The Funniest All-Time Baseball Names
The National Pastime is a vivacious animal – a rich tapestry of individuals, social groups and eras throughout a century and a half of American culture. From the Antebellum and Dead Ball Era to the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression, right on through Post-WWII, the Sixties Counterculture and the tongue-wagging hypocrisy of the 80s, pseudo-world domination and the Dot.com bust, we’ve had a host of names and monikers assault our consciousness and take refuge in our stat-addled brains. Here are some of my favorite all-time baseball names, many of which tread that uproarious boundary between PG-13 and Rated R.
Lil Stoner, 1922-1931 (W-L: 50-58, 4.76 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 299 Ks, 374 BBs) Born Ulysses Simpson Grant Stoner, this Texas-born hurler was listed as a right-hander, yet he’s clearly so zooted out of his gourd in this pic he tried throwing southpaw. Aw yeah. Imagine how shocked Lil Stoner’s buddies were when they found out he was named U.S. Grant. It’s a conspiracy, man! Don’t bogart that rosin bag, bro! Also an avid grower of…irises?!? An accredited Judge of the American Iris Society, it was Stoner’s dilated pupils and red eyes that gave him away.
Urban Shocker, 1916-1928 (187-117, 3.17 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 983 Ks, 657 BBs) Born Urbain Jacques Shockcor. He and Three-Finger Brown were apparently inseparable.
Van Lingle Mungo, 1931-1945 (120-115, 3.47 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 1,242 Ks, 868 BBs. Some folks say Mickey Mantle rolled off the tongue perfectly. If he was the top vote-getter in the phonetic coolness HOF, then Mungo was a close second. Dave Frishberg even wrote a catchy little, bossa nova-infused jazz number with his name as the centerpiece. Augie Bergamo…..Sigmund Jakucki! Swing, cat, swing.
Dick Pole, 1973-1978 (25-37, 5.05 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 239 Ks, 209 BBs). Not to be confused with Rod Johnson and Peter Shaft, Pole really knew how to stuff Old Slick in there tight. He enjoyed bang-bang plays and scoring at home. It’s often said that Pole was a big influence on Greg Maddux, who went on to bigger and better things.
Cinders O’Brien, 1888-1891 (59-65, 3.68 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 398 Ks, 486 BBs) This might be my favorite one, because for one, he’s buried about a half-hour away from me in Troy, NY. He also played for a team called the Cleveland Infants, which is bizarre on a wholly separate and altogether more disturbing level. Yeah. Cinders O’Brien. Perfect, isn’t it? Sounds like Conan’s pyromaniac brother. I imagine he called women “dolls” and generally talked like one of the Three Stooges, too.
Boof Bonser, 2006-2010 (19-25, 5.18 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 334 Ks, 133 BBs) It’s his real name, but not his birth name. He legally changed it to Boof in 2001, although I can’t imagine why.
Heinie Groh, 1912-1927 (7,035 PA .292/.373/.384). Does my ass look fat in these baseball pants? In retrospect, I should have used Hall of Famer Heinie Manush here, because of his significance during the culmination of the best bachelor party I have ever experienced. Heinie Groh just sounds a little better, but the Heinie Manush story goes like this: I’m on a 48-hour bender with my friends in Saratoga but we all end up in a local dive bar around my buddy’s house at 1 p.m. Sunday after a hellacious, debauched weekend. Some red-nosed old wino throws out a random trivia question that he’s sure will stump everybody. “Who’s the 1926 AL Batting Champion?” Even in my drunken stupor, I wrack my brain and slur out a response as I lift a solitary finger. “It has sumfing to do with poop or farts.” My buddy Matt Lang grimaces and starts to chuckle, but his look turns to stunned incredulity when the old-timer responds “You’re on to something!” and I scream out “Heinie…Manush!” as the entire open-mouthed bar stares at the lot of us. True story.
Pussy Tebeau, 1895 (8 PA, .500/.625/.500) Born Charles Alston Tebeau. When they called him “Chuck” Tebeau, he just fired the ball into the outfield, so they started calling him Pussy to prevent untimely throwing errors. Look at that OBP! It’s a shame his team didn’t get more Pussy back in the day.
Razor Shines, 1983-1987 (88 PA, .185/.239/.198) Born Anthony Razor Shines, this no-glove, no-hit prospect quickly faded into obscurity.
Pickles Dillhoefer, 1917-1921 (650 PA, .223/.266/.283). While the Pickles moniker probably had something to do with his last name, I like to imagine a more sinister reason for the sobriquet, like he once killed a man with a gherkin. Unfortunately, Pickles died of typhoid fever in the winter of ’22 at the half-sour age of 28.
Shooty Babitt, 1981 (171 PA, .256/.314/.301) Mack Neal Babitt. There’s plenty of ways to end up getting called Shooty, and I trust that most of them are bad.
Ugly Dickshot, 1936-1945 (1,110 PA, .276/.345/.371) Get this. His given name was John Oscar, but everybody called him “Ugly.” He may have been the first Ugly Dickshot in history, but he’s certainly not the last. Just ask Jenn Sterger and Ginger Lee….or just about any decent-looking female over 21 and under 40 that you happen to know who’s received a text from a cocksure mouth-breather.
Pete LaCock, 1972-1980 (1,729 PA, .257/.326/.366) The name speaks for itself. And he was a bit of a…well, you know. After getting mad at the official scorer during a minor league game, he hucked a ball up at the scorer in the press box and nearly pegged the Governor of Colorado (LaCock was suspended for this). He also once gave his bat to an umpire as a dispute for a called third strike, saying “You’re taking the bat out of my hands, anyway, so you might as well have it.” Odd note: He was the son of “Hollywood Squares” host Peter Marshall.
Stubby Clapp, 2001 (26 PA, .200/.231/.280) Born Richard Keith Clapp. I guess Stubby Clapp is better than Dick Clapp, but not by much. One thing he had going for him? Hops.
Of course, the most wonderful and terrific name in minor league history goes to…Wonderful Terrific Monds, who played in the Braves system from 1993-1997 and played a couple more years in Double AA New Haven (COL) and Chattanooga (CIN) before hanging up his spikes…and his bad ass afro.
Feel free to comment below with some of your choices for funniest baseball name ever!!
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