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2011 Logo of the Year: Joliet Slammers

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Joliet Slammers

It was an edgy design that embraced, rather than ignored, Joliet’s penal history. In the end, a distinctive logo and look helped catapult the Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) to a successful inaugural season and garnered recognition from Ballpark Digest for 2011 Logo of the Year.

Setting up operations at Silver Cross Field was going to be a huge challenge for the new owners of a Joliet baseball team: the previous tenants had failed under some pretty bad circumstances, and the new management needed to convince fans they were legitimate. They did so in a completely counterintuitive way: by embracing a team name (Slammers) and look that embraced the city’s history of hosting a notorious state prison.

It worked; today the Frontier League’s Joliet Slammers have won back the local fan community. Plus, the edgy logo and branding are just plain cool, which is why the Slammers are honored for creating the 2011 Logo of the Year award from Ballpark Digest, the leading guide to baseball and ballparks on the Internet.

“A lot of folks would have recommended the Slammers play it safe when coming into such a tense situation,” said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest. “But embracing the jailbird theme showed the front office to be good-natured and edgy, raising the team’s profile in the community.”

Designed by Dan Simon of Studio Simon in Louisville, the Joliet logos feature a jailbird and a version of the guard tower at Joliet Correctional Center, the infamous prison dreaded by convicts and later immortalized by the Blues Brothers. Team promotions included the unveiling of a mascot, J.L. Bird, wearing a striped prison uniform.

“We wanted something edgy but relevant to Joliet,” said Slammers GM John Dittrich. “After many meetings and discussions among ourselves and with Dan Simon, Slammers passed the test better than any other name. Dan Simon is truly a talent, and he took it from there with the logo design.”

“We love the jailbird theme: it’s fun and it’s certainly unique to Joliet,” Reichard said. “Taking chances is what distinguishes a great company in the marketplace, and the success of the Slammers for this year and beyond can be attributed directly to taking a chance with the Slammers logo and design.”

On the next page: other strong logos released for the 2011 season.