For the first time in more than 70 years, the Cleveland Indians are set to take the field with no trace of the Chief Wahoo logo anywhere on their uniforms.
The club unveiled their 2019 uniforms on Monday and have finally fully phased out the controversial Chief Wahoo logo, which has drawn ire from many over the years for being insensitive and racist toward Native Americans. The logo won’t appear on any of their four unis next season.
The Indians have spent the last few years slowly phasing out the divisive logo — it still remains beloved by many Clevelanders — and have been moving toward replacing it with the team’s block ‘C’ logo on helmets and hats. Still, it has remained in their hat rotation and on their jersey sleeves during that time, but it will be fully wiped from the uniforms starting next season.
The club and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred have met to discuss the logo several times over the past few years. Ultimately, the two sides that the team should stop wearing it on the field.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in January. “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 long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.
“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.”
The Indians uniform set will look largely the same aside from the absence of Chief Wahoo. The block ‘C’ logo will be worn on the hats full-time — including a new two-tone hat with a red brim that will be worn at home — and the jerseys will feature the 2019 MLB All-Star Game logo on the sleeve. Cleveland will host the ASG for the first time since 1997.
The team also introduced a red alternate jersey, making it the first red Indians jersey to make it into an official uniform rotation since the 1970s.
While Chief Wahoo will not appear on the uniforms moving forward, the team will still sell a limited amount of merchandise featuring the logo in order to maintain control of the trademark.