Saturday, December 16, 2017

RIP Walter Goldbach

i just want to take a minute to say rest in peace to Walter Goldbach, the creator of the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo, and offer my condolences to his family. Goldbach died on Wednesday, December 13, at the age of 88, as was reported by yesterday. i am very sad to hear this. the Wahoo was partially what made me become an Indians fan 20-some years ago, so this is particularly upsetting for me.😢

photo courtesy of @wkyc on twitter

what's more upsetting is, as of right now, the Indians have not even
acknowledged his passing. it was not on their website or their twitter, and i didn't see any of the Tribe Scribes that i follow write about it either. unfortunately, all the chaos of the Winter Meetings this week and Carlos Santana's signing with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday probably pushed this news to the backburner. or, could it have been an intentional oversight, playing into my theory that the Indians are cooperating with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to permanently get rid of the Wahoo and don't want to rock the boat? i don't know. still, Goldbach's logo was used to represent the ballclub for ~70 years. i hope they eventually do the honorable thing and take the time to pay their respects.

a 17-year old Goldbach, who was working at his family's emblem business when then-Tribe owner Bill Veeck called them for a caricature, created the cartoon character back in 1946, but it has since been revised. (see the photo below.) the initial Chief logo stemmed from the "Indians" name of the team, which was supposed to be in recognition of former Native American player Louis Sockalexis and, among other things, reflect a time when Cleveland's baseball team was really good.

photo courtesy of

it should be blatantly obvious that Goldbach was an advocate for keeping the Chief. in an interview he did on March 7, 2014, he told the Kiley & Booms show that when he was designing the Wahoo, he never thought anyone would get worked up and offended by his drawing. he said the objections didn't begin until the 1980s. "right after World War II, everybody was close to each other," Goldbach remarked. "all the fellas were coming home from the service and all families, they were just closer-knit." he claimed nowadays that's not the case and so the offense comes in.

Goldbach also recalled how when he used to go to Opening Day games with his son, the protesters would leave as soon as the TV vans left, and that bothered him. Goldbach's goal with the Chief was to make something like a character, like you're reading the comic strips. "a happy type Indian, but yet something that would not offend people." i guess he accomplished that for about 35-40 years.

you can listen to his full interview on

when the Indians reached the World Series in 2016 and the controversy surrounding the Wahoo was at an all-time high, Goldbach was contacted and declared he had no regrets about his design. "whatever they [the franchise] want to do, i'm going to leave that up to the Cleveland Indians." he further commented that the "C" is boring. (i think so, too!) however, it sounded as though he was accepting the reality that his logo would soon no longer be around anymore when he noted, "things that are banned become more popular as history than if there was no problem with them." (source:

with Goldbach's passing, now the fans are the only ones left to keep fighting to save the Chief. honestly, it seems like this is a losing battle because i truly believe the Dolans agreed to do away with the Wahoo back in January in order to secure Progressive Field as the host of the 2019 All Star Game. Manfred recently stated on October 28, "it's an issue i intend to deal with during the offseason," per Anthony Castrovince. as far as the Indians are concerned, it's plausible that the Chief died right along with Goldbach. hell, maybe the anticipation of the Chief's impending eradication is what broke his heart and killed him. i'm kidding, sort of.💔😞

regardless, he will forever live in infamy in Indians history. RIP Walter.😇 and thank you for the Chief.

leave a comment below if you have anything to say about Goldbach or the Chief Wahoo.

i hope we're not saying goodbye to the Chief next. wear your Wahoos proud, Tribe fans! (for Walter)

photo courtesy of

and if you want more information about how the Indians' name and logo came to be, how the Wahoo has been disappearing around the ballpark in the last decade, my defense of the Chief, and what the future holds for the Chief, you can read my Save the Chief! Revised blog that i wrote at the beginning of this year.

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