Welcome, friends, to the second annual induction ceremonies of the Baseball Player Name Hall of Fame, which is exactly what it sounds like: a roster of the very greatest names in the history of baseball.
Last year's inaugural class featured such stalwarts as Ugly Dickshot, Chicken Wolf, Beer, and Wonderful Terrific Monds. But given the enormous number of names in the historical archives, we are continually digging up new worthies.
This list is curated for the public good, and before I proceed, I would like to offer a note of thanks to Adam Jacobi. I have had help from several friends, including Baseball Nation's own Jeff Sullivan, but Mr. Jacobi has efforted tirelessly on this project.
This year, we have a 15-member induction class. I should stress that all of these names are real, actual names that these players really actually had.
1941 through 1945, minor leagues
A recruiting office, Lubbock, Texas, 1941.
RECRUITING OFFICER. [shuffles through papers] Mister ... Sucky, is it?
WILLIAM SUCKY. Yessir. Billy Sucky! That's me!
RECRUITING OFFICER. That's an unusual name.
WILLIAM SUCKY. I don't think so. If your name's Smith, it means your forebears were blacksmiths. My family's trade was sucking at things. Unfortunately, society has turned its back on our profession, and I am left with little recourse but to enlist for war.
RECRUITING OFFICER. The nurse tells me you suck really bad. I'm not supposed to grant you medical clearance.
WILLIAM SUCKY. Sir, I pledge to you that I can put my sucky lineage behind me and ably serve my country.
RECRUITING OFFICER. Well, son ... I believe in second chances. We can keep your abject suckiness a secret and sign you up ... if you can do one thing for me.
RECRUITING OFFICER hands WILLIAM SUCKY a rifle.
RECRUITING OFFICER. What you have right there is a brand-new .30 caliber M1 carbine. Fifteen-round magazine, bolt-action, effective combat range of approximately 300 yards. Yes, sir, this beauty will be every G.I.'s most trusted -- hey, what --
WILLIAM SUCKY has fed raw gunpowder into the muzzle of the rifle and is hitting the side of the trigger guard with a hammer with violent, overhead swings.
RECRUITING OFFICER. What are you doing?
WILLIAM SUCKY. It's not working! This is the worst bicycle ever assembled!
RECRUITING OFFICER. You-- but it's not--
WILLIAM SUCKY collapses to the ground, writhing while being kicked and beaten by a posse of roving STREET URCHINS.
RECRUITING OFFICER. What is going--
STREET URCHINS. [chanting in unison] WILLIAM SUCKY CAN'T RIDE A BICYCLE! WILLIAM SUCKY CAN'T RIDE A BICYCLE! WILLIAM SUCKY CAN'T RIDE A BICYCLE!
RECRUITING OFFICER. Son ... I'm sorry. You suck too super-bad for me to allow you into the U.S. military in good conscience. I'm afraid you're going to have to find a line of work that will reward you for all your useless sucky qualities.
WILLIAM SUCKY. BUT I HATE BASEBALL.
1957 through 1958, minor leagues
I see that name and I see a pair of fat hands kneading dough over a cutting board that is also made of dough. Never mind what sort of name that is: what is that noise?
Sometimes I see things like this and I legitimately wonder whether the 1950s actually happened 800 years ago, and at some point in the '60s we unwittingly fell into this disgusting centuries-long stasis of gelatin molds and linoleum until the Moog finally busted us out of it. There is no way anyone is alive now who was alive when two folks decided Peaster Mumphord was a good name for anything.
1950 through 1953, 1955 through 1956, minor leagues
From the blurbs on the backs of Bob Boring's baseball cards:
Bob once met a man who owned a wooden plank.
Bob is the chairman of a water-simmering club, of which he is the sole member. He mails dues to himself.
Television right now is all black and white and just totally weird and stupid but Bob likes to watch it anyway.
In his free time Bob enjoys playing Monopotaire, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Bob is the inventor of a string toy known as a "yo". Upon being informed that someone had improved upon his invention by fashioning a retractable version that could do tricks, Bob baked precisely one muffin.
Bob's anecdote about once meeting a man who owned a wooden plank was, as it turns out, completely false. He met no such person.
1972, minor leagues
This is Frederick Winner's entire professional baseball career:
He pitched a scoreless inning in which he allowed only one baserunner, but he never made it to the major leagues. Embittered, he went on to become a pithy soda-bottle-cap magnate.
2008, minor leagues
TEAMMATE. Hey. Hey hey hey. Hey.
RICH LAWYER: what
TEAMMATE. Got a joke. About your name.
RICH LAWYER: yes what is it
TEAMMATE. Okay. Here's the thing about lawyers. They're filthy rich!
RICH LAWYER: it is a well-paying profession
TEAMMATE. Because they're lawyers!
RICH LAWYER: yes, that has already been established. so do you have a punchline or something
TEAMMATE. Michael Jackson? More like Wacko Jacko!
TEAMMATE. Kim Kardashian.
[repeat conversation 650 times]
Mato White Eyes
1889, minor leagues
This is all we know about Mato White Eyes: in 1889, he was affiliated with the Hazleton Pugilists of the Middle States League, which also included a team called the Shenandoah Hungarian Rioters.
Further information is unavailable, as Baseball-Reference has yet to gain rights to the data scratched in a language unknown by the yellowed fingernails of a despairing tyrant into the hull of a rusted-out and barnacled aircraft carrier sitting at the bottom of Lake Erie on a parallel Earth in which Man had become so good at hunting by rock-throwing that agriculture was never developed and the land is illuminated only when hunks of molten granite shed themselves from the dead, decaying Sun-Moon and fall through the smog-black atmosphere and into the Hellscape below. But the people at Baseball-Reference have proven their ability to piece together an impressively comprehensive database from several difference sources of data, and I imagine that it's only a matter of time.
1911, 1913, minor leagues
A hospital, 1891.
MOTHER. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution I plan to keep!
NURSE. Ma’am, that’s a birth certificate.
MOTHER. Oh, whoops. Have erasers been invented yet?
MOTHER. Well, what do you do if you need to erase something?
NURSE. You contract smallpox.
NURSE. [doffs stovepipe hat, rides away on penny-farthing bicycle]
1887, minor leagues
Thing played for Ionia, which at the time was called "Thing". He played in what we refer to today as the year 1887, but at the time that was also simply known as "Thing". You see, nouns were not introduced to the English language until the turn of the century, before which everyone just called everything "thing". Jokes were very predictable.
1909, minor leagues
lol hey man what's up
1921 through 1924, minor leagues
- THOU SHALT FIND A TOILET
- THOU SHALT NOT BRING READING MATERIAL INTO THE BATHROOM THAT THOU WOULD EVER WANT TO BRING INTO THE LIVING ROOM AGAIN
- THOU SHALT MAYBE GRAB A LOCAL ALTERNATIVE WEEKLY, OR AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR A NEWLY-PURCHASED STEREO SYSTEM, OR PERHAPS EVEN FOR A STEREO SYSTEM YOU'VE HAD FOR A WHILE. WHO KNOWS, MAYBE THOU WILL LEARN ABOUT A SPECIAL FEATURE OR SOMETHING THAT THOU DIDST NOT KNOW ABOUT. LIKE, WHAT IF THERE'S AN AUDIO EQUALIZER FEATURE THAT THOU DIDST NOT SCREW AROUND WITH SO THOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT WAS THERE
- THOU ART JUST READING THESE COMMANDMENTS AGAIN, ARE THY NOT
- COME ON MAN, AT LEAST GET, LIKE, AN ONION ANTHOLOGY OR SOMETHING
- THOU SHALT NOT TWEET
- SERIOUS ABOUT THAT ONE OKAY
1915 through 1918, manager, Chicago White Sox
He wasn't actually a player, but whatever, don't care. Pants Rowland managed the White Sox. He was basically Leg Clothes: The Person, and he was frequently at odds with his outfielder, Shoeless Joe Jackson, for reasons that I hope are obvious.
Jimmy 'Foxy Grandpa' Bannon
1893 through 1896, St. Louis Browns/Boston Beaneaters
1961 through 1964, minor leagues
Otherwise known as the Human Captcha, Vanity Rushing always batted leadoff. If the pitcher was able to accurately pitch to him, he could access the secure portions of the batting order.
1911 through 1914, minor leagues
That's listed as his real, actual name: Ten Million. In Ten Million's world, names were numbers and vice versa.
1949 through 1950, minor leagues
Listen, person who manually updates the Baseball-Reference database. Sit down and stop what you're doing. Just stop. Listen to me for a minute.
You do terrific work. Remember when you were able to fill in the fields for Lee Stevens' home-run totals from 1997 to 2001, and you didn't even have to look it up? I mean, who else can do that? Most people think Albert Pujols hit .329 in his rookie season, but how many people know for sure? You did. And you entered it in the database by hand, just like everything else.
That's why I'm so troubled by this. Have you come this far, only to blatantly make up names of minor league baseball players from the 1940s? Freddy Thrower. FREDDY THROWER. Let me guess, he was a ... pitcher, right? Oh God. Well done, you knucklehead. I think -- well, yes, now that you mention it, it is a very nice name for a baseball player -- but I think that as long as you're going to be completely fabricating data, do it so that we'll never know. You have to be more subtle.
Seriously. Knock yourself out. Say that John Henderson hit .291 in 2007. We baseball fans are still just gonna be all like "durr that's so interesting I'd better analyze it durrr" and nobody will get hurt because baseball does not matter. Is there a John Henderson? Man, I don't know. But unlike "Freddy Thrower", if you say he's a man, I'll believe you.
P.S. If Bill Childers is made up could you seriously please just tell me? It will be our secret.