Ogden Nash, Jerry Dior, and Major League Baseball | Bruce Turkel

Ogden Nash is known for short, glib poetry such as “The Turtle:”

The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks

Which practically conceal its sex.

I think it clever of the turtle

In such a fix to be so fertile.

And “The Canary:”

The song of canaries

Never varies,

And when they’re molting

They’re pretty revolting.

And even “The Fly:”

The Lord in His wisdom made the fly,

And then forgot to tell us why.

So you may be surprised to learn Ogden Nash wrote more poignant pieces like “Old Men:”

“People expect old men to die,

They do not really mourn old men.

Old men are different. People look

At them with eyes that wonder when…

People watch with unshocked eyes;

But the old men know when an old man dies.”

My father gifted me with my love for Ogden Nash poems (and Pogo cartoons) when I was a kid. He recited that last poem when he himself was still a relatively young man, around the time my grandfather died. Dad was also fond of Nash’s send-off to his beloved hometown:

“The Bronx? No Thonx.”

Last week I read that Jerry Dior passed away at the age of 82. The New York Times called Dior “The Nameless Creator of a Lasting Logo.” Dior designed the silhouetted batter logo for Major League Baseball in 1968.

According to The New York Times’ obituary, the logo “appears on the caps, jerseys and helmets of major league players; on umpires’ uniforms; on television graphics; and on billions of dollars’ worth of licensed memorabilia annually.” But despite his success, Dior received no royalties and never got to toss out a first pitch.

Ogden Nash, Jerry Dior, and Major League Baseball

Twenty years before Dior created his design, Ogden Nash wrote the ABC of Baseball Immortals for the January 1949 issue of Sport Magazine. In it, he penned 26 four-liners honoring the stars of the game—from Grover Alexander to Cy Young. Here’s Ogden Nash’s paean for Jerome “Dizzy” Dean:

“D is for Dean,

The grammatical Diz,

When they asked, Who’s the tops?

Said correctly, I is.”

Ogden Nash, Jerry Dior, and Major League BaseballOf course there was no poem for Jerry Dior. Hell, Dior only even received credit for his design in 2009 after Major League Baseball conducted its inquiry. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, “Jerry Dior created a symbol that has stood the test of time.”

If “the old men know when an old man dies,” then perhaps graphic designers know when a graphic designer dies. After all, Dior’s work is notable not only because he created a ubiquitous piece of Americana, but because he created a genre. It’s no coincidence that many other sports logos, such as the National Basketball Association’s, were created as “deliberate echos of Dior’s design.”

RIP Jerry Dior. And Ogden Nash.

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