Thursday, May 7, 2015

1949 Cleveland Indians Sketch Book: A Tale of Two Wahoos

Cover of the 1949 Sketch Book
(Courtesy of Gene Biros)
A pal from work recently loaned me a copy of the Cleveland Indians 1949 Sketch Book (above), which came out the season following the team's triumph in the 1948 World Series. For me, the book was a lot of fun to look at – both as a graphic designer and an Indians fan.
What's interesting is that the book contains illustrations of both the earlier version of Chief Wahoo, as well as the modern design that is beloved by Indians fans today. I've scanned some samples from the book to show this transition in progress.

Here's an example. Despite the presence of what we now consider to be the modern Chief Wahoo on the cover of the 1949 book, the title page has the earlier, large-nosed version (below).

That same version of the Chief is found in a great Vernors ad (below) that also features multiple appearances of the iconic soft drink's gnome mascot. 
Here are some more examples of the earlier Chief Wahoo design (below) from the book.
Lastly, here's a unique, head-on view of the more "modern" Chief Wahoo atop a totem pole (below).
If you're interested in learning more about the history of Chief Wahoo, be sure to read this fascinating piece by Brad Ricca.

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