Gilligan: NCAA Mascot Model?


Reader Jonathan Lacaster has picked up an interesting logo design trope that I’d never noticed before. Here it is, in his own words:

I’m an Auburn fan and have always liked the old Aubie mascot with the sailor’s cap. I know other schools have used similar sailor-hatted mascots, including Oregon, Oregon State, Baylor, Miami, UNC, and Washington University.

My question is: What’s the deal with the sailor hat? Was it a symbol of being tough, or was it a patriotic thing? Why did so many schools use this kind of logo?

Hmmm, intriguing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t answer Jonathan’s question, so I turned to logo designer/historian Todd Radom, who usually knows the story behind this type of thing. Not this time, though. “Interesting question indeed, and one that I have absolutely no answer for,” he wrote back. “My only wild guess would be that many of these logos look to be from the 1940s, and the WW2 sailor was a very tangible visual identifier in those days.” Which is pretty much what I thought too, although that’s a far cry from a definitive answer.

If anyone knows anything about this, and/or if you have additional sailor-hatted mascot examples to contribute, please enlighten us, forthwith.


Blue Jay Way: Lots of people, myself included, have wondered why the Toronto Blue Jays wear so little blue these days. Toronto reader Andrew Stoeten has provided some useful background info (some of which I had previously known but forgotten, the rest of which was new to me):

In Canada there are two major telecommunications companies, Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, who fiercely compete with one another. Bell uses blue as the predominant colour in its marketing; Rogers, which owns the Blue Jays, uses red.

Ever since Rogers bought the team, they have very noticeably moved away from using their Bell’s colour, and even from using the word “blue” in Blue Jays (the Rogers-owned network that broadcasts the vast majority of games calls its telecast “Rogers Jays Baseball”).

To their credit, Rogers is putting blue rings around the facade of the “Rogers Centre” (er… SkyDome) to help remove some of the cement look in the stadium for the upcoming season. But as for the hope that blue may return as a predominant colour on the uniform, or the full name “Blue Jays” appearing on the jerseys, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Of course, this sort of influence from the marketing department is nothing new for the franchise. It’s no coincidence that the name Blue Jays was decided upon at the outset, considering that the majority owner at the time was the Labatt Brewing Company, whose flagship lager is, of course, Blue.

Good info. Let’s just be glad the team isn’t owned by Prince.

Uni Watch News Ticker: Good article here about the Titans’ assorted uni combos. ”¦ And here‘s something about the Ravens’ alts. ”¦ One of the Cal players in the Holiday Bowl had “Google Me” written on his eye black. “I believe it’s Mickey Pimentel, a linebacker,” says Thomas Foote, who provided the screen shot. “If anyone can find play-by-play for the game, it’s definitely the kid who made a great tackle at the 9:30 mark of the third quarter, because he started bleeding after that hit.” ”¦ Allen Iverson presented George Karl an “800” jersey, to mark Karl’s 800th coaching victory, on Friday night. Kinda looked like an apron, and made Karl look like he was doing a kitchen demo. ”¦ Ancient sporting goods catalog being auctioned off here, including a few pages of baseball uniforms and caps. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Sheffield United had to put a midfielder in goal on Saturday after their keeper was injured against Arsenal, necessitating a jersey switcheroo. ”¦ Navy did that thing yesterday where the players all wore the emblem of their squadron (or platoon, or brigade, or whatever it is — someone help me out here) on their jerseys. ”¦ A few days ago I ran an item about the refs going without uniform numbers in a recent Stars/Avalanche game. An explanation has now come, courtesy of Rick Moreno: “Apparently the referees lost their luggage! The same crew worked Friday’s Blues/Avalanche game, and had all their own equipment. Mike Haynes, the Avalanche TV guy, said that one of the refs wore Ian Laperriere’s skates, and during a break in the action, Laperriere asked the guy ‘How do you like ’em?’ ” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Giants backup QB Jared “The Hefty Lefty” Lorenzen is arguably the largest No. 12 in NFL history (listed as 6’4″, 285, looks bigger).

Auld Lang Syne: This has been a really good year for Uni Watch, and huge chunk of that is because of the countless great contributions you people provide every day. Thanks a heap for all the incredible info you send my way, and for making this project way more successful than I ever could have imagined. Looking forward to bigger and better things in oh-seven.

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