Uni Watch: A closer look at Braves’ 1976 nickname uniforms

From SABR member Paul Lukas at Uni Watch on June 19, 2012:

One of my recent ESPN columns, which was about RNOBs and nickNOBs, included a table that listed a selection of nickNOBs from the past 45 years or so. One player on the list was Braves infielder Jerry Royster, who wore “Rooster” in 1976. Or at least that’s what I’ve always thought — that nickNOB shows up on lots of lists, and “Rooster” seems like a obvious nickname for Royster, so I’ve always accepted it as being true.

I’ve never seen a “Rooster” photo, however, and a lot of those lists floating around the web are just copied and pasted from each other, which makes it easy for erroneous information to take on a false sense of authority simply via repetition. And I’m thinking that might be the case with “Rooster,” now that reader Jerry Wolper has found the photo shown above. As you can see, that’s Jerry Royster wearing a “J.Bird” nickNOB, which I’d never seen or even heard about before. It shows up again in this photo. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Royster never wore “Rooster” — maybe he wore two different nickNOBs. I doubt that, though. Either way, it’s a pointed reminder that we (that I) shouldn’t take this stuff as gospel without supporting evidence.

Speaking of which, another thing I’ve always accepted is that the Braves wore nickNOBs because team owner Ted Turner liked to push the envelope, just as Charlie Finley had done in Oakland. But Jerry did some additional research and found this 7/19/76 Sports Illustrated article, which paints a different picture of how nickNOBs came to Atlanta.

Read the full article here: http://www.uni-watch.com/2012/06/19/a-closer-look-at-the-nicknames-on-the-1976-atlanta-braves-uniforms/

Originally published: June 19, 2012. Last Updated: June 19, 2012.