Just like with any professional sports team, website, or a fast food joint, the logo is one of the most important tools to marketing your product. It is what potential clients see first and often times is the deciding factor in whether or not a person will shop at your establishment, buy your product, or be a proud-enough fan to buy and wear your shirts, jerseys, hats, and more. If you have an ugly logo, nobody will want to give you free advertising by wearing your gear around town. In the marketing world, that is a major problem.
Many sports teams don’t have that issue. Throughout American sports, there are teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Oakland Raiders that are known by the majority of fans because of their logo alone. It doesn’t matter if these teams are having a terrible season, fans will still support these teams because of the logos.
That isn’t always the case. Over the course of baseball history, there have been plenty of teams that have changed their logo and while the teams thought they were doing the right thing, it turned out that they weren’t. It isn’t just in recent years that teams tried to get too fancy and came up with ugly logos. Either they do too much with their logo, or they go really dull and bland with their logo and remove everything that made the original so endearing. Sometimes you wonder how teams are paying their marketing department. You can't tell us that an average fan couldn't have created a better logo than some of these.
Ugly logos have been around for more than a century and come with the territory, but what are the worst?
11 Dishonorable Mention: Pittsburgh Pirates (1960 - 1966)
How difficult can it be to make a pirate look cool? Well, that seemed to be a challenge for whoever came up with this logo for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's crazy to think that the Pirates actually won the World Series with this logo back in 1960. There's even an alternate version of this logo without the bats and text, and the Pirate sporting skin loop earrings. Either way, it's a really odd look for a simple task of making a pirate look cool and intimidating. This one looks like a bumbling character you'd find in a pirate cartoon.
10 Anaheim Angels (1997 – 2001)
This alternate logo used by the Angels after they became the Anaheim Angels, formerly known as the California Angels (now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Well, whatever city you say they're from, it is one of the worst in baseball history and was part of a barrage of ugly logos used during this period. For those that are fans of the powder blue color, this logo is amazing, but for those that aren’t a fan, this logo leaves plenty to the imagination. There are many things wrong with this logo from the font used in “Anaheim” to the color combinations. None of it makes sense and it seems like the logo could have been designed as part of a contest.
The halo around the A (or the old CA) is vastly superior and is a much cleaner look. This just looks really hokey and looks like it would be worn by a Little League team. The Angels went back to the halo in 2002 and won their first World Series. The baseball gods smiled down on them for ditching this abomination.
9 Tampa Bay Rays (1998 – 2000)
With a name like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, there was a chance that the team would be able to come up with one of the best logos in baseball history. Too bad they failed big time. This colorful rainbow looking logo features a devil ray in an oval shape. The logo they went to in 2001 is a little better, but it can never take away the awful memories baseball fans around the country have of this rainbow, devil ray logo. Perhaps the poor logo was a perfect fit for the early Rays teams, who would occupy the league's basement as an expansion team.
8 Detroit Tigers (1927 – 1928)
Much like the Atlanta Braves have suffered through an endless supply of ugly logos in their history, the same can be said of the Detroit Tigers. While the current Detroit logo can be considered classy and sophisticated, the same can’t be said of the logo they had for two seasons in the 1920s. The tiger looks either startled or confused. How can you screw up trying to draw an intimidating tiger?
This orange tiger had a creepy looking face and it appeared that it was drawn by an elementary school student. Actually, that might be considered a terrible insult to some talented elementary school students around the country.
7 Chicago White Sox (1949 – 1970)
I’ve got to admit, part of me likes this logo for the Chicago White Sox, but another part of me hates everything about it. Inside the yellow circle of this logo is a sock with angel wings and “Chicago” written in script. Now, I like the way Chicago is written out, but why would they put the angel wings on the sock? The wing used on this logo actually remind me of logo that the Detroit Red Wings have been using since 1923. Wonder if they had any copyright or trademark laws back then? Maybe the wing was so poorly drawn in order to avoid copyright infringement. Mission accomplished.
6 Chicago Cubs (1927 – 1936)
The Chicago Cubs have had the same logo for close to 40 years now and their current logo is one of the most sophisticated and classic in American sports. The team didn’t always get it right with their logos. From 1908 to 1910, the team had an awesome looking logo that featured a bear holding a baseball bat inside a “C.” The team used that idea for their next two logos before changing styles. Some were nicer than others, but there has not been a worse logo in franchise history than the one used for close to a decade. This version is similar to that from 1908, but the bear is much creepier and the “C” looks like the Cincinnati Reds logo. Not a solid combination if you ask me. Actually, come to think of it, the bear looks more like a fat kangaroo.
5 Houston Astros (1975 – 1993)
The logo used by the Houston Astros is one of the worst ever seen on a baseball uniform. This orange circle features the emblem of the Astrodome, the venue the Astros called home for multiple decades with four baseballs scattered throughout and a huge, bold-font “Astros” written out beneath the stadium. This logo was the second one the franchise used and while similar to the original, was a revision in the bad direction. The baseballs kind of make you dizzy more than anything. The team would venture away from round logos for close to two decades and three different versions, but would return to a nicer and neater round logo in 2013.
4 St. Louis Cardinals (1949 – 1959)
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful franchises in baseball history. Unfortunately for them, their incredible success over the years hasn’t exempted them from being included on a list like this. While the Cardinals current logo is considered timeless and legendary, the logo they used from 1949 to 1959 left plenty to the imagination. This logo featured a cardinal in a pitching stance holding a ball behind its back. Part of what makes it so bad is the angry look on its face.
3 Detroit Tigers (1934 – 1956)
Another logo for the Detroit Tigers franchise makes the list as one of the worst of all time. This logo, used for more than two decades, featured an even worse looking tiger than the one featured earlier on this list. In a thick black circle, this orange tiger has its mouth open as if it was looking for dinner. Part of the problem for me is that this doesn’t even look like it is a tiger, rather it looks like a fat bear with fangs. Of all the things you can do with a tiger, how do you land on this?
2 Miami Marlins (2012 – Present)
When the Florida Marlins moved to Miami, they needed a facelift. This meant with personnel and with their image. Thinking back on their old logo, it isn’t like the Marlins had a winning logo to begin with, but when they moved to Miami, things got even worse. The logo they are still using today features an orange and blue colored Marlin that is jumping over a multi-colored M. There are just so many things wrong with this logo, but it is hard to get past the terrible color choices and the overall ugly appearance. Here’s hoping to a change sometime soon!
1 Atlanta Braves (any logo from 1966 – 1989)
The Atlanta Braves are a franchise that called two other cities home before landing in Georgia and have gone through their fair share of logos including awesome and ugly. One of the worst in the history of baseball features the infamous Indian the team has used over the course of five variations of logos. From 1966 to 1971, the Braves used a laughing Indian on their logo and from 1972 until 1989, still used an Indian, but with different colors. Regardless of which of these variations you may look at, you are looking at something so terrible, ugly and offensive that we should hope to never see it brought back on Throwback Thursdays.