Why the Los Angeles Dodgers Were Not the Brooklyn Canaries


In 1931 the Brooklyn Robins had a dilemma. Their very identity was at stake.

The Robins—Brooklyn's entry in the National League—were called what they were in honor of manager Wilbert Robinson, who took the helm as skipper in 1914. Their 1931 uniforms featured a "B"—appropriately rendered in robin's-egg blue. His retirement at the conclusion of the 1931 season provided a fresh opportunity for the franchise to rebrand itself for a new era.

Robinson's departure spurred a movement to rename the team, variously called Bridegrooms, Superbas, and Dodgers since their NL inception in 1890.

Suggestions flowed in from all over the country. A December 30, 1931 article in the Brooklyn Eagle stated that a Mr. Sandy Crane of San Antonio, Texas chimed in with:

"…23 nicknames for the Brooklyn team…(including) Moguls, Stars, Twins, Emperors, Barons, Scouts, Pilots, Aviators, Bayonets, Crescents, Demons, Bantams, Rattlesnakes, Rifles, Warriors, Standards, Matadors, Diamonds, Buffaloes, Berserks, Rebels, Trojans, and Sultans."

Also from that article:

"A Mr. Munro of Tampa, Fla., writes in to this office suggesting Chickens as a Brooklyn nickname."

And this:

"A Mr. William D. Twiss of Los Angeles suggests Kangaroos."

Inspiration was provided by the fact that Max Carey was taking over as the new manager. An English professor at the University of Southern California produced:

"philological reasons why the Robins should be re-nicknamed the 'Canaries.' According to this gentleman, Max Carey's original name—Carnarius—springs from the same Latin root as 'canary.'"

The October 9, 1931 Sporting News was serious about "Canaries," noting the fact that "(it) sounds well, and the Brooklyn boys might even become Golden Canaries, if the proper attention were given to the choice of colors for their uniforms."


"Kings" seemed to be the preferred choice of many close to the ballclub, including the new manager.

Eventually, however, sanity prevailed. On January 23, 1932, the Brooklyn Eagle reported the final word, under the headline "Brooklyn Baseball Club Will Officially Nickname Them Dodgers"

And, for the first time in team history, their uniforms featured something other than the word "Brooklyn" or the letter "B."