The Old Ball Game


All-Star Baseball series (R401-1), issued by Leaf Gum Company, 1948

With the teams now set for the 2016 World Series, the Chicago Cubs will face off against the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 this Tuesday, October 25th for the grand finale of the MLB baseball season. In another baseball finale, The Old Ball Game: New York Baseball, 1887–1977, a wonderful exhibit of historical baseball cards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is on view for the last few weeks of its run.

Baseball cards were originally produced by tobacco companies, and starting in the 1880’s included in cigarette packs as a marketing gimmick. It wasn’t until the 1930s that they were included in packs of gum to appeal to the youth market. The exhibit showcases these artistic little gems, some of the earliest baseball cards ever produced, celebrating many of the game’s greatest players in the the prime of their careers. Read More


Fashion-A-Bell: Carmen dell’Orefice



Carmen dell’Orefice is one of the iconic models in fashion history, most famous in her older years for her unmistakable white coiffure. The fantastic image above is from British Vogue, July 1959, and shows her as a young model with renowned fashion photographer, Norman Parkinson. Loving the adventurous “Style of Sport” spirit of the image, we were curious about the story behind the picture.

While Parkinson was the photographer on the shoot in Bermuda, this image was actually taken by Bronson Hartley who ran a local helmet diving operation. Bell or Helmet Diving is a very old concept and the precursor to scuba diving. Using the same principle as a glass turned upside down underwater, water pressure keeps air trapped inside an open-bottomed metal helmet. Fresh air is then pumped in through an attached hose allowing divers to walk around the sea floor, with no training required.

Bronson was an esteemed marine biologist who had first come to Bermuda from New York City in 1930 with his family as a child to escape the Depression. At age ten he built his first diving helmet and continued to evolve his model. His hobby would later become his profession as he began taking adventurous tourists, and later celebrities like Charlton Heston, on the underwater adventure of a lifetime.

Continuing his zeal for invention, Bronson started making his own cameras and underwater housings. A pioneer in undersea photography, he made the first ever color 35mm underwater movie, “Mainstreet Undersea”, starring his wife, Martica, a model and actress. Hartley and the making of the film were featured in the December 15, 1952 issue of LIFE. For those who remember the show, Martica was a guest on “Whats My Line.” Read More


Eddie Would Go


Photograph By Dan Merkel

The holding period has begun for the 30th annual “Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau”, a one-day big wave invitational surfing event requiring waves of at least 20 feet — wave face height over 30 feet– in order to be contested. The event, which has only been held 8 times in its history, was founded in recognition of the great Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau.

During the 1970’s, Eddie Aikau was considered one of the best big wave riders in the world. He was the first official lifeguard at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore, and became recognized for pulling people out of waves that no one else would dare to. His life took on mythic porportions after his untimely death during the “Hokule’a” in 1978. During the 2500 mile traditional Hawaiian canoe voyage, retracing the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian islands, the canoe developed a leak and capsized in stormy weather. Aikau set out on his surfboard, paddling towards Lanai in an attempt to get help. The crew was later rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, but despite great search efforts, Eddie was never seen again.

The “Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau” event was established in 1984 and was won by his brother Clyde Aikau in its first year. The popular phrase “Eddie Would Go” originated during that first contest. The waves were huge and conditions extremely dangerous. While the contest organizers were discussing whether to put it on, competitor Mark Foo looked out and said “Eddie would go.” The phrase stuck and spread around the Hawaiian Islands and rest of the world.

I have always loved the image above by Dan Merkel, which has become one of the most iconic images of Eddie Aikau. The minimal blue and yellow tonalities highlight the purity and beauty of the sport and let the soul of this lengendary waterman shine.


Santa Monica Track Club


The World Track & Field Championships are currently being held in Moscow and Usain Bolt is continuing to reign supreme as the fastest man on earth. Meanwhile, Nike has produced a selection of retro-styled Santa Monica Track Club tees and tanks for both men and women. These shirts are reminders of one of the greatest sprinters and long jumpers in Track & Field history, Carl Lewis, and the club for which he ran.

The Santa Monica Track Club was founded in 1972 as a post-collegiate track club whose primary purpose was to develop athletes for the Olympics, World Championships and international Track & Field competition. By the 1980s, the team was a major player in Track & Field, with its members setting numerous World and National records. The brightly colored Santa Monica Track Club sunburst logo became the recognizable icon of these elite athletes.

Carl Lewis joined the team in 1979 and was the dominant sprinter and long jumper in the sport from 1981 to the early 1990s. He won 10 Olympic medals, including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including 8 gold. His world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984 and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump, achieved over a span of 10 years, is one of the most impressive undefeated streaks in any sport.

The club continues today to develop world class Track & Field Athletes, still helmed by its founder Joe Douglas.