After years of criticism, sports organizations like the NFL’s Washington Redskins and the MLB’s Cleveland Indians could soon change their team names. This comes during a time when a movement has spread across America to correct racial issues and wrongdoings. The Indians have had their nickname since 1915, but there are plenty of new options being thrown around by the media and fans that could be great. One idea, though, would honor both Black athletes and baseball history.
The Cleveland Indians are reviewing their name
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the team said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.”
The team also said that it has had ongoing discussions about those issues.
“The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice,” the Indians said, according to ESPN. “With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Indians manager Terry Francona also recently discussed the issue.
“I’ve been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement,” Francona said, according to CNN. “I know in the past, when I’ve been asked about, whether it’s our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful. And I still feel that way.”
He also said, “I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward. It’s a very difficult subject. It’s also delicate.”
There are a few possibilities for the Indians’ new name
It is not 100% certain that the team is changing its name. That, however, hasn’t kept people from giving their ideas for the potential new one.
According to WKYC out of Cleveland, BetOnline.ag released odds for the franchise’s new nickname shortly after the team’s announcement. Naps is the favorite while Spiders is second. Some other names that have betting odds are the Guardians, Wild Things, Buckeyes, and Rocks.
Similar to the Rocks, Sporting News also suggested the Rockers and the Rockets.
One of these names mentioned above, though, would perfectly honor Black athletes, as well as the history of baseball.
The Cleveland Buckeyes would be the perfect new name
Many people have mentioned the name Buckeyes as a cool possibility. Automatically, many people will probably just assume that this has to do with Ohio’s great college sports teams — the Ohio State Buckeyes. However, the name has a lot more significance than that.
The Cleveland Buckeyes were a team that competed in the Negro Baseball Leagues. Many of Cleveland’s Black pro baseball teams prior to the Buckeyes lasted a year or less and did not have much success, according to Case Western Reserve University. However, the Buckeyes were an excellent team.
The team — which was formed in 1941 and spent 1942 as the Cleveland-Cincinnati Buckeyes — officially became the Cleveland Buckeyes in 1943. They ultimately had several star players, including Sam Jethroe, who won an MVP award in 1945 with a .393 batting average.
In 1945, the Buckeyes finished in first place in both halves of the Negro American League season. They also had a 53-16 overall record. The team ultimately won the Negro World Series, according to Case Western Reserve. They then went back to the World Series in 1947 but lost.
The Buckeyes, however, lost money in 1947 and moved to Louisville by 1949. The team returned for the first half of the 1950 season. After only winning 3 of 36 games, though, it disbanded, according to Case Western Reserve.
If the Indians were to change their name to the Buckeyes, it would ultimately pay homage to the great Black baseball players that played in the city years ago.
Yes, it might be strange at first with Ohio State also being the Buckeyes. It could be the perfect name change for the team, though, as it would help the franchise move to the future while also honoring the past.