Continuing a trend started by Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, and Baltimore Orioles – clubs that looked to the past when creating new logos – the San Diego Padres are perhaps making the biggest statement yet.
Brown is back. Yellow (gold) is back. The Swinging Friar is back.
Those were the primary colors for the team from its inception in 1969 until reaching the World Series in 1984. It was tweaked to brown and orange when the interlocking "SD" logo made its debut in 1985, and the brown was put to rest in favor of navy blue in 1991. While white and more of a champagne gold have been used as accent colors since then, the navy blue has been a staple for nearly 30 years.
The Padres unveiled a new logo, which is actually the same interlocking SD that the club has used as its primary mark since 2015, but it’s now yellow (gold) letters on a brown background, instead of white letters on a navy blue background.
The alternate logo is also a nod to the past, as the Swinging Friar (who was featured in the club’s first primary logo from 1969-1984) returns. It’s a cartoon monk swinging a bat, surrounded by a yellow circle with a brown border.
The new logos and uniforms were unveiled in a public event at Petco Park, with stars Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, and Manny Machado serving as models for the new look. Fans roared when Machado exclaimed, “The brown is back.”
Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler said that the new look for 2020 coincides with what he believes will be an extended run of success for the franchise, which has established stars and plenty of young talent.
“People wanted brown, and we gave it to them,” Fowler said. “[The crowd reaction] makes you feel good because…it was probably collectively over a thousand hours of time and research that went into this. It was well worth it to see the fan reaction… Now, we’ve got to start winning.”
While the franchise has reached two World Series and had a decent run of success in the ‘00s with players like Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman, San Diego is still seeking its first championship. Fans are hopeful that the groundwork has been laid to change that.
“The way everybody is looking at it is that we can turn the page on those tough times,” Hosmer said to MLB.com. “We’re trying to start a new wave now; a new culture. The brown really represents the beginning of all that.”
Fowler explained that they realized that there was a groundswell of support to return to the brown a couple of years ago when the team held focus groups and started using the color scheme in alternate jerseys. The club also believes it will be an advantage to have a distinct look.
“It’s going to be unique,” Tatis Jr. told MLB.com. “They’re going to know who’s playing right away when they see the brown and gold.”
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