The All-Silly Name Team
I don't usually talk about sports in my column because they have actual journalists to tell you about sports. But I am a huge baseball fan and now that the season is in full SWING (ahahahah kill me), I could not pass up the opportunity to talk about a big part of baseball: Silly names.
For some reason, baseball has a reservoir of athletes with silly names much deeper than that of any other professional team sport in the United States. It probably is just because baseball has been around the longest. Whatever the reason, I decided to do some research for this column and to name a full nine-man team (oh yes, we have a manager, too) full of real baseball players with real silly names.
So without further ado, I'm proud to present the Babies, Puppies and Black Tar Heroin All-Silly Name team:
Manager: Pants Rowland, Chicago White Sox, 1915-1918
Pants managed the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship in 1917. They haven't won a series since. The reason? This writer thinks it's because they haven't had a manager named PANTS!
Starting Pitcher: Tim Spooneybarger, Atlanta Braves, Present
Spooneybarger is actually a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, but his name is silly enough to earn him a spot as the ace of the Silly Name staff.
Catcher: Candy LaChance, 1893-1905, four different teams
I have come to the conclusion recently that "Candy" is a pretty silly word. And when I looked up "Candy" on baseball-reference.com, I was shocked to find that there have been SIX, count 'em, six professional baseball players named Candy. LaChance played most of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, who back then were called (seriously) the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. He only caught for 16 games in his career, but he was the only catcher I could find with a silly name.
First Base: Chubby Dean, Philadelphia A's, Cleveland Indians,
Apparently, he got caught up in all of the Dean nicknaming hubbub of the time (Dizzy and Daffy were pitchers for the Cardinals), but just picked a really lousy nickname.
Second Base: Stubby Clapp, St. Louis Cardinals, 2001
Stubby played four games for the Cardinals last year. Man, what were his parents thinking? "We've already got kind of an odd last name that the other kids at school are probably going to make fun of. What should we name him? Oh, I know! How about Stubby?"
Third Base: Butts Wagner, Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Washington Senators,
My only thought here is that maybe Butts didn't have the same connotations it did in the 19th century.
Shortstop: Gookie Dawkins, Cincinnati Reds, Present Day
What is a Gookie? Is it a cookie or a wookie of some form gone awry?
Left Field: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, Present Day
When I first heard that there was a player named Pujols (pronounced poo-holes) in the big leagues, I started laughing. This is not meant to be a knock against Spanish as a language or anything, but you do have to admit, it translates very humorously into English.
Center Field - Dick Burns, three different teams, 1883-1885
I didn't think anybody was actually named Dick Burns. I thought it was just something teenagers made up when making prank phone calls. My only hope is that it was, again, a name that has become silly over time.
Right Field - Woodie Held, seven different teams, 1954-1969
Good night, everybody.
Also appeared in the April 15, 2002 edition of the MU Student News.