Last week, as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth saw their runs as racist caricatures and corporate mascots come to an end, calls began to ring out about a name closer to home.
Chicago Tribune columnist and native Texan Steve Chapman started the drumbeat. It's time, Chapman said, for the Texas Rangers — the local baseball club, not the law enforcement agency — to change its name.
Chapman's case is pretty simple. Given the Rangers' early history — as outlined in a new book, Cult of Glory, by historian Doug Swanson — as racist enforcers against Mexicans and Mexican Americans, the baseball club should move on from the name, just like Dallas moved on from the Ranger statue at Love Field, which was removed earlier this month.
There's still plenty of time for debate over the potential name change, but we figured we'd get out ahead of the pack.
Here are 10 better names for the Rangers (Note: These are all at least somewhat serious. Please feel free to make the obvious jokes in the comments.):
1. The Eagles — An homage to Dallas' mid-20th century minor league team of the same name, rechristening the Rangers as the Eagles would honor local baseball history. The chance to have trained eagles put on a show at the stadium shouldn't be discounted. Neither should the potential to annoy Philadelphia football fans.
2. The Vaqueros — In a Facebook thread about a potential change, former Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston suggested the Vaqueros, and it makes sense. The former-Rangers could maintain their pseudo-Western vibe and honor a group of Texans who are just as much a part of the state's mythos as the Rangers. Here's betting Vaqueros merchandise would sell pretty well, too.
3. The Bronchos — How about going back more than 100 years in Texas baseball history and naming the club after the San Antonio Black Bronchos, who competed in various black baseball leagues in the first decade of the 20th century? Hall-of-Famer Smokey Joe Williams got his start with the Bronchos, and that's good enough for us.
4. The Express — Give the fanboys what they want and name the team after Texas' very own baseball Jesus, Nolan Ryan. Round Rock's Triple-A team might complain a little, but they'll get over it.
5. The Gamblers — Evocative of Texas, its history and Rangers great Kenny Rogers. Major League Baseball's stuffier higher-ups might not care for it, though.
6. The Spurs — Prior to the Rangers taking over what was then called Turnpike Stadium in 1972, it was occupied by the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, a Double-A club. No harm in returning to the name the team should've stuck with in the first place.
7. The Cats — If the franchise wanted to look toward Tarrant County rather than Dallas, it could adopt the moniker of Fort Worth's long-running minor league team. Think of all the cat-themed promotions.
8. The Senators — Before the Rangers were the Rangers, they were the Washington Senators. While the name might appear to make more sense for the nation's capital than Texas at first, there are plenty of ways to layer a Texas motif on the name. The team could run promotions that only happen once every two years and replace the dot race with a sprint between runners dressed like some of the state's most prominent senators. How sweet would it be to see Lyndon Johnson cheat Ted Cruz out of first place for the 12th time in a row?
9. The Armadillos — Armadillos are cool looking, and a 6-foot tall one might scare the hell out of all the kids at the park. It's a win-win. (It's true that armadillos are also the only animals besides humans known to carry leprosy, according to Smithsonian Magazine, but then we also suggested The Senators.)
10. The Oilers — The big hurdle here is ignoring the Houston stink, but Dallas is oil country, too. As bad as they frequently were, the Oilers' blue jerseys and oil-derrick logo were always good looking.
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