[Editor’s note: You guys may recall that in previous summers I had Morris Levin pen some guest columns for Uni Watch, but unfortunately, he won’t be able to do so this year; I asked uniform and logo designer Todd Radom if he’d share some of his logo case studies during Paul’s vacation, and he happily obliged. This is the second in that series, and I’m sure you guys will enjoy it. Click most images below to enlarge ”” Phil]
Sports Logo Case Study #2””1944 Philadelphia Blue Jays/Phillies
By Todd Radom
The second in an ongoing series of entries about vintage sports identities. Sports fans, as I have often said, are the most ardent brand loyalists on the face of the earth. There are stories to be told here at the intersection of art, commerce, history, and fandom.
In the sports world, a change in visual identity is generally spurred on by either a) a change in franchise ownership, or b) the desire to separate from an era of failure on the field of play. In January 1944 the Philadelphia Phillies were getting ready for what was to become yet another year in the middle of a streak of 16 consecutive losing seasons. This was also to be the first season under a new ownership regime, led by 28 year-old Bob Carpenter Jr.
During the 1943-44 offseason the club hired marketing consultants in an effort to increase revenue and drum up fan support””a very unusual move for a Major League franchise back in those days, especially so in the middle of World War II. An additional nickname and a visual insignia were sought for the franchise, via a contest. This new monicker was intended to supplement the traditional Phillies nickname. A contest was announced on January 25, seeking a fresh name, one which would reflect the club’s “new spirit,” with a $100 war bond to be awarded to the winning entry.
The contest proved to be very popular, attracting over 5,000 suggestions. Carpenter was quoted as saying that the club had received “letters from every state in the union.” Proposed nicknames “ranged from Daisies to Stinkers,” but the winning entry was submitted by one Mrs. Elizabeth Crooks and announced on March 4”””Blue Jays.” The accompanying logo appropriately featured a blue jay perching atop script “Phillies” lettering.
The bird was utilized as a sleeve patch by the club and was immediately featured on items ranging from scorecards to team letterheads to miscellaneous souvenirs. Jersey lettering was dark blue as was the club’s headwear, which featured a white block sans-serif “P” both at home and on the road.
Reaction from certain quarters was swift and harsh. Students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore protested that the team had usurped their good name, which had used by the college since the 1870s. Philadelphia’s adoption of the Blue Jays name was described in a petition as a “reprehensible act,” one which dishonored their school due to the Phillies’ long history of losing.
Rather than being angry, Philadelphia’s fans were seemingly unsure about what to call their team, confused by the dual identities. The press mostly treated the name and logo change with apathy””after all, both home and road jerseys still said “Phillies.”
The blue jay sleeve patch was dropped when the club changed uniform designs in 1946, and the Phillies/Blue Jays experiment was formally abandoned by the club on January 10, 1950. That season the club would go on to win its first pennant in 35 years. The youthful 1950 “Whiz Kids” captured the hearts of Philadelphia baseball fans, despite having been swept by the Yankees in the World Series. The Phillies won another pennant in 1993, this time dropping the World Series to the American League champions, Toronto””the Blue Jays.
Phil here — thanks Todd! As previously mentioned, Todd is curating a show in Chelsea (the show itself runs from August 22nd thru September 19th), with a reception on Thursday, September 10th. It will definitely be worth checking out (hopefully Paul and I will both be there on the 10th) if you’re in and around the City towards the end of August/beginning of September. Hope to see some of you there.
New Alternate for Vandy
The Vanderbilt Commodores continue to add to their new uniform repertoire for 2015, introducing a “Deep Water” alternate yesterday. The new alternate adds to their black, white and gold unis already introduced.
It’s a grayish/silver uni, with what looks to be a marbled-esque (for lack of a better term) helmet, featuring an anchor and chain (and a chain for a center stripe). I mean, is it waves? Not quite sure what they’re going for here (and it will only be visible from two feet away anyway). According to this article, “It has a black chromed finish with textured water and a large anchor on the side to match the “Deep Water” theme. The facemask is a gleaming gold.”
Of course, the pants have to say “ANCHOR DOWN” down the side, for added suckitude.
While the alt is completely unnecessary, it’s actually a pretty decent looking uni, save for the stupid SDL (“Slogan Down Leg”).
Here’s a few shots (click to enlarge):
And a couple closeups of the helmet:
Of course, it comes with a (mercifully short) hype video:
If you want to see more, click here.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
I usually run this feature on the weekends, but since I’m running the show during Paul’s sabbatical this month, I’ll probably (or at least as long as guys submit to me) run these once a week during August. Got several today, from our friends George Chilvers and Chris from ManCave:
Click any photo to enlarge
First up is George:
… for whenever you run it
To be honest you guys probably know more about this school than I do. These lovely ladies are the girls basketball team of Fredonia Normals in 1929. Fredonia teams were called the Normals back then, the name Blue Devils only came in 1952.
And not a tattoo between them.
And a pair from Chris from ManCave:
As promised, something from outside the park. This scene was taken outside Ebbets Field before the first game of the 1920 Series between the Brooklyn “Robins” and Cleveland Indians.
And the other is a portrait of Cy Young, taken at the Huntington Ave Grounds in Boston in 1903. The background is from a bird’s eye view of Boston in 1902, showing the outfield of the Grounds just to his left.
To the right of his collar is the New England Conservatory, where my Grandfather was in his last year of studying music in 1903. I’m hoping that he walked the 50 yards over to the grounds to see some games after classes sometimes. He certainly would have been able to hear the crowd while practicing on his organ.
That’s it for today. Great job, George & Chris!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Yesterday, the Blue Jays celebrated the 1985 AL East division winning team, with players from the ’85 team wearing the powder blue pullover jersey that they wore back then. Here’s some video of the ceremony. During the game, the Blue Jays wore white front panel caps as a throwback/tribute, which were a meld of the current logo (sans baseball) and the old panel hats. More photos here. … The Oakland A’s hosiery hi-jinx continues unabated: This dugout shot of three versions of socks worn by the A’s on Friday, with not one true stirrups (from Richard Paloma). … Of course, the Yankees don’t wear NOB’s, but Matthew Blinco asks, “How often does the ad behind the plate match the pitchers last name?” (That’s pitcher Ivan Nova). … Reed Johnson (#4 for the Nationals) wore #11 for a rehab start in Potomac Friday night because #4 is taken. Ryan Zimmerman is #11 for Washington. Also note the mismatched helmet (from Gregory Koch). … Some fun shenanigans the other night in MLB, as Miguel Cabrera untucked Jose Altuve’s jersey in the 3rd inning and the Astros second baseman soon returned the favor (thanks Brinke). … Here’s a really good article about Tyler Clippard’s glasses (thanks, Paul). … According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Indians have recognized 11 members of the organization with uniform tributes since 1903, including eight with patches since 1993 (from David Feigenbaum). … What’s wrong with this picture?. If you said, “Tom Seaver wearing a SF Giants cap” you’d be correct (nice grab by David Firestone). … Reader Tim Adams was at the Twins game yesterday and noticed that they show the “Twins players not in their unis on the scoreboard. Sponsored by Majestic so no doubt a tie-in there, but still, not showing them in uniform is different.” … Check out the stirrups that the Red Land, PA little leaguers are all wearing (h/t Alex Kahle). … The Columbus Clippers wore away & home unis against the Gwinnett Braves at home for makeup doubleheader (from Trevor Patton). … The Chicago Bandits, who are currently playing in the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch) championship series, have home jerseys that are based on the 80s White Sox jerseys (thanks to Ferdinand Cesarano). … Rays pitcher Chris Archer has some serious problems properly wearing his stirrups (shots by Ben Hoskins and Tellito) — if they hurt his feet, he should really just not wear them, because this is almost worse than pajamas. … The Phillies’ Jerome Williams wears a pink glove (screen grab by Gaza) — something he has done with other clubs (I think we’ve covered this before, but if you’re curious, here’s the story behind that). … The Eugene Emeralds wore Civic Stadium tribute unis yesterday. Kenny Ocker notes the old ballfield “burned down earlier this summer when some punkass kids allegedly set leaves on fire in the pressbox.” Here’s another look. … Yesterday was Dora the Explorer Day for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (thanks, Paul).
NFL News: The NFL broadcasting partners are still trying to get the kinks out as there were “outdated logos for Seahawks and Browns during the Bengals-Giants broadcast,” from Brian Spiess (also looks like an outdated logo for the Chargers). … Ryan Timmerman notes, “I was going through the Packers photo galleries of the preseason opener against the Pats, and noticed Aaron Rodgers was wearing all-black cleats. Rodgers is one of the higher profile Nike endorsers (or has been in the past). Given the all-blackness of the cleats, is hard to tell, but to my eye what was on Rodgers’ feet did not look like Nikes. Then, the plot thickened!!! The Packers’ site also posted a gallery of Rogers and other players at the PGA Championship … and more Adidas!!!! (Or I think so, it’s hard to tell there as well.) So, the Rogers/Adidas thing might be worth keeping an eye on.” … At practice the other day, Jacksonville Jaguar Julius Thomas had on NBA socks (from Michael Korczynski). It also shows how good a Jags jersey can look in teal and without all the other crap — except for the ad patch, of course. … The Raiders switched to new Nike jerseys but “thankfully no lace collar” notes submitter JM Chavez.
College Football News: What’s in a number? In a litigious climate, plenty of risk for colleges selling football jerseys. … The NCAA jersey number cut-back is affecting all nations, as Baylor fan Taylor Smith laments, “Big fan, long time follower from Zambia, Africa. I’m very confused though as to why the only jersey style you can purchase is this one.” … Mississippi State football had their media day recently. This shows QB Dak Prescott wearing a jersey with the Davis-Wade Centennial patch on it. Submitter Dustin Semore notes, “Which was last year.” … “Here in Alabama, the #FREEUAB movement is still strong with reinstating the football program and bringing respect to the program,” says Dustin Semore. “It’s good to see a fellow Birmingham area school in Samford University having a few players insert the moniker under their jersey.” … Ohio State jerseys will feature “BUCKEYES” on neck this season. Gone are the Buckeye Leafs. … Check out these helmets for Northwestern Oklahoma State University (from Dillon Young). … Here’s a look at the Georgetown Hoyas football helmets (from Georgetown Hoyas). … Johnny Ek covered the new UM white road jerseys yesterday, but this graphic gives a good look at the Wolverines’ roadies — more here. … Mike Wagner notes “looks like Delaware is going with the tire tread, or ‘Glad Force Flex Trashbag’ jerseys from Adidas.” Here’s a look at the new unis. … This is kinda cool: Fox Sports to have bus wrapped in fabric simulating Jim Harbaugh’s khakis (more here). … Earlier this year, UNLV got new uniforms and here’s a look at the red jersey and the black jersey and pants (via Anthony Rodriguez). … Looks like ASU football is getting another new uni on August 20 (or shoes or something). … Florida Tech Football has new unis (h/t Florida Tech Football) — Here’s a bit more on that. And more looks at unis plus video here.
NBA News: The blog FanSided has done an “NBA: Power Ranking” the 30 best uniforms of all-time — pretty sure that’s Paul’s territory, and it’s certainly Paul’s term. Fuckers.
Soccer News: Mississippi State ladies soccer has a pretty good looking new kit, which they wore on Friday (from MSU Soccer). … Tweeter Daniel A. says, “someone forgot to add Orlando City crest.” Here’s another view (from Iain McHugh). The best view, of course is the “TEAM CREST HERE” (from Josh Williams). … Later on in the match, the team crest was added (from Chico Escuela). … New kits for the University of Nebraska-Omaha women’s soccer (h/t Mike Vamosi).
Grab Bag: Here are some cool old programs from Rugby World Cup. Submitter Eric Bangeman adds, “from the 1991 RWC in England and Wales.” … Not entirely uni-related, but this barbershop logo in Greensboro NC borrows just a bit from the Knicks (good spot by Dan Bly). … Butler logos through the years: “I was walking around the newly renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse and found this great mural of all the previous logos except the new one,” says Derrick Brown, who adds, “Enjoy!” … When Honda returned to Grand Prix racing at the 1966 Italian Grand Prix, their mechanics wore very striking uniforms (from Graham Clayton). … Brad Keselowski had a 1990’s throwback car and his crew joined in, going above and beyond (thanks to David Firestone). … Julian Bond, former NAACP chairman and activist, passed away on Saturday. Douglas Ford found this January 1975 photo of Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson being “declared the winner over Muhammad Ali” by referee Julian Bond. … Kevin Kennedy asks, “are elastic sleeve cuffs becoming a PGA thing? Or just something Adidas is trying? Sweet golfer tan btw.” Patrick Thomas may have the answer. … Billy Horschel broke out some pretty sweet pants at the PGA yesterday (h/t Heather Zeller).
And that’s going to do it for this fine Monday — hope everyone had a good weekend. Big thanks to Todd for the lede, and to George & Chris for the colorizations. Those who tweeted & e-mailed for the ticker — thanks to you folks as well. Happy Monday everyone.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I hate the Vikings, but I really hate that font they use even more.”