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Tigers honor history with unified Olde English D

Storied logo embraced by fans, players to have consistent look on caps, home jerseys
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers' iconic Olde English D is getting a "new" look -- and finally, a consistent look.

It's not technically new, because it's the same D the team has used on its caps for 50 years. But by using that same style D on the home jerseys, and making the D slightly larger on the caps, the Tigers will have a different look for 2018. It's a big change for a franchise ever mindful of the place its traditional logo holds in the history of Detroit and the hearts of many from here.

DETROIT -- The Tigers' iconic Olde English D is getting a "new" look -- and finally, a consistent look.

It's not technically new, because it's the same D the team has used on its caps for 50 years. But by using that same style D on the home jerseys, and making the D slightly larger on the caps, the Tigers will have a different look for 2018. It's a big change for a franchise ever mindful of the place its traditional logo holds in the history of Detroit and the hearts of many from here.

"This Olde English D honors the storied history of our ballclub, with its inspiration reaching back more than a century," Tigers executive vice president of business operations Duane McLean said in a statement unveiling the change. "We're thrilled to come together under this unified mark, which will be recognized as the official logo of the Detroit Tigers."

The change unites two versions of the D that run similarly deep in Tigers lore, and ends a long history of lettering mismatches ever since the letter became an official part of the Tigers look in 1904. The version on the cap, with sharp edges and long tails on the left, was inspired by the original version (though that one had a curly tail at the bottom), and was put on the caps in 1968. It has been the D for the home caps since then, and for the road caps (in an orange version) for most of that time.

"It was a really sharp looking logo when we started wearing it on our ballcaps in 1968, and that certainly rings true today," Hall of Famer Al Kaline said in a statement.

Tweet from @tigers: Still clean, still classic. pic.twitter.com/IS9mjzVRig

The Olde English D that had been on the jerseys, however, is different, with a flat top, a rounded edge on the upper right hand corner and less of a tail. Though the Tigers have changed the look of their home jerseys 22 times in their history, that version of the D dates back to 1934, when a newly hired player-manager Mickey Cochrane put the letter back on the home uniform.

For nearly all of those years, the D has looked different on the cap compared with the jerseys, prompting questions as to why. The cap version changed several times before 1968, sometimes due to productions, sometimes due to the limits of technology. Finally, the Tigers decided to unify them, and conducted research with Major League Baseball to figure out the more popular version. According to the team, Tigers fans are three times more likely to say the cap version better represents the team, and 3 1/2 times more likely to say it better represents the city.

"It's really great that the Tigers are coming together under the cap D. To me, that Olde English D represents a time, a team and a tradition that unifies our city and our people," Tigers great Willie Horton said in a statement. "When I think of how proud I am to have played in Detroit, that is the D that comes to mind."

Players will be wearing the updated jerseys on the team's Winter Caravan this week, and at TigerFest on Saturday.

The enlarging of the D on the caps, the team said, brings it in line with cap logos of other Major League teams. It's the first adjustment to Tigers caps in 20 years, when the team abandoned its road caps that featured a Tiger crawling through the uniform version of the D.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers