CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ten years from now it will make a great sports trivia question.
Who was the last Indians’ player to wear Chief Wahoo on his cap and uniform before it was officially retired following an agreement in January between MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and team owner Paul Dolan?
That would be right-hander Dan Otero, who wore the Chief during MLB’s just completed All-Star tour of Japan. Equipment manager Tony Amato let Otero know what he was getting into before he and his wife, Tiffany, left for Japan after a stop in Hawaii for a three-day training camp.
“I know I’m the last guy to wear it,” said Otero from his home in Bellevue, Wash. “Tony told me that. I’m keeping the jersey.”
Manfred pushed to ban Chief Wahoo because of lawsuits and protests that it was racist toward Native Americans. Otero understands that fans are attached to the Chief, but said, “I know it’s a huge symbol for the fan base. So to see it go is somewhat sad. But at the same time, it’s something we as players can’t be concerned with. As long as I have a jersey and a hat to wear I’ll be happy.
“Hopefully the fans will embrace the new jerseys and logos. I saw the new jerseys. The red ones look pretty cool.”
The Indians unveiled a new “uniform option” Monday. They will wear a red jersey with white pants as one of their two home uniforms. On the jersey shoulder a logo for the 2019 All-Star Game, which will be played at Progressive Field, has replaced Chief Wahoo. Block C will be worn on the team’s home and away caps.
MLB played six games against Samurai Japan, a team of All-Stars from Japan’s professional league from Nov. 8-15. Japan went 5-1 against MLB.