This week was a sad day for the New York Yankees. First, the long time public-address announcer Bob Sheppard died on Sunday, then Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner died two days later. Losing the voice of Yankee Stadium and “The Boss” of the Yankees in one fell swoop demands a special commemoration. And so the Yankee management decided to design two patches that will be worn on their players’ uniforms the rest of the season. Starting Friday, the Yankees will commemorate both men.
This is a big deal for the Yankees who do not put the names of players on their pinstripe and travel gray uniforms. They’ve often worn mourning armbands, but these patches are more ambitious, notes Ken Belson in The New York Times. “In many ways, creating Sheppard’s patch, which the players will wear on their left sleeves, was the easier task,” he explains. “Sheppard had one primary role during his nearly 60 years at Yankee Stadium: read players’ names when they came to bat.” His patch has an old-style microphone in the center of an infield diamond” along with pieces of the stadium cornice that has become an ersatz logo for the team.
“Summing up Steinbrenner, a larger-than-life figure who turned a moribund franchise into one of the wealthiest in the world, was more difficult,” Belson adds. Steinbrenner’s oval insignia has his name along the top. The words “The Boss” are scrolled along the bottom. In the middle are his initials, “GMS.”
The commemoration is what’s important here, but why couldn’t the patches be designed with a little more panache? Not over designed, mind you, but at least typographically consistent with the scheme of the new Yankee Stadium? The Sheppard patch comes close, yet doesn’t need all those cluttered graphic elements. Conversely, the Steinbrenner patch is too spare and much too generic.