The Roots of the GEARS Part 3


A NAME THAT FITS

Exactly who came up with the name "Saginaw Gears" is somewhat of a confused subject that depends largely on the memory of the individual person who is relating the story. The story that rings with the most likelihood of accuracy thus far, credits Wren Blair with having designed the logo prior to making the proposal of bringing the franchise to Saginaw. It is said the he needed a catchy logo to present to the people in Saginaw with the power to approve or disapprove the team, and he came up with the stylized logo. Yet another story says that the team's special assignment director, Pat Shetler gave birth to the logo. This version of the story says that Blair, needing a logo and already having contact with Shetler concerning the team asked him to come up with a design. Shetler found that the Flint Generals were named in honor of that city's major employer, General Motors. This was done in order to tie the team closely to the community by way of the city's industry. Shetler used the same logic and developed a name and logo that would tie Saginaw's team the city's major employer, Saginaw Steering Gear. Another version of this story has the team's public relations director, Al Blade coming up with the name and Shetler coming up with the team's logo. Still another version of the story has a wife of one of the team's staff coming up with the name. If anyone out there has another story, please contact the author of this web site- I'll be happy to publish it. The one thing that everyone agrees upon is that the namesake of the team was the Saginaw Steering Gear plant.

Where the team colors came from is another, and more easily answered, question. The official Saginaw Gears colors are tangerine and turquoise. Those two colors are the same colors used in the original seating of the team's home, Wendler Arena, and made the uniforms of the Saginaw Gears the most colorful in all of hockey. No doubt, that to this day, the gears uniforms stand the test of time and are more colorful than any others. A disagreement with that conclusion, however, can be found in Wren Blair's 2002 autobiography "The Bird." There in, the writers claim that the Gears colors were adapted by Blair from the Miami Dolphins football team, thus implying that the seats in the Saginaw Civic Center took their colors from the Gears. Of course, like many of the facts about the Gears that are covered in that book- such as dates of events that are consistently off by a year, this statement ignores one fact. The seats of the Civic Center were installed a full six months before Blair ever proposed the team- thus the designers would have had to decide on and order the seats in those colors nearly two years before the building was completed in late 1971. So, there is no way that the seat colors could have been taken from Blair. I would advise buying and reading "The Bird" (hell, I have an autographed copy) but take what it says about the history of the Gears with a grain of salt. Mr. Blair's ghost writer should have taken a bit more time and better connected the facts where the Saginaw Gears are concerned.

The one problem with the tangerine and turquoise colors is that they are truly blinding to try and display on a computer and the colors sometimes do really funky stuff when published on the Internet. Here you will see my best try at it.

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