New name for Las Vegas 51s revealed

Posted at 2:32 PM, Dec 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 21:08:50-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The new name for the Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team was unveiled Saturday afternoon during a ceremony in Downtown Summerlin.

The new name is Las Vegas Aviators.

The team’s new name was announced by Howard Hughes Corp. CEO David Weinreb. Other speakers and attendees at the special event included Kevin T. Orrock, President, Summerlin; Pat O’Conner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Minor League Baseball; Branch Rickey, President of the Pacific Coast League and grandson of baseball legend Branch Rickey; Don Logan, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Aviators; and Steve Hill, CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

According to Weinreb, the name change pays homage to the company’s namesake, Howard R. Hughes, Jr., one of the twentieth century’s most successful businessmen whose passion for aviation and legacy of innovation includes significant aviation-related firsts and accomplishments. In the H-1 Racer, a plane he designed and built, Hughes set the land speed record of 352 miles per hour in 1935. Hughes went on to set other records, including the fastest coast-to-coast flight in 1937 and the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in 1938, then acquiring and successfully operating major airlines and aviation companies.

In addition, it also ties into the team's new major league affiliation with the Oakland Athletics, who are often referred to as the A's. It is expected that the Las Vegas Aviators will also be known as the A's.

The name, the Las Vegas Aviators, was chosen from hundreds of names submitted by the general public through a competition in which the community was invited to participate in the naming process. According to Weinreb, the Aviators was a popular name nominated by many Southern Nevadans.

The name change comes on the heels of the team’s September announcement of its new two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Oakland A’s and in advance of the spring 2019 completion of the Las Vegas Ballpark. The new, state-of-the-art Triple-A baseball stadium will serve as home of the newly named Las Vegas Aviators with the home, season and stadium opener slated for April 9, 2019.

13 Action News was able to take a tour of the new ballpark before the announcement.