Manly Baseball Players—With Not-So Manly Names

Sports, including baseball, are thought of as manly endeavors, reserved for the big and the buff, the strongest of the strong and those in peak physical condition. Therefore, to be a top sportsman, logic dictates that one must be big and strong—that is, manly. Though many baseball players fit that bill, their names would suggest that they are anything but the epitome of masculinity.

In fact, some baseball players’ names are downright womanly.* I’m not talking about these guys’ last names—there have been some Lindseys (like John Lindsey) and Shannons (Mike Shannon, for example) throughout the annals of baseball history, but lots of people have weird last names. There was this pitcher named Joe Winkelsas, another named Tim Spooneybarger and how can anyone forget Dick Pole?

*Not that I’m saying women can’t be athletic.

I am talking about baseball players with peculiar (girly) first names. Speaking of Lindsey, there have been two players with that name, albeit with an alternate spelling—Lindsay Brown and Lindsay Deal. And how about Shannon? There have been three Shannons in big league baseball history: Shannon Penn, Shannon Withem and, perhaps most notable of all, Shannon Stewart.

There have been three players with Courtney as a last name, but only one with it as a first: former Cubs pitcher Courtney Duncan. In 1932 there played a second baseman for the Boston Red Sox named Andy Spognardi—nothing weird about that, except for the funny last name. Oh yeah, his real first name was Andrea (though he gets something a pass—his full name is Andrea Ettore Spognardi, an Italian name. Andrea [pronounced not as we say it—An-DREE-uh—but more like On-DRAY-uh, I imagine] basically means “Andrew.”)

I didn’t know if I should include Sandy on this list because it seems more like a unisex name than one commonly associated solely with women. That said, it seems more of a woman’s name than a man’s name, so here it appears. Over the many decades of professional baseball’s existence, there have been numerous “Sandys,” many of which are of Hispanic origin. There are, of course, the Sandy Alomars, Sandy Consuegra and Sandy Martinez. Outside of Spanish-sounding names, there is Sandy McDougal, Sandy Griffin and some no-name pitcher called Sandy Koufax.

There has never been an Emily, a Michelle or a Justine—but there has been an Abbie (Abbie Johnson), a Liz (Liz Funk) and a bunch of Candys and Lynns (notably Candy Cummings and Lynn Nolan Ryan [more commonly known by his middle name], respectively). And can you believe there has even been a Gracie (Gracie Pierce) and a Mary (William “Mary” Calhoun)?

In the sports world where the muscular, the ripped, the -8% body fat type guys rule, there still exists those few who—despite probably being just as athletic as everyone else—have names that would not indicate their status as Greek Gods among this country’s vast pool of blubber and adiposity. But be careful mocking these men because of their names—though they might sound unmanly, they could still no doubt hit your head over the fence for a home run.