Throwback Thursday: A Look Back at Levi Strauss & Co.'s Rich Baseball Heritage

Levi Strauss & Co.
April 28, 2016

Nothing signals the onset of warm weather like baseball. To celebrate America’s favorite pastime and our brand’s long history with the sport, we’ve scoured the LS&Co. Archives and uncovered some pretty remarkable facts, as well as some treasured finds.
For example, did you know that Levi Strauss & Co. had a company baseball team back in the late 19th century? What started as the Levi Strauss & Co. Base Ball Club in 1886, eventually became “Elesco,” the phonetic spelling of the company’s initials, L.S. Co., around 1900-1901.


Employees of Levi Strauss & Co.’s “Elesco” baseball team circa 1910s.

The team would play against other city merchants like Murphy, Grant & Co., a rival dry goods firm. The business rivalry between LS&Co. and Murphy, Grant must have been especially fierce since Murphy, Grant made their own brand of riveted “Never Rip” overalls once LS&Co.’s 1873 patent expired.


Billhead courtesy of Dr. Robert Chandler.

Elesco defeated Murphy, Grant & Co. in a game on September 9, 1886. The winners were awarded a brass pin featuring crossed baseball bats—an artifact that is preserved in the LS&Co. Archives.
Today, LS&Co. employees still enjoy friendly rivalries with other competitors.
As a nod to the company’s rich baseball heritage, we recently launched our MLB Collection, which features updated versions of classic sportswear apparel for men and women, anchored by a Trucker jacket with a baseball-inspired leather patch, and the team embroidery done in a vintage chain stitch technique.

Our connection with baseball is one that spans decades and will continue to be an influence on our brand for years to come.


The Levi Strauss & Co. Base Ball Club in 1886, eventually became “Elesco,” the phonetic spelling of the company’s initials: L.S. Co. around 1900-1901.


In 2015, Levi’s® Vintage Clothing reproduced the “Elesco” team uniform.


This 1886 baseball pin is preserved in the LS&Co. Archives along with modern baseball artifacts like the World Series Rings made by Tiffany & Co. for the San Francisco Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Tracey-Panek-photo-438x656Tracey Panek is the Historian for Levi Strauss & Co. where she manages the day-to-day workings of the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives as a key corporate asset, answering historical questions, assisting designers, brand managers, executives and other employees whose work requires historical materials in the Archives.
Prior to joining LS&Co., Tracey spent 14 years as Historian and Archivist at AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah where she managed a corporate history program for the 100+ year old company. She began her corporate history career at AirTouch Communications—today Verizon and Vodafone—a San Francisco based company that launched cellular service at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

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