Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sock a what?: The Original Cleveland "Indian"

First, go here and grab a team in the June CCC/SMG Break. Seriously. The May break was sweet and we're looking for more solid pulls next month.

As for the post, did you know about the story that the Cleveland Indians might be named after a real guy? Seriously, look it up.
It goes back to the late 1800s and an amazing start by a rookie for the Cleveland Spiders, Louis Sockalexis. Sockalexis didn't stick (check out the reasons) and was out of the game almost as soon as he came into it. Supposedly the Naps (after Nap Lajoie) became the Indians to honor Sockalexis in the years after his death, but there is little to no documentary evidence from the 1910s to support the connection. Instead the Sockalexis as honored by the "Indians" name seems to be of more recent vintage for who knows what reasons (Ward Churchill and Robert Berkhofer might have a few things to say on the subject). At any rate it seems to be generally agreed that Sockalexis was among the first if not the first Native American ballplayer in the bigs, but the Topps T205 was his first card. 

Have a good one everybody and a good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!


  1. Yes, it is a widely held belief among Tribe fans that the Indians were named after Sockalexis. This myth is even stated as the origin on the Indians website. It is the main thing pointed to by Indians fans while they are trying to defend the largely indefensible Chief Wahoo mascot.

    While it is a nice story, it just ain't true.

  2. You beat me to it Motherscratcher! You are still reading.