The Cleveland Indians will drop their “Chief Wahoo” primary logo, a caricature of a smiling Native American, after the 2018 season, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team. Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball.”
The controversial logo has been used on the hats and sleeves of Indians uniforms for the better part of the past seven decades having first appeared in 1947.
Even after the logo is eliminated, merchandise containing Chief Wahoo will still be sold in Northeast Ohio, but not on Major League Baseball’s official website.
This is a subject that has been hotly contested over the years and the Indians have taken small measures to start phasing out the logo. In the last five years, they re-introduced a block letter “C” reminiscent to the one used on hats and jerseys throughout the early portions of the 1900’s.
While the elimination of Chief Wahoo is a step in the right direction for many, there are more who are looking to address the team’s name.
The Cleveland MLB franchise adopted the name Indians in 1915, 15 years after its founding. Originally called the Lake Shores in 1900, a year before the American League was given major-league status, Cleveland’s professional baseball team was named the Blues (short for Bluebirds), Bronchos and Naps — after Hall of Famer Napoleon Lajoie — before setting on the Indians.