Way back in the 1960s, in the intro to the game telecasts – all 25 of them – of the Cleveland Indians on WJW (Channel 8), there was a short cartoon of Chief Wahoo, in an Indians uniform, minus a batting helmet, swinging a bunch of bats in the on-deck circle, tossing all but one of them away and striding to home plate.
"Cleveland Indians baseball," the voiceover guy would proclaim.
A pitch would come in, the Chief would swing and smack the ball squarely, followed by the announcer saying, "Brought to you by Sohio."
Another pitch, another crunching hit by the Chief and another advertising pitch, "And by Carling Black Label Beer."
And so on and so forth by several more well-known Cleveland companies.
The Indians were terrible back them. But the intro was a big winner. It was so cool that you made sure you saw it even if you didn’t watch the whole – or even much of – the games.
Now, 50 years later, the Chief has finally struck out. And, as it turns out, it’s for the first – and last – time.
The Indians announced on Monday that Chief Wahoo will be removed from their uniforms following the 2018 season. It ends the club’s 71-year relationship with the Chief dating all the way back to 1947, two years after the end of World War II.
Now, all this is not being brought up so as to debate the controversial issue about the controversial Chief. Goodness knows that it is being done just about everybody else on the web and in the media. In fact, the eventual demise of the Chief has been bantied about for years.
You don’t need to see more of that here. And you won’t.
But that doesn’t mean we want to – or will – ignore the issue altogether.
The Indians spent all kinds of time and money researching whether, like the Big Boy character of the Big Boy restaurant chain years and years ago, the Chief "should stay or go." They had focus groups to discuss having other focus groups, meetings to discuss having other meetings. It was an exhaustive effort. Not a stone was left unturned.
If John Kennedy had researched the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1962, when the Chief was just a young buck, it might not have blown up in his face.
So, if there can be all this fuss – and the outlay of all this cash – to fix a baseball uniform, could we please, please, please see more of the same – not from the Indians, mind you, it’s not their battle – but by all the area politicians and movers and shakers to repair a bunch of seemingly more pressing, and serious issues.
Such as homelessness.
Sexual abuse, especially of women and children.
Crime, especially murder.
Abuse of the elderly.
No matter what we may think of Chief Wahoo, we can all agree that making significant efforts to improve some – or, better yet, all – of these things would be a big, big hit.