Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Play Ball!: Baseball-Inspired Names


The 2013 Major League Baseball season starts on Sunday! Being a huge baseball fan, I cannot wait. I love the sounds, the smells, the excitement, and the game of strategy and statistics. Nothing can beat it. Since I'm getting excited about the occasion, 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."

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.

Gehrig - Lou 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.

Griffey - Ken 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.

Jeter - Derek Jeter is the current shortstop for the New York Yankees. He is a very popular player, which has increased the use of his surname as a given name.

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.

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.

Nolan - Nolan 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.

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.

Rogers - Rogers 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.

Satchel - Satchel 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).

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

Williams - Ted 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:

Camden - Camden has been in the news a lot lately due to three 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.

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

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

Wrigley - Wrigley 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.

Cutter - Cutter is another name for a cut fastball, or a fastball pitch that cuts towards the pitcher's glove side as it approaches home plate. Recently engaged to actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Cutter Dykstra is the son of former ballplayer Lenny Dykstra.

Easton - Easton 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.

Pepper - Pepper 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.

Spalding - Spalding 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.

Some of the above information was gathered from Wikipedia.

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7 comments:

  1. There are some great ideas on this list! Lofton stood out for me - I haven't heard it before but kinda like how it sounds :)

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  2. We named our first son Beckett (inspired by the catalog I looked up baseball card values in as a kid). We're considering Easton for our second son who is due Christmas Day 2013. I also like the name Reece, and could stretch that and say it takes some inspiration from Pee Wee Reese (hall of fame shortstop for the Dodgers in the 40's and 50's). I like the idea of baseball genera names and am still trying to land on one for the upcoming kid.

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  3. We named our son Dodger Blue. He is 2 today! Happy birthday son! Go dodgers

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    1. When I was very little, before I moved to Virginia, I was a Dodger fan because my mom's family is from Southern California and we used to go to games. So the Dodgers hold a special place in my heart as well. Happy late birthday to Dodger!

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  4. We finally landed on Maddox for our 2nd son born Christmas Eve 2013. It's a little bit of a stretch, but Greg Maddux was inducted into Cooperstown shortly before he was born. :) Go Rockies!

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    1. I am sorry for the late response, but thank you so much for the update on what you named your son! Beckett and Maddox are great together and I (obviously) love the baseball connections. Congrats and best wishes!

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