As we all know by now, Major League Baseball puts its logo on just about everything these days, including jerseys and caps. Nothing unique about that — the NFL, NBA, and NHL put their logos on players’ unis too. But unlike those leagues, MLB modifies its logo so that each club can impose its team colors on the design. While I’d prefer that the MLB logo not appear on caps and jerseys at all, I do think it’s pretty progressive of MLB to allow their mark to be reinterpreted in umpteen different ways — it makes for better color-coordination. (In fact, think how much better this page would look right now if the MLB logo above were rendered in colors to match the Uni Watch logo.) But can you imagine the NFL doing this with their mark? No way.
Anyway: In a spectacular display of detail-oriented observation, reader Matt Irving noticed an MLB logo glitch involving at least two Blue Jays players at the All-Star Game. Now, the Jays’ version of the MLB logo is gray, white, and blue, as you can see here and here. But during the All-Star Game, the default red/white/blue logo appeared on the back of Troy Glaus’s and Vernon Wells’s jerseys. Roy Halliday’s logo, however, had Toronto’s proper color scheme. Unfortunately, rear-view images of Toronto’s other All-Stars — B.J. Ryan and Alex Rios — have been tough to find.
Speaking of the MLB logo, it’s a really a nice piece of design, no? I love that the batter could either be left-handed or right-handed, depending on how you squint, and I’m impressed that MLB has been disciplined enough to avoid updating it. (If only they could show similar restraint with some team logos and uniforms.) The standard urban myth is that the logo was based on a photo of Harmon Killebrew, although MLB denies this. Then again, the NBA folks deny that their logo is based on Jerry West, even though everyone knows it is. Draw your own conclusions; personally, though, I prefer to think that the MLB logo is a generic, all-purpose batter, rather than anyone specific.
Illustration Update: I heard back from Michael Klein, the artist who whipped up the cool illustration that accompanied my New York Times opinion essay earlier this week. As you may recall, I was wondering why he depicted the fielder’s jersey placket with buttons on the left and buttonholes on the right, which is normally done only with women’s clothing. Here’s his response:
Regarding the placket, that’s an interesting question. Many years back, I was examining a sales rack of plaid button-front shirts when my wife informed me that they had to be women’s shirts, based on the button configuration. Though the price was right and the pattern was plenty masculine, wearing a woman’s shirt was out of the question. So yes, I was aware that there’s a difference.
When I’m drawing, I sometimes think about that little detail. But if I’m on a roll, I generally don’t stop to check it. Who would notice, anyway? Now that you have pointed it out though, I may have to start drawing gender-specific plackets.
“Who would notice, anyway?” Um, he’s kidding, right? This would be hilarious if it weren’t such a sad commentary on everything we hold dear. Michael Klein, welcome to Uni Watch, where we notice everything.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Georgia Tech will wear 1970s throwbacks on September 21st. … Sick of really stupid hip-hop baseball caps? Then you’ll definitely wanna read this. … Several of yesterday’s comment contributors discussed the hosiery on display at the Triple-A All-Star Game, but Michael Kramer points out another noteworthy item from that game: the ridiculously large All-Star Game logo decal plastered on the side of each batting helmet. … Eddie Guardado wore No. 18 with the Twins and Mariners, but he can’t wear that number now that he’s been traded to the Reds, because it’s been retired for Big Klu. So Guardado wore No. 45 (note that the numerals add up to nine, same as with 18) when making his Reds debut last week. He must have really liked 18, though, because now he’s found a way to wear it after all: by transposing the numerals.