Progress

Lindor1

When I got back into baseball cards this year I had many things to get used to. The better-quality printing and photography. The commitment to all action. The thousands of parallels and short prints and set releases and inserts to either be aware of—even if it’s so I know to ignore them. One thing I didn’t note was the change to the Indians logo.

The DeChief movement has been going on for a few years now and I know that MLB has demoted Wahoo in favor of the block C. So it didn’t jump out at me to see that Topps was using the block C as the logo on its 2017 flagship set. It made sense with the general trend of things and I didn’t think any further about it.

It was only after discussing this a bit further on Twitter that I realized that Topps (and MLB since they control the logos) only made the change this year. I’d assumed it had happened a while ago but no, 2016 had Wahoo—as did all previous years where the Indians logo was used. I’m not sure why I’m so surprised given how the Indians wore the Wahoo cap in all their World Series games..

This feels like a big deal to me. While it seems to have been noted but not commented on in the card community, that Topps, as essentially the card manufacturer of record, has finally DeChiefed is important and both MLB and Topps should be congratulated for making that step even if they did it woefully late.

Carter Score
Lindor2 Ramirez

That Topps has also been making that change on its old designs which used to feature Wahoo is especially welcome. It was only when I started looking through all my old cards that I began realizing both how often that logo showed up and how distracting I found it now. Where some logos cause me to feel nostalgia, every card with Chief Wahoo on it made me wince.

While many of the design anachronisms bother me in the reissues of Topps’s old designs, I’m pleased every time I see the big Block C on a Cleveland card. There are plenty of things to wince about without having to see that logo in a prominent position.

A lot of this is because of my growth in awareness of how damaging and inappropriate that logo is. And a lot of it is being reminded over and over and over again that as I get into card collecting with my sons, I’m going to have to continuously reinforce how there are problems with the old logo and how our cultural norms have changed over the decades.

That it’s clear that the logo still shows up in the photos means I’ll have to be vigilant about this with the modern cards too. Topps isn’t photoshopping it out nor is it limiting its photo choices to just those images which don’t have it. So I’m going to be in charge of talking about how while we’re making progress there’s still a lot of room for growth.

Aaron1
Aaron2

And yes I figured I should look into the Braves as well. Their racist logo also occasionally resurfaces on hat designs and merchandise. Thankfully those designs don’t seem to make it out of the prototype stage but it’s noteworthy that it‘s still in the mix. I’m happy to see that Topps isn’t using it on the old designs anymore even though the same concerns about it showing up in photos are obvious.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that Topps should photoshop it out of the images—especially the old photos— where it’s present. That this was both commonplace and acceptable is as important a lesson to learn as understanding why it’s no longer ok.

13 thoughts on “Progress”

    1. I’ve been enjoying the discussion on Twitter which points out that many of the 2017 inserts still use Wahoo and suggests that Topps and MLB aren’t nearly as stringent or consistent on those cards.

      Also as a Giants fan, I’ve been unable not to notice how Archives/Heritage uses the current Giants logo even though there’s a period-appropriate one which is still among their official designs.

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  1. ALWAYS felt like a KID,wish I HAD held onto my collection 1964 to 2008,BUT was in fact PRICELESS,Mantle,Mays and Koufax,Ryan!! Do wonder IF I HAD children, would my kids sell my collection for a Drum set or Drugs or for a Broken down car!! My guess, we will never EVER know that answer!! Sadly I have a lot horror stories, entire collection toss in the garbage, was very fortunate my WASN’T in the trash,WISH I did had a child would appreciate everything, WISH I could’ve had contuie MONSTER Collection!!!

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  2. Enjoyed reading all of this post. I presently have many many 1982 Topps ,Fleer, Don Russ 1993 Derek Jeter and need advise how to sell my late husband ‘s stored collection! I live on Long Island and can be reached at (631)905-1862. PS my late husband was a fan of Keith Olberman! Much appreciated!

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  3. Believing that elimination of time honored MLB team mascots or logos is a step forward in addressing racism in America is akin to believing that dumping the left over ice from your cooler in the lake is a step forward in addressing global warming. If one feels the need to examine and/or use as a teaching tool “damaging and inappropriate” racism in professional baseball, one might choose to consider why it took the Yankees 15 years to integrate after Jackie came up or why there was a need to integrate at all! If Chief Wahoo makes you wince that should bring you to tears.
    And if an examination of racism, particularly as it regards Native Americans, is your concern some thought might be given as to why, in a country that has become so politically correct and feeling so good about all the progress it’s made in curing the inequities of society, Native Americans are stilled denied quality jobs, adequate housing and a good education. No, eliminating Chief Wahoo or the Brave does nothing to cure real racism or even provide an adequate platform from which to launch a discussion on the subject. For myself, I’ll continue to proudly wear my hats, jersey and jacket with the old Chief smiling away while I work with those trying to get quality food and shelter for the original Americans we so deeply respect while the deep thinkers of baseball card collecting determine weather or not the images should be photoshopped prior to printing. Racism? Really?

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  4. This may be naive on my part but I wonder if MLB is letting Cleveland fans down easy by slowly removing this logo. Not all fans there are the “get off my lawn” grouchy stick in the mud kind I think. It is the ones that grew up with that logo/ team and have all the souvenirs and memories tied into that era that MLB is letting down easy so not to alienate them.

    Just speculation on my part on the above and I am not advocating that the logo should stick around because to me it’s time has passed and it needs to change

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