05/15/2008 2:49 PM ET
The Bigs List: Best names
From rising stars to wily veterans to somewhere in between
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
The long history of baseball has had many names to remember. For every Rowland Office and Jim Morrison, there's been a Johnny Wockenfuss, a Hosken Powell, an Andy Etchebarren and two U.L. Washingtons. OK, there was only one U.L., toothpick and all.
Modern baseball has its best names, too, and here's the Bigs List's top nine today:
1. Milton Bradley, OF, Texas Rangers: We're pretty sure that the notoriously mercurial Milton doesn't agree with this assessment of his name -- not that we're going to ask for his opinion on the matter anytime soon -- but come on. Having the same name as one of the most famous toy companies in history is pretty cool, especially when you're playing a kid's game -- and making a very substantial living at it.
2. Coco Crisp, OF, Boston Red Sox: His real first name is Covelli, but he goes by the nickname that makes his full name seem like an absolutely delectable breakfast cereal. He's a lot of fun to watch on the field, too. He snaps throws back to the infield, crackles on the basepaths, and has a little pop in his bat.
3. Callix Crabbe, 2B: This sounds like a weird spin on seafood you might find in a Baltimore restaurant, but he's a real-life ballplayer -- with the awesome middle name Sadeaq, by the way -- who was unfortunately designated for assignment by the Padres recently. Here's hoping that this rookie defensive specialist and native of the Virgin Islands brings his game -- and his spectacular name -- back to the Bigs soon.
4. Masahide Kobayashi, P, Cleveland Indians: This guy, with a very symmetrical four syllables in each name, makes the Bigs List simply because his last name brings to mind a great character played by the creepy Pete Postlethwaite in the unforgettable 1995 movie "The Usual Suspects." And if you haven't seen the film, you deserve to be visited by Keyser Soze immediately.
5. Jimmy Gobble, P, Kansas City: This guy's no turkey. He'll eat up innings for you, he feasts on left-handers, and anything else you get out of him is gravy. The Royals are constantly giving thanks that they have him in their bullpen, because when he pitches well, they beat the stuffing out of people.
6. Chris Bootcheck, P, Los Angeles Angels: This unique last name brings to mind a service rendered for cowboys at a Japanese restaurant. Or what city enforcers undergo every day when punishing delinquent car parkers. Or some strange hockey maneuver that hasn't been invented yet. What does it all mean? Not a clue. But it sounds cool, and that's enough for the Bigs List.
7. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays: The Bigs List met him three summers ago in the Cape Cod League when he was a hot-shot Long Beach State Dirtbag with a Chatham A's jersey and Major League dreams. We were duly ashamed then to have to ask him how many times people likened his name to that of "Desperate Housewives" vixen Eva Longoria, and we're sort of ashamed now to put him on this list. Then again, he's one letter from having the same exact name as Mrs. Tony Parker. It's simply too weird and funny to ignore. So, we apologize again, Evan, but you're still on the list.
8. Wladimir Balentien, OF, Seattle Mariners: It was good to see this kid get the recent call-up to the Majors, because this is a fantastic name. He does American League West rival Vladimir Guerrero one better by having the creative "W" instead of the predictable "V." Wladdy also hit a few homers since coming up, meaning he's already ensured that he's the greatest player named Wladimir in Major League history.
9. Robby Hammock, C, Diamondbacks: How can you not love a name that conjures thoughts of perhaps the best place to lie down and listen to a ballgame on the radio in the heat of summer? We can't believe the D-backs haven't seized on this and put a section of these sleepy, swingin' seats into Chase Field for that premium desert dollar. Seriously, they've already got a swimming pool. Why not complete the whole backyard vibe?
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.