Logo month, day two. There are plenty of iconic logos in baseball that everyone is familiar with, from the Tigers’ old English D, to the Yankees’ interlocking NY, to the Phillies’ liberty bell. But throughout baseball history, there have been logos that existed for long or short periods of time that just seem to fade away, and never seem to pop up on any throwback merchandise. In recent years, logos from recent years, like the Brewers’ glove and ball or the Braves’ lowercase A and feather, have begun to show up on retro merchandise, and populate avatars on Twitter and elsewhere. But what about those retro logos that don’t seem to have much love thrown their way? Today, we’re going to take a look at ten logos that you probably didn’t know existed….not because you’re ignorant, but just because they don’t get around too much. Enjoy.
Baltimore Orioles Alternate, 1965-1967
I came across this one while looking at images of the Orioles old smiling bird, which will be making it’s return in 2012. This is a smiling oriole, but it’s got the loopy eyes that are normally reserved for cartoon characters that got hit in the head. Baltimore used a version of this logo from 1955-1962 in a full emblem, but somehow, that logo looked a little more normal than this one. During it’s brief tenure with the team, Baltimore won the 1966 World Series.
California Angels Cap, 1971
This was the first Angels cap logo with the halo on it, which would become synonymous with the franchise for 40 years (aside from that brief periwinkle blue spell in the late-90s, which I covered yesterday). As is the case with the Braves’ lowercase A, I prefer the Angels lowercase A as well, though it looks a little weird because there isn’t really a great place to ring the halo around the logo. The uppercase A with the halo around the tip appeared in 1972, and that was the end of the day for the poor lowercase logo.
Boston Red Sox Primary, 1950-1959
I get it. The Red Sox are a baseball team, is this is a red sock playing baseball. But it’s just weird to see this logo for one of the most popular teams in the country, that’s used the same general “pair of socks” logo for the last 50 years. With the recent rash of Red Sox fans popping up on the landscape (if you can consider the last decade a recent time period), a good bit of them probably don’t realize that yes, your team too once had a hideous logo.
Milwaukee Brewers Alternate, 1997-1999
I…can’t ever recall seeing this one. I remember the ugly diamond shaped primary logo they had during those years (that I talked about yesterday), but I don’t remember the logo with a block gold state of Wisconsin featured prominently. The Brewers apparently use an updated version of this logo currently (which I also can’t recall seeing at all) with their new color scheme and logo font…and it looks substantially better, too. Amazing what a color and font tweak can do for a logo.
Florida Marlins Cap, 1999-2002
As a fan of an NL East team, I’ve seen plenty of Marlins games over the years. Can’t remember this being on a cap ever. The team didn’t insert Miami in their name….well, they just inserted it in, so would the M on the cap represent “Marlins”? Seems weird for a team to have the first letter of the team name on the cap, but then again….it IS the Marlins.
Philadelphia Phillies Primary, 1984-1991
This logo popped up for the Phillies after it’s NL pennant year of 1983, and the team started on a downslide during the twilight years of Mike Schmidt’s career. Independence Hall was prominently featured in the logo, and I guess the team didn’t think it was recgonizable enough, because it was ditched in favor of the Liberty Bell in 1992. The Liberty Bell is now firmly linked with the Phillies (including a massive one at Citizens Bank Park and lights up and moves whenever the team homers). I like the intent behind this logo, in trying to tie American history with the team….but they just got the wrong symbol at first.
Houston Astros Primary, 1994
Why the Astros felt the need to include the Astrodome in their new logo is anyone’s best guess, but it lasted just one more season after the color rebranding before being dropped in 1995. The color scheme never really jived with me (blue and gold….ok, not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Astros), and the dome in the background seems really tacked on. Everyone remembers the orange that made your eyes bleed, and the current solid arragement, but the blue and gold scheme seems to fall by the wayside. Just think, Jeff Bagwell spent his prime wearing this….that’s not how I remember Jeff Bagwell.
Seattle Mariners Primary, 1987-1992
The Mariners toiled in relative obscurity until Ken Griffey Jr burst onto the scene in 1989, and he played under this logo for the first couple of years of his career, before becoming a superstar when the teal logo came into the picture. The “M’s” logo seems like a blatant ripoff of Seattle’s division rival in Oakland, and what a shock…it features a baseball, which seemed to be a crutch for many teams in the 1980’s.
Cleveland Indians Primary, 1973-1979
Chief Wahoo has been around forever, much to the chagrin of activists everywhere. But did you know that for seven years, he ACTUALLY HAD A BODY!??!? I’ve seen the pictures of the Indians uniforms from this era, with their jagged lettering and bold colors, but the full logo is just…strange to me. An embodied Chief Wahoo….well, I know what my nightmares will be filled with this evening.
Texas Rangers Primary, 1972-1982
The early part of Rangers’ history is a blur to many, and honestly, my only real memory of these early teams is the drafting and subsequent mishandling of David Clyde. But man, a cowboy hat in your logo? That’s….bizarre. I also find it interesting that the Rangers logo has nearly always feautred a baseball, aside from the years 1994-2002….IE, the “first” contending Rangers clubs as opposed to the “second” contending Rangers clubs, currently in progress.