of homelessness, Leibovitz found table tennis. A three-time Paralympic medalist, the 41-year-old competed in his fifth games in Rio, losing in the quarterfinals. He said he hopes to continue playing another eight years, pointing toward a possible Los Angeles 2024 Games.I would define my self-value and self-esteem, he said, through winning and through playing table tennis.He often competes in able-bodied tournaments but meets the classification standards for the Paralympics because he has osteochondroma, which causes benign bone tumors that can limit movement.Previously a substance abuse counselor, Leibovitz works at New York Families for Autistic Children.I tell my patients that although they believe they are not OK, in reality they are actually OK, he said. Their circumstances may not be.When Leibovitz was a young teenager, he broke a basement window at his house. Tensions over that incident with his father began an eight-year period of on and off homelessness, he said.In addition to staying away from home, he stayed away from school. Sixth grade was the last year he completed.The Boys & Girls Club in Queens opened at 3 p.m. on weekdays. There, he could play table tennis until the club closed around 9 p.m. He slept on subway trains at night.I dont know if (returning home) was really an option for me at that time, Leibovitz said.He and his twin sister, Maja, said their father, Ernest, physically abused them. His father, when reached for this story, said he did not consider his treatment of his children abuse.I wasnt hitting him because I was getting mad and upset. I was hitting him because I was trying to make a point, Leibovitzs father said, aadding that his son was a problematic teenager.dddddddddddd.His mother, who was divorced from his father, died in 2006. His father said he wasnt aware of his sons perpetual homelessness. His son told him he was living with friends.Leibovitz and his father now see each other about once a month, they both said, living just over a mile apart.He feels bad about me being homeless for that many years, but he said it made me very tough and who I am, Leibovitz said.Leibovitz played in his first table tennis tournament at the Junior Olympic trials when he was 15. At a tournament in New Jersey in 1995, an international referee told him he might classify for Paralympic sport because of his condition.The next year, Leibovitz won gold and bronze at the Atlanta Paralympics while still homeless. Soon after, he moved in with his twin sister.Leibovitz, who also won bronze at the 2004 Games, is self-coached. Angie Bengtsson, the U.S. table tennis head coach in Rio, said they communicate over the phone to discuss his training. At training camps and tournaments, Bengtsson said Leibovitz helps younger players.They have a lot of respect for him, Bengtsson said. A lot of them want to be just like him.In addition to his athletic success, Leibovitz earned his GED and said he has bachelors and masters degrees from Queens College and a second masters in social work from NYU.Pieces of his past show in his outlook on his sport.Whether I win or lose, Im OK, Leibovitz said. Im not going to say it doesnt matter, but it doesnt change who I am.In 2002, Leibovitz used an inheritance from his grandfather to buy a three-bedroom condo, which he said is too big. Its a problem, he said, he never thought he would have.Im sure theres a lot of it that he wishes he didnt have to go through, his wife said. Even though it was all bad that happened, it will be applied to his life to help others. Thats what hes doing with it now.---Emily Giambalvo is a journalism student at the University of Georgia. Penn State and Georgia are partnering with The Associated Press to supplement coverage of the 2016 Paralympics. Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys cheap jerseys Cheap Jersyes Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys cheap jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '
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