The San Diego Padres’ merchandise sales were below average for MLB teams last year, so it’s somewhat surprising and a testament to their minor league organizations that two of the top 25 minor league teams in licensed merch sales for 2016 are from the Friars’ farm system: the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas and the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm.
The Chihuahuas, named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua that borders El Paso and New Mexico to the south, have a pretty silly logo of an angry little dog, with an alternate logo of said angry little dog swinging a bone like a bat. The merch pretty much sells itself, is what I’m saying.
The Storm had a trickier task to draw in buyers but ended up with a more iconic result. How do you draw a storm? And why are they even named the Storm in decidedly unstormy So Cal? Lake Elsinore decided to sidestep both of those questions with their popular eyes logo that you can see on hats, jerseys and even socks.
According to this 2014 article on Sportslogos.net from Paul Caputo, the team scrapped most of their previous logo that contained a lightning bolt and storm cloud, but kept its standout feature — the eyes. The article says the logo is so popular in the area and elsewhere around the nation that many people who sport it don’t even know it’s associated with a baseball team.
2016 was actually a step down for Padres’ minor league merch sales though. In 2015, the team’s AA affiliate San Antonio Missions and low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps also made the Top 25, but fell off it last year.