As you’ve probably heard by now, Chief Wahoo’s days are numbered. The Indians will stop wearing the cartoon logo in 2019. The news was first reported yesterday afternoon by The New York Times, and MLB issued its own statement shortly thereafter.
Here’s a quick FAQ-style rundown of the situation:
When will the Indians stop using or wearing Chief Wahoo?
In 2019 — the season after the upcoming one.
So they’ll keep wearing Wahoo this coming season?
Will they wear Wahoo less in 2018 than they have in the past?
That’s up to the team. To my knowledge, the Indians have no uniform changes planned for 2018, and the Wahoo cap is still listed in the MLB Style Guide as the design to be worn with the team’s home whites and navy road alternate jersey. All of the team’s jerseys continue to have a Wahoo sleeve patch.
2019 is also when Under Armour takes over the MLB uniform contract. Is that why they’re waiting until then?
I think that’s just a coincidence. I don’t think this has anything to do with the Under Armour changeover.
What about the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, which is being played in Cleveland — does it have anything to do with that?
I think that’s a far more plausible explanation. MLB commish Rob Manfred has been on record as opposing Wahoo pretty consistently since taking office in 2015. So when the 2019 All-Star Game was awarded to Cleveland, many observers figured that there was no way Manfred would have allowed the Indians to host the game unless they had agreed to scrap Wahoo.
Are you saying there was a quid pro quo?
Neither the team nor the commissioner’s office would ever admit that. And I certainly can’t prove it. But I think it’s a plausible scenario.
Why wait a year? Why not just scrap Wahoo now?
Probably the same reason the Rams and Chargers couldn’t get new uniforms pronto when they changed cities: Too much retail merch in the pipeline. Also, I suspect the team wanted to give fans some advance warning.
What about the team’s name?
It’s staying the same.
Do you think scrapping Wahoo is the first step in what will eventually be a name change?
Honestly, I don’t have a good sense of that. Wait and see.
Will they come up with a new logo, or will they just use the block-C for pretty much everything?
The word is that for now they’ll stick with the block-C, although a new “complementary logo” may be added in the future.
What about Wahoo merch?
As of 2019, it will still be available at the team’s stadium and spring training facility, and also at retail outlets in northeastern Ohio, but it will not be available on the MLB website or other internet outlets.
What do you think of all this?
I’ve long been anti-Wahoo, so I’m glad they’re finally mothballing him. I wish it had happened sooner (and also wish they would change the team name), but you take progress where you find it.
I should also point out that I’m no fan of the block-C, which has always struck me as too plain. Cleveland fans deserve a logo with more pizzazz — either the 1970s caveman-C or something new.
As for the merch, they’re reportedly maintaining the retail presence for trademark-protection purposes (if they abandoned the mark commercially, it could be claimed by someone else, who could then produce their own Wahoo merch). Okay, but if you have to keep selling the stuff, why not donate the proceeds to Native American charities or something like that? Why keep profiting, even if only a little bit, on something you’ve just proclaimed to be unfit for on-field use?
Finally, a word to Cleveland fans: I realize many of you have grown up rooting for Wahoo and feel an emotional connection to the logo. I get it — that kind of connection between fan and logo is part of why I created Uni Watch. So while I’m pleased to see that Wahoo is finally on the way out, I’m not gloating about it and I’m certainly not taking any pleasure in the loss that some of you may be feeling. In time, I hope you can come to feel, as I do, that this was the right move to make.
And speaking of Wahoo…: Reader Kary Klismet thinks yesterday’s Wahoo news makes it more likely that new Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome will not have the Chief on his plaque. Thome, of course, did wear the block-C during his brief second stint in Cleveland in 2011 (as shown at right), so using that logo on his plaque wouldn’t be completely ahistorical, but he wore Wahoo-clad headwear for the vast majority of his time playing for the Indians, so that would seem to be the more obvious choice.
Kary, however, notes that Thome is reportedly undecided about whether he’ll wear Wahoo or the block-C on his Hall of Fame cap. “Obviously, that’s not definitive,” he says, “but it sounds like a the first step in a process of letting Wahoo enthusiasts down gently, especially when his cap choice would be a no-brainer if based solely on the number of games he played in each cap.”
Kary also notes that Thome’s son Landon wore a block-C cap for the phone call announcing Thome’s Hall of Fame induction:
Kary also cites several examples of Hall inductees whose plaques feature non-obvious cap logos. Bert Blyleven, for example, spent the vast majority of his Twins career wearing the team’s “TC” logo, but his Hall plaque shows the team’s “M” logo, which he wore for two seasons during his second stint with the team — a situation very similar to Thome’s.
Personally, I wish the Hall would omit team logos from the plaques. I’m so tired of hearing people debate whether a given player will “go in as a Dodger” or “go in as a Yankee” or whatever. The reality is that a player is inducted into the Hall as himself, for the totality of his career, not as the representative of a given team. Omitting the team branding would reinforce that point, and would also spare us the petty turf wars that inevitably erupt among fans regarding the inductees’ cap choices.
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By Brinke Guthrie
Per longstanding tradition, the Collector’s Corner installment leading up to The Big Game™ features the two competing teams, generally the Patriots and someone from the NFC. This time around, it happens to be the Eagles. So: This 1965 Dave Boss print of the Eagles would look fine on any Eagles fan’s wall, and here’s an 8×10 version of it that shows better detail.
Now for the rest of this week’s Super Bowl-themed picks:
• This 1965 Boston Patriots yearbook features about as classic a football pose and uni as you’re likely to find. (Yes, they were originally called “Boston,” and yes, they used to kick this way before the soccer kicking style took over.)
• This 1960s Eagles Technigraph helmet plaque would also look nice in any Eagles fan’s collection.
• Did I say wall plaque? This Boston Patriots version will set you back a pretty penny.
• The Eagles’ wings appear on the sides as opposed to the front of this 1970s kids’ helmet.
• This 1960s Eagles water transfer decal sure has a classic look to it.
• Great cover art on this 1966 Patriots/Chargers game program.
• Unusual font on this 1971 Eagles/Veterans Stadium pin.
Have you spotted an item on eBay that would make a good addition to Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What’s It Worth?” reminder: In case you missed it last week, I announced a new partnership with Grey Flannel Auctions. If you have a potentially valuable collectible, GFA will appraise it at no charge, and with no obligation. Think of it as an online version of Antiques Roadshow. Full details here.
KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a bottle cap with an unusual message. Check it out here.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: MLB has released the 2018 spring training caps and jerseys, which (like last year) include a sublimated word cloud in the NOB and numbers. … The Detroit Free Press published a gallery tracking the changes in the Tigers’ unis throughout the year. … Rays P Austin Pruitt had his jersey retired at his alma mater, College Park High School in Texas, on Sunday (from Ignacio). … If old baseball sweaters are good, plaid baseball sweaters are better. That’s the Senators’ Clark Griffith in the early 1910s (from Phil). … Houston Rockets G Gerald Green was spotted wearing a Houston Colt .45s jersey. … New uniforms for the Chunichi Dragons. … Check out this old shot of Andres Galarraga wearing a Leones del Caracas uni from the Venezuelan leagues (from @GoatJerseys).
NFL News: Yahoo Sports caught up with the guy who used to play Ragnar, the Vikings’ human mascot (from Kary Klismet). … Henry Kelly was at the “Super Bowl Experience” event at the Minneapolis Convention Center and spotted an outdated Lions helmet on display. … Pats coach Bill Belichick arrived in Minnesota for the Super Bowl wearing his late father’s fedora. … Hmmm, is it the Super Bowl or a Superb Owl? Steve Vibert’s boss spotted those airport shuttles yesterday while in Minneapolis on a business trip. … Nike has built a “custom jersey suite” at its store in the Mall of America in Minnesota (from @HitTheGlass).
College Football News: I’m still calling it the L.A. Coliseum [We’ll have a Naming Wrongs shirt for this shortly — PL]. … A couple of Iowa players have said they will auction off the alternate black jerseys the Hawkeyes wore in their win over Ohio State last season. The funds will be donated to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital (from Brinke).
Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: During Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, Flames F Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal while dealing with a stray strand of string that was wrapped around his legs (from Steve Prudente and Mike Styczen). … Those who are red/green colorblind probably had a tough time watching last night’s AHL All-Star Game (from Steven Schapansky). … Lots of pink in the rink last Saturday in a NWHL game between the Metropolitan Riveters (pink) and Connecticut Whale (white with pink accents) (from Mike Engle). … Wow, check out the helmets the Ohio State hockey team wore in 1980 (from Tyler Johnson). … Batman-themed uniforms this Friday for the Wichita Thunder (from Mike Iles).
Pro Basketball News: The Celtics will wear their GFGS alternates for the first time on Feb. 11 (from Phil). … The Jazz will unveil their new red rock-inspired uniforms and court next Tuesday (from Phil). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Rockets G Gerald Green was spotted wearing a Houston Colt .45s jersey. … The Wizards will debut their new “The District” alternates tonight (from Phil). … A player in a Spanish league got stuck wearing a backwards 6 on the back of his jersey (from Thomas Clouse).
College and High School Hoops News: Stony Brook will be wearing 1978 throwbacks on Saturday. Can’t wait to see those pinstripes on the court! … The Little Rock men’s and women’s teams will be wearing throwbacks on Feb. 1 (from Matt Snyder). … Northwestern wore their BFBS “Gothic” alternates last night at Michigan, who wore maize (from Kyle Good). … This blogger thinks Iowa should wear their gold alternates more (from Kary Klismet). … Georgetown is giving away a Starter jacket-inspired tank top on Feb. 26 (from @VictoryCB). … Speaking of Georgetown, they gave away jersey-themed drawstring bags before their game last night. … Goose Creek High School in South Carolina honors the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting with a modified Palmetto and moon logo that includes nine doves. One of the victims in the shooting was the school’s track coach (from Daren Stoltzfus).
Soccer News: FC Columbus is joining the National Premier Soccer League as an expansion team, and they’re asking fans to help design a logo (from John Flory). … Indy Eleven of the USL will be playing at Lucas Oil Stadium this season, and the seating chart includes one of the Colts end zones. Could they be keeping it around? (From Jeff LeFave.) … Aberdeen FC of the Scottish Premiership are planning on building a new stadium. In the renderings, Ed Zelaski noticed a fan is wearing a Jonny Hayes jersey. Hayes left Aberdeen over the summer.
Grab Bag: Tickets to tonight’s State of the Union speech had to be reprinted at the last minute because of a typo (from Kary Klismet). … Michael Van Gerwen, one of the world’s top dart players, will wear a new shirt during competition this year. He wore a solid shirt last year (from Greg Franklin). … Pennsylvania has new signs welcoming visitors to the state (from Michael). … North Carolina women’s lacrosse goalie Olivia Ferrucci has new custom-painted shoes (from James Gilbert). … Couple of racing items from David Firestone: NHRA driver Steve Torrence uses Marilyn Monroe imagery on his helmet. Also, former racer Dan Gurney was memorialized at the Rolex 24 this last weekend with helmet decals. Gurney died earlier this month.