Indians senior vice president Bob DiBiasio unveiled the updated designs at the Indians Team Shop on Monday, noting that next season, the team will have four distinct apparel options — two defined home uniforms and two defined road uniforms.
The home jerseys feature a refreshed look with a 2019 All-Star game logo patch on the left sleeve, replacing Chief Wahoo. The traditional home white jersey will have red script “Indians” across the front with “Midnight Navy” piping on the sleeve and collar.
There will be one cap at home, it features a navy base with a red bill and the Block C logo as well as a patch with the 2019 All-Star logo on the side.
The new alternate home uniform features a red jersey with script “Indians” across the chest and the same piping style on the sleeves and collar.
It marks just the second time in franchise history that the team will feature red as an official uniform. The last time was from 1975-77. DiBiasio stressed that the players would definitely not be wearing red pants as they did on occasion with the uniforms in the 1970s. Both the white and red home uniforms will be worn with white pants.
DiBiasio said the team wanted to have four defined uniforms, two at home and two on the road. By limiting the Midnight Navy top to road games only, it gave designers an opportunity to go in a different direction.
“We wanted something that’s a little bit different and fresh,” DiBiasio said. “Red was the obvious choice because it looks rather cool.”
DiBiasio said the red tops have their place in Tribe history as well.
“Rick Manning, Duane Kuiper and all those guys always thought that the best uniforms they ever wore were the white pants with the red tops,” he said. “They thought that was the coolest looking uniform. Then we went away from it in 1978 we brought the navy blue top with the white pants. That was a good looking uni as well. But they loved the red top, white pants look.”
For away games, the Indians will have the option of wearing their traditional gray tops or a new alternate road blue colored jersey.
“We’ll be saluting the great city of Cleveland on both, featuring ‘Cleveland’ in block lettering on the gray as well as on the new-look ‘Midnight Navy’ blue jersey,” DiBiasio said. “Both feature a clean, bold, fresh, simple look.”
The road uniforms will feature one cap. The all-Navy cap with the red Block C will be the only road cap the team will wear. Both jerseys include the 2019 All-Star Game logo on the left sleeve where the Chief Wahoo logo was last season and will be worn with gray pants.
DiBiasio said the team is still working through the process of deciding whether there will be a permanent third logo to replace Chief Wahoo. “I’m not even sure where we are along that path yet,” he said.
“With the All-Star game patch, it gives us some more time to work through those issues to see if we do get a third. Obviously, the Block C is the primary logo. Script ‘Indians’ is our secondary logo. Do we move to a third? That’s still up for debate.”
Asked whether the team is worried about fans missing the Wahoo logo, DiBiasio said there is an expectation that some fans always will.
“We expect that,” he said. “It’s been part of our history. We’ve been around a long, long time. This what, coming up, our 119th Opening Day. Sure, some will miss it. And some will applaud that it’s not on the uniform.”
Meanwhile, the team also eliminated its all-red cap with the Block C worn during home select games since 2011. and DiBiasio said the new red jerseys will not be limited to a particular day of the week or holidays, as in the past with uniform options such as the cream-colored alternate set.
“It’s up to the starting pitcher,” he said. “Or if we’ve won five in a row with a certain uni, those kind of things take over.”
DiBiasio said players were consulted about the new designs.
“You always like to talk to guys to tell them what you’re up to so they’re not shocked,” he said. “Some have an opinion. And others, I think the shoes are more important. You saw (Mike) Clevinger’s tweets about the freedom to do what you want with your shoes. I think that’s more important to them today than the jersey tops.”
Indians complete minor trade with Rays
CLEVELAND — The Indians completed a trade Monday with Tampa Bay, acquiring right-hander Chih-Wei Hu from the Rays in exchange for minor-league infielder Gionti Turner.
Hu, 25, spent most of the 2018 season with Tampa Bay’s Triple-A Durham affiliate, posting a mark of 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 24 (19 starts)
Hu appeared in five games in relief across five big-league stints with Tampa Bay, posting a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings while fanning 12 batters and allowing seven hits (.149 avg).
A native of Taichung, Taiwan, Hu was signed as an amateur free agent by the Minnesota Twins in 2012 and was acquired by Tampa Bay at the 2015 trade deadline for righty Kevin Jepsen. In 2016, he recorded the lowest ERA in the Southern League (2.59) for Class-AA Montgomery. Hu was was a Baseball America AA All-Star and was a Future’s Game participant.
Turner, 18, was Cleveland’s 27th-round draft pick in the 2018 draft and hit .296 (50-for-169) for the Indians rookie-level club in the Arizona League.
Hu has been added to the Tribe’s 40-man roster, which now stands at 36 players. The team must finalize its 40-man roster by 8 p.m. tonight in advance of the Dec. 13 Rule 5 Draft in Las Vegas.