A history of Boston Red Sox logos throughout the years

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Raindrops are seen on the Boston Red Sox logo after game three of the American League Divison Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians was postponed due to weather at Fenway Park on October 9, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Raindrops are seen on the Boston Red Sox logo after game three of the American League Divison Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians was postponed due to weather at Fenway Park on October 9, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox have one of the most iconic logos in all of sports, but they’ve had different variations over the years. Here’s a history of their logos.

As a lifelong uniform and logo nerd, there’s always been something about the iconography of a sports team that has appealed to me. While this has fascinated me in all sports, for some reason it’s been doubly so for baseball and the Red Sox. It’s probably due to the fact that Major League Baseball has been around the longest and most teams have changed their logos several times over the decades.

The Red Sox are no exception to this. I recently wrote an article looking at the history of their uniforms from when the team was founded in 1901 to the present. While there were some changes in the early years of the franchise, by and large, their uniforms have remained basically unchanged for the last ~80 years.

As for the Red Sox logos, those have changed several times throughout the years. Their caps were initially blank before a single red sock in profile was introduced in 1931. By 1933 the iconic red “B” was introduced, first as a red block letter and then as a red stylized “B” in 1936 before being outlined in white. Apart from a few changes to the “B” as the font rendering has been refined, it’s been their primary logo ever since.

Since the 1930s, though, the team has had numerous secondary logos that they’ve also widely used. After spending their first seven seasons (1901-1907) as the Boston Americans, the team changed their name to the Red Sox in 1908 and with it debuted a new logo.

This logo, a large red stocking with the word “BOSTON” in white letters within, was only used for that one season. It wouldn’t be until the mid-1920s that the Red Sox came up with another logo.

This next logo was the earliest incarnation of the “hanging sox” which has existed in some form or other to the present day. They’ve gone from crudely drawn to the version we know today. What’s interesting about this is that even into the 1980s, the crude original version was the one used on the team dugout jackets (as I noticed while re-watching the 1986 ALCS and World Series).

It seems that it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the current version was finally adopted on team apparel.

In between, there were several other logos the Red Sox used over the years, some familiar and some barely remembered. In the 1950s they debuted one of their most polarizing logos (at least from what I can tell based on discussions I’ve had with many friends and fans). This is, of course, the Giant Red Sock Man.

It’s a red cartoon sock (with the bottom of the sock acting as his giant, jutting chin) with a cap and bat getting ready to swing at a pitch.

Some fans (like me) like it and the feeling it evokes of the 1950s while other fans (like my son) think it looks goofy and even a little creepy. At the very least, there was a literal representation of a red sock and so the logo made sense. The same can’t be said for another logo used during this era which has been mostly lost down the memory hole.

During the 1950s and into the mid-1970s, the Red Sox had another logo that many people today don’t remember or even know about. It was a white baseball rendered in red lines with the words “Red Sox” in shadowed block letters; the perspective makes them look like they’re fading away from the viewer.

This wasn’t a widely used logo but I do remember seeing it in old newspaper clippings and other merchandise from the 1960s at my grandparent’s house and at friend’s houses growing up in the 1980s. More widely used was yet another logo used in the 1960s and 1970s, the classic hanging red socks inside of a baseball.

The first version of this was used in the 1960s and featured a baseball in blue lines with, strangely, blue seams and red stitches. The hanging socks were over the front of this and it made a classic circular logo the likes of which it seems every MLB team has at least one of. It was modified slightly in the 1970s to make the blue lines a bit thicker and the direction of the seams was reversed.

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Once this logo was phased out (although still used in some merchandise and in newspapers), the Red Sox came up with something new and this was one that was destined to be a fan favorite well into the 21st century. I am of course talking about the classic round logo with the words “BOSTON RED SOX” surrounding the hanging-socks-over-a-baseball logo from the 1960s and 1970s.

This logo first showed up in the mid-to-late 1970s and remains one of the team’s most commonly used and recognizable logos. It had the word “BOSTON” in blue block letters outlined in red across the top while “RED SOX” was rendered in the team’s classic “Tuscan” font on the bottom in red letters. A subsequent variation of this logo has all three words in red Tuscan lettering (this is my preferred version of it).

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While most of these logos have been consigned to the dustbin of baseball history, the hanging socks and the round “BOSTON RED SOX” surrounding the hanging socks over a baseball (both versions) remain used by the team both officially and on merchandise. Regardless of which logo fans prefer, I think we can all agree on the fact that nobody could have seen how creative the team could be with just a pair of red socks.