Athletics

Report: '21 is last year Cleveland plays A's with current name

Athletics

May 22, 2019 was the last time the A's played the Cleveland Indians, and it might be one of the last times Oakland played Cleveland using that moniker.

Cleveland reportedly has decided to change its nickname, The New York Times' David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt reported Sunday, citing three people familiar with the decision. The franchise could announce its new moniker as soon as this week, and one source told The Times that Cleveland plans to continue using the name on its uniforms in 2021 before stopping the following season.

Since 1915, Cleveland's baseball team has been nicknamed the Indians, a term Christopher Columbus first used to refer to Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere under the mistaken belief he landed in India. Until the 2019 season, the team used logos bearing the grinning "Chief Wahoo," a racist caricature of an Indigenous man. Cleveland faced criticism for decades for the use of the logo and the name, including annual Opening Day protests from Native American groups. 

The name change comes just over five months after Washington's NFL franchise announced it would retire the R-word moniker amid mounting corporate pressure to change the name. First Peoples Worldwide and the Investors and Indigenous Peoples Working Group sent letters signed by investors and firms worth more than $600 million combined calling on Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo. to terminate their relationships with the team if it didn't change the name.

 

On July 13, just over a month after a Black man named George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody and sparked global protests and conversation about race, the team changed its name to the Washington Football Team.

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Cleveland was nicknamed the Bluebirds -- shortened to Blues -- when, along with the then-Philadelphia Athletics and six other teams, it helped found the American League. The A's still played in Philadelphia when the franchise last played against Cleveland under a different nickname, beating the Naps 14-3 on Sept. 22, 1914.

Oakland and Cleveland didn't play against one another during the shortened 2020 season, as MLB restricted travel within teams' divisions and their interleague counterparts due to the coronavirus pandemic. The A's are scheduled to host Cleveland in a three-game series beginning July 16, with a trip to Cleveland set for Aug. 10 through 12.

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