Sea Dogs' President tells the story behind the team's name and logo

The story behind the Sea Dogs mascot

(NEWS CENTER) --  Baseball players on minor league rosters change every year. One that that has stayed the same in Portland is the team's logo.  

At one point, the Portland Sea Dogs were thinking about being named the Portland Puffins. 

True story.

Sea Dogs' President Charlie Eshbach said that when a minor league baseball was set to come to Portland 25 years ago, there was a contest in the local news paper to name the team. Hundreds of suggestions came in. 

An advertising agency reached out and even offered to make a logo for free. Eshbach says one possibility was the Maine Sails. Another team name was the Portland Puffins. 

He and the late Dan Burke, who owned the team, weren't too fond of those names. 

Luckily, Eshbach had a friend who was an artist by the name of Guy Gilchrist. The same Guy Gilchrist who created the Muppets comic strips!

Eshbach read him off the list of possible names and 'Sea Dogs' came up. It took Gilchrist about 20 minutes to create his new masterpiece. 

"He said I'm going to fax you something, I've been drawing while we've been talking. It has the bat in it's teeth like the San Jose Sharks, I put the eyes of the Chicago Bulls on it. I put dog ears on a seal and it's jumping through a letter like the Durham Bulls...but that's what I got," Eshbach recalled of his conversation with Gilchrist. 

It was a hit. Better yet a home run. Major League licensing wanted to make some changes to that Sea Dogs logo but Eshbach wasn't having any of that. 
 
The Sea Dogs did not play that year, but their merchandise sales were ranked 5th in minor league baseball without having a single game and they've been in the top 10 every year since. 
 
Some teams in the Eastern League have changed their name or logo but don't expect that to happen here any time soon.
 
"This is our identity, it clicked," said Eshbach, 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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