As always, logos are taken from the absolutely awesome Chris Creamer's Sports Logos website. Go check it out and love the hell out of the effort he has put into showing quality logos, histories and awesome Disqus comments on this site.
Honorable Mentions - Retired Logos
Before I get into the rankings of the current Northwest League teams, let's take a look back at a couple of teams now defunct.
Southern Oregon Timberjacks
The Southern Oregon Timberjacks (which for the record, is way too long of a name) logo, defunct by 1999, looks more like the logo of a beer league softball team.
And I mean that in the highest sincerity. It's really pretty awesome, and fits the idea you would have of a low-level MiLB team in the Pacific Northwest. IN 2000, the Timberjacks were moved to Vancouver, Washington to become the Vancouver Canadians.
Yakima Bears (Now the Hillsboro Hops)
Due to a weak local economy and repeated failed attempts to build a minor-league quality stadium (yikes), the Bears moved from Yakima, Washington to Hillsboro, Oregon in a move that started as recently as June of last year. The Hops will begin playing in Hillsboro this July when Northwest League play starts up.
Vancouver Canadians (Toronto Blue Jays)
Immediately, we get the favorite-team bias out of the way. I am a Blue Jays fan, and the Canadians (of course) are the Blue Jay's Northwest League affiliate.
Normally, you'd think I'd let them slide a bit out of favoritism and the presence of Roberto Osuna, but the Canadians logo is just...so...boring.
It's two colors, with a secondary shading of one the light red to a dark red. The logo is a "C" with a baseball, terribly uninspired. Additionally, the scroll of the team location and name along the top and bottom of the round logo.
Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies)
Can a swirling stack of wind have a soul patch?
Apparently, in Oregon, they do. It's not so much that the 3City Dust Devils logo is bad, it's just not the good. The colors are almost exactly the same as the Omaha Storm Chasers, and yet there is a remarkably similar logo. I believe the Storm Chasers came about much more recently, but they just did a better job of it.
The Dust Devils have a nice text scroll, but the left-right, up-down scroll appended to the awkwardly-shaped logo makes for a strange v-shape blown over in a dust short.
See what I did there?
Spokane Indians (Texas Rangers)
Well, I cannot say much on the Spokane Indians that wasn't present in the Vancouver Canadians logo description. I can, however, detail the very few qualities that make it wholly better, though.
A. Presence of a third color. Surprisingly, the red-white-blue scheme works pretty well here, and if it were just red and blue, or just red and white, I'd puke.
B. The feathers. Understated in the logo, the fact that they are there makes it worlds better than the Canadians logo.
C. Font variation in the "S". Not unique, but the old-school(ish) text, similar to that of the Boston Red Sox organization and earlier teams, gives the team an old-timey feel. It's actually quite nice.
Eugene Emeralds (San Diego Padres)
The American Pacific Northwest is a unique place, and you'll see more of a theme developing in the coming logos. The Pac-NW has a unique climate and certainly a unique population, and with that comes a lore left over from ancient times and an inspiration for the Eugene Emeralds logo. While the
team isn't called the Bigfoot, Yeti or Sasquatch(i?), the logo shows a well-colored - let's use Sasquatch to fit the colloquium - trouncing around with an evergreen tree - symbolic of the Northwest - to be used as a baseball bat (maybe) or a toothpick (likely). Or as it it depicted in the cap log (left), a meal. Apparently Sasquatches are akin to gin, Imperial Pale Ales and pine tree car air fresheners.
When I first saw this logo, I wasn't thrilled, but it indeed is growing on me - at least the cap logo is.
Boise Hawks (Chicago Cubs)
The Boise Hawks logo is an odd one. The text is overly complex for a baseball scroll, and the use of orange and red in the same logo is rather unheard of. Add green trim on to that (which is much more strongly-stated in the
uniforms, which are ghastly) and the logo gets even stranger. The more I write about it, the less I like it. I do, however, like the hawk on the logo, which is boldly more present on the cap logos (home & away). The Hawks gain points with a killer alternate cap logo, featuring a well-detailed talon of the Hawk grasping a baseball on the alternate red background. This logo could be helped greatly by just removing the orange and going with red and green, similar to that of the Minnesota Wild.
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (San Francisco Giants)
Taking my geologist background into account, there is a distinct reason I like the Salem-Keizer logo so much.
It's a Volcano, man! Just having a volcano as a mascot lends to an excellent color scheme and unique logo opportunities. While many organizations would likely go very complex with this logo, S-K does not. The logo is simple, a red and black cone with an "S" shaped lava flow (seemingly for Salem) and a wafting plume atop. The text is a bit thin, but it melds well with the logo overall.
Also, the cap logo, uniquely on a gray background, featured a smoking, flaming baseball, seemingly ejecta from the volcanoes in question, inspiring the logo. Baseball? Check. Geology? Check. Pretty colors? More check. This one was hard to top, but alas:
Everett Aquasox (Seattle Mariners)
Originally I had the Aquasox ranked lower - fourth, actually. It wasn't until close inspection (and comparison to the older, odder logo) that I bumped it up to a #2 ranking. There are a few too many colors and the detail in the Frog (which resembles a tree frog more than an aquatic one), but the circular logo and unique animal logo make up for that. It is, of course, much cleaner on the cap logo.
The cap logo is what does it for me. The Aquasox are an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, owners of one of the more unique logos (I'm speaking of the original 70's M-Trident logo, of course) and this has translated all the way down to the short-season Aquasox. Take a look at the cap on the frog's head - it has that M, rotated to make an "E" for Everett. Or for the default scoring of any play involving Jesus Montero.
Hillsboro Hops (Arizona Diamondbacks)
While I try to avoid bias at all times during these rankings, sometimes they just cannot be ignored. You see, I have recently become a novice hop farmer myself, and am currently being paid by my work (a local Soil & Water Conservation District) to see how we might be able to utilize our ideal environment here in the Wild Onondaga for growing said wonder crop. So yeah, if it means a stable income for me, I am for it!
The Hops are a brand-new team in Hillsboro (Northern Oregon), the result of the dislocation of the Yakima Bears. With the relocation, there came a re-branding, and the folks at Hillsboro nailed it. The logo features the city name and team name (albeit the team name is a bit gaudy, pobody's nerfect), Mount Hood (iconic of the region) an evergreen forest (also very Pacific-Northwest) and a truly awesome, yet smug, hop cone. Of course, the Hop itself is wearing a Hops cap - because why the hell not?
The Hops are yet to play a game - with their relocation less than a year in, and the Northwest League season still a month or so away - and it's a damn shame. I am betting they're going to rock some sweet uniforms, and I cannot wait to get my grubby hop-diggin' paws on a Hillsboro Hops cap.
MiLB Logo Aggregate Rankings:
1. Hillsboro Hops
2. Everett Aquasox
3. Tucson Padres
4. Memphis Redbirds
5. Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
6. Oklahoma City RedHawks
7. New Orleans Zephyrs
8. Nashville Sounds
9. Boise Hawks
10. Eugene Emeralds
11. Omaha StormChasers12. Tulsa Drillers
13. Reno Aces
14. Spokane Indians
15. Round Rock Express
16. Las Vegas 51's
17. Salt Lake Bees
18. Iowa Cubs
19. Albuquerque Isotopes
20. Fresno Grizzlies
21. Sacramento RiverCats +1
22. Colorado Springs SkySox -1
23. Tri-City Dust Devils
24. Vancouver Canadians
Italics = New Additions