Cleveland January 31, 2018
Beginning In 2019, The Cleveland Indians Are Retiring Chief Wahoo For Good
Clevelanders are a strong-willed people, and they proudly identify with icons of local culture. Many have immortalized their roots with tattoos of recognizable characters like the Guardians of Construction and Chief Wahoo. The latter, however, has long been an issue of debate, and the Cleveland Indians have finally decided to end it. Find out why:
For decades, Chief Wahoo has been a familiar face in Cleveland.
The caricature has been used in various forms since about 1947, and feelings toward the chief have always been fairly mixed.
Creator Walter Goldbach, who was only 17 when he was hired to design the logo, was likely influenced by the popular cartoons of the era. The character was originally unnamed, but locals fondly called him "Wahoo," and it eventually became his official name. However, many point out that since Wahoo is not wearing a headdress, he's not technically a chief.
As with the Washington Redskins, the use of the Cleveland Indians' mascot has long been a matter of debate.
The use of stereotypical Native American mascots has long made blood boil, allowing proponents and opponents to simply boil the issue down to emotions. Some fans argue that not only is the chief iconic, but he's meant to be a respectful portrayal of local Native American culture and a celebration of their legacy. Others find the portrayal to be a derogatory and inappropriate misrepresentation of indigenous culture. The debate has raged on since about the 1960s, and an annual protest has taken place on Opening Day since 1973.
Many have viewed Chief Wahoo as a racially insensitive stereotype, and the Cleveland Indians have long battled community concerns.
The team even considered removing the logo in 1994 when they first moved into what is now Progressive Field, but they ultimately decided to keep Chief Wahoo around. Even so, the team's recent successes and national attention have caused officials to reconsider his use.
Under pressure to move away from the Chief Wahoo logo, the team has been incorporating their iconic "C" into merchandise and uniforms.
But this year, they deemed that the chief is no longer appropriate for on-field use.
Beginning in 2019, the team will cease to use Chief Wahoo on their on-field uniforms, favoring their "C" icon instead.
Some will miss Chief Wahoo's presence on the field, arguing that he's an iconic figure in Cleveland history.
Others are elated that the team has decided to move away from the controversial logo, encouraging diversity and inclusion in this coveted all-American sport.
If you love the logo, though, no worries —
he'll still appear on Cleveland Indians merchandise.
The team intends to keep ownership of the trademark, so the iconic chief will maintain a presence on merch. He'll simply be eliminated from on-field uniforms, but you'll still encounter his likeness.
This change has been in the works for decades, but the time has finally come to retire Ol' Chief Wahoo.
At 71 years old, Chief Wahoo is probably a bit relieved to be finishing out his time on MLB fields.
Chief Wahoo has been hotly debated for generations, but the time has finally come to say goodbye to his on-field presence. How do you feel about the change? Will you miss the iconic chief on the team’s uniforms, or do you consider this decision to be long overdue? Sound off in the comments, but remember to keep your interactions respectful. After all, we’re here because we’re all proud Clevelanders, and that camaraderie is worth celebrating despite diverse opinions.
2019 will undeniably be… well, different in Cleveland. Not only will Chief Wahoo retire from the field, but
2019 will also be Clevelanders’ first year without the Big Fun toy store.