MILWAUKEE -- Elaine Meindel’s only regret Monday was that her late husband wasn’t there to witness the Brewers going “back to the future,” as chairman and principal owner Mark Attanasio put it.
Attanasio and the Brewers unveiled an updated version of Tom Meindel’s ball-in-glove as their primary logo for 2020 and beyond, the first in a series of initiatives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s move to Milwaukee. Meindel won a public design contest before the 1978 season, and while the Brewers only wore his classic icon -- a baseball glove comprised of a lower case “m” and “b” -- as their primary logo through 1993, it remained a fan favorite in all the years that followed.
Now it’s officially back, and Elaine Meindel was one of the invited guests at Miller Park on Monday night, when the club unveiled its new look. She found herself thinking of her husband, who took his own life in May 2018.
“I’m so excited, and I think Tom would be so excited as well,” Elaine Meindel said. “It’s a wonderful example of what a perfect piece of art is. It’s iconic, and I think what the graphic designers did to it is amazing. I think Tom would love it as well.”
Tom Meindel submitted one of more than 2,000 entries when the Brewers were seeking a new look in the fall of 1977. It was an instant hit with wife Elaine, a fellow art student. Tom Meindel won $2,000.
“You know that iconic movie, 'A League Of Their Own,' when Tom Hanks says, ‘We’re gonna win?’” Elaine Meindel said. “I knew it when he sent it in. I just knew it. And I’m just so glad that they were appreciative of his artwork and they actually chose his.
“I’m sorry he wasn’t here to see this unfolding, but I truly believe that he would have loved it. It lives on. How can you not love that?”
Elaine Meindel on Monday night presented Attanasio with a gift. It was a belt buckle commemorating the Brewers’ American League pennant in 1982, which Tom Meindel had forged in time to drive down to Milwaukee for the World Series to sell them out of his car. He may have earned more selling buckles than he did for the original design.
Attanasio considered having it framed for his office, but he was leaning instead toward using it for its intended purpose.
He revealed a new bit of information Monday night: The group of decision-makers who worked on the redesign not only included the club’s business executives and Attanasio’s wife, Debbie, and sons, Dan and Mike, but also Brewers manager Craig Counsell, too. Counsell grew up in the Milwaukee area and was a regular at Miller Park as a teenager with his dad, who worked in the front office.
“It’s a timeless logo,” Counsell said. “The best testament for those of us who travel around the country is [that] it’s the hat worn. It’s Milwaukee and we're a little bit of a small town, but when you see it in New York and you see it in the big cities, it’s fashion, right? That’s how you know they got it right. What they tried to do is just update it a little bit and prepare it for the future.”
“It’s something we’re all excited about,” said Ryan Braun, who pointed to the cream home uniforms as his personal favorite. “We were surprised by it. [The cream] is something that’s different, but it’s something that everybody is embracing.”
With the Brewers’ return to the beloved ball-in-glove logo, Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers figures it’s time to update his wardrobe.
“I’ve got a whole closet filled with caps with various M's on them,” Fingers said after the team unveiled his new-old look. “It looks like it’s time to get rid of them.”