CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland’s Major League baseball team will no longer be the “Indians,” according to the New York Times.
The decision to drop the name the team has had since 1915 came down on Sunday in the midst of social justice movements to stop sports teams from using Native American-themed elements for their mascots.
The team already began phasing out Chief Wahoo before the 2019 season, moving to the block C logo for all uniforms and imagery.
There was talk of dropping the mascot name prior to the 2020 season like Washington’s NFL team did to their “Redskins” mascot, but Cleveland kept the name for another season.
Back in July of 2020, the Indians released a statement describing their commitment to social justice and “the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Cleveland manager Terry Francona already gave his opinion on the hot-button topic in July saying, “I think it’s time to move forward.”
Later that month, team owner Paul Dolan held a meeting with players to share their own thoughts on changing the mascot.
“The way the players expressed themselves in a mature manner and a respectful manner, and the way Paul listened, I think it’s one of the reasons I speak so glowingly about our organization. I was really proud of everybody,” Francona said after the meeting.
“If changing the name brings more love and more peace to society, then I am open to changing the name,” said the Indians’ star Shortstop Francisco Lindor expressed prior to the meeting.
News of the possible mascot change in the summer earned rave reviews from the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance and the Cleveland Indigenous Coalition, both Native American community organizations in Northeast Ohio.
However, even the possibility of a name change received opposition, including from President Donald Trump.
President Trump also tweeted that the name change is “not good news.”
But now that the organization will move forward with changing the name, according to the New York Times, what will the team be called?
Some of the names that have come up include The Naps, The Rocks, The Spiders, The Guardians, The Buckeyes and more.
If The Naps sounds familiar, that’s because it was one of the four names the team had since it was founded in 1901.
According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History from Case Western University, these are the previous names Cleveland’s MLB team held:
- 1901 to 1902 - The baseball team was originally named the Cleveland Blues, then the Cleveland Broncos.
- 1903 to 1911 - The team then changed its name to the Cleveland Naps in honor of player-manager Napolean Lajoie.
- 1912 to 1914 - The team was officially renamed the Cleveland Molly McGuires, but by popularity, was still referred to as the Naps. The Molly McGuires were a 19th-century group of Irish immigrants known for labor rights and activism.
- 1915 to present - The popular player Napolean Lajoie was traded. The team then became permanently known as the Cleveland Indians, a nickname used for Native American Louis Sockalexis when he played for the old National League team Cleveland Spiders.