Seems strange now to think that somewhere, at some point, someone designed the Dallas Cowboys logo. It’s likely the world’s most recognizable team logo, second only to maybe the New York Yankees. The man who created that logo, Jack Eskridge, died Monday; he was 89. According to his obituary, he led an incredible life before creating the logo, witnessing the flag-raising at Iwo Jima during World War II and playing basketball at Kansas:
Jack also played two years professional basketball with the Chicago Stags and Indianapolis Jets. After graduation Jack coached the Kansas League Champions at Atchison High. “Phog” Allen recruited Jack to be an Assistant Basketball Coach and equipment manager for KU from 1954-1959, where he recruited Wilt Chamberlain. In 1959 he was hired by Tom Landry to be the Dallas Cowboys equipment manger (1960-1973) where he designed the Star on the helmet.
Iwo Jima, Wilt Chamberlain, Dallas Cowboys logo, all before he turned 37. When professional football teams began including players’ names on their jerseys, he quipped to Sports Illustrated, “We’re double-stitching the veterans’ jerseys and single-stitching the rookies’.” In the book Tales From The Dallas Cowboys Sideline, All-Pro and Cowboys Ring of Honor member Cliff Harris reminisced about how he received the number 43:
People have asked me how I decided to wear number 43. The truth is, I did not decide on that number…I really had no choice. Jack Eskridge assigned me that number. Period. As a rookie I had very little control over what happened to me. The vets got all the good perks…
…when I went up to the opening in the cage where Jack practically lived and asked for a game jersey, he threw me number 43. I thought it was a good number, but I knew it had been worn years before by one of the original great Cowboys, Don Perkins. He was an excellent running back who is in the “Ring of Honor” in Texas Stadium.
I told Jack, “This is Perkins’ number. I want another number.”
He just laughed and said, “Hell, boy, it doesn’t really matter…you ain’t makin’ the team anyway!”
That story goes on to explain that Eskridge didn’t particularly care for the “cool Adidas or Puma shoes,” and preferred Riddells and Wilsons. I have an email in to the Cowboys for comment; if I hear back I’ll update.