Baseball's Version of Ad Libs: The Minor Leagues

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Credit: MiLB

Baseball is a sport unlike others, where you can name a team after underwear, and the name will stick for over a hundred years.

Well, to clarify that, the first professional baseball team ever was called the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869, so called because they wore red stockings, which were instantly recognizable by those paying to see the team play. Since then, teams have gone on to nickname themselves by uniform features, various animals, or something with local flavor.

While major league teams have all become household names, with brands that can last a lifetime, and instantly recognizable names, their counterparts in the minors have to be more creative to catch people’s eyes. This can lead to some fun, creative, and certainly outrageous team names and logos. In this blurb, we count down the 10 most ridiculous team names, and take a look inside what may or may not have gone through the minds of those who named them.

10. Modesto Nuts 

(Class A Advanced, California League)

Credit: Roxpile

When you name a team something that’s a pejorative term for a set of testicles, that’s typically something that’ll catch the eyes of the average immature American. The team has played in Modesto since 1946 as the Reds, but was rebranded as the Nuts in 2005, reflecting the regional nut farms. They have mascots named Al the Almond, Wally the Walnut, and Shelley the Pistachio. Their goal: make the crowd go...wait for it...NUTS!

9. Akron RubberDucks

(Class AA, Eastern League)

Credit: SportsLogos

When you think of a rubber duck, Ernie from Sesame Street immediately jumps to mind. So when the Akron Aeros rebranded themselves in 2014 as the RubberDucks, they had to remind everyone that Akron has a strong history in the rubber industry, with many well known tire brands starting in the area. Unfortunately, there was a slightly missed opportunity with the logo looking like an actual rubber duck, but we can’t get everything we want with these kinda things.

8. Florida Fire Frogs

(Class A Advanced, Florida State League)

Credit: BaseballAmerica

The team is based in Kissimmee, Florida, after spending 22 years in Brevard County as the Manatees. When the team moved, they chose the name Fire Frogs in a fan vote, beating out crazy names like Rodeo Clowns, Sorcerers, and Mud Kickers. As far as I know, the greater Orlando area does not have a large population of flammable amphibians, but that doesn’t mean our imagination can’t run wild with this one.

7. Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

(Class AA, Southern League)

Credit: MiLB

First, jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron. Second, Jacksonville has a long history of minor league ball. This particular franchise has been around since 1970 as the Suns, with a 6 year stint as the Expos (referring to their major league affiliate). So when the team rebranded themselves from something conservative and traditional, the owner had to reach out to the community to embrace the new name. So far, the fans have responded well, by signing a petition for the team to return to the old Suns moniker. That’s proof of ridiculousness if I’ve ever seen one.

6. Fond du Lac Dock Spiders

(Collegiate Summer, Northwoods League)

Credit: Fox 11 News

A dock spider is small spider that hunts by the edge of a small body of water, then runs across the surface of the water to inject its victim with venom. Perfect for baseball! So when they revealed the team name, Sports Illustrated named this team as the best attention grabbing baseball team name in 2017. They followed the classic adjective-animal combination of minor league baseball, and it seems to work nicely for a lakefront town’s team.

5. Pensacola Blue Wahoos

(Class AA, Southern League)

Credit: MiLB

The Wahoo is not just a noise you make when you’re excited, but also a fish that’s very sought after by sporty fisherman, and is apparently pretty tasty. So to those who aren’t very into seafood, they might have been somewhat confused when the team announced the name 6 months before the logo came out, and hurried to the almighty Google to find out what exactly a Blue Wahoo is. Now that you know it’s a fish, it’s not as crazy, but you had to figure that part out first.

4. Hartford Yard Goats

(Class AA, Eastern League)

Credit: WTNH

At first, you might think the team is named after the common farmyard animal with a propensity to eat literally anything you set near it. Their very clever logo reflects that. However, the term “Yard Goat” is actually a rail-yard term for a switch engine that shuttles train cars between locomotives. You might then ask, where in their logo set exists any reference to trains? Good question. Look at this picture from, and see the resemblance between the wordmark and the logo for an old train line that’s local to the area. But you still gotta love anything with the word Goat in it.

3. Binghamton Rumble Ponies

(Class AA, Eastern League)

Credit: SportsLogos

A rumble pony? Seems like the name is comprised of two words picked out of a hat of adjectives and animals. A rumble pony to me originally sounded like a small horse that sprouted front-facing arms and wears boxing gloves. But this new moniker of the longtime AA affiliate of the Mets is in reference to Binghamton’s long history with carousels. Many of the other names in the name-the-team contest reflected merry-go-rounds (such as the Rocking Horses, Timber Jockeys, and my favorite, the Stud Muffins). But this was still a very fun name, and is deservedly high on this list.

2. New Orleans Baby Cakes

(Class AAA, Pacific Coast League)

Credit: SportsLogos

This one needs a good amount of explanation, as you could imagine. A King Cake is a traditional cake that’s associated with Mardi Gras. Many times, this cake has a small plastic baby inside it, for some religious reasons I won’t go into at the moment. When the team moved to New Orleans from Denver in 1992, they kept the team’s name the Zephyrs, but then decided 15 years later to name the team after something with more local ties. Thus, the team is named after a small plastic baby found inside Mardi Gras cakes. Who says baseball isn’t fun?

1. Savannah Bananas

(Collegiate Summer, Coastal Plains League)

Credit: SportsLogos

The team wears yellow jerseys, sells banana shaped tickets, and uses marketing videos named things like “Can’t Stop the Peeling”. The team broke the league attendance record and won the league championship in their inaugural year. That’s all you need to know. It doesn’t get better than this.

Did I leave any fun teams out? Do you think some teams should be higher up? Do you agree that the Savannah Bananas are instant legends? Feel free to chime in.

Jeremy is a HUGE sports nut. Most notably, an authority on the Devils and Yankees within his circles. He's a unique mix of analytical and creative, with the ability to not filter his thoughts at all. This allows him to create informative, yet fun, articles for pretty much everyone.
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© GONG, Inc. All rights reserved