By Bert Stratton | The New York Times
(Editor’s Notes: Bert Stratton is Jordan Rose’s and Court Rich’s uncle.
Opinion pieces are published for discussions purposes only.)
At Municipal Stadium on the shore of Lake Erie, the crowd that came out to see the Cleveland Indians play often seemed to be just me, some neighbors and the team mascot, Chief Wahoo. This was in the 1960s, when the Indians were horrible and the team averaged 9,000 fans per game in the 78,000-capacity venue. We could sit wherever we wanted after the third inning. The old stadium was demolished in 1996, and Chief Wahoo — the actual 28-foot neon logo looming over Gate D — came down too. On Monday the Cleveland Indians owner, Paul Dolan, and the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, said the chief’s times is up. The racist logo will be off the uniform by the 2019 baseball season.
Chief Wahoo — the version from the stadium — wound up at the Western Reserve Historical Society, a center of Cleveland memorabilia and regional history. When you walk into the historical society, you see the chief, and then to your left, the classic Cleveland-manufactured cars from the early 20th century. Cleveland likes its history. And we have no beef with nostalgia either. For instance, I have a 1958 baseball card on my desk of Roger Maris in an Indians uniform. Maris played for the Indians for a minute. What if he had hit 61 homers for the Indians instead of the Yankees? The world would be a better place, that’s what. Chief Wahoo is plastered all over the Maris card. Mr. Dolan, the Indians owner, said Wahoo paraphernalia will still be available in Northeast Ohio, exclusively, after next year. Keep the locals happy.