Help Rename the Lynchburg Hillcats

At the end of May, the Cleveland Indians’ Class-A affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats, announced that the team was looking for a new moniker and the results are in. Fans were able to submit recommendations and explanations for their new nickname options beginning on May 25.

That process is complete and a selection committee for the club has determined its six candidates for Lynchburg’s new name, to be put in place prior to the 2017 season. The organization is now reaching out to fans again to find the name that best captures the heritage and baseball tradition of the Lynchburg community. Those interested in participating can cast their vote on the Hillcats website now through Tuesday, July 19, at 5:00 PM ET.

In alphabetical order, the options are as follows:

Lynchburg Derechos – a term more familiar to the locals of the Lynchburg area, derechos are defined as lines of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms/thunderstorms that travel great distances and produce high winds. The name would be symbolic of the power and strength required of the players working towards the Majors.

Lynchburg Doves – the Doves name honors the faith-based history of the Lynchburg community while also paying tribute to the hunting culture of the area.

Lynchburg Hillcats – the tried and true. The Hillcats name has honored the seven hills of the Lynchburg area and would honor the baseball history of the region.

Lynchburg Lamb Chops – also selected to celebrate Lynchburg’s faith-based heritage, the name combines the servant/spirit nature of the community with the fun of minor league baseball.

Lynchburg Love Apples – an homage to the Lynchburg legend that Thomas Jefferson was the first to bite into a tomato to prove that they were not poisonous. Love apple was an old term used for tomato, with uncertain origins and theories surrounding how the name was given to the red fruit, once associated with some poisonous plants and others still that were claimed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Lynchburg River Runners – a name to give tribute to the founder of Lynchburg, John Lynch, and his efforts to run goods across the James River.

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The Hillcats have been with the Indians organization for a season and a half, becoming an affiliate prior to the 2015 season. The Indians had previously been linked with the Class-A Carolina Mudcats.

The Lynchburg club has previously used the name of their parent affiliate as its nickname, while also using “Hillcats” when representing the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Atlanta organizations.

The Hillcats are certainly not alone in looking for a new name, as both the Binghamton Mets of the Double-A level and New Orleans Zephyrs of Triple-A have taken suggestions for new names for 2017. Included in the fans’ responses to the Mets’ recommendation process were “Stud Muffins”, “Bullheads”, “Gobblers”, “Rocking Horses”, “Rumble Ponies”, and “Timber Jockeys”, as minor league teams oftentimes look towards the silly, unique, and highly marketable nicknames for branding purposes.

Last year, the New Britain Rock Cats (of the Double-A Eastern League) became the Hartford Yard Goats, while the Savannah Sand Gnats (of the Class-A South Atlantic League) became the Columbia Fireflies. Two years ago, the Huntsville Stars (AA) changed their name and locale, becoming the Biloxi Shuckers. Following the 2013 season, the Indians’ own Akron Aeros (AA) renamed themselves the Akron RubberDucks.

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