Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We Have Your Final 4! ... Of Sports logos That Is

Illustration for article titled We Have Your Final 4! ... Of Sports logos That Is
Illustration: Eric Barrow

After ranking the primary logos of all 123 teams in the four major sports leagues in North America (1-40, 41-80, 81-123), it only made sense to put them all into a bracket and have a tournament. So, that’s just what we did.

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To fill out the field and get to 128 teams, five wild cards were slotted into the field: the defunct Hartford Whalers, Montreal Expos, Quebec Nordiques, Seattle Pilots, and Seattle SuperSonics. As the tournament has played out on Twitter, nostalgia has proven powerful: two of the Final Four are from that group of wild cards.

We know that the Tournament of Logos finals will be hockey against baseball, and the United States against Canada. But what will the matchup be? That’s up to you to decide. Voting begins Monday on Twitter.

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Illustration for article titled We Have Your Final 4! ... Of Sports logos That Is

16. Detroit Red Wings vs. WC. Hartford Whalers

Red Wings: d. (113) Vancouver Canucks, 81-19; d. (49) Edmonton Oilers, 77-23, d. (17) Philadelphia Flyers, 70-30; d. (1) Los Angeles Dodgers, 62-38; d. (9) New York Mets, 62-38

Whalers: d. (4) Boston Celtics, 76-24; d. (68) Nashville Predators, 90-10; d. (29) Green Bay Packers, 81-19; d. (52) Buffalo Sabres, 77-23; d. (101) Milwaukee Brewers, 70-30

The most famous player in both Red Wings and Whalers history is the same man, Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. But he’s not the only Hall of Famer to play for both teams. Mark Howe started his career as his dad’s teammate with the Whalers, and ended it looking a lot like his dad in a Red Wings uniform. Paul Coffey skated for both Detroit and Hartford, too, and Brendan Shanahan rounds out the half of all Whalers Hall of Famers who also wore the winged wheel.

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While you could call those guys “Detroit Whalers,” that would be confusing for the legacy of the actual Detroit Whalers, an Ontario Hockey League team for two seasons whose alumni included such luminaries as goaltender Robert Esche, and whose logo was cool in its own right. As for Detroit-Whalers matchups of the past, no, the 2002 Stanley Cup Final does not count, because that was the Carolina Hurricanes, and as much as the Hurricanes might like cashing in on the Whalers’ legacy, going so far as to have a couple of Whalers cosplay nights, they changed the name of the team when they moved and stabbed Hartford in the heart. The hell with that. The Whalers’ mascot is Pucky the Whale, not Stormy the Pig, and it’s downright gross that intellectual property laws allow for a world in which Pucky gets paraded out at one of the Hurricanes’ twist-the-knife-on-Connecticut festivals, and Stormy’s there wearing Hurricanes pants with a Whalers jersey numbered 97 — Stormy’s regular number, which commemorates the Hurricanes’ first year, and the year the NHL in Hartford died.

Nobody would treat Al the Octopus that way.

Illustration for article titled We Have Your Final 4! ... Of Sports logos That Is
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WC. Montreal Expos vs. 18. Toronto Blue Jays

Expos: d. (3) Las Vegas Raiders, 72-28; d. (67) Cincinnati Bengals, 91-9; d. (30) Chicago Bulls, 71-29; d. (46) St. Louis Blues, 67-33; d. (11) Calgary Flames, 70-30

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Blue Jays: d. (111) Brooklyn Nets, 92-8; d. (82) Miami Dolphins, 79-21; d. (15) Pittsburgh Steelers, 67-33; d. (WC) Quebec Nordiques, 52-48; d. (23) Baltimore Orioles, 54-46

They shared a great Sports Illustrated cover in 1983 — side note: Dave Stieb belongs in the Hall of Fame — and the success of Blue Jays exhibition games in Montreal has been part of the argument that Major League Baseball should bring back the Expos as part of an eventual expansion to 32 teams. If nothing else, the Expos should come back to divide Canadian allegiances — the Blue Jays have gotten so big that when they go to Seattle, fans come down from British Columbia and annoy Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings.

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There were 56 players who played for both the Blue Jays and Expos, though it’s possible that Bartolo Colon, who is still technically an active pitcher, having signed with the Monclova Acereros of the Mexican League this year, could eventually make it 57. Among the current list of 56 are no Hall of Famers, but there are four Canadians who played for both the Expos and Blue Jays: Denis Boucher, Rob Ducey, Shawn Hill, and Matt Stairs.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was born in Montreal and did appear in an Expos uniform… but the Blue Jays’ young star does not officially count for those purposes, and his Hall of Famer dad didn’t make the Toronto roster out of spring training in 2012.

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