Appel: Baseball’s centennial ‘Greatest Players Ever’ poll

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on August 31, 2013:

At the time, it was the cornerstone of baseball’s centennial celebration, a much heralded, fan-driven promotion designed to get everyone involved with the festivities.

It was 1969, the centennial of professional baseball, 100 years since the Cincinnati Red Stockings started paying salaries for playing ball. 

Major League Baseball was just embracing serious marketing and licensing concerns. Major League Baseball Promotion Corporation was founded. An alignment with Licensing Corporation of America was in the works. BBD&O advertising was aboard to lend creative talents. Bowie Kuhn, the new acting commissioner was ready to wake up the sleepy game of baseball in its first year of division play and was talking to Gillette about underwriting fan voting for the All-Star Game starting lineups the following year.

But first, there was the centennial to mark, with a Nixon White House celebration, an All-Star Game in Washington, a poster, a U.S. postage stamp, and a record album narrated in part by Jimmy Stewart. A special logo to be worn on all uniform sleeves and that patriotic looking logo remains the MLB logo today with a batter who looks a lot like Harmon Killebrew but isn’t. (That, according to designer Jerry Dior).

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Originally published: September 3, 2013. Last Updated: September 3, 2013.