Five new name ideas for the Cleveland Indians

Feb 28, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Detailed view of the Chief Wahoo logo on a Cleveland Indians uniform during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Detailed view of the Chief Wahoo logo on a Cleveland Indians uniform during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Buckeyes of 1947 pose for a portrait in League Park in Cleveland. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
The Cleveland Buckeyes of 1947 pose for a portrait in League Park in Cleveland. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

Under pressure, the Cleveland Indians are reportedly poised for a name change

The mounting pressure on the Cleveland Indians to change their team name now appears certain to come to fruition either this coming season or the following one. Numerous media sources are reporting that Indians club officials have decided for marketing reasons to announce their commitment to a change as early as this week.

While the Indians have been under pressure for decades to drop the Indians nickname, a few years ago took what they hoped was a conciliatory step of removing Chief Wahoo as their image. When the NFL team previously known as the Washington Redskins announced its commitment to a name change last season, the pressure on the Indians intensified.

The issue now becomes: What should a new nickname be? A case could be made for several approaches.

Cleveland Indians management could opt to do what teams have occasionally done in similar circumstances – run a fan contest. In fact, that’s how the Indians supposedly got their name more than 100 years ago. Back in 1915, when star infielder Napoleon Lajoie retired, the local newspaper supposedly ran a contest in which the name “Indians” was chosen to honor Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian and former star for the team.

Some have since questioned the legitimacy of that rationale for selecting “Indians” as the new name of the team that to that point had been known as the “Naps” in honor of the departed Lajoie.

Team officials could also reach even deeper into their city’s culture or baseball history. That approach would provide several options, which will be explored in greater detail below.