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.
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 1920’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. There's a tremendous amount of quantity AND quality in the 1940 class. Enjoy.
Morrie Arnovich: "Nu. So I'm on my ways to a career as a 5th outfielder then they Japs, they bomb my country. Now I'm just a nice Wisconsin boy but I says to myself, I says 'Ya gotta serve your country, ol' Morrie, ya gotta.' I get a game in 1946 but my career. Over. So thanks a lot, Pearl Harbor."
Jimmy Ripple: He played in 3 more World Series then Ernie Banks. Because life is unfair like that.
Willard Hershberger: You know he just had to be a catcher, and just had to play in the 40's, with a name like this.
Lefty Guise: Witt Orrison Guise has an improbably evil name. Also, Bill McKechnie drove him crazy buy calling him in from the bullpen screaming, "Hey, you Guise!"
Elmer Riddle: Had two incredible years, otherwise his arm was made of duct tape before duct tape existed. Also, fantastically was part of the same pitching staff as Lefty Guise.
Eddie Shokes: Probably doesn't belong on here all that much, but I just think its a great 40's name.
Ray Starr: I'm kinda skeptical that he didn't take any time off for the war years, especially with a cocky name like Ray Starr.
Rocky Stone: You know that "acronym that describes him" thing tl;dr tried to get started? Rocky Stone just exploded the system.
Joe Just: Born Joseph Erwin Juszczak in Milwaukee, WI, this backup catcher's life crazily fully traces that of William "B.J." Blazkowicz.
Ewell Blackwell: A lot to like about him, even if To Kill a Mockingbird made the name "Ewell" a bit less popular as time went on. Made his debut at 19 before going all Greatest Generation for a few years. Had the awesome nickname of "The Whip" thanks to his 6'6", 195 lb. frame. Went to University of LaVerne, which I like to imagine is just Reggie Sanders making people lift weights all day. And was a terror of a pitcher finishing 2nd in MVP voting in 1947.
Chucho Ramos: Our first Hispanic contribution, I believe, sounds like a terrible stererotype.
Jodie Beeler: Check out the picture accompanying his page. That chaw. That name.
Kermit Wahl: Utility infielder makes best show (Sesame Street) and worst show (Arli$$) of 1990's come together in the 1940's.
Johnny Riddle: Elmer's younger brother. Had a career that took him from the Sens to the Bees, which is kinda cool. It's just too bad we never had the chance for the Jimmy Ripple - Johnny Riddle battery.
Hod Lisenbee: Horace Milton Lisenbee? British Aristocracy. Hod Lisenbee? Tennessee hick. Hud Lisenbee? Man with barbed wire soul. CHUD Lisenbee? Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. (Also interesting to note he pitched in the 20s and came back at age 46 to fill in for the '45 Reds.
Boom-Boom Beck: Probably an awkward nickname to have during the war years. Can you imagine Ian "IED" Shnell these days?
Herm Wehmeier: Born, raised, and died in Cincy. Real, real, German. Led the league in walks allowed 3 times. Yep, we found our most Cincinnati guy ever.
Johnny Hetki: One of those random squarehead Finns who moved to the Midwest who time forgot. Also looks kind of like an alien.
Benny Zientara: Benedict Joseph Zientara? Papist. Definitely a papist.
Ray Lamanno: Bill Dammann's Spanish grand-nephew.
Garland Lawing: Works better off if said with a North Carolina accent. Was nicknamed "Knobby" and I shudder to know why.
Lonnie Goldstein: Still alive, living in Austin, TX where he resides as King Hipster.
George Burpo: His picture confirms that he's the sort of dude with a "Yugh-hug-hug!" sort of laugh.
Augie Galan: Walked before walking was cool. Had a name I can't decide if it's dorky or charming.
Hugh Poland: Hugh Poland disappeared during the war years, then was nicknamed "Red" Poland before becoming known as a righteously idignant dude starting in 1980.
Tommy Tatum: He could've been a crooner with a name like that. He wasn't.
Buddy Lively: Literally the exact opposite of Buddy Holly, AMIRITE?
Harry Perkowski: I don't know about you, but I can't say his name without finishing the sentence with "...yelled at me this morning to get off of his lawn."
Virgil Stallcup: A 6'3" shortstop. Mads would've been better off naming his band Virgil and the Stallcups then the Nighthawks, for sure.
Ken Raffensberger: Just a bizarre last name, equal parts English and German.
Jimmy Bloodworth: Sounds like a Mary Sue from some 1950's Yankee fanfic.
Peanuts Lowrey: I would want him on today's team just so that he could be called "Penus Loveit" by justin.
Johnny Pramesa: Johnny Pramesa's sounds like a strip mall Italian restaurant.
So this decade's winners are:
Most Cincinnati Name: Herm Whemeier. It means "Man of Woe" and only because it's a mistranslation from "Man of Walks."
Most 1940's name: I'm leaning towards the Marvel Comics tales of Joe Just, myself.
Best name of the decade: A real tough one, for sure. But Rocky Stone wins it, I just love how unassuming it is at first, but then the more you look, the better it becomes.