March 20, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; A detailed view of a Pittsburgh Pirates hat and glove in the dugout before the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Play It Safe And Boring With Logo Shuffle


When the Pittsburgh Pirates were reported to be mulling over a logo change for the 2014 season, I was happy to hear the news.

I’d never been a huge fan of the current iteration of “Jolly Roger” or whatever you want to call the guy snarling below this paragraph, who made his debut in 1997:

97Pirates

Don’t get me wrong, a cartoon buccaneer could look a lot worse than him, but I always preferred either the late 1980s/early 90s corsair or the following stately sailor:

60sPirates

Yeah, that guy’s looking a little dated, but tell me he wouldn’t look pretty good with some slight modernization. (See every logo in Pirates’ history at the essential SportsLogos.net, which is where the above images came from.)

As it turns out, though, the Bucs will be boasting the same look they have over the past two seasons, albeit with the iconic gold ‘P’ now getting top billing as the team’s primary logo. This news was first reported on SportsLogos.net about a month ago, but the Pirates confirmed it today, along with the unveiling of a new black batting practice top for 2014.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Michael Sanserino reports, the Pirates have already been emphasizing the ‘P’ found on their game caps on most merchandise; this nominal shift just makes it official. He also writes that the pirate logo can still be found on the team’s style guide and will remain on the jersey sleeves.

So really, if the Pirates didn’t tell us what they did, most fans wouldn’t have noticed any changes. It’s difficult to fault the organization for sticking with the familiar – I think the cap logo is one of the best marks in sports – but I also see this “move” as rather boring.

The team reportedly turned to focus groups for input on a potentially more drastic logo change, so the public appetite for that likely wasn’t there. Nonetheless, a callback to the franchise’s rich past would’ve been fun.

No offense to the ‘P,’ but the Pirates could’ve had a little more swashbuckling spirit in re-imagining the face of the team.




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Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates Sports Logos Uniforms

  • Stargell_Stars

    Safe and boring describes it perfectly. Ho Hum…..So much could be done with the jolly roger theme, the possibilities are endless.

    • Matt Gajtka

      Hope “safe and boring” doesn’t describe the 2014 Bucs…haha. But yes, I wouldn’t have minded a more “skull and crossbones” look for a revamped logo, maybe riffing off something what I’ve linked below.

  • JBubs

    I always thought the most recent logo was a bit “busy” on the eyes while it over-stated the obvious. I mean, the pirate face in front of two baseball bats with the word “Pirates” above in case you missed the meaning was a bit much. I prefer the new logo. Compared to the wimpy Phillies “P”, the Pirate “P” is sharp, bold and distinctive. And standing alone it says a lot: Pittsburgh, Pirates, Pride, Passion, Pennant, Pennsylvania…

    • Matt Gajtka

      I love the ‘P’ but I guess I’m a little underwhelmed with just removing “Pirates” from the former primary logo.

      • JBubs

        You are probably right to be underwhelmed. The ‘P’ with the word “Pirates” would work a little better, along with skull and cross bones image being displayed separately, but always on a flag. That would keep the “Raise the Jolly Roger!” cheer going strong. Pirates and the Jolly Roger go together like peanut butter and jelly.