I’m going in a different direction today. Names of ballplayer that have coincided with their professions.
With 96 career homeruns, deadball third baseman Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker might raise some eyebrows with his nickname among the modern crowd. But check the stats… he led the AL for four years straight in homeruns. The name was well deserved.
But Frank Baker’s nickname was just that… a nickname. There were plenty of players throughout history whose given names just happened to coincide with the game they were paid to play.
There were plenty of baseball players named ‘Homer’ since it does happen to be a legitimate man’s name. There’s current day Cincinnati Red Homer Bailey and position player like former Blue Jay outfielder Homer Bush and Homer Summa of the 1920s (proving that having the name ‘Homer’ doesn’t indicate any slugging prowess).
Some pitchers throughout history were bestowed names that had hurler connotations of one sort of another. I grew up watching Pittsburgh Pirate Bob Walk facing my beloved Cubs hoping he would do exactly that. Current journeyman pitcher Grant Balfour (right) has the distinction of having a full name that is pretty much a sentence (albeit a confusing one from his point of view).
On the positive side, I’ve always liked Colorado Rockies’ pitcher Josh Outman’s name. It pretty much describes his job, getting people out. Same goes for the AL pitcher from the 1920s, Win Ballou (left) though he only did it 19 times in his career. There’s never been a ‘Loser’ or ‘Loss’ but there was a pitcher who pitched for Allentown in the minors named Kevin Losty.
We know two baseball players with the last name Fielder. Prince Fielder and his father, Cecil Fielder. Pops wasn’t much of a fielder at first base before he was relegated to the designated hitter role. As for Prince well, I guess he’s serviceable. Ask a Brewers fan.
There was an outfielder named Fielder Jones who played in the 1900s and yes, his given name seems to be Fielder. Unlike Prince and Cecil, he seemed to be a true glove man leading AL outfielders in fielding percentage twice.
Finally I leave you with Herb Score, a young pitcher with lots of potential had his career shortened by a line drive to his eye in 1957. If anything, his name epitomizes what is necessary to win baseball games.