Harmon Killebrew wasn't the basis for MLB logo

Tue, May 17

With the passing of baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, many sources -- including The Associated Press -- are repeating the factoid that Killebrew was the model for MLB's iconic silhouetted batter logo.

It's a great story. Killebrew himself believed it. Just one problem: It isn't true.

Killebrew thought an illustration of him from the cover of the 1963 Twins yearbook had been reversed and used as the basis for the logo. At first glance, it looks convincing -- until you realize that you could make the same case for Ron Blomberg, Rusty Staub, Dick Allen, Joe Torre, Tony Gonzalez and dozens of other players.

I created those photo/logo comparisons back in 2008, when I delved into the MLB logo's history. Jerry Dior, who at that time was fighting to be recognized as the logo's designer (a credit that MLB officially acknowledged in 2009), categorically stated that the logo was not based on Killebrew, or on any single player. He said it was a composite, based on a variety of baseball images.

You can read a fuller examination of this issue here.

Killebrew, incidentally, was one of the nicest, most gracious people I've interviewed. RIP, Killer.