Friday, June 4, 2010

Nicknames after franchise move

There was a discussion on the comments section of the Uniwatch blog that touched on teams changing or keeping nicknames when they move to a new city.

I started to compile the various moves I could think of in the major sports.

In MLB by my count there have been 9 teams that have moved a total of 11 times. Five have changed the nickname (Brewers, Nationals, Orioles, Twins and Rangers) and 4 (6) have retained (Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Athletics) the previous name.

Looking at the individual changes:
  • Seattle Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers - The Pilots only existed one season, why not change the name to something more fitting in Milwaukee - Good Choice
  • Montreal Expos to Washington Nationals - Expos drew their name from the 1967 World Exposition; there is already too much to expose in DC so the name change is good.
  • St. Louis Browns to Baltimore Orioles - The Browns we almost always the worst team in the AL; Although Baltimore Browns would have kept alliteration, I think the change to the aesthetically pleasing Oriole is a good choice.
  • Washington Senators to the Minnesota Twins and the 2nd creation of the Senators to the Texas Rangers - Senators really only makes sense for DC, so change makes sense. Twins is a compromise to St. Paul to so they aren't just Minneapolis's team. Rangers works for Texas - Interesting that these two both took regional names instead of city names.


  • Brooklyn (Trolley) Dodgers to LA (Traffic) Dodgers? Would have been an opportunity to change
  • NY Giants to SF Giants - No problem with me here
  • Phily to KC to Oakland Athletics - Love the Elephant on the baseball - great keep
  • Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta Braves - Alliteration in Boston to ?? in Milwaukee and Atlanta - maybe should have been a change?

In the NFL I counted 11 teams (14 total) moving cities. Six (Rams, Redskins, Cardinals, Chargers, Raiders and Colts) kept the nickname, four (Lions, Chiefs, Ravens and Titans) changed immediately and one kept the previous name for a short time then changed (Bears).

  • Rams make just a little sense in LA and St. Louis as they made in Cleveland - so I think this would have been a chance to change.
  • Redskins - equally offensive in Boston and DC - good chance for a change
  • Cardinals - Were the original Chicago Cardinals taking advantage of a C-C naming? It worked in St. Louis to match the baseball team, really doesn't make sense in Arizona, especially when they were the Phoenix Cardinals.
  • Chargers and Raiders were moves just up and down the coast of California, and since they both have great logos, I can't blame them for keeping them.
  • Colts - see below


  • Portsmouth Spartans to Detroit Lions (probably some other nicknames in between too) - Obviously they don;t want to be Spartans - even though the Aggies were long from changing their name - Great move
  • Dallas Texans to KC Chiefs - well KC Texans wouldn't work at all so Win
  • Houston Oilers to Tennessee Titans - I think a change was needed no Oilers in Tennesse
  • Decatur Staleys to Chicago Staleys to Chicago Bears - It's Papa Bear not Papa Staley - Win

Colts/Ravens/Browns - I think if they had known Baltimore was going to steal the Browns from Cleveland in a few years, it would have been great to keep the Colts in Baltimore, Keep the Browns in Cleveland and let Indianapolis become the Ravens -although that makes no sense there. How about the Indy Racers?


Six total moves. (I'm not sure what happened with SF Seals/Cleveland Barons - did the NHL contract?) Four changes (Avalanche, Coyotes, Devils and Hurricanes) one keeper (Flames) and one almost keeper (Stars)

  • Quebec Nordiques to Colorado Avalanche - obvious need for change
  • Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix Coyotes - not really needing a change, but Coyotes works in the desert SW
  • Colorado Rockies to NJ Devils - again NJ Rockies makes no sense, so good change
  • Hartford Whalers to Carolina Hurricanes - Not much Whaling in the Carolinas - Win
  • Atlanta to Calgary Flames - Atlanta Flames - great name, Calgary Flames? Maybe there was a big fire there I don't know about? Should have changed to Roughriders.
  • Minnesota North Stars to Dallas Stars - Obviously needed to drop the North, ties into Cowboys Iconic logo - Win

NBA has lots of changes. Fourteen teams making eighteenish moves. 5 names changes in the bunch (some on the 2nd move).

  • Syracuse Nationals to Phily 76ers - I like it
  • Cincinnati Royals to KC-Omaha/KC/Sacramento Kings - Kept the royalty of the name, not sure why they changed, especially when you consider the MLB team became the KC Royals. Maybe their was a minor league baseball presence they wanted to avoid?
  • Seattle SuperSonics to OK City Thunder. Seattle the home of Boeing, OK City the home of storms? Win
  • Buffalo Braves to SD/LA Clippers - Love the original SD Clippers logo so win
  • Ft Wayne to Detroit Pistons - originally the Zollner Pistons (Brand Name?) but certainly the auto industry works in Detroit.
  • Minneapolis to LA Lakers - fail! From the land of 10,000 lakes to the land that drains lakes in other states.
  • Baltimore to Washington Bullets (then Wizards) - should have thought long ago about dropping the violent name, although the "ll" looking like arms grabbing a rebound in the logo is tough to drop.
  • NY to NJ Nets - who cares?
  • St. Louis to Atlanta Hawks - fine
  • Vancouver to Memphis Grizzles - Awful see below
  • New Orleans to Utah Jazz - Awful see below
  • Philadelphia to SF/GS Warriors - Fine
  • SD to Houston Rockets - Makes much more sense in Houston, why were they the Rockets in SD?
  • Charlotte to New Orleans Hornets - fine except, why not let Utah be the Grizzles and have New Orleans and Memphis fight is out for the name Jazz with the loser becoming the Hornets? Although maybe Memphis could just be the Blues and NO the Jazz.

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