“You can just call me Wild Bill. Holy shit, wait, you’re actually going to do that?”
We’ve talked about early baseball, and especially baseball in the 19th century, here before. Simply put, the 1800s were a lawless time in a lot of ways, and professional baseball was definitely included in that list. Hell, back then, foul balls didn’t count as strikes, in 1879 it took 9 balls to get a walk, and people wouldn’t even play with a glove so errors were almost more common than hits.
Now, these oddball rules were the result of a new sport coming into its own, which was a trying process for both owners and players. Teams and even Leagues folded overnight, and the salary a professional baseball player could hope for was about as high as you’d expect from someone placed in this tenuous position. So while the quality of play was, by modern comparison, pretty shitty, the 19th century did have us beat in one very significant field.
The ridiculousness of their names and nicknames. Nowhere does baseball offer more accidental hilarity than with the names that players, who though underpaid were professional athletes, went by. These are names that fans chanted (or like, respectfully muttered to each other, we know that people wore fancy hats to baseball games back then so maybe it was a more refined affair at the time) and that are forever linked in the history books of the game as these people’s identities.
And there are some doozies of identities here. So no more backswallash (Is that a 19th century word or did we just write gibberish?) let’s dive into some of these names.
The Goofiest Baseball Player Names Of The 19th Century