Over the course of the baseball season, Todd Radom, a graphic artist and sports fan, ranked the top 30 MLB logos of all time on Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast. After every pick, there was, of course, plenty of discussion and debate about whether or not the logo selected was a good call or a bust.
In that spirit, I seek to rank the MLB logos used on-field right now. Before revealing my list, a few ground rules:
- Each team is ranked based on their every-day primary cap logo, as found on MLB.com.
- Every team is ranked, unlike Radom’s list where some teams received multiple best logos, while others were left off altogether.
- As a belligerent Cubs fan, the Cubs have been left off the list. Between the simplicity of the Cubs logo and the elegance of it, there is no way for me to find an unbiased place for it amongst its peers.
- As the hat enthusiast that I am, I indicate parenthetically whether or not I own a hat with this logo.
With that, here are the 29 MLB logos ranked in order of greatness:
1. Tigers (Own)
The old English “D” is one of the best recognized symbols in the world, and it embodies a historic franchise during its entirety. Artistically done, yet cleanly updated over time, the Tigers have the most aesthetically pleasing logo that has been appropriately updated over time.
2. Yankees (Own)
What was Radom’s best logo can’t slip out of the top two. The Yankees NY logo is the most iconic logo across the world, and speaks to a historically successful brand. While haters are aplenty, the Yankees logo is the envy of all fan bases across the sport.
3. Giants (Own)
In a baseball world full of interlocking letters, the Giants “SF” takes the cake in simplicity and balance. It represents a team that has built a modern-day dynasty, and the sharp black and orange colors give this logo a dominant spot in my ranking.
4. Diamondbacks (Own)
After the traditionalism of the first three logos, the Diamondbacks’ “A” is one of baseball’s modern masterpieces. The Sedona red and black go perfectly together, and the textured edge gives it depth in a way that distinguishes it amidst a field of two-dimensional logos.
5. Mariners (Own)
What could have been stuck as a boring “S” was injected with character with the addition of the compass to Seattle’s image. The best logos are the ones that acknowledge the heritage of the city, and the Mariners’ “S” is a beautiful homage to the town. The nautical color scheme only perfects the look.
6. Dodgers (Own)
If the Yankees are the east coast’s most iconic image, than the interlocking LA is the best in the West. A Dodgers logo is immediately recognizable, and is connected to one of baseball’s most significant teams. The Dodgers logo is a masterpiece of space and design, and is one of the most popular in sports.
7. Rangers (Own)
A single letter isn’t a huge place for a statement about a team, but the Rangers use a lot of their image in their “T”. The stylized font matches the brand perfectly, and the shading offers the perfect texture. NOTE: The “T” on the blue hat far outperforms the red hat.
8. Angels (Own)
Balanced and symmetrical, the Angels logo stands tall, embodying the team concept while also modernizing over the history of the franchise. This logo is crisp, clean, and contains a depth that distinguishes it from its competition.
9. Astros (Own)
The Astros logo is a new iteration of a throwback for the franchise, and one that perfectly takes into account the single letter “H” in the context of the star in the background. The symmetry works perfectly to make a simple, but well-constructed look.
10. Reds (Own)
It’s impossible to ignore the history of the Reds when evaluating the logo. The stylized “C” dates, in one form or another, for over a century and has embodied baseball’s oldest club. What it lacks in flash it makes up for in tradition, and is a solid representation of one of baseball’s best cities.
11. Cardinals (Of course not…)
It brings pain to my heart, but the Cardinals logo does a lot with a tall order. Working an “S, T, and L” into the logo could have been a disaster, but instead makes up one of the best uses of space in the business. While it represents the evil enemy, it also embodies one of the classiest designs on any ballfield.
12. Red Sox (Own)
A logo is the singular reflection of a team’s entire font character, and the Boston “B” is one of the game’s most recognizable. While the pair of socks logo might be more exciting, the “B” is the most classic cap logo, and thus places the Red Sox in the middle of the pack.
13. Braves (Own)
The script “A” is a representation of a team that won 14 straight division titles. While unfortunately very similar to the Alabama Crimson Tide’s logo, it is a classy and simple iteration of the team’s gritty play and the elegance of the game itself.
14. Brewers (Don’t own)
The Brewers have used more jerseys and styles in recent years than most can keep up with, but the Milwaukee “M” is the primary logo (for now). While the “MB” glove logo is one of the game’s best, the wheat-underscored “M” is a perfectly acceptable, if not slightly boring, iteration of the team’s identity.
15. Twins (Own)
We are fast approaching the long run of interlocking letter logos, and the Twins are one of the best of its kind. The depth of the “C” crossing over and under the “T” is elegantly done, and the color scheme uses a classy rendition of reds, whites, and blues that match one another well.
16. Royals (Own)
The Kansas City interlocking letters lacks flash, but it makes up for it in a recognizable and simple manner. It seems fair that this basic logo comes at the middle of the pack, as a rather benign logo corresponds with almost 50 years of history. (Plus, a white squatchee on the hat gives it the unique character to distinguish it from others)
17. White Sox (Don’t own)
The diagonal “SOX” script has been in existence since 1951, but the most recent rendition has been around since 1990. It borrows an old English feel from their Detroit rivals and, while the black and white contrast boldly. It also takes home the prize as the only team with a full name on the hat.
18. Jays (Own)
The Blue Jays have had a hard time in the past with an ever-changing logo scheme while never venturing THAT far from home (with the early 2000s exception). The current hat logo is a trimmed down version of an earlier rendition, is a perfectly fine version, with an homage to the team’s Canadian heritage.
19. Marlins (Own)
The Marlins logo pays homage to the vibrant color and character of the the city of Miami, but does so in dizzying fashion. The marlin graphic seems to be one-step too much when mixed with the neon colors of the logo. The logo also appears extra large on the cap, making it a particularly unique and awkward look.
20. Phillies (Don’t own)
The Phillies are a team with a strong fan base and deep history. None of that is reflected in a “P” logo that lacks character and style. The Phillies are clearly suffering from what happens when simplicity becomes boring, rather than classy.
21. Mets (Own)
The Mets are a team born out of an amalgamation of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, and their logo looks so much like the Yankees’ sad little brother. The logo is fine, really, but too closely resembles their far more iconic cross-town rival.
22. Rockies (Don’t own)
Most interlocking logos are the result of a two-word city name, while the Rockies use their city and team name as their pair of icons. The logo fails to distinguish itself from the long list of other, similar logos, with the exception of the color scheme, which matches the team quite nicely and uniquely.
23. Padres (Own)
The Padres logo has gone through color changes and font adaptations, but constantly maintains the same boring rendition of the interlocking “S” and “D”. This is one of the game’s least exciting logos, and fails to distinguish itself from something you’d find at the airport in a generic souvenir shop.
24. Pirates (Don’t own)
The Steel City has always rocked the yellow and black, and the Pirates have a really excellent concept across the board. That being said, their cap logo is as basic as they come, with only a little bit of accented flair to make the script pop. It isn’t a bad logo, but it certainly doesn’t deserve any extra praise.
25. Rays (Own)
Tampa Bay got to redesign their concept in 2008, and had the chance to really do something unique. Instead, they simply updated the past “TB” logo, leaving two letters that don’t even intersect, but rather simply hang out near one another. It is a logo that is about as bleh as the fans who don’t go to the stadium.
26. Orioles (Don’t own)
I will be in the minority here, but cartoon mascots have never really been my thing. That being said, the Orioles have a great logo using a terrible strategy, so they find themselves near the bottom of this list. The team’s cap logo is so bad, even the bird doesn’t want to wear a hat with it.
27. Nationals (Own)
The Nationals are a great team with a cool logo. But, when you can’t wear your ballcap around town without getting confused with a Walgreens employee, you lose massive points. This hat also replaces a very cool “DC” logo from the earlier days in Washington, and I’m still salty about that.
28. Athletics (Don’t own)
The Athletics use their simplified name on their caps, and it doesn’t come out very well. The “A” by itself looks rather cool, but the “apostrophe s” really ruins the simplicity and the style, instead making it look like a tacky after-thought. Maybe dropping it would help their place in the standings?
29. Indians (Own)
Last, and certainly least, the Indians had to do something after their racist caricature wore out its welcome. Instead of using that as inspiration, they simply use a block “C” that, while present in the team’s history, represents nothing about Cleveland. Although everyone prefers a boring, dumb logo to a racist, offensive one.