A few weeks ago I read an article online that listed some of the best names to ever grace the lineup of a baseball game. Most of these were nicknames, a shame for those not included on the merits of their birth names alone. So I have compiled a list of what I feel are the men who rank among the best birth names in the history of MLB in Cleveland. There are many who didn’t make the cut and several more who are included on an additional list I am compiling of fantastic nicknames, which I hope to also post in the near future.
Men like Eric Plunk, Rich Hand, Ed Fitz Gerald and Jack Brohamer didn’t make this list, but deserve a mention for having peculiar names. Now, on to the list!
12. Scott Scudder - William Scott Scudder
RHP for the Tribe from 1992-93. This is a throw in as someone who has a semi-fun sounding name and the distinction of being my earliest memory of the Indians.
11. Phil Bedgood - Phillip Burlette Bedgood
Mr. Bedgood was a Cleveland lifer in a career that lasted from, 1922-23. A RHP who appeared in 10 games, with a record of 1-2 and an ERA near 5, he clearly peaked in his only performance his rookie year when he pitched a complete game, striking out 5 and allowing 4 earned runs on 7 hits. He also managed to hit 3 batters and walk another 5 in that game. Four years after the end of his MLB career, he died of burst appendix while being treated for a strained side muscle.
10. Milton Bradley – Milton Obelle Bradley, Jr.
As if to set himself apart from the other Milton Bradleys of of the world, this one has the market cornered on erratic behavior in the MLB. Still chugging along after debuting in 2000, Milton was in the employ of the Tribe from 2001-03, a tenure that LGT won't soon forget. Those were interesting times to say the least.
9. Horace Speed – Horace Arthur Speed
Listed as an OF and Pinch Runner, he debuted in 1975 with the SF Giants and didn’t resurface again until 1978 with the Indians. Absolutely useless at the plate, it is easy to see why, combined with his name, he was relegated to pinch running duties.
8. Early Wynn – Gus
A RHP who needs no introduction. Had his career year in 1959, winning the Cy Young Award, finishing 3rd in MVP voting and winning Sporting News’ Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. He was an Indian from 1949-57, the bulk of his career. He won Indians Man of the Year in 1952, sporting that slick name the entire time. Much like Al Kaline, the uniqueness of his name seems often overshadowed by his talents.
7. Dick Braggins – Richard Realf Braggins
Pitched in 1901 for Cleveland, appearing in 4 games, starting 3, finishing 2 and winning 1. His only notable stat in either direction, over a total of 32 innings pitched, is his 0.3K/9 and .07K/BB. The legend of Dick Braggins.
6. Roger Peckinpaugh – Roger Thorpe Peckinpaugh
A SS from Wooster, OH, he made his debut in 1920 with Cleveland and pitched with them again in 1912-1913, subsequently being traded to the Yankees for Bill Stumpf and Jack Lelivelt. Despite a meager stat line of .259/.336/.335 and an awful Fielding% of .949, he remained in the bigs until 1927, winning the League Award in 1925. After retiring from playing, Roger went on to manage the Indians and eventually became the GM/President for a period of time.
5. Rivington Bisland – Rivington Martin Bisland
A man who could never live up to the epic proportions of his name, Rivington Bisland’s career spanned from 1912-1914. As a SS, he made a stop in Cleveland for 18 of his career 33 games, in 1914. He OPSed and paltry .317 but managed some skill with the glove. One thing he did succeed in doing was living into 80’s, dying in 1973 at the age of 82 in Salzburg, Austria.
4. Ossee Schreckengost – born Ossee Freeman Schrecongost, also played as Ossee Schreck
A C/1B who was in Cleveland from 1898-99 and for 18 games in 1902. In 1899 he was swapped from Cleveland to St. Louis and back again for no compensation. In the 1901-02 offseason, he was traded back to Cleveland for Candy LaChance, another top flight name, before his subsequent release. He was an average hitter and a below average defender who must have had some positional value as 751 of his 855 games came behind the plate and enjoyed an 11 year career. Later, as a member of the White Sox, he was the last out of Addie Joss’ perfect game in 1908. This was also Ossee’s final game.
3. Grover Cleveland Lowdermilk – "Slim"
1916 – 1909-1920 – RHP - While not the only Grover Cleveland (Insert Surname) to play in the majors and not even the only one to play for Cleveland, this one has the best name of them all. Was also a member of the 1919 Black Sox but was not part of the scandal. Grover apparently had a fearsome fastball with an even more fearsome lack of control.
2. Denton True Young - Cy
Most of you know him as Cy, the namesake behind the prestigious MLB pitching award, yet others know him as the all time leader of innings pitched. What most don’t know is his real name, Denton True Young. Prestigious, slick and honorable, all things a good name should be. Made his debut with the Spiders in 1890 and stuck around until after the 1898 season when he was assigned to the St. Louis Perfectos for no compensation. He made a farewell tour with the Naps in 1911, before being shipped to Boston and subsequently retiring. Denton True Young.
And the winner...
1. Bristol Robotham Lord – “The Human Eyeball”
Funky, seemingly unexplainable nickname aside, Bris Lord should be famous to all Indians fans. In 1910 he was traded to Connie Mack’s A’s for Morrie Rath, who OPSed .538 that year and was gone the next, and a young man with a curious nickname himself, Shoeless Joe Jackson.
I have no idea how one attains the nickname "The Human Eyeball," but I can imagine. And that is good enough for me.