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Exiling Chief Wahoo

Hannah Foslien

You probably know how I feel about Chief Wahoo. He's an interesting historical artifact, in all his historical manifestations. But he really doesn't belong on a baseball team's standard livery or promotional materials. Slowly, ever so slowly, the Cleveland Indians are coming around.

Just last June, there were some special 4th of July caps that got pulled -- or were never supposed to be manufactured in the first place; the accounts aren't clear -- for the simple reason that the image looked like a caricature of a Native American (bad enough) with smallpox (hey, even worse). Just a few weeks later, I couldn't find Chief Wahoo anywhere in MLB's official store at FanFest.

Were those things dispositive? Hardly?

But if you're looking for reasons to believe the Indians are divesting themselves, ever so slowly, from this bizarre caricature, you can find them. I thought of this again today, when I saw this tweet from Aaron Gleeman:

Now, the tweet's not about Chief Wahoo at all. It's about Gleeman having some fun with the cognitive dissonance that comes when the Establishment forms a connection, however tenuous, with a blogger for gosh sakes.

But what struck me the Cleveland Indians' Twitter avatar. Nope: not Chief Wahoo. Instead, that classic-looking but practically generic block-C. Which is hardly going to inspire passions or, to be perfectly crass, to sell many hats or t-shirts or bobbleheads or onesies. What it won't do is offend a single solitary soul.

Which is another reason I think the Indians will eventually junk Wahoo and change their name. Because while they might be able to come up with a better image, I'm afraid all the good, non-offensive Indian-themed images are taken already. And that block-C, however elegant, isn't a long-term solution.