Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Who is the MLB logo?

The rumor for decades has been that it was based on Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew. But is that true? As always, the truth around these things gets kind of murky.

The logo was designed by Jerry Dior in 1968, as MLB was getting ready to celebrate the centennial of professional baseball the next year. It would make sense if Killebrew was the inspiration for the logo at this time: “Killer” was coming off a 44-home run season when he finished second in the American League in MVP voting in 1967. (Unfortunately, his 1968 season was a disappointment as he hit just .210 with 17 home runs in 100 games.)

The issue isn’t complicated for Killebrew. The slugger, who passed away in 2011, is pretty sure it was him. Killebrew told Paul Lukas a story about arriving at the Commissioner’s Office in the late 1960s, when he ran into a man working on a project in the office.

“He had a photograph of me in a hitting position, and he had one of those grease pencils that you see at a newspaper, and he was marking that thing up,” Killebrew said. “I said, ‘What are you doing with that?’ and he said they were going to make a new Major League Baseball logo. I never thought any more about it. And then the logo came out and it did look like me. The only change was the angle of the bat—they changed that to kind of make it fit more into the design.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: harmon killebrew

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Itchy Row Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:23 PM (#6006736)
The slugger, who passed away in 2011, is pretty sure it was him.
Seems like a strange use of the present tense.
   2. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6006744)
I assume the interview was conducted via seance.
   3. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: February 25, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6006748)
I assume the interview was conducted via seance.


Killebrew: Do you want to ask me about the afterlife? The nature of God? The true facts of existence?

Reporter: Nope -- just doing a story about the MLB logo.
   4. Lassus Posted: February 25, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6006781)
Well done, CFBF.
   5. The Duke Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:01 PM (#6006815)
Fun article. I have periodically looked at that logo and thought it looked like Killebrew. Lo and behold, it is
   6. Cblau Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:31 PM (#6006817)
It always looked like Jerry West to me. :^)
   7. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:49 PM (#6006818)
are we sure it's not eddie gaedel?
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 10:25 PM (#6006825)
The logo is actually a bird with its mouth open.
   9. Snowboy Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:26 PM (#6006835)
Always thought it was Rusty Staub.
Killebrew is a good candidate, if you transpose a photo, and change the bat angle.
Seems like a lot of work in the 60s, when Staub's stance and beaky nose were already right there.
{shrug} we'll never know, as the original illustrator says it was not Killebrew, but drawn as a composite from several players/photos.
This article is clickbait, it provides no new information, but it achieved success: I clicked it.
   10. winnipegwhip Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:37 PM (#6006836)
-
   11. winnipegwhip Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6006837)
If Andy Warhol was commissioned to do it the symbol would have been this

MLB
   12. RJ in TO Posted: February 25, 2021 at 11:48 PM (#6006838)
The logo is actually a bird with its mouth open.
So now I can't stop seeing this.
   13. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:53 AM (#6006841)
I always thought it was Clemente
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:19 AM (#6006843)
I always thought it was Clemente

Same here. Then about ten years ago I read that it was supposedly Killebrew, and I can see that too.

I think it has something to do with the fact that the Logo Man is clearly wearing a batting helmet, and Clemente was one of the first famous players to spend most of his career wearing one.

Obviously the logo is not Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, etc. Even Mantle, Mays, and Aaron, who were largely contemporaries of Clemente -- when I visualize them at bat, or on baseball cards, they're usually in hats. Clemente, for some reason, sticks in my memory as wearing a helmet.
   15. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: February 26, 2021 at 07:34 AM (#6006850)
It always looked like Jerry West to me. :^)

There's a kerfuffle these days about changing the NBA logo, because Jerry West and racism and stuff.

I always thought (the MLB logo) was Clemente

There's your answer, run with it. (Wait, does Clemente count as black?)
   16. Lassus Posted: February 26, 2021 at 07:52 AM (#6006853)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: February 26, 2021 at 08:19 AM (#6006856)
the Logo Man is clearly wearing a batting helmet, and Clemente was one of the first famous players to spend most of his career wearing one.


Norm Cash is said to be the third-to-last player to bat without a batting helmet (grandfathered in by the 1971 rules change), and Tony Taylor second-to-last.

the final one was Red Sox backup catcher Bob Montgomery, who hung 'em up in 1979.

if you watch Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, the Reds take a 4-3 lead in the top of the 9th. Montgomery - with baseball cap but sans helmet - pinch-hits for Denny Doyle but grounds into the second out.

it does look kinda weird.
   18. Greg Pope Posted: February 26, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6006871)
It always looked pretty generic to me. Not enough features anywhere for it to be based on an actual person in any meaningful way.

The NBA logo has a definite body shape, and the head has details like hair outline and ears that make it resemble West a lot. I don't see anything like that in the MLB logo.
   19. Traderdave Posted: February 26, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6006873)
But wasn't Staub a lefty?
   20. John M. Perkins Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6006888)
Why do you many of you think the logo is a righty or a lefty? The logo look ambiguous to me, and I believe I once read that the design was intentionally so.

A tweaked Killebrew.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6006893)
the final one was Red Sox backup catcher Bob Montgomery, who hung 'em up in 1979.
So, Bob Montgomery, Dumbest Player in Major League Baseball.
   22. Itchy Row Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6006898)
I always thought it looked like Mike Schmidt's stance. Schmidt was a year out of high school. probably a freshman at Ohio University, in 1968 and possibly mustacheless.

According to the bb-ref page for Keith Hernandez Mustache (Little Mex), Schmidt had the 6th-ranked mustache in MLB history.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: February 26, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6006902)
So, Bob Montgomery, Dumbest Player in Major League Baseball.

his cap did have a "protective plastic liner" in it, but I'm not convinced that will win you over

:)

Montgomery's career lasted from 1970-79, an era when soft-tossing Nolan Ryan led the AL in strikeouts 7 times, walks 6 times, and wild pitches 3 times.
   24. Perry Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:02 PM (#6006903)
When it first came out I thought it was Pete Rose. (He hadn't yet adopted the extreme crouch he used later.)
   25. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:08 PM (#6006904)
Yup, that's me.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6006905)
Montgomery's career lasted from 1970-79, an era when soft-tossing Nolan Ryan led the AL in strikeouts 7 times, walks 6 times, and wild pitches 3 times.


Yes, but Nolan twice faced more batters in a season than Montgomery had PAs in his 10-year career (and it wasn't one of those careers spent on the Triple A shuffle. Once he came up, he never went back down).
   27. Karl from NY Posted: February 26, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6006911)
Why do you many of you think the logo is a righty or a lefty? The logo look ambiguous to me, and I believe I once read that the design was intentionally so.

Damn, it never occurred to me that it could be viewed that way. I always saw it as a righty viewed from behind and now you broke all concepts of spatial perception.
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: February 26, 2021 at 03:02 PM (#6006912)
but we agree that it's blue and black, at least?

#thedress
   29. Traderdave Posted: February 26, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6006914)
Damn, it never occurred to me that it could be viewed that way. I always saw it as a righty viewed from behind and now you broke all concepts of spatial perception.


Same. It was always, very obviously a righty. Until today.
   30. A triple short of the cycle Posted: February 26, 2021 at 06:42 PM (#6006933)
Okay I just read this entire thread thinking, what is the major league logo? I could picture the NBA's...
So after looking at it just now, my first thought is, looks like Carl Yastrzemski. Who was pretty famous around 1968.
   31. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 06:50 PM (#6006934)
Who is the MLB logo?

Ah, yes, the less well-known, and far less funny, Abbot-and-Costello bit.
   32. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6006935)
I always pictured the logo as a righty until today, and now I can only see it as a lefty.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2021 at 11:06 PM (#6006951)
It shoulda been Stargell's windmill. Tolan would have been a lot of fun.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: February 27, 2021 at 12:05 AM (#6006952)
I did both the Stargell and the Tolan as a kid, as well as the Marichal pitching motion....
   35. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: February 27, 2021 at 01:58 AM (#6006954)
Why do you many of you think the logo is a righty or a lefty? The logo look ambiguous to me, and I believe I once read that the design was intentionally so.


Damn, it never occurred to me that it could be viewed that way. I always saw it as a righty viewed from behind and now you broke all concepts of spatial perception.


Same. It was always, very obviously a righty. Until today.


What makes it seem more like a righty is kind of subtle. Namely, how the chin appears hidden by the shoulder, which wouldn't be the case for a lefty.
   36. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: February 27, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6006958)
I’ve always seen it as a lefty.
   37. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2021 at 01:07 PM (#6006975)
There were hockey players on the ice without helmets decades after they were introduced.

Any player who entered the league after June 1, 1979 had to wear a helmet, but any player who signed his first pro contract before then could opt out if they signed a waiver. During the 1978-79 season, about 30 percent of NHLers didn’t wear a helmet. Ten years later, though, and you could count on both hands how many helmetless players were left in the league.
https://www.si.com/hockey/all-access/helmet-holdouts-the-last-players-to-wear-helmets-in-the-nhl


The last player to play wthout a brain bucket was Craig MacTavish, who retired at 38 in 1997. “It was more comfortable without one,” he said. “I never had any injuries where a helmet would have helped me. The guys who wore Jofa helmets – that’s no more protective than what I was not wearing.”

The penultimate lidless player was Brad Marsh who hung them up in 1994. He was concussed on Dec. 8, 1987 – the same night goaltender Ron Hextall scored a goal – and wore a helmet for the balance of the season. “During that time frame, I was never hit with so many dirty shots, elbows, high sticks, hits from behind, etc.,” Marsh said. “So, I took the helmet off, because then the game was a lot safer.”

I'd still wear one in either of those sports.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 27, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6006979)
There were hockey players on the ice without helmets decades after they were introduced.
Goalies played without masks until 1960, when Jacques Plante introduced it. Some slow learners were still playing without a mask well into the 1970s.
   39. winnipegwhip Posted: February 27, 2021 at 02:36 PM (#6006980)
Why do you many of you think the logo is a righty or a lefty? The logo look ambiguous to me, and I believe I once read that the design was intentionally so.

Damn, it never occurred to me that it could be viewed that way. I always saw it as a righty viewed from behind and now you broke all concepts of spatial perception.


I guess if the logo was unveiled in recent years we could have perceived the symbol as a left handed batter ready to beat Laz Diaz with the bat after a Laz Diaz strike.
   40. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: February 27, 2021 at 09:17 PM (#6006995)
A tweaked Killebrew.


Absurd. He was as clean-living as he could be.
   41. baxter Posted: February 28, 2021 at 12:10 AM (#6007001)
Gump Worsley one of the last goalies not to wear a mask.
Knocked unconscious a couple of times during games.
Still made it to 79 and the hockey HOF

Gerry Cheevers decorated his mask with the scars he would have sustained had he not had one.
   42. Greg Pope Posted: March 01, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6007109)
What makes it seem more like a righty is kind of subtle. Namely, how the chin appears hidden by the shoulder, which wouldn't be the case for a lefty.

It's a silhouette. How can you tell whether the chin or the shoulder is in front?

It always seemed like looking at a righty from behind to me.
   43. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: March 01, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6007143)
It's a silhouette. How can you tell whether the chin or the shoulder is in front?

It always seemed like looking at a righty from behind to me.


I think that reaffirms what I could have said better. Yes, being a silhouette ensures the lack of a distinct chin. But when viewers then imagine pictures or games they've watch, the lack of a chin is in line with many people's perception/memory of that as a righty from behind since the chin on a righty is often obscured at that angle. For a lefty from that angle, there's always a full chin.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogNBA 2020 Season kick-off thread
(2730 - 7:36am, Apr 21)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogReport: Javy Báez Declined Cubs’ Offer ‘Somewhere in Range of $180 Million’
(24 - 7:15am, Apr 21)
Last: bunyon

Sox TherapyHome for the Holiday
(12 - 2:10am, Apr 21)
Last: Chip

NewsblogInfielder Neil Walker retires after 12 MLB seasons
(5 - 12:33am, Apr 21)
Last: Crispix Attacksel Rios

NewsblogOrder, order, order, OMNICHATTER's takin' the stand! for April 20, 2021
(76 - 12:31am, Apr 21)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2021
(6 - 9:23pm, Apr 20)
Last: The Mighty Quintana

NewsblogThe Case for Slowing It Down
(11 - 8:28pm, Apr 20)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Spring is in the Air
(185 - 8:13pm, Apr 20)
Last: I am going to be Frank

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(12780 - 8:09pm, Apr 20)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogDrafting high school pitchers is a suckers game
(7 - 6:42pm, Apr 20)
Last: Smitty*

NewsblogMinnesota Twins, Timberwolves postpone games in wake of police shooting of Daunte Wright
(302 - 4:46pm, Apr 20)
Last: greenback used to say live and let live

NewsblogWhy the Cubs' awful offense could trigger full rebuild if downward trend continues this summer
(25 - 3:23pm, Apr 20)
Last: dejarouehg

NewsblogCarter Stewart Jr., former top-10 pick and potential trailblazer, makes Nippon Professional Baseball
(1 - 1:29pm, Apr 20)
Last: Rough Carrigan

NewsblogYahoo Sports Braves' Sean Kazmar Jr. makes it back to MLB after 12 years in minor league
(13 - 12:32pm, Apr 20)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogNew York Yankees' Jay Bruce to retire after Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays
(32 - 11:37am, Apr 20)
Last: SoSH U at work

Page rendered in 0.3995 seconds
48 querie(s) executed