Some Great-Named Real Baseball Teams

Is any team named the "Mud Cats" doomed to be the bottom-feeder in it's league?

Yesterday I wrote about one of numerous imaginary leagues I concocted as a kid to play my first version of partially self-invented simulation baseball back in the summer of 1949. As an exercise in home relaxation, I still embark along these same diversionary paths at times with the help of the APBA Game Company’s wonderful “Baseball for Windows.”

Part of the fun is coming up with the fresh team nicknames. A fellow named Peter Denman commented on yesterday’s “The Summer of 1949” column to say that he also enjoys simulation baseball and still plays today with manufactured teams with the “Diamond Mind” game. Two of his team names struck me as especially creative and appealing. Denman has teams called the El Paso Stuffed Jalapenos and the Galveston Balinese Dancers. Gotta love it.

When it comes to great team names, however, it’s hard to beat some of those that have existed, or still exist, in minor league history. Here are simply a few of my favorites, starting with the 19th century.

19th Century Clubs: New York Gothams, Wilmington Quicksteps, St. Paul Apostles, Baltimore Monumentals, Oswego Sweegs, Utica Pent Ups, Boston Beaneaters, Hamilton Hams, Jersey City Skeeters, Zanesville Kickapoos, Davenport Onion Weeders, Houston Babies, Cleveland Infants, Manchester Amskoegs, Aurora Hoodoos, Lebanon Pretzel Eaters, Des Moines Prohibitionists, Adrian Reformers, Kalamazoo Celery Eaters, Hartford Cooperatives, Butte Smoke Eaters, and Troy Washerwomen.

20th Century: Clubs: Crookston Crooks, Des Moines Undertakers, Schenectady Frog Alleys, Amsterdam-Johnstown-Gloversville Hyphens, Holyoke Paperweights, Jacksonville Lunatics, Freeport Pretzels, Eau Claire Puffs, Hot Springs Vaporites, Alexandria Hoo Hoos, Racine Malted Milks, Kirksville Osteopaths, Fall River Adopted Sons, Flint Vehicles, Terre Haute Hotentots, Dallas Submarines, Salem Witches, Tampa Smokers, and Lansing Lugnuts.

There so many others, If you have a few favorites that have not been listed here, please share them with us as comments on this column.

Speaking of the Terre Haute Hotentots, we are left to assume an old question trail from “The Wizard of Oz” was the main line of inquiry by their local sportwswriters every spring training season. – “What makes the Hotentots so hot? – What have they got – that we haven’t got?”


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9 Responses to “Some Great-Named Real Baseball Teams”

  1. Paul Rogers Says:

    To those I would add the Knoxville Smokies, the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Atlanta Crackers, the Utica Blue Sox, the Amarillo Gold Sox, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Houston Buffs, the Victoria Rosebuds, the San Francisco Seals, the Butte Copper Kings, the Sioux Falls Canaries, the Kansas City Blues (which beget, sort of, the Kansas City Royals), the Brewster White Caps (Cape Cod League), the Chicago Whales (Federal League) and the New Orleans Pelicans, to name a few. Great topic with no wrong answers.

  2. bbprof Says:

    Dear Bill:

    Great collection. I have a folder of over 3000 different professional and college, also high school nicknames. In 1974 I was part of a faculty/student committee at the then Maryville College in St. Louis to establish their team’s first nicknames. We solicited 60 names from the students and faculties. (I put in 30 myself) We then narrowed it down to just five and believe it or nor all five were mine. The students voted on the five and my 30th won—The Maryville Brewers. That lasted for about 10 years. They are now the Saints.

    I also have a good time naming my fantasy football teams. To date I have been the Suburban Legends–for about eight years. Since then I have been Occam’s’ Razorbacks and now the bipolar penquins. The better my names the fewer games I win. I was Davey Jones Locker for about five games—finished at 3-10. BB

  3. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Dear BB:

    Thanks for writing. Love your contribution, It sparks inspiration, but. of course, you are BB – and that is what are supposed to do.

    (1) The life of a brewer rarely leads to sainthood. Maryville was blessed.

    (2) Watch out for those Bipolar Penguins. When a team fractures, they never seek nor find the middle ground.

    (3) Only the Mudcats the seek the same ground that Davy Jones Locker always finds.

    Trivia Quiz: What do you call a broken down former Astros who still may be good enough to make the all star game and finish the season as a triple crown winner? Answer: Lance Berkman, of course. He’s Houston’s gift to St. Louis.

  4. John Watkins Says:

    One of the oddest team names I have ever encountered is the Artesia Numexers of the old Class C Longhorn League, which had clubs in West Texas and New Mexico. Artesia is about 40 miles south of Roswell, New Mexico, which also had a Longhorn League team — the Rockets.

    In 1954, the Rockets’ Joe Bauman hit 72 home runs, batted .400, and drove in 228 runs to win the triple crown, but the team finished five games behind the first-place Numexers.

    The Numexers are long gone, but New Mexico still has a minor league team with an unusual name: the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League.

  5. Joe Biundo Says:

    Bill, I just want to add the team for which I was a ball runner, the Hammond Berries. For those who may not have heard of them, they were in Hammond LA in the Evangaline League. Bill knows the history of the Evangeline League very well.

  6. Baseball Clearance Blog Says:

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  8. Letmewatchthis Says:


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  9. Don Duren Says:

    Growing up in Hot Springs, AR, I saw the Hot Springs Bathers of the Class C, Cotton States League play many times in the late 40s to 1955. Great research.

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