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NOB = Name on Back of jersey

NNOB = No Name on Back of jersey

 

A staple of the MLB uniform nearly 60 years has been the addition of the player’s name on the back of the uniforms.  In 1960, the White Sox were the 1st team to add names of the back of their uniforms. By the end of the 1960s, a few other teams, such as the Reds, Cardinals, and Orioles, added names to the back of their uniforms.  However, most teams remained NNOB.  By the end of the 1970s, most of the teams had NOB on their uniforms.  In 1979, the NL had a rule requiring all teams to have NOB on their away uniforms.  The AL did not adopt such a rule.  By 1990, every team except the Yankees had NOB on their away uniforms, although a few (most notably the Red Sox) remained NNOB on their home jerseys.  With a few exceptions, every team (except the Yankees) continues to have NOB on their away jerseys to this day.

 

Let’s breakdown each team’s NOB on jersey history.  First the American League teams.

 

White Sox – The team that started the trend in 1960.  However, only the road jerseys had NOB as the home whites remained NNOB.  Due to the Sox changing their uniforms every 5-10 seasons (until 1991), I don’t know if they had NOB in 1964 (when they switched from road grays to powder blue), 1967 (another road uniform change) or 1969 (when they went back from powder blue to gray).  In addition, the White Sox would go back and forth from NOB to NNOB though the 1990s.

 

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=AL&city=Chicago&lowYear=1960&highYear=1971&sort=year&increment=9

 

In 1971, the White Sox had yet another uniform change, with red as the prominent color.  These uniforms (plus the road powder blues) had NNOB. 

 

Angels @ White Sox from 1974

 

 

In 1976, the White Sox changed again to an early 20th-century inspired look with navy blue as the prominent color.  NOB of jersey returned with this look, which lasted through the 1981 season.  The 1982-1986 “Winning Ugly” uniforms also had NOB.  In 1987, however, The White Sox had yet another uniform change which lasted through the 1990 season.  Originally, the uniforms were NNOB but the road jerseys were NOB in 1990 (The final season of Comiskey Park). 

 

In 1991, the White Sox changed their uniforms again when New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field opened (yes, I know the park has another name change in recent years, but I will keep calling it either New Comiskey or the Cell.)  In reality, this look premiere sooner than intended and debuted during the last month of the 1990 season, due to how popular this look would become.

 

White Sox @ Red Sox from 1990 (Red Sox clinch AL East)

 

 

Mariners @ White Sox from 1990 (final game at Comiskey Park)

 

 

Unlike their previous looks, this White Sox look has remained mostly consistent to this day.  However, when these uniforms debuted, the home jerseys had NNOB while the away gray jersey and the black alt jerseys had NOB.  In 1997, NOB were added to the home jersey, which have stuck ever since.

 

Indians – Another team that has had different looks throughout its long history.  Not sure when exactly the Indians added NOB to their jerseys.  The earliest is at least 1968 as evidence of the all-star game that year where an Indians player was the starting pitcher for the AL.  This Indians uniform lasted from 1963 to 1969.

 

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=AL&city=Cleveland&lowYear=1960&highYear=1975&sort=year&increment=9

 

1968 All Star Game @ Houston

 

 

The Indians changed their uniforms multiple times in the early 1970s.  Not sure if NOB remained.  For most of the 1970s, the Indians were known for their bright red uniforms with the caveman-like font.  Those uniforms had NOB.  All of the Indians uniforms ever since had had NOB from the 1979-1985 look, the Charlie Sheen in Major League I & II look from 1986-1993, the World Series contending years of the 1990s & 2000s when their ballpark was known as Jacobs Field, to the current post-Chief Wahoo era of today.

 

Tigers – The Tigers added NOB at least as early as the 1971 season and have remained on the team’s uniforms since.  Not sure about 1969 or 1970, but they were still NNOB in 1968.

 

1968 World Series (Tigers @ Cardinals)

 

 

1971 All Star Game in Detroit

 

 

 

Twins – Not sure exactly when the Twins added NOB to their jerseys.  By 1977 (as seen from an episode of “This Week in Baseball”), the Twins uniforms had NOB.  In 1987, the Twins had new uniforms and would win the World Series in their new look.  The home jerseys had NNOB while the away grays had NOB.  The home jerseys would have NOB in 1997.  The Twins’ 2010 look and their recent look have NOB while their 1960s home throwbacks had NNOB.

 

1977 episode of TWIB

 

 

Royals – The Royals added NOB to both their home whites and away powder blues in the 1978 season.  All their other looks (from the 1985 World Series look to the BFBS 2002-2005 period, to what they wear nowadays) since then have had NOB, aside from their annual Negro League KC Monarchs throwbacks.

 

Yankees – the only team never to have NOB on their uniforms and they’re not gonna start now. (Unless one counts those Players Weekend jerseys that each team dons from the past 2 seasons).  It would be blasphemy if they ever do it.  Ironic as they and the Indians were the 1st two teams to add numbers on the back of their jerseys in 1929.

 

Red Sox – The BoSox were one of the last teams to adopt NOB, adding them to their road uniforms (which were brand new at the time, replacing the 1979-1989 look) in 1990.  The 2009-2013 road jerseys and 2014-current road jerseys the Red Sox wear are also NOB.  The iconic regular home jerseys have remained NNOB.  Interesting enough, the Red Sox’ batting practice/spring training jersey from 2011 (not sure if they still where them) have NOB.  In 2007, the Red Sox wore a home jersey with NOB for the 1st time ever as the team wore green jerseys to honor Red Auerbach, the long-time Boston Celtics coach who died the previous year.

 

466710642_e42471ed5c.jpg

 

Orioles – The Orioles were one of the 1st teams to add NOB to their uniforms.  They worn jerseys with NOB as early as the 1966 season (not only the team’s 1st world series title, but also 1st year of the famous cartoon bird logo).  All the Orioles looks from the pullover look of the 70s and 80s, the realistic bird look of the 90s and 00s and back to the cartoon bird look of today have had NOB.

 

1966 World Series (Orioles vs Dodgers)

 

 

Blue Jays – The Blue Jays were a NNOB team in their 1st 3 seasons.  In 1980, NOB were added to both their home and road power blues.  Strangely, the NOB were removed from their road jerseys while remaining on their home jerseys the following season and would remain through 1988.  Typically, some teams were NNOB at home while being NOB on the road, but the Blue Jays were the opposite.  NOB came back on the road jerseys in 1989 when the Blue Jays got new uniforms, ditching the pullovers and powder blue for traditional gray.  NOB have remained on Blue Jays uniforms since, from the 1997-2003 look to the hideous BFBS 2004-2011 period to their beautiful current jerseys heavily based on the classic 1989-1996 look.

 

Rays – the Rays uniforms have always had NOB since debuting in 1998.  Nothing much more to say.

 

Angels – The Angels first added NOB to their jerseys in the 1978 season.  According to the Mothership, the 1979 and 1980 uniforms had NOB.  Yet that appears to be incorrect as the Angels had NNOB during those seasons.  NOB jerseys would return in 1981 and all the Angels looks since, from the button-down 1989-1992 look, the “Angels in the Outfield” look of 1993-1996, the Disney pajamas look of 1997-2001 to their current look that dates back to 2002, have all had NOB on the jerseys.

 

Angels clinch 1979 AL West

 

 

Angels vs Orioles 1979 ALCS

 

 

Angels @ White Sox from 1980

 

 

1981 All Star Game in Cleveland

 

 

 

Athletics – The A’s had NOB on their jerseys as early as the 1970 season.  Not sure exactly when the added them.  All their looks from the early 70s dynasty years to the 80s pullover uniforms to the Bash Brothers look of the late 80s/early 90s to what they wear today have all had NOB.

 

Rangers – the Rangers were a NNOB team when they were the 2nd incarnation of the Washington Senators.  When the team relocated to the Dallas area in 1972, the uniforms had NOB.  All the uniforms the Rangers have worn since, from the Nolan Ryan-era look to the playoff years of the 1990s and what the team wears today, have had NOB on the jerseys.

 

Mariners – Except for the current fauxback uniforms that have been worn since 2015, the Mariners have always had NOB on their uniforms since debuting in 1977.

 

Astros - the Astros added NOB on their jerseys in as early as 1971, when they switched their main color from navy blue to orange.  All of the Astros looks since then, from the 1975-1986 rainbow guts to the 1980-1993 rainbow shoulders to the 1994-1999 shooting star look to the 2000-2012 brick red/black pinstripes look to what they wear today, have all had NOB on their jerseys

 

Hoston Astros pitcher at the 1971 All Star Game

 

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On a side note, how do I edit the YouTube links?  I just want to show the links to the videos, not the embedded videos themselves.

 

Anyway, here's part 2:  the National League teams.  

 

Cubs – Prior to 1979, the Cubs had always been a NNOB team.  In 1979, the Cubs added NOB to their powder blue pinstriped road uniforms due to the NL adding a rule requiring all teams in the NL to add names to their away jerseys that year.  All the Cubs road jerseys, from the 1982-1989 blue softball tops to the early 90s gray jerseys to the “Cuba” jerseys of 1994-1996 and what the club has worn since 1997, have all had NOB since.  The classic home whites remained NNOB until 1993, when the Cubs added NOB to the jerseys which lasted through the 2004 season. 

 

In 2005, the Cubs removed names of the back of their home jerseys, becoming NNOB at home for the 1st time since 1992.  The Cubs also added a 2nd blue alt jersey with NNOB that would be worn only at home games.  The blue jersey the team had been wearing since 1997 with NOB would be worn for away games only.  The standard gray jerseys, also introduced in 1997 and still worn today, remained NOB.  In 2007, NOB returned to the Cubs home white jerseys and the blue jersey with NNOB was retired.

 

Cardinals – the Cardinals have had NOB on their uniforms as early as the 1967 season.  All of the team’s looks from the pullovers of the 70s & 80s to the traditional button-down uniforms of the 90s, 00s, and today have all had NOB on the jersey.

 

1967 World Series (Cardinals vs Red Sox)

 

 

Reds – The Reds may have been the first NL team to put names on the back of their uniforms.  The earlier year is 1965.  Unlike most teams, the names were below the numbers (similar to the NBA's Kings of the 70s and 80s)  This look lasted from 1961 to 1966, but I don’t know if there were NOB prior to 1965.  

 

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=NL&city=Cincinnati&lowYear=1960&highYear=1972&sort=year&increment=9

 

Reds @ Cubs from 1965

 

 

All of the Reds looks since then, from 1967-1971 look, the 1972-1992 pullover look, the 1993-1998 sleeveless look, the 1999-2006 BFBS look, and their 2007-current look have each had NOB on the jerseys.

 

Pirates – Like the Cubs, the Pirates were a NNOB team prior to 1979, even as their mix-and-match black and mustard period began in 1977.  Due to the 1979 NL rule on jerseys, the Pirates added NOB to their jerseys starting that season, the same season the Pirates won the World Series.  This particular look lasted through 1984 and all the Pirates looks since then from the button-down look of the 1990s, the sleeveless look of the 2000s, and what the team wears today have NOB on the jerseys.

 

Brewers – The Brewers were among the last teams to add NOB to their jerseys, adding them to their road jerseys in 1990 (the same year as the other holdout, the Red Sox).  The Brewers had new uniforms that year, moving away from the pullover looks of the 70s and 80s.  The home jerseys remained NNOB until 1993, when the home jerseys were now NOB in the final year of the MB Glove logo era.  The Brewers rebrand from 1994 to what the team has worn since 2000 have NOB on the jerseys.  Even the 80s-throwbacks the team wears on occasional have NOB even though the original jerseys were pullovers with NNOB.

 

Phillies – The Phillies added NOB to their road uniforms as early as the 1974 season.  The home whites were NNBO.  The following season, names were added to the home jerseys and the team has had NOB on their uniforms since then, even as the team rebranded its look in 1992 (which is still worn to this day).

 

1974 Phillies

 

 

1975/1976 Phillies

 

 

Braves – The Braves were on of the last NL teams to add NOB to their jerseys as the team added them in the 1979 season due to the NL requiring its teams to have names on the backs of the road jerseys.  The Braves home jerseys remained NNOB that season.  In 1980, the Braves got new uniforms and both the home whites and the powder blue roads were NOB.  The Braves uniforms remained NOB ever since, including the 1987 traditional look the team still wears (though with some tweaks) today.

 

Mets – The Mets were another NL team whose uniforms were NNOB prior to 1979.  Names were added to the road jerseys in 1979 due to the NL rule change on uniforms.  Not sure if the 1979 or 1980 home jerseys but by 1981 the Mets home jerseys were NOB.  Most of the Mets uniforms since then from 1986 Racing Stripes look to the BSFS look of the late 90s/2000s to what they wear today have NOB on their jerseys. 

 

Mets @ Phillies from 1978

 

 

Mets @ Giants from 1979

 

 

1981 Mets Compilation

 

 

An exception was the 1999 season (the 2nd year of the BFBS look) when the Mets removed the names of their home jersey.  The Mets also removed names from their alt black “METS” jersey and occasionally wore those at home.  As a result, the team introduced another black jersey that would be worn on road games, which “NEW YORK” instead of “METS”.  These jerseys had NOB as the standard gray jerseys also had NOB.  The NNOB look only lasted one season as names were put back on both the home white jerseys and the black “METS” alternate jersey.  The Mets would shade all traces of the BFBS period after the 2012 season.

 

Diamondbacks @ Mets 1999 NLDS

 

 

Braves @ Mets 1999 NLCS Game 5 (Robin Ventura Grand Slam single)

 

 

Mets @ Braves 1999 NLCS Game 6

 

 

Nationals/Expos – The Expos added NOB on their uniforms either in 1978 or 1979 (due to the NL rule on uniforms that year).  When the Expos had new uniforms in 1980, those uniforms had NOB as did the 1992 uniform rebrand.

 

When the Expos relocated and became the Washington Nationals in 2005, each of the Nationals look have NOB on the jerseys.

 

1978 episode of TWIB

 

 

Marlins - The Marlins have always had NOB on their uniforms since making their debut in 1993.  Not much more to say.

 

Dodgers – The Dodgers had NOB on their jerseys as early as the 1974 season.  NOB remained through the 2004 season.  In 2005, new ownership wanted the team to more like the Yankees and not only removed named from the home jerseys but from the road jerseys as well.  The Cubs also went NNOB that season but only for the home jerseys as the road jerseys remained NOB. I assumed that the 1979 NL rule on uniforms had been abandoned or ignored at this point.  The Dodgers’ NNOB look only lasted 2 seasons as names returned to both the home and road jerseys in 2007.  The Dodgers uniforms remain NOB ever since.

 

Dodgers @ Braves from 1974 (Hank Aaron 715 home run)

 

 

Giants – The Giants first went NOB on their uniforms as early as the 1973 season.  All of the team’s uniforms through 1999 from the 1977-1982 pullover look, the 1983-1993 look, and the 1994-1999 look had NOB on the jerseys. 

In 2000, the Giants not only had new uniforms (which are still worn to this day) but also a new stadium (Pac Bell/AT&T Park).  The new home whites had NNOB while the away jerseys were NOB.  The home alternate jerseys the Giants have introduced from the 2010-2013 orange jerseys to the 2014-present orange jerseys (based on the 1977-1982 orange jersey) have NNOB while the 2012 alternate gray road jerseys (based on the 1983-1993 road set) have NOB.

 

1973 SF Giants

 

 

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=NL&city=San+Francisco&lowYear=1970&highYear=1982&sort=year&increment=9

 

Padres – The Padres added NOB on their uniforms in 1974.  In 1975, the names were removed from the road jersey but remained on the home jerseys.  In 1976, the Padres changed to the pullover look, including new road sets.  The home jersey was NOB while the road brown was NNOB.  This look remained in 1977 but the Padres had new uniforms again the following season.  Unlike the previous two sets, the Padres had NOB on all of their uniforms.  All of Padres looks since 1978 had NOB on their jerseys, from the 1980-1984 look, the 1985-1990 brown/orange look, 1991-2003 navy/orange look, 2004-2011 navy/sand look, and the current bland navy look.

http://caglaze.cts.com/

 

Rockies – The Rockies were NNOB on their home whites during their inaugural 1993 season.  The black alternates and road grays had NOB, however.  Since 1994, the Rockies had added NOB to their home jerseys and have been NOB ever since.

 

Dimaondbacks – the Diamondbacks have had NOB on their all their jerseys since debuting in 1998.  Not much more to say.

 

And that's it.  The history of Names of the back of baseball jerseys. 

 

Correct me on missing/incorrect information.  The MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double Knit Era (1970-present) by Bill Henderson is helpful but what about 1960s uniforms that added NOB?   

 

Should NOB remain or does one wanna go old-school and remove names entirely like the pre-1960s uniforms of the past?  Thoughts?

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Wow I really appreciate the research. I’m a big fan of detailed sports history like this, and I often wonder and want to know EXACTLY what years certain things began and ended. I browse uniform databases all the time and this is really something that even those outlets wouldnt even include. Great stuff.

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5 hours ago, disman00911 said:

Should NOB remain or does one wanna go old-school and remove names entirely like the pre-1960s uniforms of the past?  Thoughts?

I've become a fan of the "hybrid" approach the Red Sox and Giants use: NNOB at home, NOB on the road. To me, it makes sense. When the visitors, the odds are those fans won't know who the players are. So you kind of get a nice "best of both worlds." I hated when the Dodgers went NNOB in the 2000s because it was half-assed. The numbers needed to be larger and thicker. It just looked like the names fell off. If you're going to do it, do it right.

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I WISH the Dodgers had a Sunday throwback look to their 1960s look: cream home uniform with no sleeve patches (except for special ones of course), thicker numbers positioned correctly, and NNOB.

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Thank you all for the feedback.  I agree with Quillz's post.  Some teams can pull off the NNOB at home/NOB on road look, such as the Red Sox.  The Cubs did it for 2 seasons (2005-06) but went back to NOB on the home pinstripes.  They could go either way as they were NNOB at home until 1993.  That's what the Dodgers should had done in 2005.  Their numbers looked weird and empty with the NNOB look.  The White Sox hosted the Dodgers in 2005 to honor the 1959 World Series between the two teams and both wore throwbacks.  The numbers on the Dodgers' throwback jersey were clearly thicker than their regular jersey numbers.  Only the Yankees can pull off the NNOB look since their numbers are thick.  

 

Speaking of names on the uniform, here’s NHL’s history of NOB on team jerseys.  Prior to the 1970/71 season, all teams were NNOB on their jerseys.

 

1970-71 – 4 teams (Rangers, Golden Seals, Kings, & Penguins) added NOB to their home (white/light colored) jerseys but remained NNOB on their road/dark colored jerseys.  All other teams remained NNOB on their uniforms.

 

1971/72 – No changes

 

1972/73 – The Red Wings become the 5th team to add NOB to their home jersey

 

1973/74 – The Flyers become the 6th team to add NOB to their home jersey

 

1974/75 – The expansion Capitals become the 7th team to add NOB to their home jersey

 

1975/76 – The North Stars & Scouts (now Devils) add NOB to their home jersey.  The Golden Seals & Penguins become NNOB on the home jersey.

 

1976/77 – The Blues add NOB to their home jersey.  The Seals relocate to Cleveland and become the Barons.  Their new jerseys are NOB on home and NNOB on the road.

 

1977/78 – The NHL required all teams to put NOB on all their uniforms (home and road).  As a result, every team ‘s jersey has NOB.  Except the Maple Leafs, who continued to be NNOB on their jerseys.  The NHL threatened to fine the Leafs if they continued to be NNOB on their jerseys.  The Leafs gave in and put NOB on their jerseys.

 

1978/79 – Since this season, every existing and expansion team in the NHL has put NOB on their uniforms.  The Seals/Barons would fold this season.

 

Original source:

http://www.nhluniforms.com/

 

Prior to 1970, NFL teams were NNOB on their jerseys.  The AFL during the 1960s had NOB on their jerseys.  When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, every team had NOB on their jerseys and every season since.

 

Not sure when the NBA (or ABA) started putting names on the back of their jerseys.  Early 70s?  There’s no NBA site similar to NHLuniforms, Gridiron Uniforms Database, or Dressed to the Nines.

 

As far as college football or college basketball teams are concerned, it varies by team.  Some are NOB, others are NNOB.  And there are a few that have gone back and forth from NNOB to NOB (or vice versa) over the years.

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14 hours ago, disman00911 said:

In 2005, new [Dodgers] ownership wanted the team to more like the Yankees and not only removed named from the home jerseys but from the road jerseys as well.

 

 

9 hours ago, Quillz said:

I hated when the Dodgers went NNOB in the 2000s because it was half-assed. The numbers needed to be larger and thicker. It just looked like the names fell off. If you're going to do it, do it right.

 

 

Right.  The Dodgers took a very sloppy approach.  As a result of their lack of care, the uniforms looked awkward, and the players and fans disliked them.  This is very unfortunate, because the Dodgers should not be wearing names, at least not at home. 

 

 

Don-Drysdale.jpg  Image result for 2005 dodgers

 

 

 

Image result for maury wills stealing second  

 

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers : News Photo

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, disman00911 said:

1977/78 – The NHL required all teams to put NOB on all their uniforms (home and road).  As a result, every team ‘s jersey has NOB.  Except the Maple Leafs, who continued to be NNOB on their jerseys.  The NHL threatened to fine the Leafs if they continued to be NNOB on their jerseys.  The Leafs gave in and put NOB on their jerseys.

 

 

This skips over one of my favorite bits on uniform history trivia. When Toronto originally complied with the new rule requiring NOB, they put blue letters on the backs of their blue jerseys as a protest. Their owner, Harold Ballard, believed people wouldn't buy programs if the team had their names on their jerseys. After a game or two of the same-colored NOB, Toronto relented to pressure from the NHL and complied with the rule. Still, that act from Ballard is one of my favorite moments of malicious compliance in sports history. 

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Check out Bill Henderson's MLB jersey style guide book. It covers all teams from 1970 to the present, and goes into great detail with all the jerseys regarding NOB, NNOB, different name lettering, nameplates vs. no nameplates, etc.

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Absolutely.  Hendorson's guide is indispensable.

 

Well done on putting all this time and research in.  I do have one minor quibble:

 

Quote

Brewers – The Brewers were among the last teams to add NOB to their jerseys, adding them to their road jerseys in 1990 (the same year as the other holdout, the Red Sox).  The Brewers had new uniforms that year, moving away from the pullover looks of the 70s and 80s.  The home jerseys remained NNOB until 1993, when the home jerseys were now NOB in the final year of the MB Glove logo era.  The Brewers rebrand from 1994 to what the team has worn since 2000 have NOB on the jerseys.  Even the 80s-throwbacks the team wears on occasional have NOB even though the original jerseys were pullovers with NNOB.

 

I can't tell what that last sentence is referring to.  The Friday pinstripe alternates have NOB, as they are updated versions of the original 1980s uniforms.

 

2018-04-22T210626Z_1507519390_NOCID_RTRM

 

But when they wear actual 1980s throwbacks, the pullover kind, those are always NNOB.

 

tenor.gif

brewers-1980s-throwback-uniforms-3.jpg

 

For special ceremonies, when they bring old players back and give them throwback jerseys to wear, those sometimes have NOB so fans in the Uecker seats can see.  Not always, but sometimes.

 

The Brewers also have a Negro League uniform in their annual rotation, and that's always NNOB as well.

 

2013_BearsTBTC_team.jpg

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