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Hank Aaron’s death on Friday promoted calls for the Atlanta Braves to change their name in his honor.
Because Aaron was known as “Hammerin’ Hank” when he was hitting dingers during his illustrious career, fans began to call on the Braves to change their name to the Hammers.
An online petition on Change.org began to circulate online after Aaron’s death.
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“The renaming serves two important purposes: 1) It honors an icon who represented our city with grace and dignity for more than half a century, and 2) It removes the stain on the city of having a team name that dishonors Native and Indigenous people, especially given one of the greatest tragedies in American History, the Trail of Tears, began in the region the team calls home,” the petition said.
The petition was nearing 100 signatures as of Saturday evening.
The MLB team has been called upon to change their name – a Native American moniker – in light of the Washington Football Team’s change last summer and the upcoming Cleveland Indians change.
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“There is no better time to take this action given the trend started by The Washington Football Team, the soon-to-be renamed Cleveland Indians, and with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game coming to Atlanta later this year. Please change the name to honor a person and player that Atlantans and Americans can be proud of,” the petition said.
There was no indication that the name would be changed. The Braves have been around for more than 100 years.
“We are so proud of our team’s name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves,” Braves chairman Terry McGuirk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December.
“I would say unequivocally the Atlanta Braves’ name will stay the Atlanta Braves. We come to that position as a result of … a lot of listening to our fans, to the Native American community. We have spent the last six months trying to make sure we are grounded in everything we say going forward, so I would again answer the question: Yes, we will be the Atlanta Braves.”
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The Braves said over the summer they would look into distancing themselves from using the “tomahawk chop” motion and chant used by spectators when fans are allowed back in their stadium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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