The Detroit Tigers' Old English "Ds" Finally Match

113 years after having first been paired, the Detroit Tigers' caps and jersey insignias will, at long last, match up. The club has officially eliminated the longstanding jersey version of the Old English "D," unchanged since 1934, in favor of their headwear "D." The differences between the two have always been pronounced.

The club first wore an Old English "D" on their caps in 1905. It didn’t come close to matching the one that was worn on their jerseys then, and it hasn’t ever since—until now. This charming, if odd, anomaly dates back to an era long before club graphics were formalized and widely distributed.

The Tigers’ uniform Old English "D" made its debut in 1896, when the club played in the Western League. Its first appearance took place on April 28 of that year, during the club’s home opener at Bennett Park, located at the corner of Michigan Street and Trumbull Avenue. The ballpark evolved over the next century, eventually becoming Tiger Stadium, and it served as home to the Tigers straight through the conclusion of the 1999 season.

The Tigers walloped Columbus that day, winning 17-2. The pregame festivities featured a trolley car parade, musical entertainment, and a ceremonial first pitch that was caught by Detroit baseball legend Charlie Bennett, for whom the new ballpark was named.

 
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 First appearance of the Tigers' Old English D, as published in The Detroit Free Press, April 29, 1896.

First appearance of the Tigers' Old English D, as published in The Detroit Free Press, April 29, 1896.

 
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 Late 1890s Detroit Tigers, courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

Late 1890s Detroit Tigers, courtesy Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

 The Tigers joined the American League as charter members in 1901. Three years later they wore the "D" on their road uniforms. 

The Tigers joined the American League as charter members in 1901. Three years later they wore the "D" on their road uniforms. 

 A century of mismatched Tigers logos.

A century of mismatched Tigers logos.

Mickey Cochrane was brought in to manage and catch for the Tigers in 1934. He was responsible for the uniform "D" that has now been discarded. Link here for additional information on Cochrane's pivotal role in Tigers' visual history. The club famously (or infamously) eliminated the uniform version of the "D" in 1960, a move that was quickly reversed. The headwear version of the "D," which also serves as the club's primary logo, dates to 1968—exactly 50 years ago. The Tigers won the World Series that year, and their home uniforms have been consistently inconsistent since then—until now.
 

I've written about the history of Tigers' Old English "D" many times. Link here and here for more.

Todd RadomComment