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Hank Aaron's death prompts call to change name from Braves to Hammers

Days after Braves legend Hank Aaron died on Friday, some fans think it's time to change the team's nickname.

ATLANTA — There have been calls for the Atlanta Braves to change their name in recent years after some consider the nickname offensive to Native Americans. The conversation heated up in the summer when the NFL's Washington Redskins dropped the name that some thought to be racist.  

In July, the team said in a letter to season ticket holders that "We will always be the Atlanta Braves."

But now, days after Braves legend Hank Aaron died on Friday, some fans think it's time to rethink that decision -- while honoring the home run king. 

The Baseball Hall of Famer overcame intense racism in his pursuit of baseball’s home run record. Flags in Georgia and Alabama are flying at half-staff in honor of Aaron.

His birth name was Henry Louis Aaron, but known to all as Hank Aaron. He quickly earned the nickname "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank" because of his long ball. 

So now, to honor the baseball icon, some fans are calling for the team to change their name to the Atlanta Hammers.

A Change.org petition was created and says "we ask that the team ownership, Liberty Media Corporation, and team executives, including Chairman Terry McGuirk, change the name of the Atlanta Braves to the Atlanta Hammers."

In honor of Henry "The Hammer" Aaron's passing on January 22, 2021, at the age of 86, we ask that the team ownership, Liberty Media Corporation, and team executives, including Chairman Terry McGuirk, change the name of the Atlanta Braves to the Atlanta Hammers. Truist Park, the team's home stadium, has 41,129 seats.

The petition says that not only does it honor the "icon who represented our city with grace and dignity for more than half a century" but it also "removes the stain on the city of having a team name that dishonors Native and Indigenous people, especially given one of the greatest tragedies in American History, the Trail of Tears, began in the region the team calls home."

And it's getting the attention of people across the baseball community, including fellow Braves legend Dale Murphy who said he loves the idea. 

"Always felt ‘Hammerin’ Hank’, ‘The Hammer’ was one of the coolest nicknames ever... and the ‘Atlanta Hammers’? Love it!"

Some online have even created a logo to go with the nickname -- and have already slapped it on a t-shirt. 

What do you think about a name change to honor the man who gave so much to the game, the team and the City of Atlanta?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.