Reviving a Classic Glove Story
Brewers 2020 fashion brings the team back to beloved logo designed in Eau Claire
Every so often, a sports team pays attention to the wishes of its fans. You would think the responsiveness would be more frequent: Without fans, what is the point of having a team to play before the public? Yet many times, teams (on the pro and college level) follow fads, the whims of owners, suggestions from business partners, or some factors other than the desires of their most devoted fan base.
This is particularly relevant with regard to logos and uniforms. Fans speak with their wallets and their sartorial choices in the stands – even if there is a disconnect from the “official” look of their team. For more than a decade, many – perhaps a majority of – Milwaukee Brewers fans have wanted a return of the arguably signature franchise logo: the “ball-in-glove” image used in their glory years of the 1980s. The team occasionally used it, but never followed what the fans wanted – until now.
For more than a decade, many Brewers fans have wanted a return of the arguably signature franchise logo: the “ball-in-glove” image used in their glory years of the 1980s. The team occasionally used it, but never followed what the fans wanted – until now.
When the Brew Crew takes the field next spring, you will see that classic logo back on their caps. You’ll see it on websites and apps, on TV, and wherever else an insignia accompanies Brewers information. The team chose its 50th anniversary season in Milwaukee to go full-time with the “ball-in-glove,” albeit with some modern tweaks. This also means new uniforms on the players, new merchandise for you to buy (just in time for the holidays!), and new pride for those of us in the Chippewa Valley.
Here is a refresher on the origin story. In 1977, the Brewers were looking for a new emblem via public submissions – a quaint concept, given the high-level professional design process used today. UW-Eau Claire art student Tom Meindel created an idea: a clever connection of an “m” and a “b” within a ball resting in a mitt. Meindel’s image won the competition, and in return for a couple thousand bucks, the Brewers adopted a logo likely drawn somewhere in or near downtown Eau Claire. This was fortuitous timing: The first season the logo was used was 1978, the beginning of a six-year stretch of winning baseball and a near-championship.
The team eventually decided the logo was stale, replacing it in 1994. However, a desire for its return soon grew. According to one article, the team was pondering such a comeback as early as 2004. More people in Miller Park could be seen wearing shirts emblazoned with the mark. In the past few seasons, it became an official alternate logo, and now the inevitable has happened: It has been elevated to primary status.
Given that this is “Athletic Aesthetic,” let’s review the new aesthetics of the Brew Crew. As mentioned, the “ball-in-glove” is a little different: slightly streamlined, with different baseball seams, some centering, and the use of navy instead of royal blue. Navy has been in Milwaukee’s color scheme since that 1994 campaign, but a yellow shade worn in the 1970s and ’80s has replaced the “wheat” secondary color. The revival of the “Barrelman” accompanies some historically oriented alternate logos.
That yellow leads to a vibrant uniform set popping far more than their 2000-19 collection. The recent “Retro Friday” pinstriped throwbacks have evolved into a regular home alternate, featuring the team’s new font (which apparently symbolizes the industrial history of the Milwaukee area). The main home uni is cream-colored, what with Milwaukee known as the “Cream City” because of the use of that shade of brick in some of the city’s architecture. Thick sleeve-end striping on the cream combo echoes the ’70s home jerseys.
The roads return the word “Milwaukee” to the chest in an arch. This set leads to my one disappointment: no powder-blue road uniforms instead of the usual plain grey. There is personal nostalgia with that color; I can hope for a powder blue alternate in the future. An alternate that *will* happen is a navy jersey featuring the return of the script “Milwaukee” from those aforementioned ’80s road jerseys, matched with an alternate cap fronted by a yellow panel – as worn on the road in the ’70s and ’80s.
I grade them an A- or a B+. Sure, I would have taken some other approaches, but design is usually subjective; all in all, they hit a home run. Most Wisconsinites probably agree that the Brewers now look like “the Brewers.” I hope a former Blugold art student would be proud.