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There’s a reason why Tom Hanks was chosen to announce the Cleveland baseball team’s name change to the Cleveland Guardians.
The two-time Academy Award winner served as the narrator of the baseball team’s video announcing the new name on Friday.
“We are a city on the rise,” he says in the clip. “Forging into the future from our ironed-out past.”
But it wasn’t just another high-profile gig for one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars; Hanks has ties to the Forest City.
Though he was born in California — and starred in an exceptional film titled “Philadelphia” — the famous COVID-19 survivor reportedly landed his first professional job as an intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in 1977. It was there where he spent three summers and even earned his Actors’ Equity card.
According to Cleveland.com, the 65-year-old actor became a huge Indians fan during that period and has worn the team’s gear and expressed his fondness for the city in numerous television appearances throughout the years.
A team source told the outlet that Hanks was “incredibly gracious” and “unbelievable” to work with during the production of the organization’s announcement.
“Many of you know Tom Hanks cares deeply about Cleveland,” the team’s president of business operations Brian Barren said Friday. “He’s very genuine and authentic in what Cleveland means to him. The fact that he was willing to be a part of this speaks volumes.”
“It also speaks to what Cleveland’s all about. People are fiercely loyal to Cleveland. They love being from Cleveland, they take a lot of pride in that fact. And he certainly does. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him as well for the Black Keys,” he added.
The clip also features the Grammy-winning rock band’s song “Little Black Submarines.”
The Black Keys were formed in nearby Akron in the early aughts.
The Cleveland Indians decided to rid themselves of the “Indians” name in 2020, shortly after the Washington Football Team stopped using a slur against Native Americans as its nickname.