The Daytona Cubs of Daytona Beach, Florida, played 22 seasons in the Florida State League. For all 22 seasons, they were the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The team was founded in 1993, effectively as an expansion team. When the Chicago Cubs decided to break affiliation with the Carolina League’s Winston-Salem Spirits and to try to have an affiliate in the FSL, the league and a new ownership/management group made the deal happen, and the Daytona Cubs were born. [MLG Note: the expansion of the FSL wasn’t inherently tied to MLB’s expansion in 1993–these were still the Wild West days when the number of teams at the Class A levels outstripped the total number of MLB teams.]
In their inaugural season, the Daytona Cubs took to the grass at historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark, wearing uniforms heavily influenced by their parent club. Their cap logo was a letter D that had a similar red-with-white-outline style to Chicago’s C. In their second season, the D-Cubs unveiled a unique logo featuring a polar bear head with shades and a backwards cap; with a stylized Red D and black underline that gave the vague impression of a windsurfing sail. This logo was featured on both caps and jerseys, and would remain for almost 20 years.
On the diamond, the Cubs were quite successful, and won an impressive six titles in the relatively large FSL. The alumni list features many would-be major league notables. In the nineties, players like Jose Molina, Turk Wendell, Bo Porter, Kerry Wood, and Kyle Lohse wore the beach bum polar bear cap. The aughts saw Rich Hill, Jeff Samardzija, and Starlin Castro. The ensuing decade (the teens, I guess) had DJ LeMahieu, Chris Archer, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, Willson Contreras, and Dan Vogelbach.
In 2012, the team hired Brandiose to design a new visual identity. The same beach bum bear vibe remained, but the graphics were sharpened and the bear now had a full body that had changed from white to brown. Perhaps the bear had developed a tan after all those years. The most notable difference was the removal of the color red, and the use of both dark and light blue for team colors.
Considering how recently the team had invested in their brand, it was a bit of a shock when the Chicago Cubs broke off their affiliation in the 2014 PDC shuffle, after only three years with the brown cub. With the parent club leaving them on the beach, the Daytona franchise linked up with the Cincinnati Reds and were compelled to change their name to something other than a COTOB of the Reds’ division rival. In time for the 2015 season, the Daytona Cubs became the Daytona Tortugas.