After longtime calls to do so, the Cleveland Indians are changing their name.
Known as the Indians since 1915, the ballclub announced via a video posted to their Twitter account on Friday (July 23) that they’re changing their name to the Guardians. Narrated by Tom Hanks, the announcement ends months of internal discussions caused by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop racist logos and names.
The name change will be effected at the end of the 2021 season.
The American League team spent most of the past year whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago.
Team owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social unrest after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis spurred his intention to change his club’s name.
"We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland," Dolan said in a statement, according to ESPN. "Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.
"'Guardians' reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge,” he added. “It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While 'Indians' will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians."
The team’s colors will remain the same with the new logo incorporating some of the architectural features of the bridge.
The Indians ceased wearing the very controversial Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps in 2018, but continued to sell merchandise bearing the red-faced caricature that had drawn opposition from Native American groups for decades.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images