The earliest logo that went beyond simple letters on a hat was the ‘Bee’ logo that appeared in the mid 1960s. It also referred to the team as the Bee Jays.
The letters went from simple block to interlocking cursive letters in the late 1970s and eventually replaced the ‘Bee’ as
the team’s official logo.
An alternative logo was used during the mid 2000s, adding color to the original logo and replacing the bee’s hat with the current team cursive-logo hat and powder blue bill.
New team logos are being introduced in 2017. The interlocking BJ’s remains with the traditional powder blue and red. The baseball moves high to the right, and five stars represent five national championships won by the Liberal Bee Jays. The alternative logo is a medallion of the logo, stars and full team name in a red encircling stripe below.
By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
In an era where team logos are changed on a whim, the 60-plus year history of the Bee Jays has shown great restraint in falling into this reckless trend.
Many summer programs either duplicate a professional team, like the Dodge City A’s, or they create something completely out of the ordinary, like the Toledo Mud Hens.
The Liberal Bee Jays would fall into the latter.
A Google search for ‘bee jays’ only comes back with one team — the Liberal Bee Jays.
That was not the case perhaps when the team started, and the name is actually the absence of one.
Liberal’s baseball history dates back before 1955, but that was the year that Liberal’s team became a Ban Johnson league team.
Ban Johnson was the founder of the American League, and he encouraged communities to form their own teams to develop talent for the Major Leagues.
Much like youth leagues today are known as Cal Ripken leagues, Little League, Babe Ruth leagues or American Legion leagues, these teams were known as Ban Johnson teams, or BJ teams.
As the concepts changed, Liberal’s BJ team continued to play and compete for state championships and national titles at the annual NBC World Series in Wichita, and the BJ team evolved into the Bee Jays.
The earliest logos that gained traction included this fictional character, a bee with a stinger. A mascot even started to don the Bee Jay costume and walk through the stands at Fairgrounds Park.
The cursive BJ replaced the LBJ letters on the earlier version of the cap, and as the success of the team became known from coast to coast, so did the signature ball cap.
As players made their way to the Major Leagues, and many found their way through Liberal on the way, the popularity continued to grow, and the hat became an original.
It cannot be denied that there is a sexual innuendo that also comes with the moniker.
From good humored fun to a historic connection, the name and the logo are iconic.
Few changes have been made in 60-plus years, and each an improvement.
The newest rendition keeps with the tradition of the interlocking cursive letters and is only a slight variation, the best kind of upgrading for a logo that is widely recognized.
This represents our history, our legacy, our present and our future, and the logo design honors them all.