Monday, August 23, 2010

Volume 5, Number 22: My Concept for a Detroit Tigers Road Jersey

Back in the early '90s, when the Tigers were still wearing the same road uniforms they had been using since 1972, I began developing my own ideas for what their road uniforms should look like. Not long afterwards, the Tigers did replace those outdated uniforms--but they were not like I envisioned.

So last month, When UniWatch, an online community of sports fans dedicated to all things related to sports logos and uniforms, announced a baseball jersey design contest, I went ahead and submitted what I had in mind as an entry for the contest. This entry (shown below) will appear on the UniWatch blog on Thursday:

There are four major differences between my concept and the current Tigers' road jerseys:

  • The number one thing I wanted is to have was "Detroit" in Old English. Last time I checked, one of the most distinctive things about the Tigers throughout their history is the Old English D. Not the cursive D. The Old English D is basically the Tigers' primary logo now. So why not have "Detroit" in Old English as well?

  • I also wanted "Detroit" and the numbers to be outlined in orange, and only orange (as they were on the 1972-1993 road jerseys). I've always considered the white outlining you see on today's Tigers road jerseys to be unnecessary and excessive.

  • The feature I put on the jerseys that I imagine would bring about the most debate from fans is the uniform number on the right sleeve. Let me explain why I put it there instead of on the front. Looking at Tiger uniforms of the past, I noticed that the road jerseys of the 1961-1971 Tigers teams had numbers on the right sleeve. During those years, the Tigers produced two 100-win seasons, four second-place finishes, one World Series title and seven seasons in which they won 88 games or more. I brought that feature back back as a tribute to those teams, which featured such notably players as Hall of Famer Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Bill Freehan and Mickey Lolich. Also, sleeve numbers are such an unusual quirk for a baseball jersey (indeed, only one Major League team, the Philadelphia Phillies, uses sleeve numbers today).

  • I added a logo on the left sleeve. It's not my creation--it's derived from this logo the Tigers used in 2005 to promote that year's MLB All-Star Game. When I first saw it five years ago, I thought, why not use that super-fierce-looking tiger in a new logo (instead of let it fade into obscurity)? It doesn't have to be the primary logo per se (the Old English D works just fine in that regard), but you have to admit, it is an eye-popping modernization of this logo the Tigers used from 1961 to 1993. Heck, they're both bold blue circles with tigers in them--below is a side-by-side comparison.
Bottom line, I really like how my design turned out, and I hope you do as well. I invite you to take this survey I put together so you can tell me what you think about it. I thank you in advance for your time.

As it happens, two other guys submitted their own Tiger road jersey concepts (thankfully, no one dared mess with the home uniforms).

  • Harry Mathews submitted this, which looks like the home uniform dunked in gray dye; it's simple but dull (the road jersey really needs the orange outlining and this version doesn't have any of it).
  • "RC" created one that takes design elements from the uniforms of Detroit's Negro League team, the Stars. The "Detroit" with the star over the "i" comes from the Stars' road jersey; the pinstripes and the blue part in the middle from the Stars' home jersey. The Tiger head comes from the Tigers' 1927 road jerseys. The idea of using a Negro League team jersey as the basis for an MLB jersey is intriguing (no MLB team has ever done so to my knowledge). But there's just too much stuff on the front, especially with the tiger's head (I would have moved that to one of the sleeves). Also, no Tiger jersey has had pinstripes on it since 1927, and since I hate the Yankees, pinstripes go about as well on a Tiger uniform as bacon does on ice cream.

P.S. For the record, I would never mess with the Tigers' home jersey.

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