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Local author in favor of Cleveland MLB team changing name, has concerns over what this will mean for the Sockalexis legacy

Local author Ed Rice has written extensively about Old Town’s Louis Sockalexis who played for Cleveland and is thought to be the first Native American to break into the pros.
(WABI)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The news that the Cleveland Indians will change their name at the end of the season hits close to home here in Maine.

Local author Ed Rice has written extensively about Old Town’s Louis Sockalexis who played for Cleveland and is thought to be the first Native American to break into the pros.

Rice says that while he favored changing the name, he has concerns over what this will mean for the Sockalexis legacy.

”I believe that it’s a case of, well, let’s let the forgetting begin,” said Ed Rice.

News that the Cleveland Indians will be changing their nickname after this season has Ed Rice worried that the inspiration behind the current nickname will be forgotten.

“There isn’t a single word about Louis Sockalexis or how that nickname came to be,” Rice said.

That was Rice’s reaction to information the MLB Franchise released on why they are changing the name.

He has long fought for Sockalexis to get more credit for his impact in the game.

“You know what there is at Progressive Field to honor Louis? A very tiny little plaque out in the left-field garden area where they celebrate some of their great players, and that’s where they explain in a couple of sentences that, yeah, he inspired the nickname, and he was this great Indian baseball player,” Rice added.

Rice has been advocating for the team to erect a statue outside the stadium for Sockalexis and hopes to build a statue of the player placed somewhere in Maine.

“We can celebrate him, and we don’t have any caveats, we don’t have any issues to raise, and we know that this is an opportunity for the state of Maine, for New England to just embrace a legendary baseball player, and I hope that this is day one of an opportunity to see our campaign to fruition,” Rice said.

“Maine, let’s get behind this, let’s build a monument for Louis, and we won’t have to worry about how Cleveland looks at him anymore,” Rice added.

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