Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians retired longtime mascot Chief Wahoo in 2018, but the beloved sports icon made a brief on-field return this week.
The chief was deemed culturally offensive, so he was replaced two years ago in favor of a block letter “C.”
Indians first baseman Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer in the tenth inning to help lift the Indians over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, Fox Sports reported.
— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) August 19, 2020
While the home run helped seal a 6-3 victory over the Pirates, it was what Santana was wearing that drew the attention of fans and others who watched the game.
Underneath his partially unbuttoned jersey, Santana was wearing a throwback shirt with Chief Wahoo’s face right in the middle of it.
— Chief Wahoo (@ChiefWahoo47) August 19, 2020
In an era where sports and cancel culture have collided, even forcing the NFL’s Washington Football Team to change its storied identity, the Chief for a moment brought Indians fans back to a nostalgic past — a time when tradition held more importance than political correctness.
Love ❤️ it! Long live Chief Wahoo! In hiding but pops out every once in a while. Still a part of the Tribe! pic.twitter.com/1rdtzCm004
— Tom Brunswick (@tom_brunswick) August 19, 2020
The only logo for the Cleveland Indians I hope more players continue to do this to show the origination that this team is the Cleveland Indians pic.twitter.com/9HwUp6gW2T
— Rebecca Browand (@becky71785) August 20, 2020
Chief Wahoo with the assist on the win tonight pic.twitter.com/wNrIUvjktZ
— Oliver Humperdink (@HumperdinkSays) August 19, 2020
Santana didn’t comment on his decision to wear the banned logo.
But the player did wear the shirt out in the open at Tuesday’s post-game media conference.
— Kevin Koval (@kkoval0) August 19, 2020
The league has not officially commented on the controversy.
Chief Wahoo had been on Indians uniforms since 1948, but he was retired after the 2018 season.
The team decided to retire the logo after “thoughtful and productive discussions between Major League Baseball and the Indians,” the organization wrote in a Medium post.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB Commissioner Rob 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,” he added.
“Nonetheless, the club 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 acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.