CLEVELAND—The Cleveland Indians took to the field for the last time this season Monday afternoon, and one member of the team will not be back for opening day in 2019.
Chief Wahoo — the much debated team mascot who dates back to the 1940s when former Indians owner Bill Veeck turned to late artist Walter Goldbach to come up with a primary logo for the club’s patches — is now officially retired.
“I’m really disappointed we lost Chief Wahoo,” she said. “He’s been around for years.”
Her friend Melissa Filipowicz agrees.
“He’s been around for a million years,” said Filipowicz, who wore a bedazzled Chief Wahoo shirt to the game. “He is just a mascot. I just don’t believe this.
“I’m still going to wear him.”
And that’s exactly what so-called superfan Jim Stamper believes will happen.
The Clevelander is the guy who walks around the ballpark with large Chief Wahoo signs with phrases like “Not in my tepee.”
“I think Chief Wahoo will be more popular than ever,” he said. “I think there will be more Wahoos than ever in the stands next year.”
Longtime season ticketholder Jon Brittain —self proclaimed “Chief Yahoo” — plans to be back in seat 14 in row D of Section 103 next season with his full Indian headdress firmly planted atop his noggin and his white Wahoo socks covering his feet.
The fact Chief Wahoo is retiring on Columbus Day was not lost on Brittain, who said he believes the whole controversy over the mascot being offensive to native Americans is much to do over nothing.
“We aren’t hurting anyone,” he said. “We are all just fans.”