The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Baseball’s Best Surnames

Here is a list of baseball players who toiled in the shadow of their respective baseball-relevant surnames:

English: Matt Batts of the Detroit Tigers

English: Matt Batts of the Detroit Tigers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1)  Bob Walk – Pitcher

2)  Nick Swisher – Outfielder

3)  Grant (Trouble Throwing Strikes) Balfour – Pitcher

4)  Jamie Walker – Pitcher

5)  Johnny (Don’t Put Me On The) Bench – Catcher

6)  Burke Badenhop – Pitcher (‘Cause everyone hates a bad hop.)

7)  Matt Batts – Catcher

8)  Belve (High and Tight) Bean – Pitcher

9) Bud (On The) Black – Pitcher

10) Early Wynn –  He won exactly 300 games

11) Everett Booe – What no player likes to listen to.

12) Darcy (Doesn’t Need a Curveball) Fast – Pitcher

13) Cecil / Prince (We’d Rather D.H.) Fielder – First Base

14) Horace (Had A Lot OF) Speed – OF

15) Johnny (Bad) Hopp – IF / OF

Let’s make this an interactive post.  How many other players can you name with baseball-relevant surnames?  Be as creative as you like.


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40 thoughts on “Baseball’s Best Surnames

  1. Flame on said:

    Don’t know if this is still being followed, but how about John Strike? Funny enough, he didn’t throw a whole lot of those.

  2. Kristen L. on said:

    Another suggestion from a friend:

    *Milton Bradley* (once with the A’s)…wait…what game are we talking about???

    And who could forget these unfortunate souls, branded for life by pop slang and the images of their trading cards on the web:

    *Woody Held* (hey, bats are wood and he surely held one or two)

    *Rusty Kuntz* (dude, you should have changed it to the phonetic spelling, Koontz, or used your middle name)

    *Dick Pole* (who once played for the Beavers!!)

    *Burleigh Arland “Ol’ Stubblebeard” Grimes* (who had the dubious distinction of being the last pitcher allowed to throw the controversial “spitball”)

    *Charlie “Piano Legs” Hickman (notoriously so nicknamed for his poor base-running skills)

  3. Kristen L. on said:

    Excellent list, Bill, and great additions too!!! 

    Here are a few more, from the 2013 playoffs (besides Grant Balfour of the A’s pitching staff, whom you astutely included in the starting lineup), that bear honorable mention for their baseball relevance or because they’re just funny.

    *Michael Wacha* (hey, it could be worse…Wachya?), Cards’ pitching ace…following on Walk and Walker in your original roster, this one strikes me as unfortunate a pitchers’ surname as Balfour (but, like him, is fortunate to rarely live up to his name on the job)

    *Chris Withrow* (with throw???), who threw a few for the Codg-, er, Dodgers

    *David Freese* of the Cards, who fortunately doesn’t and, as a great veteran of the game, instead of freezing, runs the bases and fields the ball with awesome timing and speed

    *Coco Crisp* of the A’s, whose name provides fans with endless fun…for such a tiny guy he can sure track down those balls in center field, and as a cereal, er, serial reacher at bat, he makes a loud noise…love you, C.C.!

    *Anibal (and…a ball) Sanchez* of Tigers’ fame…OK, so it’s the first name that’s the key…off topic, technically (but I’ve already strayed)…who, as he’s recently shown, doesn’t throw too many of those

    Signing off with a shout of “Wacha Wacha Wacha Win!!” (seriously, whatever),
    One die-hard Giants/A’s fan

  4. I was just washing the dishes (I feel that after three weeks of dishes stacking up in the sink that it was the right time to do so), and for some reason, Dale Long came into my head. I don’t know why. Anyway, got another one for ya.

    Dale LONG fly ball out to deep center field, it’s going, going, gone! Dale has hit a LONG home run, his eighth home run in eight consecutive games, a new major league record! (Dale Long accomplished this in 1956 while with the Pittsburgh Pirates.)

    And one more for now.

    Vic “Hits With Great” POWER (Although, really, he never was known as a power hitter, except for in a couple of seasons when he hit 16 and another when he hit 19 dingers.)


  5. This is really stretching it, but Mike de la Hoz (as in strong-armed) was an infielder with the Indians and a handful of other teams in the late 50s and 60s. Really enjoyed this piece, Bill.

  6. Something about Pat Rapp always sounded right to me.

  7. Darryl Strawberry, for the sliding bruise (don’t think Darryl slid a lot though), and Dave Winfield, whose teams beat the entire field what, once?-the Blue Jays in ’92 and/or ’93. If you used an expansive approach to this, you could go on for ages: Stargell, Mantle for the awards he could put on his, Thome for his home runs, and so on.

  8. More……

    Jose CARDENAL (Actually DID play for Cardinals for a few years, including in 1970, my first year as a rabid baseball fan. As a kid, I got quite a kick out of the fact that Jose Cardenal played for the Cardinals.)

    Doug BIRD (Too bad he never did pitch for the Orioles ).

    Joe ASTROth (no, he never played for the Astros; too bad. He played in the 40s and the 50s, and the Astros weren’t around yet.)

    Dave PHILLEY (and, yes, this great pinch-hitter did play for the Phillies for a couple of years towards the end of his career).

    These were all off the top of my head. I did not look up any of these names, in either post.

  9. Ken SINGLEton

    Abner DOUBLEday

    Coker TRIPLEtt

    Lee “Outfield” WALLS

    Mac SCARCE (although his E.R.A. numbers never were.)

    Oscar “Pete Rose” GAMBLE

    Greg FIELD (he was a minor league pitcher who the Twins traded to the Mets along with Jesse Orosco in exchange for Jerry Koosman, but I’m not sure if he ever pitched in the major leagues.)

    Neal “He Threw A Lot Of” HEATon

    Bob CERV (Okay, that was poetic license; his last name was pronounced
    “serve”, not with a hard C. Plus he was not a pitcher.)

  10. And my favorite “wild” pitcher, Eric Plunk

  11. There are the Yankee teammates who were into wife-swapping before Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson–Virgil “Does Mr.s Kucks” Trucks and Johny “Shags Mrs. Trucks” Kucks.

  12. If only Cesar Geronimo had played for the Indians…

  13. Thanks for such a fun post, Bill.

    How about Alvin (don’t leave us in the) Dark ?

  14. Its not a surname, but I was always partial to Bake McBride.

  15. Rich Looby on said:

    I saw a kid at a youth game last week. Last name… DINGER.

  16. homer “i just gave up…give me three more creams and” bailey.
    23 homeruns a season ain’t that bad, but next to balfour and walk and an ear, nose and throat doctor named Dr. mouth, Bailey cracks me up.

    but balfour is sure on a roll and his in game enthusiasm and antics rival the mad hrabosky.

    • Ah, yes. Homer Bailey is definitely a good one.
      Thanks for the addition to the list,

    • Kristen L. on said:

      Ha! I always thought Homer Bailey was the quintessential baseball name not only for its overt relevance but also because Bailey is such a classic American name. It brings to mind the corny optimism of It’s a Wonderful Life ot the original Angels in the Outfield. Another name that gets me in the same way is Curtis Granderson of today’s Yankees because it sounds like a name a player of yesteryear would have had and is reminiscent of “grand slam.”

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