What's in a name?
I was looking into some history on what I thought were the MLB's current worst franchise names. For me the list came down to the following six:
The Sock teams: There are currently not two but three teams named after the color of their socks, or Sox. The Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds (who's name was shortened from the Red Stockings in the 1878).
The Oakland Athletics: The team, originally the Philadelphia Athletics, was named after a local gentleman's club, The Athletic Club of Philadelphia. In 1905 the team went professional and kept the same name. When they later moved to Kanas City in 1955, they continued to play as the Athletics. In 1968 the team moved to Oakland. The team name was officially changed to the A's from 1970 - 1981, before returning to the Athletics. This team name survived two city moves and two eccentric owners. Most surprising to me is that the name survived Charlie O. Finley. This was the guy who first gave baseball bright colored uniforms, night games, and unfortunately the designated hitter. He even tried to get the league to switch to a more visible orange baseball. Through all that, he was fine with his team being named after an Athletic club in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies replaced the Worcester Brown Stockings (yes, another sock team) in 1883 under the name the Quakers. In 1884 the team changed its name to the Philadelphias. Newspapers had a hard time fitting the name in the box scores and started to type the them in as the Phillies. The team went by both the Phillies and the Quakers until 1890 when they officially changed their name to the Phillies.
The Houston Astros: The franchise started in 1962 as the Colt .45s. Two years later the team moved to the new Harris County Dome Stadium. At that time team owner Roy Hofheinz, decided to change team name and the stadium name to the Astros and the Astrodome. He did so to pay homage to Houston's affiliation to N.A.S.A. and the Space Program. I actually like this team name, but have always disliked their logos. It started as the dome made to look like a UFO, and then switched to the Star in 1994. Doesn't Texas have another famous sport team with a Start as the logo?
Then there are the racist team names. The Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves. Although I personally think the Braves is an honorable term for Native Americans, and both are far better than the NFL's Redskins.
Some better names also have some interesting origins. The Dodgers, named for all the Trolley Dodging you needed to do when going to the stadium in Brooklyn. Although they had many names in a short amount of years, I think we all wish they were still the Bridegrooms. The Twins, named for the Twin Cities. The Mets, being named for the city's area as well as the team's corporate name. The Nationals, bringing back the original name for the team in our Nation's Capital. The Kansas City Royals, named after the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, and rodeo held in Kansas City since the late 1800's.
Of course there are also all the animal/bird names like the Diamondbacks and the Orioles. I do think most could do better, I mean how many Tigers are there in Detroit? However, there are animal names more specific to the teams region like the Marlins and the Rays.
Please leave feedback on any team names that you think are either outdated or just plain bad. I had a lot of fun researching this and would love to get some opinions.