Attack Of The Name Game (Part One)

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: July 23, 2008

CALIFORNIA — These are the teams that have moved in the last 40 years

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Sacramento Kings

GoldenState Warriors

Los Angeles. Lakers

Los Angeles. Clippers

New Jersey Nets

Utah Jazz

Philadelphia 76ers

Detroit Pistons

Atlanta Hawks

Memphis Grizzlies

New Orleans Hornets

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

Cincinna ti, K.C.


Minneapolis-St. Paul

Buffalo Braves

New York/Long Island

New Orleans

Syracuse, N.Y. Nationals

Fort Wayne, Indiana

St. Louis

Vancouver, Canada


San Diego

Buffalo, San Diego

National Hockey League NHL)

Calgary Flames

Phoenix Coyotes

Carolina Hurricanes

Dallas Stars

Cleveland Barons

New Jersey Devils

Colorado Avalanche


Winnipeg Jets

Hartford Whalers

Minnesota North Stars

Ca. Golden Seals

Colorado Rockies

Quebec Nordiques

Major League Baseball (MLB)

Baltimore Orioles

Oakland Athletes

San Francisco Giants

Los Ang. Dodgers

Minnesota Twins

Texas Rangers

Atlanta Braves

Milwaukee Brewers

St. Louis Browns

Philad elphia, Kansas City

New York City


Washing ton, D.C. Senators 1

Washington, D.C. Senators 2

Boston, Milwaukee

Seattle Pilots

National Football League (NFL)

St. Louis Rams

Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans

Kansas City Chiefs

Arizona Cardinals


Cleveland Browns


Houston Oilers

Dallas Texans

Chicago, St. Louis

The owner of any professional sports team has the right to move his/her team to whatever city he/she wishes but the owner must forgo the name and mascot of that team. The name could be very silly in the new place of residence.

The sports industry must begin to take this issue when re-locating sports franchises. The present relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City would be a case in point for future franchises moves to investigate.

Last month the Sonics of the NBA moved to Oklahoma City, but the City of Seattle kept the name Supersonics in the Great northwest. This is how it supposed to be.

Please don’t carry the name and mascot with you, when a professional team relocates it should leave the name and mascot behind not many teams have done this and they appear impractical now.

Many sport teams have moved and in the future many more will relocate. What the Sonics made very clear is that cities are getting tired of being kidnapped, tired of paying for areas, stadiums, and ball parks.

Cities are tired of getting their identity stolen too. Not only that but they are also tired of paying these salaries of high priced ball players with high ticket prices. These citizens get a professional team with a name that does not reflect the city’s image or history.

These same citizens are tired of not getting city services but receiving new expensive ball parks in which they can’t even enter because the tickets prices are too prohibitive for their budgets.

If you are an owner and can afford a team then you should be able to build your own arena, ballpark, or stadium. This owner should be sensitive to which they are relocating their franchise.

Cities can build these monsters but these same cities can’t build a decent transportation system, or low income housing this year’s classic example is New York City.

Read fellow BASN writer, Diane Grassi, article series titled, “MLB Goes to Harlem Seeking Welfare” where she lays out the implications of New York City building two stadiums for the Mets and Yankees at the same time.

Displacing historic ethic neighborhoods in the Bronx, and Queens, two boroughs of New York City. Americans domestic priorities are mixed up, just like our national priorities are mixed up

But let’s look back on history and the names of current teams that have moved with and without their original names and mascot.

Let’s start with the star struck Montréal Expos, organized in 1969-2005. It was the first Major League Baseball team outside of the United States. This team played in old band box stadium, (Jarry Park) before moving to cavernous Olympic Stadium in 1977.

My favorite player was John Boccabella, their All-Star catcher for many years.

The Expos played in Canada until 2006 moving across the border to our nation’s capitol Washington, DC. With sagging attendance record, the team became the farm team for Major League Baseball.

The Expos could not afford to keep players playing north of the border. Players also did not want to pay taxes in both Canada and the United States. Montreal became the modern day St. Louis Browns.

They traded way All-Stars on a regular basis, with players like Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Vladimir Guerrero. The 1994 team almost won the National League Eastern Division.

The Expos were six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves when the baseball strike ended that season. That was the end of the Montreal Expos. The team just fell apart and waited for the move out of Montreal.

This team played their last season-splitting home games in both Puerto Rico and Canada. Major League Baseball took over the team in 2004 and its finances because the owner could not continue.

The Washington D.C area is trying for the third time to have a baseball team in their city. The Washington Nationals were the Montreal Expos. This team should have been named the Washington Grays in tribute to the African American population and the old Negro Leagues.

The first Washington Senators team went to St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota to become the Twins in 1958. The second Washington Senators team moved to Arlington, Texas in 1972 becoming the Texas Rangers.

The third and hopefully final team had a naming contest and the city was considering naming this team the Senators again. That idea did not go over with the citizens of Washington, or officials at Major League Baseball.

The fact that Washington acquired their third team in 50 years can be attributed to our nation’s powerful politicians. They were tired of traveling the 45-minute ride to CamdenYards in Baltimore to see a Major League Baseball game.

If this city of Washington ever loses this team they should never be honored with another team.

The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the year of my birth 1953. This team would make one more move to Atlanta, Georgia in 1966. Taking both the name and the mascot with them.

The Braves have made efforts to not offend Native American Indians by taking off their logo on uniforms and other Atlanta Braves in 2007-2008.

In 1954, one year later the St. Louis Browns would head east and change its name and logo.The Browns became the Baltimore Orioles. The Browns were the first unofficial farm team for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox because they could not afford their talented young players.

Three baseball teams would travel east to west in the late 50’s: the Philadelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Dodgers, and New York Giants.

The Athletics or A’s would land in Kansas City, Missouri in 1955 and then would move again to Northern California in 1968. The A’s would change the team’s colors after maverick owner Charlie O. Finley would dress them in green and gold not the blue and white uniforms which they had worn for so many years in Philadelphia.

Finley would also put white cleats on them. The Oakland A’s were the first team to have three different uniforms.

The Giants and Dodgers both moved to the California coast. Rivalry intact, the Giants went north to San Francisco, California while the Dodgers went south to Los Angeles, California.

Both teams took their logos and mascots with them. The Dodgers had a meaning in Brooklyn but what did it mean in Southern California? Not many people were dodging trolley cars in the City of Angels.

The Seattle Pilots only stayed in the great northwest for one year 1970-1971; a record for the shortest of any major league franchise surviving. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1972 and replace the lost and beloved Braves.

The Milwaukee Brewers have been in the Midwest ever since. The Pilots had a different type of uniform with a captain’s military braid on their caps. Most American males thought that was cool.

Their uniform became an instant classic once they moved to Milwaukee. The Brewers changed the colors too. This is the perfect name and mascot for this team because of the local beer industry.

If they ever relocate they should leave the mascot and logo behind just as the Pilots 40 years earlier.

NEXT: A look at NBA, NHL, and NFL changes. For a look at Diane Grassi’s aforementioned article, check the BASN archives or log on to