'People are nostalgic for the London Tigers': Source Teamworks creates retro clothing line
LONDON, ONT. -- In times of crisis like this pandemic, it's nice to get a break from the COVID-19 discussion, and reach for memories of good times.
That's what Source for Sports in London, Ont. has done by recreating a clothing line from 30 years ago.
The London Tigers Baseball Club brought future big league ball players to Labatt Park from 1989-1993.
In 1990, the Tigers won the Eastern League Championship.
"I think a lot people are nostalgic for the London Tigers," says Kevin Dugal, team sales manager at Source Teamworks.
"It's a combination of kind of a cool logo and a cool idea, and then it was tricky to get and stuff for a while so when we are able to bring it back it was a no brainer for sure".
Players that suited up for the Tigers during that era are excited to see the logo back in circulation.
"It's great to know that I debuted and now things are called retro," says Tim Leiper, a former Blue Jays first base coach now working in the minor leagues with the San Francisco Giants.
"That's where I'm at in my life. I like to pretend that I'm still young and cool but obviously that's not the case".
Tim Leiper London Tigers baseball card
Leiper remembers rolling into London and the weather being so cold. He loved Labatt Park, and the fans being so excited at an autograph signing at the mall.
"I really remember when we first got in, we didn't have housing so they put an article in the paper, and I remember how everybody really came forward," says Leiper.
"I think me and Travis Fryman ended up over at Central Park Lodge in a retirement place, and they treated us great. We were the youngest guys in there and I'd probably fit in there a little bit more now".
Leiper also recalls spending most of his time in a 'triangle' between going to Champs Bar and Grill, Central Park Lodge and the ballpark.
Leiper has been in Canada for years now, but it all started on the same team with greats like Chris Chambliss (manager), Travis Fryman and Rico Brogna.
Some of those memories were revived in London in 2013. Former Londoner Craig Chambers directed 'Curtain Call: The Tale of London's Tigers'.
"I think this is a big part of the city's history, and not a lot of people talk about the franchise," Chambers told CTV News in 2013.
"I thought this was a good way to bring back memories and show the city of London what we had'.
Leiper remembers the clothing and the team's jingle.
"The satin jacket and then the 'Tear 'Em Up Tigers' song," says Leiper.
"I mean those two things go hand in hand, but that song still sticks in your mind. Even in Toronto there's a ton of guys working in media that were around London or went to Western or whatever but they still remember that song".
Now Londoners can order a piece of nostalgic memorabilia, although it is flying off the shelves.
"We do have more hats coming in mid-May and we're just going to continue to stock them," says Dugal, who has other retro-clothing with local neighbourhoods and businesses which no longer exist in the city.
"Hopefully at some point soon you're able to grab a London Tigers hat and go watch a game at Labatt Park".
Orders can be placed online here and picked up curbside.