You won't see Chief Wahoo as much on Indians uniforms next year

Don’t expect to see Chief Wahoo as much in 2017. The Cleveland Indians are making some changes to their uniforms next season, and the end result is that baseball’s most controversial mascot won’t appear as often.

The process by which Chief Wahoo is being phased out is slightly convoluted, so bear with us for a second as we attempt to explain.

Earlier this offseason, Cleveland announced they would get rid of their cream colored alternate jerseys in 2017. Now, you’ll notice that those jerseys, pictured below, only use the Chief Wahoo mascot on the left sleeve. Take a look.

Jason Kipnis sporting Cleveland's cream alternates in 2016. (Getty Images/Jason Miller)
Jason Kipnis sporting Cleveland’s cream alternates in 2016. (Getty Images/Jason Miller)

Getting rid of the sleeve isn’t the big change, though. The team isn’t getting rid of the entire uniform. Paul Hoynes of spoke to the team’s clubhouse manager, who confirmed that club will keep the block “C” cap from that uniform and wear it on the blue home alternates in 2017.

Clubhouse manager Tony Amato said the Indians won’t have an alternative jersey until 2018 after retiring the cream jerseys last season. They will, however, retain the red caps from the cream uniforms and wear them with their blue tops at home in 2017.

That’s where the elimination of Chief Wahoo comes into play. Here’s a look at the team’s blue home alternates from last season. The team wore this uniform quite a bit during its World Series run.

Corey Kluber wearing Cleveland blue jersey in the World Series. (Getty Images/Elsa)
Corey Kluber wearing Cleveland blue jersey in the World Series. (Getty Images/Elsa)

You see that Chief Wahoo cap? Yeah, that’s being replaced by the block “C” next season. The altered uniforms will look something like this:

While Chief Wahoo is being diminished, you’ll notice the logo isn’t totally going away. Chief Wahoo will still appear on the team’s sleeves next year.

The debate regarding Chief Wahoo has intensified in recent years. Native American groups have protested the mascot, calling it a racist stereotype and asking that Cleveland no longer use it as a logo.

Chief Wahoo won't be seen as much in 2017. (Getty Images/Jason Miller)
Chief Wahoo won’t be seen as much in 2017. (Getty Images/Jason Miller)

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has heard those pleas, and has agreed that Chief Wahoo is offensive to certain groups, but hasn’t banned the mascot. Prior to the end of the World Series, Manfred said the issue was a local matter, putting the onus on the Indians to make that decision. He did, however, say he would speak with the club about the mascot following the completion of the World Series. Whether Manfred urged the team to make changes or the team decided to do this on their own is unclear.

This shouldn’t come as a major surprise. The team has been slowly transitioning away from Chief Wahoo for years now. While phasing out the mascot hasn’t happened as quickly as some would like, this is just another example of the franchise trying to distance itself from the controversial logo.


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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik