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Mickey

Posted by Andy on April 9, 2011

Quick--think of a ballplayer named Mickey.

Chances are you thought of Mickey Mantle.

"Mickey" is an iconic baseball name. It ranks right up there with a number of iconic first names in baseball: Hank, Ty, Reggie, Willie, Stan, Joe...

You might have thought of any number of other famous baseball Mickeys:

Mickey McDermott, Mickey Lolich, Mickey Vernon...

But as baseball card enthusiast and friend of the B-R blog Night Owl recently pointed out, Mickey has died as a baseball name.

No player going by the name Mickey has appeared in the majors since 2004. That year there were two, and they are hardly household names. One was Mickey Callaway, who totaled 130 innings pitched in his career, and the other was Mickey Lopez, who had 6 career plate appearances.

The last Mickey to have a significant major-league playing career was Mickey Morandini, and he's been retired for over a decade. The last two before him were Mickey Tettleton (retired since 1997) and Mickey Hatcher (retired since 1990).

As Night Owl pointed out, this probably has mostly do with guys with the name of Michael going by Michael or Mike, as opposed to Mickey. After all, Mickey Mantle had the given name of Mickey and youngsters in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s may have been more likely to adopt Mickey as their nickname due to his popularity. In the 1980s, a Michael came along who made that name an iconic sports name. I am referring of course to Michael Jordan, who made that first name one of the most iconic first names in sports.

I guess this stuff all goes in cycles and may also hinge on just a handful of players and how popular they become. I guess this means we can except a wave of baseball players named "Albert" coming in the 2020s and 2030s.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2011 at 7:11 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

36 Responses to “Mickey”

  1. First one to come to mind was Cochrane.

  2. I thought of Mickey Rivers originally.

  3. This thread reminded of a Strat-O-Matic baseball marathon, I had with a few friends , one weekend-(a looooong time ago). Jeff Manto had become a topic of coversation, and aided by more than a few beers, someone joked "What if Jeff Manto had a son, and named him Mickey?"

    Sorry, but that made me laugh :-)

  4. I always thought if Ralph Mouth from Happy Days had a son, he should be named Mickey too. M-I-C...K-E-Y....M-O-U-T-H....Mickey Mouth...Mickey Mouth...

  5. I always like to try and picture what the baseball world had been like if Mickey Morandini and Mickey Mantle had somehow been involved in a time warpesque swap. Would Mantle have lasted five seasons before his knees blew out on the plastic cement of Veterans' Stadium? Would Roger Maris have been more heralded if he hadn't been battling Mantle for the home run crown? Would the song have been Willie, Richie and the Duke? How would Morandini's facial hair and hair cut gone over in the fifties?

  6. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    The first one I thought of was Mantle {of course}; but the second was the man for whom the New York {then} Giants were nicknamed -- Mickey Welch.

  7. Um, Andy, the character's name on Happy Days was Ralph Malph.

  8. Joe, I know, but of course it was a play on words and supposed to be suggestive of Mouth, consistent with his character's mouthy behavior.

  9. Andy,
    Love the variety of the discussion-starters in BR.com - from hard core statistical to, well, like this one.....whimsical.

    The name Mickey has always struck me as a midwestern U.S. first name. I don't know why, perhaps an unconscious deference to the Mick.

  10. Spartan Bill Says:

    Andy, you might just have some more Mickey's to add to the list one day.

    Mickey Storey is an AA player in the Oakland organization.

    Mickey Wiswall is playing A ball for the Mariners.

    The Rays drafted Mickey Janis in the 44th round last year, and he put up some decent numbers in the Appalachian League.

  11. For what it's worth, my mind went to Morandini first.

  12. Spartan Bill Says:

    It would be neat to see a list of MLB players who were actually named after other MLB players. Some of the guys here may have been named after Mickey Mantle, but they may also have been named after their Mom's favorite Uncle Mickey too.

    I am thinking of guys like Willie Mays Aikens

  13. Spartan Bill Says:

    I would like to think that Henry Louis Aaron was named after Henry Louis Gehrig,

    That's probably just a coincidence though.

  14. Here's a name that never cycled back into vogue. In the teens and 20's you could have made up an entire team of guys named "Heinie". Which, I suppose, is one of those small blessings that nevertheless deserves to counted.

  15. Richard Chester Says:

    @12

    Mickey Mantle was named after Mickey Cochrane.

  16. Mantle.

  17. I was a little surprised when I looked at the list of minor leaguers and saw that there were a handful of Mickeys. I thought the nickname was absolutely dead.

  18. And let's not forget Mickey Klutts.

    (Who I remember because I had his baseball card when I was a kid sometime around 1981, and he was almost as amusing as Rusty Kuntz).

  19. Almost, Paul. Almost.

    My mind went to Rivers.

  20. John Autin Says:

    I think Mickey Mouse killed "Mickey" as a desirable nickname for a young jock.

  21. I'm with #1. I went to Cochrane immediately.

    I was surprised when the post listed "other famous baseball Mickeys" and the HOFer was ledt out.

  22. I thought Tettelton first.

  23. I thought of me.

  24. @Andy

    Actually Ralph Malph's father was Mickey Malph.

  25. Oh I thought Iisted Cochrane...was just essentially a typo that I left him out.

  26. Honus is dead too. My first born will be Honus W. H..

  27. Actually we named my son Heinie. We call him "tush" as a nickname.

  28. There are a few Mickeys currently playing in the minor leagues.

  29. John Autin Says:

    Miggy Cabrera.

  30. Mine went to Lolich, who was born in 1940, possible he was named after cochrane as well?

  31. Juan sin Miedo Says:

    The first Mickey to come to mind shares a rookie card (1978 Topps) with a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (Paul Molitor), and another that warrents selection(Alan Tramell). Thats right none other then Mickey Klutts (NY Yankees, Oakland A's and Toronto Blue Jays:1976 - 1983) BTW This rookie card also featured a pretty recognizable infielder that liked to chew on tooth pics. (U.L. Washington)

    FYI: Mickey Klutts was a favorite of Billy Martin who actually played a long side Mickey Mantle. The irony.

  32. John Autin Says:

    Incidentally, Mickey Cochrane's real name was Gordon Stanley Cochrane. As far as I can tell, the nickname "Mickey" derived from the derogatory term "Mick" used for Irish Catholics.

    As for Mickey Lolich (Michael Stephen, born 1940, grew up in Oregon), I can't find anything stating a name connection with Cochrane. Obviously, Mickey is one of the common derivatives of Michael. If Lolich (or his parents) were influenced by anyone towards calling him Mickey, it might have been Mantle. Lolich's SABR bio quotes him saying, "The only games we would get were national broadcasts of the Yankees, so I grew up idolizing Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford in the 1950s.”

  33. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Mick is a fairly common nickname for Michael in the U.K. The most famous example is probably Michael Philip Jagger. In fact, there was a time when the Rolling Stones had two Micks. The other was Mick Taylor, but I don't know his full name.

    In the U.S., I remember an infielder from the 1970s named Michael Dennis Kelleher, who went by the nickname of Mick. (I used to work with a Michael Kelleher, who went by the more common nickname of Mike.)

    Over the years, I have also known of women and girls nicknamed Mickey, sometimes with a feminized spelling such as Miki. Usually, her real name is one that starts with M, such as Michelle.

  34. "Oh I thought Iisted Cochrane...was just essentially a typo that I left him out."

    Geez, just admit you didn't think of him. It's not a typo when you don't list the guy, it's an omission.

  35. "Joe, I know, but of course it was a play on words and supposed to be suggestive of Mouth, consistent with his character's mouthy behavior."

    LOL! Can't you just admit you didn't know the character's name? Holy crap.

  36. Mick Kelleher is currently the first base coach for the Yankees.