BayBaseballFan

Fictional 1930's Minor League Baseball concepts - Half Moon Bay Crescents update

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Hey all,

 

Long-time lurker of the site and forums, first-time poster. Like a lot of people the shelter-in-place has led to much more hobby time than I ever could have imagined. So I tried my hand at designing a uniform for a fictional team in my hometown. It quickly evolved into a full eight-team league. I'm definitely no artist and cobbled together a few designs off a reworked jersey template I found through Google Search, a hat template from @Htown1141 and a pant & stirrup template of my own design.

 

The designs themselves were inspired by what I've been watching during the quarantine including a ton of old World Series films on YouTube, a lot of When It Was a Game/Flagstaff Films clips and "The Natural." So we have a Single-A minor league set in 1939 in the Bay Area known as the Coastal Fog League. The league logo is below and not a masterpiece by any means, but meant to evoke the blend of California's sunny climate and the infamous fog that likes to roll in on summer evenings around San Francisco Bay. 

 

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San Bruno Seals - San Francisco's team reappears in the suburbs

First team up is the genesis for all this, from my hometown. Inspired by the legendary San Francisco Seals, we'll suspend belief and pretend that the Pacific Coast League version lost the war for fans to the Mission Reds, hence the name being available for a Single-A team. The chest logo mimics the classic mark from the real Seals of the Joe DiMaggio era, which in turn borrowed from the White Sox of the 1910-20's. I went for a basic, but different color scheme of green and white simply because green is my favorite color.

 

I've always had a fondness for teams of the 20's and 30's that had logoless white home or gray road caps with piping, so that was a must and an element that'll come back again. This road cap was inspired by the real Seals logo cap from ~1939 with a slightly different take on the logo. Another detail from that era was a solid-colored button placket. Had to include that sharp looking (but dubious) Baseball Centennial patch. The other patch is a nod to the actual San Bruno city seal and plays off the various city-related patches of this era. This simple Boston anniversary design came to mind. And I wanted to do a set with white road stirrups. I'm not fully sure it works, but it has a vaguely White Sox feel to it. Comments and critiques are definitely welcome for someone dipping into this for the first time.

 

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Seals References

 

 

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Wow, you’re great. Nice job on these.

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San Jose Friars - also-rans' unique look gets new lease on life

Next up in the fictional Coastal Fog League are the San Jose Friars. The name is sourced from California's Spanish-Mexican heritage with more than a little influence from that PCL team down San Diego way. In the real world, San Jose did have a minor league team named the Missions in the 70's, so that provided some context for the logo and sleeve patch. But mostly, this whole set was my personal homage to one of my favorite all-time uniforms: the early 1940's St. Louis Browns. I know that's a hot take as those Browns unis routinely show up on worst in baseball history lists, but I've always been fascinated by them. Brown and orange is a highly underrated color combo. I love the uniquely thick, multi-colored placket and collar. Couldn't quite replicate the satin look of that feature. The shoulder yoke stripes are another aspect popular to this era, also worn by their Sportsman's Park co-tennants the Cardinals.

 

Featuring both home and road hats without logos and just piping, I was really excited to try out some belt tunnel accents and pocket flaps in contrasting colors. The Browns may have been one of the worst-performing franchises in baseball history, but their unique style lives on with the (hopefully) more successful Friars.

 

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Friars References

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I love the mix of MLB and high level minors as an influence on your design. Can't wait to see what comes next. 

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@NicDB - Thanks for the kind words. Being a huge fan of Ebbets Field Flannels has definitely seeped into my style. Aside from a wish list that's a mile long, their catalogs and site are a huge source of inspiration.

 

@jbird669 - Appreciate it. Six more teams to come!

 

@ItsSlothy Thanks!

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San Mateo Bees - there's a buzz around town

Of the first three Coastal Fog League teams, this is the most original of the bunch. It's not mimicking a major league uniform or borrowing key elements from an established team. The color scheme isn't all that unique, but I had the strong black-yellow color combination of the 50's Pirates front of mind. The fictional backstory behind this team is tied to the actual city of San Mateo, where B Street is the historic heart of downtown. It once had a streetcar line that ran all the way from downtown San Francisco. Since the field (which has to be called The Beehive) in the main city park is just a few blocks from this longtime hub of activity, naturally the "Bees" nickname emerged. While bees don't have any special tie to the location, I wanted to do a team with a name that was sort of indirectly derived from something uniquely local (a la Dodgers sourced from trolley dodgers). 

 

A team named for bees had to have said insect somewhere on it. Chronologically, this was one of the earlier designs I came up with, so I was very limited in my trial-and-error and YouTube-learned skills. So the bee logo is definitely some revamped clip art. The simplicity and flatness seemed appropriate for that era. I spent way too much time learning how to arch text for the roundel logo. The home chest logo - I'll be honest, I'm not crazy about it. I wanted to try something different besides just having the descending letters on the pinstripes, so the solution: add a yellow circle. Quite frankly it feels incomplete. The hat and stirrups are straightforward. I was really excited to find the font for the wordmark as the angular points sort of evoke a bee's stinger, while also feeling very vintage. Maybe that's just a hopeful thought. In any case, comments and critiques are always welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Bees References

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Santa Cruz Dippers - "...in the warm California Sun! Boardwalk!!"

We're hitting the halfway mark of the Coastal Fog League. To mark the occasion why not do something fun and feature the team that's named after a roller coaster? Santa Cruz has been home to a classic waterfront amusement park and boardwalk since 1907. The landmark of the park is the vintage wooden roller coast, The Giant Dipper.So the crafted backstory for this team goes that the same family that runs the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk also owns the local baseball team. In a move that was controversial in the league office, the team was named after the boardwalk's biggest attraction. Nothing like a little free promotion.

 

So then there's the style elements. Top to bottom - the wordmark was fun as I found an italicized font that to me vaguely resembled the Santa Cruz Skateboard logo. It just felt right. The colors are a nod to the best-looking baseball movie of all-time, "The Natural" and the New York Knights. The home chest script has a two-fold origin. This was one of the last sets I developed and I wanted to do a uniform with a tail (there's a few more angular edges than I intended). The font it itself is similar to the Dodgers, which seemed like a natural source given the Dodgers' origins in Brooklyn and Brooklyn's connection another seaside amusement park: Coney Island.

 

The sleeve patch could arguably be the first "jersey sponsor" patch in baseball history and therefore considered sacrilege. But it took me forever to recreate that illuminated sign so it's going on the jersey. A bit of a modern touch with an alternate white hat designated for holidays and special occasions. And after seeing a few clips from the 1945 World Series, the bizarre....ly awesome forearm stripes on the Cubs undershirts were too tempting not to include. So there you have it, the Santa Cruz Dippers. Comments and critiques welcome!

 

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Dippers References

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San Rafael Pacifics - defending champs in cursive style

The Coastal Fog League reveals its defending champion - the San Rafael Pacifics. Disclaimer - there is a real-life San Rafael Pacifics semi-pro team, but this is not associated with them. It did provide the team name though. The design itself is pretty straightforward. Since the Phillies (re)introduced their throwback look over 10 years ago I've really enjoyed the royal blue blended with their standard red. I looked back at the 40's Phillies and it just looked so timeless, despite being used for such a short time before moving toward early versions of their current red-white look. The real star of this set is the font used for the wordmark and chest script. With the red and blue clashing maybe it's just the visual vibration of the colors but it gives it almost a chain stitched feel. Also had to try something with a gentle elevation. Fully colored belt loops were also something I wanted to try. They seem to work best on road uniforms, with home uniforms needing to look cleaner and more formal. And our first set that features a had referencing the team name, not the city. This is even rare at the big league level, but the "SR" in the wordmark font just didn't look right on a cap. And with a bit of a modern touch, the Pacifics proudly support a patch proclaiming them champions from the previous season. Comments and critiques welcome as always!

 

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Pacifics References

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Santa Rosa Sequoias - rustic baseball in the redwoods

With one team north of the Golden Gate, there had to be a second in close proximity. So I present the Santa Rosa Sequoias. The northernmost team in the Coastal Fog League plays in a quaint little park with a picturesque backdrop, so a more natural team name and color scheme seemed appropriate. Green and brown are a tough combo, but they were the only ones that felt right. A lot of the elements were a blend of features from some old PCL teams. At some point I wanted to try a pinstripe set with a contrasting sun collar. The home chest patch has a touch of the Solons and Oaks fused together with the Old English "S" and tree outline.I was really excited with how the road jersey came out, basically using the Oaks as a template. The arched underline of the city name on both the Oaks and Chicago Cubs jerseys during this era always intrigued me. It's bizarre, but it works. The brown stirrups feel more natural on the road jerseys, acting almost like a tree trunk below the green shoulder yokes. This was my least favorite set of the league. There's just something kind of flat about it. But thanks for looking. Comments and critiques welcome!

 

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Sequoias References

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I haven’t commented yet but this has been a great series. You’ve done a fantastic job nailing the 1930s aesthetic for each team. My favorites so far are probably the Seals and Friars. I also love seeing your different influences and inspirations explained for each design. Great presentation! 

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@coco1997 Appreciate the kind words. Glad the 30's aesthetic seemed organic to the sets

 

Hayward Highlanders - a Celtic touch for a classic look

The Coastal Fog League is almost done as we get to seventh team: the Hayward Highlanders. The template for the pants, hat and stirrups is a pretty direct nod to the Braves. As a kid seeing the Braves on TBS all the time, the piping on the belt tunnels always stood out to me as a cool feature. Those, paired with the multi-colored Northwestern stripe style stirrups, scream timeless to me. Being one of the only teams that's truly alliterative, the single-letter chest logo seemed appropriate. To spice things up a little bit I found a nice Celtic font. I really like the knotwork accents and highlights. Gives it a unique look and feel. Also wanted to try some contrasting collar-plackets and button combinations. I think I actually like the road version with the navy blue a little better, personally. And finally, a simple memorial armband on the sleeve. In my mind the longtime owner of the club had passed on, transferring ownership onto a family member. Comments and critiques always welcome! 

 

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Highlanders References

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What happens to the Coastal Fog League in the years after the baseball centennial?

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Dig the series! Funnily enough I've been going through the same obsessions as you - Ken Burns Baseball and Ebbets Field flannels, so I'm enjoying seeing the research and thought that goes into each concept. I really like that Highlanders one, the H monogram is pretty interesting. The rest of the wordmark doesn't fit quite with it though. Could be cool to try two H's on top of each other too, or even combined. Keep it up!

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13 hours ago, ItsSlothy said:

What happens to the Coastal Fog League in the years after the baseball centennial?

Good question. I've vaguely thought about it. I imagine it developing alongside the California League, potentially being absorbed by them.

 

Visually - I don't know. By throwing the year in all the mockups I had a notion of revisiting some of the designs in a different era. Perhaps a select few go the route of the New York Giants during World War II and adopt more patriot designs. Or perhaps jumping ahead to the late 60's taking inspiration from the Seattle Pilots, Montreal Expos and vested teams. 

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On 5/25/2020 at 12:51 PM, chestnutz said:

Dig the series! Funnily enough I've been going through the same obsessions as you - Ken Burns Baseball and Ebbets Field flannels, so I'm enjoying seeing the research and thought that goes into each concept. I really like that Highlanders one, the H monogram is pretty interesting. The rest of the wordmark doesn't fit quite with it though. Could be cool to try two H's on top of each other too, or even combined. Keep it up!

@chestnutz Glad someone else is turning to the same sources of coping without baseball. Glad you liked the "H" monogram. Those are definitely two separate fonts wedged together for the wordmark. I wanted something decorative for the "H" but that same font didn't work for the rest of it. I'll admit I kind of liked the differing fonts as it reminds me of old texts handwritten by Irish monks

 

The layered "H's" might be a good look for the road jersey. I'll think about it. Thanks for the feedback.

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Half Moon Bay Crescents - coastside baseball among the pumpkin patches

We've come to the end of the eight-team Coastal Fog League. It's been a great ride and we close out in arguably the most scenic city in the league - the Half Moon Bay Crescents. Named after the geographic feature that gives this place its name, there's a few different elements that went into this design. First - I wanted to create one set that had just an image on one of their jerseys, a la the white elephant jerseys of the Philadelphia A's. Check. Since the Half Moon Bay region has a pseudo New England vibe to it, it felt right to borrow the Red Sox font and a similar color pallette from the short-lived Boston Bees. The home jersey is a full jersey, not a vest. I just wanted to something contrasting colored sleeves. And the road jerseys feature blue yoke stripes. For some fun ironic backstory, the Crescents, named after the moon, do not have lights at their ballpark yet and thus play all day games at home. 

 

Anyways, this has been a blast. I may try and evolve some of these designs for different eras, but if I'm honest, this time period is my favorite. Appreciate all the comments and critiques. 

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Crescents References

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Final Update ... for now

So I forgot to post one final touch that's not uniform-specific, but acts as a nice bow on the whole Coastal Fog League concept. The next phase of this distraction for me is potentially trying to learn some 3D modeling and creating a ballpark for the San Bruno Seals. One feature that was a must is a manual scoreboard in the style of Forbes Field. I really liked the simplicity of the dark green and white. The reference image isn't exactly correct for 1939, but I think the day and night versions came out alright. It showcases the full league alongside the "big boy" Pacific Coast League. Feel free to drop a line with any comments and critiques.

 

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Scoreboard Reference

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2 hours ago, hutchins75 said:

Nice job.  I love that you provided references!

@hutchins75 Thanks! Appreciate the kind words.

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