After a long and arduous offseason, the beginning of Cactus and Grapefruit League play has officially ushered in the 2011 season. For prospect junkies like myself, Spring Training is one of the more exciting portions of the MLB season; an opportunity to watch the future of the game alongside future members of the Hall of Fame.
Sometimes, however, there are simply way too many players to follow. In any given Spring Training game you are bound to see a slew of players with completely unfamiliar names, and jersey numbers that edge triple-digits and more appropriate for an NFL lineman or receiver.
But if you were to take a few minutes to scan each team’s respective roster – that’s right, numbers 1 through 99 – you’d naturally assume that many of these players are bound for greatness. Or at least their names would lead you to believe so…
When I hear names like Buster Posey, Brooks Conrad, Skip Schumaker and Clete Thomas, my first thought is, “That lucky bastard was predisposed to a solid, big league career.” Although I’m fully aware that a great baseball name is in no way correlated with actual success, its power to distinguish a player is undeniable.
Therefore, I feel compelled to highlight some of Spring Training’s best names – believe me, there are some good ones – as well as some of the worst and most ridiculous. If I’ve overlooked any gems, be sure to comment and I’ll add it to our list.
Bubba Bell (Billy Wayne Bell), RF, Boston Red Sox
With a name like Bubba, you’d better be a damn good ball player or have the ability to wrestle a fully-grown alligator into submission.
Ryne Reynoso, P, Boston Red Sox
Personally, I still prefer Renee Russo.
Tucker Barnhart, C, Cincinnati Reds
After completing boarding school, Barnhart spent several years yachting on the Mediterranean Sea, probably while wearing something with a monogram.
Daniel Dorn, LF, Cincinnati Reds
Poor Daniel…if only he played for the Tribe. Imagine the potential marketing ploy!
(Robert) Cord Phelps, 2B, Cleveland Indians
You know you’re a baseball player if you willingly go by Cord when your name is Robert.
(Allan) Cutter Dykstra, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Considering that he’s the seed of Lenny, I’m pretty sure that the IRS will soon forcefully repossess the name Cutter.
Tagg Bozied (Robert Tanois Taggert Bozied), 1B/3B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies
This guy is a broadcaster’s dream, and at the same time, a potential nuisance for Phillies’ fans. I can already hear the call of his first big league home run: “Tagg tagged it!” Rough.
Charlie Furbush, P, Detroit Tigers
I’ve got nothing here. Charlie unanimously wins the blue ribbon.
Brad Hand, P, Florida Marlins
I think it’s safe to assume that Brad has been tormented his entire life, which still doesn’t compare to the endless ridicule that Furbush has endured.
Michael Dubee, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
The son of the Brewers’ pitching coach Rich Dubee, Mike apparently enters the game to Bob Marley’s, “One Love,” and has a wardrobe that consists of strictly tie-dye.
Tobi Stoner, P, New York Mets
The second that Tobi becomes a mainstay in the big leagues, his jersey will surely grace the front window of every New York headshop.
Mark Hamburger, P, Texas Rangers
Mark’s name gives a whole new meaning to the expression, “Meat.”