Play Ball! Baseball-Inspired Baby Names


By Kelli Brady, Name Freak!

The 2014 Major League Baseball season has started! Being a huge baseball fan, I love the sounds, the smells, the excitement, and the game of strategy and statistics. Nothing can beat it. Since I’m excited about the new season I thought we could take a look at names inspired by America‘s Pastime. Even if the game doesn’t thrill you, maybe the names will grab your interest.

There are several ways you can channel baseball when naming your child…

Player Names (this is just a small selection):

Babe – Probably the most recognizable name in baseball, Babe Ruth‘s real name was George Herman Ruth, Jr. Ruth is also a great name to use to honor the famous New York Yankee who made hitting a home run popular.

Berra – Yogi Berra is known for his quips as much as his play. He was one of the best catchers in major league history and was a member of the Yankees for most of his 19 year career. Yogi is also a name of unique consideration.

Chipper – Chipper Jones recently retired from a 19-year career with the Atlanta Braves. His real name is Larry, but was given the nickname Chipper at a young age because he was a “chip off the old block.”

CyDenton TrueCyYoung pitched for five teams from 1890-1911 and still holds the record for most wins, most innings pitched, and most complete games. The award given to the best pitcher in each league is named after him.

DiMaggio – Joe DiMaggio is best known for his 56-game hitting streak with the New York Yankees. He is also known for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. He is iconic in Yankee history and therefore his name is a considerable one for baseball lovers.

GehrigLou Gehrig played for the New York Yankees and had the most consecutive games played record until Cal Ripken broke it in 1995. He is also well known for his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or what is now called Lou Gehrig‘s Disease.

GriffeyKen Griffey, Jr. is one of the most productive homerun hitters in baseball history. He played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds for most of his career and he also was able to play professional ball with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr.

JeterDerek Jeter is the current shortstop for the New York Yankees and is retiring after this season after 20 years in the league. He is a very popular player, which has increased the use of his surname as a given name.

LarsenDon Larsen is the only pitcher to have pitched a perfect game in the World Series, doing so as a New York Yankee against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

Lofton – Kenny Lofton played for many different teams during his 16 year career in the majors. The player may not have achieved the accomplishments of other players listed here, but the name could be a lofty choice for parents.

MarisRoger Maris had his most successful seasons with the New York Yankees from 1960-1966. He broke Babe Ruth‘s record from 1927 for most home runs in a season in 1961.

Mattingly – Don Mattingly is another player that spent his entire career with the New York Yankees. I think the nickname of Mattie makes it an attractive name for baby girls.

Mays – Willie Mays played most of his career with the San Francisco Giants and made 24 appearances in the All-Star Game (tying Stan Musial for the most). He is also known for “The Catch,” an amazing fielding play made in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.

NolanNolan Ryan was a pitcher for 27 years in the majors with several different teams. He is the all-time leader of no-hitters with seven. He now owns the Texas Rangers.

Nomar – Anthony Nomar Garciaparra played for several teams, but most notably as shortstop for the Boston Red Sox for nine seasons. He was Rookie of the Year in 1997, two-time batting champion, and six-time All-Star. Nomar is his father’s name, Ramon, spelled backwards.

Ripken – Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the record for the most consecutive games played with 2,632. He played shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles for 21 years.

Robinson – There have been many Robinsons in baseball history: Frank, the only player to win MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues; Brooks, one of the best third basemen in baseball history; and Jackie, the first African-American to play in the majors and was Rookie of the Year in 1947.

RogersRogers Hornsby played for 23 seasons retiring in 1937, has the second highest career batting average and is the only player to have hit 40 home runs and have a .400 batting average in the same season.

SatchelSatchel Paige is the first player to have been inaugurated into the Baseball Hall of Fame based on his play in the Negro leagues. His given name was Leroy, but he was nicknamed Satchel at an early age due to his work with bags (or that he tried to steal one).

TyTy (born Tyrus) Cobb played with the Detroit Tigers for 22 seasons and retired in 1928. He still holds the record for career batting average.

WilliamsTed Williams spent his entire 22-year career with the Boston Red Sox. He is the last player to have a batting average above .400 (.406 in 1941).

Stadium and/or Team Names:

CamdenCamden has been in the news a lot due to several celebrities giving the name to their sons. But for people in the Baltimore area, Camden will always refer to the Baltimore Orioles’ home field: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, known to most as just Camden Yards.

Dodger – Dodger Stadium is home field for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fenway – Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in the major leagues and home to the Boston Red Sox.

Miller – Miller Park is home to the Milwaukee Brewers and is named after the stadium’s sponsor, Miller Brewing Company.

Ranger – Rangers Ballpark at Arlington is home field for the Texas Rangers.

SheaShea Stadium was the home field for the New York Mets from 1964-2008.

TurnerTurner Field is home of the Atlanta Braves and named after the team’s former owner, Ted Turner.

WrigleyWrigley Field is the second oldest stadium in the major leagues and home to the Chicago Cubs.

Baseball Terms, Positions or Related Items:

Ace – The best starting pitcher of a team is called the team’s ace.

Annie – Annies are what baseball players call their groupies. In the baseball movie Bull Durham, Susan Sarandon’s character was named Annie because of this reference.

Catcher – Arguably the most influential position on the field, the catcher not only catches the ball from the pitcher, he calls the game and protects home plate. Ewan McGregor played Catcher Block in the movie Down with Love.

Chopper – A chopper is a ball that bounces off the dirt in front of home plate after it’s hit causing it to go very high in the air.

Crash – Bull Durham is one of the best baseball, and sports, movies ever made. Crash Davis, who was named after a former professional baseball player, is the main character in the movie played by Kevin Costner.

CutterCutter is another name for a cut fastball, or a fastball pitch that cuts towards the pitcher’s glove side as it approaches home plate. Engaged to actress JamieLynn Sigler, Cutter Dykstra is the son of former ballplayer Lenny Dykstra.

EastonEaston is a company that makes baseball equipment. Already a name on the rise, it could give a baseball loving parent a more common choice.

Fielder – Any defensive position is a fielder. This name could also refer to a couple of ballplayers: father and son, Cecil and Prince Fielder.

Homer – A homer is a nickname for a home run.

Jack – A jack can be either a home run or the act of hitting a home run. For example, “He really jacked that one out of the park.”

Mitt – A mitt is another term for a baseball glove, or specifically the catcher’s mitt or the first basemen’s mitt since they are more like mittens and do not have individual fingers like gloves. Already made famous by presidential contender Mitt Romney, although he was not named after the glove.

Pearl – A pearl is a brand new white baseball.

PepperPepper is an exercise done in practice or pre-game where a batter “peppers” the field with ground balls for fielders to field and then toss back to the batter, who then attempts to hit the ball back to them.

Slider – Another type of pitch, one that breaks in the opposite direction of the throwing arm as it approaches home plate. Slider was the call sign of one of the pilots in Top Gun.

Slugger – Often used as a term of endearment from father to son, a slugger is one who has power hitting the ball. There is a statistical analysis in baseball called the slugging percentage, which calculates the total bases divided by number of at bats.

SpaldingSpalding was the company that provided the official baseballs for the league for a century. It was succeeded by Rawlings in 1977.

Trot – When some players hit a home run, they may slow their run to a “trot” around the bases in celebration. There is also a baseball player named Trot Nixon, but his name came from his middle name of Trotman.

Can you think of any other baseball-inspired names? What is your favorite?

For more baseball-inspired names, click here.

Originally posted at NameFreak! on March 27, 2013 and revised for Nameberry.

About the Author

Kelli Brady

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her eBook, Name-alytics, is a look at the history of the Top 100 names in the United States. Check it out at!