Last summer, the Akron Aeros announced they were considering a name/identity change. A contest ensued, and the fans voted to keep the Aeros moniker over such choices as ‘Oats’, ‘Canal Diggers’, ‘Gum Dippers’ and ‘Rubber Ducks’. Good job fans.
Today, the Indians extended their player development contract with the Carolina Mudcats of the high A Carolina league through 2014.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, I figure it gives me license to give you my Top Ten Minor League Baseball Logo list of course. Not that I need any pushing to discuss uniforms or logos. As I’ve said over and over, I’m kind of a uni-nerd that way. So here we go.
I went through minorleaguebaseball.com and viewed all of the logos, pulling aside the ones that stood out. I was hoping to get at least 10 on the first pass. I got 22. That meant some cuts. My honorable mentions come from those. Durham Bulls, Batavia Muckdogs, Montgomery Biscuits and Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Bulls are just a classic look, and quite well known outside of baseball circles because of the movie. They may have snuck into my top ten, but the logo reminds me too much of the old Broncos logo. The Biscuits nearly made it because, well because they made a biscuit into a baseball mascot. A biscuit- complete with butter tongue. Nice.
The Top Ten:
Class-A affiliate, Philadelphia Phillies. South Atlantic League.
The BlueClaws underwent a redesign recently, and the results are pretty good I think. To be honest, the old crab logo wasn’t bad either. Perhaps it is the foodie in me that loves seeing a blue crab used, or maybe it’s the creative font. Put it together with a devious looking smile and beady eyes and you have a winner.
Even though this is about logos, they have to look good on a hat as well, and the BlueClaws pull it off. Great looking jerseys too.
Yakima: Class A short season, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ok, a little explaining. I grabbed both logos and it wasn’t until I was trying to seed my top ten that I realized these two were almost the same logo. Both are feature the bear encompassing the wordmark, with claws visible on the wordmark. Both even have a baseball and home plate diamond.
This kind of similarity even made me consider dropping them off the list altogether. But I really like them. If only one of them existed, it would have gotten a lot higher on the list though.
Class A affiliate, Cleveland Indians. Carolina League.
I hope you can trust me when I say this is not a homer pick in any way. Despite being a Tribe affiliate, I’ve never been to a Mudcats game, and despite the affinity for the logo, I’ve never owned a single piece of clothing from the team. The logo is just one of those great minor league traditions.
The colors are great, and the wordmark has a great unique font with the D and C forming fish whiskers. And tell me this isn’t a great looking sweatshirt. Well done. The Mudcats logo goes back to 1991. Makes sense that I would be into it, as that’s about the time I started following minor league baseball.
Class A affiliate, Pittsburgh Pirates. Florida State League.
So the Marauders get the nod for a couple reasons. First, even though they are in Florida, they followed the Pennsylvania state mandate that all Pittsburgh related teams use yellow and black. (Joking.) Actually, it is because they stayed with the Pirate motif of the parent club, but called themselves the Marauders. Seriously- the Marauders. There need to be more teams named the Marauders. It’s hard to even say Marauder without sounding like a pirate. Try it. Marauder. See?
Double A affiliate, Boston Red Sox. Eastern league.
Ok, so a sea dog is technically a seal or ‘an experienced sailor’. And this logo looks pretty simple. Like coloring contest simple. Seal jumping through a P. With a bat in it’s mouth.
But I like it. Sometimes I can’t explain these things. The fonts are all completely different, which I don’t care for. It’s one of those designs that look a lot better on a hat or a jersey than they do on paper.
Class A affiliate, St. Louis Cardinals. Midwest League.
This is what I meant by ‘no restrictions’. You can name your minor league team whatever you want, as long as it sounds cool. Team it with whatever mascot you want. River Bandits and raccoons? Of course! Why not.
From a practical business standpoint, the possibilities are endless. Marketing opportunities galore. Stuffed animals? Check. Appeals to both genders? Check. Nice color scheme? Check. Classic font for baseball use? Check. Inclusive of the local community? Check.
4. Modesto Nuts
Class A affiliate, Colorado Rockies. California League.
This doesn’t work if peanuts weren’t such a fixture of baseball culture. Truth be told, it is a little daring to name your team something that an 8 year old boy can make fun of. Kudos for pulling the image off. The logo is great, and the look is fantastic on uniforms.
The mascots are a little scary. Not the drawings, but the costumed characters. Al and Wally are their names. Hard to pull off a chestnut costume I guess.
Triple A affiliate, Detroit Tigers. International League.
I think the Mudhens were the first minor league team I ever heard of. When I was a kid my dad would watch MASH, and of course Klinger was from Toledo and wore a Mudhens jersey on the show occasionally. I asked my dad about it one day, and that is when he explained what minor league baseball was. The logo and team are timeless and classic. Even the old goofy looking batting bird logo. Like Durham, this one is likely to stay the course for years and years.
Class A affiliate, New York Yankees. South Atlantic League.
A logo that’s been around since 1996. That doesn’t sound like a long time, but in the ever changing culture of minor league baseball, 15 years is an eternity. I’m a dog person. It just works for me. If I were running that team, I would make sure there was an animation specialist working there to create cartoons and such featuring the dog all over the scoreboard. I’d also invest in some dog breeding and have a live mascot walking around the stadium. Of all my picks, I’m sure I’ll hear about this one the most. It’s my list.
Double A affiliate, San Francisco Giants. Eastern League.
Are you kidding me? This is awesome. The Flying Squirrels. Fantastic. I really don’t like the wordmark as much, at least not for a jersey. A little too comic book, but it isn’t bad enough to knock a flying squirrel out of the top spot. Great colors. Great movement in the logo. Tell me every boy in the Richmond area doesn’t want a flying squirrels hat or shirt? Crossover opportunities galore with the character, and the possibility for the coolest mascot ever.
Well there you go. Feel free to tell me what I got wrong in the comments.