SLEEVE LOGO EVOLUTION:
Since 1987 in Major League Baseball, and 1990 in the NFL, member teams have added manufacturer sleeve insignias, sometimes called “TV logos”, to game jerseys as a means of providing advertising to officially contracted uniform suppliers.
Over the 15 to 20 years of this practice, some suppliers have made subtle and/or extreme changes to those logos. Three such evolving company IDs will be looked at in this edition of The Shirt.
Although a licensed MLB game uniform supplier since 2000, Majestic has been making baseball BP jerseys since the early 1980s. Beginning in 1990, Majestic was given the OK to add a sleeve logo to their MLB BP tops. In the beginning, the logo was a chainstitched “Majestic” notation on the right sleeve. A simple word with no additional graphics, this version of the sleeve ID was used through 1993.
Come 1994 Majestic decidedly spruced up their logo, adding a multi-colored “twin mountainpeaks” graphic to the company name. The use of this version of the logo continued through 1999.
In 2000, a less colorful “twin peaks” logo, sans the company name, became the norm, and was moved to the left sleeve of MLB jerseys. This continues to this day.
The three examples above all utilize direct embroidery into the sleeve fabric. It deserves note that many 2000 MLB game jerseys of four Majestic-supplied teams…both Chicago clubs, Milwaukee and Toronto…were subcontracted out to Wilson.
These jerseys used a small twin peaks patch stitched onto the jersey.
Rawlings served two stints as an official MLB supplier: 1987-91 and 2000-02. During the first five-year period, the logo was the company name in script, sometimes embroidered directly into the jersey, other times sewn on a small rectangle of fabric sewn onto the sleeve. The format would vary based on team and style. These were also right sleeve adornments.
When Rawlings returned to the MLB official supplier fold in 2000, the three-year second stint for the St. Louis-based firm saw an oval with a scripted R inside as the emblem, identical to the insignia being used currently on Rawlings bats. As was the case with the other official suppliers in this three-year frame (Majestic and Russell), these IDs were added to the left sleeve.
Rawlings sleeve logos only appeared on minor league jerseys from 1992-99, a time frame during which they had no Major League uniform deal. Usually in this span, the logo would appear on the left sleeve of farm club threads. As near as my research can tell, 1998 was the changeover from the script “Rawlings” to the “R in an oval” logo. Given the multi-year use of most minor league jerseys, the old logo may appear on jerseys used after 1997 in some instances. And, given the above information, collectors can correctly determine that all those Rawlings black Orioles mesh jerseys “authenticated” as
being Major League Baltimore BP jerseys are anything BUT.
Credit for this primer goes to New York State uniform dealer Jim Yackel, one of the best around in knowledge of gridiron garb.
The Wilson logo, a curly “W”, appeared from 1990-94 in a 1-inch wide form (not including serifs atop the “W”), and was white on dark jerseys, and colored on white jerseys.
The “W” grew to 1 1/2 inches wide in 1996, and took on a speckled gold hue on all applicable jerseys. The larger “W” was also used in 1997, but went back to the alternating color arrangement used in 1990-94 by the smaller “W”.
That leaves 1995, and that season saw a dramatic departure…a shield-shaped insignia with the letters WS printed thereon. It was a fancy logo, and I, for one, was sad to see it retired after just one season
NEXT TIME: A hodgepodge of news and notes about game-used jerseys, and who has certain ones where. Happy Thanksgiving!