The Lexington Legends unveiled their new uniforms Thursday evening, and in the process achieved several Minor League firsts.
The South Atlantic League franchise -- the new Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals -- became the first Minor League club to boast a royal blue, kelly green and cream color scheme. They also became the first team to unveil a uniform by having their mascot rappel down a downtown building while sporting the new duds. But these two unprecedented events may pale in comparison to the following: The Legends became the first team to prominently feature a mustache logo.
Yes, a mustache. While on the road, the team's players will sport a kelly green cap with only a well-maintained curlicue 'stache adorning it. This prominent bit of upper lip hair pays tribute to the team's longstanding mascot Big L, who has always sported this type of facial hair.
"Minor League Baseball is all about the 'wow' factor, and we wanted to go beyond the normal stuff you'd see at the ballpark," said Hall of Fame namesake Ty Cobb, the Legends director of creative services and graphic designer. "And we wanted to be the team to do this first, to have a mustache on a hat. Our mascot, he actually has a mustache, so we're not just hopping on a fad. ... We're going to be easily recognizable when on the road. Fans can just look at the mustache."
It's appropriate then that Big L figured prominently in the team's unveiling of its new look (designed by San Diego-based Brandiose). As part of a two-day fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of America, the mustachioed mascot rappelled down the 410-foot Lexington Financial Center while wearing the Legends' new uniforms. Upon hitting the ground and getting unharnessed, he showed off the new style amidst a large crowd that had gathered for downtown Lexington's recurring "Thursday Night Live" outdoor party.
"Big L's like Superman," Cobb said. "He was walking around in the old [uniforms] beforehand, and then came down as a new person."
As attention-grabbing as certain aspects of the Legends' new look are, general manager Seth Poteat is quick to point out that it is more of an update than a total rebranding.
"We're not recreating the wheel here," he said. "We're tweaking the blue a little bit, from the traditional navy to royal blue. Coincidentally that works well with our new affiliate, but it also ties into the University of Kentucky, which is the strongest brand in the state. ... We're paying tribute to the area we're coming from, keeping it traditional yet new and fresh and modern."
The primary logo, as before, features Big L. He is depicted with a scowl, holding two bats crossed behind his head. Beneath "Legends" in script lettering, there is an illustration that depicts the white fences that are common amidst the region's many horse farms. Horses are referenced, again indirectly, on the team's alternate cap. The chiseled "Lex" font is meant to recall the chiseled drystone walls that line historic horse farms. The home cap, meanwhile, features "Lex" in descending diagonal letters.
"A lot of times people here refer to Lexington as 'Lex,' and we're the first to use that abbreviation as part of a sports logo," said Cobb. "We're excited about that."
But when all is said and done, the Legends are aware that the most -- ahem, Legendary -- aspect of their new logo will be the mustache.
"It started as kind of a joke," said Poteat. "But the more we talked about it, the more we said 'Why not?'"
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog.