Cleveland Indians announce new name; will become Cleveland Guardians

CLEVELAND — Officials with the Cleveland Indians on Friday announced that the team has a new name: the Cleveland Guardians.

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The announcement came in a video narrated by Tom Hanks and posted Friday morning on social media. The name change will go into effect beginning with the 2022 Major League Baseball season, team owner Paul Dolan said.

Team officials announced last summer that they were reviewing the Cleveland Indians’ moniker as civil unrest nationwide brought increased scrutiny to the name. Following discussions that included civic leaders, fans, Native American communities and others, officials confirmed in December that the team name would change after the 2021 season.

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The organization spent most of the past year whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago. But the process quickly accelerated and the club landed on Guardians.

In a letter to fans posted online Friday, Dolan said officials focused on finding a name that could be used “to represent Cleveland Baseball for the next 100-plus years” while also reflecting “the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

“Guardians embodies those defining attributes while drawing upon the iconic Guardians of Traffic proudly standing just outside Progressive Field on the Hope Memorial Bridge,” Dolan wrote. “It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we stand for each other while defending our Cleveland baseball family.”

The team, which was a charter member of the American League, has been known as the Indians since 1915, according to Baseball-Reference. 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.