Baby Jock Names: 25 surprising sports star choices

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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8 Responses to “Baby Jock Names: 25 surprising sports star choices”

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Danni Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 9:11 am

Wow, some of these names are excellent! I particularly like Amos, Aurealius, Early, and Nile. Perhaps a berry will write a blog about unique female athletes names? (Venus immediately jumps to mind!)

Vikki Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 9:37 am

Go Banks McFadden! Hehe…He was a three sports star at my alma mater (Clemson University) a LONG time ago. Surprised to see his name on the list.

Stella Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thane and Ryne are favorites from this list! They actually sound more sci-fi than sporty. Anyone’s hero, yeah?

Bella Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 9:55 am

I really like Rafer and Slater; the new Peter and Sterling?

Sassy Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 10:19 am

Where are the hockey players? There have been some great names in the NHL.

Courtney W. Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 11:28 am

What? No Plaxico Burress? Now that’s an out-of-the-ordinary name! My other faves not listed are Anfernee Hardaway & Braylon Edwards. Love Ryne & Rafer from this list.

L Says:

July 19th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I love Robinson Cano’s name, he was named after Jackie Robinson!!

care1032 Says:

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:39 am

So Rafer – but not Rafe?

Anyone heard of Raef LaFrentz (pro basketball player)? Raef or Rafe, I am bound and determined to get this name into the conversation somehow! It is an up and comer – I feel it. Can YOU feel it? LOL!

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