Major League Name-A-Likes

Already this year we’ve seen Frank Francisco pitch for Frisco of the Texas League, and had reason to invoke Johnny Podres of the Padres, and mention that the first draft choice of the Mets was a fella named Matz.

Some of them are desperate stretches, but you can in fact come up with at least one player whose name suggested they should’ve played with a particular city or team monicker across his chest (and even some who did).
Alphabetically by franchise:
Arizona: Of course, it’s pitcher Steve Phoenix from the A’s of 1994 and 1995.
Atlanta: They get the all-time great in this bizarre category, former Reds and Padres’ outfielder Angel Bravo.
Baltimore: Probably the closest is ex-Cub third baseman Kevin Orie, unless you like Ossie Orwoll, the fifth starter of the ’28 A’s.
Boston: Since none of the big leaguers named Fox have ever been nicknamed “Red,” you have to go with a washed-out mega-prospect who was once… Ted Cox, Red Sox. That or ex–outfielder Daryl Boston.
Chicago A.L.: Two deadball era stars fit best here, Pitcher Doc White (who actually pitched for them), and A’s outfielder Socks Seybold. Current Giants’ backup catcher Eli Whiteside gets honorable mention.
Chicago N.L.: You could look to 19th Century second baseman Cub Stricker, but I’m much more inclined to pick the spring-training-only ex-manager of the Red Sox, Mike Cubbage.
Cincinnati: It says something that nobody nicknamed “Red” has ever appeared for them in a post-season game. But pitcher Red Barrett made cameos with the ’39 and ’40 N.L. champs.
Cleveland: No-brainer. Former Red Sox pitcher Reggie Cleveland.
Colorado: Of all the players with the first name “Rocky,” the one most closely mirroring “Colorado Rockies” has to be “Rocky Colavito.” If Mets prospect Jose Coronado makes it, he’d have to be considered.
Detroit: Got to be Tigers’ 1957-58 manager Jack Tighe, although, interestingly, in the latter stages of his career when he was Detroit’s player-manager, Ty Cobb’s team was often spelled “Tygers.”
Florida: Marlin Coughtry, ’60s infielder, or Marlin Stuart, ’50s pitcher.
Houston: Rockies’ closer Huston Street or venerable catcher and pinch-hitter Tyler Houston.
Kansas City: A 1945 Giants’ pitcher named Roy Lee, or Mets and Jays pitcher Roy Lee Jackson.
Los Angeles A.L.: You can reuse Angel Bravo; I’d rather try 1972-73 Royals pitcher Norm Angelini.
Los Angeles N.L.: Who else but 1912 Reds’ third baseman Johnny Dodge?
Milwaukee: Lots of real-life Brewers; Tom of the Red Sox, maybe Jim of the Dodgers.
Minnesota: The Canseco Twins?
New York A.L.: Gotta go with the second baseman of the champion St. Louis Browns of the 1880’s, Yank Robinson. I can, though, recall my delight in 1976 when a reliever made a cameo in the Bronx and became Jim York, New York.
New York N.L.: Until draftee Matz makes it, their patron saint has to be Lenny Metz, infielder of the 1920 Phillies.
Oakland: How about the Cardinals’ outfielder of the early teens, Rebel Oakes?
Philadelphia: The ultimate one-team name-alike Dave Philley played 18 years in the majors, and for a dozen games in 1960 he was actually “Dave Philley of the Phillies.” He had previously played for the A’s in their original home, making him “Dave Philley of Philly.”
Pittsburgh: Either infielder Gaylen Pitts of the ’74-75 A’s, or pitcher Jim Pittsley of the ’95-99 Royals.
St. Louis: Ex-Cardinal outfielder Jose Cardenal is good. Cup-of-coffee 1963 Houston pitcher Conrad “Randy” Cardinal is better.
San Diego: Johnny Podres, of course, although 1941 Indians’ outfielder Buck Frierson is a good back-up.
San Francisco: Ah, if the Rangers would only swap him for Brian Wilson. He could be Franklin “Frank” Francisco, San Francisco.
Seattle: The toughest of the bunch. We have to settle for ex-Giants and Twins pitcher George Maranda.
Tampa Bay: You might go with ex-Expo Razor Shines, or bring in relievers Chris and Ken Ray.
Texas: Tim Raines? Wayne Granger?
Toronto: You could choose Vida Blue, or Joey Jay, but I like Jay Bruce. Doesn’t that sound good? Jay Bruce of the Blue Jays?
Washington: Last year’s feel-good career minor leaguer who made the Cardinals, Rico Washington. Also you could use ’60s pitcher Jim Nash for a weak homonym. 



    That was fun. Thanks for the research. I would be interested in knowing the names that you rejected. How do you research something like this.

  2. akatonbo7

    There are also the Papelbon twins, for Minnesota. One got promoted to AA this year for the Cubs, the other’s still in some manner of A-ball for the Red Sox, so I don’t know what either’s chances of facing their brother in the bigs might be.

  3. historymike

    Keith, it will make your day to know that for a couple of years early in the franchise’s history, the pitching coach for the San Diego Padres was … Johnny Podres!

    With my beloved Dodgers, Roger Craig was always called “Roger the Dodger.” But they weren’t always the Dodgers. At one time they were even referred to as the Robins in honor of their manager, Wilbert Robinson. Thankfully, history doesn’t always repeat itself, or they might have been the Lasordas!

  4. hartbreak

    I love that you think about this stuff.

    I don’t have your encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history, but my first thought for Texas was Houston’s Miguel Tejada.

    Also: does no one else think Prince Fielder is basically the best baseball name ever? I mean, in a comic book character kind of way?


    Different train of thought but anybody in the majors named Brian Wilson, to me, need to be playing in southern California. Surf’s up.


    Thanks for the fun list KO! This is WAY off topic but I watched the track and field games in Berlin this afternoon and the Jamaicans had Usain Bolt on the third leg of the relay and the first leg runner’s last name was Lightning (spelling?). I love strange names and name combinations, the eye doctor who did my laser surgery was Dr. Blinder!

  7. 1948braves

    Speaking of names, they announced during the Red Sox/NYY game that Carl Yastrzemski is 70 years old today. My older sister used to bake birthday cakes for him when she was a kid. She would sit in the bleachers and hand the cake to one of the pitchers in the bullpen, who would then send the cake to the dugout. Yaz was probably in his mid 20’s at the time. 1939. A great year, especially for movies. 70 years old. Wow.

    He was my one and only “hero” baseball player as a kid. 1967. I thought he was the perfect ballplayer. Especially his defense in left field. He knew that green wall better than anyone. His throws to home plate were a thing of beauty.


    My typing teacher in high school was Helen Prynt. She was unmarried, ergo – Miss Prynt (no “Ms” in those days). Now if you apply this concept to politics, Keith has had a guest on his show named Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. If he ever won the presidency, there would be a Whitehouse in the White House.


    For the Twins: How about Twink Twining who pitched two innings for the 1916 Reds? Although, it’s probably a long “i” on the last name.

  10. andchanged

    I thought we had a Brewer by the first name of Brent. Brent showed up at Maryvale for a spring training match against the A’s, hit a home run and went back to his respective organization. I have the last name right; not sure about the first.

    I was sipping a diet coke at the Chicago Cultural Center while reading the entry, and I’m trying really hard not to spit it on my keyboard. *amn you, Olbermann, for making us laugh.
    Eli Whiteside….no!

  11. doubleadrew

    Last season, the Reds traded minor leaguer Justin “Red” Turner to the Orioles. I was hoping he’d get promoted to Cincy and turn a game-saving double play. The headline would be “Reds’ Red Turner Turns Two.” Ouch.

    Anyhoo, he keeps an mlblog, too. Check it out.

  12. pedrorawks

    I always thought that it was amusing when the Jays had both B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett would be nice if they could acquire B.J. Upton to go along with Jay Bruce. Along with the apt names that would be a nice nucleus to build around.

  13. pedrorawks

    I always thought that it was amusing when the Jays had both B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett would be nice if they could acquire B.J. Upton to go along with Jay Bruce. Along with the apt names that would be a nice nucleus to build around.

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