08 October 2012

Minor League Baseball Logo Rankings: Pacific Coast League

I collect baseball cards. I love baseball, have played it all my life, but have never lived close to a stadium. Thus, I grew up watching Triple-A baseball in Syracuse and Buffalo; with a four-year stretch in college watching Double-A in the Catskills.

It seemed every year there was an affiliation change or re-branding of minor league logos. As a hat collector growing up, I couldn't keep up with the changing logos and colour schemes (and once the Jays left Syracuse, why on Earth would I get a ghastly SkyChiefs hat?)

But being a collector, I collected. My fondest memories were trying to get future big leaguers to sign those MiLB caps. This is actually the route of my Carlos Delgado collection. We were trying to get his autograph (which, of course, we did) when my buddy's Dad just started talking to him during BP. He stayed and chatted with us for 10-15 minutes. It was the greatest gesture I have ever seen in person with a professional athlete (a close second is selling Nathan Gerbe some turkey last winter.)

Anyways, I was always a fan of the changing logos and affiliations. With the latest round of affiliation shake-ups this off-season, with the Blue Jays making my heart grow x4 by moving from hell-on-earth Las Vegas to my once home of Buffalo, I thought I would show tribute. So, with the help of www.sportslogos.net (check it out!) I am ranking the minor league logos. Enjoy! This will take months.

We'll start with the pitching dead zone of the Pacific Coast League:

Well you see, here's your problem. The logo of the PCL doesn't even say Pacific Coast League on it. Super mega fail. The logo debuted in 1989 and hasn't changed since. I debuted in 1986 and I have changed quite a bit. Shape up, PCL. (2/10)

15. Colorado Springs SkySox
Dear baseball: Please stop naming your team after socks. And "Sky" Sox? What the hell are those? Based on the logo, they're the socks of Pikes Peak. But wouldn't they still be in the ground? And not the sky? 

Why the bad ranking: It's been done. So many times. The navy/red colour scheme is washed-up. Accentuate the Rockies purple & silver! To be fair, the SkySox have never had good logos. Check their history here

Why I am not biased: I love Colorado Springs. Aside from the suburb sprawl it has become, there is nowhere in the USofA I'd rather live. But I'd probably just go to Rockies games instead. (2/10)

14. Fresno Grizzlies
The logo isn't bad, it's just...meh. The type is nice, the colour scheme is good, but the Grizzly is...well, grizzly. Bear logos and various bear-big cat-wolf-manbearpig mascots have been used to death. 

There's not much else to say about the Fresco logo. If you look at their alternates, the bear always looks odd, and the ball is not to scale with the other logos.The logo itself isn't bad, it's just unimaginative and recycled. (4/10)

13. Sacramento RiverCats
Oh great, River Cats. Cats hate water, jackass. Especially ones that play baseball. why would a cat want to use a soggy-rawhide ball? The alternates aren't much better, featuring one in which the "C" from Cats is about to decapitate this feline. (4/10)

12. Albuquerque Isotopes
The Isotopes logo debuted ten years ago and hasn't changes since. The logo makes sense - balls and electrons revolving around what seems to be an "A". But that's all there really is. It's not a bad logo, it just lacks substance. (5/10)

11. Iowa Cubs
Honestly, I feel a bit bad ranking the Iowa Cubs out of the top 10. It's what a minor-league affiliate should be: an homage to the big team, simple, and geographically reasonable. Bears used to live in the Midwest, we just got rid of them all. And then the Cubs never won a World Series again. 

The alternate logos of the Cubs are excellent. Instead of the Bear silhouette featured by your Chicago Cubs, it's a small bear. You know, a real cub. In this case, the MiLB logo is better than the big team. The cub looks all cuddly from a distance, but up close has aggressive eyes of an impending ankle-bite. (5/10)

10. Salt Lake City Bees
I'd rank this #1 if they would just name their team the SLC Punks and finally answer my demands. But they have not, and they're boring-ass Bee logo remains. The colour scheme is nice, albeit unoriginal, but keep in mind this is Utah. Utah is...not really a baseball state (but probably my favourite place on earth is southern Utah) and a Mormon state - so no gambling, aliens (well, maybe aliens) or scary cat-like creatures. Not a bad logo, but nothing exceptional. (5/10

9. Las Vegas 51s
Vegas should probably be lower. But I've already ranked them, so deal with it. I'm sure you know the stories behind Area 51, and thus the namesake of the team. Which is great. It's geographically unique. Much more wholesome than the Las Vegas Strippers or Wayne Newtons. I dislike the HUGE 51s in the background, but working with a mascot that is a number can be difficult, though the 49ers pull it off well. The colour scheme is rooted from the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate days, didn't change during the Blue Jays regime (likely because the big club never wanted to be there in the first place) and I doubt it will change in 2013 for Los Mets. (5/10)

8. Round Rock Express
Honestly, I'd be more afraid of a Nolan Ryan coming at my face than a train. 

Trains are more MiLB than 35-year old organization catchers (I'm looking at you, Carlos Maldonado). Almost every stadium I have been to runs next to the train tracks. It just works. This is the first of the good logos in the PCL, and looking more closely, it's actually pretty sweet. It's modern and local. Its the Nolan Ryan Express without being as self-serving as Cal Ripken's Aberdeen IronBirds. It hints at Texas without sitting on its porch in a rocking chair brandishing a Savage 16 gauge. (6/10)

7. Reno Aces
Warning: The next two are pretty much the same.

It's okay. Once again, navy blue and red. Yawn. At least it's geographically relevant, with legalized gambling in Las Vegas, Junior. It sticks to baseball, the mascot and probably has some other solid qualities, but I am too excited about the top 5 to give too much of a damn an hour into writing this post. (6/10)

6. Tacoma Rainiers
The fact that the Rainiers came in at number six is not complimentary to the Pacific Coast League. They mostly make it due to their alternate logo depicting an ash cloud as the "T" for Tacoma on their cap logos. This compass-type one is just confusing. Red and navy. Again. With what seems like a compass star. Maybe they were trying to appeal to us geologists out there, but it doesn't work for me so well.Still better than the 11 teams that came before it, though.

What bothers me is that they had a totally rad logo before with a solid green/blue colour scheme, and went modern simpleton, as if to make their fan's clothes match better. (6/10)

5. Omaha Storm Chasers
Very, very cool. Unique colour scheme? Check. geographically relevant? Super check. Improved significantly from the previous logos? Super ultra mega check.

There's always been a baseball presence in Omaha, home of the College World Series - which is incredibly underrated. I've never seen kids play ball so hard. Love it. So of course, Omaha pays tribute to some of the hardest workers out there - storm chasers. Very cool. I'd like to say it could be better - but I know that I, myself, couldn't improve upon it. 

Why I am a bit biased: I want to chase storms. (7/10)

5. Nashville Sounds
I like it. There's not much else to say. The colours work, I love silhouettes, skylines are the best thing ever, and a baseball flying off into the sunset. Well done, Nashville. But you'd be ranked higher if it were not for these guys

Originally, I had Nashville ranked at seven. Then I realized that with the skyline, silhouette and baseball, it was way too awesome to not make the top five. (7/10)

4. New Orleans Zephyrs
The New Orleans Zephyrs logo hits on many points that should be included in a proper sports logo. It pays homage to a regional trait - in this case a zephyr. In case you're wondering what a zephyr is, it is a soft, west wind, such as the one coming off of the Gulf Coast. 

Another trait is a certain heritage or ethnic flavour, in this case - a fleur-de-lis, a symbol of strong French influence and creole heritage.

The colour scheme is simple and unconfusing - you won't find anyone else in the PCL to get the Zephyrs confused with. The logo has changed a few times since 1998, and has generally improved - though I wish the nutria would be more relevant nowadays. (7/10)

3. Oklahoma City Redhawks
Yeah, it's bust. Yeah, it's red and navy, but it involves the classic interlocking letters of the city (and not the mascot!). This is an ideal main logo and shoulder-patch type insignia. Crossed bats always work. It's classy. It's got a midwest feel. I like it. The Redhawks don't over do it, and they don't under do it. The alternates are solid, as well, including a badass bird holding a baseball bat in its beak. THAT'S A STRONG BIRD. (7/10)

2. Memphis Redbirds
Yes. Classy. Sure it's red-and-blue, but Cardinals had that colour scheme since 1900! It's so simple. It's hardly changed over the years, even with a move from Springfield, Missoura to Memphis, Tennessee (Mind you, the Springfield Cardinals exist still, in the Texas League since 2005). There;s not much to say, and in this case, that's a good thing. Keep it classy, Memphis. (8/10)

1. Tuscon Padres
The Tuscon Padres logo is about as close to perfect as it gets. I refrained from giving them a 9/10, as that rating is reserved for something as awesome as this (but that's a later post.)

Colour scheme - They take the Padres Navy/Gray and make it better. Adding a lighter shade of watery blue to the navy and accentuating the silver/gray. 

Geographically correct - No Chicago Marlins BS here. The Mexican influenced city lends itself to being represented by the big team's mascot as well, the Padre. Even better? A CACTUS.

Guess what I love? Cacti. And MiLB baseball logos. (9/10)

I hope you all enjoyed this. I will keep them coming, but keep in mind, they take a while to format, grab logos, and write. I change the rankings while I write, forget teams (Tacoma) and go on rants. 

NEXT UP: Carolina League!

And man, there are some good ones in there...


  1. To be fair, Colorado Springs teams were named Sky Sox dating back to 1950.

    And the Zephyrs name came from Denver when the team was moved. They had been the Denver Zephyrs since 1984.

  2. Good to know. The reference I've been using only gives info on the latest branding, so any information like this is welcomed.