“Atlanta HAMMERS”? Why Some Braves Fans Want This to Become Their New Team Name

An online petition is calling on the MLB’s Atlanta Braves to rename themselves the “Atlanta Hammers.”

The petition was started by a man named Charles Shepard and is addressed to franchise owner Liberty Media Corporation and chairman Terry McGuirk. Renaming the Braves “the Hammers” serves two purposes according to Shepard: 1) honoring Hank Aaron, the baseball legend who spent the vast majority of his career with the Braves and passed away on Friday, and 2) removing “the stain on the city [for] having a team name that dishonors Native and Indigenous people.”

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 concludes.

Shepard’s petition only has 871 signatures as of Monday afternoon, a far cry from his hope of getting hundreds of thousands. “Truist Park, the team’s home stadium, has 41,129 seats. Let’s fill ’em with signatures several times over!” he declared.

Hank Aaron is widely renowned among the baseball community. Born in 1930s Alabama, he briefly played in the Negro American League before beginning his major league career with the Atlanta Braves. He is considered one of the all-time great hitters, and his record of 755 home runs stood for 33 years before being broken by Barry Bonds. But because of Bonds’ alleged steroid use, some still consider Aaron to be the true home run king.

The “Hammers,” needless to say, is a terrible name for a sports team. Plus the Braves have previously been resolute in refusing to change their name. Like the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, the Braves say it honors, not disparages, Native Americans.

Anything can happen, however. The erstwhile Washington Redskins—now the Washington Football Team—previously said multiple times they wouldn’t change their name either. The Braves have also attempted to minimize symbols of its nickname in the past; one such attempt involved removing a “Chop On” sign near the entrance to their ballpark last July.

But even if they do decide to bow to the mob and change their name, I wouldn’t put money on it being the “Hammers.”