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The History of the Baltimore Orioles and Their Sports Logo

March 9, 2014

Babe Ruth. Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle. Derek Jeter. All of them were Baltimore Orioles. Well, kind of… 

Baseball in Baltimore is traced back to the late-1800s with teams known as “Lord Baltimore,” in honor of the George Calvert, himself, the “Canaries,” and, winning the award for creativeness, the “Marylands.” The first Orioles team sprouted in 1882 as a charter member of the newly formed American Association, nearly a century after the bird, icterus galbula, received its name. They lasted in the AA–not to be confused with a city in Michigan or the famous non-profit dependency organization–throughout the league’s short-lived tenure and then transferred into the National League in 1891. 

The Orioles established themselves as a power in the National League with their dominant play. In fact, the term, “Old Oriole” refers to a player who is tough and relentless, a staple of players from Oriole teams of that era. However, the club’s fortunes turned south in 1899 when many of its stars were shipped off to the Brooklyn Dodgers, preceding the team’s contraction shortly thereafter.

The Orioles got a second life, though, when the newly formed American League was blocked out of New York by the clout and power of the National League’s New York Giants. So, instead of New York, the American League added a team in Baltimore for the 1901 season. The team’s jerseys donned an orange, “O,” thus, the creation of the “O’s” moniker. The unconventional look–that of what looked like a zero on each player’s jersey–was changed to a “B” the following year. Little did they know, the “B” stood for “Bye-bye,” because the Orioles were soon to move along. 

The American League and National League eventually settled its location dispute so, in 1903, the Baltimore Orioles became…the New York Yankees. Yet, once again, the Orioles were granted another life as they became a minor league franchise for 50 years. As a matter of fact, Babe Ruth was briefly an Oriole as he came up through the team’s system. 

As the Orioles bided their team before a return to the big stage, they settled in nicely as a minor league force,  but when the St. Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1953, the Orioles were more than willing to return. This time, they became a part of Major League Baseball’s American League. Here’s my favorite Orioles sports logo throughout the years. 

 

 

A quick sidebar note about the Browns because it has great historical value. They were St. Louis’ dominant franchise as far as support goes, not the Cardinals. While they didn’t have a ton of success, they are a part of a pretty notable event in baseball’s history. Turn back the clock to the final day of the 1910 season. Controversial star, Ty Cobb, was wrestling with Nap Lajoie for the AL’s batting title. Recognizing (through twitter, of course) that it would take a near-perfect day from Lajoie to overtake him, Cobb sat himself on the season’s final day to help his case for that crown. Browns manager at the time, Jack O’Connor, like others, did not like Cobb. Thus, he order his third baseman, rookie, Red Corriden, to play on the outfield grass against Lajoie, virtually conceding a hit to him each time. Lajoie took advantage of the shift and bunted each of his first five trips to the plate, reaching each time. However, on the fifth trip, the official scorer ruled that an error allowed him to reach safely, which, statistically, gave him a hitless at-bat. A few people tried to bribe the scorer by offering as much as a brand new wardrobe, according to the St. Louis Post, but she relented. Ty Cobb won the batting title by a few thousandths of a point and O’Connor was fired and informally banned from baseball for life. And you thought today’s baseball was corrupt with performance enhancing drugs. 

I’m so glad you also asked about Awesome Sports Logos baseball teams. Oh, you didn’t? Well, I’m going to tell you about them anyway. 

 

 

Boston is an amazing baseball town and also a town full of thick accents. This is a real simple but clean looking baseball logo. It’s the city that doesn’t like R’s, so how do you like your, “chowdah” or we can see the Sox at “Fenway Pahk”

 

 

A Doughboy is a term used to describe an American soldier. This term dates all the way back to the Mexican American War that focused around Texas. Some say it originated because many noticed that U.S. forces were constantly covered with chalky dust from marching through the dry terrain of Northern Mexico making the men look like unbaked dough. There are many other theories on the nickname, including how the infantry baked with rice and dough during war rations. I love how the rifle is a baseball bat in this logo. 

 

 

The Cape Cod Baseball League is one of the coolest summer baseball leagues in America. Free to watch and the players come into the stands with a hat for donations. If you watch the league, there is a very good chance you’ll see a future major leaguer. According to the league, 1,026 players have played in the big show. This logo is our tribute to an awesome baseball league.

 

 

 

Idaho is the potato capital of the United States. A “tater” is also a term used for a home run. I can’t believe there isn’t any baseball teams in Idaho with potato logos. Well, now Awesome Sports Logos has filled that void. 

Those are just 4 of the many sports logo t-shirts featured at Awesome Sports Logos. Spring Training is here. Get in the swing of things with some awesome t-shirts. 

Thanks for reading,

Jared Sandler

Awesome Sports Logo Columnist

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