What’s in a Name?


Dallas Shrawder , Senior Op/Ed Writer

The majority of the public can count off to you their favorite sports teams’ names in the blink of an eye, and many know them so well that if you were to ask about other teams in the leagues, they could just as easily rattle you off another ten names. But to those who recite these ingrained names, do you know why certain teams have the names they do?

Famed Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers’ name comes from many years ago, when Brooklyn (the team’s original home) was strewn with trolleys that were often subject to accidents. Hence, the people had to “dodge” trolleys to avoid accidents, giving the team their signature name. The St. Louis Cardinals, also an MLB team, had their name originate from something a little different. Old tales say that a lady in the stands at one game early in their history described the color of their uniform to be a “cardinal” red in color. Apparently, it was a good description, because the name was one that stuck.

Bouncing over to football, a more famous name that many in the area know is the local Baltimore Ravens. The bird namesake is a nod to the poem The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe, who was from Baltimore himself. Fellow football team the Chicago Bears, originally called the Staleys after their first sponsor in food company A.E. Staley, was repurchased and renamed “the Bears” because the baseball team from Chicago was called “The Cubs”- and according to the gentleman who repurchased the newly named Chicago footballers, football players are bigger than baseball players (bears are bigger than cubs, so seems about right).

Moving right along to the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Los Angeles Lakers are a team that nearly everyone can name, whether you’re a basketball fan or not. Seems sort of funny at first thought, considering California doesn’t have many lakes. However, the state where the team originated from, Minnesota, does. With the name already stuck, the team ended up keeping the name of “Lakers” after making their move; and good thing, because what other name would suit this iconic team?

Lastly, having to throw a NHL team in the mix, the Anaheim Ducks. Founded by Disney in 1993, this team got their name from- let’s see if you can guess it- the movie the Mighty Ducks! Yup, that is right. The team was named after a movie, who would have thought?

Do some research yourself about your own favorite teams- who knows what you might discover? Then get out there and impress friends, family, and strangers with your know-it-all facts!