Time Out: Moniker Madness 2014

Note: This post runs concurrently under a different name on The Blog of Funny Names

“Every time I sign a ball I thank my lucky stars I wasn’t born Covelski or Wambgnass or Peckingpaugh”–Mel Ott

Mel Ott,  looking as if he just tried to sign his name "Wambgnass."

Mel Ott, looking as if he just tried to sign his name “Wambgnass.”

Ol’ Mr. Ott may be happy for not being any of the names above,  but he never would have won the annual minor league baseball Moniker Madness competition with his name.  He may be a 500-home run Hall-of-Famer, but we at The Blog of Funny Names march to a different drummer.  We’d sooner idolize the likes of past Moniker Madness winners, like Rock Shoulders, Will Startup and Sicnarf Loospstok, the latter of whom was aided by some late ballot-stuffing by the BOFN staff to win last year’s contest.  This year, another 75 amazing and ridiculous names are in the running–you can cast your official vote on the office Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness site through Thursday.

But the poll that really counts is the one we run, where we let our readers select their favorites.   Five of the current top 10 in the standings are profiled below–you can vote for your choice at the bottom of the page.

But first, something completely different.  I can’t help but mention that some of this year’s names seem to fall into some distinct categories–divisions, if you will.  These divisions are:

The “Have Baseballs, Will Travel” division,  including Tommy Toledo, Montana DuRapau and Montreal Robertson;  The “What’s on the Menu” division, starring Mark Hamburger, Joey Pankake and Renzo Martini;  the “I’m Masquerading as a Celebrity” division, with Burt Reynolds and Joan Baez;  and the “With a Name Like This, I Should Have Been a Porn Star,” division comprised of  Steel Russell,  Brock Dyxhoorn and Kieran Lovegrove.

OK, that’s out of my system.  Now, here are the five BOFN nominees you can vote for on this page–all of them are in the top 10 in the Moniker Madness standings as of this writing.  As per last year, I’ll play my favorite name game,  which is speculating what these names sound like their owners should have been if they weren’t baseball players.

Brooks Pounders–Who he is: a journeyman minor league pitcher in the KC Royals organization.  With a name like that, you’d figure he’d be pounding the strike zone, and he has averaged slightly less than 3 walks per nine innings in his 6 year career.  Unfortunately, he’s still in A ball, three levels below MLB.  Who I think his name sounds like?  The IBO Cruiserweight boxing champion of the world.

Venn Biter–Who his is: a 2013 outfield draft choice by the Phillies, currently laboring in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.  Who I think his name sounds like? Count Dracula’s nephew.

Tommy Toledo–Who he is:  a pitcher in The Milwaukee Brewers organization.  Who I think his name sounds like?  President of the Longshoremen,  local #4127.

Damien Magnifico–Who he is:  another Brewers pitcher–an embarrassment of funny names for the Brew Crew.  Who I think his name sounds like?  The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

No, this is not Joey Pankake

No, this is not Joey Pankake

Joey Pankake–Who he is: a 2014 7th round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers,  playing right here in Connecticut in the NY-Penn League.  Who I think his name sounds like?  A less than successful mafia hit man from Brooklyn,  played by Joe Pesci.

This is.

This is.


With 75 names to chose from, we’ll allow write in votes.  Heck, vote for your own kid in little league if his–or her–name is funny.





Time Out: Moniker Madness

“Who’s on first.”–Bud Abbott

Note: If you have never seen Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” routine, one can only draw one of three possible conclusions.  You’re from a country that does not play baseball, you can’t speak English, or you’ve been living under a rock your entire life.  Maybe all three.  For your benefit (and I assume you speak English if you’re reading this blog) and for anyone who needs a refresher, the video link to that classic appears at the end of this article.

Hu's on FirstStorm Throne…Rougned Odor…Sicnarf Loopstok…these are only three of the 75 names entered in minor league baseball’s seventh annual Moniker Madness competition, to chose the best name (read: most ridiculous) in the game.  The contest began Monday and will run through  August 29.  You can see the whole list, and vote for your favorites, here.

No purging of my hopelessly cluttered mind would be complete without a discussion of baseball names.  Or–more specifically–funny baseball names.  Abbott and Costello famously lampooned funny baseball names as far back as the early 1930’s.  Back in middle school in the 1960’s, my best friend and I cataloged a list of what we called the 50 wackiest names in (up to then) Baseball history.  The list included such beauts as Clyde Kluttz, Van Lingle Mungo, Orval Overall and Christian Frederick Albert John Henry David Betzel.   More recently, I have profiled some of these guys as a guest correspondent on The Blog of Funny NamesBut let’s get back to Moniker Madness.

Sicnarf Loopstok?  Really?  Is that a name or the result of an explosion in an Alpha Bits factory?  Yes, it is real, and Loopstok is currently leading on the list of this year’s nominees.  Some of my personal favorites on this year’s list, besides Loopstok, include Jose Jose, Storm Throne and the aforementioned Mr. Odor.  (What were his parents thinking?  Can you imagine the schoolyard taunts when he was a kid?).

Here’s a fun little game to play with these names.  If one saw the name, and didn’t know it was of a professional ballplayer, who might you take them for instead?  Here’s a few of my suggestions from this year’s MM list:

Duke Von Schamman–Baron von Richthofen’s younger step-brother.

Sicnarf Loopstok–the prime minister of Croatia.  (Oops, turns out he is from Aruba, so how about the governor of Aruba?)

Storm Throne–a female porn star

Damien Magnifico–goalie for the Brazilian World Cup soccer team.

Jett Bandy–see Storm Throne

Sammie Star–see Storm Throne and Jett Bandy

Zech Zinicola–councilman from the third ward, Bayone, NJ

Delta Cleary, Jr.–a used car dealer with annoying TV and radio ads

Jose Jose–a character from a Saturday Night Live or other TV show sketch.  (Can’t you just hear Bill Dana** saying “my name, Jose Jose?”)

Mookie Betts–a professional gambler

Rougned Odor–maybe a…or…er…help me out, I have no idea here.  (It’s pronounced roog-ned oh-dor, accents on the first syllables)

The full current leader board can be found on the site.   If you can come up with additions to the list above, please share them with us.

Have a great day, and don’t even think of naming any of your kids after these guys.  😀

**Like me, Bill Dana is an Emerson College grad.  He went there centuries before I did, though. 😛

Signature    @MarkSackler

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