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R.I.P., Jerry Dior

Paul here, making a rare weekend appearance. Unfortunately, it’s to share some sad news, as word broke last night that Jerry Dior, the graphic designer who created Major League Baseball’s distinctive silhouetted batter logo in 1968, had passed away at the age of 82.

I first encountered Jerry in 2008, when he was fighting to be recognized as the logo’s designer. MLB had never formally credited him, or anyone else, and they no longer had any records from the logo design project. Neither did Jerry himself, although lots of his colleagues from the time of the project vouched for him. He didn’t want any money (nor was he entitled to any, as the logo was a standard work for hire); he just wanted acknowledgment. But another designer, James Sherman, was also claiming to have been the logo’s designer.

I interviewed Jerry (who had already been the subject of a then-recent Wall Street Journal article) and also tracked down Sherman (whom the Journal hadn’t been able to find). In the course of my interview with Sherman, he admitted that he wasn’t the MLB logo’s designer after all. That left Jerry’s claim uncontested. MLB formally acknowledged him the following year. It was an extremely proud moment for Jerry and his family.

Jerry also let me interview him for a follow-up article regarding the familiar story that his logo was based on a photo of Harmon Killebrew. I interviewed Killebrew for that story as well, and the bottom line was that the logo was not based on Killebrew or on anyone else. Jerry specifically designed it to look like a generic player. The idea that it was based on Killebrew, it turns out, originated with Killebrew himself, who mistakenly believed he was the logo’s inspiration and told many people the story over the years. (When Killebrew died in 2011, many obituaries and observers erroneously mentioned that he was the basis for the logo, and I had to set the record straight all over again.)

Jerry Dior was one of the nicest men I’ve ever known — an absolute peach and a consummate gentleman who was always a pleasure to talk to. In 2009 he came to one of our Uni Watch parties here in Brooklyn, and it was a thrill to have him there:

After nearly half a century, Jerry’s logo still looks as fresh and contemporary as it did when he designed it. It’s arguably one of the most influential logos of the 20th century, having served as the basis for the NBA logo (that mark’s designer, Alan Siegel, has readily admitted as much) and for countless other copycat designs, from ultimate Frisbee leagues to beer pong tournaments. Each of those copies was, in its way, a tribute to Jerry Dior, who leaves behind a visual legacy that, I suspect, has not yet reached the midpoint of its lifespan. R.I.P.

(Big thanks to Phil for executing the black-armbanded version of Jerry’s logo.)

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. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Phil here — thanks for that wonderful lede, Paul. Now, on with the rest of today’s Uni Watch:

all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

And so, lets begin:

~~~

First up today is Steve Lemak with a Tampa Bay Bucs concept:

Bucs-Concept - Steve Lemak

Hi Paul & Phil,

Longtime fan and member since April 2011

Last year BEFORE the Bucs came out with a new uniform design, I created my own concept…

Saw some concepts on your site and wanted to share this one

All the best!

-Steve

. . .

And we close today with Irwin Awalludin with his take on the Browns (note – these were sent in on at 2:40 pm April 14; the Browns uniforms weren’t unveiled until later that evening, though there had been leaks):

Browns rebrand 1 - Irwan Awalludin

Browns rebrand 2 - Irwan Awalludin

Hi Uni Watch!

I tried my hand at re-branding the browns…If you have the time, it would be an honor to have you critique my project for me. Your attention to detail is second to none, and learning more about your perspective on all things athletic branding would be much appreciated!

Thanks for your time!

– Irwan

But Irwan didn’t just send in those two images — he has an entire project, so check it out!

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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EPL Tracker

Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.

Here is the EPL tracker for Week 38 (click to enlarge):

EPL Week 38

And some words from Alex:

Here’s my final EPL tracker of the season, and a bonus season recap graphic as well.

EPL Season Wrapup

Also my team-by-team reports are all completed.

. . . . .

Big (HUGE) Thanks to Alex for the EPL tracking all season long! Looking forward to it next season.

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Kary Klismet, who sent a rather lengthy (but good) E-mail about yesterday’s “Jersey Day” promotion by MLB.

It’s a bit too long for the regular ticker, so here it goes:

. . .

Great news! Majestic’s “Jersey Day,” which debuted last year to great acclaim, is now an annual tradition! (That is, if being “celebrated” on two consecutive Fridays in late May can be considered “annual.”) It’s too bad I didn’t get the below email until after I arrived at work and had, foolishly, chosen something other than a jersey as my workplace attire.

Regardless, it’s only a matter of time before Jersey Day is a beloved national holiday, celebrated right alongside the likes of National Biscuit Day and Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day. With any luck, one of these years Major League Baseball will unveil BFBS jerseys with pink camouflage lettering and stars and stripes numbers to commemorate the occasion.

On a different but related note, I found out about National Biscuit Day and Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day through a website called checkiday.com, which lists what commemorative occasions are observed on each day of the calendar. I’m not sure if it qualifies as an entry for the Grab Bag section of the Ticker or the Catch of the Day, but it’s good for a few laughs in any case, so I thought I’d pass it along.

jersey day
jersey day 2

Thanks, Kary. Great Stuff.

OK. Now, onto the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: The Toledo Mudhens will wear Jurassic Park inspired jerseys on June 6th. … Check out this beautiful shot of the Brooklyn Dodgers from Dugout Legends. Looks to be about 1956 (Furillo, Hodges, Amoros, Robinson, Snider, Reese, Gilliam, Maglie, Mgr. Alston); also note The Barber has the Mcauliffe font. … “A favorite commercial of mine as a kid but go to 18 second mark and you’ll see the Phillies have two players wearing #28,” notes Jeffrey Sak. … A wholesaler that imported more than 20,000 counterfeit Atlanta Braves baseball caps into the United States must pay nearly $700,000 in fines, a federal judge ruled (from Chris Bisbee). … Check out this “awesome” war themed poster (h/t Nicole Haase). … The Fort Wayne Tin Caps had a pretty cool “Lego night” jersey going yesterday (h/t MiLB Promotions). … According to Baseball America, the Richmond Flying Squirrels have the best logo in minor league baseball (thanks to Tommy Turner). … The Reno Aces need your help in choosing a jersey to wear (from MiLB Promos). … “My father sent this along,” writes Alex Hider. “He works in the Scripps building in Cincinnati and got an email saying that work would be going on next week to decorate the building this way. No idea if this is a joke or not…I’m really hoping it’s not.” … Michael Rich stumbled upon an interview with David Kelly, the author of a series of children’s books called “Ballpark Mysteries”. He adds, “The cover art alone looks like it’s worth the purchase price!” … Louisville has some new post season unis (thanks to Josh). Yeah, um…are those SLOH (School Logo On Hamstring)? Apparently Texas A&M also has some, um, interesting pants too, although those could be built in slider pads. … Here’s yet another reason to love Joe Maddon: the Cubs dress code requires toe nail polish. … Have we ever noted that at least one Rockies player have a glove in the accursed color of death (if so, my apologies). … Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was at last night’s Giants game. Wearing his Giants gear (from Sean Robbins). … Here’s a closeup of Justin Upton’s camo gloves (via Brady Phelps).

NFL/Football News: “(Yester)day’s ticker mentioned the Giants wearing yellow wristbands in NFC Championship and then flags on helmets in Super Bowl in 1990,” writes Vince Guardado. “I remember 10 years earlier the Raiders wearing a piece of yellow tape on their helmets for the hostages in Iran that were just released prior to the game.” … Baylor Coach Art Briles tweeted out this look at the new Baylor football uniform yesterday (h/t Tim O’Donnell). … Interesting story from the Green Bay Packers’ website with a list of the worst Packers-related fires since the team was founded in 1919; many of the fires consumed much of the team’s uniforms and equipment (from Bryan Martin Firvida). … According to Brett McMurphy, “Each SEC school will wear a light blue decal on helmet, recognizing prostate cancer in honor of outgoing commish Mike Slive.” (thanks to Andrew Cosentino). … The NCAA has officially banned “overbuilt” face masks, which are face masks that cover a majority of the face and look like something that an executioner from way back when would wear. … Whoops (h/t Kevin Kielczewski).

NBA/Basketball News:Found this at the local Wal*Mart last nite,” says Marc Swanson. “‘NBA Conference Champions,’ not ‘NBA Eastern Conference Champions.’ Is this a common thing or just a stupid WM thing? The backside featured this same nomenclature on the Velcro clasp. Sorry, I don’t recall what that logo is on the left side.” … Marquette basketball clarified they only retire uniforms, but not numbers, which has caused a few occasions that offended their honored past players, according to Matt Sepersky. “Latest star recruit tweeted he was going to be wearing the number of a player who had his uniform retired, which caused a minor problem in Milwaukee.”

Hockey News: “I belong to a goalie Facebook page and one of our members does custom goal pad designs,” writes Tony Caliguiri. “I thought you might want to check it out.” … More cross-sport “endorsements”: No photos (yet) but Matt Larsen notes, “I’m watching the Cubs/Royals game on MLB.tv. Len Kapser, the Cubs’ play-by-play man, just said Joe Maddon is going to try to have the team wear Blackhawks jerseys (or sweaters, my preferred term) during batting practice (Saturday). How’s that going to work? Do they know how lose-fitting a hockey sweater is, especially without pads?” … Liam Neeson was at the Rangers/Lightning game last night, sporting a Rangers lapel pin.

Soccer News: Had enough of the FIFA scandal yet? Bob Ley has, and (sans beard now), he shows why he’s freakin’ awesome. … Nice breakdown in The Washington Post of how Nike’s chase to become a soccer company and pay Brazil $200 million to sponsor their national team unis may come back to haunt them (from Bryan Martin Firvida).

Grab Bag: “I thought (Paul) might get a kick out of what this web site sells,” says Marc Malfara. … Draft Kings has bought the presenting rights to Belmont (thanks, Paul). … This is neat: Leo Strawn, Jr. designed the kit for the USAFL’s Cleveland Cannons and “the jumpers just arrived. They turned out pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.” … Reader John Muir writes, “I hope this makes you feel better about how the empty space on the side of a municipal vehicle is used.” … Matthew Moss notes a lot of the rejected nicknames in this article would make some interesting logos. … Humboldt High School in Iowa had some of those LoudMouth Golf pants for their state tourney (via Jay Wright). … “Black is the new Green”: Charles T. Citrin writes, “Thought you might find the tagline of this advertisement for my school’s store somewhat amusing. Not necessarily uni-related per se, but given the BFBS trend (which has slowly started to creep into my school’s storied athletic department, as well) I figured it might be worth sharing anyways.” … Evanston Township High School has introduced a redesigned school seal and Wildkit logo (from Steve Johnston).

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And that’s all for today — Thanks to Paul for penning that wonderful lede (I actually had one ready to go and Paul was going to add some thoughts about Jerry to add — but when I saw what he had written, I asked if he’d like to lede with it, as I thought it’s important enough to warrant it). I met Jerry Dior once — at one of the 2009 Uni Watch gatherings in Brooklyn. Although we didn’t speak long, he was a gracious and great guy, and I’m sure he ended up speaking to each and every Uni Watcher who was at Sheep Station that day. RIP, Jerry.

Everyone have a good Saturday — and I’ll catch you all tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken

Peace.

.. … ..

“The comments that say “I like the design but the ”˜PANDERING’ thing bothers me” remind me of people who like the first two lines of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” but find the rest of the song off-putting.”

–terriblehuman

32 comments to R.I.P., Jerry Dior

  • David Firestone | May 30, 2015 at 7:22 am |

    Graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2000, and I can honestly say that the new logo looks like an angrier version of the old Wildkit logo.

    Above and beyond that, it should be noted for the sake of completeness that Wildkits is a homage to the Wildcats of Northwestern, and John Riddell of Riddell Helmets invented the removable cleat while the coach of the ETHS Football team.

  • Thresh8 | May 30, 2015 at 7:29 am |

    RIP Jerry Dior.

    Fascinating to think of the design timeline from the big, ornate original NL/AL logos a century plus ago, to the first NFL shield, and then the modern MLB logo and all its descendants.

    Having seen the back of a lot of US coins, it reminds me a bit of numismatics.

    This is neat: Leo Strawn, Jr. designed the kit for the USAFL’s Cleveland Cannons.

    There’s an Aussie Rules league in the USA? Why isn’t it on my TV dial yet?

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2015 at 7:33 am |

      You don’t get The Ocho?

    • Leo Strawn Jr | May 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm |

      There is a way to stream USAFL matches online during the Nationals in October, each year. If you go to usafl.com or their fb page you can get info on those and an occasional match during the year.

      Nationals were held in Columbus last year and I asked one of the Manly Warringah Giants (who came over after winning the Sydney AFL to assist in the festivities, here) about the quality of play here v. Australia and I was told our (USAFL’s) elite teams (about half dozen teams nationwide) could probably be competitive in one of the two lowest (out of 5) Sydney AFL divisions, which I thought was pretty impressive, realistically. We’re relatively new at footy in USA.

      So, keep that in mind if you ever do get to watch USAFL games. Most of us could probably get our asses handed to us by a bunch of 12 yr. old Aussies.

      • Thresh8 | May 30, 2015 at 3:58 pm |

        I’ll check it out!

        And as far as “quality of play” goes, I rememeber the original NASL home-grown American players, so I won’t get hung up on that.

  • BurghFan | May 30, 2015 at 7:49 am |

    It’s great that Uni Watch (and others) were able to get Jerry Dior the credit he deserved while he was still able to appreciate it. RIP.

    • Connie DC | May 30, 2015 at 8:48 am |

      Yes, indeed. Good for Paul!

  • Charlie | May 30, 2015 at 7:51 am |

    Irwan, beautiful stuff and a compelling case made for Brownie logo. I think your redesign is the “revolutionary” look we were promised, but which the organization failed to deliver. Congrats, you’re a great designer. Hope you get the exposure you deserve.

  • Uni Troll | May 30, 2015 at 8:02 am |

    “Do they know how lose-fitting a hockey sweater is…”

    Loose-fitting?

    Or perhaps just the kind that makes winning difficult…?

  • Steve D | May 30, 2015 at 8:29 am |

    I feel sad on Jerry’s passing and feel a connection to him now, as I read that we went to the same high school…Lincoln HS in Brooklyn.

    Paul did a great job in those interviews and they reveal a lot about the people involved and the history of the logo. It is great that the logo has withstood the test of time and let’s hope even MLB is not dumb enough to ever change it.

    • Mild bill | May 30, 2015 at 8:49 am |

      I always liked the MLB logo. Anyone know if there has ever been an attempt to replace?

  • Stan Bunting | May 30, 2015 at 9:19 am |

    So cool to see Swansea finish the season with just two kits worn – the way it should be…

  • Bando | May 30, 2015 at 10:13 am |

    I think it’s testament to the power and ubiquitousness of Dior’s logo that the first thing I noticed in the lede story was the black armband photoshopped in. Looks so wrong, but oh so appropriate.

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2015 at 11:08 am |

      Well put. As I was writing my little testimonial to Jerry, I came up with that idea. I have zero graphics skills (something I need to address), so I described what I wanted to Phil and asked if he could execute it for me, and he nailed it on the first shot. Simple but effective.

  • terriblehuman | May 30, 2015 at 10:23 am |

    I was thinking about all the copycat color block/silhouette designs he inspired, and then I thought about the logos he outlived. Just in soccer, there’s the old MLS logo, plus the ones for defunct women’s leagues, WUSA and WPS. And I’m sure there’s a lot more.

  • Pittsburgh Contrarian | May 30, 2015 at 10:51 am |

    I always thought that the MLB logo was of Pete Rose.

    • Mark K | May 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm |

      You would’ve lost that bet.

  • terriblehuman | May 30, 2015 at 10:58 am |

    This pitcher might benefit from a pinstripe or two: http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/300-pound-college-pitcher-takes-internet-by-storm-1707895149

    Also, not surprised Nike might get in trouble for the Brazil sponsorship. So many middlemen and agents and third party owners to get past to do anything done in their soccer structure.

  • Bill S | May 30, 2015 at 11:03 am |

    In regards to the Cavaliers cap that reads “Conference Champions,” Tampa Bay Lightning players were wearing caps that also read “Conference Champions” last night.

    http://shop.nhl.com/Tampa_Bay_Lightning_Hats/Mens_Tampa_Bay_Lightning_Reebok_Black_2015_Eastern_Conference_Champions_Locker_Room_Adjustable_Hat

  • Will | May 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm |

    To Leo Strawn Jr. Very nice job on the Cannons jumper. As an AFL fan , and more specifically a fan of the West Coast Eagles, I’d say your design looks like it could fit right in with the AFL while having the originality of the two colored sash. Very cool.

    • Leo Strawn Jr | May 30, 2015 at 3:05 pm |

      Thanks, mate!

  • Mike V. | May 30, 2015 at 1:03 pm |

    Nice job on the armband on the logo. You made him a lefty!

    • Mainspark | May 30, 2015 at 1:34 pm |

      As a righty,I always saw the logo as a right handed hitter too but with the armband I can also see it now as a depiction of a left handed hitter. I wonder if others viewed the logo based on which side of the plate they hit from? More importantly, it is just further proof of what a great ideaign it is.

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm |

      We didn’t “make” him a lefty; he was always intended to be viewable from either the front or the back, and as either a righty or a lefty. That was part of the genius of Jerry’s design.

  • Larry | May 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm |

    ESPNU did a “look in” on the Tulane vs Lehigh NCAA regional game and Tulane has a sweet Cardinals inspired home jersey. They replaced the redbirds on the bat with pelicans above “Tulane” written in script. Nice design.

  • Billy | May 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm |

    Don’t know if this has ever been on the site….here is video(part 4 of 4) from the closing ceremonies of Veterans Stadium In 2003.

    Larry christenson is rocking the All Burgandy uniforms!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uy3upodXR4U

  • Uni Troll | May 30, 2015 at 11:09 pm |

    On Irwan Awalludin’s Browns concept:

    I kinda like that helmeted brownie logo. It’s a bit silly, but some of the best logos are.

    I often feel a bit bad about giving harsh criticism on a fan design where someone clearly put in a lot of work, but the rest of this concept is something of a mess.

    I’m not sure about the permissibility of NFL teams omitting TV numbers, so I’ll give that a pass, though it makes the shoulder area a bit plain. I can say with confidence that a two-helmet scheme is against league rules, and I’m really not sure why it’s even desirable here. The second helmet (with the single brown stripe) just strikes me as rather dull; I much prefer the three-stripe version.

    I’m not crazy about the numbers font; this appears to be the old ’60s Houston Oilers-style numeral (that used to be common on clock faces, I should mention). I don’t think it works for the Browns.

    Lots of problems with the pants, I have to say. Whether or not we agree on the suitability of lettering down the side, some sort of contrasting color is needed to break things up a bit. I’m confused about the contrasting waist area, though; especially in a combo where it matches the jersey color, this would likely make a player’s torso seem freakishly long.

    The gray pieces are wholly unnecessary; the Browns have never used any substantial amount of gray, and this smacks of bad-fad-following.

    I also can’t get behind color-on-same-color sets. Brown-on-brown and orange-on-orange are just ugly, amateurish looks.

    As for the socks…I’m not sure why so many people are trying to abandon the tradition of white lower socks in football, but it really makes things look messy and awkward. And on a related note, what’s the deal with the guy’s base layer (?) showing between his pants and high socks? Is that intentional?

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. I really do like seeing these fan designs…even when I don’t especially care for the designs themselves.

    • BvK1126 | May 30, 2015 at 11:24 pm |

      “I can say with confidence that a two-helmet scheme is against league rules, and I’m really not sure why it’s even desirable here. The second helmet (with the single brown stripe) just strikes me as rather dull; I much prefer the three-stripe version.”

      It’s not a violation of the one-helmet rule if a team uses the same base helmet and just switches decals. Just sayin’…

  • Uni Troll | May 30, 2015 at 11:34 pm |

    That’s allowed for a throwback set. But I’m fairly certain that each team’s *current* helmet design must be consistent for every game; the Titans, for example, couldn’t use the flaming T logo one week, and the sword logo the next. One would presume that any stripe patterns are required to remain the same throughout the season, as well.

    • Uni Troll | May 30, 2015 at 11:37 pm |

      Ok, yeah…that was intended as a response to BvK.

      Sorry about that.

  • Uni Troll | May 31, 2015 at 12:13 am |

    On Steve Lemak’s Buccaneers concept:

    First of all, this is a good presentation layout, in terms of being attractive to the eye, but seriously, chill with the excessive storytelling. Your heart may be in the right place, but most of this just sounds like corporate nonsense spewing forth from Nike.

    The design itself, however, is mostly pleasing.

    Nice wordmark; I can envision that looking pretty good painted in an endzone. The logo is decent, if unspectacular; it looks ok on the helmet, but seems a bit lost on that red “flag” background.

    On the colors, GOOD move in making the pewter look *pewter*. I never understood why the “pewter” pants were more like a weird shade of bronze; that was my biggest complaint about the 1997 overhaul (which was otherwise a good uniform). Your orange, though, is a bit too yellow. I always thought that Buccaneer orange should look more like Vinnie’s jersey here:

    http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Football/3242/3242-419Fr.jpg

    Great job on the numbers. The double-outlines work beautifully on both jerseys. And good choice on the socks, creating obvious contrast with both sets of pants.

    I’m on board with the orange facemask, but that helmet stripe is just overbearing — granted, I’m no fan of the skinny, insubstantial style, but this thing takes up *way* too much real estate in the front. And I’d go with a two-tone stripe pattern, to be honest. (I know you were thinking about the flag thing, but we need good looks, not storytelling.)

    One point of confusion: the description mentions pant stripes, but I don’t see any in the images — you need them. On a related topic, I can’t stand vertical sleeve stripes…creepy.

    All in all, this is still much better than what the team actually puts on the field these days. Thanks for sharing this.

  • feck | May 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm |

    disagree on the Bucs concept. I’m a big fan of TB, but I HATE the new unis. But this new concept is, believe it or not, actually worse.