The history of the St. Louis Cardinals logo
Instead of focusing on the dreadful five-game road trip that saw the St. Louis Cardinals tumble from first place right out of the playoff picture, the internet was abuzz Thursday and Friday with a slight tweak to the team’s traditional S-T-L logo on its caps.
It’s the sort of topic that would get you dressed down by serious baseball fans if not for the fact that getting swept in a two-city road trip for the first time since 1960 is just so demoralizing that any distraction will do. So pardon me if I take a break from agonizing over the fact that this team can’t seem to pitch and hit on the same night. And many nights, it can’t do either.
The changes, which stealthily made their way into Major League Baseball graphics a few days ago, are mostly a softening of the STL, changing the boxy corners of the letters with a a more nuanced look. Purists shouldn’t have a problem with the changes because, if anything, the style is MORE traditional. The lettering is similar to the Redbirds caps of the 1940s and 1950s than what they have been wearing recently.
Not so secretly, I am hoping the move is a signal that maybe the Cardinals will get rid of the sky blue pajamas they’ve worn while compiling a 1-8 record during Saturday road games in favor of something more reminiscent of what Stan Musial wore when he ruled the National League. The Navy caps with red lettering and red bills have always been my favorite St. Louis lids and the cream home tops and the road grays with piping around the necks and down the sleeves are unbelievably beautiful.
The Cardinals bowed to the younger crowd a few years ago and all but stopped wearing navy caps on the road because email crafting malcontents observed that the bird they take their name from is red — so the team should wear red headgear. Great. Never mind that the team wore blue caps from 1939 until the end of the 1960s before the dark ages of polyester jerseys took hold.
If I was in charge, I’d go back to the white with red caps at home and the gray with navy on the road because the dark color scheme with red sleeves and red stirrups showing is a spectacular look. I would have the team wear the 1940s style uniforms on weekends in place of the Saturday tops, Sunday caps and the road sky blue pajamas.
I never really got the motivation behind the constant need to change their looks some teams have. It’s marketing 101 that you create an identity and stick with it. That’s what endures and causes people to identify with your brand. It’s short sighted to try to change things every year in hopes of selling a few more caps and jerseys. There’s only so much of that stuff people are willing to spend money on, no matter how many different versions you come up with.
So, let’s hope the change the Cardinals quietly made is a sign that all that’s new is old again. Then I can get back to complaining about the fact that they need to get some better players and stop thinking about what they’re wearing while they’re taking a beating on the field.