Necessity, as the saying goes, is often the
mother of invention. And that is how the Wahoo Club came into
In 1962, Cleveland and all of professional baseball was full of
speculation that hard times at the turnstiles would force the
Indians to abandon the only home they had know throughout their
history. It was a history that dated back to 1869 when the
Cleveland Forest City's were born. They, in turn became
the Spiders (1889), the Blues (1900), the Broncos (1902), the
Naps (1903) and our beloved Indians (1915).
Greener pastures, it was feared, might soon be found hundred of
miles from the lakefront stadium and its millions of memories.
As 'save the Indians' stories multiplied in the local media and
'hot stove' conversations, local advertising executive, Leonard
Axelband, envisioned grassroots support in the form of an adult
With the cooperation of Gabe Paul, Indians President, and Nate
Wallack, the public relations director for the ball club, Mr.
Axelband contacted a group of former baseball players and civic
leaders with close ties to the sport.
The list included all-star third baseman Al Rosen, pitching
great Mike Garcia, and I.S.(Nig) Rose, a longtime backer of
amateur baseball in the city, as well as John Nagy, Cleveland's
nationally known Recreation Director. Hall of Famer Bob
Feller and Gordon Cobbledick, long-respected sports editor of
The Plain Dealer; and local businessmen Tom O'Connell, David
Leahy and Ron Cohen also were early backers of the organization.
With guidance from these leaders, the organization took shape
and grew rapidly. The club took its name from Chief Wahoo,
the club's long standing symbol.From the initial 1962 membership of 175, The Wahoo Club had
prospered through the years, reaching an annual membership in
excess of 1,500 even in 'lean years' where a first division
finish for the Indians was only a distant dream.
Grassroots interest is real.
Luncheon meetings through the years have seen most of baseball's
brightest stars shine at the speaker's platform, including Pete
Rose who was given a special 'Charlie Hustle Award' in 1979.
When Bob Feller and Lou Bordreau were elected to Baseball's Hall
of Fame, record numbers attended the luncheons to honor the
former Tribe heroes. The Wahoo Club is proud of the role
it played in helping Bob Lemon into The Hall of Fame. In
1976, the year Bob was elected, they sent fresh lemons to all
baseball writers who were eligible to vote.
Among the proud traditions that have continued through the years
is the Gordon Cobbledick Tomahawk Award, given since 1963 to the
member of the Indians ball club who has made the most
outstanding contribution to his team during the preceding
season. It caries a special significance because it is the
only award of its kind where the winner is elected by his
A second great tradition is a scholarship given each year to a
baseball player at Cleveland State University in memory of Luke
Easter, former Indian great and longtime member of The Wahoo
Board of Directors.
As the first such booster club in the nation, The Wahoo Club and
its members are also proud of the support and guidance they
provided in the formation of similar organizations in other
major league cities. We also point with pride to the many
Wahoo Clubs scattered throughout the country which were formed
by rabid Indian's fans who closely follow the Tribe's fortunes
from hundreds even thousands of miles away.
We're proud of this history. Back in 1962, The Wahoo Club
was dedicated to a premise: To Further Interest In Baseball On
All Levels. Our goal remains the same today. We hope
you will join us so that we can further that goal.
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