The Cleveland Indians No More By Ryan Kanne
Photo by New York Post
After continued protests from Indigenous groups and fans, the Cleveland Indians will be moving on from their team name after the 2021 MLB season. The move comes one year after removing Chief Wahoo, the team’s old logo and mascot, from all merchandise and in the same year as the Washington Football Team dropping their team name.
The Cleveland baseball team seems to be trying to hit “reset” on the entire organization as rumors of a team sale and a trade of superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor haven’t gone away. With so much uncertainty in the Cleveland organization many fans are still wondering what their favorite team is going to be called. While the official decision will come almost a year from now, fan speculation has names for the organization gaining traction online.
The Cleveland Spiders
One name with a lot of support behind it is the “Cleveland Spiders”. The Spiders name originates from the National League team in Cleveland that played from 1889- 1899. Despite only existing for 10 years, the Spiders were able to produce seven straight winning seasons including second place finishes in the National League three times. Despite their early success, the Spiders are more remembered for becoming a feeder team to the St. Louis Cardinals and having the worst regular season in MLB history, finishing the 1899 season with a 20-134 record.
Cleveland wouldn’t be returning to a glorious history with the Spiders name but would have a chance at redemption for the Cleveland Spiders legacy. If a team sale and rebuild is in Cleveland’s future, what better way to temper expectations than taking a name of the worst regular season team in MLB history.
The Cleveland Blues
Another favorite of fans is the “Cleveland Blues”. The Blues name was used early in Cleveland’s history as the Cleveland based National League team used the name from 1879-1884 and briefly in 1901 for Cleveland’s American League teams’ inaugural season. This name would not only be a nod to that 1901 season, but to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame based in the city.
Introducing Cleveland as the Blues comes with its own logistical and odd complications including the team needing an entire rebrand as their primary colors are red and navy blue. Ohio would also feature two teams called the “Reds” and the “Blues” which certainly gets the state creativity points.
The Cleveland Naps
While a team named after sleeping for 30 minutes to an hour would be right up Cleveland’s alley, the Cleveland Naps name would be an homage to the first superstar on the American League team in Cleveland, Nap Lajoie. Lajoie spent 13 of his 21 Hall of Fame seasons in Cleveland playing as a “Nap”. Yes, the American League Cleveland team changed their name after acquiring the superstar second baseman from Philadelphia. The name was chosen after a local newspaper conducted a write-in contest.
Going back to the Naps name would be an interesting and fun reunion, despite not many people caring too much about baseball between 1903 and 1914. The name would not only honor the hall of fame player, but his impact on the organization as a whole. Cleveland could also pay respect to the Naps by renaming the team after another current superstar on the team. However, calling Cleveland “The Bieber’s” may bring on a lawsuit from Justin Biebers legal team.
Regardless of the name chosen, changing the Cleveland team name is a step in the right direction. Whether the organization was scared to lose sponsorships like the Washington Football Team did before they changed their name, or they thought it was the right time is not as important as indigenous names, identities, and culture being used to market a sports team. Now if only the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, and Kansas City Chiefs got the memo as well.