The 1968 Detroit Tigers not only won a World Series but as former Tigers director of marketing Ron Wade says, they “brought the city together” just one year removed from city riots. That ‘68 team has long held a special place in the hearts of Tigers fans and with the 50-year anniversary of the team in 2018, Wade knew a season-long celebration was in order.
Wade’s first thought? Turn the season tickets into the celebration. His first call? Designer Todd Radom.
Radom made waves in 2017 by creating a unique piece of art for each season ticket in the Chicago White Sox package, impressing Wade. He wasn’t let down upon seeing Radom’s work for the Tigers. “When he sent over the first five sample tickets, I was in love,” Wade says. “Todd did some great artwork evoked from the era. It looked outstanding.”
From the start, Radom says the Tigers project was vastly different from the White Sox in that Detroit wanted to celebrate just one team. “It was actually a little more difficult,” Radom says. “It was a bit of a challenge in that I didn’t want everything to look the same. The thing with the White Sox is here is a ticket that looks like 1901, 1975 and another from 1983. In the case of the Tigers, it centred on the one year.”
To create a mixture in the 81 individual pieces of artwork it was about splitting up illustrations, typographically driven designs, straight photos or photos treated with colours and tints. “It was necessary to pace the thing over the course of the season to keep it lively and interesting,” Radom says. “It was really a question of we have 81 holes to fill and there was an absolute given I was going to illustrate a certain number of these to keep it fun and special and there were going to be several players celebrated multiple times. Some jobs are sprints and some are marathons and this was a marathon.”
Wade admitted the Tigers budget was such that he even appreciated Radom taking on the project and knew it limited the number of fully custom designs the package would have. In that regard, the 81 tickets broke down into about ten illustrations and the rest some version of a photograph. “In many cases, I took the photographs and gave them context,” Radom says, “some to look like baseball cards.”
Wade was able to supply Radom with a wealth of historical features, unearthing images not seen before in 40 to 50 years, photos on slides and media not easily accessible. “I’m firing all these photos to Todd and considering the budget we knew we could let the photos do the heavy lifting,” Wade says. “We were repurposing photos from yearbooks.”
Radom says he looked at the entire roster of players—every significant player from the ‘68 team gets represented—World Series photographs, pictures of the celebrations and more. Wade especially appreciated how Radom recreated in the “Sock it to ‘Em, Tigers” banner that hung over the lockers.
Being the project was still an actual ticket, it needed room for necessary information—seat, row, date, opponent, etc.—and Radom didn’t want to waste that opportunity. Using only the number forms from the ‘68 uniform, Radom recreated letters using the number forms from the ‘68 design (the ‘68 uniforms didn’t have names on the back), creating a custom type for all deliverable information.
“It was really targeted, specific and relevant,” Radom says about the font. “It was a nice little touch and I hope the home fans see and appreciate it.”
The finished project came to season-ticket holders in a special box with the season ticket book bound. The embossed cover includes spot gloss inside on tickets. Additional texturing and finishes on a variety of tickets at variety throughout the season.
“Whether it’s honouring the 50th anniversary of the 1968 World Championship team or retiring the numbers of Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, it’s impossible to go a single day at the ballpark without remembering Tigers legends,” says Ron Colangelo, Tigers vice president of communications. “The work our organization, in conjunction with Todd Radom, was able to do with our season ticket design is something that’s brought up to us by fans on a daily basis. It’s special and unique way to showcase one of the best Tigers teams of all time—and the artifacts displayed on the tickets are absolutely amazing.”
Radom enjoyed the process as much as fans have enjoyed the product. “It was a really fun project and to be able to dive into a specific club with this amount of clarity,” Radom says, “is an interesting project.” Interesting and artistic.