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.