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Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians Sports Button Museum
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Cleveland Indians button back Sports Button Museum
Text on Button: 
CLEVELAND INDIANS
Image Description: 

A man with a red face, brown hair, and headband with a brown feather. Brown text on top and bottom portion of button. Illustration and text lies on a white background. 

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Though existing for many years prior, in 1915 the modern Cleveland Indians baseball team was formed. The first documented use of a Native American chief as their mascot occurred in 1928, this general depiction was redesigned in 1929, 1933, and 1939 and remained in use until it was decided in 1946 that the logo needed to be changed. It was at that point when this caricature, later named Chief Wahoo, was adopted by the team. The logo was designed by 17 year old Walter Goldbach.  This particular image was in use from 1946 to 1950 when it was changed to the modern depiction of Chief Wahoo.

There is some controversy surrounding the logo, many feel that it is racially insensitive and should be changed while others feel that it is honoring Louis Sockalexis, the first Native American professional baseball player. Sockalexis played for Cleveland during the 1897-1899 seasons. There is some debate over the accuracy of Sockalexis being the source of the name at all, given it was adopted 16 years after his short career ended. Currently the modern version of Chief Wahoo is still in use by the team.

Catalog ID: 
SP0005
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