Tigers are making the D smaller

Sometimes a smaller “D” is better.

I’m old enough to remember New Coke. It was a disaster. Coca-Cola realized it and reverted to the original formula.

The Detroit Tigers are doing much the same. The team announced today that the Old English D on their caps will be reduced in size after a misguided one-year change that saw an over-sized D on their caps for the 2018 season. The look was very unpopular with fans.

In a story in today’s Detroit Free Press, it’s reported that the Tigers will sport an Old English D that is smaller than the unpopular 2018 version, but not quite as small as the traditional D that was on the cap in 2017 and years prior.

That should make Tom Selleck and other avid Detroit fans happy. The Old English D is one of the most iconic and oldest logos in sports. It’s not only a symbol of the Tigers but the Old English D has also come to represent the city of Detroit as a whole. The Red Wings and Lions have licensed hats that use the Old English D on red and Honolulu blue hats, respectively, and the Old English D has become a fashion symbol in the state of Michigan and beyond. For eight seasons from 1980 to 1988, Selleck wore a Tigers cap on his hit TV show, Magnum P.I., extending its’ popularity.

The Detroit Tigers started wearing the Old English D in 1904 when they first debuted it on their road uniforms. The team started wearing the Old English D on both home and road uniforms the following year. With the exception of the 1916 season and 1918-1920, the team has featured the Old English D every season since 1904.

The shape and size and even the color of the D has changed on the uniform and cap over the years, but the Old English D has remained an iconic symbol of the Tigers, one of only three original members of the American League who are still playing in the same city.

Last season, team owner Christopher Ilitch made the decision to increase the size of the D on the caps. At the same time he also made the Old English D on the uniform match the D on the cap for the first time in decades. That move has also been unpopular, but not as much as the changing of the logo on the cap.

In their one season wearing the large D, which some fans compared to a cheap souvenir cap you can purchase in a gas station, the Tigers lost 98 games.

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About Dan Holmes

The editor of Detroit Athletic Co. blog, is the author of Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, and worked for Major League Baseball as a web producer. He contributed to Sock it to 'Em Tigers: The Incredible Story of the 1968 Detroit Tigers, and Deadball Stars of the American League. Follow him on Twitter at @thedanholmes or visit his personal blog at danholmes.com.