The Reading Phillies of Reading, Pennsylvania, played 46 seasons in the Eastern League. For their entire lifespan, they served as the Double-A affiliate of their parent club and ownership group, the Philadelphia Phillies. Though Philadelphia continues to operate the franchise as before, the Reading Phillies identity ceased to be following the 2012 season. Keeping with the 3 of 4 Rule, the name change to the Reading Fightin Phils, and subsequent visual redesign, rendered the Reading Phillies defunct.
The team was founded as an expansion team in 1967, and they didn’t look back for the next half century. Countless future big-leaguers passed through Reading over that time period. In fact, so many All-Stars suited up for the team that I’ll limit the list to those who played in a minimum of three All-Star games, and in some cases, many more: Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Willie Hernandez, George Bell, Ryne Sandberg, Julio Franco, Darren Daulton, Juan Samuel, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels. Simply put, every great Philadelphia team since the 70s was strongly influenced by Reading alumni. Furthermore, the geographic proximity of the two cities meant countless injury rehab stints for big-name big-leaguers. Suffice it to say that Phillies fans in Reading have had an embarrassment of riches through the years.
The Reading Phillies, or R-Phils, were a consummate COTOB, and all through their years, their visual aesthetic hewed very close to that of the big city club. With remarkable consistency through the decades, the team’s cap logo featured the Phillies P with an added leg to form an R. This clever idea held through the test of time, changing slightly to accommodate the subtle changes in the parent club’s logo–be it thickness, font embellishments, or various hues of red and maroon.
In the mid-nineties, the team began to tinker a bit, introducing alternate white caps with a red R, and following that up with a train added to the logo, riding out over the top of the letter. Blue worked its way into the gear, and the primary cap featured the logo in red against a blue crown. In 2008, the team introduced some conservative new logos and word marks, notably italicizing the R and adding stars among the letters. A sleeve patch featured a stylized version of the Reading Pagoda, a local architectural landmark.
After 2012, the team, in concert with design firm Brandiose, abruptly announced a rebranding. The team nickname was changed to the Fightin Phils (and alternately, the Fightins), which would qualify as a DimDer. In addition to the new name, Brandiose designed several new uniform sets, colors, logos, etc. It was clear that the 2012 rebranding would be a change of identity, and the old R-Phils were left at the station.