Following in the footsteps of the Washington Football Team, who dropped the Redskins moniker earlier this year, the Cleveland Indians will also soon be changing their team name, a nickname that the franchise has used since 1915.
There are many details of the name change that still have to be worked out and it’s not yet known exactly when the new team name will take effect. There is talk that the Indians name could still be used for the 2021 Major League Baseball season while others have suggested that Cleveland could follow the path of the Washington Football Team and become the Cleveland Baseball Team until a new name is decided upon.
But whatever happens, change is definitely coming to Cleveland and there really seem to be only two good options for the new team name, one of which is quite obvious with the other perhaps being a bit overlooked as this news picks up steam.
The Cleveland Indians name will be dropped after 105 years
The Cleveland Indians franchise was founded in 1894 as a minor-league club in Michigan known as the Grand Rapids Rustlers. The club competed in the Western League, which became the American League ahead of the 1900 season, the same year in which the Rustlers moved to Cleveland and became the Lake Shores. In 1901, the first year in which the American League was considered a major league, the franchise became known as the Cleveland Bluebirds, often called the Blues, before changing the name once again in 1902 to the Broncos.
The following year, they became the Cleveland Naps, named for Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie, who was essentially the first big star in the American League. The team remained the Naps until 1915, the same year Lajoie left the franchise, and was renamed the Cleveland Indians, a name that obviously lasted for more than a century.
But after decades of protests from Native American groups and others that deemed the Indians moniker offensive and racist, Cleveland has finally decided to move on. The team spent the last couple of years phasing out the “Chief Wahoo” logo that was featured on the team’s uniform and caps and the team name will soon be gone as well. So what’s next for the franchise?
There have already been a number of options thrown out there for Cleveland’s new team name but only two seem to make much sense.
The most popular choice to replace the Cleveland Indians name seems to be the Cleveland Spiders
The most popular option on social media to replace the Cleveland Indians name seems to be the Cleveland Spiders, which makes a ton of sense.
The Cleveland Spiders were founded in 1887 as the Forest Citys and became the Blues in 1888, the team’s second and final season in the American Association. The franchise became known as the Spiders in 1889 when the team joined the National League and rocked black and gray uniforms that would sell like crazy today if Cleveland decided to go that route.
Pitcher Cy Young was the first big star of the franchise and won 240 games in nine seasons with the team before he was shipped to St. Louis with the rest of the stars of the club when the owners of the Spiders, brothers Frank and Stanley Robison, bought a second team, the St. Louis Browns, in 1899. With a depleted roster, the Spiders went 20-134 that year, still the worst record in MLB history, and were contracted at the end of the season.
The move by the Robison brothers played a major part in MLB passing a rule that banned anyone from having a controlling interest in more than one big-league club.
The Cleveland Buckeyes is a solid option as well
While the Cleveland Spiders seems to be the most popular choice to replace the Cleveland Indians, one option that shouldn’t be overlooked is the Cleveland Buckeyes.
Yes, there might be a little uproar from those thinking that the Buckeyes name should only be used by Ohio State, and perhaps there’s a valid argument there, but there’s history with the Buckeyes name and baseball in Ohio. The Cleveland Buckeyes were a team in the Negro Leagues for nine seasons (1942-1950), although the team only played in Cleveland for seven of those seasons.
The franchise spent its first year in Cincinnati and its penultimate season in Louisville but had its best success in Cleveland, winning two Negro American League titles in 1945 and 1947 and a Negro League World Series title in 1945.
The Cleveland Indians have worn throwback Cleveland Buckeys jerseys on numerous occasions and making them a permanent thing would be incredible.
Sure, there are some other options out there. The Cleveland Crows could be a thing given that there are actually a lot of crows in the city. The franchise could go back to the Naps but that’s really no fun. Maybe they could complete the flag and become the Blue Sox. The Cleveland Rocks is another one that’s being thrown around but that’s getting quite a bit of backlash. The Spiders and Buckeyes seem like the only two logical choices but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.