Sunday, June 13, 2010
Top 50 Awesome Tiger Names in History
When your baseball team can be traced back to 1894, there are bound to be some interesting names listed in the all-time roster. And the Tigers have definitely had some odd ones over the years. Hopefully I don’t leave out any of your favorites, but this is what I consider to be the top fifty most interesting player names in Tiger history, in alphabetical order. Enjoy.
1. Billy Baldwin (OF, 1975)
Yeah, screw Alec, Stephen, and the fat Baldwin brother. Billy was a Tiger. Actually, this Billy Baldwin was involved in a big trade with a name that any Tiger fan should recognize. Billy was traded to the Mets for Rusty Staub and Bil Laxton. The guy traded with him? Mickey Lolich.
2. Skeeter Barnes (IF, 1991-94)
I have fond memories of Skeeter. He never played much in the majors until the age of 34 when he found time with some of those horrible early 90’s Tiger teams. Since retiring, Barnes has had several minor league coaching gigs.
3. Yorman Bazardo (P, 2007-08)
Yorman has one of the more fun Venezuelan names in the game. He did a pretty good job for us in ’07, but got shelled in limited action in ’08. He’s currently in the Astros organization.
4. Boom-Boom Beck (P, 1944)
As you’ll notice, player’s names were much more interesting in the first half of the 1900’s. Walter Beck got his name while pitching against the Phillies in 1934. He allowed numerous line drives against the wall that day that each made a “boom” sound. When pulled from the game, he threw the baseball against the wall making another giant “boom” sound. Boom-Boom would have made a good nickname for Jason Grilli, now that I think about it. Anyway, Beck was mainly a relief pitcher at the end of his career when he played in Detroit.
5. Lu Blue (1B, 1921-27)
Amazing as it sounds, Lu was a fun name that was a student of Ty Cobb, during his player/manager days, proving that Cobb didn’t actually hate everyone that he ever met. Blue had a lifetime OBP of .402 and was an excellent fielder. When he retired, he became a chicken farmer. Lucky guy.
6. Hiram Bocachica (OF, 2002-03)
I always imagined Beavis from “Beavis & Butthead” saying “Bocachica” over and over when I would hear the name. Yes, I’m weird. The Puerto Rican native is still active, playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League.
7. Raul Casanova (C, 1995-99)
It’s hard to believe that he was our main catcher in 1997. I just like to picture him introducing himself as “Casanova” to chicas in the bar and the looks he must have received in return. He last played in the majors for the Mets in 2008.
8. Flea Clifton (IF, 1934-37)
With a name like “Flea”, I can only assume that he was an impressive physical specimen. Clifton was a long time friend of Tiger legend Hank Greenberg and appeared in a 1998 documentary on “Hammerin” Hank.
9. Slick Coffman (P, 1937-1939)
“Slick” is always a fun nickname for anyone. Especially when you’re drinking and feel like being a jerk. Coffman didn’t last long in the majors, but Hank Greenberg hired him to manage a minor league team in the Indians organization when Coffman’s playing career was finished.
10. Tex Covington (P, 1911-1912)
I don’t know about you, but you don’t get much more of a bad-ass name than Tex Covington. I’ll bet John Wayne would have even shook his hand.
11. Davey Crockett (1B, 1901)
The king of the wild frontier had 29 hits in 28 games in his only MLB season.
12. Roberto Duran (P, 1997-98)
The lefty pitched in 31 games for Detroit before being claimed off of waivers by the Montreal Expos on New Years Day, 1999. His career was “no mas” after that. Zing.
More after the jump...
13. Jerry Don Gleaton (P, 1990-91)
I’ve heard of several “Billy Bobs”, “Billy Rays”, and even “Bobby Joes”, but never a “Jerry Don” before Mr. Gleaton. He was a lefty reliever who played 13 seasons for 4 teams.
14. Izzy Goldstein (P, 1932)
Sounds like an accountant’s name. Ha, stereotypes are funny. ’32 was Izzy’s only year in the bigs and he appeared in 16 games for the Tigers. He was born in Odessa, Russian Empire. I’m willing to bet that not too many major leaguers can claim that.
15. Buddy Groom (P, 1992-95)
Wesdel Gary Groom, Jr. is his real name. That’s even goofier. But I just like the idea of the groom being everyone’s buddy. Makes the wedding more fun to be at. Buddy was a left-hander for us that ended up traded to the Marlins for fellow lefty reliever, Mike Myers. More on him later.
16. Pinky Hargrave (C, 1928-30)
You’ve gotta be a bad mamma jamma to go around with the name “Pinky”, I assume. Even tougher was his brother, a catcher for the Reds named Bubbles Hargrave. His best year was spent in Detroit when he hit .330 in 1929. Ironically, he died on a baseball field of a heart attack at the age of 46 trying to convert the diamond into a football field.
17. Ducky Holmes (OF, 1901-02)
He was quack-tastic.
18. Baby Doll Jacobson (OF, 1915)
Baby Doll hit .355 with 122 RBI in his best season in 1920 for the St. Louis Browns.
19. Deacon Jones (P, 1916-18)
Pitched in 46 games in his career, all with Detroit. Hell of a defensive end, too. Wait, wrong guy.
20. Wayne Krenchicki (3B, 1983)
Just a random weird name, I thought. He hit .278 in 59 games for Detroit. After his career ended, Wayne has managed several independent ballclubs winning the league championship with Newark in 2007.
21. Roxie Lawson (P, 1933-39)
He threw 15 complete games for Detroit in ’37. However, he spent most of his career as a reliever. He’s on the list because Roxie sounds like a stripper’s name.
22. Razor Ledbetter (P, 1915)
Razor had a lifetime ERA of 0.00. That’s because he only appeared in one career inning. Still a fun name.
23. Dick Littlefield (P, 1952)
Hahaha…I’m sorry. I’m a 33 with the mind of an 11 year old. Anyway, he’s kinda famous. Littlefield was traded with cash by the Giants to the Brooklyn Dodgers for the immortal Jackie Robinson in 1956. However, Robinson refused to play for the Giants and opted to retire instead. The trade was then voided.
24. Baldy Louden (IF, 1912-13)
A good defensive player, from what I’ve read. I feel your pain in the hair department, Baldy. I feel your pain.
25. Slim Love (P, 1919-20)
Stood 6’7, 195 pounds. Thus, the name. Slim Love, though…wow. Remember, kids, it’s not the size that counts.
26. Grover Lowdermilk (P, 1915-16)
27. Billy Lush (OF, 1903)
Led the AL in sacrifices with Detroit in ’03. I could not find anything written, though, on his drinking habits.
28. Heinie Manush (OF, 1923-27)
Hall of Famer with a lifetime batting average of .330. Great player. But “Heinie” made my son laugh, so he’s on the list.
29. Jose Mesa (P, 2007)
Joe Table. Still makes me smile. Too bad he was pretty much washed up by the time he ended up in Detroit after a decent relieving career.
30. Scat Metha (IF, 1940)
Played in 26 major league games, all in Detroit. Google “Scat” to see why he’s on the list if you don’t get it. Actually, you’re better off if you don’t.
31. Mike Myers (P, 1995-97)
Mike’s famous for his crazy, submarine pitching style. He was a LOOGY from 1995-2007, playing for 9 MLB teams. He also appeared in “Wayne’s World”, “Austin Powers”, and the Halloween movies, if I recall.
32. Fu-Te Ni (P, 2009-present)
The only current Tiger on the list. His given name is the same as the formal name for the Chinese God of the Land…whatever that means.
33. Prince Oana (P, 1943-45)
Oana was one of baseball’s first Hawaiian players. He started as an outfielder, but was converted to pitching by Hall of Famer, Rogers Hornsby in the early ‘40’s.
34. Bobo Osbourne (1B, 1957-62)
Lifetime average of .206. His name sounds like he’s Ozzy’s pet dog or something.
35. Jimmy Outlaw (OF/IF, 1943-49)
Moved to third base when Hank Greenberg returned from World War II. His name sounds like a bad name for a professional wrestler.
36. Stubby Overmire (P, 1943-49)
Got his name for only standing 5’7 and weighing 190 pounds. Ha.
37. Salty Parker (IF, 1936)
Only played in 11 MLB games with Detroit, but was involved in the trade that brought Dizzy Trout to the Tigers. He would go on to be a successful baseball manager with several clubs.
38. Pepper Peploski (3B, 1913)
Only had four MLB at bats and singled in two of them. If only he would have been able to play with Salty Parker. Oh, the humor that would ensue.
39. Boots Poffenberger (P, 1937-38)
I couldn’t make that name up if I tried. Wasn’t liked much in his days. He earned the nickname “The Duke of Duckout” due to his heavy drinking and poor training. He would often not make it to games. The Tigers would end up hiring a detective to follow Boots around to find out what he was up to. Can you imagine that nowadays? Classy, Boots. Real classy.
40. Bip Roberts (2B, 1998)
Bip played for 6 MLB teams and is currently a broadcaster for San Francisco Giants games. He gets points for originality…not many “Bips” running around out there.
41. Jack Russell (P, 1937)
Harf…that’s a kind of dog. Russell pitched for 6 teams over 14 years in baseball.
42. Tubby Spencer (C, 1916-18)
Tubby led the league in HBP with 9 in 1917. Had a career average of .215. I would like to nominate Gerald Laird for the nickname of “Tubby” on today’s team.
43. Tuck Stainback (OF, 1940-41)
“Your uniform is dirty. Tuck that stain back in your pants.” Sigh. Sorry. Stainback would play on the Brooklyn Dodger team that had Babe Ruth as their 1st base coach. He would also go on to organize the first pension system for major leaguers in 1947.
44. Lil Stoner (P, 1922-29)
Contrary to his name, his career ERA was 4.76…not 4.20.
45. Champ Summers (OF, 1979-81)
-A popular player with the Tigers that ended up traded to the Giants for Enos Cabell and cash. His name sounds like that of a network news sportscaster. Summers didn’t debut until he was 28 years old after he had served for the US Army stationed in Vietnam. Summers got the name “Champ” from his father who took one look at him when he was born and said “He looks like he’s just gone 10 rounds with Joe Louis”. Now that’s funny. Luckily, my dad wasn’t as witty or else I would have been named “Purple Bald Conehead” after my birth appearance. Moving along…
46. Birdie Tebbetts (C, 1936-47)
He got his name when he was young due to his high-pitched voice. Tebbetts was a colorful ballplayer that once punched a fan in the nose for dumping a pail of garbage on him when he was sitting in the bullpen. Don’t mess with Birdie, buddy.
47. Bubba Trammell (OF, 1997)
Bubba had a fun first name, but a rough last one to live up to as a Detroit Tiger. He bounced around to four other teams before leaving the Yankees in the middle of the 2003 season due to clinical depression.
48. Dizzy Trout (P, 1939-52)
One of the most entertaining names in baseball history. Dizzy was also one of baseball’s best pitchers from ’43-’47, but was below .500 the rest of his career.
49. Andy Van Hekken (P, 2002-04)
In his MLB debut, Andy pitched a complete game shutout against Cleveland for the Tigers. After that, I thought he was a future star and campaigned that the Tigers’ new slogan should have been “get the heck in to see Van Hekken”. However, I was (and remain) a moron. He would never win another MLB game and is still currently in the Astros organization, where many ex-Tigers have gone to die.
50. Jim Walewander (IF, 1987-88)
The Dead Milkmen’s biggest fan was mainly a defensive replacement or there to give Alan Trammell or Lou Whitaker a day off in the late 80’s. He would go on to play for the Yankees, Angels, and in Italy before retiring after the 1993 season.
And there you have it. Hopefully, you jerks that didn't realize the Tigers had a team before 2006 learned something. Ha.
As always, thanks for reading, kids.