For decades, the identity of Stockton’s professional baseball club has been representative of what makes the city special. In 1946, after spending its inaugural season of 1941 as the Fliers, the club adopted the nickname “Ports” as an obvious nod to the city’s massive seaport, the biggest inland port in
For decades, the identity of Stockton’s professional baseball club has been representative of what makes the city special. In 1946, after spending its inaugural season of 1941 as the Fliers, the club adopted the nickname “Ports” as an obvious nod to the city’s massive seaport, the biggest inland port in the state of California and the hub of transport and commerce in the San Joaquin Valley. In 2002 the club morphed their colors to those matching the flag of the City of Stockton.
In the ever-changing and sometimes off-the-wall landscape of Minor League Baseball identity concepts, the Ports offered stability with a quintessential baseball look – a simple, classic logo and red, white and blue color scheme.
But prior to the 2013 season, the club partnered with Brandiose in an effort to breathe new life into the Ports’ brand in the form of an alternate identity. After a six-month creative process that sought to produce a concept representative of the city and people of Stockton, the Ports on November 16, 2012 introduced a juxtaposition from the club’s traditional scheme with their new likeness: 5 O’clock Dock.
“This is truly an exciting way for the Ports to re-affirm our commitment to Stockton,” Team President Pat Filippone said at the time. “We feel this new logo embodies the rich history and can-do attitude of our city.”
The new uniforms were to be worn every Friday, and the look certainly hit the mark representing the city of Stockton. Complete with new colors but remaining constant with the seaport theme, the identity features a refreshed look at life on the dock. An animated tattooed stevedore character serves as the centerpiece and is also emblazoned on the uniform set’s caps. The character’s name, 5 O’clock Dock, doubles as the term for the alternate identity. It represents the 9-to-5, blue-collar workers that are a big part of the Stockton community.
The alternate club lettering featured on the jersey front is another nautical tribute to the city, with ship riveting coloring the letters in “Stockton” against a navy-blue background.
“The 5 O’clock Dock identity and the entire navy blue, Friday night alternate uniform was an effort to add to the Ports’ brand without changing anything about the classic and clean primary look,” said former General Manager Luke Reiff, the coordinator behind the new identity that was introduced for the 2013 season. “Our goal was to create an alternate brand that represented the hardworking, gritty, can-do nature of the Stockton community and we couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out and was received.”
But perhaps the trademark of 5 O’clock Dock that has made the identity one that has stood the test of time is its use of one of the San Joaquin Valley’s staple crops – asparagus.
Known as the asparagus capital of the world, the city of Stockton plays host to the annual San Joaquin Asparagus Festival which attracts visitors from near and far – the festival’s official website estimated 65,000 attendees for the since-canceled 2020 event. The vegetable has been a staple at Ports games as well, as concession stands at the ballpark have traditionally served fried asparagus.
With that in mind, 5 O’clock Dock’s brandishing of an asparagus spear introduced a new, unique way to honor the Ports’ home city. But the use of the vegetable didn’t stop there. The asparagus character Running Gus was introduced as an alternate logo, and the Ports became the first professional team to use Asparagus Green, which accompanied Navy Blue and Shipyard Gray in the alternate logo set, as a color.
Indeed, the identity manages to reflect what makes Stockton – and its people – special.
“5 O’clock Dock pays homage to the rich history of Stockton being the asparagus capitol of the world, while also showing respect to our local port and dock workers,” said current Assistant General Manager Luke Johnson. “It has been universally embraced since its release.”
Since its inception, the identity has taken several forms on the field. In 2019 the Ports wore limited edition jerseys as the Stockton Aspara-guys and were scheduled to don another set of alternate uniforms for Asparagus Night on May 2, 2020 featuring Asparagus Green tops and Running Gus caps.
Not surprisingly, the concept has been a hit with Ports fans; the 5 O’clock Dock hat is the number-one selling item at the Dock Shop at Banner Island Ballpark.
Said longtime Ports fan Will MacNeil,“The 5 O’clock Dock logo is great because it honors the people who work hard in the City of Stockton.” “Plus it’s got asparagus on it, what’s not to love!”