The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (NL Central)

With the 2012 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to obsess once again on one of my favorite topics — logos. So I’m going to offer up my choices for the best and worst team baseball logos for all 30 current MLB franchises. Primary, alternate, and cap logos listed on Chris Creamer’s outstanding logo website are all under consideration. Today I look at the six squads of the National League’s Central division.

(Other recaps — AL WestNL West, AL Central)

Chicago Cubs

Best

Chicago Cubs Logo (1979 - present)

This is the only Cubs logo I’ve ever known, and I assumed it always looked like this. Alas, this particular variant of the primary design introduced in 1937 has only been in use since 1979. Still, seems kind of timeless, no?

Worst

Chicago Cubs Logo (1927 - 1936)

It had been not quite 20 years since the Cubbies’ last World Series title when this was rolled out in 1927. So why can’t I shake the feeling that this rather portly fellow is committing the ursine equivalent of seppuku?

Cincinnati Reds

Best

Cincinnati Reds Logo (1972 - 1992)

Reds fans fondly remember the running Mr. Red with the team’s Big Red Machine glory days in the 1970s. I almost went with his mustachioed relative from the 1950s, but learning that Cincy adopted it and the name “Redlegs” to deflect associations with Communism left a bad taste in my mouth.

Note that the original Running Red wore jersey number 27.

Worst

Cincinnati Reds Logo (1939 - 1953)

Reds logos come in two basic flavors — Mr. Red or a variation of the letter “C” and the team name. I chose this one, used throughout the 1940s and early ’50s, mainly because I can’t reconcile Cincinnati with Chicago Cubs colors. Otherwise, it’s fine.

Houston Astros

Best

Houston Astros Logo (1965 - 1974)

This was the Astros’ first logo after being renamed from the Colt .45s. Even as late as 1965 this was sort of retro. Love the action font and the Atomic Age motif. I’d love to have this on a t-shirt.

Worst

Houston Astros Logo (2000 - present)

Blech. I can deal with the unfinished star — even though the color scheme does nothing for me — but that typeface is awful. I’m very much interested to see if they keep this logo when they move to the AL West next season.

Milwaukee Brewers

Best

Milwaukee Brewers Logo (1978 - 1993)

Finding out that this seemingly simple logo actually contained an M and a B as part of the glove was a mind-blowing experience. ‘Twas a sad day when the Brewers ditched this in 1994…

Worst

Milwaukee Brewers Logo (1994 - 1997)

…for this thing. You’re telling me they couldn’t just update the glove logo a little bit? Please.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Best

Pittsburgh Pirates Logo (1948 - 1959)

I’m not a huge fan of any of Pittsburgh’s logos, which is odd since a pirate should be an easy win. Well I guess for their opponents it still is (hey-o!). But seriously, this one from the ’50s comes the closest to the appropriate amount of seafaring menace.

Worst

Pittsburgh Pirates Logo (1960 - 1967)

And then there’s this bloated monstrosity, which was introduced during the team’s World Series winning year of 1960 and stuck around for six more seasons after that. I have to say, though, that the skin loop earrings were a bold and fashion-forward looking touch.

St. Louis Cardinals

Best

St. Louis Cardinals Logo (1998 - present)

The Cardinals have been around for 120 years, but their current logo (seen here) is only their seventh new primary. Pretty impressive. More impressive is the fact that this one, rolled out in 1998, beautifully incorporates their past iconography into a look that’s modern and timeless at once. One of the best logos in sports.

Worst

St. Louis Cardinals Alternate Logo (1980 - )

This is Fredbird, introduced as the team’s mascot in 1979 and adopted as the alternate logo in 1980. I do not care for Fredbird. That is all.

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