Sunday, July 17, 2011

Everywhere There's a Brandon

After watching dozens of games and looking at hundreds of box scores, it seemed that players with the name, Brandon, were everywhere. Darned if this author could find the game, but there was one game this year where both starting pitchers had that name. But, as we all know, observations don't often make things so. And so this author went off to search things a bit to see if the majors were indeed being overrun with Brandons.

Don't get this author wrong. There's nothing wrong with that name. One of the Fan's favorite Twitter follows is a cat named @brandonwarne. You have to remember that this writer is pretty old school. The common names this writer saw in school growing up have nothing in common with the names being given children today. Don't believe that? When is the last time you met a little girl named, Joyce? Or Linda? Martha? Betty? Nope. Not many of those anymore.

This writer is a baby boomer. William (most often turned to Bill or Billy) was a very common name. We had Joe and Jimmy and Mike and Sam and those Apostle names: Mark, Matthew, Peter, Thomas, James, John and Paul. Other bible characters such as David, Ruth, Mary and Daniel were common. But there were lots of Chucks, Kevins, Georges, Stevens and Larrys were around too. But times have changed.

You are more likely to meet a hundred Brittanys before you meet a Ruth. And Brandon is one of the new breed of popular names. The name is from a class of names that came to be from a last name. There were a lot of people with the last name of Brandon. But converting that name to a first name is strictly a modern phenomenon. Apparently, the name is Old English and means, "Broom," or something like that. So if a pitcher named Brandon finishes a series sweep, saying so might be redundant.

As mentioned, the Fan set about to determine if the observation about all those Brandons was accurate and it turns out it was. There are nineteen major league players named Brandon. Two others have the variation of Brendan and add one more with the other variation, Brennan. And Brandon Webb has been on the disabled list all season. The list of Brandons/Brendan and Brennans that have played in the majors in 2011 goes like this:

  • Pitchers: Brandon Morrow, Brandon Lyon, Brandon Gomes, Brandon League (one of this Fan's favorite ball names), Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Dickson, Brandon Beachy and Brandon Kintzler.
  • Catcher: Brandon Inge (who is more of a third baseman).
  • First base: Brandon Snyder and Brandon Belt.
  • Second base: Brandon Phillips
  • Shortstop: Brandon Crawford and Brendan Ryan
  • Third base: Brandon Hicks and Brandon Wood
  • Outfield: Brandon Guyer, Brandon Boggs, Brennan Boesch and Brandon Allen

So we have ourselves enough players in positions to make a team. And to show you that this is a recent phenomenon, All 39 Brendans that have ever played in the major leagues began their career in 2000 or later. And there will be more where that came from. there are currently 123 more Brandons playing in the minor leagues.

So how does the current 21 Brandon/Brendan/Brennans compare with some of the other common names in baseball? That took a lot of searching. Of course, this author didn't bother searching for how many players were named Asdrubal or Ubaldo. But let's talk about common names, including the Hispanic varieties. If we start with the biblical or apostle names, they all fall short:

  • Mike/Michael/Miguel - 17
  • John/Johnny/Jonny/Jhonny - 14
  • Joe/Joseph/Joey - 9
  • Mark - 13
  • William/Willie/Bill/Billy/Will/Guillermo - 9
  • Aaron - 9
  • Josh/Joshua - 18  (close!)
  • Andrew/Andy/Andruw - 11
  • Juan - 13
  • Zack/Zach/Zachery - 9
  • Erik/Eric - 15
  • Ian -5
  • Anthony/Tony/Antonio - 15
  • James/Jim/Jimmy - 8
  • Scott - 15
  • Alex/Alexei - 14
  • Jose - 16
  • Paul - 4
  • Peter/Pete - 4
  • Bob/Robert/Bobby/Robby/Robbie - 6
  • Brett/Brent - 9
  • Dan/Daniel - 11
  • Frank/Franklin/Frankie - 4
  • Justin - 10
  • Jeff/Geoff - 14
  • Jason - 17
  • Rich/Richie/Richard - 6  There are no Dicks in baseball. hmm..

There were only three names that seemed to beat Brandon. There may be more, but the searching got pretty tiring. Those three names that were found with more than Brandon were: Matt/Matthew (22), Ryan (22) and the leader, Chris/Christopher (28).

While this post does nothing to enlighten anyone about the important ins and outs of Major League Baseball, at least this writer's curiosity is satisfied. The league is being overrun with Brandons, and more are on the way.

No comments: