Why is the Cleveland baseball team called the Indians?

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From 1903-1914, the Indians were called the “Naps,” named after player-manager Napoleon Lajoie. In 1915, Lajoie left to play in Philadelphia so the team needed a new name. Baseball writers made the decision on renaming the team to the Indians.

Chief Wahoo
Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo

Controversy usually surrounds sports teams named after Native Americans. This should not be the case for the team because the Indians are named after one of its greatest players from the 1890s. He was Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian so respected, that in 1914, one year after his passing, Cleveland took the name “Indians” to commemorate him.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. Entertainment icon Bob Hope was a part-owner of the Indians for many years, starting in 1946.
  2. The 1989 movie, “Major League,” about the Cleveland Indians was not actually filmed in Cleveland. It was filmed in Milwaukee County Stadium.
  3. In 1994, current Indians manager Terry Francona was the manager for the White Sox Double-A Birmingham Barons team when Michael Jordan played there.
INTERESTING VIDEO

INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. Cleveland.com – Why are the Cleveland Indians called the Indians?
  2. MLB.com – Timeline
  3. Chicago Tribune – 10 things to know about the Cleveland Indians

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