It’s that wonderful time of year again, everyone! Baseball fields across the country are dusting off the seats, firing up those hot dog rollers and rolling in the kegs for opening day 2013. For all those non-baseball lovers out there, opening day officially ushers in spring and proves that summer is only a few months away (even if the thermometer says different).
Here in Chicago we’re fortunate enough to have two great teams to root for; whether you’re a North Sider (or North Sider at heart) and cheer for the Chicago Cubs or shout your support for the Chicago White Sox, you can be sure that whichever field you go to you’re going to be in great company. No matter what the 2013 season brings us, I think we can all agree that both teams have had some pretty stellar (and a few sucky) logos in their past.
I have to give major props to Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) and his totally kick-ass site sportslogos.net – which I think every sports fan should know about and brush up on their favorite team’s logo history. However, for the focus of this blog we’re just looking at Chicago’s baseball teams and see what logos are the best of the best and just the cream of the crap.
The Best from the Cubs and White Sox:
The Chicago Tribune (or more affectionately known in most houses as ‘The Trib’) is almost as big a part of Chicago as the Cubs themselves. They’ve been reporting all the news that’s fit to print since 1847 and that’s one of the reasons it’s such an institution here. Even though the Tribune Company didn’t acquire the Cubs until 1981, it’s still fascinating that their logo 78 years previously had some vibes of The Tribune’s typeface in it.
Chicago Tribune’s masthead from 1865
This logo for the Cubs is quite possibly one of the most recognizable in sports, not just in baseball. If the vibrant red and blue colors with the excellent use of white space don’t immediately make you think of the Cubs then chances are you’re not a sports fan in the least. It could be because this is the longest lasting logo they’ve had (34 years and counting) that really makes a statement with fans nationwide. Whatever the reason is, this is a great logo that I think works for the Cubs.
White Sox: 1949-1970
The comment section following this logo has a lot of mixed feelings about it. Some fans love it while others poke fun at it looking like “a Curious George illustration,” which I can kind of see. What I do like about it most of all is that it’s unlike anything else out there in baseball. It’s clean and simple and easy to read without having to squint your eyes to read the font. I think the colors could be altered since the yellow does give it a juvenile vibe, but all in all I think it’s a great logo that I wouldn’t mind seeing again on a throwback uniform.
White Sox: 1976-1990
I’m sure I’ll get a lot of “really?!” comments on choosing this one as the best, but I’ve always loved it. It’s easy to identify that this logo belongs to the Chicago White Sox and not the Boston Red Sox or any other franchise out there. The font choice is easy to read and looks modern even though it’s 23 years old. This logo with the uniforms for these years are top-notch and worthy of any player or fan to wear with pride!
Worst from the Cubs and White Sox:
I’m willing to cut the Cubs a little slack for this logo since computers and design programs hadn’t been invented yet in 1908. However, that still doesn’t excuse this logo for everything wrong with it. The best logos are ones that you can glance at and get an idea of what you’re looking at, but this logo requires more than a glance. I get that it’s a bear cub holding a baseball bat, but the pouch pocket that seems to exist is what boggles my mind. It’s not a kangaroo, why is there a pouch between its feet and baseball bat? Sorry, too many unanswered questions for me to like this one.
Like I mentioned above, the best logos are the ones that don’t require more than a 2 second glance to figure out what company, or in this case team, they’re for and what they’re saying. Count two Mississippi’s while looking at this logo and see what info you can pick up about it.
If you’re like me, you saw it and wondered what a UBS Financial Services logo was doing in this blog. If not, then kudos to you for being smarter than me because while researching logos this one gave me the most trouble.
The colors aren’t vibrant enough to grab your attention, the ‘C’ doesn’t connect well with other letters, the font choice is sorely lacking and it’s just an all-around horrible excuse for a logo that I’m glad only lasted one season. Glad they took this basic idea and vastly improved it for today’s logo.
White Sox: 1918
The 1918 season was not kind to either team for their logo. Yikes! This logo needs some Static Guard to remove those random socks from the ‘S’. I like overall concept they were going for, however instead of taking a step back and walking away they went over-the-top with the addition of the familiar White Sox socks. If they wanted it to look realistic, they should’ve put 3 socks on it since one out of four always gets lost in the dryer. Just saying, do it right or don’t do it at all.
White Sox: 1971-1975
At first look at this logo I thought it was one used in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but low and behold it was used during the 1971-1975 seasons. The only thing that makes it look the least bit White Sox-related is the large white sock cutout and the teeny ‘Sox’ written on the player’s chest. The red color that was chosen seems to be a better fit for the Boston Red Sox.
This is one of those logos where the longer you look at it the worst it looks. Why can’t the circle be larger and include the end of the baseball bat, why is that hanging out there looking weird? Again, there are too many questions to really make this work so let’s just leave it in the past where it belongs.
Best Alternate Logos?
There’s nothing worse than having a cutesy looking mascot when you’re trying to intimidate your opponent and make them afraid to face you. There are lots of weak looking mascots out there, especially for animals like ducks, dolphins and cubs.
For this reason alone I have to give major props to the designer of this alternate logo that was used for 14 years of Cubs baseball. It’s my favorite because even though bear cubs are cute and cuddly looking, this one has some attitude and isn’t going to just sit back and play with butterflies in a forest.
White Sox: 1990-Present
I love simple logos that get their point across with little or no words. With that being said, of course I love the White Sox’s current alternate logo that’s been in use since 1990. A white sock in the middle of a baseball diamond, not really too many ways you could get that confused with other teams. It’s simple and easy to understand and therefore gets an A+ in my book!
Now that we’ve seen what both teams have done in the past, one of these Chicago favorites is actually letting fans vote for the next logo that will be used. The Cubs want to celebrate Wrigley Field turning 100 years old and therefore turned to the people who know the team the best, the fans! Click on over to their Fan page and vote for your favorite.
Voting is open until April 23, 2013 and the winning design will be announced later this season, so stay tuned to this blog post for an update! Be sure to take a look at the other entries that were submitted too and see just how much talent there is out there.
I can’t end a post about the Cubs and White Sox without posting some fan favorite videos to get you pumped up for the day ahead. Each video has the right stuff to get you geared up to hit that next item on your to-do list out of the park!
Eddie Vedder singing “All the Way” for a Cub’s Tribute:
2005 Intro Video of the White Sox (a crowd favorite):
Which of these logos do you like the best? What do you think about the bad examples? Any that were included on a list you thought they shouldn’t be? Let me know and shout off in the comments below!
Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on Google+
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