I like knowing things.
So when I heard someone on Twitter remark that the Baylor "Sailor Bear" logo and the "Wolverbear" Michigan logo that's been popping up (more?) recently, it got into my head and, in lieu of being able to focus on anything worthwhile I had to go waste some time sorting it out.
Apparently I'm not the first.
It's been referenced recently on this very forum. So, in case you are also interested here's some mascot history that will surely be useful to you in the future.
Not too long after Moe's birthed the collegiate sportwear industry over on North University, it seems it was already a big business nationwide. At this same time spare tires went from decoratively placed on the rear of your car to buried in the trunk. This killed some prime car logo real estate as well as the demand for such printed material. So, an enterprising car tire cover printing executive (because that's a thing that existed) shifted gears and got his chief doodler, Arthur Evans, to pump out college mascot designs that could be slapped on all manner of sellable goods. Any and every college that did or did not want a cartoon animal on the merchandise got one. I get the impression that official licensing was not yet a thing and that it was not always the universities themselves commissioning the mascots, so much as local businesses in a college town making their nut.
[An equally interesting essay might focus on how Universities started owning/controlling their names and image]
So now we have a situation where not only do Baylor and Michigan share a strikingly similar image that represents two different animals, but doppelgängers abound all over college sports apparel. Our wolverbear isn't the only repeatedly-used cartoon mammal
Three schools in the SEC alone use the same Tiger logo by different names.
To alumni of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, he’s known as “Tommy Tiger.” Auburn University’s legions of football fanatics refer to him as “Aubie.”The nation’s 33rd president and Show Me State native provided the moniker for “Truman the Tiger” at the University of Missouri. But to devotees of Louisiana State University, he’ll always be “Sailor Mike.”
The common thread? The sure way to locate an Arthur Davis original?
Why? Who knows?
Just wanted to share.