Monday, February 20, 2012

Roses by Other Names (’50 Version, Polysyllabic Division)

Funny names – you gotta love ‘em.  In my last post, I went all monosyllabic on ya.  In this edition, we look at the guys whose names are just plain weird, however many syllables they might have.


I’m sorry.  All I can think of is that scene from Blazing Saddles.

According to the Wikipedia, McCall was nicknamed "Windy" by Ted Williams as a young player "because he was always asking about Ted's bats."   Nah, I don’t get it either.  (Turns out he was a talker, that’s all.)  Incredibly detailed bio right here.

Why do I always think of this guy as “Golden Gordsbury”? says Gordy “had movie star looks, dressed well, and was said to be a good fielder.”  It doesn’t say anything about his being able to hit however (or whether he really was a good fielder).  A baseball lifer, Gordon Goldsberry was a player, coach, scout, and exec.  He was responsible for signing Robin Yount.


Doddering Dutch Dotterer.  Too bad he never played for the Dodgers.

Five years, 299 at bats, 5 homers, 27 runs, 33 RBIs, .247 average.  What else is there to say?

Oh, yeah.  His real name was Henry.  Shoulda been Don or Doug or something.

Tebbets is kind of a funny name to begin with.  To couple that with a really strange nickname like Birdie, you’d think his given name would have to be something really unusual or awkward, like Timothy or Tecumseh or Taliaferro. 

So, guess what appears on his birth certificate?  Yup, George.

According to Wikipedia, Tebbetts acquired his nickname as a boy when an aunt said of his high-pitched voice, "He chirps like a bird".  Not too sure about that one.  Maybe there were just too darn many Georges in the Tebbets clan.

Take one funny, old-fashioned first name.  Combine it with an equally funny, slightly Dickensian surname.  Result: Vern Bickford.

Also, what is he doing with his eyes?

Another wonderful – and incredibly detailed – bio right here.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  I wonder if anyone called him “Virg” though. 

Also …  Love the ‘brows, bro’!  See here for more.

I’ll let this one stand all by itself.  It’s almost like a little poem.  Memo …  Memo Luna.  Go ahead, say it yourself.

Just to continue the poetical mood …  Memo got into one game.  One game!  Lifetime record?  Two outs, two hits, two walks, two runs.  Memo …  Luna …  Memo Luna …


Where does a name like Repulski come from?  Is it Polish for “son of the repulsive one”? 

Rip’s real name was Eldon.  Not sure how they got “Rip” out of that.

Yes, of course, he did hit a few homers.  But not as many as you’d think.  He only broke 20 twice, and his career total was barely over 100.

Alliteration.  That’s what it is.  You just can’t fight it.

Another George, if you can believe it.  The nickname supposedly came from 1) severe hay fever, 2) ingestion of snuff, or 3) ingestion of snuff to treat severe hay fever.  You pick!

Stirnweiss was the ultimate baseball beneficiary of World War II.  4-F because of a number of ailments (including hay fever, I would imagine), he tore up the AL in ’44 and ’45, leading the league in 12 major categories.  After that, though, it was all back down to earth.


Hmm.  Now, what’s so strange about this guy?  I mean other than his nose and ears.  You gotta remember, we're dealing with names here, right?

Nothing particularly special about his career either.  Five seasons, three teams, .210 lifetime average, no homers.

Okay, here’s the big secret…  His name really wasn’t Neil.  That’s his middle name.   His first name was …  Wait a minute …  Are you ready for this?  Okay, his first name was … You are not gonna believe this.  Okay, here I go …  His first name was … Barbra!  Oh geez, I said it.  Can you believe it?  Barbra!

* - author has this card

More "roses" ... from the '60s and '70s.


  1. Great selection. I bought two of them for the names, Dutch (also a great picture BTW) and Windy. Here's one of my favorites,

  2. That would have been so much better if his nickname had simply been "Stormy."