The Mystery of the Lloyd Batts Jersey

I’m a big uniform guy. If you’ve read a post on Cincy On The Prowl about a new uniform or helmet in the past year, there’s a good chance I wrote it. It’s a minor obsession. I’m also a big sports history guy. Being as such, I was plowing through the depths of the Bearcats Basketball Media Guide, and my uniform and history obsessions collided.

Even the most casual of Bearcats hoops fans know that Oscar Robertson is (and probably always will be) the leading scorer in program history. And anyone who followed college basketball last season knows that Sean Kilpatrick finished his reign in Clifton as number two. But do you know who #11 is? And did you know that he had an incredible afro?

Behold, Lloyd Batts. Batts was perhaps the brightest spot in the decade following the first “golden age” of Bearcats basketball. He earned a varsity letter three times for the Bearcats, leading the team in scoring in each of those three seasons. He hit the 20 point mark in 48 games, finishing with 1,585 career points. That was good for fourth all-time upon his departure.

In short, Batts is one of the most underrated Bearcats in program history, from an era of Bearcats basketball that doesn’t receive the fanfare of the ’60s or ’90s.

In an effort to find some photos of this guy in a Bearcats uniform, I stumbled across something interesting.

I consider myself to be fairly knowledgable as far as uniform history of the Bearcats goes. I’ve never seen this uniform. Anywhere.

Simply, “The Cats”. It’s beautiful.

Guess what? This photo right here is the only evidence I can find of this uniform ever existing. I have scoured Google, and exhausted every resource available to me. There is no further evidence of this – soon-to-be-infamous – Lloyd Batts Jersey.

I put on my detective hat and started at the source of all things Bearcats, As you can see on Batts’ Bearcat Hall of Fame page, there’s a thumbnail of our infamous image. Zoom in far enough, and you’ll see that the opposing team is none other than Marquette.

We know Batts played at UC from ’71 to ’74, so let’s dig into the media guide. We see that the only time the Bearcats faced Marquette during those years was on the very last game of the 1973-74 regular season. Batts’ final game in Clifton.

On March 2nd, 1974, the Cincinnati Bearcats, led by captain Lloyd Batts, upset the #8 Marquette Warriors by a score of 92-77. The game took place at Armory Fieldhouse in front of a sellout crowd of 7,942. Batts poured in a career-best 33 points to go with 10 rebounds.

It should be noted that this was a huge win in Bearcats history. Marquette would go to make an appearance in the 1974 National Championship, falling short at the feet of NC State, who had just ended UCLA’s 7-year dynasty in their previous game.

It should also be noted that this slice of Bearcats history has in no way aided me in finding any further shred of evidence of the Lloyd Batts Jersey.

Photographic evidence of that season is incredibly sparse to begin with. I had to practically go internet spelunking to find another image of Batts in a Bearcat uniform. For all I know, the team wore these things for every game that season. Unless the Bearcats athletic department or the Cincinnati Enquirer decide to open their faults, this may be all we’ll ever know about the Lloyd Batts Jersey.

I’d like to end with this: Bring it back. The ’60s throwbacks worn by the Bearcats in recent years were awesome. Why not revive another uniform from Bearcat history? I dream of a day when Jacob Evans is patrolling a renovated Fifth Third Arena in a Lloyd Batts Jersey. A man can dream, can’t he?