The History and Evolution of the Oakland Athletics Logo

The Oakland Athletics have been in existence for a long, long time. For proof, look no further than the fact that it was one of the eight founding teams of the American League, though that happened when the baseball team was still situated in Philadelphia. In short, the Oakland Athletics started out in 1900 as the Philadelphia Athletics because the American League wanted a baseball team to compete with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies. On the whole, the Athletics were very popular, not least because of their periods of enormous success. However, the baseball team had its bad times as well, which eventually resulted in it being sold in 1954 to become the Kansas City Athletics. Eventually, the baseball team was moved over by its owner Charles O. Finley to Oakland to become the Oakland Athletics in 1967, where it has remained ever since that time.

How Has the Oakland Athletics Logo Changed Over Time?

From 1901 to 1919, the Philadelphia Athletics used an “A” as the logo of the baseball team. The first version was a simple and straightforward block letter that saw use for a single season before it was replaced by a second version that used a fancier font. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the blue of the first version was replaced by a darker blue for the second version, thus resulting in a rather significant change on the whole.

In 1920, the Philadelphia Athletics started using an elephant in the same shade of blue as its previous logo. The baseball team’s use of an elephant mascot can be traced to when the New York Giants manager John McGraw called it a “white elephant,” meaning something with a much higher cost of maintenance than what it is worth. As a result, the Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack decided that the white elephant was going to be the baseball team’s new mascot, which was when it started showing up more and more in relation to it. In total, the Philadelphia Athletics continued to use an elephant for its logo from 1920 to 1927, though there were a couple of variations with one being a blue elephant standing on its hind legs and the other being a white elephant standing on its hind legs.

The baseball team then proceeded to use a more ornamented “A” from 1928 to 1929, which was blue but came with a blue and white outline. In turn, this was followed by a side profile of the elephant mascot on its four legs while rendered in white but with a blue outline, which saw use from 1930 to 1938. Eventually, this logo was replaced by an elephant clutching a baseball in its nose and then an elephant clutching a baseball ball in its nose while standing on a baseball.

It is interesting to note that the latter logo continued to see use throughout the baseball team’s entire time as the Kansas City Athletics from 1955 to 1967. This was particularly curious because Charles O. Finley had actually changed the baseball team’s mascot from an elephant to a mule, which was rumored to have been an attempt to appeal to the locals based on their politics.

In any case, when the Kansas City Athletics became the Oakland Athletics, the elephant logo was at last switched out for a green “A” over a white baseball with gold stitching. Said logo saw a revision in 1971, but by 1983, it had been simplified to a gold “A” within a white circle with a green border. Eventually, there was a revision of this logo as well in 1993, thus resulting in a green “A” in a white circle with a much thicker green border as well as “Oakland Athletics” written in white letters within it. This is the logo that continues to see use in the present, though it is interesting to note that there is an alternate logo that makes use of the elephant mascot as well.

Final Thoughts

The current logo has seen sufficient use that it has become an iconic symbol of the Oakland Athletics. However, one can’t help but wonder whether it will last for decades and decades to come, which in turn, means that one can’t help but wonder if the Oakland Athletics’ future logos will continue to stick with the “A” instead of going for something much more detailed and much more dramatic in nature.


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