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If there’s one arena that may have been kind of neglected in the nameberry search for cool namesakes, it would probably be the wide, wide world of sports.

There are a couple of explanations for this.  Number One is the fact that so many star athletes were known by nicknames—Mickey and Ricky, Babe, Dizzy, Yogi, Catfish, Satchel, Tiger, ad infinitum.

Beyond that, most of the others have had standard-issue jock names and known by their diminutives— Bill, Willie, Charlie, and  Jack and Jim and Tim and Tom and Ted.

But we’ve dug through the archives and managed to come up with the following group of more out-of-the-ordinary monikers:

AMOS ALONZO Stagg — early football coach, an innovator in college football

AUREALIUS Thomas – in the College Football Hall of Fame

BANKS McFadden –excelled in football, basketball and track, voted the Associated     Press’s ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 1939

BIBB FALK – played for the Chicago White Sox

BOWIE Kuhn –Major League Baseball Commissioner

BROOKS Robinson – a third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles for 23 years

BURLEIGH Grimes (nn ‘Ol’ Stubblebeard’) — Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher

CARNEY Lansford – Major League third baseman and then coach

DORNE Dibble – wide receiver for the Detroit Lions

EARLY Wynn (nn Gus) –pitcher inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

FERGUSON Jenkins – Another Baseball Hall of Famer, also played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters

FISHER DeBerry – legendary US Air Force Academy football coach

FRANCO HARRIS –played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks

HOLLAND Donan – college football defensive tackle

NILE Kinnick – won the 1939 Heisman Trophy

PAAVO Nurmi – Finish track star, outstanding long-distance runner of his time

PARRY (born Patrick) O’Brien – American shot-put champion

RAFER Johnson – Olympic decathlete

RYNE Sandberg – Chicago Cubs second baseman, named after pitcher Ryne Duren

SLADE Cutter –in the College Football Hall of Fame

SLATER Martin (nn ‘Dugie’) – one of the NBA’s best defensive players in the 1950s

THANE (born Walter Thane) Baker –Olympic gold medalist runner

VALMY Thomas – major league catcher

YALE (born Robert Yale) Lary – played football for the Detroit Lions

ZEBULON (Zeb) Terry – early (1916-22) Major League baseball player

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henry

When Henry was chosen as the #1 favorite boy’s name on the collective 5-star lists of the nameberry community, I was somewhat surprised and yet somewhat not.  Because in many ways Henry is the perfect boy’s name—as classic and historic as James and John and William –yet with a quirkier edge that makes it seem modern, and even hip.

Henry has a lot going for it.  Let us count the ways:

HENRY IS POPULAR, WELL-LIKED, BUT NOT EPIDEMICALLY TRENDY.

At #78 on the Social Security list last year, Henry was given to fewer than 4,000 boys across the country.  It was much more commonly heard in the past, having been #10 in 1900, 12 in the 1910s, 18 in the twenties, 25 in the thirties, then dipping to a low of 146 in 1994, after which it started its edge back up.

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Major League Baseball Names

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With the World Series fast approaching and the baseball season coming to a fever pitch,  the sports pages are filled with the names of players.  Irresistible  lists of names. So though I’m far from what anyone would call a dedicated sports fan, I’ve become mesmerized by the rosters of team players’ names.  After parsing those of all the major league teams, I have now made my picks of a favorite first name from each–my own personal MVPs.  You might like to do the same.

Oh, and a bonus for me–I finally see what’s behind the popularity of the boy’s name Jacoby–probably the last person to know.

Here they are:

ANDERSON  Hernandez  —  New York Mets

AUGIE  Ojeda  —  Arizona Diamondbacks

BOONE  Logan  —  Atlanta Braves

CASPER  Wells  —  Detroit Tigers

CHASE  Utley  —  Philadelphia Phillies

COLBY  Rasmus  —  St. Louis Cardinals

DEXTER  Fowler  —  Colorado Rockies

DMITRI  Young  —  Washington Nationals

ELVIS  Andrus  —  Texas Rangers

FELIX  Pie  —  Baltimore Orioles

FERNANDO  Perez  —  Tampa Bay Rays

GIO  Gonzalez  —  Oakland Athletics

HEATH Bell—San Diego Padres

JACOBY Ellsbury  —  Boston Red Sox

JENSEN  Lewis  —  Cleveland Indians

KAZUO  Matsui  —  Houston Astros

KENDRY  Morales  —  Los Angeles Angels

KIKO  Calero  —  Florida Marlins

LUCAS  May  —  Los Angeles Dodgers

MICAH  Hoffpauir  —  Chicago Cubs

OCTAVIO  Dotel  —  Chicago White Sox

OMAR  Aguilar  —  Milwaukee Brewers

ORLANDO  Cabrera  —  Minnesota Twins

OSIRIS Matos —  San Francisco Giants

ROBINZON  Diaz  —  Pittsburgh Pirates

ROMAN  Colon  —  Kansas City Royals

VERNON  Wells  —  Toronto Blue Jays

XAVIER  Nady  —  New York Yankees

YONDER  Alonso  —  Cincinnati Reds

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