What’s one of the best parts of the summer? Minor league baseball. What’s the second-best part of the summer? Reading this article about the kooky names of minor league baseball.
The potassium-rich yellow fruit does not grow naturally in Georgia, but hey, when you’ve got a team name that can rhyme with the city’s name, why not?
In a 2001 episode of The Simpsons, Homer goes on a hunger strike to protest the Springfield Isotopes (named for a nuclear term in the nuclear-powered town) plan to move to Albuquerque. In 2003, the Calgary Cannons of the Pacific Coast League moved to Albuquerque, and the team asked for a new name via a newspaper poll. The overwhelming winner, with 67 percent of the vote: the Isotopes.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
This team plays out of Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is in the middle of a traditionally major steel manufacturing center. While its mascot is a pig, the name is a reversal of pig iron, which is used in the smelting process.
Looking for more baseball trivia? Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Takes a Swing at Baseball takes you behind the scenes at spring training, listen in on pitcher’s mound conferences, and meet the players, coaches, fans, and broadcasters who make this the greatest game in the world!
Homonyms are fun! This team’s mascot is a bat, as in the winged animal associated with Halloween, but a bat is also the name of a piece of baseball equipment…which is produced in large quantities by local bat maker Louisville Slugger.
Las Vegas 51s
Area 51, supposed secret site of UFO and alien study and dissection, is about 80 miles away from Las Vegas. (The team’s logo features a large grey “alien” head, too.)
The owners picked the name from more than 4,000 suggestions in a team-naming contest. Biscuits won because of its connection to the South and Southern cuisine. Bonus: Instead of a T-shirt cannon, team employees shoot biscuits into the stands during games.
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
This AA affiliate of the New York Mets plays in upstate New York, a place where there is a strong history of carousels. On that ride, a “rumble pony” is the hardest figure to ride. “Rumble Ponies” won a team naming contest…just edging out “Stud Muffins.”