Friday, October 18, 2013

Origins of the Dodgers Iconic "LA" Cap Design, or Not

Tom Radom, an accomplished graphic designer, shared a great pic the other day on twitter that yearns to be shared.  It is a letter to Dodger executive Art Patterson in 1957 from equipment maker Tim McAuliffe regarding recent talks about a LA Dodger logo.

As you know, the Dodgers were heading west and the team needed an new logo to represent them.
Thank you for your letter, I am making up two new LA's for Buzzie, I will send them to the Brooklyn office.

I will design them in the upper corner to show you what I mean, one will be identical with the LA I gave you only larger, and the other which is designed has the lower bar of the L, acting as the cross bar of the A.
This seemingly provides the origins of the current Dodger logo.  Of course, that likely is not true.

The Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels had already existed in the Southland, and they used the exact same concept on their uniforms for many decades.  As visual proof check out a 1929 Los Angeles Angels throwback uniform being sold at below.
(pic via 1929 LA Angels of PCL)

Although it is not exactly like the current Dodgers logo, it does use the exact same concept of the interlocking letters.  So, it's probably fair to say that the Dodgers "borrowed" the design from the PCL team.

On the other hand, it's not like they stole it.  By 1957, Walter O'Malley had already purchased the PCL Angels from Phillip Wrigley (the chewing gum magnate) in preparation of his move to Los Angeles.  So, the Dodgers only chose to adopt and slightly transform a design that he owned to fit with the big league club. 

BTW, by 1957 the PCL LA Angels had been using a brand new design that looks more similar to the current Dodgers logo.  Check out a vintage photo of Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda in that uniform below.
(pic via 90 Feet to Perfection: 1957 PCL Angels)

In case you can't see the cap, below is a look at that cap logo.
(pic via New Era Cap Talk)

As I was doing a little bit of research, I came across a great story about how a very young Jimmy Hahn, LA's former Mayor, once wrote to O'Malley with his own LA Dodgers cap design.  He also suggested using the interlocking LA design.  See that story at LA Observed here. When he was told that his original letter still existed he refused to take credit for the iconic Dodger logo.  He wrote:
"To be honest, I think the old Pacific Coast League LA Angels may have used that logo and I may have 'borrowed' from that."
You should take a moment to check out Todd Radon's website.  He shares a bunch of graphic designs he's created over the years, and I'm sure you'll recognize many of them.  This guy's work is everywhere in sports.

Pic at very top via twitter @ToddRadom

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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