Save your pennies kids, there’s a Philadelphia “Blue Jays” jersey up for auction!
What, you don’t remember when the Philadelphia Phillies used a blue jay for their logo? Well, unless you’re in your eighties or older you certainly wouldn’t.
Back in 1944 the Philadelphia Phillies flirted with the idea of toying with their team name, yes, seems rather unfathomable now but in those days teams experimented with their nickname more often than you’d think. The Boston Braves became the Bees, the Brooklyn Dodgers were the Robins, the Cincinnati Reds even temporarily gave their name some “legs” in the 1950s. Every one of these experiments were eventually (and usually quickly) reversed.
In the case of the Phillies they envisioned a second name, one to be used alongside the “Phillies” name, one that perhaps the fans would pick up on and embrace and they could adopt as an official name going forward. Call it a soft-launch, a way to avoid angry telegrams from the Phillies die-hards. A contest was launched in January which would end up receiving over 5,000 entries with 634 unique names. “Blue Jays” was selected as the winner, submitted by seven, the tie-breaker was who wrote the best letter.
The winning entry was decided to be from Elizabeth Crooks, a caretaker at a Philadelphia lodge. Crooks said she chose “Blue Jays” because “the blue jay reflects a new team spirit, is colourful in personality and plumage, is a fighter with an aggressive spirit who would never admit defeat.” Inspiration came from a nest of blue jays Mrs. Crooks remembers watching in the backyard of her old home in Columbus, Ohio (future home of the Blue Ja…ckets).
For that 1944 season a new primary logo was adopted, an emblem was stitched onto the sleeve of the Phillies blue and white jerseys, their familiar double-star scripted wordmark across the chest. The Blue Jay logo itself was featured on pennants, programs, and other novelties despite never quite catching on with the locals and the media.
After just two seasons the blue jay was dropped from the uniform, never to be seen ’round a Philadelphia ballpark again, until, well, 1993.
The auction features a wonderfully kept Blue Jays jersey from those two seasons, the Huggins & Scott listing claims it’s the only known surviving home jersey from this era.
At the time of this post the highest bid was at $16,750 with the auction running through August 3, 2017.