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Birds on a Bat – An Interview with Gary Kodner, St. Louis Cardinals Designer

Birds on a Bat

By Phil Hecken

Today I have another really special article for you fine readers. Like many guests whose stories I feature on here, the story of this began with a simple e-mail following a different guest writer’s article. This one stemmed from a recent post on the controversy over the “pointed W” on the Washington Senators caps. Reader Oliver Kodner originally sent me his e-mail after reading that article.

“It got under my skin because I know how frustrating it is with MLB, Majestic, New Era, and most other companies who make ‘authentic’ items that really aren’t all that authentic,” said Oliver. He further went on to explain that this is not uncommon in MLB. Then came the sections that really piqued my interest:

It is more common to see incorrect logos these days than correct logos, and it’s getting out of hand.

I first started to notice it in Marc Okkonen’s book ‘Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century,’ the same graphics used on Dressed To The Nines. Bill DeWitt III started a major project to ACCURATELY catalog the history of St. Louis Cardinals graphics and this was a good source to start with. However it was noticed how many things Okkonen got wrong. To his credit though, he has put in more research than anyone else in that field, and some inaccuracies are expected. This project has been spinning behind the scenes for about 2 years and the amount of errors, extending way past Okkonen’s book, is unbelievable. Unfortunately my knowledge stretches just to the Cardinals organization, as I have seen XL sized binders of logos and uniform designs being created.

XL sized binders? Wait…what?!?!? He continued,

What we’re finding these days is that Majestic themselves are making merchandise that doesn’t look a damn thing like the real graphics. We’re seeing things like this, where the birds are way too small, and the bird on the right is too far away from everything. Or these birds. I see those birds come into Busch every single home game. The bad graphics and bad merchandise is coming straight from the top, from Majestic and MLB.

One of the problems here is that MLB doesn’t care. When the Cardinals went to MLB to fix the jerseys for 2013, we kind of had to push and shove to show Majestic and MLB how their stitching of the jerseys before 2013 was wrong. Even when trying to update the style guide, MLB pushed it aside and failed to see what the problem was. It took a lot of work to get inside MLB’s ear and tell them what they were posting on their style guide was wrong, and their response to all of this was something along the lines of, “there are 30 teams in MLB, and you guys are the only ones who seem to care this much about it.”

“OK,” I thought, “this guy is a fountain of knowledge and this is totally worth pursuing.” I e-mailed Oliver back and asked him if he could get in touch with the Cardinals’ “go-to” designer.

Oliver immediately replied with, “I talked to Bill’s go-to graphic designer a few seconds ago, he’s my father.”

Fantastic! This is going to be a gem of an article I mused, and I was not disappointed. I asked Oliver if he could “interview” his father and provide an article detailing everything we’d discussed, and he has obliged. One last bit from Oliver before the article as a final setup:

I know about it first hand watching my dad work with Bill DeWitt and exchanging numerous phone calls and emails with Major League Baseball about getting the graphics correct. Being able to watch my father work with Bill DeWitt on these projects for the past 15 years or so, and see him accurately recreate historical graphics provided me with a lot of knowledge on the subject of St. Louis Cardinals graphics. After contacting you, you recommended that this would be a good story to write about, so I went to my father and told him that no one has really heard his story. To this point not many people know who the freelance graphic designer is that has been working with the Cardinals since his days in the 80s at Busch Creative. He wrote up those paragraphs about his work directly with the organization starting in 1997 with the rebranding project. And is still working with the organization on numerous projects today. He sounds pretty level headed and articulate by the way he writes, but this is a man who has always referred to himself as a “simple caveman artist.”

So, with that, please sit back and enjoy a chat with …

. . .

Gary Kodner
interview by Oliver Kodner

Its an honor and privilege to design for the best franchise in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals. And it helps to have a client who shares my interest in tradition, design, application, and preservation of a great brand. It also helps to be working with one of the most colorful and successful franchises in MLB history. –Gary Kodner


The Birds on Bat
The “Birds on Bat” is one of the most recognized and prominent graphics in all of sports. It is synonymous with a great and storied franchise. Originally called the Perfectos in 1899 and outfitted with red striped stockings along with red-trimmed uniforms, sportswriter Willie McHale overheard a fan remark, “what a lovely shade of cardinal. The name caught on when McHale used this new nickname in his column. In 1900 the team officially changed their name to Cardinals, however it wasn’t until 1922 that a Cardinal bird first appeared on a uniform. The birds have remained on the front of the jersey to this day, with the exception of the 1956 season.

From 1922 through 2013 there were many changes to the birds on bat, some intentional, some accidental. A study of history will reveal that some changes were due to the manufacturing process, change in vendor, or evolutionary drift. These circumstances occurred through the early years as well as modern times. A prominent example being from 2002 to 2011, as Rawlings and Majestic were both used to create what was supposed to be the same graphic on the jersey.

The birds have had a red beak, a yellow beak, pointed and round beaks. The bat has been black and it has been yellow. The birds have perched in different angles and positions, and the rendering of the birds has evolved throughout history. But the basic design of the jersey remains intact.


How I Got Involved
In 1997 I was contacted by Bill DeWitt III to consult with him on his idea and desire to refresh and contemporize the Cardinals catalog of logos. He had already kicked off a design process with MLB and sought my input on the preliminary designs that were being presented. Rather than critique some one else’s work, or tell a designer in New York how to design the Cardinals logo, I suggested that we design the logo here in St. Louis. Bill and I would work through the details, draw the birds, and present the new logo to the Cardinals ownership and MLB for approval and adoption.

There are a few reasons why the Cardinals went through a branding update in 1997 and ’98. One, a new ownership group headed by the DeWitt Family acquired the Cardinals. Two, the logo graphics throughout the catalog were inconsistent. Different Birds were being used for various logo applications; primary logo, uniform logo, print logo, etc. And third, merchandising. The Cardinals needed graphics that would be stronger on various apparel applications and promotional merchandise.

In 1998 when the Cardinals first donned the new current design, the beaks were red. I argued that real Cardinal birds have red beaks, not yellow. I won that argument for only one season as we changed back to yellow beaks in 1999. We also made the birds legs thinner. In 2013 the birds became larger, and a new computerized process allowed the embroidery to become more accurate and include details in the eyes and bat that had been left out in previous years due to the limited ability of older stitching capabilities. Due to the hand embroidery technique the Cardinals have traditionally used, the birds on bat was simplified. Details such as the birds eye, the lines on the bat barrel and knob are less detailed than the print version. The updated technology being used in 2013 lead to a gorgeous reproduction of the graphic that is still chain stitched onto the jersey.


Another “tweak” to the logo catalog will come with the single bird on bat graphic. We designed an alternate version where the bat is rotated counter clockwise to create more of an X shape design. This provides greater balance to this logo for use other than its placement on the two tone, red brimmed “Sunday Cap.”

Something that often isn’t talked about is our Minor League affiliates. They’re graphic identities are just as important to the big league club and a winning tradition. The Springfield Cardinals and Palm Beach Cardinals graphics were updated sometime around 1999 or 2000 to follow and emulate the graphics of the updated Cardinals.

Creating a Historical Catalog
Uniforms of the past are often lost to history. Few are kept, but many are known by archival black and white photographs. Those that have survived are often bleached and tattered. Tracing the Cardinals uniform history takes us back to pre-1900. Uniforms were far different in those days. They lacked color, variety, special emblems, etc. Like most teams of that era, the Cardinals featured a “type only” solution for the jersey. Simple block fonts or a fancier victorian, celtic, or old english looking fonts were used.

Recent years have experienced a resurgence in the use of old and nostalgic graphics. MLB features a Cooperstown Collection in their style guide catalog. Many merchandise licensees have created a variety of products, mostly apparel that feature nostalgic Cardinals graphics. This has not only spawned renewed interest and merchandising opportunities it has also produced a number of misrepresentations, mistakes, and poor graphics that lack accuracy to the originals.


Most fans who are not familiar with the original graphics often end up buying and wearing something that is far less than authentic. The Cardinals, under DeWitt’s leadership and persistence have set out to restoring authenticity and respect for historical accuracy. This will be accomplished by two major initiatives. One, acquiring vintage uniforms for their museum collection, and two, researching each uniform and graphic so they can be redrawn using contemporary digitized techniques. These newly created, correct and authentic, graphics can be accurately displayed and reproduced.

We all owe a lot to Mark Okkonen, who has done the most research and brought us closer to authenticity of MLB uniforms of the past. His catalog of illustrations and documentation give us a solid platform to build on when we embark on recreating an accurate history of the logos and uniforms. The Cardinals historic catalog took more than a year to produce. Working closely with Cardinals president and their museum curators, digital vector drawings were created of each Cardinals logos and emblems that appeared on uniform jerseys, jackets and sweaters, caps, sleeve patches, and pins. All done with the purpose of restoring historic accuracy, a respect for Cardinals tradition, and an insistence that the vendors, merchandisers, and MLB would get it right.

. . .

Wow. And there you have it readers. Fantastic job by both Oliver and his dad, Gary. And a tremendous “Thank You!” from me is due for this interview. We here at Uni Watch greatly appreciate ALL you do and a tip of the cap to the St. Louis Cardinals organization for having such caring and quality people working for the club.


College Football Uniform News & Notes

NCAAFB Uniform News & Updates

This will be a semi-recurring column on Uni Watch and will appear whenever there is any news or updates on the College Football uniform front.

If you have ANY new NCAAFB news, follow and tweet me at @PhilHecken (and you’ll get your tweet in lights on here). You can also e-mail me (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) Gmail (dot) com) or send/cc: Paul to the following address: NewCollegeUni (at) Gmail (dot) com. OK? OK! (for any image, click to enlarge):

. . .

New Mexico State Aggies (helmets):

This speaks for itself. (h/t to Paul for the slideshow.

. . .

Oakland University Golden Grizzlies:


Who? Exactly. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the Grizz because this is their first year playing football! Founded in 1957, the school finally has a football program and “team will compete in the National Club Football Association’s Great Lakes Conference” (a club-level sport for now). You can read more about it here.

. . .

Texas A&M Aggies:


Nothing “new” or major to see here (unless perhaps you’ve thought of buying a Johnny Football jersey), but the new uniforms have the adidas trademark treadmarks on the shoulders. I should trademark that “trademark treadmark” line. (h/t to Matt Brown).

. . .

That’s it for the college uni news for today. Keep the tips coming folks!



UWFFL Preseason Week 2: The Harvest War
By Rob Holecko

Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love you
In this Harvest War

Okay, that may not exactly be the words to Neil Young’s 1992 song Harvest Moon, but it’s kinda close. Likewise the UWFFL may not exactly be fantasy football, but we showed last week that this concept might just be a pretty neat thing as well. We kicked off our first ever weekend of action, and over a thousand people voted in our kickoff game, The Founders’ Bowl, as Atlanta defeated San Francisco 645 to 492. Other than the Founders’ Bowl, the rest of the preseason action will see the 12 UWFFL teams facing some tough competition as they go head-to-head against their minor league counterparts. While Tampa and San Diego won their games, the big winner last week was the minor league Anchorage Orcas who upset the UWFFL Seattle Superbeasts, and it wasn’t even close. Voters seemed to really like Andrew Seagraves’ Orcas design and they easily won, 465 to 193.





Now onto this week’s action. We see our first full slate of eight games with some more new teams taking the field for you to vote on them for the first time. We get our first look at the Uni Watch endorsed, Paul Lukas’ approved Brooklyn Uni Watchers (He’s right — those do make good uniform colors), the debut of the upper peninsula of Michigan’s Eagle Harbor Portals (whose gradient uniform clashes with neither white nor color clad opponents — they intend on wearing it every week of the season), and also the debuts of new minor league franchises in Montreal, Sacramento, San Antonio as well as a second Brooklyn franchise. These Brooklynites — the Mariners — make their debut wearing their alternate uniform set that features a white helmet over a monoblack ensemble, while the UWFFL Texas Timberwolves make their 2013 debut going all-white stormtrooper at home.


But the headline of preseason week 2 is the Harvest War – a rivalry game being contested for the very first time between the St. Louis Slaughter of the UWFFL and the Kansas City Crop Dusters of the Central League. Like college rivalry games — the Old Oaken Bucket, the Little Brown Jug and Paul Bunyan’s Axe to name a few — the UWFFL will also see it’s share of geographically and otherwised based rivalries. This one is the brainchild of Kansas City owner Brady Ivie who wanted to strike up a rivalry with the Crop Duster’s I-70 rivals on the other side of Missouri, the UWFFL’s Slaughter. Okay, it’s not quite as important as the 1985 “I-70” World Series between the Royals and the Cardinals was, but let’s hope this will grow into a heated rivalry full of tradition and memories. (And let’s hope Don Denkinger doesn’t show up and ruin it.) Both teams are wearing a patch with the rivalry logo on the front of their uniform, and Kansas City has a special faux-leather helmet with player number on the side.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first weekend of games and remember, it’s not too late to join yourself. Now here’s this week’s games to vote on, click on the uniforms for a better look, and we’ll see you next week:

UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 
UWFFL Preseason Week 2 free polls 


ticker 2

Uni Watch News Ticker: What would the “Shamrock Series” be without Shamrock Series merch? “The usual crap,” says Warren Junium. … Reader Scott Hord went to the HOF game over the weekend with my son, and noticed “the angle of the new dolphin is not consistent throughout all the players’ helmets. It appears that the “official” angle is around the 10 o’clock angle of a clock face. I snapped some photos of the players after they headed back to the locker room after pre-game warmups. Seems though the angle of the dolphin on Kenny Stafford’s helmet is around 11 o’clock, while the angle on Philip Wheeler’s helmet is around the normal angle.” … According to Steve Woj, the most exciting thing that happened as a result of Julio Teheran hitting Bryce Harper on Tuesday night was the interesting discovery that not only do the Braves undershirts have the Swoosh located up high, they have a Griffey Swingman logo in the center. Steve asks, “Any idea is this is the standard issue undershirt or something else? The swoosh on the regular undershirts seems to be on the collar, but this one is a little lower.” … Here’s a look at Chelsea FC’s change kits (thanks to Bryan Justman). … In yesterday’s ticker, I linked to a photo of the 1952 Kansas City Blues, and now Terry Proctor sends in a photo of 1952 Little World Series ring won by the Rochester Red Wings. The Blues’ photo comes from this wonderful website, run by reader BSmile. … Things have been fairly quiet on the Washington football name controversy, but now, the Packers CEO says the ‘skins name is “very derogatory to a lot of people” (with thanks to Tommy Turner). … Tonight, the Greensboro Grasshoppers are holding a Tropical Jersey Night (for a good cause, of course) — check out the video for a look at the jersey. … If you watch the video embedded in this article, you’ll see NBA rookies wearing this year’s jerseys. … Remember when the Toronto Star held a contest to let fans redesign the Toronto Raptors’ uni? Yeah, that may have been a bad idea. … In yesterday’s ticker, I linked to an article on the new “Yahoo” logo. Tom Mulgrew says Yahoo announced further that this will be a month-long event, with multiple teases. “Apparently, Yahoo firmly belies that they are still relevant, and that anyone would wait more than 30 minutes, let alone be held in suspense for 30 days to see their new logo,” says Tom. … There is still lots of commentary on the NCAA’s hypocrisy regarding player jerseys, autographs, and money, but this NY Times article by Lynn Zinser is really good. … And, it looks like Johnny Manziel may not be the only one in trouble (with thanks to Andrew Cosentino) … Esquire magazine has weighed in on sports fashion, with an article on the 17 Best Sports Uniforms of all time (Tommy Turner, again). … Just two words from Brinke: “EXcellent commercial.” … Here is a “sneak peek” at the Harvard Men’s soccer jerseys for the fall (h/t Sully @pal3327). … Michigan has a sports logo contest run by the FreeP, says TheSeanGohman (@TheSeanGohman), who submitted, “Everything wrong with logos today can be seen in current results.” … Thomas Juettner asks, “Is it just me or is Buck Showalter wearing an older model of the standard dugout jacket with the sleeves cut off? It’s even hemmed at the cuffs. Very Belichik.” … Good article with slideshow from NESN on the evolution of the Boston Bruins uniforms over the years. … Good eye by Alan Borock, who noticed that apparently the Dolphins and Eagles have fans in Nairobi, Kenya. … Great old photos (ATTENTION COLORIZERS!) from David Bivin who writes, “During the late 40’s and early 50’s Auburn football teams wore a mixture of orange helmets and blue helmets depending on the player’s position (orange for backs, blue for linemen). What I’ve never noticed before is the two-toned pants that they wore. The front of the pants appears to be a different color and texture than the back half of the pants. You can really see it in the kneeling player. Player #34 is wearing an orange helmet and blue jersey. The front of his pants looks like it matches his helmet, but I don’t know. Have you ever seen this before? This picture is from the 1951 Auburn Glomerata (yearbook). I would love to see this colorized.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments (and we’ve posted this before but it never hurts to see it again) — here is the Prototype uniform for the Padres move to Washignton, DC. That prompted some discussion and yielded a larger version of the photo. Full story is here. … Check out these sweet custom bat knob decals for Cam Garfield! (Sully again). And another from Sully: Looks like Clemson BP balls have a new look. … To answer a question from yesterday’s ticker, “The initials on his (Alex Morgan’s) hat were for a buddy of his who was in a coma after getting into some sort of an accident recently,” says Mike Monaghan. … The Ravens upgraded their stadium a bit. “It’s definitely an improvement,” says submitter Andrew Cosentino. … Good spot by Zach Bennett who noticed the Fox Sports South Braves Live show is using the Nationals logo that was phased out in 2010. … Nice gallery of NFL Cheer unis through the years from the SF Gate (thanks, Brinke). … Josh Claywell saw this “KY” logo at a gas station near where he lives. “This is the first time I’ve seen a University of Kentucky logo like this,” says Josh. “Not sure why they couldn’t use it when a Louisville Cardinals logo is right above it.” … Nice grab by TommyTheCPA from The New York Times: “Warehouse of Baseball Memories Could Be Left Stranded.” … Anyone know what that is around David Ortiz’ neck, from last night’s game, (good spot by Kris Hunt). … Is there going to be a new gray facemask and stripe on UVa helmets? That’s the question posed by Jason DeHart, who says “Look at the blue helmets over Coach London’s helmet.” … I drove to UW headquarters last night to watch the movie “42” with Paul, who asked me if I heard about the vandalism to the Jackie Robinson statue in Brooklyn. Sheepishly, I replied I hadn’t and he told me about it. As if there were a bug in the room, Ricko Pearson shot me this article detailing the vandalism. Eerie. … Nathan Haas found this sweet Tennessee checkered polo while looking at lacrosse gear. Nice! I bet Jim Vilk would wear that. … And finally, there was a time when the idea of military pomp at a Canadian sporting event would have seemed absurdly out of place ”” that was an American thing. Oh, how the times have changed (with thanks to Mike Styczen).


Phew! That’s a biggun for today, I know, but it was just one of those chock-full kinda days! Big, HUGE thanks again to Oliver and Gary Kodner for that fantastic look at the Birds on Bat. Got another super post lined up tomorrow from Morris Levin to take you to the weekend, plus much more uni goodness. Hope you guys are enjoying things while Paul continues his blog-cation!

Everyone have a great Thursday — the weekend is almost here!

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“I tend to give credit also to looks that made a team particularly distinctive. All in all, the Phillies of today probably represent the team’s most successful era, but their current uniforms are ‘blah’ at best. Hey, look, a red cap with a white letter! How unique, right?”
–R. Scott Rogers

Comments (102)

    the guys who run Majestic have to be related to Bud Selig or they have pics of him molesting Collies. They do everything half ass and expect everyone else to just shut up and like it.

    Nah, you don’t need blackmail to explain the MLB-Majestic relationship. Any long-term exclusive-supplier deal creates the potential for exactly this sort of inverted power dynamic. Say Majestic produces shitty jerseys for a team – what is MLB or the team going to do? Order from Rawlings instead? Ooops! There’s a contract that says MLB and the team can’t order from anyone but Majestic.

    Now, this cuts both ways: MLB and most teams don’t care if Majestic or New Era deliver shitty uniforms. But the suppliers also know that, thanks to their league-wide exclusive contracts, teams and the league have very little real leverage over them. Three years into their redesign, the Nationals still can’t get either Majestic or New Era to use their new curly-W logo on jerseys and caps. On the one hand, that demonstrates a disappointing who-cares attitude from the Nats front office. On the other hand, it also likely demonstrates how difficult it is to get Majestic or New Era to deliver quality work, and at some point the hassle involved in begging the suppliers to pretty please do better work probably isn’t worth it to even those in the team office who care. They’ve got bigger fish to fry, or divisions to lose, or whatever.

    So kudos to the Cardinals for fighting the good fight even though long-term national exclusive contracts give them little to no leverage over Majestic. Uni quality would improve immensely if MLB had a two-suppler contract in which teams were free to switch suppliers year to year. But that would reduce the league’s revenue, and MLB is about making money, not upholding tradition or uniform integrity.

    Thanks to the Kodners for the insight into what the Cards are doing. May this be so successful that other teams will devote some attention to similar details.

    Heyward is a Swingman sponsored player just like McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Torri Hunter. They all wear those undershirts with the swingman logo. It’s not a braves thing it’s a player exclusive thing

    Guessing by the cap monogram, I’d say the Stars. I don’t think discussions ever proceeded far enough. I swoon every time I see that vertically-arched “Washington” title; it looks like architecture. Kind of reminds me of the joke on “All In The Family” when Edith said she enjoyed watching her six-fingered uncle install a light bulb.

    The Topps baseball cards just said “Washington. National League.” There was no nickname on them.

    Old-time fans in DC pretty much always say that the team was to have been the Washington Stars. I’m not sure if there’s a particular fact behind that belief – maybe even just speculation by a sports columnist at the time? – but that’s the story I’ve heard since moving here in 1992.

    “Yahoo firmly belies that they are still relevant” They might believe it too. That being said, it is getting them more publicity than I’ve seen them get in many a year.

    I still use Yahoo! all the time, and have them as my home page. They may not be as relevant as Google, but they are a LOT more relevant than AOL. Plus, to be honest, I get more news from Yahoo! than I do CNN, Fox News, or any newspaper in the United States– and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s web site ( are really the only other sites I even visit as far as news is concerned.

    Yahoo Mail and Flickr for all their missteps still have massive user bases. Their acquisition of Tumblr also brings them into the “now.” As trendy as it is to make fun of them, I wouldn’t bet against a legitimate rebirth.


    25 years ago the lights went on at Wrigley Field. God, being a baseball purist (according to my Dad) rained the game out.


    “… What would the ‘Shamrock Series’ be without Shamrock Series merch? ‘The usual crap,’ says Warren Junium. … ”


    “Look at the blue helmets over Coach London’s helmet.”

    Coach London’s *shoulder*, maybe??

    * Blake Griffin has been consistently funny in his Foot Locker commercials.

    * I can’t read today’s post title without thinking of link.

    * Real Madrid away is link. Also, link.

    You would think someone who gets as sweaty as a ballplayer would get a scapular medal instead of wearing the cloth version. Big Papi could easily afford one. I wonder how often he has to replace his scapular.

    Anyone who votes for the Chicago Cyclones today will receive a year’s supply of authentic Chicago Deep Dish pizza, a subscription for the Cheesecake of the month Club, and as an added bonus we WON’T hunt you down and kneecap you. We’re just nice like that ;)

    Uh-oh, the league may have to look into whether this constitutes what according to league bylaws, Article 3, Section 4.01(b) is defined as “attempting to coerce, rig or otherwise sway the outcome of league matches (i.e. the voting) by means including, but not limited to, bribery, coercion or intimidation.” And then of course there’s also Article 5, Section 42.1 (f) which gives me unilateral power to hand down sanctions for any actions, which at my sole discretion, are “against the best interests of the UWFFL.” That gives me a broad brush with which deal with this sort of a thing. Watch your step, Mullins.

    Of course just yesterday I had another team owner promise to stock the fridge at my luxury suite with beer, so of course for the right price, I’m sure I could, uh, look the other way.

    Thank God the UWFFL doesn’t have to deal with PEDs.

    Thank God the UWFFL doesn’t have to deal with PEDs.

    I would have thought that Performance-Enhancing Design would be a major issue for the UWFFL to police.

    Speaking of performance-enhancing design, apologies to the Sharks. I voted for the Brooklyn Uni-Watchers before realizing what a sad, cynical pander their name and identity represents. They’re officially the Yankees of this league. That’s just not right, so hereafter I pledge to vote against BUW every time. I’m just sorry to the Sharks that I didn’t realize how blatantly I was being manipulated before casting my ballot.

    Well, I wouldn’t call it pandering – just putting the uniform colors that Paul chose for this site so long ago finally up to a test to see how they stand up aesthetically competing against other team concepts.

    Oh, and don’t let Paul catch you saying “Brooklyn Uni-Watchers”; it’s “Brooklyn Uni Watchers” – that hyphen will get you every time.

    I still say the Uni Watchers are the equivalent of putting a Ronald Reagan look-alike named Taft McLiberty on a Republican primary ballot. Besides, every league needs a Yankees to root against.

    Sorry, but I have to go with the Corn in this one (although a copy of NCAA 14 might be enough to sway my vote).

    This will not stand! The pop-up ad runs every time I return to this window and disables my arrow-scrolling tools. Head will roll…

    It’s partly a browser/add-on thing too.
    Firefox with adblock at home – no problem.
    Chrome on my phone – no problem.
    Silk on my kindle – no problem.
    Archaic version of IE at the office – problems.

    Archaic version of IE at the office — problems.

    My work IE is so bad I only get a blank box in the middle of the page. It can’t run whatever is supposed to be running I guess.


    Yeah, I’ve just had a overlaid video ad that I couldn’t shut down until it was finished, plus a pop-up bar thing at the bottom. Using FF with adblock, too.

    Good spot by Zach Bennett who noticed the Fox Sports South Braves Live show is using the Nationals logo that was phased out in 2010.
    It’s still their best insignia.

    I don’t know, at first glance, it looks like a tweak/update of the National League crest, and the typography makes it look like everything else Todd Radom did (and copied by other teams) in the early 2000s.

    That said, there’s an oversaturation of the curly “W” (which I like on its own) in the current uniform set.

    The old wordmark still dominates the link at Nat’s Park as well.

    I’ve got to agree with what Scott said above, after 3 years in DC the “who cares” attitude from the Nat’s front office is disappointing.

    The Nats didn’t help themselves by misspelling the name on the fronts of some jerseys, but the lettering had an art deco flair to it. My favorite feature was the ribbon at the top; it’s evocative of the scrollwork at the top of the white columns of so many DC buildings.

    Everything about the original Nats identity (well, except the curly W) was evocative federal architecture. The lettering could have been drawn from any of a dozen FDR-era federal buildings; the ribbon was as you say; even the rounded “belly” of the logo resembled the rotundas and entryways of so many federal offices. Even the beveling gave the letters the look of engraved lettering, which is ubiquitous on federal buildings and monuments. That whole 2005 identity was a seriously underappreciated design – at least outside of DC.

    Great article today. I, too, dislike that MLB and Majestic get so much wrong with the official logos. whenever they make “Atlanta” merch, they use an A with a pointed top, when the official script on the jerseys is more rounded.

    Should be this:

    Not this:

    I am severely disappointed that the best dressed team in Texas only got 9 votes so far. And is losing to the Oregon of Texas.

    Thank God its only preseason.

    Regarding the UK logo on the beer sign: I wonder if it has something to do with conference affiliations. I know one of the main reasons, among many, that UofL is superior to UK is that the Big East allows alcohol sales at games while the SEC does not.

    I wondered the same thing a couple of years ago when I saw that KY logo at a bar in Louisville. The beer distributor told me they didn’t have the licensing rights as Anheuser-Busch wasn’t the official beer of UK.

    Ya know, I never even thought about that. I just never remembered seeing that logo before.

    The Yum Center does not allow — or at one point didn’t — alcohol sales during games. At least that was the case when I covered a game there in the 2010-11 season.

    I’ve had plenty of beers at the Yum center during games. Were you there during the tournament? If so, that might have been why.

    So glad that someone is fighting against the scourge of Northern Cardinal being depicted with yellow bills. Highest honor to Gary Kodner! link

    It’s baffling to me how MLB, which has always seemed to stand for the great traditions of baseball, will be so blasé about uniforms. Of course, this from the organization that has let pajama pants become the rule of the day. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising.

    Most fans who are not familiar with the original graphics often end up buying and wearing something that is far less than authentic.

    We feel your pain.

    the Brooklyn Dodgers

    Good to see my alma mater Oakland FINALLY getting a football team. We fought like hell when I was there (2003-07) to at least get something started. Now where can I overpay for one of those awful jerseys?


    You should read this, no matter where you stand on the issue, or even if you think it’s a non-issue brought up by the PC police looking for an opportunity to be offended. Despite the dramatic line-in-the-sand-drawing, it’s a pretty measured piece that takes merits both for and against the name, and concedes that the name itself actually isn’t terribly offensive.

    Maybe it’s just being a Cubs fan but I could really give two shits about the Cardinals uniform and I don’t understand all the fawning about it. It’s just one of those things that seems to add to Cardinals fans thinking they are God’s gift to sports and fandom when really they’re just a bunch of racist assholes.

    I have to agree, calling the bird-on-bat one of the most recognized and prominent graphics in all of sports is a stretch. Maybe in the Midwest, maybe amongst baseball fans, but definitely not “all of sports.”

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous… but not “famous.”

    Being bitter because it’s been 105 years since your team has won a World Series is one thing…but to begrudge an organization that is superior in every way possible is lame.
    To throw “racist” into the mix because you are a fan of a poorly run team that has been the laughingstock of baseball for over a century is just asinine.
    Hopefully your bitterness over the Cardinals’ success does not take over the rest of your day to day life.
    Good day.

    To be fair, I think Mike means that the fans, not the organization is racist. Though as DJ points out, Cubs fans aren’t that great either, and link.

    I’m sure you could make a twitter like that for fans of any team. There are fans of every team who use derogatory terms. I this behavior is not unique to Cardinals fans.

    Maybe, but it was especially pronounced during the Giants series last year.

    And it’s more a reaction to that “best fans in baseball” business than anything else.

    Racist? The fanbase that reveres Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, and Ozzie Smith, still cheers them every opening day? The fanbase that’s lobbying to retire the number of a guy who wasn’t even that good, but is a Cardinal icon (Willie McGee)? The fanbase whose latest hero is Yadier Molina? Racist? You’re a putz.

    Not even going to touch the racist thing, but I agree with everything else Mike posted.

    I’ve been screamed at, had stuff thrown at me and nearly spit on (by men) just for having the audacity to wear my Cubs gear at a Cardinals game and my Hawks sweater at a Blues game. 3 visits to St. Louis and 2 trips to get security.

    Sorry, to say it, but there are a lot of classless fans in St. Louis. There are some nice ones that backed me up with security, but the “fans” are becoming increasingly hostile.

    Finally – I cannot fathom why people (in this thread, Josh) have to bring up the World Series streak in conversations that have nothing to do about win/loss records. It seems that more people outside of the Cubs fanbase are more interested in that streak than actual Cub fans. Get over it, already.

    What’s really fun about that Free Press (not FreeP) Michigan logo contest is the fact that a good chunk of those logos are out of date. Michigan’s style guidelines officially banned the split-M logo about three or four years ago. The Michigan State logo is about two or three years out of date, too.

    As a fan and alum, I hope that UVA helmet doesn’t make it to the field – although I would welcome the return of the “HOOS” helmet bumper.

    Texas A&M has replaces the block A&M logo on the back collar area of jersey with the State of Texas A&M logo.

    You can see the stitching outline here:


    Not the biggest Cardinals fan, here, chiefly because in 2011 they were a so-so team who rode a timely hot streak to a World Series Title. That said, the birds-n-bat insignia and the care the team curates upon it reminds me of what got me interested in sports, in the first place.

    If it weren’t for Carlos Marmol blowing 2 more saves to allow the Cardinals in, they would have been on the golf course. I still think they owe Marmol some playoff $.

    I was totally shocked to see that uniform in there too, they have so many better uniforms: the current set, the 1959 set and my favorite the 1917 set.

    Yeah, the Sox have a few winners to choose from, that seemed like a strange choise. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the link uni that they wore for the final games at Comisky the original “throwback.”

    The 1919 uniforms were worn at Old Comiskey in May (IIRC), in a game against the Brewers. For the final two series at Old Comiskey (and their last road trip to Boston), the White Sox got permission to wear the uniforms they were going to wear beginning in 1991 — the black, white, and silver ones they’ve basically worn to this day.

    Seems clear from the whole list that someone involved in creating it was born in the early 1970s and grew up in Chicago. But aside from the Chitown bias, it’s about as defensible a “best uniforms” list as you ever see in the mainstream press. Even that Sox uni has a pretty classic baseball look, as long as you don’t notice the thigh numbers. I’m not saying it belongs on anyone’s best-of list, or even best-of-the-White-Sox list, but it’s not an insane choice. Misguided, more like.

    Some questions come up when reading this article.
    1) The interview links to Cardinals link with the top of the “T” having straight lines, however for as long as I can remember the top of the T on the actual Cardinals caps has link
    What is the official STL logo supposed to look like?

    Secondly, the interview mentions the integrity of minor league affiliate logos, yet the AAA Memphis Redbirds have always had a link on their jersey. These little things have bothered me for many years.

    Anyone know the answer?

    yes. The current CORRECT logo is the slanted T, the photo you’re seeing in the article is a work in progress page, it has had a new page replaced in the Cardinals specific style guide book. I should have thrown in a newer photo. Memphis indeed has a red beak, we don’t know much about Memphis’s graphic team other than they opted to use the a singular current bird with no bat and red beak.

    Thanks. I have seen the straight “T” logo around. I just assumed it was an older version of the STL. Of course it could be like the Tigers D which has different incarnations.

    I always wondered about Memphis. Their franchise began in 1998, and used the red beak just like the MLB Cardinals. I assumed that when the Cardinals changed in 1999 to the yellow beak, Memphis chose to go with what they already were using because it cost too much to re-do everything.
    However, when Memphis underwent a makeover prior to the 2007 season I was really surprised they kept the red beak.
    Here’s their old wordmark from 1998-2006

    This gentleman has released WWI photos taken by his great-grandfather, a German Lt. I love looking at these types of things.


    Great lede today!

    Birds make such fine mascots (well, the SHOULD, anyway). Elusive, interesting looking, colorful adaptors.

    The Cardinals, with the various incarnations and miscalculations included, do it right. So do the Orioles, whether it be the current cartoon bird or the ornithologically correct one. There’s a certain charm in these bird logos: light hearted, yet dignified. Fitting emblems for sport.

    What other bird teams get/had the essence of what the Cards and O’s have achieved?…

    The Eagles Jaworski era helmet
    The Phoenix Roadrunners
    The Dallas Chaparrels
    The old Pelicans minor league team
    The old Hawks pacman
    The Seahawks–both old and current

    There are many others.
    The football Cardinals before the unfortunate tweak

    The Rice Owls have had their moments. Pretty much anytime a football team puts wings on their helmets, it’s great.

    The Rochester Red Wings, before the recent, muscular mascot, who is clearly chemically-enhanced, did a nice job with their bird.

    Lots of English football clubs use birds as mascots. And it’s nice to see fewer eagles and hawks and more thrushes, seagulls, and owls.

    To mix two recent tropes on this blog: The Washignton Loons. A graceful bird mascot and an apt depiction of the area’s most notable residents.

    That “Football on Your Phone”(Manning Bros.) commercial in the NYT article is hysterical.

    While reading this article there’s a Lids add on the side (at least for me) showing a pair of Orioles caps with patches for events that don’t match the timelines of the logos on the font.

    link one has a link with a link patch (Memorial Stadium was last used by the O’s in 1991)

    link has a link with 1966 World Champions patch

    Was in the Lids store in Times Square the other day, and they had a whole wall of not quite accurate throwback hats. Plus, not one, not two, but 6 different screaming/laughing Brave hats. Ugh.

    It’s funny the throwback logos and styles that catch on as fashion accessories. Every once in a while, I’ll come across two of my “holy grail” caps, 1992-2004 navy Expos and 2001 purple Diamondbacks, but my size always seems to sell out before I find it. In the meantime, I’ll have had to wade through umpteen variations on the Laughing Savage or Lake Elsinore or color-shifted Mariners or whatever.

    Big Papi looks like he was wearing a scapular, as someone already noted. Can’t tell if the submitter’s TV was just super oversaturated or if he was wearing the red scapular (link).

    Ravens uniform changes:


    I’m pretty sure the info about them not having an NFL shield on them is wrong.

    I’m inclined to agree.
    John Harbaugh uses another set of game jerseys as practice jerseys to “recreate” game conditions. That’s why they look so similar, aside from the workout and sponsorship patches. I’d fully believe that the collar got tweaked (they aren’t the only ones), but I’d guess that the NFL shield patches are being saved for game-use gamers.

    The first photo link to the Willie McGee jersey is to a Chinese counterfeit website. I mention this because the url says Mitchell & Ness as the product descriptor. They try to be pretty accurate with Cardinals throwbacks (and the other teams); would be interesting to know how challenging their relationship is with MLB after reading about the difficulties the Cardinals are having with MLB & Majestic.

    Love the way the Cardinals organization cares about this stuff. This should be the standard in professional sports, not the exception.

    Majestic has also screwed up the Mets jersey logo as has been noted before. I hate the fact that every team must use the same supplier. In my view, Rawlings usually stayed true to team graphics. It’s not hard…get a clean version of the original logo and unless the team requests a modification, keep the same template. In the Mets case, the 1962 script should be re-created exactly…any variation since then has been accidental and unnecessary.

    BYU just announced on their Twitter feed that they’re replacing player names on the football jerseys with the words “Tradition”, “Honor”, and “Spirit”.

    BYU not doing names on the back of jerseys this year. They will read “Tradition” “Spirit” or “Honor.” The BYU athletic department’s slogan.

    Fan reaction ain’t positive.

    Coach Bronco Mendenhall just announced the team will wear regular NOBs with “Tradition”, “Spirit”, and “Honor” only worn for homecoming.

    I have been enthralled with Craig Robinson’s Flip Flop Fly Ball for years now, but I always like this one especially and it is applicable to today’s article:


    Damn, GOOD SPOT — no, I have no son — he went with his son — when he sent in the e-mail he put it in the first person and I neglected to change it to the third when I posted that ticker item.

    LOL. It took me a long time to figure out what you were asking.

    I want to reply to R. Scott Rogers’ last bit about the Phillies uniforms. Why do they have TV numbers on one shoulder? There are a lot of great logo patches they could use to inject a bit more color-including the field-shaped logo and their great Liberty Bell one.

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