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.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.