Was Chief Wahoo named after Allie Reynolds?

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Here’s an interesting historical deep-dive from Brad Ricca of Belt Magazine. It’s about the history of the Chief Wahoo mascot, and it uncovers a number of intriguing little nuggets that even a guy fixated on Wahoo like I am hadn’t heard before.

Most specifically the origin of the caricature and its name. Which are two separate things, according to Ricca. He notes that, while the accepted story has come to be that Bill Veeck commissioned a young artist to draw up Wahoo as a mascot, a Cleveland Plain-Dealer cartoonist had been using a profoundly similar character as a form of illustrated box score for some 15 years before that. Click through to see the examples.

The name is more interesting. The newspaper version was not named Chief Wahoo and neither was Veeck’s until at least 1952. But that name had come to be used, again, by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, to describe someone else. A real person this time: former Indians pitcher and then-current Yankees star Allie Reynolds. Reynolds was a Creek Indian and was far more famously known by the nickname “Super Chief,” but Plain-Delaer reporters often referred to him as “Chief Wahoo” when he made return visits to Cleveland as a member of the Yankees:

A surprising nickname for Reynolds’ appears on October 6, 1950 in his old local paper, the Plain Dealer. Under the title of “Chief Wahoo Whizzing,” Reynolds fans learn that “Allie (Chief Wahoo) Reynolds, the copper-skinned Creek” lost to Philadelphia, but “in the clutches, though, the Chief was a standup gent—tougher than Sitting Bull.”

The Yankees are always big baseball news (even in Cleveland), but Reynolds especially garnered a lot of coverage in his old town. In subsequent articles, he is called “Chief Wahoo,” “old Wahoo,” and just plain “Wahoo.”

Later, it came to be used derisively. Reynolds was traded away from Cleveland when Bob Feller came back from the war and there was no room in the rotation. Get a load of this:

The name “Chief Wahoo” also appeared in the popular Cleveland sports column “The Sports Trail” by Jimmy Doyle. On May 25, 1951, Doyle writes that “It’s great to see Bob Feller show how he’s mastered that old pitching know how” and signs it “Chief Wahoo’s-this” as a possible parting shot against the departed Reynolds.

Such a fascinating article about a fascinating subject that is so often itself subject to misinformation, intentional or otherwise.

Carlos Santana left last night’s game with back tightness

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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.

Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.

Bruce Bochy calls the Phillies Hector Neris “an idiot”

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On Sunday Phillies reliever Hector Neris hit Buster Posey in the back. Posey thought it was intentional and, after the game, said  “I guess he didn’t feel he could get me out.”

Was it intentional? There’s a lot to suggest it wasn’t. Mostly the game situation: the Phillies had a two-run lead, but Neris was called in with two men on base and hitting Posey put the tying run in scoring position, which is not something a reliever usually wants to do with his first pitch of the game. Beyond that, while Neris and former Giant Eduardo Nunez had a bit of an incident earlier this season (Neris blew a kiss at Nunez after some words), there was no bad blood between Posey and Neris. When the pitch hit Posey in the back Neris seemed to react negatively, as if he didn’t mean to do it, and said as much after the game.

Oh well, it’s not uncommon for guys who get hit to be angry about it, even if it was uninentional. It’s not uncommon for guys who hit someone to say it was an accident, even if it wasn’t. You can file this one in the “unsolved” drawer forever, where it will be forgotten.

Or at least you could until Bruce Bochy weighed in yesterday, after the Phillies left town:

“It wasn’t just a little inside. The same guy — I’ll say it, he’s an idiot. He showed it in Philadelphia when he was having words with (Eduardo) Nuñez, so I think that caused the radar to be up a little bit on what happened there. It wasn’t a glancing blow. It was at his ribs and on the backside of his ribs. I’m not surprised. I would have been upset, too. You never know for sure, but it certainly didn’t look good. Anyway, that’s behind us.”

I guess it was, anyway. The Giants don’t face the Phillies again this year, but remember it for next year.