Now that we have the dead season upon us, I want to celebrate the names, the ridiculous and the sublime, that make baseball what it is. This is largely inspired by a Joe Posnanski post where he said that Wally Moon was the most 1950’s name ever. That sparked me to take on this new projec
Let’s go through each decade of Reds’ history, from 1890s through the 2000’s and select the greatest names. We will have three categories: Best Name, Most Cincinnati Name, and Most 1910’s Name. I will list the names and how they got on the list below, and then choose my winners. Feel free to disagree in the comments. And be warned, there are a whole lot of good ones this go-around:
Dick Hoblitzell: One of the better 20-y-o seasons in baseball history (143 OPS+) and died in Parkersburg, WV. Also, clearly one of the Kaiser's men.
Slow Joe Doyle: Look, I have a case of the slows myself that clearly belie my distance running abilities. But my favorite part of this: his name wasn't Joe. They gave Judd Doyle the nickname "Joe" just so they could rhyme something with how slow he was.
Rube Benton: A great redneck name for a man from western Carolina.
Heinie Groh: Yep, the Reds won a WS with a Heinie and a Dick.
Chief Johnson: Gets points for being from THE Winnebago, NE. Also, if Blacks were treated like Native Americans, we'd all be remarking on the brave career of Brooklyn Dodger N-Word Robinson. Sheesh.
Mordecai Brown: One of those fun footnotes of history is that 3-Finger pitched for the Reds for one season. Also, my parents were thinking of naming me Mordecai, and I am so so so happy they chose against that.
Fritz Von Kolnitz: His career ended in 1916. The US entered The Great War in 1917. COINCIDENCE??? WHERE WERE YOU, FRITZIE, THE NIGHT THE LUSITANIA SANK?
Earl Yingling: Born in Chillicothe. Nicknamed Chink (the thought of Brantley announcing Earl coming in to relieve is enough to offend even the mightiest of the no-PC crowd) and like the beer, his career bored people in New York, DC, and Ohio.
Tex Erwin: As far as I can tell, the first obnoxiously Texan catcher to play for the Reds.
King Lear: Went to Princeton, which didn't hurt his personal brand. I'm just surprised enough people knew their Shakespeare to have it catch on.
Goat Cochran: His real name was the stupendous-enough "Alvah" and although there's no picture included on his BBRef page, I can only imagine that he looked like Rob Schneider.
Greasy Neale: Another Parkersburg-ian, and if I gave out a "Most West Virginian" name award, he would most definitely win it.
Limb McKenry: Yes he was 6'4". And although "Limb" is a fantastic nickname in itself, Frank Gordon McKenry was also called "Big Pete". For as much as we compliment the steampunk nickname machine, sometimes it takes a day off.
Jim Bluejacket: The Cormac McCarthy character came to Cincinnati. Brooklyn was no place for a man like him. A man needs air. A man needs to pitch. Will they remember Jim he wandered as he looked out on the polluted river separating him from the old South. I will do what I can he promised himself. And I will make sure my great-grandson makes us the answer to an interesting trivia question.
Manuel Cueto: Went by "Melo" and "Cueto the Potato".
Hey Johnny, what do you think about us calling you Melo?
OK, fine. How about Cueto the Potato?
Snipe Conley: Only so much less fake then our old friend Snake Deal.
Slim Sallee: Pitcher, lover, riverboat gambler.
Hod Eller: The ace of the 1919 staff, going 19-9 with a 2.95 ERA over 248 innings. Led the league with 5 K/9 (the same rate as Bronson from last year) and pitched a no-hitter. Had 4 great years, then his arm went kaboom. Also, seemingly a hayseed from Muncie, IN.
Most Cincinnati Name: Hod Eller is the nice old man that always wears a suit jacket and a hat riding the bus.
Most 1910’s name: Slim Sallee is the great name of a hustler, a cardsharp, and a war profiteer. All of which are 1910s things.
Best Name: Mysterious Walker. Yet noone knows why.
So I hope you enjoyed this one, and stay tuned for the next edition, coming up…eh…eventually.