The dominant fashion trend among the hundreds of baseball fans who crammed onto Wolfe Street was assorted Nationals gear, both Washington and Potomac.
They’ll soon have a chance to expand their wardrobes.
Fredericksburg, meet your Nationals. The city’s incoming franchise finally unveiled its name on Saturday morning, opting for a blend of loyalty to the big-league club and localized touches like the Fredericksburg skyline and an axe/bat-wielding George Washington depicted in team logos.
Other potential monikers—like the Generals or Cannons—generated interest, but the Fredericksburg Nationals or “Fred Nats,” for short, emerged as the clear favorite in a name-the-team contest that solicited thousands of suggestions, said Seth Silber, team treasurer and the son of owner Art Silber.
“Mainly, that is what the folks wanted in the community,” Silber said. “There was a strong push for the Nationals. … It’s something we’re very proud of and people in the community are proud of. It speaks to them.”
During a lengthy walkup to the name reveal, Art Silber spoke of his childhood days in the shadow of old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. He became enamored with Jackie Robinson, often walking a city block alongside the player who broke baseball’s color barrier on his way to the players’ entrance of the stadium.
In a nod to Silber’s idol, the stadium’s street address—the only building on a new road—will be 42 Jackie Robinson Way.
The team’s hats will bear the familiar typography of Washington’s iconic curly W, only with an F in its place.
“This is Washington Nationals territory,” said Dan Simon, a Louisville-based graphic designer charged with designing the logos. “This is not a typical-minor league team. They’re right in the backyard of their parent club.”
Simon, whose portfolio includes Super Bowl logos and work with nearly 100 minor-league clubs, had just four weeks to dummy up his renderings. He sought to capture iconic Fredericksburg visuals, ultimately focusing on the train bridge and trio of steeples visible when approaching the city from the north.
Simon said he designed the George Washington logo in an art style intended to “resonate with kids from 4 to 94. A fun, approachable character.”
For John Ragsdale, who stood in line during the predawn hours of Dec. 1 for the right to become the first Founders’ Club member for a then-unnamed franchise, the new identity was well worth the wait.
“They’ve brought baseball to Fredericksburg, but they’ve also integrated Fredericksburg into the baseball,” Ragsdale said of the Silber family. “That means they’re here to stay.”
The Fredericksburg Nationals are the Single–A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.