One of the greatest players in Indians history says he is sad to see the team drop the Chief Wahoo logo.
In an interview Tuesday on ESPN 850 WKNR's "The Really Big Show," Omar Vizquel, whose Gold Glove play held down the shortstop position for 11 seasons, said it's "kind of disappointing" to see Chief Wahoo go, calling the symbol "one of the most charismatic and recognized logos in the history of the game."
The smiling caricature, which has had a place on the Tribe's uniforms since 1947, is beloved by most fans but reviled by others, with critics claiming it is offensive and stereotypical of Native Americans.
On Monday, under pressure from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the club announced it would remove Chief Wahoo from the uniforms starting with the 2019 season, with the commissioner citing his desire "to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game."
Vizquel, for his part, has many fond memories of the logo, even from before he came to Cleveland.
"I used to love that Wahoo hitting with one leg up in the air," he said, referring to the large neon sign that once sat atop Cleveland Municipal Stadium. "It was one of the most happy logos that I [saw]. Then when I joined the Indians, the only thing that I wanted to do was collect hats and shirts and everything that goes along with that."
Still, Omar remembers the controversy behind the logo as well.
"There were different organizations that were against promoting the Indians," he said. "It was in my mind that, maybe someday, this logo was going to disappear."
Omar played for the Tribe from 1994 to 2004, becoming one of the most beloved members of a group that won six division titles and two American League pennants. He also wore the Chief Wahoo logo on his cap in each of those seasons.
"Everybody's going to miss it," Vizquel said. "I love it, myself. It's just too bad to see it happening now."
The team says fans will still be able to purchase Wahoo gear in the team shop and at Northern Ohio retailers even after the logo is taken off the uniforms.