The Cleveland Indians reintroduced themselves as the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, thanks to a little help from Tom Hanks. The Hollywood star shared a video announcing the name change, which will take place after the 2021 season, because the original MLB team nickname has offended many Native Americans for years.
The announcement features music from The Black Keys, which makes sense considering the band is from Akron, Ohio. But why did Hanks, who was born and raised in California, express the two-minute love letter to Cleveland?
The actor has a special relationship with the city because he credits the time spent there to changing his life. In the late 1970s, Hanks worked for a few years at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. It was there that he got his Actors Equity Card.
“I had never been out of California before I landed the job in Cleveland,” Hanks wrote in a 2019 essay for AARP. It was there that he met longtime friends George Maguire and Michael John McGann.
“They were… the kind of actor I wanted to be – and the kind of human that I hoped to become,” he said. At the end of the season, Maguire and McGann convinced Hanks to pursue his acting dream in New York City, despite the “West Coast comforts” calling the eventual Oscar winner home.
“You wouldn’t read those words any other way,” Hanks explained.
The 65-year-old has given back to the city for years, whether it’s helping to restore the Hanna Theater or trying to boost Cleveland’s film and television industry. Now, the beloved actor is hoping to sprinkle some of his good karma on the Cleveland Guardians – and it might work just fine.
“Hello, I’m Tom Hanks. The Cleveland Indian property has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing part of mine,” one person said. tweeted.
“Really respect Indians who call the big guns. A LOT harder to be crazy about a new name if Tom Hanks announces it,” a Barstool Sports reporter added.