Finding: Humans Incapable of Drawing Tigers Before 1961

Scientists, were one of them asked, would almost certainly conclude that human beings were strangely incapable — despite thousands of years of time to practice — of drawing tigers until 1961.

The proof to which those same scientists would very likely point: assorted logos utilized by the Detroit Tigers between the formation of the American League (in 1901) and the introduction of a logo, in 1961, featuring a passable likeness of the very large feline.

The first logo used by the Tigers (in 1901-02) which attempted to depict that majestic animal is actually perhaps the most successful of these early ones, insofar as the artist in question appears to recognize his limitations — which, as noted above, are really the limitations of his entire race. In this case, one finds only an orange-colored silhouette of the tiger, as opposed to detailed facial portrait.

1901 to 1902

While the tiger eluded artists fairly deep into the 20th century, the embarrassed squirrel had already been a fixture among the repertoires of many drawing students for years by 1927, the year in which the following logo was adopted by the club. The following sketch, in fact, quite clearly represents an attempt by the unnamed artist to transform said squirrel into a tiger with the addition of a few whiskers and weird, craggy teeth. Ultimately, however, the viewer isn’t fooled: the result is merely an embarrassed squirrel wearing a curious Dracula disguise.

1927 to 1928

Art critic of the internet, “sportsherald,” characterizes the subject of the following picture as “an unhappy fat housecat with a cherry tomato in its mouth.” While unconvincing by today’s standards, there’s reason to believe that the club was excited at having at least struck upon the correct biological family: this was the Tigers logo from 1931 to 1960, a full 30 years.

1934 to 1960

All images courtesy Sports Logos.

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as notable is the fact that logo designers have, for the past 112 years, obviously confused the word ‘athletic’ and ‘elephant’ without anyone ever once correcting them.