Maybe you remember this somewhat-beloved and somewhat-ignored series from the last hot stove season. As a way for us to keep our baseball minds warmed up and our senses of irony attuned, I'd like to welcome back the series for a second half. I've gotten the imprimatur from our feared leaders to continue this, and I really want you all to get involved. So let me and us know which names you like most, which names are boring, and in which ways I'm trying too hard. We can't get anywhere without criticism.
Old people names are funny. To go back to our old introductions...
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 project. The rules are that we begin with the decade they started their career in (i.e. Wally Post comes up in the 50's, not the 60's).
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 1960’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.
Cal McLish: Interesting guy who got a cup of coffee at 18 and bounced around a whole lot. He got traded from Cleveland to Cincy for Johnny Temple in the rare trade that blows up in the face of both teams. Both players went from top of their position to sub-replacement level once traveling I-70. Was I-70 around in 1960? Anyways, Cal McLish isn't a bad name. Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish...is a hell of a name for the man from Anadarko, OK.
Don Blasingame: Just the perfect name for a 1960's middle-infielder with a career .258 average, no?
Johnny Klippstein: He's from DC and just stuck around forever as a middle reliever. He has the name and the looks of just about everybody I went to high school with.
Pete Rose: Much like Curt Flood, it's hard to separate the name from what the name represents. Nontheless, no other name would've smelled as sweet. If I ever make baseball slashfic, my main character would be Dick Hydrangea.
Dom Zanni: He hopes that your first child, will be a masculine child.
Jimmie Coker: Almost idyllic in its blandness, he has the name of everybody your father went to high school with.
Johnny Temple: I like to think of him as the Jewish version of Bubba Church.
Billy McCool: /combs back hair. /snaps fingers. /puts on shades.
Art Shamsky: You're picturing someone who looks like this, aren't you? In "additional interesting information", he's from University City, MO, which is where I'm writing this from. And his wife sued him for "having adulterous sex with both a man and a woman without her consent" which, well, is certainly something.
Chico Ruiz: Is it your favorite stolen base? It's my favorite stolen base. He was just as mediocre as his name would suggest; it's not good if BBRef lists your position as "pinch-hitter".
Clay Carroll: I always thought that it was a great middle reliever name, like our current-day Jonny Venters or something. And "Hawk" is always a great nickname for whoever it is bestowed on...even if it's just because Clay had a beak.
Bernie Carbo: I always picture the beater-wearing dude in Aqua Teen Hunger Force when I hear his name. He wasn't bad, sure, but he's the sort of dude you accidentally draft the round before Johnny Bench.
Mike De La Hoz: Michael of the Ho's only got one plate appearance as a Red, where he struck out. It's hard to strike out with a ho.
Clyde Mashore: Mashore? When we bought it to raise our kids in, it was Owashore!
Wayne Granger: I just always thought he should be smoking a cigarillo or something.
And, for this decade:
Most Cincinnati Name: This is a really week decade, admittedly. I'll give it to Joey Jay, for being the nominal progenitor of two of our contemporary batsmen.
Most 1950's name: It's tough to get more "not as hip as we like to think we are" then Don freakin' Blasingame.
Best name of the decade: Billy McCool. Heyyyyy.