CLEVELAND, Ohio (NewsNation Now) — The Cleveland Indians won their last home game before becoming the Guardians, beating the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Monday to close a run that started in 1915 and will continue next season with a new identity.
Amed Rosario homered and Cal Quantrill pitched six strong innings to delight a Progressive Field crowd of 13,121 that came to see their team as the Indians play one last time. Rosario finished with four hits and three RBIs.
Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer homered off his brother, Kansas City reliever Kyle Zimmer, in the eighth.
Salvador Perez drove in two runs for the Royals.
The home finale was the club’s final game in Cleveland as the Indians, ending a 106-year run in a city where the name will forever be attached to those of legendary players such as Bob Feller, Larry Doby and Jim Thome.
Cleveland won two World Series (1920 and 1948) as the Indians, and came close to winning it all in 1995, 1997 and 2016, only to twice lose in heartbreaking fashion. Now, baseball’s longest current title drought carries on under a new name.
Monday’s matinee was a makeup from a rainout last week, pushing the Indians’ sendoff to a previously scheduled off day.
The adjustment allowed fans who wouldn’t have otherwise attended to catch history, and there were lines at the ballpark’s ticket office — an uncommon sight for a team that has struggled with attendance.
Ed Sosinski of Wickliffe, Ohio, nabbed a pair of seats in the upper deck, partly as a birthday present for his wife, Michelle, and also to close a chapter.
“I was here for their first exhibition game in 1994, and I thought it was appropriate to come for the last game as Indians,” he said. “I had no excuse not to come.”
Once the Indians play their 2021 finale in Texas on Oct. 3, there will be a transition period before the name officially changes to Guardians, a moniker selected from over 1,000 entries submitted during a renaming process.
The new name is a nod to the Guardians of Traffic, which stands at either end of the Hope Memorial Bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga River and leads to downtown and Progressive Field.
Majority Owner Paul Dolan acknowledged the change will be hard for some fans. But, when announcing the change, he noted, he too has a lifetime of memories with the Cleveland Indians. Dolan said the name change was not about being politically correct but doing what was right. He also said the name reflects the resiliency and hometown pride Cleveland is known for.
Branding changes and changes to Progressive Field are set to occur during the offseason, including removing the Indians script sign inside the stadium.
The Indians’ last game led to a late run on merchandise.
On Sunday, prices in the team shop were further slashed as fans bought T-shirts, caps — anything with Indians on it.
“It’s kind of cleared out,” said Gray Cooper, a high school English teacher from Lakewood, Ohio. “I’ve got enough Indians stuff that I probably won’t be wearing anymore.”
New Cleveland Guardians merchandise is expected to be available sometime in January.
Check out choice photos from the game below:
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WJW contributed to this report.