Archived Story

In professional baseball, the name’s the thing

Published 12:02pm Thursday, March 14, 2013

I have scanned the globe for interesting stories and nothing really jumps out at me, makes me shake with anticipation, or draws me to a topic I feel is newsworthy — unless of course I was residing in South Korea and I’m not.
There is something that has always intrigued me with baseball and that is the names of the players.
Let’s face it, our names influence our personalities. Take Ulysses, for instance. This guy stands a better than even chance of becoming a general. A boy named Quasimodo has a better chance of having bad posture than most.
In sports, there are definitely some names you want to avoid if you wish to steer your son in the direction of an athletic career.
Might I suggest as an example that those contemplating the monikers such as Yehudi, or Wolfgang, might want to consider Biff, Clete or Bobby Joe — otherwise, they run the risk of ending up with a fiddler or a poet with a bad cough.
If Hank Aaron would have been named Wendell Narz, he never would have become the home run king of Major League Baseball.
Here is my first example— there was a guy who played back in the fifties named Foster Castleman. Now everyone knows that a ballplayer name like this is never going to amount to a darn thing.
If you have a name like an orthodontist, you’re going to play like an orthodontist.
This guy really never had a chance. There was a window of opportunity for a colorful nickname here, like “Night Train” or “Big Daddy”, but no, momma decided on Foster so his fate was sealed.
Let’s face it — a center fielder named Wolfgang Amadeus Aaron stands as much chance, in this least of all possible worlds of baseball, as a concert pianist named Prince Rubenstein.
It’s painfully obvious, if you want your kid to grow up to be a jock, you can’t call him Sinclair.
A guy named Sinclair is destined to be a novelist with acne, not a shortstop.
Take my advice: call your kid “Brick.” Nobody named “Brick” has to take anything from anybody.
Here are some names from the past that without question, made the difference in the ballplayer.
The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.  They came with guys like “Sandy” Koufax, “Duke” Snider, “Pee Wee” Reese and “Junior” Gilliam.
Sandy was actually Sanford, Duke was Edwin and Pee Wee was Harold.
There were others that stood out to me such as “Turk” Lown. “Rip” Repulski and “Duke” Carmel. Turk and Rip were actually Joseph and Eldon, but Leon James Carmel had the perfect baseball name — brief, virile, alliterative.  He just didn’t have anything else to go along with it.
I will not go into the details of this, except to say that if you are considering a name for your first born son, such as Babe, Pee Wee or Rocky, it’d be best to check out the little rascal’s reflexes before you go about making it official.
Leaving the best name for last, here is none other than Calvin Coolage Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.
They called him “Cal’ and over a 15 year span in the major leagues his record was 92 – 92, which explains everything.
I saw McLish pitch for the Pacific Coast League Angels in 1956. “Dizzy” Trout, “Spook” Jacobs, “Hoot” Evers. “Whammy” Douglas and “Cot” Deal.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Until next time…
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.

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