Cleveland Indians to Change their Name after 105 Years

Author: Sonali Pathak


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After long years of protests from the native American groups & the fans, the Cleveland Indians have finally decided to change their teams’ names. The team has decided to move away from the moniker for which it has been criticized for so many years. The name has been long considered as a racial slur and has been a part of the national conversation. This year there was a mass protest throughout the world against police brutality & racism. Cleveland could make an official announcement about this very soon.

What after Cleveland’s Name Change?

There is no information on what is going to be Cleveland’s move after changing their name. There has to be a lot of work involved followed by this – particularly the logistical considerations. It would apparently involve working up with companies that produce stadium signage, team equipment, and the uniform manufacturer. One of the options the team may be looking forward to is – moving forwards without any replacement & then deciding on a new team name with suggestions from the public.

According to the sources, the team might retain its original name throughout the entire 2021 season and consider officially adopting a new name in the 2022 season. The team is also considering a generic interim name like “The Cleveland Baseball Team”. Cleveland has issued an official notice last July that it might consider a name change. In fact, much before that, there was speculation of Cleveland considering a name change because of the groundwork it had been laying. The team had slowly stopped featuring its old “Chief Wahoo” mascot on the uniforms & the C logo on the caps.  

Is this the First Name change for Cleveland?

Initially, Clevelands were called the Grand Rapids Rustlers -- it was when the team was founded in 1894. At that time they were based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and after the team moved to Ohio, its name was changed to the Cleveland Lake Shores. Later in 1901, when the team became a part of the American League, the name was changed to the Bluebirds (or Blues), which became the Bronchos in 1902. Later from 1903-1914, it became “the Cleveland Naps” with the superstar Napoleon Lajoie becoming a part of the team. 

Later in the 1914 season when the Lajoie was traded to the Philadelphia A’s, the Cleveland Naps became the Cleveland Indians, which is the current name of the team. There is no exact explanation available in the public domain as to why Cleveland chose this name. There are many indications -- some say the name Cleveland Indians was to get the advantage of the 1914 World Series champion Boston Braves popularity. 

The Cleveland Indians Considering changing the name after 105 years.

 The name of the team had remained the same after 105 years of playing around with the same name. It was following the incessant criticism for the nickname & the related imagery that the team is taking the step. The imagery like “Tribe” & Chief Wahoo has been increasingly criticized for being stereotypical and offensive. 

Over the years, a lot of North American high schools and colleges have changed the Native American, mascots and nicknames have changed their branding. The Washington Football Team was among the first to do that. This step taken by all these teams followed by the Cleveland Indians will definitely create pressure on other teams including the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, the Atlanta Braves, and the Kansas City Chiefs. However, as of now, we have seen no indications from these teams about considering a name change. 

Cleveland franchise’s new name.

As per sources, the new name could be decided in consultation with the public, which could happen through a public poll or maybe an extensive discussion like the one that came up with the name the Seattle Kraken for Seattle's new NHL expansion franchise. There have already been a flood of suggestions coming up from fans, the most popular of those suggestions including the Spiders. There is also a chance that the team will adopt an absolute old-school approach and become “the Cleveland Baseball Club.”

Since 1915, the club has been called the Indians but the native American groups have criticized the name calling it racist & demeaning. There have been huge campaigns being organized against the name for many years and the Indians have been one of the most high-profile targets. 

 


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