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Indianapolis Indians 11

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2011 April 9

A casual baseball fan could be forgiven for assuming that the Indianapolis Indians are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. Why else, after all, would they be called the Indians? But the casual fan would be wrong: Indianapolis is currently affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. So why the name? Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it might have something to do with the first six letters in the name of the city.

I'm glad that approach to naming teams hasn't spread very far. It could lead to come unfortunate names. "Boston Bosses" wouldn't be so bad. "Oklahoma City Oaks" would be minimally acceptable. But I'm glad we don't live in a world where we have teams like the "Kansas City Cans" and the "Baltimore Balls". "Detroit Debts" might be fitting, but I think we're better off with them being called the "Tigers". And can you imagine a city like Philadelphia using that approach? That would be absolutely ridiculous. I can't imagine a worse name than if Philadelphia did something like this. Can you?

This team has been using the name "Indianapolis Indians" since 1902, by the way. That's thirteen years before Cleveland's team started calling themselves the Indians. In 1902, the Cleveland team was still calling itself the Cleveland Bluebirds. The next year the Bluebirds changed their name to the Cleveland Naps. I can understand thinking that songbirds were not the manliest thing to be named after (although it doesn't seem to have bothered people in St. Louis or Baltimore), but how anyone thought "Naps" was an improvement is beyond me. In any case, in 1915 the Cleveland team changed their name to the Indians. I'm not sure if the Indianapolis team could have stopped the Cleveland team if they had wanted to, but I imagine they probably felt sorry for the Clevelanders. They probably figured that if the best Cleveland could come up with without stealing a name from another city was "Naps", then perhaps it was best to take pity on them and let them steal it. They were probably afraid they'd do something like the Cleveland Cleves.

The Indianapolis Indians' logo is, I have to say, a bit odd. But it's odd in a good way. I have no idea if it looks anything like art from any of the nations that inhabited Indiana, but I don't have any reason to believe it doesn't. More importantly, it's not some horribly derogatory caricature of an Indian like, say, Cleveland's logo. And it just plain looks cool. Furthermore, it's distinct; I can't think of another team whose logo is shaped like an eight-pointed star.

Some people, no doubt, would like to see Indianapolis' baseball team change its name, along with Cleveland's baseball team, Washington's football team, Chicago's hockey team, and so forth. That's an argument I prefer to stay out of. But I will say that if you are going to use Native American imagery in your sports team's name, this is the way to do it.

Final Score: 11 points.
Penalties: Alliteration (egregious), 11 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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