This year when the Vancouver Canadians started their season in mid-June, one player had already begun to rack up the awards. When Earl Burl III was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 11th, he instantly started to be mentioned among the “best names of the 2015” drafts across the country. Dayn Perry of CBS Sports ranked him 1st out of 25, beating out players like Rock Rucker and Tucker Tubbs. That had us thinking here at Baseball in Vancouver – who is the best named player in professional baseball history in Vancouver?
We compiled 10 of our favorite names that range from the first year that Vancouver had a professional team, up to the current Vancouver Canadians.
Although Ten Million never played in Vancouver, his season for the 1911 Victoria Bees made him a legend, cemented by his 1911 T212 Obak Card – now one of the most valuable in the sets based on his name. Forget Alex Rodriguez, Ten was the first player to regularly see “Ten Million” on his paycheck.
George High Pockets Kelly
Before he began his Hall of Fame career the 6’4 High Pockets, or Long George as he was often called, played for the 1914-15 Victoria Bees
The List (In no particular order)
Frank Piggy Ward made his major league debut at the age of 16 in 1883, but it wasn’t until 1905 that he brought his talent north to play for the 1905 Vancouver Veterans. Anyone who goes by Piggy automatically qualifies as having one of the best names in Vancouver baseball history
Whether you like cats, or former Vancouver Canuck tough guys, Kitty Brashear is hands down one of the best names in Vancouver baseball history. Kitty pitched 8 innings in the bigs in 1899 and from 1911-12 called Vancouver home.
Although his first name was Charlie, most of his teammates on the 1913 Vancouver Beavers referred to him as King – King Schmutz
We like to imagine his 44 errors while playing for the 1939 Capilanos helped him get the nickname of Wimpy – he did however end up as a pitcher for 5 innings for the 1941 Cubs so Wimpy has that going for him.
He was born as John, but after being given the nickname spider because of a pair of black basketball shorts with an orange stripe that reminded a teacher of a spider he killed, the name stuck. Spider played for the Mounties from 1956-59 but more notably on April 17th, 1947 as Jackie Robinson took the field as a rookie player and changed baseball forever, Spider also took the field as a rookie and even used Jackie Robinson’s glove as he didn’t have any equipment with him.
Sidney only played 20 games for the 1946 Vancouver Capilanos but you can’t help but say his name over and over again once you hear it.
After pitching 15 seasons in the Big Leagues, Trout retired and became a broadcaster and had an unsuccessful campaign as a sheriff. 5 years into retirement at the age of 42 he decided he had more left in the tank and returned to professional baseball, playing for the 1957 Vancouver Mounties before being called up to Baltimore for a final season.
Blue Moon Odom
Given the name by a classmate who thought his round face resembled the moon, Odom played 13 seasons in the MLB, including winning 3 World Series Championships. Odom played on the 1967 Mounties posting a 2.25 ERA over 40 innings.
Carl Michael Yastrzemski Jr.
How do you tell a seasoned Boston Red Sox Fan from a casual fan? Ask them to spell Yastzemski and see what they come up with. The Hall of Famer’s son played for the Vancouver Canadians from 1986-88.
Earl Burl III
This newcomer took the baseball world by storm in 2015, and it’s a name that will go down in Vancouver history. EB3 finished his rookie campaign with a .216 BA and 9 stolen bases for the C’s.
Did we miss a great name? Disagree with our list? Let us know in the comments below!