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 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. I think this is my favorite decade of them all, so I'll be a bit biased here.
Fritz Coumbe: An amazing 6'0", 152 lbs. Also, quite the Frenchified last name. Let's call him Alsace-Lorraine.
Bubbles Hargrave: A noted favorite here at RR. His brother was Pinky Hargrave, and what is this? A circus troupe?
Eppa Rixey: The Hall of Famer was also called Jephtha in his timeand was a star of Carnivale, clearly.
Rube Marquard: On the same pitching staff as Eppa in what must have been the most chronologically-appropriate rotation ever.
Astyanax Douglass: The rarely-used catcher was named after the son of Andromache and Oh My God this is beautiful in a heavy metal say it twice and it's almost like praying (to the polytheistic god of vengeance of your choice).
Cactus Keck: Frank Joseph Keck must've been from the Southwest, right? Wrong. He's from St. Louis. FTH?
Boob Fowler: Finally, you immature children can vote for Boobs. It's made much better if you know what a fowler is. BBRef also lists his nickname as "Gink," which may or may not totally help his cause. I really don't get this.
Chick Shorten: Charles Henry Shorten could be a captain of industry. Chick Shorten is a frat boy of Prohibition.
Cuckoo Christensen: I'm reading a book about Danish history now and I've come to the realization that a country without a lot of sun, and with a lot of cold, would drive a man crazy. Ol' Seacap definitely had that problem.
Ethan Allen: The home-grown Bearcat had a mild career as a sort of David Martinez of yon. Not nearly as interesting as the man he was (presumably) named after. I also just really like the name Ethan, it's one of white people's best names.
Clyde Sukeforth: I've made fun of southerners before, now it's time to mock the most Yankee name I could think of.
Mul Holland: Props to his teammates for not taking "Dutch" or some easy nickname. His career ended abruptly after suffering nightmares about a creature living behind a restaurant he frequented.
Rufus Meadows: A great baseball name for a great baseball story. In a blowout in late April, the 18-year-old Rufus got a batter out at the end of an inning, flew out, and then was never heard from in the baseball world again.
High Pockets Kelly: The Hall of Famer had one of the best nicknames for a tall person I've ever seen.
Pee-Wee Wanninger: A pretty fantastically bad player with a pretty fantastically belittling nickname.
Pinky Pittenger: A man named Clarke Alonzo has no excuse to be called Pinky.
Pid Purdy: Again. Everett Virgil Purdy is a Yankee and a statesman. Pid Pudy is a joke.
Harlan Pyle: Just something very American about this name.
Estel Crabtree: Improbably from Crabtree, Ohio. This would be a great name for an aging beauty (like someone who would play canasta with Marion Ravenwood) but is kind of strange for a light-hitting outfielder.
Most Cincinnati Name: Bubbles Hargrave had the kinda name that made Ernie Lombardi sound like Johnny Bench.
Most 1920’s name: Eppa Rixey was born to drink champagne in West Egg and sodomize debutantes. Even if he actually did neither.
Best Name: Astyanax Douglass. From being named for an obscure member of the Greek Mythology pantheon to having the double-s ending that I've only seen on Frederick, yeah, it's a name for the ages.