The ReName the Team contest began in August, as local baseball fans had the opportunity to submit suggestions for the new team name. The most popular choices were then narrowed down to six finalists, enabling fans throughout the Quad Cities to support their favorite pick during an online vote in September.
River Bandits emerged as the clear-cut favorite in the end, garnering 48 percent of the tally with 6,212 total votes. Nearly 15,000 fans chimed in during the contest, which saw the name Channel Cats finish second with 32 percent of the vote. The other four options - Talons, Current, River Eagles, and Swing - all received between four and six percent of the total vote.
"The fans have spoken loud and clear," announced Main Street Iowa's Dave Heller, Managing Partner of the group that completed their purchase of the club less than two weeks earlier. "This community clearly has strong positive associations with the name River Bandits, and as we look forward to our first season running the club we are glad to embrace that feeling. Our goal is to return to the days when going to see the River Bandits was one of the most popular things to do in the Quad Cities."
That means that 2008 will mark the second coming of the River Bandits, which served as the team's moniker from 1992-2003 before shifting to the Swing of the Quad Cities in conjunction with the unveiling of the renovated John O'Donnell Stadium prior to the 2004 season. During the organization's first 32 seasons in the Midwest League from 1960-1991, the club was known as the Braves, Angels, and Cubs, reflecting their Major League parent club at the time.
"The River Bandits new logo will have broad appeal," said Francis Santaquilani of FSDesign, the designer of the logo. "It captures the spirit of Minor League Baseball as well as the Quad Cities."
The new primary logo features a black and gray raccoon donning a bandit hat and wearing a red bandana over his mouth while holding a baseball. Behind the raccoon is an image of Centennial Bridge outlined in gold, sitting above the text, "Quad Cities River Bandits." Alternate logos, uniforms, and hats are expected to be unveiled in the coming months.
"The new logo has a 'lively' personality," commented Randy Jacobs, CEO of local marketing agency Jacobs Thoms. "The overall impression is aggressive but at the same time fun. The raccoon character adds some emotion to the icon and the colors are vibrant and positive, supporting a lively personality."
"This is an exciting day for baseball in the Quad Cities," said Bob Herrfeldt, co-owner of Main Street Iowa. "Now that we have our identity in line for next season, we can continue with the rest of our improvements as we unveil an operation that will be more fan-friendly and full of value than ever before."
"As soon as the contest started, it was clear that there was a lot of sentiment among the fans for the River Bandits name," added General Manager Ben Burke. "Talking to people around town that certainly seemed to be the popular choice. Now we have a great opportunity to come out with fresh new logos that portray a new day for River Bandits baseball while paying homage to the history and tradition that the name already comes with."
Indeed, the original River Bandits burst onto the scene with a bang, setting a franchise record that still stands with a 91-win season in 1992. The same year also saw a record 250,745 fans pass through the gates, a mark that was surpassed two years later when the post-flood campaign of 1994 drew 260,471 to the ballpark. The River Bandits qualified for the playoffs in seven of those 12 seasons, as local baseball fans were treated to the likes of future big-leaguers Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Billy Wagner, Richard Hidalgo, and Michael Restovich.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.