The Unique Origin Of 5 MLB Team Names

Red Sox, White Sox, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Who wants to hear about the boring MLB team name’s that exist either for obvious reasons, or local fan polling (see: every recent expansion franchise). The real team names that personify the ‘boys of summer’ are the ones we are most interested in. Sure we’re really only into “our” teams as why else would beat reporters exist if not to keep us interested in things like team history and overlooking HGH allegations? As we roll on with the Windows Phone Baseball Bucket List we give you five teams that can at least keep all of our attention until we go back to convincing ourselves we’ll still be in it in October.

Atlanta Braves

While the Braves have become “America’s Team”, from over 30 years of TBS national telecasts and generating over one billion afternoon naps, they weren’t always the darlings of extended periods of dead air and 1-0 pitcher’s duels. In 1917 the Boston “Rustlers” became the “Braves”, a reference to the team owner’s political association with the political machine Tammany Hall (like a Super PAC, or Fox News). During their history they’ve been known as the “Red Caps”, “Beaneaters”, and the oxymoronic “Doves”, which is the reason today we throw Native Americans into the air to signify peace.

Houston Astros

Watch Good Will Hunting or Ted, brush up on your Boston accent, then in a super New England-y deep voice say “We choose to go to the moon.” All of that has to do with the “Astros”, as the space capital of the 1960’s led to Houston’s “Colt .45’s” to don a new stadium and team name in 1965. While the Astros have yet to conquer the World Series, the Colt .45s’ have made a darling comeback in the fast-paced lucrative world of homeless men and brown paper bags.

Pittsburgh Pirates

In 1890 the Pittsburgh Allegheny’s signed second basemen Lou Bierbauer who was unprotected by the Philadelphia Athletics’ reserve list, leading to the A’s calling that Allegheny team “piratical” for stealing their player (odds are high “tomfoolery”, “ballyhoo”, and “phooey” were used as well). The media ran with it, with help from musical Newsies (not really), and the team became the “Pirates” in 1891 (really).

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson, gave up the “shot heard ‘round the world” to Bobby Thompson, and were named after their city’s residents “dodging” the ever popular street trolleys. These events took place in Brooklyn New York, and while the “Dodgers’” have found varying degrees of success since their heartbreaking move to LA in 1957, I think we can all agree they’re now best known as the team Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez stole home for.

Oakland Athletics

The Athletics derived their name as early as the 1860’s as the term referred to Athletic Clubs for men, which is like grooving a fastball over the middle for a gay joke. Their mascot is an entirely different story: New York Giant’s manager called the Philadelphia Athletics a “white elephant” in 1904, attributing the team as a financial burden, and the name defiantly stuck as if to say “we’ll show you who is a financial burden and change our uniforms to display athletic white elephants”. Even in Oakland the mascot remains and is perhaps an omen, as elephants rarely ever see anything higher than Double A.

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