Hank Aaron’s death marks the passing of one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball, and now some fans are hoping to cement his legacy by changing Atlanta’s problematic team name from the Braves to the Hammers, after Aaron's nickname, "Hammerin' Hank."
Atlanta teams have already come out to honor the baseball great. The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United and Georgia Tech’s football team have all announced they will retire Aarons’ number, 44, in the 2021 season.
According to the Associated Press, a petition on social media is now urging the Atlanta Braves, where “The Hammer” spent nearly his entire 23-year career, to further honor Aaron by changing their name to the Atlanta Hammers.
“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 Braves have resisted changing their name, arguing that “Braves” is meant as a tribute to Native Americans and not as a slur. The team did try to curtail fans’ use of the “Tomahawk Chop” cheer by not distributing the team’s iconic red foam tomahawks before the 2019 playoffs.
In recent months, some fans have come up with a possible new logo that replaces Atlanta’s tomahawk logo with a similar-looking hammer.