No Joy in Mudville


Babe Ruth – Circa 1920

Ty Cobb – Circa 1913


For only the eighth time in National Baseball Hall of Fame history, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) produced no 2103 inductee.  Not to worry, the ceremony will take place this summer with three non-player inductees voted in by the Veteran’s Committee including the charismatic former New York Yankees’ owner Jacob Ruppert who purchased the franchise in 1915.  In the 24 years that Ruppert owned the club, he influenced design in the baseball world from building the first Yankee Stadium in 1923 (designed by Osborn Engineering) to uniform typography design. In fact, his  affect on baseball was so great, that he is often credited with bringing the Yankees’ pinstriped uniforms to the club in order to make star player Babe Ruth appear thinner. In truth, the team first donned the pinstripes three years before Ruppert bought it.

Entrance 1920s

Design was extremely important as baseball grew to become America’s sport. According to the National Baseball League Museum, in the beginning most clubs had no typography design on their uniforms. One Old English letter like Ty Cobb’s “D” above or the still used interlocking NY logo of the Yankees was often all that identified the team.

In 1910, A. G. offered free typography with the purchase of a uniform:


via National Baseball Hall of Fame

  • “Block” (seen on 1909 Cleveland road jersey)
  • “Special” (seen on 1909 Boston AL jersey)
  • “Old English” (seen on 1909 Detroit jersey)
  • “Script” (seen on 1909 Cleveland home jersey)
  • “Fancy” (seen on 1909 Washington home jersey)
  • “Plain” (not used in major leagues in 1909)

Eventually, script lettering with the name of the club or city where it hails from is the kind of design most of us know, which became the norm in 1930 and continues today.

Members of the 1914 Federal League Buffalo Blues

*Big thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the use of the images above.?

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