SportsCleveland Guardians


A brief history on the name change from Cleveland Indians to Guardians

Cleveland Guardians 'C'
Posted at 6:52 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:52:34-04

CLEVELAND — The change to Guardians isn't the first time the Cleveland franchise has changed its name over the years.

It's the fifth name change in the team’s young history. Their namesake Napolin Lajoie was traded away. So, with the help of local writers the team settled on The Indians.

At that time, a very different time, it was thought of as a tribute to former player and Native American Louis Sockalexis.

But as time went on and perspectives changed the drumbeats for change grew louder. For years Native American groups protested the use of the name and its mascot Chief Wahoo inside and outside of Cleveland Municipal Stadium and later Progressive Field. And in 2016 with the team in the midst of a World Series run, the debate boiled over.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning, change was coming.

"After the World Series at an appropriate point in time, Mr. Dolan and I agreed to have a conversation about what should happen with that particular logo moving forward." Manfred said in 2016.

That conversation with Indians ownership led to Chief Wahoo being retired in 2018.

At the time, but never confirmed, it was a speculated requirement for the team to host the 2019 all-star game.

And in December of 2020, the team announced would change its name.

The seven-month process culminating with the roll out of the Cleveland Guardians with help of former Clevelander Tom Hanks and Akron's Black Keys. The new name an ode to the Guardians of Traffic on the Hope Memorial Bridge across from Progressive Field.

The sculptures built with the help of legendary comedian Bob Hope's father, Harry. His son, a huge Indians fan and at one-point partial owner of the team.

A tip of the cap to the past as we look towards a future of Cleveland Guardians baseball.

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.