Why am I wearing a sports logo on my head?


September 23, 2022

Sports teams have taken over our society, to an extent where we wear their brand even if we don't know anything about the sports. 
Whether we like it or not, whether we follow certain teams religiously or just sympathize with our local hometown squad we all can name a few major game-changing sports clubs.  

What do their logos look like though? 

Some of them we can picture, others we may have an idea of what they look like and based on how much we follow sports we might not know what any of them are, but there is one of them that we all undeniably recognize at first glance: the New York Yankees.

But how is it, though, that this one monogram has made its way into our hearts, and wardrobe so effortlessly? It has become not only a symbol of New York City, but of the USA, of Hip Hop culture and streetwear in general.

In order to see how this happened let’s take a step back and look at a bit of history.

The Yankees borrowed the monogram created in 1877 by Louis Comfort Tiffany (yup, of that Tiffany family) for the NYPD. One of the owners of the team was a former chief of police and wanted to immediately link the yankees to the city itself and its most notable landmarks. This strategic maneuver took place officially in 1909 and after that it has been seen associated with some of the most famous and relevant athletes of the past century.

The Yankees, just from the 1910s to the 60s alone,  boast baseball giants such as Babe Ruth (I mean come on!), Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra just to name a few. At that time these players were true stars. Americans looked up to them while Babe Ruth’s fame alone was so widespread that even America's enemies knew of him.

Ruth was also constantly appearing on magazine covers and newspapers and he was the first athlete to ever endorse commercial products. His face was associated with sodas, chocolate candy and cigarettes (yes, times were different back then). And most of this was done with his baseball cap on, and the Yankee logo nice and visible.

Ruth’s communication strategy led the way for DiMaggio and Yogi Berra to continue in his path. These Yankees athletes became household names not only for their professional success and the team’s domination of the sport, but because it was hard to go to any newsstand at the time and not see a Yankees hat gracing the cover of magazines hanging there. Or buy cigarettes that hadn't been sponsored by one of them. Let’s not forget that JoeDiMaggio’s short lived but intense marriage with Marilyn Monroe only added to the public’s attention to the player. The public became more and more fascinated with athletes like him, viewing their lives as the ones of Hollywood stars, not just of professional athletes.

Fast forward to the new century and Yanks stars like A-Rod and Derek Jeter followed in the new media era. They left the athlete’s title “confinement” by becoming pop icons to the point of being on red carpets, dating celebrities and starring in huge, high budget commercials for well known brands. This propelled their stardom to something comparable to one of international movie stars, all while wearing that monogram.

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez at the 2019 Met Gala

These baseball superstars' visual identity were all 100% connected to the team they were playing for, and what a team it is! The New York team has won a record 27 World Series championships. The team, thus the logo itself, has become a symbol of New York pride. 

In the early 2000s, NY rapper Jay-Z requested he wear the Yankee logo on his cap. A NY native was proud to showcase his hometown on his head in a new way. This put the Yanks’ log back on the map, the hip hop star demonstrated how the logo could spread like wildfire. Fellow Ny icons immediately saw this as an opportunity to wear their city with pride, they took inspiration from who was already one of the most influential stars of the scene and joined in the fun. This opened up a whole new pool of opportunities for the branding of the sports team. The logo was placed on all sorts of things, in all kinds of colors, branching away from the traditional uniform while remaining clearly recognizable.

Everyone who was anyone has been seen sporting that logo ever since. It became so popular that it quickly left its New York confines and since then has become so widespread that if you travel anywhere in the world, chances are you’ll probably catch a glimpse of it on someone’s head there too.

Supreme x Yankees collab capsule
Supreme x Yankees collab capsule

The Yankees’ logo has gone from being a symbol of athletic excellence that marked an elite group of industry professionals, to a symbol of New York pride, all the way to a universal western streetwear mark that echoes “United States of America”. It has graced runways while remaining a staple on construction workers' heads. 

The Yankee logo is effortless and carries no brand elitism with it, it’s “just” a sports logo after all, and that’s the beauty of it.

But what do you think? Is the Yankees logo still relevant today, or has it become so ubiquitous that nobody really pays attention anymore?

Find out more about another very important logo in our latest Unboxed video, and let us know which other teams need to be mentioned in the same breath as the Yankees.

Watch our video on the topic