Category: sports names

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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Major League Baseball Names

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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A Baby Named ….Seabiscuit?

Our guest blogger Marion Roach first wrote about her sister Margaret’s horse-inspired name on her blog She Said, She Said, part of the sisters’ joint site, The Sister Project.  Margaret Roach, the former editor of “Martha Stewart Living”, also runs the site A Way To Garden.

My family frequently names those we love for sports idols. For instance, among the dozen cats and dogs who have come and gone in my life there was Saratoga Roach, a terrier of a beagle, named for the late-summer racetrack in upstate New York, and Cleveland, a hapless chocolate lab, named for the Browns.

Then there is my sister, Margaret, named for the 1954 winner of the Belmont Stakes.

At one point in his life our father was a turf reporter, spending his winters at Hialeah, his summers in Saratoga and the time between at the racetracks in the East. Amid the crowd he covered, one of the great pastimes was naming thoroughbreds. It’s an art—no name can be more than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces—as well as a science: Names frequently reflect breeding, sometimes with great flourish. For instance, the year before my sister was born, the great horse of 1953 was a colt whose father was Polynesian and mother was named Geisha. Their champion offspring was crowned Native Dancer. It’s a great tradition.

And one that continued into my family. My father had a horse named for him—it was called Sportseditor. I have a sailboat named Ruffian, for the magnificent dark filly who didn’t know the meaning of the word quit, until she broke down at the mile marker in a match race against Foolish Pleasure in 1975.

But all this really started in January 1954, when my father and mother, on their way to Hialeah, stopped off to see Max Hirsch, the great horse trainer, at his winter quarters in South Carolina.

In due course it was revealed that there was an offspring on the way in our household.

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