"Holy Toledo!"

June 9, 2009

Josh Outman & The Great Baseball Name Game

Filed under: Baseball, Oakland A's — Bill @ 2:20 pm

The Oakland A’s won their 7th game in a row last night over the Twins.  The winning pitcher was their much heralded rookie named Josh Outman (as in “Out-Man”).  A great name for a pitcher don’t you think?

This reminded me of a fun baseball discussion I had many years ago with my old friend Tim Hanson.  Given the timing of “the Out-Man” I thought maybe it was time to revisit the great names of baseball players.

The best name by far belongs to a Hall of Fame pitcher from the 1040’s & ‘50’s named Early Wynn.  Doesn’t every team want a pitcher to give them an “Early Win?”

As the old physics axiom goes for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The opposite of Early Wynn has to be the former pitcher for the Pirates named Bob Walk.  Running a close second would be A’s pitcher Eric Plunk.  While both men had decent careers they would never outlive their name.

While I’m hard pressed to find better suited names the world of baseball has brought many names that range from the silly to ones that border on disgusting…

Can you imagine an infielder named Mickey Klutts?  One can only hope that Oil Can Boyd once pitched to Rusty Kuntz.

Of course there is Johnny Bench, who spent very little time there.  Clint Hurdle, Bake McBride, Cookie Rojas, Chet Lemon, & Pie Traynor.  Cecil (who ironically wasn’t a very good) Fielder had a son named Prince.

Who will ever forget former Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall’s son who once played for the KC Royals, named Pete LaCock.  Added to the poor taste list is Dick Pole, Dick Hauser, Dick Burns, Dick Cox, Stubby Clapp, Randy Bush, Ed Head, & Dave Morehead.  You can’t make up stuff like this!

Would you have Darryl Strawberry on your Coco Crisp?

Would you play a game made by Milton Bradley with Don Money or Dave Cash?

Would you give your Bobby Valentine a Pete Rose or Candy Maldonado?

Many players had animal names like Rabbit Maranville, Catfish Hunter, Charlie Fox, Steve Trout, Tim Salmon, Pete Falcone, Goose Gossage, Ducky Medwick, Moose Haas, & Rob Deer.  Dave Parker was the Cobra, Ken Harrelson was the Hawk, and of course there was Mark the Bird Fidrych.

The Atlanta Braves had Roland Office, Tom House, & Phil Roof all on the same team.  It seems like Jim Brewer and Tim Belcher should have been teammates but they weren’t.

In 1970 a songwriter named Dave Frishberg wrote an entire song whose lyrics consisted of the names of baseball players.  The song is called Van Lingle Mungo, named after a player from the 1930’s & ‘40’s.  Unfortunately the song isn’t on YouTube or I would have given you the link.

I could go on forever with this but let’s stop here for now.  Feel free to add any suggestions in the comment section.  I will finish up with perhaps the best name game poem from my youth.  It  was written by the father of my buddy Fritz Kerr who used the names of former Oakland A’s players… and it goes like this…

“Would you be Fosse if I put a Bando on your Fingers?  No I wouldn’t be Fosse if you put a Bando on my Fingers, but I would if it turned Green during a Blue Moon!”

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2 Comments »

  1. Bill, the only thing that comes to my mind today is the Mets pitcher, J.J. Putz — they say “puts” but it is “Putz” — a nice Jewish name. I am sure you know what it means. LOL.

    Comment by Rhoda — June 9, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  2. Too funny, Jonesy. I remember my dad and I would go on for some time and at one time had the entire A’s starting lineup in our little ditty. He was quite creative, and I think I inherited his ability to “word-smith” as my son and I do some of this same thing now.

    Comment by Fritz Kerr — June 10, 2009 @ 1:23 pm


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