Minor League Baseball has always been different than most professional sports, giving outrageous promotions to draw fans to the park, hosting special days (one hit wonders night, Scientology night, etc.), but what stands out from the rest is definitely the team names.
The team names come from every creative source possible, like city traditions, combining two words together, or pretty much anything to have their team's name stick out from the rest. With a large pool to choose from, I decided to narrow it down to the best 50 MiLB team names out there.
Located in the same city where the Little League World Series is played, the Crosscutters are the short-season Single-A team for the Phillies.
The lumberjack on the logo makes it apparent that the name Crosscutters refers to the lumber business, but other than that it could be a head scratcher for some fans.
The Red Sox Single-A team out of Greenville, South Carolina makes the list, but not in the most intimidating fashion out there. A cool feature that their home stadium, Fluor Field, includes is that it's designed after the Red Sox Fenway Park, complete with a 30-foot "Green Monster", a manual scoreboard, and even "Pesky's Pole" in right field.
Is this named after a group of people that snaps? Of course not, Snappers comes from snapping turtles, shown by the logo, and it has been the team name since 1994. Before then they were called the Brewers, after their parent club, but since '94 the Minnesota Twins have owned their Wisconsin based Single-A club.
And does anyone else think that turtle looks a little too scared to be a logo?
The first Double-A team on this list certainly doesn't yell "fear us", but it's safe to say that it's original. According to the "Travs" website, "The name 'Arkansas Travelers' is derived from the famous minstrel known as the Arkansas Traveler, who roamed the Ozark Mountains selling his wares and singing songs."
Still not fearing the name? Me neither, and the logo doesn't help the Angels Double-A affiliate's cause either.
Would you look at that, the second Double-A team from Arkansas in a row, but this team hails from the Kansas City Royals' organization. Usually when baseball junkies hear "Natural", they most likely think of the classic movie starring Robert Redford, but maybe not in the city of Springdale where their team is in first place in their division of the Texas League.
The St. Louis Cardinals Single-A affiliate is the first team in our long list to sport two names that you wouldn't see together outside of Minor League Baseball.
One of the awards this Davenport, Iowa based team has is the ESPN The Magazine's Veeckie Award, which is given to the minor league club with the best promotion. The River Bandits inked their logo on 47 fans on their second annual "Tatoo Night".
Now that's team pride.
Coincidentally the Smokies logo moonlights as Smokey the Bear (and yes, even you can prevent forest fires) just as fans would expect.
Joe Girardi, Kerry Wood and Dan Uggla all have moved through the Chicago Cub's Double-A squad from Kodak, Tennessee, and the Smokies also have recent history to be proud of with two Southern League north division titles in a row.
Now if I'm going to name a team, I'm probably going to stray away from a name that would sound like our team is filled with a group of supernatural happenings, but the Twins Single-A team didn't seem to mind.
Hammond Stadium, the home field for the Miracle, is recognized as one of the top five spring training facilities which is due in part of the "Churchill Downs appeal" on the outer facade of the stadium.
I've heard of a lot of birds before, but I've never heard of a "shorebird". I imagine it's along the lines of a seagull, or a minor league player looking to make it to the bigs.
Stars like Jayson Werth, Nick Markakis and Orlando Cabrera have all made it through this Orioles Single-A affiliate that calls Maryland home.
I'm sure that BayBears are seen with shorebirds all the time, so why not put then one after another on the list?
Mark Reynolds, Jake Peavy and Jason Bay can all call themselves BayBears, even though many people might not understand them because they have no idea what a baybear is. Basically making up a species of bear didn't stop the Arizona Diamondbacks from naming their Double-A team, thus putting them in the list of most original team names.
The Texas League south division leaders find themselves in the top 40 of originality with their team name that wouldn't necessarily ward teams off.
The Padres Double-A team has the leagues top hitter, James Darnell, in their club with his .459 average in 61 at-bats. Not too shabby for a missionary (I suppose you would call them).
This team name wouldn't crack the top 40 if it weren't for its hometown name, Frisco. It just rolls off the tongue. Other than a catchy city name, the Texas Rangers' Double-A squad uses a unique way to pull two words together into one that make a somewhat intimidating nickname.
Some notable RoughRiders to come out of this Texas team are Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson and Adrian Gonzalez.
This team name, which is named after the white wash at the top of a wave, would make more sense if the Whitecaps didn't play 30 minutes away from the nearest body of water.
Nonetheless the Tigers Single-A team still makes headlines with their teams stellar play, steady attendance records, and more famously the food they serve at Fifth Third Ballpark. The stadium has been home to the "Fifth Third Burger", the 4,800 calorie burger that included five third-pound patties and anything else you would find on a usual burger if you added five times the regular amount. WARNING: Do not attempt on a full stomach.
I cannot pronounce this word, let alone tell you what a zephyr is without looking it up, so therefore it makes the creativity list. But then again, we should all expect something out of the ordinary to come out of New Orleans anyway, right?
Also I would like to give a fair warning to all fans that live next to the Triple-A Marlins team, because on April 30th "Beatles Night" is coming to Zephyr Field, so book your tickets soon.
Not sure if there has ever been a Nessy sighting over in the lakes of Vermont, but the short-season Single-A team in the Athletics' system seems to have an urban legend brewing.
Fun Fact: The current stadium frame for the Lake Monsters has been around since 1922 and is shared with the University of Vermont's baseball team.
This marks the second team from the Tigers' farm system to make the list, but this time they do it with an even freakier logo.
As far as the season goes the SeaWolves are in last place in their division in the Eastern League of the Double-A, but yet they are still only a half game behind. Now that's a tight race.
Chemistry buffs, I know you just had a mini celebration. Usually when I think isotope, I'm not thinking of a minor leaguer trying to make it to the MLB, but then again I'm not in charge of naming the Triple-A affiliate for the Dodgers.
The Isotopes hit their peak of popularity when then-suspended Manny Ramirez dropped by to play some games while he waited off his 50-game ban back in 2009.
Hailing out of Hickory, North Carolina, the Crawdads make this the second team on the list from the Texas Rangers, this squad being in the Single-A.
Some stars that shine in the Crawdads' Hall of Fame are Jose Bautista, Adam LaRoche and Aaron Rowand, all of whom are out of the Rangers' system by now.
Even though baseball has very little to do with automobiles, the Hot Rods still posses one of the coolest team name/logo combos in the minors.
The Single-A team from the Rays organization, the Bowling Green based team is from south-side Kentucky, not from north Ohio like the university. So just in case you're heading up to Ohio, don't plan on seeing the Hot Rods in action.
You can't say I didn't warn you.
You probably couldn't have chosen a homier team name than the Storm Chasers for the Triple-A team in the Royals system.
The Storm Chasers are on top of the north division of the Pacific Coast Conference League (yeah, I didn't know Omaha was on the coast either) and lead the entire league in team ERA with 3.02.
In the self proclaimed "Biggest Little City in the World", the city filled with casinoes has a great name for the Triple-A Diamondback team. Aces is certainly the best card in most card games, and in this case the Aces are the best team in the the north division of the Pacific conference in the Pacific Coast League (that was a mouthful).
The Aces also lead the league in RBIs (137) and home runs (25), but fall in the bottom three of nearly every pitching category possible.
This, in my mind, is another great team name/logo combination team, and with a team called the Lookouts, I would expect them to be alert 100 percent of the time.
A little history fact for you, the Dodgers' Double-A club has been around since 1885 and has passed through five different organizations throughout that time (Oakland, Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dodgers).
South Bend is more commonly known for Notre Dame, but their team name is anything but commonly known (although it would be awesome to see a hawk made out of silver fly).
Big leaguers like Mark Reynolds, Brad Penny and Brandon Webb have all made it through the Diamondbacks Single-A affiliate.
The Houston Astros Single-A team makes this list because of their boldness to call a group of minor league players legends. OK, I know that's not what they meant per se, like if you play in Kansas City you're not part of the British monarchy, for example, but that's the way I took it.
And is anyone else out there a little creeped out by their logo?
The Tigers Triple-A club makes the list without question. I mean come on, I've seen teams name themselves after birds, but not as exotic as a mud hen (and yes, it's really a species of bird).
Fun Fact: Golfer Phil Mickelson had a tryout with the Toledo Mud Hens back in 2003 but failed to make the cut.
I've been dogging some earlier teams for lacking the intimidation factor, but the White Sox' Single-A squad literally has the intimidation right in its name. Kannapolis has intimidated their way to the top of the north division of the South Atlantic League.
That logo doesn't seem to sugarcoat the name either.
Whats are sky sox? Beats me, but it seemed like a good name for the Rockies Triple-A club.
If you ever swing by Colorado Springs during the season, be sure to drop by and nab seats in their "World Famous Hot Tub" that is privately located in right field. Now that's hot.
Located on the Jersey shore, the Phillies Single-A affiliate named their team after the uncommon species of crab who has, well, blue claws. At this point we've seen a lot of obscure species of animals, but hey, that's the minor leagues for you.
Some BlueClaws that have made it to the show are J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard.
Let's stay in the crabs species with the class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Stone Crabs are also hosting a typical minor league promotional night on May 14th, when "Little E", the world's smallest Elvis impersonator, will be in attendance.
If you're into irony, then this Mariners Single-A team is sure to fit your needs. With a name that sounds like "the king of swinging the lumber", it seems to backfire when the team leads the league in strikeouts, which is exactly what's happening this season.
Ian Kinsler, Grady Sizemore and even Orel Hershiser have been a LumberKing at some point of their career.
The most common name in the minors has the name "cat" in it. These six teams, however, put an original flare in each of their names:
-Lynchburg Hillcats (Single-A Braves team) *The team in the Atlanta organization that isn't called the Braves*
-Tri-City ValleyCats (Single-A Astros)
-New Britain Rock Cats (Double-A Twins)
-New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A Blue Jays)
-Carolina Mudcats (Double-A Reds)
-Sacramento River Cats (Triple-A Athletics)
This Single-A club is the second team from the Padres organization. I was a little confused as to what a TinCap was, but the logo clearly states that its a piece of fruit with a metal pot on its head. Fair enough.
If it were up to me, I wouldn't be naming a team after one of the slowest animals on the planet, but then again that's what makes it so original.
With the slogan of "Fear the Sea Cow", the Brewers Single-A team is definitely different than the rest.
I have yet to see one of these things in a zoo. Then again, maybe I don't want to see one. Actually the team name is in dedication of the planes that America used during the World Wars.
The Tigers Single-A short-season team is the fourth club from Detroit's organization to make the list of originality.
Now this team doesn't use two words to make their original team name, they just use a name that you wouldn't find anywhere outside of the MiLB. What really sticks out to me is that a city like Asheville is named the tourists, not a team in Florida or California where tourists are frequent.
When the Tourists do get out of town visitors, however, they have a lot of hitting to see since the Rockies' Single-A team leads the South Atlantic League in batting average.
Route 66 is one of the most famous roads in America, and the Single-A Angels affiliate certainly pays homage to it, so much that they even molded their logo after the road sign.
The most notable player to come through San Bernardino, the city they reside in, is Ken Griffey Jr. back when the team was called the San Bernardino Spirits.
Alien speculation has always been floating about in the world, but no team has paid recognition like the Las Vegas 51's. They are called the 51's in honor of Area 51 located in Rachel, Nevada, which was rumored to be home to UFO sightings.
The Blue Jays Triple-A team has also been a part of the Dodgers and Padres organization before Toronto took over in 2009.
The short-season Single-A team for the Florida Marlins has a team name that just rolls right off the tongue. Not only that, but we introduce out second piece of fruit in the original team names logo.
Josh Johnson, the Marlins ace, used to be able to call himself a Jamestown Jammer.
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's actually both. The Orioles Single-A short-season team has given a creative name for not only their baseball team, but also a new nickname for a jet with their team name.
Fun Fact: The first ever pitch at their stadium, Cal Ripken Park, was taken out for a home run hit by a player by the name of Domingo Cuello. Now that's a rough start.
Yes, they are really called the nuts as in the food. Could it be because nuts are commonly eaten during baseball? Or could it be because their fans are considered "nuts"? Who knows, but the Colorado Rockies Single-A team is sticking with the original name.
Two of the Rockies greatest, Troy Tulowitzki and Ubaldo Jimenez, have played for the Modesto Nuts in their careers.
This Blue Jays Single-A team would probably be a more suitable name for a NASCAR pit crew, but then again, that's what puts them in the top 10 of this list.
The Lugnuts are even better than just top 10 status by earning the second highest win percentage in the Midwest League by posting a .688 percentage.
And just two spots later we head back to the food groups, but this time we deal with corn. That's right, corn.
So far this season the Angels Single-A squad is only two games back in their division in the Midwest League to the league best Burlington Bees.
Gnats would have been creative enough for me, but throwing the "Sand" in there puts this team name in the top 10.
The Angels Single-A team has seen perfect game pitcher Armando Galarraga play in its ballpark, along with Travis Hafner, Eric Gagne and Ryan Zimmerman.
The Washington Nationals' short-season Single-A team earned serious brownie point with the baseball gods by honoring the game's creator, Abner Doubleday, by naming their team after him.
The Doubledays have produced household names like Kenny Lofton, Roy Oswalt and Julio Lugo.
The Giants Double-A team used one of the most lovable animals out there in the world as their team name.
Not only is the team name awesome, but who can't like the super hero outfit the squirrel is sporting in the logo?
The Giants have another team high up on this list, but this team name draws in another sport with a storied history with Augusta. The Masters, one of golf's major tournaments, is held in Augusta, and as a trophy the winner is awarded with, you guessed it, a green jacket.
The Single-A team has a long list of big league All-Stars, like Aramis Ramirez, Moises Alou and Hanley Ramirez, just to name a few.
Where can I buy baysox? Oh they're not real? All well, didn't seem to bother the Double-A affiliate of the Orioles.
Right now the Baysox, despite the fact that baysox aren't a real article of clothing, are in first place in the Eastern League.
The Aquasox pull ahead of the Baysox because the word "aqua" hasn't been incorporated in any team names in America. Not only that, but one of their mascots is a hot dog. How much crazier can this team get?
The Mariners may not be lighting up the AL West, but at least their Single-A team is in third place for this list. Same thing, right?
Personally, I can't get enough of this team name. Whoever thought that Biscuits would be a good name for the Double-A team for the Rays, they were right if they wanted some laughs out of it.
Not only is the name comical, but posting a last place 6-12 record in the Southern League is somewhat of a joke for opposing teams.
Haven't seen this one in a zoo either, or any other team's jersey for that matter. The reason this lands the No. 1 spot is because it is the textbook minor league team name. It has two words that you would never see together elsewhere, it has a tough adjective (iron in this case), and an animal (in this case a pig). It's perfect.
The IronPigs may be .500 so far, but the Phillies can be proud that their Triple-A team landed the No. 1 spot in this gigantic countdown.