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Teams that Changed their Nickname without Relocating


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54 minutes ago, Darth Brooks said:

Did they fold or did they... transform???!

They all folded.

 

13. Pittsburgh Pirates → Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Pirates joined the NFL in 1933 and were named after the city’s baseball team, who were also the football team’s landlord. In order to differentiate themselves from their landlords the team was sometimes called the Rooneymen, after their owner. In 1940, the franchise became the Steelers in honor of the steel industry. Falling on hard times during World War 2, the club merged for a season on two separate occasions. In 1943, they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles to form the Steagles (Technically Phil-Pitt Combine). The next year they merged with the Chicago Cardinals to form Card-Pitt (Also called Carpet). The Cardinals had gone 0-10 in 1943 and merging with the Steelers didn’t help at all, as the team went 0-10 again. I definitely like the change from Pirates to Steelers. The team was correct to replace the shared Pirates moniker and the Steelers name is very representative of Pittsburgh.

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12. Denver Rockets → Denver Nuggets
The franchise that is now known as the Denver Nuggets got off to a rocky start. The team was a charter member of the American Basketball Association, but was originally intended for Kansas City. After failing to secure an arena the team instead played in Denver. The team was originally named the Larks, but ownership was forced to sell the team by Commissioner George Mikan before the season began because he (Correctly) believed that they were running out of cash. The team was sold to Bill Ringsby, who owned Rocket Truck Lines. The team was rechristened the Rockets before the season. Ringsby sold the team in 1972 as the ABA was attempting to merge with the NBA (The leagues had been attempting to merge in time for the 1971-72 season, but Oscar Robertson filed an antitrust lawsuit that ultimately would delay it to 1976). Since the NBA already had a team named the Rockets (Houston) the owners held a name the team contest before the 1974-75 season. The winning entry was the Nuggets, after the local mining history, as well as the original Denver Nuggets, who played from 1946-1950, the last season of which was spent in the newly created NBA. Obviously the team needed to change its name to join the NBA (Or go the CFL route with the Rough Riders and Roughriders). I also like the return of a historical name, even if the team didn’t exist for very long and over 20 years ago.

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11. Dallas Burn → FC Dallas
One of the original members of MLS, the Dallas Burn were named after the weather and the local oilfields. In 2005, the team rebranded as FC Dallas when they moved into Toyota Stadium in Frisco. The team made a great decision to get rid of the Burn moniker, one of those what-were-they-thinking 90s names. FC Dallas is bland, but it is the only team in MLS to use the format, so you have to give them that.

 

On to the top 10, anyone care to make any predictions?

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10. Detroit Cougars → Detroit Falcons → Detroit Red Wings
In 1926, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to fake Hockeytown. The team acquired most of the players of the Victoria Cougars of the recently folded Western Hockey League. The team decided to adopt the Cougars name for itself. The team spent their first season playing in Windsor because they did not have an arena in Detroit. In 1930, the team changed its name to Falcons as a result of a newspaper promotion (The reasons behind both the Falcons and Victoria Cougars nicknames appear to have been lost to history). In 1932, the team was sold to James E. Norris (Of Norris Division fame) who renamed the team the Red Wings. This was done for two reasons; one was to butter up the auto industry, and the other was to honor the Montreal Winged Wheels he used to play for. I guess I like the change from Cougars to Falcons, but it doesn’t really do much for me. I definitely like the change to Red Wings. The team name became something with local ties instead of a generic bird.

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9. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim → Anaheim Ducks
In 1992, Disney was awarded an NHL expansion franchise to begin play in Anaheim in 1993. The team was named the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim after the Disney movie that had come out the year before. Disney sold the team in 2005 and it was renamed in 2006 because the players didn’t want to be associated with the third movie Disney is not a fan of union activities. The team became the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks is a pretty good name for a team and I am definitely opposed to naming teams after movies and other corporate things, no matter how great they may be.

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14 hours ago, Yee Yee Go 'Stros! said:

I’m guessing the change from .45s to Stros is on here?

 

12 hours ago, QCS said:

I hope the Bobcats -> Hornets is at least top 3, with the Hornets -> Pelicans somewhere near the top as well. 

Yes to all 3. Unlike the NBA, I consider the OG Hornets part of the Pels franchises, not the Bobcats.

 

8. Kansas City Wiz → Kansas City Wizards → Sporting Kansas City
Another one of the original MLS teams makes an appearance and this time it's Kansas City. Despite owner Lamar Hunt’s claim that it was not inspired by The Wizard of Oz, that remains the general consensus for how the team became the Kansas City Wiz. After the season, and under the threat of a lawsuit from electronics chain The Wiz, the team became the Kansas City Wizards. The team rebranded again before the 2011 season, this time becoming Sporting Kansas City. I wrote earlier that Dallas Burn was one of those what-were-they-thinking 90s names, and I can say the same thing about the Kansas City Wiz (Cue the “It Burns when I Wiz” jokes). Of course, the name reminding people of a bodily function is another drawback. I like the change to Wizards because it fixed most of the problems with Wiz, without making a radical change. The change to Sporting, however, I am less sure about. It has a nice ring to it, but, at its core, the name is fundamentally incorrect. The organization only plays soccer and despite the owners’ original intentions, it is not a true Sports Club. I like the change from Wiz to Wizards, but remain neutral on the change to Sporting.

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25 minutes ago, sportsfan7 said:

 

Yes to all 3. Unlike the NBA, I consider the OG Hornets part of the Pels franchises, not the Bobcats.

 

8. Kansas City Wiz → Kansas City Wizards → Sporting Kansas City
Another one of the original MLS teams makes an appearance and this time it's Kansas City. Despite owner Lamar Hunt’s claim that it was not inspired by The Wizard of Oz, that remains the general consensus for how the team became the Kansas City Wiz. After the season, and under the threat of a lawsuit from electronics chain The Wiz, the team became the Kansas City Wizards. The team rebranded again before the 2011 season, this time becoming Sporting Kansas City. I wrote earlier that Dallas Burn was one of those what-were-they-thinking 90s names, and I can say the same thing about the Kansas City Wiz (Cue the “It Burns when I Wiz” jokes). Of course, the name reminding people of a bodily function is another drawback. I like the change to Wizards because it fixed most of the problems with Wiz, without making a radical change. The change to Sporting, however, I am less sure about. It has a nice ring to it, but, at its core, the name is fundamentally incorrect. The organization only plays soccer and despite the owners’ original intentions, it is not a true Sports Club. I like the change from Wiz to Wizards, but remain neutral on the change to Sporting.

I still recall seeing this on SportsCenter.  "The Burn versus the Wiz....ouch."

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45 minutes ago, Ark said:

I hate the Washington Wizards, but I love the Kansas City Wiz. Mostly because of their identity

 

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This is peak early MLS.

 

Speaking of the Washington Wizards, we have there ancestors here, the 6th and final team from Chicago to make an appearance.

 

7. Chicago Packers → Chicago Zephyrs
The Chicago Packers were founded in 1961 as the first true expansion franchise of the NBA, necessitated by Abe Saperstein’s American Basketball League. The team was named after the Union Stock Yards, located next door to their arena. The name was a flop, as the Green Bay Packers are big rivals of the Chicago Bears in the NFL. The team changed their after just one season, to the Chicago Zephyrs, acknowledging the city’s nickname, the Windy City. The team would relocate after the season to Baltimore, becoming the Bullets (More on them in a few slots). The franchise’s two year stint in Chicago was known for poor on-court performance, but they managed to snag back-to-back Rookie of the Years for Walt Bellamy and Terry Dischinger (This feat would be repeated again by the Bullets, the first two times it happened in the NBA). The team definitely needed a name change and I think Zephyrs is an awesome name. The fact that the team left the next year, however, implies that maybe it wasn't the name keeping people away.

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Fitting that today we get to the original Washington team to change a problematic nickname.

 

6. Washington Bullets → Washington Wizards
The Washington Bullets (Known as the Capital Bullets for their first year in DC) got their name from the Baltimore Bullets, who in turn got their name from the defunct Baltimore Bullets, named after the Phoenix Shot Tower/Old Baltimore Shot Tower. In 1995, Bullets owner Abe Pollin announced the team would drop the Bullets moniker over concerns about the names violent connotations. Pollin’s friend Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, had occurred less than a week earlier, and Pollin was concerned about the crime rate in the District (Interestingly enough, the violent crime rate in Washington DC dropped 40% in the 5 years after the announced change and is now down a further 20 percentage points). The team became the Wizards in 1997. However, this name was not without controversy, both over concerns about the KKK’s use of the title Grand Wizard and the name's ties to black magic and the occult. Even though I think Wizards is a swing and a miss, it was still one of the better options among their final five (Dragons, Stallions, Express, and Sea Dogs were the others. Personally, I would’ve preferred Sea Dogs). Another problem is that they were beaten to the nickname by the Kansas City Wizards. I can’t find an actual date for Kansas City’s rebrand, but it had happened by March 29, 1997. The Washington Wizards brand was unveiled on May 15, 1997. The team grades out so high because it had to change, but I can’t help but think they chose the wrong name.

 

Also, its on to the top 5. Anyone have any predictions?

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1 hour ago, ManillaToad said:

Astros at #1

Not quite

 

5. Houston Colt .45s → Houston Astros
When the National League expanded to Houston for the 1962 season, ownership held a name the team contest, with the winning submission being the Colt .45s. The Colt .45 is a revolver known for its use in the American West. Before moving into Harris County Domed Stadium (Soon to be dubbed the Astrodome), the team was rebranded as the Astros. The team acquired the new name from Houston’s role in the Space Race, the Manned Spacecraft Center (Today the Johnson Space Center) had just opened. I like this name change because it got rid of a corporate identity and replaced it with something that was trendy, yet classic. It doesn’t hurt that they were replacing a name associated with violence, even if it was the reason for the change.

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Let me preface this by saying there is very little information about these changes. Neither MLB.com nor the mothership mention the changes and Wikipedia contradicts themselves, first saying that they were the A's from 1968-86, but later on saying that it was 1972-81. Regardless, I am fairly certain that the change was present over the 72-81 time period.

 

4. Oakland Athletics → Oakland A’s → Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics changed their nickname in time for the 1972 season, shortening it to A’s, which had been used unofficially since the dawn of the franchise. Owner Charles Finley thought that people associated the Athletics moniker with Philadelphia Athletics legend, as well as former owner and manager, Connie Mack, so he changed the name in hopes that people would associate him with A’s in the same way. As part of his divorce, Charlie O. was forced to sell the team before the 1981 season and the new group restored the Athletics moniker. In all honesty, these barely register as changes, since the team has been known as the A’s and Athletics for their entire history. Neither of the changes bother me very much. However, it is worth pointing out that ⅓ (3 out of 9) of the franchises World Series came in the 9 year period that the team was officially the Oakland A’s (They won 5 in Philly and one as the Oakland Athletics), but the Commissioner’s Trophy refers to them as the Oakland Athletics for all 3.

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