Appy League releases new collection showcasing rebrands, new logos

June 13th, 2023

The league that brought you the Flyboys, Otterbots and WhistlePigs is about to add a little more flair this summer.

The Appalachian League is collaborating with retail brand Official League on a set of specialized jackets and hats for the 2023 season. All items are available on Eight teams will be involved in Tuesday’s drop: Bluefield Ridge Runners, Bristol State Liners, Danville Otterbots, Elizabethton River Riders, Greeneville Flyboys, Johnson City Doughboys, Kingsport Axmen, and Princeton WhistlePigs.

The Appy League has roots dating back as far as 1911 and transitioned from a Rookie-level short-season affiliated circuit to a wood-bat collegiate loop for the 2021 season. With parent clubs no longer involved, teams adopted even more creative and locally based nicknames that have become hits around North Carolina, Tennessee Virginia and West Virginia, and those brands can take another jump in notoriety in coordination with Official League.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Official League to showcase the Appy League teams,” said Appalachian League director of player personnel Justin Morgenstern in a statement. “One of the most exciting aspects of the new Appy League format was the opportunity for each team to rebrand with a name that is tied to the history and identity of the local community. The collaboration with Official League highlights these eight teams in a new, fun way and we look forward to seeing Appy League fans with their new gear this summer.”

The two sides came together after Major League officials noted Official League’s work with the Portland Pickles, a West Coast League team owned by Official League president Alan Miller. The apparel company went back and forth with eight of the 10 Appy League clubs to identify what aspects of their individual brands they wanted to feature specifically, resulting in Tuesday’s 100-item release.

The jackets come in satin with team branding on both the front, sides and, in some cases, sleeves. The Ridge Runners edition, in particular, comes in green with blue lettering, featuring the team name on the front and a giant logo of a train, sleigh and reindeer on the back that reminds fans of Bluefield’s nickname "Christmas City." Meanwhile, Princeton’s black-and-yellow offering wears its state pride on its sleeve with a West Virginia outline patch on the upper-left arm.

Many of the Official League caps available as part of this collaboration are of the rope hat variety, with a piece of string sitting atop the brim. The Bristol State Liners’ version focuses on the local ties to country music with guitar strings and a cowboy hat featured prominently between abbreviations for Virginia and Tennessee, while the Johnson City Doughboys’ makes no bones about its military connections with the phrase “Rally the Troops” affixed to the back.

Even with all the changes that have come to the Appy League, 335,917 people passed through the circuit’s gates last summer, proving how popular it remains to local fans, and the partnership with Official League offers an opportunity to widen that spotlight to a potentially national level.

"Engaging with the teams and delving into the distinct features of their cities and towns was an incredible journey. It's these unique aspects, these nuggets of culture, that make each city, each team, so special,” said Miller in a release.