By GAVIN SPITTLE, SportsRadio 610

Sports logos are becoming a lost art. Most are now mimicking their parent professional team instead of embracing the culture of that local city.

To me, a great logo must relate to its origin. For example, there are no sharks in Central Massachusetts since the nearest ocean is over an hour away therefore the Worcester Sharks name makes no sense except that it’s the minor league club of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.  We now see this all over the country. However, there is hope and if you look deep enough, you will find some hidden gems.

Logos that cause people to say, “Whoa, cool logo on that shirt, where is that from.”  Sure, for the purposes of this article, I could have given you some major league clubs. We all know that clubs like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have cool logos because over time, history and tradition can turn an ordinary logo into greatness. Another shining example is the Green Bay Packers. Love the logo, it’s a classic. But isn’t it just a G when you think about it? And why isn’t Georgia or Grambling as popular? Sure those have fans as well but they are all basically the same G.

Well you are either bored or riveted right now so here goes my list in no particular order of awesome sports logos that you may never have heard of that have all the components of a cool logo.

1)The Modesto Nuts-
Baseball has great history in Modesto. In fact, the Modesto Hall of Fame mirrors Cooperstown with these names. Joe Morgan, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson and Sparky Anderson all played in Modesto. The Nuts are currently the Class A advanced Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Great personality in this logo and they carry that name because of the various nuts that are grown in that region.

2)The Macon Whoopee
This has to go down as thegreatest sports team name ever. Two hockey teams tried to make it in Macon but despite the name made famous by the Newlywed Game, both times, the team packed up and moved to another city. The teams Whooping Crane logo only added to the coolness of this minor league hockey team.

3)The Lansing Lugnuts
Never before have I been excited to write about a Lugnut.  This is a perfect example of how a sports logo should work.  Lansing is the capitol of Michigan which is where the big time automakers make their home. Lansing is known for making auto parts thus the name, The Lansing Lugnuts. They are the Single A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and even their mascot has a cool name, “Big Lug”.

4)The New Orleans Voodoo
The logo is in fact more popular than this actual Arena Football League Team. The original team was owned by Saints owner Tom Benson but folded in 2008. They are now back in the restructured league and you know a logo is popular when they keep the name and the colors. This logo is a great representation of the history of New Orleans and is one of the great football logos.

5)The Montgomery Biscuits
Similar to the Modesto Nuts, any team that is named after food is a great addition to this list. The Biscuits were named from a contest where over 3,000 people submitted entries. The butter as the tongue is brilliant. Upon further research, I learned that they shoot biscuits into the stands by an air cannon.  The Biscuits are the Double A affiliate of the Tampa Rays and the likes of Evan Longoria, David Price, and BJ Upton have proudly worn the Biscuit uniforms.

6)The Joliet Jackhammers
It’s a shame that this team is now defunct. The Joliet Jackhammers were an independent baseball team that folded in 2010. For a while they were managed by former New York Met Wally Backman.  This is such an obscure item for a logo. When I think of baseball, I don’t think of Jackhammers, that’s for sure.

7)The Brockton Rox
Brockton Massachusetts is known as a tough town with a lot of pride. This logo designer got it right knowing how to tie in Red Sox like features with the boxing history of Brockton. Anything with Red Sox font and colors is considered, “Wicked Awesome!” in these parts. Top it off with a tribute to hard punchers Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler and you have a best seller.  The Rox are part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

8)Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide
In the same league as the Brockton Rox is the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide.  And you thought the “Roll Tide” of Alabama was fierce. They actually were able to make a baseball and water mean looking with teal colors. How I don’t know but for a college baseball league with a low budget, I’m impressed!

9)The Corpus Christi Hooks
There is a reason why the Hooks rank in the top 25 in minor league merchandise sales. Their logos are so good, that we had to show you two pictures. Even the 3rd alternate logo which is two hooks bent to look like two capitol C’s is impressive. They also play in what many regard as one of the nicest ballparks in the minors. The team is owned by Nolan Ryan’s group which explains the quality of the logo and the facility. The Hooks are the Double A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

10)  Corpus Christi Hammerheads
There must be some good logo designers in Corpus Christi. First the hooks make the list and now the Hammerheads. The Hammerheads are in the Lone Star Indoor Football League. I’ve never seen a shark carry a football but they actually make that work pretty well. Sharp colors and they do a nice job of fitting in the colors of the Texas flag as well.

11)Toronto Marlies
The Marlies are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs which has one of the great professional logos in sports. The Marlies are named after a now defunct junior hockey team, the Toronto Marlboros. They did not want to get confused with the cigarette company so they shortened the name.  This is great use of the Maple Leaf but at the same time differing the logo just enough from their parent club. Too many minor league teams are adopting the same logo as their parent club. The Marlies prove that you can show your allegiance but be creative at the same time. This is a classic logo that pays tribute to the area and the history surrounding it.

MORE AWESOME LOGOS
I’ll keep searching and hopefully you’ll join me in this search. There are so many hidden logo gems out there. Creative logos are a lost art. So much so that I decided to start my own logo apparel company www.awesomesportslogos.com.  (Shameless Plug) Hopefully you’ll check it out and enjoy the logos that we’ve created. Names like the Brooklyn Leg Breakers, the Portland Tree Huggers and the Dade City Kumquats. Some are laugh out loud, some are historic but they match their corresponding city, a requirement in my book. We think they are awesome and hopefully you will as well.   In the meantime, my treasure hunting will continue. Beating the Montgomery Biscuits and the Macon Whoopee will be tough but I’m up for the task!