Why do the Detroit Tigers have two different “D’s”

I think we can all agree that the Detroit Tigers boast some of the best looking home uniforms in all of major league baseball. The simple, two-tone appearance of dark blue and white creates a clean, pure look that we’d like to think is closely related to our nation’s pastime. But of course, what puts the overall look over the top is that stunning Old English D.

The Old English D can be seen tattooed across the arms, ankles, and wherever else’s of Tigers fans far and wide. Stroll through an airport or visit a different state and you’d be hard pressed not to come across the symbol that most represents this great franchise.

But which “D” are you seeing? And why the heck are there two?

I did some informal polling on this issue and found that some fans are keenly aware of the logo discrepancy while many, many others simply have no clue. I didn’t, until I was recently at an out-of-state golf course and the starter chimes in with something along the lines of “You know the Tigers are the only team with different logos on their jerseys as compared to their hats.”

Now I’ve been a devout Tigers fan for 30 years now. I watch an undisclosed percentage of Tiger baseball games, but you can be assured that the number is absurdly high. Different logos? What the? I had no idea.

After I finish up my round of golf I start to investigate and sure enough, the logo on the jersey is vastly different from the one that adorns the hat. How could I possibly have missed this for so many years? I was three parts embarrassed, dumbfounded, and confused.

Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. Clear as day, two extremely different logos:

Hat D

Hat D

Jersey D

Jersey D

The next question became: why? After all, this makes no sense. I tried to find some other writers who have tackled this topic online and found two decent write-ups. This one from ESPN’s Page 2 back in 2006 and this guy’s blog from 2011. Check ‘em out. Together they provide some interesting details that lay out the differences between the two and shows how often they show up at a Tigers game.

The Page 2 report linked above grabbed a quote from Sharon Arend, the Director of Archives and Historical Documents for Ilitch Holdings, which is team Owner Mike Ilitch’s corporation. She said that she had been asked previously about the inconsistency in the logos but “unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you.” She went on to say that, “As far as I can determine, the two D’s matched until the early ‘60s, but then they split. I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those things that happened over the years. It’s very frustrating — I wish I could come up with an answer.”

The D on the hat is probably the one that fans most identify with, but according to Arend it’s the newer of the two. The jersey D has been nearly the same since the ‘20s and is the official logo of the franchise while the hat D has undergone a series of renovations over the years.

This link shows a great breakdown of the history of the Tigers’ logos over the past century plus of baseball. There are some beauties in there and they assert that both the hat D and the jersey D have been used in some fashion since 1922.

So what we know is that they are clearly different, nobody seems to know why, and there is nothing being done about it. It’s just one of those sports oddities that is slowly becoming legend.

Now, about those road uniforms, check this piece out, I couldn’t agree more with all that is said here.

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  • Jim Rohlman

    Hat D for me !

  • r white

    Hard to believe we never heard about this.

  • Joshua Rockin Barton

    ….the jersey d looks better on a jersey opposed to the hat d…the hat d looks better on the hat…also in the 80s it was the d on the helmet that was different lol not the hat my bad

  • Joshua Rockin Barton

    Yes actually they always had two different Ds. However look at the D on the hats of tigers players in the 80s especially 84. The D was curved but was still different from the jersey

  • http://isportsweb.com/ Rob White

    Without question, the hat D looks better.