There hasn’t been a quality debate in Major League Baseball over who designed an iconic logo in what seems like forever. At least since a couple of years back when designer Jerry Dior claimed he was solely responsible for the creation of the MLB logo itself, and remarkably, shortly after a very brief controversy, was ultimately recognized for it. We have a feeling this latest issue won’t go over at swiftly, nor as cleanly. This week, a woman named Tanit Buday has filed suit against the New York Yankees, claiming that her uncle was the original designer behind the team’s logo and that he was never properly compensated. Before you laugh it off, as the team apparently has for the last sixty years, it’s worth reading Bundy’s claim, which involves the team owners, the in the mid-1930s, getting advice from a beautician on who they should hire to design their logo. Here’s some of the story from Adweek:
…Kenneth Timur, who also drew cartoons and specialized in calligraphy in Denmark, was commissioned by [team owner Jacob Ruppert] to create a design — the bat in the top hat logo, Buday claims. It was not until 10 years later, when Timur moved to the United States, that he found out that the Yankees had adopted his work, without paying him a cent, according to the court papers.
Timur was asked again by Ruppert to redesign the logo in 1952 for the 50-year anniversary of the team’s moving to New York from Baltimore. This time Timur left his mark in the commemorative logo, replacing the 9 in 1903 — the year the franchise moved to the Big Apple — with a ‘P,’ the way Buday often signed his art, according to the suit.
The artist apparently sought compensation for years but was always pushed aside. Now Ms. Buday is continuing the fight, hiring a lawyer and even a marketing expert to help prove that her uncle deserves recognition. And while she faces “a long uphill battle,” it works to her favor that “sports historians have acknowledged that the origins of the logo are not definitively known, since there were few efforts to track the intellectual property owners of such designs prior to the 1960s.” On the opposite side, it works in the Yankee’s favor that they have stadiums full of wheelbarrows full of cash.