Patriotism and baseball have always gone hand-in-hand, from Presidents throwing out the first pitch before games to Air Force flyovers to stopping the game to sing God Bless America in the 7th inning. America’s Pastime has had a long history of honouring and paying tribute to the nation while simultaneously entertaining it
Today is the Fourth of July, the 236th anniversary of the United States declaring their independence from the United Kingdom, and Major League Baseball will be honouring the event with ceremonies across the league – including the return of the camouflage team caps, which will be worn by all 30 clubs (including the Toronto Blue Jays tonight in Canada).
Earlier this year we looked at the history of MLB teams honouring America with uniform tributes. Today we’ll continue with that idea on this special day in the U.S.A. by taking a look at baseball’s most patriotic team logos… and no, not the special “one-off” logos just worn for a game then forgotten. These are all logos worn on the field as part of a club’s regular rotation of caps and jerseys:
New York Yankees, American League (Primary Logo, 1947-Present)
Ah, the classic. The New York Yankees primary logo features a stars-and-stripes “Uncle Sam” top hat stuck on the end of a baseball bat as it’s main element. This patriotic logo made it’s debut on the Yankees 1947 Spring Training program, designed by Lon Keller, and has been in use by the club ever since.
Interestingly this logo and the colours in the logo are not seen anywhere else in the New York Yankees uniforms or caps – truly a unique branding method employed by baseball’s most historic and iconic club.
Chicago White Sox, American League (Alternate Logo 1917, 2001)
Baseball’s first display of patriotism came courtesy the Chicago White Sox during the 1917 World Series when they donned this star-filled red-white-and-blue version of their logo on the front of their uniforms. The Sox also sported a US flag design on their jersey sleeve for the games. With this design the White Sox were paying their respects to the United States during the First World War.
In 2001 during the Chicago White Sox 100th anniversary season the club brought this look back as a regular alternate jersey, complete with the same US flag patch on the sleeve and logo-less pinstriped cap.
Philadelphia Phillies, National League (Primary Logo, 1970-1983)
Yes, they really used this as their primary logo. Yes, they really used this for 14 seasons. What you’re seeing is “Philadelphia Phil” and “Philadelphia Phyllis” playing baseball in their U.S. Revolution-era military gear, paying tribute to the City of Philadelphia’s role as the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The Phillies had some great success with Phil and Phyllis front-and-centre, winning the N.L. pennant twice and even taking home their first World Series championship in 1980.
Washington Nationals, National League (Alternate Logo, 2011-Present)
It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital would get in on the patriotic branding party. The Washington Nationals entire identity, since their first season in 2005, has been dominated by red-white-and-blue, stars and stripes. But it was their alternate jersey design adopted in 2009 that really ramped up the USA in the Nationals uniforms.
Taking their previously used red “DC” alternate uniforms, swapping out the red for blue, and adding a US flag pattern over the “DC” logo the Nationals became the first team to incorporate the flag directly on their logo for a regularly used uniform. In 2011 they dropped the “DC” logo and replaced it with the “curly W” you see above, worn on both their alternate cap and alternate jersey.
Somerset Patriots, Atlantic League (Primary Logo, 1999-Present)
Of course, we had to head to the minor leagues. Here we have a logo as patriotic as you can get (all that’s missing is a bald eagle with a tear in it’s eye as it’s perched on the Statue of Liberty). The logo features a colonial solider wielding a baseball bat as his weapon of choice to fight the Brits, a red-and-white cape flows from the left mimicking the stripes on the US Flag. A partial representation of the original US flag (featuring 13 stars in a circular pattern) can be seen on the right side of the solider’s uniform.
The Somerset Patriots are a member of the unaffiliated Atlantic League and play out of Bridgewater, NJ, and as if their entire identity wasn’t patriotic enough, they play in the Freedom Division. They love America, dammit!