Welcome to the final installment of MLB team name origins! I am a huge baseball fan and these names, what and where they went through to get where they are is in my opinion a really interesting subject! The more that I read about these teams and some of the names that they have had, the more that I can’t believe some of them! Well, it’s time for the finale, Vol 6. Hope you enjoy it!
If you’ve just stumbled upon this, here are the other five articles:
We ended Vol 5. with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the first expansion team in the American League so we’ll start with the other team that entered the league in 1961:
Texas Rangers– After the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota where an expansion team had been granted, the second version of the Washington Senators was born… The team spent eleven years in Washington D.C. before again leaving the area. When this second incarnation of the Senators moved to Texas and the Rangers were born for the 1972 season the fans of Washington for a second time in twelve years were livid! The Rangers have played in two World Series, winning none.
Little known fact- The first three managers of the Rangers (after their move to Texas) are all in the Hall of fame. These three managers are Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin!
Kansas City Royals-In 1969 the Kansas City Royals entered the league as the third expansion franchise in the American League after the Kansas City A’s, who came from Philadelphia, bolted for Oakland for the 1968 season. The Royals have been to two World Series, winning it all in 1985.
Little known fact- George Brett, the Royals most well-known player, is the only player in major league baseball history to win a batting title in three different decades. He won the batting title in 1976, 1980 and 1990.
Seattle Mariners-The Mariners came about as a result of a lawsuit. When the Pilots were purchased and moved to Milwaukee, the state of Washington, the city of Seattle and King county filed suit against MLB for breach of contract and prepared for the team they knew was coming. In 1977 the Mariners opened up their rookie season in Seattle.
Little known fact- The Mariners are the only American League team without an appearance in a World Series.
Toronto Blue Jays– The Blue Jays entered the league in 1977 as the first Canadian team in the American League. They are named after the bird of the same name and are nicknamed the Jays. They have been to two World Series’, winning back to back in 1992 and 1993.
Little known fact- The Blue Jays are the fastest American League expansion team to win a World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays– In 1998 Tampa Bay got a baseball franchise, the Devil Rays. They kept the name Devil Rays until 2008 when they shortened the name to the Rays. The owner of the team described the team name as “a beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and the entire state of Florida”. Pretty neat if you ask me… The Rays have played in one World Series, in 2008.
Little known fact- The San Francisco Giants were a last-minute decision from being sold and moved to Tampa in 1992.
In my opinion, the older teams have a much more interesting name history but either way, another one will be coming at some point…
Who do you think will have the next team name change?
Who do you think will be the next current team to relocate?
Which will be the next city to get an expansion team and do we really need one?!
As you’ve read through this list, and for me as I’ve put it together, you’ve probably thought some names were crazier than others as have I. I am going to make a top ten list of the weirdest baseball names that have been out there for MLB teams so be thinking of yours and make a list and see how if you match up with mine!
If you’ve made it through the first four volumes of this series, then kudos to you and welcome to Volume 5. I’ve finished up the original charter franchises of the American League and got into expansion as well! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am! This is another volume that includes some really cool and odd name origins and changes as well. You’ll be surprised!
Again if you’ve missed anything, here are links to the previous articles:
On with the show!
The Detroit Tigers– The Tigers entered the American League in 1901 as the Detroit Tigers. They were originally in the Western League, also known there as the Tigers. The Tigers have been to the World Series ten times and won four in the following years: 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984.
Little known fact- The Tigers are the only team from the Western League to play in their original location as well as under the same name.
Baltimore Orioles– The Orioles started out in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers! Why didn’t the Yankees just start here, or stay in Baltimore for that matter?! Anyways, after one year in Milwaukee, the Brewers moved to St. Louis where they became the Browns. The Browns stayed in St. Louis for 52 years until they moved to Baltimore in 1954. They took the name Orioles after the state bird of Maryland. The Orioles franchise has played in seven World Series’ (One while in St. Louis, 1944), walking away as winners three times. They won in 1966, 1970 and 1983.
Little known fact- There was a Baltimore Orioles team that played in Baltimore and called themselves the Orioles, actually there were two! One in each league! The NL team was contracted out of the league in 1899 and the AL team of course, moved to New York where they ended up being the Yankees.
Oakland Athletics– Better known as the A’s, the Athletics franchise started out in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. They moved to Kansas City in 1955 where they spent thirteen futile seasons before moving to Oakland as the Athletics in 1968. In 1973 the Athletics were officially renamed the A’s before shifting back to the Athletics for the 1981 season. The A’s have played in the World Series fifteen different times in franchise history. They won the series in 1910-11, 1913, 1929-30, 1972-74 and 1989.
Little known fact- The A’s use an elephant as part of their logo, seems odd for Athletics right? John McGraw had told reporters that a new owner had a “white elephant on his hands”, when he did the team ended up running with it and within a few years the A’s were wearing an elephant logo on their sweaters!
Minnesota Twins– The Twins franchise is one of the original eight charter American League franchises, they entered the league as the Washington Senators or Nationals. They went by the Senators and used the Nationals as a nickname but in 1905-06 they actually went to just being called the Nationals. The media continued to call them the Senators for the most part and the name eventually faded. The Senators stayed in Washington until 1960 when Minnesota was given an expansion team, when this happened the owner of the Senators/Nationals asked to move his team to Minnesota and give Washington the expansion franchise. In 1961 the Minnesota Twins debuted in the American League. To this day the Twins franchise has played in six World Series and walked away with three World Series championships. They won the Series once in Washington in 1924 and twice in Minnesota during the 1987 and 1991 seasons.
Little known fact- The Senators franchise didn’t use the name Senators on their jerseys until 1959!
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim– In 1961, Major League baseball gave Los Angeles an expansion franchise and although the major league team started in 1961, the Angels name goes back to the end of the 19th century! The Angels name has been passed down through baseball history to be honest with you. When L.A. got the franchise they took the name Angels from the minor league team that had existed there since 1903 and they even had some players from that Pacific Coast League team join the MLB team in its inaugural season! The way the Angels got the name goes back into MLB history, Gene Autry purchased the rights to the name Angels from former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley who had acquired the Angels from Phil Wrigley, the owner of the Cubs at the time! The name ultimately began in 1892 which gives them the distinction of being the longest running Los Angeles sports team in history! Also added to this is the fact that the name was ultimately passed down from Wrigley, O’Malley and on to Autry. Either way, the Angels started in 1961 in the major leagues as the Los Angeles Angels playing in Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The following year they moved into Chavez Ravine where they shared the stadium with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During the 1965 season the Angels changed their name from the Los Angeles Angels to the California Angels. In 1966 they moved to Anaheim and remained the California Angels until they again changed the name to the Anaheim Angels. In 2005 the Angels began to go by the name the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to acknowledge their history.
Little known fact- The St. Louis Browns were granted permission from the American League to move to Los Angeles for the 1942 season, a schedule was prepared as well but when Pearl Harbor was bombed the opportunity faded away.
Okay, so maybe I spent a little bit of extra space on the Angels, so sue me! They are my favorite team!