The Milwaukee Brewers baseball team was founded in 1894 in Maryland to compete in the Western League.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the team was relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where they played for fifty-two years as the St. Louis Browns. The Great Depression in the United States and the St. Louis Cardinals’ dominance in town baseball dealt a severe blow to the team’s host games’ attendance. Despite the beginning of the Second World War, in 1941, the owner Dona owned Barnes, attempted to move the team to Los Angeles, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor disrupted his plan. The Major League Baseball officials rejected Barnes’ proposal. They expressed concern that the US authorities might restrict the movements of a prospective team.
In the after-war era, in 1951, the club was purchased by Bill Veeck. To attract more viewers, he extended a wide array of promotions and antics. For example, in the first game, he came up with the idea of serving free drinks, namely beer and soda. Veeck made an effort to move the club to Los Angeles once more, but the move was blocked again.
In 1952, the Cardinals’ owner was convicted of tax evasion, which ultimately led to selling the team to August Bush Jr., the owner of the brewing company. Because of the competition, the St. Louis Browns’ owner was also forced to sell the team to Baltimore brewer Jerold Hoffberger and Clarence Miles, trying to bring the Major League team back to their home town, Baltimore.
Upon their transfer to Baltimore, the St. Louis Browns were immediately renamed the Baltimore Orioles. Although their first season happened to be rather unsuccessful, the number of spectators per season exceeded 1,000,000 people.
The team was named after the Baltimore oriole, the state bird of Maryland. So, it has been the basic element and symbol of the team logo since 1954. The orange letter “B” was adopted as the logo in 1963, but it was the only “bird-less” season in the team’s history. The Baltimore Orioles logo did not change for 23 seasons, but in 1966 the first cartoon bird appeared on the Orioles’ caps. In 1989, the team removed it in favor of a realistic-looking bird.
Meanwhile, the Oriole Bird is a team mascot from 1979 to the present day. In 2012, the club introduced a modernized variant of the cartoon bird. In 1993, the franchise was sold to Baltimore-based businessman Peter Angelos for a record of $173 million, the most paid for any sports team.
Meaning and History
The seventeen logos that have been replaced by the Baltimore Orioles franchise differ in a variety of elements and styles. In some, the monogram prevails, in others – a round stamp with text, in others – a bird. This is due to the fact that the club has changed several owners, cities, and names. Each stage was necessarily accompanied by a redesign of the logo – from minimal adjustments to large-scale changes.
At the beginning of the 20th century, most teams used the wordmark of their state or home city as the logo. Hence, the first Milwaukee Brewers’ logo was just the blue-written name of the city.
1902 – 1905
In 1902, the team was still called the St. Louis Browns, so its logo was a brown city acronym “St. L”.
1906 – 1907
The 1906-1907 season uniform was adorned with an extremely curious logo. There were intertwined letters “STL” inside the baseball diamond. The basic color remained the same.
1908 – 1910
In 1908, the club logo changed the STL acronym to a brown fleur-de-lis or a heraldic lily.
1911 – 1915
The fifth logo was a combination of the interlaced letters “STL” in the brown color.
1916 – 1935
In 1916, the team changed the logo again by dropping the letter “T” to have “SL” instead, still in brown. The letters were blurred as if they were executed in watercolors. The St. Louis Browns used this logo until 1935. It marked the end of exploiting letters and city name in their logo.
1936 – 1951
The logo color scheme was changed to white, black, and orange. It represented the statue of St. Louis (namesake of the city) on horseback, holding a sword. The statue was mounted atop a shield with eight brown stars at the top and orange and brown stripes. A white baseball with the word “BROWNS” was in the center of the shield.
1952 – 1953
The logo was entirely changed 15 years later to the elf’s cartoonish head in orange.
1954 – 1965
Upon relocating to Baltimore, the team changed its name to Baltimore Orioles, which meant adopting a new logo. For the Orioles’ first nine seasons, a smiling cartoonish oriole colored black, orange, and white, climbed on a white baseball. Behind the baseball were two bats crisscrossing while the word “ORIOLES” was in the center of the baseball.
1966 – 1988
In 1966, the team owners brought in some assistance to create a marketable bird character. The tenth-anniversary logo was designed by Stan Walsh, who was behind creating the most mind-boggling logos for Hamm’s Bear, Snap, Crackle, and Pop. He changed the orange color to red. Inside the red circle, whose wordmark was “Baltimore Orioles” was the red oriole, wearing black cap and cleats and swinging the red bat.
1989 – 1991
The next Baltimore Orioles logo was a little different from the previous one. In 1989, the team just changed the colors to brighter shades of black and orange.
1992 – 1994
In 1992, the team removed the circle and had the lifelike orange oriole with black wings, perching on the letter “i” in the word “Orioles” Inside the orange tail of the script was the wordmark “Baltimore” written in white.
1995 – 1997
The team introduced a new logo. The bird was still standing on the letter “i” of the scripted “Orioles,” but facing right. The orange script was set in a background comprising yellow and green baseball diamond.
Very subtle changes were made to the logo for the 1988 season. The only difference was the design of the bird, whose drawing much resembled real orange-and-black oriole.
1999 – 2008
The fifteenth Baltimore Orioles emblem remained the same, with the only change being a color enhancement and more defined details of oriole’s image.
2009 – 2018
The latest Baltimore Orioles logo was altered by removing the baseball diamond background in 2009. The red color was changed to orange. The black, white, and orange oriole has remained, but it was not as bright as in the previous logo.
2019 – present
The most recent version in the history of the Baltimore Orioles appeared in 2019. But this is not a major update, but a rework of the old version dating back to 2012-2018. The developers took an alternative logo, which was used for advertising purposes, and approved it as the club’s main visual attribute.
The logo depicts not a realistic, but an anthropomorphic oriole, or rather a part of it. The head is on a white background and is located in a semi-profile. There is a smile on the bird’s face, so the beak’s tip is slightly bent. The look is agreeable and welcoming. The team mascot also has a dark baseball cap with a light visor. There is a patch on the header in the form of an uppercase “O” and a lowercase “s.”
Font and Color of the Emblem
Almost all Baltimore Orioles’ branding is associated with the oriole – either with its name or with a painted image. The fact is that the franchise is named after the official mascot of the state of Maryland, and since 1954 it has been part of the logo structure. True, at first, there were several periods when the oriole was not present at all on the logo. Her appearance took place in the middle of the last century: she was portrayed as a cartoon character, combined with a baseball theme. It was from that time that the bird never left the emblem. The realistic image was approved in 1992.
If there is no text in the current version (there are only two letters – “O” and “s”), then in the earlier versions, there is an inscription. Some use a chopped sans serif typeface, while others use a handwritten typeface with streamlined characters. The word “Orioles” is diagonal and read from bottom to top. All letters are supplemented with shadows that make the font look three-dimensional. In the modern logo, the signs are also handwritten and have thin outlines.
The team’s color scheme is officially black, dark orange, gray, and white. Previously, this also included dark blue, brown, brick red, green, and beige.