Beginning in the 2019 season,1 the Cleveland Indians will no longer feature Chief Wahoo on their uniforms. According to The New York Times, Wahoo has been deemed no longer appropriate by Major League Baseball.
Via The Times:
Citing a goal of diversity and inclusion, Manfred said in a statement provided to The New York Times that the Indians organization “ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said in a statement issued by M.L.B. “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
Debates surrounding Wahoo have raged on for years with this news being the inevitable. The Indians have moved away from the logo over the years, featuring the “Block C” as their primary set with Wahoo featured primarily on the sleeve of the team’s uniforms. With this ruling, while the team will continue to own the logo and be able to sell merchandise with its likeness, it will not be seen on uniforms, or on banners and signs in Progressive Field.2
Terry Pluto sat down with Paul Dolan to discuss the change, one which the team’s owner says is the “hardest decision” of his tenure.
“This is the hardest decision we’ve had to make during our entire ownership,” said Dolan, whose family bought the franchise after the 1999 season.
Dolan grew up in Northeast Ohio. He played baseball at Gilmour Academy. As a kid, he wore Tribe shirts and caps, some of them with the Chief Wahoo logo.
“You can’t help but be aware of how many of our fans are connected to Chief Wahoo,” he said. “We grew with it. I remember seeing the little cartoon of The Chief in the paper each day, showing if the Indians won or lost.”
Dolan said as far as he’s aware, there have been no pictures of Chief Wahoo at the park for several years — other than historical photos.
“Those will stay,” said Dolan. “We are not erasing our history.”
No mention of a name change from “Indians” has been reported to this point. Dolan confirmed to Pluto that the nickname will remain.