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!
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!