Tag Archives: MLB

The National League Blacklisting of 1881

“Listen, we’re just sort of winging this as we go along.”

~1800s Major League Baseball Commissioners

hubert

We’ve been talking a lot about baseball in the past several months, which comes as a bit of a surprise considering that the sport is a topic we have very rarely discussed over the past four years.  Yes, it’s America’s Pastime, but it’s also kind of boring from an outside perspective.  But we stumbled upon something when looking up the silliest Major League Baseball team names that we could find during their early years—before baseball was a bankable commodity, they pretty much let anyone pick up a bat and play for (not much) money.  That led to crazy ballplayers, goofy names, and that one time where a guy got paid a full professional baseball salary to show up to an empty stadium every day and play himself in a disbanded league.

Baseball during the 19th, and somewhat during the start of the 20th, century was at times hilariously inept, completely marginalized, and interesting as fuck.  So we’re going to look into our high tech time machine (read as: Googling shit while drunk) to bring you another chapter from the early annals of America’s most interesting sport that involves players standing still for the majority of each game.

The National League Blacklisting of 1881

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The Goofiest Baseball Player Names Of The 19th Century

“You can just call me Wild Bill.  Holy shit, wait, you’re actually going to do that?”

~Wild Bill Widner

walter chickering

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

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Charlie Sweeney: America’s Greatest Drunk Pitcher

“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘drinking while pitching a professional baseball game.’  Or there are six ‘I’s’ there.  Shut up.”

~A Drunk Charlie Sweeney

charlie sweeney

The infancy of baseball in America was lawless time.  The World Series wouldn’t became an established event until 1903, entire leagues were created and disbanded over the course of just one or two seasons, and most team names were just, well, silly.  Considering that, in the 1800s, baseball was relatively new and didn’t really pay particularly well, the players that decided to pursue a professional career in the sport tended to be pretty eclectic.  They had names like Ice Box Chamberlain, they routinely threw games for gamblers, hell, in 1872, during the season, a team’s left fielder straight up drowned while fishing.  So in order to stand out as someone truly (and hilariously) noteworthy during this period, you had to either be one of the early greats in the sport, or you had to be an absolute nut job.

Starting pitcher Charlie Sweeney was a little bit of both.

If you claim to have heard of Charlie Sweeney before, we might have a hard time believing you.  His career wasn’t particularly remarkable, save for a few bright spots.  He played for five seasons, winning one Union Association pennant, and finishing his career with a 64-52 record with a 2.87 ERA and 505 strikeouts.  However, in his short time on the field (and off the field) he managed to leave a legacy filled with prostitutes, alcohol, manslaughter, and a few MLB records. So hold onto your britches or whatever the fuck people said back in the late 19th century, because we’re here to tell you about…

Charlie Sweeney:  America’s Greatest Drunk Pitcher

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Rupert Mills: The One-Man Team of the 1916 Federalist League

“I said.  A contract’s.  A contract.”

~Rupert Mills

rupert mills

On an instinctive level, just about everyone feels that it must have been much easier to become a professional athlete a hundred years ago than it is now.  Part of that stems from our general belief in progress—each year we get stronger, faster, better at writing hilarious jokes about American topics.  Shut up, it’s called intangibles, ask a scout.  Another part of this belief comes from the leaps and bounds our scientific knowledge about human physiology has made in the past century.  We know how to handle, and prevent, injuries, how to train our bodies in the most efficient ways- we’re no longer blindly hoping that we were born as naturally athletic freaks like Jesse Owens.  Oh, and speaking of that, we also stopped  limiting our professional athletics to random white guys who tended to get lucky enough to get exposed to sports right when they were being invented.  That’s a huge step.

The distinct disparity between, say, baseball athletes today and those during the Dead Ball Era might not have anything to do with this article, but it is important to note that Rupert Mills, who you have never heard of (unless you caught a brief story about him in our article about silly baseball team names), almost definitely would not have been considered a world class athlete if he were competing today.  And that’s okay!  Hell, he wasn’t considered a world class athlete when he was competing 100 years ago!  But maybe, in a weird way, the ability for “good but not stellar” athletes to play on a national stage in the 19th century was a blessing in disguise, because sometimes the best stories happen when a sport’s not yet at the point where it’s fully taken seriously.  Because while the level of play in 2015 might be higher than it was in 1916, you’ll never see a player show up to an empty field every day in order to take advantage of a loophole in his contract to get paid.

That’s what Rupert Mills did, and Rupert Mills was hilarious and amazing, and that’s only part of his story.

Rupert Mills:  The One-Man Team of the 1916 Federalist League

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More of the Silliest Major League Baseball Team Names of All Time

“Let’s go Stogies!  No wait that can’t be right, can it?  We’re not honestly called that, right?”

~Pittsburgh Stogies fans

talkin baseball

A few weeks back, we talked to you about some late 19th and early 20th century professional baseball team names that we felt were, frankly, kind of ridiculous.  We’ve not always been great at naming teams, and well, considering the Phillies we’re still not that great at naming teams, but we’ve at least phased out the worst offenders.  From the Columbus Solons to the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, there are a whole slew of defunct major league baseball teams that had laughable, absurd names, and some of them even managed to not be from Ohio.

That said, as ridiculous as those names were, they weren’t the only ones out there.  So we combed through the history of major league baseball to find some more hilarious names, because we’re easily amused when drunk.

More of the Silliest Major League Baseball Team Names of All Time

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The Silliest Major League Baseball Team Names of All Time

“Boring?  What are you talking about?  Baseball is exciting!”

~Baseball fan on his fourth beer

baseball from moose135

Photo from Moose135 Photography

Baseball is our national pastime in the same way that many of our “best friends” are people we were close with in elementary school who we only get to see every couple of years ever since they moved to the West Coast.  We still say it’s our most iconic sport, but if we’re being really honest with ourselves we’ve liked watching football better for some time now.  As society makes “sitting still for three hours for a game where everyone just stands still doing nothing for the vast majority of the time” an increasingly difficult source of entertainment to get excited about (though we do our best to make it worthwhile through alcohol and insane food) it’s important to remember that baseball hasn’t always been the dusty icon it is now.

It used to be much, much sillier.  Don’t believe us?  Just look at some of the teams that existed during the early years of Major League Baseball.  These are teams that people paid money to watch, and actively claimed to root for.  The 19th century and early 20th century were hilarious, basically.  So before you can even say “What is a Met, really?” let us present you with…

The Silliest Major League Baseball Team Names of All Time

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The Craziest Hot Dogs in Professional Baseball (Minor League Edition)

“You can’t get butts in the seat without a gimmick!”

~Bill Veeck

hot dog

As covered a few days ago, baseball and insane hot dogs go together like serial killers and women who send love letters to various prisons who have a lot of issues they need to work out.  We should tease out that comparison a little bit more, but we’re not going to.  Anyway, the point we think we’re trying to make is that, stadiums like to ply baseball fans with booze and food because while baseball can be boring, if you’re drunk and full, you won’t really mind.  This has led to a recent explosion in creative, intense, and, well, insane hot dogs throughout the baseball world.  And while we’ve talked about hot dogs in Major League Baseball stadiums already, that was really us going easy on the rest of you.  Because Minor League Baseball only sustains itself through the unfulfillable dreams of thousands of minimum wage athletes, and ridiculous ballpark gimmicks.  If you think of it, Minor League baseball has probably done it!  Smash a printer like in the movie Office Space!?  Sure!  Dress a dog as the bat boy?  Why not!  Live amputation on the field?  Jesus Christ, no, what the living hell is wrong with you!?

Anyway, if you thought that the last article we had about crazy hot dogs, well…no that was pretty crazy.  But check this shit out too!

The Craziest Hot Dogs in Professional Baseball (Minor League Edition)

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The Craziest Hot Dogs in Professional Baseball (Major League Edition)

“Take me out to the barf game, take me out to the puke!”

~Your obnoxious seven-year-old nephew who, you have to admit, probably has a bright parody career ahead of him

messy hot dog

America invented most of the world’s best sports.  Football?  That was us.  Basketball?  Sure, it was by a Canadian, but only because he was being paid by the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA when he came up with it, because Canadian dollars were still printed on tree bark at the time, and we were responsible for all the changes that make it recognizable as a sport today.  Soccer?  Nice try, not a real sport, next question.

But of all the excuses for young men (and women!) to vent out the aggression of youth in a competitive and potentially humiliating environment that has been birthed within these borders, only one sport is iconic enough to be known as our national pastime.  No, not Mixed Martial Arts, that’s a terrible guess, are you high right now?  We’re talking about baseball of course.

You might view baseball as a relic of a simpler age, when men were men, owners were horrific bigots, and amphetamines were just, everywhere, all the time, which would explain why the sport struggles in some markets to maintain its relevancy.  It’s a slow-moving game trying to make its way in a fast-paced world, and say what you will about heart palpitations but taking the majority of the workforce off of Speed in the 80’s didn’t really do much for the pace of the game.  Major League Baseball teams try to combat the issues implicit with asking some 40,000 Americans to sit very still for three or four hours by making a day at the ball game a full entertainment and gastronomical experience.  This involves a gallons of watered down beer and, more recently, absurd, amazing American culinary disasterpieces for us to shove in our faces and slink into our chairs to ride out our food coma contently watching yet another 1-2-3 inning.

Sure, we could go on about crazy nachos served in miniature baseball hats, or giant cups of frozen sugar (okay, so maybe malt cups aren’t exactly a new development) but let’s be real here.  This is America’s sport, we’re going to need to talk about America’s food.  America’s best, most absurdly adaptable, most occasionally unnecessarily expensive food.  Let’s get to it.

The Craziest Hot Dogs in Professional Baseball (Major League Edition)

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America’s Best (And Worst) Cheer Squad Team Names

“I feel more connected to my team and engaged in this sporting event for reasons totally unrelated to arousal!”

~American Males Watching Cheerleaders at a Sporting Event

Nothing celebrates the flower of American womanhood quite like cheerleading.  We take athletic, energetic, scantily clad women, and have them hypnotize predominantly male audiences at sporting events into learning how to spell team names.  We also decided to create a bitter, occasionally violent, rivalry between them and girl volleyball players, because hey, cat fight.  It’s a beautiful tradition that our nation embraces wholeheartedly, and it’s what separates us from the goddamn Europeans. However, the names of most of these teams are so embarrassing that those of us with a weak stomach for poorly misplaced puns sometimes question if it’s even worth it.  That’s why we’re here, with the help of some outside research from an intrepid AFFotD supporter who felt that “the people HAVE to know” to run down the best and worst of the Cheer Squad names in America.  Well, it’s more like the so-so and the worst.  Okay most of them are just plain awful.  Let’s move on and post some pictures of women not wearing a lot of clothing to skyrocket the page views for this sucker then, shall we?

America’s Best (And Worst) Cheer Squad Team Names

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