The Philadelphia Phillies unveiled their new logo in early December. The new logo as we have shown here on Sports Logo History isn’t a dramatic makeover, but rather a slight tweak. The Phillies’ cursive typography — sans the red underline — is retained, along with the stars that dot the two I’s. Also retained is the Liberty Bell in the background, which is enlarged and set in a very dark shade of blue. Lastly, the new logo gets rid of the red-bordered blue baseball diamond.
There is no word yet on why the Phillies altered their logo, and this decision may mean much. In an Inquirer report on the logo’s unveiling, Nick Tricome pointed out that “design changes usually come around when a franchisee believes it’s at a turning point.” He cited the case of the Edmonton Oilers in the National Hockey League, which two years ago changed from their iconic blue uniforms to orange ones. This change, according to Oiler's vice-chairman Bob Nicholson, marks the team’s transition to a new era and identity.
That might be the case for the Phillies, too. They last made the Playoffs in 2011, when they had a trio of aces — Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee — in their rotation and in-their-prime stars in Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Shane Victorino. Since then, the Phillies have been nothing short of mediocre, bottoming out to a 66-96 record in 2017, before last year’s 80-82 surprise.
Last season was the Phillies’ first under player-turned-manager Gabe Kapler, and their 14-game improvement might be a harbinger of things to come. The team started out strong and finished just a game short of the .500 mark. General manager Matt Klentak was obviously pleased, noting how the Phillies pitching staff made “incredible strides” and how the team “exceeded preseason expectations."
Indeed, a new era might be dawning for the Phillies, as improvement may come both internally and externally. The Bleacher Report ranks the Phillies’ farm system sixth, with pitchers Enyel De Los Santos and Cole Irvin showing out for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Led by De Los Santos and Irvin, along with 3B Alec Bohm and SS Luis Garcia, the IronPigs finished first in the International League North. That first-place finish, though, didn’t stop them from “recruiting” LeBron James. The team over the summer attempted to lure James away from basketball and into baseball, “appealing” to the Akron, Ohio native’s stated desire to chase the “ghost” of Michael Jordan. James is the world’s most recognizable basketball player and is widely regarded as second only to His Airness as the game’s best ever. But for the Phillies' top-rated affiliate, James’s case for greatest of all time status hinges on him playing baseball — for the IronPigs, of course. While their “recruitment” of The King might be nothing more than a publicity stunt, or a joke done in good fun, it nonetheless shows the increasing optimism within the Phillies franchise, which signed steady and heady veteran Andrew McCutchen and traded for solid speedster Jean Segura.
The Phillies have also emerged as a forerunner to land prized free agent Bryce Harper. In a poll, in fact, three baseball insiders from Sports Illustrated believe Harper will sign with Philadelphia. There are even whispers — and they are growing louder — that the Phillies will sign Harper and Manny Machado, the other crown jewel of this free-agent class. Should that happen, this once-moribund franchise will have the firepower to complement their already solid and still improving pitching.
Yes, there is a reason to be excited, Philadelphia! And the Phillies new logo may very well mark the team’s return to baseball’s elite. Then again, a logo change doesn’t guarantee anything. Still, there’s cause for optimism and that’s a start.
Sports Logo History – Guest Author