From SABR member Mark Aubrey at Baseball Nuggets on October 8, 2013:
The January 18, 1915, edition of The Plain Dealer included an article titled “Looking Backward”:
“Many years ago there was an Indiana named Sockalexis who was the star player of the Cleveland baseball club. As batter, fielder and base runner he was a marvel. Sockalexis so far outshone his teammates that he naturally came to be regarded as the whole team. The ‘fans’ throughout the country began to call the Clevelanders the ‘Indians.’ It was an honorable name and while it stuck the team made an excellent record.
“It has not been decided to revive this name. The Clevelands of 1915 will be the ‘Indians.’ There will be no real red Indians on the roster but the name will recall fine traditions.”
Read the full article here: http://baseballnuggets.blogspot.com/2013/10/naming-cleveland-indians.html
Originally published: October 8, 2013. Last Updated: October 8, 2013.