These Baseball Team Names Are as Bad as It Gets
Baseball has a history of bad team names.
From inappropriate mascots in the Negro Baseball Leagues to some odd choices for minor league baseball — RubberDucks, anyone? — these are the baseball team names that should never have been allowed on the diamond.
8. New Orleans Baby Cakes
Bottom line: The Baby Cakes are a derivative of King Cakes, which are a popular New Orleans treat during Mardi Gras. Every King Cake has a tiny, plastic baby inside it, and whoever ends up with the slice of cake with the baby then has to buy the next King Cake.
The New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA have a seasonal mascot that’s the King Cake Baby and the local Triple-A baseball team decided to make it their permanent mascot. Thus, the “Baby Cakes” team name was created, and it was chosen above several others representing the New Orleans culture, including the Crawfish, Po’boys and Tailgators.
7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Bottom line: This name actually spawned a lawsuit by the city of Anaheim against the Angels’ owners. In 1996, the city and the franchise agreed to a new lease that mandated “Anaheim” appear in the team’s name. Angels owner Arte Moreno tried to skirt around that by rebranding the Anaheim Angels as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he wanted the backing of L.A. for marketing purposes.
While Moreno won out in court, the name change was universally pawned. Anaheim residents didn’t want anything to do with Los Angeles, and MLB fans thought the full name was a mouthful. Some Anaheim locals even mockingly made T-shirts that read “Anaheim Angels of Anaheim” and wore them to games. After a decade under the name, the Angels quietly dropped the “of Anaheim” part and are now known as the Los Angeles Angels.
6. Boston Beaneaters
League: National League
Bottom line: One of the most popular nicknames of the city of Boston is Beantown. It derives from the regional dish of Boston baked beans, and thus, the nickname of the Boston Beaneaters spun off that. But with beans being synonymous with producing flatulence, do you really want to be called a Beaneater?
Apparently so, as for 24 years that was the team name before it eventually became what today is the Atlanta Braves. The Beaneaters were actually quite successful, winning six pennants — the same amount the Braves have won in 56 years under that name.
5. Amarillo Sod Poodles
Bottom line: “Boot Scooters," "Bronc Busters," "Jerky," "Long Haulers”… what are those names? Those were the team names that “lost” to Sod Poodles in a name-the-team contest held by the club. The ownership group didn’t hide the fact that they wanted an absurd name for what was then the San Diego Padres’ affiliate, and they achieved their goal.
So what exactly is a Sod Poodle? It’s a nickname for a prairie dog, which is highly prevalent in Amarillo, Texas. Prairie dogs are known for their togetherness, and the hope was that the team nickname would help form a family-oriented, close group amongst the players.
4. Akron RubberDucks
Bottom line: Akron, Ohio, is known for two things: being the birthplace of LeBron James and for being the “Rubber Capital of the World.” The Akron LeBrons, apparently, wasn’t in the conversation, so the team decided to change its name from the Akron Aeros to the Akron RubberDucks as part of a 2014 rebranding.
It’s not the most intimidating of team names, but in minor league baseball, it seems entertainment is sometimes the biggest priority. Thus, this name change accomplished that for the club, which previously had such names as the Triplets, Sailors and Indians when it first became affiliated with the Cleveland Indians.
3. Brooklyn Bridegrooms
League: American Association, National League
Bottom line: During the 2021 NFL season, seven Indianapolis Colts players had pregnant significant others. Imagine if the team decided to then change its name to the Indianapolis Daddies or something like that just because of circumstance?
Well, that’s essentially how the Brooklyn Bridegrooms came to be in 1888. The team was known as the Brooklyn Grays before, but several of the players ended up getting married around the same time. Thus, ownership saw a marketing opportunity and switched to the Bridegrooms, before later shortening it to the Brooklyn Grooms in 1891.
2. Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Bottom line: An oxymoron of a name akin to the Little Giants, jumbo shrimp are very popular in the Northeast Florida area. But the name also carries a sentiment that’s personal to Jaxons as Jacksonville, and not Miami or Tampa or Orlando, is the biggest city in Florida but still has a small-town feel.
The Jumbo Shrimp were originally called the Jacksonville Suns, playing off the nickname of the Sunshine State before the team became an affiliate of the Montreal Expos. It then became the Jacksonville Expos for six years before reverting back to the Suns name in 1991. But when new ownership came aboard in 2015, they decided to change to the Jumbo Shrimp to the delight of locals.
1. Indianapolis Clowns
League: Negro American League
Bottom line: Originating in the Negro Leagues, the Clowns nickname eventually became fitting, as they morphed into a comedy act akin to the Harlem Globetrotters. But before that, they were an actual competitive team trying to dispel a nickname that didn’t fit how they played.
It’s hard for people to take you seriously when you’re called a Clown, and that’s how many of the players felt. One of those players would go on to become the Home Run King, as Hank Aaron played for the team for three months before his contract was purchased by the Braves.