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After I published yesterday’s obituary for Peter Good, who designed the Hartford Whalers’ logo, I heard from longtime reader Doug Brei, who pointed out a subtle but important detail about the logo. And no, it’s not about the hidden “H”! I’ll let Doug explain:
The original Peter Good logo is hands-down the best logo in sports history. Period. But it always bothered me that the Whalers never actually wore Good’s original design on their uniforms. Good’s design was the team’s official primary logo, but that’s not the version they wore on their white home sweaters. For some reason they added a green outline to the blue whale tail and a blue outline to the green “W” [as seen in the photo at the top of this page]. Neither outline was included in Good’s original design.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison, so you can see what Doug is referring to:
As you can see, they also adjusted the shape of the tail. But as Doug rightly points out, the outlining is the real issue here, because it undercuts the beauty of the “H.” With the green outline defining top of the H and the blue outline defining the bottom, the hidden letter looks less cohesive and seems more coincidental than intentional. In the original version, the H feels like its own thing; in the jersey version, it feels more like a composite of mismatched parts.
Obviously, there are other teams out there with logo inconsistencies (think Tigers, Yankees, etc.). But those other mismatched logos feel more like potayto/potahto distinctions, while the two Whalers logos feel qualitatively different, because the colored outlining really changes the perception of the H (or at least it does for Doug and for me).
I confess that I either forgot about this distinction or else was unaware of it to begin with. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years looking at Good’s original design by itself — way more time than I’ve spent looking at Whalers jerseys or game photos — so if I was ever aware of the colored outlines, I think that awareness became overwhelmed by my immersion in the original version.
Doug continues: “Ironically, the retired number banners hanging in the rafters of the old Hartford Civic Center feature the non-outlined logo, except for the Gordie Howe No. 9 banner, which features the sweater logo (and an outline on his number).” Sure enough:
The weird thing about all this is that the original logo — the one without the outlining — was consistently used on team publications, ticket stubs, pennants, and more, even though that version didn’t appear on the jerseys:
So the jersey version seems to have appeared only on the jersey. I wonder why they made those adjustments to Good’s original design, and why they used it on the jersey but nowhere else? Hmmmm.
Anyway: Big thanks to Doug for bringing this up, and for allowing us to spend a bit more time admiring the wonderful work of Peter Good.
ITEM! New Premium Column
For this week’s Premium article on Substack, I interviewed Maria Villotti, whose pandemic project was to create an embroidery sampler of all 32 NHL team logos. It’s a fantastic piece of work, and I really enjoyed discussing it with her.
Purple Amnesty Day is now just 12 days away (you can see the rundown of this year’s festivities here), and reader Ron Ruelle has upped the ante by generously donating funds for a purple-inclusive Uni Watch membership card. The lucky winner will be able to order their card only on May 16, and the card must include purple.
This will be a two-day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle in-box by 8pm Eastern tomorrow, May 5. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Big thanks to Ron for sponsoring this one!
Culinary Corner: The Annual Derby Pie Edition
Two days from now is the first Saturday of May, which means it’s time for the Kentucky Derby. And that means I’ll be making the dish I always make for the Derby: a derby pie, which is a lot like a pecan pie but made with walnuts and chocolate chips.
Derby pie is super-delicious and easy to make. Here’s how to do it:
If you know how to make pie crust, make some dough and position it in a 9-inch pie pan; if you don’t know how or just can’t be bothered, get yourself a frozen 9-inch pie shell.
Set your oven to 350º. While it’s heating up, get a big mixing bowl and beat together four eggs, a cup of light corn syrup, 3/4 cup of light brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Then add 3 tablespoons of bourbon (or maybe a smidge more than that, if you’re so inclined), a tablespoon of vanilla extract, a tablespoon of flour, 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and a cup of chopped walnuts.
Mix all of that together, pour it into the pie dough or frozen shell, and pop it into the oven for an hour. It’ll puff up high like a soufflé, but it’ll settle back down while it cools, which you should allow it to do for an hour or so. This up/down motion usually results in some cracks in the top of the pie, which used to annoy me, but now I’ve grown to like it:
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, the chocolate chips always sink to the bottom (I guess they’re less buoyant than the walnuts), resulting in a nice two-tone effect:
It’s traditional to serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, although I don’t bother with that — the pie is rich enough on its own. Less traditional and even less necessary, but nonetheless delicious, is this bourbon sauce, which is pretty much the bomb.
Trust me, there won’t be any leftovers.
Can of the Day
Lots going on here — maybe a bit too much — but you know I’m a sucker for that color scheme. And look at that crazily angled hyphen!