Cleveland’s MLB Apparent Brand Name Change Comes As No Surprise

The team started phasing out its logo in 2009.

Donald Trump may not like it, but it appears that Major League Baseball’s Cleveland franchise will have a new brand name in 2022. Sports owners may or may not know Bob Dylan’s 1965 lyric of “you don’t need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows”. But they do know which way the wind is blowing. Sports owners have dropped names and logos on products that have been deemed offensive such as the Washington NFL team name and the Edmonton Canadian Football League team name. The Cleveland ownership’s thinking on its team logo began to evolve years ago. Now the team name is being relegated to the dustbin of history. It is not easy to change a brand name in sports as it was say in 1915. There is a process that includes the selling of products.

Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians logo went into semi-retirement after the 2018 season. But the logo was being used less and less over a nine-year period.  Since 2009, baseball consumers in Arizona have not seen the logo during spring training out of respect to the state’s Native American population. The TOPPS trading card company announced in July 2018 that it was dropping both Chief Wahoo and the Atlanta Braves screaming Indian or savage logos from new cards the company was printing including reissues of old baseball cards. Chief Wahoo merchandise remained available in Cleveland as team ownership did not give up various Chief Wahoo trademarks. The present Cleveland franchise throughout its history has had numerous names including the Lake Shores, Bluebirds, Bronchos and Naps. Nineteenth century Cleveland teams were called Forest City, Blues, Babes and Spiders. The team was named the Indians in 1915. Chief Wahoo was created as a promotional tool in 1947. The logo and the team name will become museum pieces.

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)