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Cleburne Railroaders 78

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2021 August 1

Patrick Cleburne (pronounced "clay burn") was born in Ireland in 1828, and moved to the United States in 1851. He landed first in Ohio but soon moved to Arkansas. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1860, and he was so grateful to the United States that he turned traitor almost immediately, joining a secessionist militia before Arkansas had even seceded. When Arkansas got around to seceding a few months later, that militia was absorbed into the Confederate Army. Cleburne proved to be a pretty good commander, and it wasn't long before he had risen to the rank of Major General.

By 1863 Cleburne could see that the Confederacy was losing the war, and came up with what I'm sure he thought was a brilliant idea: let slaves join the army and promise those who joined freedom "within a reasonable time". In early 1864 he actually proposed this to other generals. This went over like the proverbial lead balloon. One commander called the idea "revolting to Southern sentiment, Southern pride, and Southern honor". Another said the idea would "contravene the principles upon which we fight". (Remember that fact the next time someone tries to tell you the Civil War wasn't about slavery.) Confederate president Jefferson Davis responded to the suggestion by ordering the generals to not even talk about it. The idea would resurface about a year later when Robert E. Lee suggested it as the Confederacy's only chance to survive. Cleburne probably would have felt vindicated by this but for the minor detail that he couldn't feel anything anymore, having been killed in battle a few months before.

As I said a couple of paragraphs ago, Cleburne had proved to be a pretty good commander. And since many of the soldiers from Johnson County, Texas has served under him, when they returned home after the war and founded a new town it seemed reasonable to them to name the town after him. (Although for some reason the town's name is pronounced differently from the man's: "clee burn".) The town remained a fairly small agricultural center for a few years, and then railroads came to town. As a result, over the next forty years the town's size increased sevenfold, which sounds impressive until you realize that it was still only 13,000. Still, a sevenfold increase is a sevenfold increase, and it wouldn't have happened without the railroad, and so it's not surprising that when the city got a baseball team in 1906, the team was dubbed the Railroaders. The current team is of course named after the original team.

(That said, I'm not giving them the "Local" bonus. Lots of teams have a railroad, and while the railroad may have been important to Cleburne, I don't think Cleburne was ever important to the railroad.)

The team has gone all in on the train theme in their stadium. The stadium itself is known as The Depot at Cleburne Station. There is an actual locomotive by the front gates, and a Pullman car and caboose behind the first base bleacher seats. The concession stand is referred to as the Dining Car (I'm a little disappointed that it isn't an actual dining car, but I acknowledge practical considerations may have prevented that). Lots of teams do similar things, of course, but I think the acquisition of actual train cars indicates a certain dedication to the concept above and beyond what most teams do. It's a nice touch.

As for the logo...

I don't want to be too harsh here. They replaced their logo during their coronavirus-induced layoff, and the old logo (an anthropomorphized railroad spike with a handlebar mustache) definitely needed to be replaced. But the result betrays a certain insecurity. Alan Miller, one of the teams new owners, said point blank that "no one knows who we are" and that "we have to get across that we are from Texas." I don't know that that's actually true — when you go to a baseball game, do you really care where the visiting team is from? In any case, they solved this "problem" by making the logo be an outline of Texas with a railroad spike and star where Cleburne is located and a C made out of railroad tracks sort of hanging off the northern panhandle. The whole thing is put in front of a BIC ("baseball in circle"...it's been a while since I've had the need for that old acronym), because of course it is; the circle includes the team name and an inaccurate claim of when this team was established, because of course it does.

It's an improvement. I acknowledge that. But it's got issues. First, you could get rid of the BIC and have a visually stronger logo. Second, the C somehow manages to not look like a C. Third, the references to railroads are too subtle. How is it that they found a way to put an actual locomotive in the stadium, but couldn't find a way to put one in the logo?

Nonetheless, it is an improvement. Anything to get rid of the railroad spike with a handlebar mustache.

Final Score: 78 points.
Penalties: Ers, 26 pts; Equipment, 13 pts; Irrelevance, 39 pts. Bonuses: None.


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