What’s in a Name? The Top 10 Player Names in Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is a sport that highlights and embraces nicknames and "terms of endearment." They have ranged from "Wild Thing" to "The Machine" to something as simple as "A-Rod."
I wanted to leave the nicknames in the background for a few minutes and focus on the names shown on the back of baseball cards.
This slideshow will count down the Top 10 player names in Major League Baseball. It was inspired by a certain winning pitcher from Sunday afternoon's ball games.
I hope you enjoy the list, and please feel free to offer your feedback and alternative suggestions.
As a small disclaimer, I chose to focus on more baseball-related or fun "play on words" names, as opposed to simply the longest and/or most confusing.
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10. Cody Ransom (New York Yankees)
There has to be a Yankee on this list, and no name symbolizes the franchise’s offseason efforts better than “Ransom.”
Isn’t that exactly what Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner do to those teams brave enough to compete with them in free agency?
By offering higher salaries or longer contract lengths than others can afford, the Yankees seemingly hold free agents as personal property, forcing an opposing team to cough up a king’s ransom in order to pry them from New York’s grasp.
9. Matt Treanor (Detroit Tigers)
Treanor deserves to be on this list as a result of simply handing his surname to the beautiful volleyball superstar Misty May-Treanor, but he also has a solid baseball name.
Matt’s last name is actually pronounced trainer, which seems very fitting in a dark age of baseball dominated by these “fitness experts.”
If anyone would supply performance-enhancing drugs throughout a locker room, wouldn’t it have to be a Treanor? (This is of course a joke and has absolutely nothing to do with bringing into question his involvement in the steroids crisis.)
8. Josh Outman (Oakland Athletics)
What better name could a pitcher possibly have than “Outman”?
Since Apr. 17, he has certainly been living up to his name. He has pitched to a 3-0 record, 2.38 ERA, and 1.04 WHIP in 45.1 innings.
The Athletics may have found something here, and they sincerely hope that he can be a reliable “out man” for many years to come.
7. Thomas Diamond (Texas Rangers)
Though still waiting for his Major League debut, this Ranger is named after the very field he plays on for the majority of the year.
Diamond is struggling mightily in the minor leagues right now, but it seemed like a near obligation to put him on a list of players intended to capture the essence of a baseball diamond.
6. Homer Bailey (Cincinnati Reds)
Bailey is the sole first name honoree on the list—and deservedly so. His name symbolizes the element that saved baseball following the strike of 1994, and subsequently has tried to tear it down through syringe-aided blasts.
Unfortunately for Homer, he has surrendered far too many, allowing 12 home runs in just 86 IP at this point of his ML career. This equates to nearly once every seven innings and has prevented him from reaching the high expectations that scouts have placed on him.
5. Brandon League (Toronto Blue Jays)
Arguably much more recognizable for his wide array of tattoos and entirely unique eyewear, League also possesses a classic baseball surname.
His presence and mannerisms on the mound may remind fans of Major League’s Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, but League has made a nice career for himself pitching out of the Toronto bullpen.
Always graced with electric stuff, League has yet to fine-tune his mechanics and consistency in order to become one of the more untouchable middle relievers in baseball.
4. Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers)
The son of a former Major League superstar, Fielder could have made the list for either his first or last name—which is why he climbed a little higher up toward No. 1.
Though weighing in at 270 pounds at just 5’11”, Fielder is much more agile than you might expect. He has earned his last name with some sparkling plays, but he seems to make nearly as many errors as “web gems.”
Fielder will always be known for his potent bat, however, and is currently on pace for 43 HR, 153 RBI, 100 R, and a .430 OBP. Albert Pujols is certainly the king of National League bat-wielding, but Fielder has numbers fit for a prince.
3. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Texas Rangers)
The Texas Rangers get onto the list for a second time, if for no other reason than my complete inability to spell Saltalamacchia without checking reliable websites multiple times.
Aside from his name being so much fun to say, it is enjoyable to imagine a jersey producer attempting to fit all of the letters across the back—let alone spell it correctly.
After all, you can ask the Washington “Natinals” about how easy it is to misspell key elements of a baseball uniform.
2. Skip Schumaker (St. Louis Cardinals)
Perhaps much higher up the list than many would expect, Skip Schumaker may have my favorite name of all major league players (you will soon learn why he could never be No. 1).
A simply classic baseball name, Skip Schumaker reminds you of a hard-nosed infielder from the early 1900s—as interested in being covered in dirt and blood as he was anything else.
Schumaker is a nice complementary player, hitting .294 with 16 RBI and a .342 OBP, all while playing exceptional defense in his first season since transitioning to 2B from the outfield. He has committed just one error in 45 games played at the position.
1. Antonio Bastardo (Philadelphia Phillies)
Do I really even need to explain this selection at No. 1 on the list?
“Antonio Bastardo” is a name even the most creative of comedic writers could not recreate if they tried. It sounds like the name of a leading role in an Antonio Banderas spoof movie.
Although his name is rather comical, Bastardo can laugh back at all of the former classmates that mocked him. He is now a Major League pitcher sitting at 2-0 for the defending World Series Champions—that is what I like to call payback.
No one else could possibly end this countdown, but do not overlook his immense talent. At just 23 years old, Bastardo has electric stuff, as evidenced by his 1.18 WHIP in 11 IP.
Bastardo’s Minor League numbers were even more startling, pitching to a 1.90 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 47.1 innings at a combination of Double-A and Triple-A levels.