During a recent gamethread, a mini-discussion broke about likes and dislikes about the Tribe caps. What is considered the classic Cleveland cap/logo? What colors were the most prevalent? So I figured, what the heck, why not take a tour through the history of the Cleveland caps.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find links to each and every cap, especially some of the early 20th century ones. This list may not be 100% accurate or complete as I relied on two sites for the data, Dressed to the Nines (from the National Baseball Hall of Fame) and Chris Creamer's sportslogos.net . Any corrections are welcome. And I originally wanted to do one post for all of the caps, but due to the varied number of caps, I decided to split this into two parts, home and road, with a recap of the logos in part three.
In the inaugural season in Cleveland, the franchise was the Blues. And for the only time in home history, there was no logo whatsoever, just a blue cap.
1902-1903, 1905, 1908
In 1902, the team name changed to the Bronchos, an alternate spelling of the Spanish bronco. They also changed to a white hat with blue stripes, so not pinstripes in any fashion. The bill was also the same blue color. They also added a block C logo in blue to the cap:
After acquiring Nap Lajoie mid 1902, the team adopted the name Naps for the 1903 season but used this same cap. This blue block C with stripes was also used in 1905 and 1908.
The first douse of red showed up for the 1904 Naps. The cap was identical to the 1902/03 version, except switching the stripes, bill and block C blue for red:
It lasted only one season however, going back to the white cap with stripes, blue bill and blue Block C in 1905.
In 1906, the white cap from 1905 was used but the stripes were removed. This version was also used in 1907 and 1909. The cap with stripes was used in 1908.
In 1910, the cap switched back to the original all blue but with a white Block C (but thinner than shown here):
This was cap was used from 1910 to 1914 and again from 1918 to 1920.
After Lajoie was let go after the 1914 season, the team needed a new name. The Boston Braves had won the World Series in 1914, so the franchise decided to play off that name, and perhaps honor Louis Sockalexis in the process. So the white cap and blue bill with the thinner block C returned, but incorporated the blue stripes with added pinstripes to match the home uniforms. This version was used through the 1917 season, before reverting back to the 1910 cap.
After winning the title against the Dodgers in 1920, the cap didn't change, but the thin block C became more soft C with a tail in the middle and at the top of the C. This would be the home cap through 1932 and made a one year reappearance in 1941.
1933-1940, 1941 alternate, 1942-1944, 1951-1953, 1958-1964, 1970-71
Red finally made its second appearance on the cap in 1933. The red was used to match the trim on the uniform. And the C had morphed into a similar version of the Reds logo. This cap was used extensively over the next 40 years. It was the primary home cap from 1933 to 1940, the alternate home cap in 1941, home cap from 1942 to 1944, from 1951 to 1953, 1958 to 1964 and finally from 1970 to 1971. A few seasons the Cincy C itself was larger than shown here and the shade of blue might have been slightly different, but the style was the same.
In 1945, the cap changed by flipping the bill from blue to red, but the same Cincy C was used. This version lasted through the 1950 season, before reverting back to the blue bill version in 1951.
The present version of the Chief Wahoo logo had been introduced on the uniform sleeve in 1951. In 1954 he made his first appearance on the cap, merging with the Cincy C. The Tribe promptly had their best season ever. This was used through 1957, before Wahoo went back to only the sleeves and the home cap returning to the all blue cap and bill with the red C.
In 1963, the uniform went to a sleeveless zipper top with a red undershirt, but the cap had remained the blue on blue and red C. But the only other blue used on the uniform was in the stirrups. So in 1965, the cap reversed itself to red with a red bill and a blue C. This was used through the 1969 season and showed up for one last time in 1972.
After basically ripping off the Reds C logo for 40 seasons, the Indians switched to what I call an Egyptian C. [I am sure there is an actual name for this font, but I have no idea what it is]. The blue cap with blue bill returned with this red C (although this picture looks black, I believe it was a similar navy blue to the previous iterations). This was used only for two seasons.
1974 alternate, 1975-1977
Originally introduced as an alternate (home and road) for the 1974 season, the Tribe switched to this version of the Egyptian C with a red bill. It was used as the home cap from 1975 to 1977.
After being dormant for almost 60 years, the classic block C returned in 1978 when the team tired of the "Eqyptian" font. Using a blue cap and a red bill, this cap combined the red 1904 logo on the blue cap/red bill used in many previous years, although the Block C was slightly different. This was used from 1978 to 1985, the second longest continuous stretch to this point (to the Soft C blue cap from 1921-1932).
The entire uniform was revamped for the 1986 season. This included a return of Chief Wahoo for the first time in 28 years. The Wahoo with blue cap and red bill has been the official home cap for 27 continuous seasons now, bypassing the 24 seasons the Cincy C and all blue cap was used.
In 2002, the sleeveless look made a repeat visit as the alternate home jersey, albeit in a much cleaner version. The Scipt I cap was introduced that year to match that jersey. It was used as the alternate home cap from 2002 to 2007.
In 2008, the classic block red C made another return, this time on the blue cap and blue bill when the alternate home jersey switched back to a full white jersey. This was worn as the alternate home cap from 2008 to 2010, before switching to the road cap in 2011.
And then in 2011, the cap completely reversed itself. Red cap, red bill, and a blue block C. This is the current alternate home cap.
Coming in Part II: the Road caps