So far we’ve covered all of the National League teams from 1876 up until today. The National League, which is called the senior circuit, existed 25 years before the American League which is why I covered it first and now that I’ve gotten all of them out of the way I am going to tackle the American League teams! I am looking forward to this and I hope you are too! If you haven’t read them all, or have missed one of them, here are the first three installments of the MLB team name origins:
The American League is called the Junior circuit because they officially . The National League originated with teams that still exist today in 1876 and the American League became an official part of the major leagues in 1901. The American League started out with eight teams, same as the National League. Following is a list of the eight charter American League teams:
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Americans
- Chicago White Stockings
- Cleveland Bluebirds
- Detroit Tigers
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Philadelphia Athletics
- Washington Senators
So I look at this list and I see a National League team and some interesting name changes coming! So without anymore fanfare, here we go!
The first team I am going to name here is the team that has been the cornerstone of the American League, the New York Yankees. I know, you are looking at that list and thinking wait, the Yankees aren’t even listed there! There isn’t even a New York team listed on there! Well, this is what got me to want to do this little set of articles in the first place… I was fascinated by what the New York Yankees were originally called:
New York Yankees– In 1901 when the American League started the plan was to have an American League team in New York but the National League’s New York Giants were able to block it for a while which is why they put the team in Baltimore and took the name the Orioles. The Baltimore Orioles existed there during the 1901-02 seasons and for the 1903 season were moved to and built a ballpark in Manhattan as the New York Highlanders. The team name came from the elevation of the location. They went by the Highlanders name from 1903-12 and then finally settled on the New York Yankees for the 1913 season. They have won the World Series 27 times since they became the Yankees. They won it in 1923, 1927-28, 1932, 1936-39, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949-53, 1956, 1958, 1961-62, 1977-78, 1981, 1996, 1998-2000 and 2009. That is six different times that they won the World Series in at least back to back years!
Little known fact- Their first manager, when they were known as the Baltimore Orioles they were managed by John McGraw.
Boston Red Sox– Because they were in the American League and had no official nickname when the Boston franchise started out they began as the Americans. They did not adopt a nickname that they’d use officially until 1908 when they became the Red Sox. The Red Sox played in and won the very first World Series in 1903. Overall they have played in twelve World Series and won seven of them, they won in 1903, 1912, 1915-16, 1918, 2004 and 2007. The New York Giants were the National League champs in 1904 but had declined to play in the series that year because they thought the Highlanders would be playing and didn’t want to make them look credible so they declined to participate. If that series had been played it would give the Red Sox thirteen and a possible eighth championship.
Little known fact- The Red Sox won the pennant on the last day of the season in 1904, they wouldn’t beat the Yankees in a pennant deciding game for 100 years.
Chicago White Sox– The Chicago White Stockings were officially a major league team in 1901 and subsequently won the first American League pennant. Newspaper editors immediately started calling them the White Sox and by 1904 they had adopted the White Sox name. They have played in six World Series, winning three of them. They won the Series in 1906, 1917 and 2005.
Little known fact- Charles Comiskey, the original owner of the White Sox originally bought this team when it was in a minor league called the Western League. The team was originally located in Sioux City Iowa, Comiskey moved the team to Saint Paul, Minnesota. When the National League gave the American League permission to put a team in Chicago, Comiskey moved his team there.
Cleveland Indians– In 1900 the Cleveland Lake Shores were in the Western League which changed its name to the American League that year. In 1901 they changed their name to the Bluebirds when the American League declared itself a major league. The players didn’t think Bluebirds was really suited for baseball and in the meantime writers started to shorten the name to the Blues since they wore all blue uniforms. The players weren’t happy with the name Blues either though and in1902 they tried to change the name to the Broncos but that didn’t really catch on. In 1903 the name was changed to the Cleveland Naps. In 1912 the team’s name was changed to the Cleveland Molly McGuires. They were named after coal miners that were considered heroes for trying to establish a union. This name lasted only three years though. In 1915 they changed their name to the Indians, some say this was a a take off of the Boston Braves name who were at the time called the Miracle Braves. They have played in five World Series, winning twice. in 1920 and 1948.
Little known fact- In 1901, Charles Somers, the original co-owner of the Indians was also c0-0wner of the then Boston Red Sox.
Well, that’s all for now! Part five will be coming soon…
I’ve just got to say that this topic is really fascinating to me, when I first read what the New York Yankees were called it blew my mind! That’s coming soon enough though…
First off, if you missed the first two parts of this, go here…
All of the teams that we’ve went over so far were the only National League teams out there 1900 through 1952… In 1962 for the first time ever Major League Baseball added expansion teams. The two National league teams were the Houston Colt 45’s and the New York Mets. So obviously we will start with them!
Houston Astros– The Houston Colt 45’s were the first major league team to show up in the Lone Star state of Texas. They were called the Colt 45’s for their first three years and then they changed to the Astros when they moved into the Astrodome. They have been in the World Series once, in 2005. They have been in the National League for all of these years but beginning in the 2013 season they will be moving to the A.L. West division.
Little known fact about the Astros… The people who were trying to get a pro team in Houston, when turned down for a pro franchise, decided to start up a league to compete with the American and National league. They were going to call it the Continental League! MLB, wanting to protect other potential new markets for the future decided to expand each league from 8 teams to 10.
New York Mets– The Mets have always been called the Mets. New York was awarded the franchise to make up for the loss of the Giants and Dodgers a few years earlier. They have won the World Series twice, in 1969 and 1986.
Little known fact… The Mets played their first two years in the Polo Grounds, the home of New York Yankees from 1912-22 as well as the New York Giants from 1883-1957.
In 1969 the National League expanded again with the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres.
Washington Nationals– In 1969, for the first time , major league baseball had a team outside of the United States… I know what you’re thinking, the Washington Nationals aren’t outside of the United States! But the Montreal Expos are. Just in case you forgot, the Nationals started out their journey in Montreal as the Expos. They were there from 1969 until they were moved to Washington to continue as the Nationals for the 2005 season. The Nationals have never made the World Series as either the Expos or Nationals.
Little known fact- In 1982, the MLB all-star game was played outside of the United States for the first time in Montreal.
San Diego Padres– In 1969, the Padres were the first National League team to originate in California. They’ve been called the Padres from their onset and have been to the World Series twice, in 1984 and in 1998.
Little known fact- Before the 1974 season the Padres were almost sold to an owner who was going to move the team to Washington D.C.
In 1993 MLB expanded for the first time since 1969 by adding two new teams to states that had no major league teams in their history, Colorado and Florida.
Colorado Rockies– In 1993 Colorado was given a major league franchise, they reside in Denver, the Colorado Rockies. They’ve been called the Rockies from their outset and have been to one World Series, in 2007.
Little known fact- Because of a lack of investors after the team was given to Denver the Rockies were almost moved to Tampa Bay before they ever played a game in Colorado!
Miami Marlins– The Marlins originated in 1993 as the Florida Marlins and have changed their name to the Miami Marlins effective for the 2012 season. They went to the World Series and won in 1997 as well as in 2003.
Not a little known fact- The Marlins currently have the ugliest uniforms in baseball.
Arizona Diamondbacks– In 1998 the Diamondbacks, or D-Backs as they are also know came into the National League. They’ve had the same name ever since their inception. They have been to and won one World Series, in 2001.
Little known fact- The Diamondbacks won a World Series faster than any other expansion team, doing it in only their 4th year of existence.
Milwaukee Brewers– The Brewers have one of the most unique histories in recent history. They started out in the American League in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots. They played in Seattle for that one lone year and after ending up in bankruptcy court and being acquired by now commissioner Bud Selig were moved to Milwaukee. The Brewers stayed in the American League until 1997 when they were moved to the National League due to the fact that there would have been an odd number of teams in each league which would mean one team had to be off at all times. The Brewers have been to one World Series, in 1982.
Little known fact- The Brewers were the second team offered to move to the National League.
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten all of the National League teams out of the way I can now start on the American League teams! So far this has been a really neat learning experience on the history of the names in baseball. There are lots of cool stories involved and I look forward to sharing more of them in the next segment!
Here is the link to part four, MLB team name origins Vol 4.
If you are a baseball fan maybe you’ve heard of the MLB Fancave, it’s a place where one lucky person is going to spend the entire baseball season and get to watch every single major league game this coming season. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite… LUCKY! They also get to meet players and celebrities and pretty much live the coolest possible life ever for an entire baseball season!
3… 2… 1… GO!
1. Tell me your basics… Name, age, where you live?
I’m Ricardo Marquez, 26, and I live in Covina, CA. Home of old people and where the TV show Roswell was filmed.
2. Why do you belong in the MLB Fancave?
I don’t know if I BELONG in the MLB Fan Cave. I’d say I was born for it. MLB Fan Cave is going to need someone to bring the jokes and bring some posi-vibes to the cave. I think I’m that man that can do all that.
3. Have you ever named a pet with a team reference involved? Example?
I named a bird I used to have “San Diego Chicken”. Really screwed up his personality. I felt bad when he tried to lay eggs.
4. What is your favorite non-sports movie?
Kazaam. Hands down. Proved to me that you could make the worst thing in life and people would still love you. Wait, that wasn’t a sports movie right?
5. Favorite sports movie?
Air Bud Seven Inning Fetch. Actually, Sandlot would be the best. I’d say something like Bull Durham or Eight Men Out but I think I’ve seen Sandlot about a million times. Same for Rookie of the Year.
6. Favorite band/musician?
I listen to way too much music to really narrow down my favorite band but Thrice is pretty high up there. Only band I can legitimately say I’ve seen since they first started. If I get in the Fan Cave I would love to invite them to come play.
7. What is the best album ever made?
Again, too many albums. At the current moment the new Bon Iver and Antlers have been playing constantly.
8. Do you have a favorite comedian?
Rodney Dangerfield. The guy’s delivery was so spot on it was ridiculous he didn’t get any respect in his house. “One time my girlfriend say to come on over cause no one was home. I showed up and she was right. NO ONE WAS HOME!” CLASSIC
9. What is your favorite baseball team?
10. Who is your favorite all time player from that team?
A lot of people think I’m joking around but Chili Davis was probably my all time favorite. Tim Salmon super close second. Chili Davis wasn’t exactly the greatest but he definitely wasn’t the worst. One of the first games I actually remember going to, Chili went like 4-4 against the Yankees. Unreal.
11. What made you become a fan of that team?
My mom did actually. Most of my family are pretty die-hard Dodger fans. My mom kind of steered me the right way. Also, my Little League was the Angels so that pretty much solidify my fandom.
12. If you were stranded on an island what three things would you want with you?
A boat, unlimited supply of gas, and baseball cap. I’M ON A BOAT MOTHA…
13. If you had three wishes (can’t ask for unlimited wishes) from a magical genie what would they be?
To live in the MLB Fan Cave, unlimited supply of pizza on command, and for the Angels to win the World Series at least once every 5 years. Baseball would suck if there was no competition.
14. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for someone else?
Like in love or just risked my life for? I work for a Mobile Video Game Co. so one time while working a party, I jumped in the middle of the street to grab a toddler who took off towards a car. That was pretty gnarly.
15. Name the baseball players you’ve met? If too many name top 5…
I’ve met a few but the coolest have to be Tony Gwynn, Stephen Strasburg, Torii Hunter, Jered Weaver, and Rickey Henderson. Although Fred Lynn was super cool. With Henderson, I had to talk in third person to try and get him to sign a card. It was ridiculously funny.
16. Have you ever bungee jumped or went sky diving?
Nope. Never want to. I can’t even get on some roller coasters at Disneyland.
17. What is your favorite vacation spot? Perfect vacation?
Visiting a ballpark would have to be that. Two summers ago, some friends and I have made it a goal to visit every park before we get married or unfortunately pass away so going to a new ballpark is a pretty religious experience. Fun fact, Oakland A’s have quite possibly the funniest fans to watch a game with.
18. What do you do for a living?
I work for Games2U. It is a Mobile Entertainment Co. for parties whether it be celebrities, private birthdays, camps, etc. Pretty rad job. I get paid to have fun. Although it’s only part-time, it pays my booze funds.
19. Do you cry when you watch movies?
Last movie I cried in was Field of Dreams last week.
20. Most people have a musical guilty pleasure… What’s yours?
Ha you’re probably going to find some weird stuff on my iPod. Janis Ian and Wham! are two that make my friends go “Uh what dude?”
21. If you had to change your name, and there were no limitations except a first, middle and last name, what would you change it to?
The Artist Formally Known As Rick
22. How do you feel about zombie movies?
They rule. Whether they are amazing or terrible, always fun to watch.
23. Which is your favorite Looney Tunes character and why?
Taz. My uncle actually had Taz tatted on his calf and reminded me of him when he would have Boxing Matches. Unfortunately he passed away in ’96 so Taz is a sentimental character.
24. Have you ever traveled outside of the continental U.S.? If so where?
Only place outside of U.S. is Mexico. My dad sides lives down there. And no, they are not part of the cartel.
25. If you make the Fancave, what are your plans for after the season ends?
I actually have no clue. Hopefully it brings up some writing gigs or the Angels offer me a job in their communications/social media department. I would love to work for the Angels Organization but realize so do hundreds of thousands of fans.
26. What do you think is the most unbreakable record in baseball?
Probably Barry Bonds home run record. Tainted or not, that record is untouchable and remarkably insane to get. Kudos to Bonds. Sorry about the ’02 loss bro! ha.
27. Tell me your feelings on Pete Rose… Does he belong in the Hall? Be specific.
Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. A lot of baseball purists want to crucify the man but people have done a lot worse in life. Yes, stupid decision to bet on the game while you’re playing, but it’s technically the same as some players playing in Fantasy Baseball leagues.
28. What is your most prized baseball memorabilia?
Most recently a signed Torii Hunter ball I got a few weeks ago. Unless I get a Chili Davis bat or ball signed then that is gonna be high up there.
29. What do you prefer, pitchers duel or slugfest? Why?
Slugfests for the win. Mashing balls over the wall is probably the most exciting thing in the game! They even have fireworks for it. Unless you can get an M-80 going off after every strike out then Slugfests are the better of the two.
30. Have you ever milked a cow?
Yes and I was absolutely awesome at it.
31. Ever have a near death experience?
I’ve been in a few. Actually, every time the McRib comes around and I eat one I feel like I’m in a battle to fight for my life.
32. Which major league team do you most despise and why?
Probably the Yankees. I respect the team and can’t dismiss all they’ve done for the sport and the amazing talent they have/had but come on, you can’t just buy a championship. Rangers are slowly creeping up.
33. What’s the best baseball nickname ever?
Hammerin’ Hank or Sultan of Swat are probably the best.
34. Which of the Muppets do you most relate to? Why?
YES A MUPPET QUESTION!! I’d say Fozzie because we both have the cheesiest jokes and are terrible at our comedic craft. Although, Statler and Waldorf (two old guys) have quite possibly the best jokes out of the bunch.
35. What’s one question I haven’t asked that you wish I had asked?
How do I keep my six pack with all the food I eat.
36. How do you react to a flying cockroach? Or a huge spider? Ultimately, do you scream like a girl or are you totally manly when seeing a huge insect?
I scream in my head then get that thing out of where I’m at. Bugs scare me.
37. If you will, pick one best pitcher and one best hitter in major league baseball…
Oh man. Tough one. Ruth vs. Williams comes up to mind right away. I mean, Ruth had some solid numbers and he pitched for four years. So who’s to know how monstrous his numbers could have been if he had hit those four years instead. Ruth for batting and probably Roger Clemens in terms of pitching.
38. Rally squirrel or rally monkey?
Rally Monkey. And I hate that thing. He’s helping the Angels out!
39. Better signing, Tigers getting Fielder or Angels getting Pujols? Why?
40. Best baseball hairdo, 93 Phillies type mullet or Oscar Gamble/Coco Crisp afro?
41. Best baseball manager ever?
I could easily say Connie Mack, Casey Stengel, or Joe McCarthy, but for some weird reason I want to say Tony La Russa. Maybe it’s cause of that miraculous season he had with the Cardinals and the way he left on top but he holds that spot for me at the moment. Mike Scioscia needs to win one or two titles and I’ll give him that coveted spot.
42. Best era of baseball?
43. What is your favorite Sunday paper cartoon of all time?
Marmaduke. HES SO CRAZY!
44. Ever had a baseball make you cry from sadness? If so explain…
I did. I actually made a video about it and it’s up on YouTube.
45. What is the grossest food you’ve ever eaten?
Cow brains. That was gross. Don’t ever eat that.
46. What’s your favorite NFL team?
Dolphins. I thought this was a baseball interview! ha
47. Favorite NBA team?
Don’t follow NBA too much but I was a fan of the Clippers for a few years back before they got Paul. Terrible team but I liked them.
48. Have you ever been to a World Series game? If so when?
Nope. I would love to though and this MLB Fan Cave is giving one of us the opportunity to go to whoever won. Would be pretty amazing to get that far.
49. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People at stadiums who get mad when you cheer the team on. Get your face away from the iPhone and enjoy the game buddy!
50. Last question, name the one thing you’d bring to the fancave better than any of the other 49 remaining applicants out there now…
Probably some creativity. I have a ton of sketches I’d love to do or questions I want to ask some of the players that would visit. Positivity and fun times.
Give me your closing statements…
I like turtles. No seriously, thanks so much for letting me answer some of these questions and your support with all the MLB Fan Cave finalists. Lets get an Angels fan in the cave and into Yankee Territory. They always come to the Big A, it’s time one of us gets sent to their home! Follow me on Twitter @iBlogBetter and be sure to go vote on MLBFanCave.com. PARTY!
To vote for Ricardo for the MLB Fancave, go here… http://mlb.mlb.com/fancave/index.jsp?content=vote#fbid=AMTZoPdj1Q4
Okay, you’ve read Volume 1 and are dying to know about the rest of the teams in the league and their name history right?! Well, if you are, then here is a list of the next six additions to the National League, all of which are still in existence. Volume 3 will be in the works soon! So without further adieu…
San Francisco Giants– 1883 welcomed the New York Gothams, they became the first lasting professional baseball franchise based in New York. In 1888 and 1889 they won an early version of the World Series against the A.A. before they had merged with the N.L. Soon after this their manager started referring to the Gothams as his Giants and before too long that is what they began to go by. As the New York Giants they won the World Series in 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, and 1954. They moved to San Francisco for the 1958 season and won a World Series there in 2010.
Little know fact, the New York Mets later used the same logo that the New York Giants used during 1948-57.
Philadelphia Phillies-The Phillies entered the N.L. in 1883 as the Philadelphia Phillies. Dating all the way back to 1883,the Phillies have the longest history of one name and one city affiliation of any American professional sports team.
Little known fact- Unlike most other teams, the Phillies have never had a name change… EVER!
Pittsburgh Pirates– In 1887 the Pittsburgh Alleghenys joined the N.L. They were the first A.A. team to join the N.L. from the A.A. Oddly enough the name Alleghenys comes from the Pennsylvania city Allegheny city! It was eventually annexed into Pittsburgh in 1907 though. They renamed themselves the Pirates in 1891 although it wasn’t on uniforms until 1912. In a strange twist of events, the United States board on Geographic names forced the city of Pittsburgh to remove the H at the end of its spelling so the Pirates became the Pittsburg Pirates from the time they changed the name to the Pirates until 1912! They won their first World Series as the Pittsburg Pirates in 1909. They also won the World Series in 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979… They are the only team to ever win the World Series on a game 7 walkoff homerun.
Little known fact, the Pirates didn’t play a game in Pittsburgh until 1908, 25 years after they originally got into the league!
Cincinnati Reds– The Cincinnati Reds joined the N.L. in 1890 as the Cincinnati Reds, surprise! They, like the Pittsburgh Alleghenys came from the A.A. When they were a part of the A.A. they were called the Red Stockings but when they became a part of the N.L. they shortened it to the Reds. The first World Series they won was the infamous 1919 series. They also won the World Series in 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990.
A little known fact is that from 1953 through 1958 the Reds changed their name to the Redlegs for fear of being associated with Communists!
Los Angeles Dodgers– In 1890 the Brooklyn Base Ball Club entered the N.L. They unofficially went by the names Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers, Dodgers, Grays, Grooms, Bridegrooms, Superbas and the Robinswhich. Up until 1932 not one of these names was used in an official capacity, their official name however was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club. In fact the name Dodgers didn’t actually appear on a Brooklyn uniform until 1932. They won their lone World Series in Brooklyn in 1955. In 1958 the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles where they won the World Series in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988.
Little known fact, The Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the A.A. won the A.A. title in 1889 and then went to the N.L. in 1890 and subsequently won the N.L. title the following season, still the only team to win titles in both leagues in consecutive years!
St. Louis Cardinals– In 1892 the first team from the Central United States joined the N.L., the St. Louis Brown Stockings or just Browns. They were another team that originated in the A.A. In 1899 they changed their name to the St. Louis Perfectos and the following season changed it to the Cardinals. They have won the World Series 11 times. They won it the following years: 1926, 31, 34, 42, 44, 46, 64, 67, 82, 2006, 2011…
Little known fact- In 1920, Cardinals GM Branch Rickey pioneered the original minor league farm system that is immeasurable to every MLB team now.
Volume 3… Coming soon.
You ever think much about the history of baseball? How it’s been around for so long and who actually came up with the game, the rules and other things that go with all that? What about the history of the team names?
Great! I am going to tackle the history of the team names, where each team started out namewise and how they progressed to where they are now. This isn’t super extensive… I mean, I do have a job, a family, obligations and stuff but I am going to at least touch on things that are interesting to me!
So when did baseball teams first exist? Well, the first team that was totally professional started 143 years ago! The Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869… That wasn’t under the organized league’s of today (National and American League). The senior circuit, or the National League, started in 1876 with eight clubs, two of which are still in existence! Neither of which has the same name, also, one team was expelled and then another with the same name came back in existence although not related to the other! Interesting stuff for sure!
So in 1876 there were eight charter members of the National League:
- Chicago White Stockings
- Philadelphia Athletics
- Boston Red Stockings (or Red Caps)
- Hartford Dark Blues
- Mutual of New York
- St. Louis Brown Stockings
- Cincinnati Red Stockings
- Louisville Grays
After the 1876 season the Athletics and Mutual teams were both kicked out of the league because they refused to travel west and tried to make up their poor records against local non-league teams. They were shocked, but the League wanted to show that the rules were in place and weren’t going to be ignored…
By 1880, only the Boston and Chicago teams were still up and running. Over the years many teams entered the league and folded for various reasons…In 1882 the American Association (A.A.) began play as a rival league to the National League (N.L.). At times teams were “stolen” from the A.A. to play in the N.L. After the 1891 season the A.A. disbanded and merged with the N.L.
In 1883, The New York Gothams and Philadelphia Phillies entered the league. Both of these teams are still in existence today as well as the Boston and Chicago teams.
Other teams were added as follows:
- Pittsburgh Alleghenys (joined in 1887 from A.A.)
- Cincinnati Reds (joined in 1890 from A.A.)
- Brooklyn Grays (joined in 1890 from A.A.)
- St. Louis Brown Stockings (joined in 1892 from A.A.)
So as of 1900 the National League had a roster of eight teams that were in place without any changes until the 1952 season. Those eight teams were:
- Boston Beaneaters
- Brooklyn Superbas
- Chicago White Stockings
- Cincinnati Reds
- New York Giants
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- St. Louis Perfectos
So where does your teams name come into play here? What were they originally called?
First, because it is the senior circuit, I will go through the National League teams… As best as I can I’ll go in order of existence so I’m gonna start out with the two teams that are still in existence from the original eight charter league members…
Atlanta Braves– The Braves are one of the two oldest franchises in baseball history, albeit they don’t have the same name and aren’t in the same city! Either way, the franchise started in 1876 in Boston where they were known as the Boston Red Stockings or Red Caps, they changed to the Beaneaters in 1883. In 1912 because of another team in town going by the Red Sox they changed their name to the Boston Braves and as the Braves they won the World Series in their miracle 1914 season.
In 1935 the name was changed to the Boston Bees by new management in hopes of a reversal of fortune. After five years as the Bees more new owners changed the name back to the Braves. In 1953 the Braves moved to Milwaukee where they won a World Series in 1957. Lastly, the team relocated to Atlanta in 1966 where they won the World Series in 1995.
A little known fact about this franchise, one player played for them in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta! Eddie Mathews did it! He played the last season of the Boston years, all of the Milwaukee years and the first season of the Atlanta years!
Chicago Cubs– The Cubs are the other of the oldest franchises in baseball history. They are the longest tenured in one city as well. The Cubs started out in 1876 as the Chicago White Stockings! Interesting, always thought that would’ve been the White Sox! Well, we both learned something already! They went by the White Stockings but by 1890 they were going by the name the Chicago Colts. They were a top notch winning machine with star Cap Anson, when he left the team they lacked leadership and then became known as the Chicago Orphans… In 1902 the club was purchased and the name was changed to the Chicago Cubs. They were the first team to ever win back to back World Series titles when they won in back to back years in 1907 and 1908…
A little known fact about the Cubs, the Cubs played the Red Sox in the 1918 World Series, the last that the Red Sox won for 86 years as they sold off their star pitcher Babe Ruth after the season!
Volume 2 to follow very shortly, didn’t want this to be to terribly long!
Here’s the link for Volume 2. MLB team name origins Vol. 2
2011 was declared by Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon to be The Year of the Napoli…
We all remember it well, Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells… Then within a few days Napoli was wearing Ranger blue. We’ve all heard about how bad of a trade it turned out to be for the Angels with Wells having a very off-year and Napoli having his season of all seasons, and of course Napoli performed like a beast in the playoffs when it mattered. He was throwing out runners, hitting homer’s, he was doing it all. He was destined to be the World Series MVP had the Rangers pulled it out.
I always enjoyed Mike Napoli as an Angel, I paid little attention to his overall stats, but to the power that he displayed even with his limited playing time in Anaheim. Over the end of last season and into the playoffs Angels fans continued to see and hear how well he was doing (even against us) and had to wonder why on earth did we get rid of this beast?
Here’s why it didn’t seem so bad at the time…
Mike Napoli had his breakout year in 2011 with the Rangers, he did things that he had never done before. He became more disciplined at the plate with a higher rate of walks and less strikeouts too. He had more home runs, more doubles, more rbi’s, more hits, hit 82 points higher, walked 16 more times and struck out 52 less times in 84 less at bats.
When we traded him to the Blue Jays we traded a guy with a lifetime batting average of .251, in 2011 he batted .320! Sixty nine points higher than his average… Then you compare his post season stats, in three post seasons with the Angels he had a batting average of .226, in 2011 with Texas he batted .328! One hundred and two points higher!
As far as the myth that he wasn’t a sound catcher, just looking at a couple of things like caught stealing percentage (31% with Angels compared to almost 37% with the Rangers) and a fielding percentage no lower than .986 at any given time shows that he was a competent defensive catcher.
One last thing that I think played a part in all of this was a kind of revenge factor. There were many things said about the fact that Mike Napoli wasn’t a sound defensive catcher and had issues hitting with RISP, so I think Napoli left with a vengeance ready to prove that he was much more than that as a player. He brought it to the Angels in a way that hadn’t been seen since way back in 2010 (yikes!) against the likes of Vladimir Guerrero… And the rest as they say is history!
When you look at but a few of the miscellaneous stats comparing Mike Napoli now, to Napoli then, it doesn’t seem like such a no brainer to include him in that trade. And don’t forget folks, we still had Jeff Mathis! Just kidding, just kidding!