CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Cleveland Indians are now the Guardians.
The team announced the new name Friday in a video narrated by Tom Hanks highlighting the history of Cleveland. Guardians is a nod to the statues along the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge.
The organization announced in December that it would be changing its name for the first time since 1915 after years of controversy and recent pressure from Major League Baseball.
Over the last several months, the Indians met with fans and community leaders, resulting in a list of nearly 1,200 potential names.
The club said it had three main themes for a new name: preserving Cleveland baseball history, uniting the community and connecting to the city of Cleveland.
Team owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the name.
Dolan is expected to provide more details on the choice and background on the change at a news conference at Progressive Field before the Indians host the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 2018, the Indians stopped wearing the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps. However, the team continues to sell merchandise bearing the smiling, red-faced caricature that was protested for decades by Native American groups.
The name change has sparked lively debate among the city’s passionate sports fans. Other names, including the Spiders, which is what the team was once called, were pushed by supporters on social media platforms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.