Jerry Dior, the designer of Major League Baseball's iconic logo, has died at the age of 82. His wife Lita confirmed Dior died on May 10 following a battle with cancer, but his death was not made public until this week.
MLB expressed condolences to Dior's family and friends on Twitter:
Our condolences to the family & friends of Jerry Dior, whose vision created a symbol that stood the test of time. pic.twitter.com/QBqwIu7I2d— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 30, 2015
Dior created MLB's red, white and blue logo back in 1968 while working for the New York based marketing firm Sandgren & Murtha. The logo was officially adopted by the league in 1969 to honor baseball's centennial.
Since it was a work-for-hire design, Dior received no royalties or public credit for the logo. It wasn't until 2009 that MLB officially recognized Dior as the logo's designer.
"Jerry Dior created a symbol that has stood the test of time," said then-commissioner Bud Selig in a statement that year. "Forty years after its introduction, the 'silhouetted batter' is instantly recognized worldwide as the official emblem of Major League Baseball."
Here's more on a logo design from Margalit Fox of the New York Times:
At Sandgren & Murtha, Mr. Dior was glad to land the M.L.B. assignment. A lifelong baseball fan, he adored the Dodgers until they traduced him by quitting Brooklyn in 1957, after which he threw his support to the Yankees.
Per his instructions, he drew a generic baseball player. (In interviews years later, Mr. Dior stressed that the figure was not modeled on Harmon Killebrew as many people, including Killebrew himself, believed.) He executed the design in Magic Marker, originally making it blue and green before switching to a patriotic palette.
"It just came to me," Mr. Dior told The Wall Street Journal in 2008. "I did the rough sketch and cleaned it up a bit, and that was that. I never thought anything about it until I turned on the television and saw it on the New York Mets' uniforms," where it was emblazoned for the 1969 World Series.
MLB Network interviewed Dior about the logo design back in 2009. Here's the video:
Dior was born in 1932 and studied at the Art Students League of New York. He served stateside in the Army during the Korean War. He is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.