Last summer, I recruited 3,792 fans to participate in a MaxDiff market research study with the goal of meaningfully ranking the official MLB logos in the minds of fans (check out those results here). After releasing those results, I received a TON of requests from baseball fans to do the same exercise for the MLB’s cap insignias (aka – “hat logos”). Major League Baseball is different than the other major American sports leagues in that MLB teams tend to have two logos – an “official” logo and a cap insignia. For some teams the cap insignia is much more likely to come to mind when you think of the mark that best represents that team. The Yankees are probably the best example of this.

How This Research Was Conducted

If you need to rank 30 logos, you need a MaxDiff exercise. MaxDiff is a market research technique that’s useful when you have a list of items that is too long for the average person to meaningfully rank. People can’t rank more than six or seven items at a time in survey research. If I were to present you with all 30 MLB cap logos and ask you to put a ‘1’ beside your favorite logo, a ‘2’ beside your second favorite logo, and so on, it is really a toss up if your rankings would truly reflect how you really feel, especially when it comes to the logos in the middle (#10 – #20) of your rankings. Furthermore, that exercise would be time-consuming, would require a lot of thinking, and would not be very fun. People don’t like to spend a ton of time thinking, especially when taking an online survey. If you want people to tell you how they really feel, you have to make it easy and fun for them to tell you; that’s what MaxDiff does. MaxDiff breaks down the ranking task. Instead of giving respondents every logo all at once, the exercise instead gives them four logos at a time in sets. In each set they indicate the logo they find most and least appealing.

Because respondents evaluate many sets, it allows me the ability to compute the rankings at the end of data collection using fancy math (Hierarchical Bayes). Compared to an old school ranking exercise, this produces more accurate rankings that truly reflect how people really feel. How about we just get to the results already?


The MaxDiff scores for each team are indexed at 100. For example, the White Sox logo’s MaxDiff score of 125 means that logo was ranked 25% higher than the average logo in this ranking exercise. It is important to note that these scores should not be interpreted as votes.

Fans give their take on the results!

To get some open-ended feedback on each logo, I gave each respondent the option to give his or her opinion on a randomly selected cap insignia. About half of respondents opted in. They were asked to give their personal opinions and to speculate where they thought other fans would rank the logo they were randomly assigned to assess. Displayed below are some of the responses that typified common sentiments about each cap insignia. Unsurprisingly, there were a variety of viewpoints about each insignia.

#30 Tampa Bay Rays

“I think this insignia will rate in the bottom third. I think it tries to emulate some of the classic letter-based logos, but lacks the same character. The positioning of the TB is nice, but the font and style are sort of flat. There’s no depth to it, and the whole thing feels sort of generic.”

“It’s a safe design. Doesn’t take risk so it doesn’t blow anybodies mind.”

#29 Cleveland Indians

“It’s generic and there isn’t a highlight color to make the C pop. It features dark red on dark blue. I think a white outline would make the C more discernible.”

“Bottom half no doubt. While it is infinitely better than the logo they just retired, there are no unique elements and it doesn’t even resemble what would be traditionally viewed as a baseball logo.”

#28 Colorado Rockies

“I believe this insignia would go in the bottom third, just because I’m not a fan of most of the crossing letter designs. Also, they could have used less gray in the border for the letters.”

“Bottom third. I like the color scheme, especially since it sets itself apart from most other teams in that sense. However the font just seems like the default selection in Microsoft Word.”

#27 Texas Rangers

“I don’t think anyone would be particular offended or enamored by it – it’s just a big serif ‘T’ with a nice drop shadow.”

“I feel like taking away the red drop shadow is something to be considered, maybe switching it to just an outline.”

“Personally I am not a fan of just ‘here is the letter for our team,’ which unfortunately is most MLB hat logos. Texas’s would fall towards the bottom third for me since I dislike the 3D effect – 3D designs seem to add complexity without adding anything actually interesting. Besides the 3D effect, it’s just a boring white letter T with a little flair in the middle. As a Texan, i like that they use colors from the Texas flag, but I know Texas can be more interesting and iconic with their designs than this.”

#26 Arizona Diamondbacks

“I think most fans will find this ranked in the bottom half. While the colors are reflective of “Arizona”, it does not have any sort of cultural impact. While the “fang” element replacing the bar in the letter ‘A’ is a somewhat clever way to reference the Diamondback name, it would not stand out to anyone who is unfamiliar with the Arizona Diamondbacks and would simply look like an ‘extreme’ typographic feature you would see in the 90s.”

“It’s confusing. Unless you are a hard core MLB fan, you’re not going to know who or what this is.”

#25 Washington Nationals

“I don’t know what was going through the Nationals’ Front Office, but this insignia looks like the Walgreens ‘W’. I like the colors and the font, but I also like it on the Walgreens logo, and I associate it with Walgreens first and the Nationals second.

“Fairly plain so not ugly, but being so close to the Walgreens logo kills this one. They should have used an interlocking ‘DC’ instead.”

#24 Cincinnati Reds

“So many other sports teams have blatantly ripped off the Reds’ wishbone ‘C’ throughout history, yet somehow the Reds’ version is still the worst. The drop shadow ruins the whole aesthetic.”

“The drop shadow absolutely has to go. If they used the shadowless big red machine era caps they would rank much higher.”

“It is very simple and classic, but also bland.”

#23 San Diego Padres

“It is a perfectly clear overlay of the initials of the two-word city of San Diego, but it lacks the history and nostalgia of older franchises from other two-word cities.”

“There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it (cliche colors, simple font), but it’s not offensive to the eye and has enough to be somewhat interesting.”

“I like the classic look of interlocking letters, but not a huge fan of the font used compared to other, similar logos.”

“I don’t have any hard feelings for this logo, but it doesn’t do anything exceptional. I do like dark blue-on-white, but the logo itself isn’t particularly interesting.”

“It’s clean and simple, with a classic color combination of blue and white which makes it’s appealing to look at.”

#22 Miami Marlins

“I was excited when I heard the Marlins might be changing to a “Miami Vice” look, but was so underwhelmed when I saw this logo. The shape of the “M” looks pretty good with the forward slant, and I like the fish wrapped around the letter. The main issue I have is that I really don’t like the colors overall. While I like the blue, I am not a huge fan of the red, and I do not understand why there is so much black. I think there was potential here but this logo doesn’t appeal to me.”

“The new Marlins color scheme is great – uses blue and red in a very different way than other teams, and the contrasting black makes a bold statement. But the logo itself is dull, and reminds me of the 90s. There’s nothing iconic about the “M” design, and –  like all other Marlins logos – the marlin image feels shoehorned in.”

“It gets a lot of positive attention because it’s new and different, but I don’t think it will stand up over time.”

“I feel like I’ve seen a lot of mixed opinions from folks. Some think that it’s a little too sleek and non-traditional while others feel like it includes interesting colors that capture the classic Miami feel.”

“The colors are unique and instantly tie it to Miami, but I think they over-stylized the ‘M’ in a way that doesn’t quite fit with the city. I think a more simplistic ‘M’ would have worked better. The points on the ends of the M don’t fit with the colors and vibe of the city to me, but incorporating the Marlin was cool, and the colors are awesome. I think it could have been a top notch logo if they nailed the font.”

#21 Kansas City Royals

“I love the simple, elegant design. Befitting of a team named the Royals.”

“I imagine it’ll be ranked in the bottom or middle third as it is boring and historically insignificant. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it, though.”

“If I had to assume where the KC logo would be ranked, I would pick the middle third. It has some of the classic simplicity that some of the more notable MLB caps have, but is also slightly boring compared to some caps.”

“I think the Royals logo will place in the middle third. It’s an attractive insignia but could something else to distinguish itself from the others, like a known symbol from Kaufman Stadium or something similar.”

“I think the Royals manage to make a decently appealing insignia even if it is a little bland. City letters are not creative, but I like the way the Royals logo flows. I think it will be ranked by fans in the bottom half, but it deserves better.”

#20 Minnesota Twins

“It’s a clean, crisp logo which can’t be confused with any other team’s logo. The typeset is creative enough without feeling too contrived, and it’s an easily replicable logo for a fanbase to rally behind.”

“I think this one will be ranked in the bottom half. The T and C only work if you are aware of the team they represent ahead of time, since the Twins are the ‘Minnesota Twins’, not the ‘Twin City Twins’. Nothing about it, even the letters, makes me think of the team.”

“I would think this insignia is likely to rank in the bottom half simply because the wishbone C feels like a rip off from the Reds, a much older franchise. Being unique isn’t the most important element as there are several unique insignias that are much weaker from a branding perspective, but this just isn’t memorable.”

“I like that it stands for “Twin Cities” which is unique, but they straight up stole the C from the Reds… Not sure who was first, but it annoys me.”

#19 Philadelphia Phillies

“I think this will go into the top half, considering the classic look. I suspect a lot of people value simplicity (i.e. Dodgers) over complicated marks, but personally, I really dislike the specific curves used in this mark.”

“I think it will be ranked solidly in the middle. The simple letter is appealing to traditionalists, but the lack of shading or detail to add interest is a major detractor.”

“I love simple designs and color contrasts. The P is clear, bold, and easily identifiable. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I really like the rounded font, as it conveys a fun and family-friendly vibe. Baseball is the most family-friendly of the 4-major sports, and the font of this P seems to communicate that.”

“The P is simple and iconic, but with enough flair to be memorable. Perhaps a little depth would be welcomed but it’s a clean, efficient logo.”

“The red is too bright. I bet this still probably ranks in the top half because it is not a cluttered mess of letters.”

#18 New York Mets

“Color scheme is unique but feels classic. Interlocking letters are well done and don’t feel crowded like some others.”

“They are possibly the only team in baseball that uses this color scheme, which makes it stand out and pop. It’s classic, iconic, embraces history yet continues to be fresh.”

“I feel like the Mets logo will rank somewhere in the top half, not because it is particularly good but because there are worse insignias in the MLB. Personally, I think it’s a little too cluttered and curly for my taste.”

“I bet this will be in the top half because of its longevity and “old looking” font. I personally think it’s too busy, I like cleaner lines like in the Kansas City Royals logo. It’s a perfectly fine logo, jut not to my taste.”

“The Met’s cap logo is very underrated. They managed to pull off what has become a classic logo that is iconic of New York without being a straight up copy of the Yankees. The end result is a simple, distinguished, and iconic cap insignia.”

#17 Seattle Mariners

“It’s a basic letter, but the compass adds a little more flair than some of the interlocking-letter logos.”

“I think this logo will rank right in the middle. Some people will like addition of the compass making the insignia seem more significant than just another letter. Personally, I think the compass makes the insignia look more crammed.”

“I think this one will fit in the middle tier somewhere. It has a more unique color scheme and is synonymous with some classic players of the mid-2000s. That being said, it is somewhat busier than most traditionally beloved logos so I wouldn’t expect it to rank very high.”

“I think people enjoy that it utilizes Seattle’s unique color scheme.”

“The Mariners have one of the best insignias because of the simple design of the S, but a detailed center that brings it together.”

#16 Atlanta Braves

“The clean design and the swooping, flowing lines make this a good one.”

“I think it will be ranked in the top half. The Braves cap insignia is unique in the way it’s curved, which makes it distinctive.”

“It is a simple yet sleek design, pure and classic.”

“The Braves logo is classic but boring.”

“I’d say that the Braves logo would fall in the middle. It’s nice looking and unoffensive, but there’s nothing particularly special about it. ”

#15 Milwaukee Brewers

“I would rank this one in the top half. It’s clean and unique, but not overly generic or simple like some other logos. I can’t decide if the barley below the logo is a positive addition or not – part of me likes it, but part of me thinks it might be unnecessary clutter. The gold-shadowed M is classy.”

“It’s not plain and blocky like a lot of logos are. It has some character.”

“The Wheat makes all the difference. I would say this will be ranked in the top half unless people are really salty that this isn’t the classic “glove” logo the Brewers used to have.”

“The Brewers’ insignia will most likely place in the bottom half. One reason for this is that there is a heavy preference among baseball fans towards the “glove” logo/insignia.”

“The flowing script M is great with the curve, the highlight is unique and nice as well. The wheat is subtle enough to be tasteful while setting the Brewers apart.”

#14 Pittsburgh Pirates

“I’d put this one in the middle of the pack. Simple and screams Pittsburgh but there are many others that are both better and worse.”

“Middle third. The font of the logo isn’t anything special, but the color scheme is different and stands out.”

“It is simple, classic, and resembles the Pirates and Pittsburgh itself well. The design of the P, especially the corners, makes the logo unique but also not too busy.”

“I think the Pirate’s logo is clean and classic. It doesn’t have any odd quirks. The gold and black is also a good color contrast.”

“The letter styling is fairly unique and has nothing offensively terrible about it. I do like the little bumps that come out on the right side of the P, it somehow embodies ‘pirate’ to me.”

#13 St. Louis Cardinals

“Top half because it is iconic. The S and L go nicely, and the T on the S is a nice touch. Classic Cardinals logo.”

“Definitely an upper echelon cap insignia. I’m personally a fan of nice, clean, letter logos. They have to be interesting however.”

“The Cardinals logo is a simple, timeless design that perfectly conveys the team’s location. There are no extraneous designs or drop shadows and it has a clean look.”

“Top half, because it is an interlocking logo that immediately invokes the city the team is from. It is simple and classic looking.”

“I’d say that the Cardinals cap insignia is going rank highly because it is simultaneously simple yet distinctive, it isn’t over complicated and doesn’t rely on a ton of detail.”

#12 Chicago Cubs

“I’d say top half for sure. It’s iconic of a longtime franchise, simple, clean, and has a good color scheme.”

“This logo will be in the top third. It is simple, it is classic. Red, white, and blue are a great combo and the Cubs C jumps out from other logos.”

“I would place this design in the middle of the pack. It’s a classic, simple design that takes you back to the good old days of baseball. Not too flashy, not trying to hard to catch your attention.”

“Top half because of the history and simplicity.”

“The Cub’s C is iconic and has a good color pattern, but is simple. Will appeal most to traditionalists.”

#11 Los Angeles Angels

“I would rank this in the top third. I love the symmetry and the embossed style of the ‘A’, it’s just a pretty logo.”

“Could be great but too monochrome. At the very least the halo should be yellow.”

“Top third, although I can see it falling out behind some of the more ‘classic’ logos. This is easily a top 10 logo design-wise. Plays on the baseball staple of ‘use your city’s initial’ while incorporating the halo beautifully. One of the best logos in baseball, straight up, and plays very well on the cap. The colors balance nicely as well, and though red/white/blue might be generic, there is still some uniqueness/personality in the particular shades which the Angels employ.”

“With the bevel, and thick cartoonish look, you definitely get a standout logo. However, I think there may be too much of a divide between classic baseball purists and modernists to help this logo succeed in the study.”

#10 Chicago White Sox

“Classic, really good script and classic color scheme.”

“Top third. Love Old English lettering and also interlocking letters because it is classic. The black/white color scheme gives it an edge.”

“Top half definitely, maybe even top 10. Most MLB cap logos are pretty boring and are just letters, but at least this one spells a word. It also looks nice. It’s very pleasing to the eye.”

“The Sox logo is a classic, great lettermark logo and the use of only black and white only furthers it as an old-style baseball insignia.”

“I’d guess this logo will be in the top half because it’s old school. For me personally, it’s probably near the middle. I prefer logos that are the initial(s) of the city. It’s asymmetrical in a weird way and the serifs on the ‘X’ bother me. If I were to name this font I’d call it “Amateur Juggalo Tattoo Artist.” – but it’s still better than most.”

“It’s a classic logo, but it’s very busy. For cap insignias, I prefer simple.”

#9 San Francisco Giants

“I like this logo, it pays homage to the original giants logo and colors, but isn’t a carbon copy.”

“The Giants logo is top third. It is a classic design and has a unique color which sets it apart from the other letter logos.”

“Top half. I think the insignia is well designed in terms of use of space. It is simple and “classic” in its aesthetic.”

“The cuts on the corners of the letters create a unique look.”

“The symmetry and balanced weights of the letters work well with the gaps in between. The curves in between the points evoke the classic look of the golden age of baseball.”

#8 Baltimore Orioles

“For me, this is definitely top third material here. Not many MLB teams have the mascot head as a cap logo. A pair of eyes staring back at you on an insignia is already more clever than your standard bold letters. Very interesting logo.”

“It’s cartoony but not too silly.”

“This is probably my favorite hat logo and I think it will finish near the top. It tells so much more about the team than the hat logos that are simply letters. If you didn’t know anything about the team, you’d immediately recognize that the team’s mascot is a bird and that they play baseball, as the mascot is wearing a baseball hat. It also has a cartoonist character to it that helps appeal to pretty much every age group.”

“The Orioles have one of the most unique cap insignias. Notably, it includes a cap in the logo itself. I would guess that this will be in the middle with some lovers and some haters. The Orioles have a less-common color scheme and a more interesting symbol than the majority of letter-combination insignias.”

“This will be in the top half of the rankings. It’s such a distinct and clean logo compared to the rest of the league that it is hard not to tell which team it represents. It is one of the most marketable logos despite the team’s performance.”

#7 Houston Astros

“I would rank this in the top half. The color combination of orange over navy is pleasing. The dual tones of orange add some depth to the design. The ‘H’ is not overly stylized. This design is not overly ornate nor is is overly simple. It doesn’t rely on Photoshop trickery like newer insignias do nor does it come across as being too simple like pre-expansion insignias can.”

“It’s very clean, two simple elements and good colors. Plus it’s a big improvement over their old look, that contrast may factor in a tiny bit in decision making.”

“This one is in the top half of all cap logos in the league. It has complementing colors, the navy and orange, and a good amount of negative space created by the white H. It contains very good symmetry.”

“This insignia will be ranked in the top half by most all of the fans participating in the poll. This is because the logo represents an improvement from a stale brand identity that needed a refresh. The visual aspects that garner positive attention are the retro feel, honoring Astros’ franchise history, along with similarities to Texaco logos and other “Texas” brands. The logo bleeds Texas – even more so than the Rangers cap insignia.”

#6 Los Angeles Dodgers

“Top third. Simple white lettering on a solid blue background gives the team a very clean and classic look. It’s the kind of logo that may not win any design awards but it’ll never go out of style.”

“The interlaced letters create a very pleasing and balanced aesthetic. Pairing it with the blue and white color combination makes it a very strong logo.”

“I expect the Dodgers insignia cruises to a top 10 slot, but I don’t think it’s deserved. It’s almost comically basic and just gets extra points for representing a popular team.”

“Top third. Recognizable. Colors are easy on the eyes and nice to look at. Interesting how the “L” and “A” are intertwined.”

“The Dodgers’ “LA” insignia is about as good as it gets. Overlapping letters is a classic approach and few do it as well as LA. The bottom line of the L forming the crossbar of the A is more natural than most other insignias with a similar gimmick. It’s compact, legible, and very clean. There’s a reason it’s so iconic.”

#5 Boston Red Sox

“The Boston logo is classic. Easily top 5, even as someone from the west coast. It just screams baseball nostalgia.”

“One of the most iconic baseball logos. The font is aesthetically pleasing and representative of the team”

“Top tier logo, one that has stood the test of time and is probably one of the most recognizable marks in sports. It’s simple, yet aesthetically pleasing which is what you want from a cap insignia.”

“Top half, the B is cool looking with the points on it, and I love red on dark blue.”

“This will, for sure, be in the top third. It is a classic insignia, instantly recognizable to people who are baseball fans AND many people who are not. The colors go well together and it is pleasing to the eye. It also has a nostalgic look, which goes well with a sport steeped in nostalgia.”

#4 Oakland A’s

“The insignia is iconic enough to make up for the simplicity and the typeface for the “A” is pretty slick. However, something I picked up on during this survey that I hadn’t before, which I think will ding the appeal, is the mismatching typefaces between both of the letters. The “s” stands out to me the more I look at the insignia because of how generic the typeface is.”

“I think it will be top 10. The style of the A is really appealing to me, it’s old school looking without looking dated. The curves and hooks in the A aren’t too distracting and add style.”

“It’s a classic logo from a classic franchise with a large fanbase. There’s nothing that really makes it stand out in my opinion, but there’s nothing that drags it down.”

“Immediately recognizable. End of story.”

#3 New York Yankees

“This will be ranked in everyone’s top 3 for sure. It’s just so iconic it’s impossible to hate, even if you hate the team, which many do.”

“I think that this insignia will certainly be in the top third. There’s nothing flashy about it, but it is a classic. The curvature of the vertical lines in the letter “N” make the insignia a lot better. There’s no bevel or 3D effect, which I believe is one of the most important qualities in a good insignia. This should be the Yankees’ primary logo.”

“Simple design and is easily one of the most recognisable logos in all of sports.”

“The Yankees logo is one of the most iconic baseball logos ever. Aside from that it is pretty stylish and has stayed the same for countless years.”

“It is a classic look, steeped in baseball history, and the curving letters complement one another nicely. Also, the color scheme is simple and stately.”

#2 Detroit Tigers

“I think this logo would rank on the top third. It’s nice and clean, the English style font makes it stand out but it isn’t unnecessarily busy. Just a good clean design with good contrasting colors”

“Detroit should be top 10, because of its sharp clean lines, unique font, classic/nostalgic look, and single color lend well to an easily identifiable cap with strong brand consistency.”

“Top Third. The D has this great old timey feel to it without feeling too over stylized.”

“Classic design with no crazy symbols or lame colors”

“It’s a classic look that’s become iconic for it’s region. It’s a nice looking font and the color is one of the most popular colors for hat wearers.”

#1 Toronto Blue Jays

“Top ten. It’s a clean, but makes an impact with a unique design that effectively represents the team whether you’re a fan or not.”

“I think the logo is great for many reasons. One is if someone who doesn’t follow baseball saw it, they could easily determine that the team name is probably the Blue Jays, and they probably play in Canada. It tells you something about the team that even an unfamiliar person would be able to understand. I also just think it’s a sharp design for an animal logo and it’s not too busy.”

“Top half. Detailed but not overly detailed. Flat in a good way. Effective colors and brand identity.”

“The colors look very crisp and the maple leaf gives a nice representation for Canada. I wish more teams were creative like this.”

“I think top third and maybe even top five. The lines and geometry just feel satisfying to me. The white outline on everything, the shades of blue, and for some reason even the splash of red from the maple leaf just works for me. I’m a Mets fan too so no bias here.”

Notes On The Sample

This sample was composed largely of hardcore baseball fans. Most –  17 out of 20  (85%) – indicated that they follow Major League Baseball closely.  A majority have been following Major League Baseball for over 15 years.

The thing you’re probably really interested in, however, is team affiliation. The only fanbase that was represented in disproportionately high numbers was the New York Yankees, so I weighted down Yankees fans to be represented equally to the second most represented fanbase. Below is a breakdown of the sample’s team affiliation, with the weight applied to Yankees fans.

As you can see, there isn’t a single fanbase overwhelming the sample. Of course each fanbase displayed a little bias, but not so much that their biases weren’t cancelled out by the biases of the other fanbases. I even looked at the results with a weight applied to reflect equal representation from each of the MLB’s 30 fanbases and there were few differences compared to the unweighted results, so I decided to only weight down the Yankees fans. All of this is to say that these results were not biased by a fanbase overwhelming the sample and swinging the results in their favor.