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:
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.