Mar 17, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko (68) waits on deck during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

What's in a Name?


How important are names when it comes to baseball, and for that matter, in everyday life?  According to some studies, names are very important.  See the following published Havard study for a data point, where an experiment was performed to measure the effect that names had on resumes. For the study, numerous fake resumes were created with differing names, but identical content.  The results and the interest level shown by real companies supported the hypothesis that certain types of names get better results.  Interesting food for thought.  And people are giving Bruno Mars heat for using a stage name – really?

With celebrities these days naming their kids with unique sounding monikers, like Apple, or Suri, one wonders what type of life is ahead in store for them?  A life of teasing, or a life of unique interactions?  When it comes to baseball, with a flood and back log of players and minor leaguers, and foreign league players and etc, one wonders if it helps or hurt to be a Mike Johnson vs a Jedd Gyorko.  With GMs and scouts and coaches all tossing around names, it is my contention that it helps to stand out(in good ways) and it helps to be remembered.

So just for fun, I figured I’d take a look at some of the key baseball players on the Padres team, and see exactly how many names are unique.  I’ve already mentioned the Jedd Gyorko sounds pretty unique to me, but how can I quantify that?  Well I did some research myself and found that two areas of data in the Social Security Administration and the US Census Bureau.  The SSA site has a neat tool on their page for selecting a baby name and return how common that name is, ostensibly for use by expectant parents.  The US Census Bureau data has a list of the most common 1000 surnames from the 2000 census although I’d suggest you don’t hold your breath for the 2010 results anytime soon.  The government takes its time.

San Diego Padres Name Probability
First Name Last Name First Rank Last Rank Uniqueness
Anthony Bass 17 559 Everywhere
Brad Bach 631 > 1000 Common
Andrew Cashner 7 > 1000 Common
Luke Gregerson 59 > 1000 Common
Tommy Layne 307 > 1000 Common
Jason Marquis 39 > 1000 Common
Clayton Richard 631 581 Everywhere
Tyson Ross 335 527 Everywhere
Huston Street > 1000 > 1000 Unique
Eric Stults 42 > 1000 Common
Joe Thatcher 315 > 1000 Common
Dale Thayer 535 > 1000 Common
Andrew Cashner 7 > 1000 Common
Luke Gregerson 59 > 1000 Common
Tommy Layne 307 > 1000 Common
Edinson Volquez > 1000 > 1000 Unique
John Baker 14 38 2 in every room
Yasmani Grandal > 1000 > 1000 Unique
Nick Hundley 771 > 1000 Common
Yonder Alonso > 1000 > 1000 Unique
Alexi Amarista > 1000 > 1000 Unique
Everth Cabrera > 1000 524 Common
Logan Forsythe 40 > 1000 Rare
Chase Headley 77 > 1000 Rare
Jedd Gyorko > 1000 > 1000 Unique
Kyle Blanks 37 > 1000 Common
Chris Denorfia 394 > 1000 Common
Jesus Guzman 76 230 Everywhere
Mark Kotsay 79 > 1000 Common
Cameron Maybin 31 > 1000 Rare
Carlos Quentin 66 > 1000 Common
Will Venable 510 > 1000 Common

So, is there a pattern?  Hard to tell.  Perhaps there is some link to age, where younger roster players are more likely to show a unique name.  I was also surprised to see the rising popularity of names like Chase and Cameron.  Personally, I don’t directly know anyone with those names, but the data shows that those are rising baby name picks over the popular Will or Chris.  Regardless, with a team full of syllables like Clayton, Cameron, Huston, Edinson, Jesus, Jedd, Chase, Alexi, Yonder, and Yasmani in mix, to me this is a team of odd sounding name misfits.  Go Padres!

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Tags: Apple Bruno Mars Havard Resume Study Jedd Gyorko Suri Unique Names