Monday, January 19, 2009

Baseball's Most (and Least) Common Initials

I've put together a list of major league players since 1876 and determined that 16,856 different men have worn the uniform of a major league baseball team and appeared in at least one game. Most, but not all, of those players have first and last names on their player pages. The unlucky ones include guys like Budd, McCaffery, McRemer, and Wiley.

With my list, it's possible to figure out which initials have been shared by the most major league players throughout history. It's not perfect, since players known by nicknames appear by those names in the list and not their given names. An example: Vinegar Bend Mizell has the initials "VM" rather than "WM" for Wilmer Mizell. I figure if the player was known by those nicknames more than their given names, it's okay.

With that in mind, here are the most common initials in major league history. Thirty sets of initials have been shared by 100 or more major league players:
  1. JM - 281 players
  2. JB - 275
  3. JS - 235
  4. BB - 200
  5. JC - 196
  6. JH - 189
  7. BS - 186
  8. BM - 182
  9. BH - 172
  10. JD - 152
  11. JG - 150
  12. JR - 148
  13. DM - 147
  14. JW - 144
  15. JP - 141
  16. BC - 135
  17. RM - 133
  18. RS - 131
  19. DS - 130
  20. MM - 122
  21. JL - 111
  22. RB - 111
  23. CS - 110
  24. DB - 109
  25. CB - 108
  26. CM - 107
  27. JK - 107
  28. CC - 102
  29. JF - 102
  30. DC - 101
It would appear first names beginning with J or B are the most common among baseball players. The initials MB (98), BW (96), and MS (96) are on the cusp of joining the above list.

In addition to the common initials, there have been 57 players who have unique initials in baseball history. Some of them are from so long ago they've been forgotten, but more than a few are from recent years. Here's the full list:

Art QuirkDan QuisenberryEd Irvin
Eddie QuickFrank IsbellFloyd Youmans
Heinie ZimmermanIke EichrodtIra Flagstead
Irv JeffriesIzzy LeonIrv Noren
Irv YoungKen ViningNick Dumovich
Nate OliverNed YostNorm Zauchin
Omar QuintanillaOscar ZamoraPete Incaviglia
Pat UnderwoodQueenie O'RourkeQuincy Trouppe
Quilvio VerasScotty IngertonUke Clanton
Uel EubanksUbaldo HerediaUbaldo Jimenez
Urbano LugoUrbane PickeringUrban Shocker
Ugueth UrbinaU.L. WashingtonVladimir Nunez
Vern OlsenVictor ZambranoWalt Irwin
Wimpy QuinnWalter YoungXavier Hernandez
Xavier NadyXavier RescignoYunel Escobar
Yovani GallardoYoungy JohnsonYovanny Lara
Yank RobinsonYohanny ValeraYats Wuestling
Zeb EatonZack GreinkeZach Jackson
Zeke RosebraughZoilo VersallesZip Zabel

3 comments:

Devon said...

LOL this is something I've nevver thought about. And it has me wondering... how many DY's have there been?

Theron Schultz said...

There have been 9 DY's: Del Young (1909-1915), Ducky Yount (1914), another Del Young (1937-1940), Dick Young (1951-1952), Don Young (1965-1969), Dmitri Young (1996-2008), Danny Young (2000), Delwyn Young (2006-2008), and Delmon Young (2006-2008).

Obviously Ducky and Dick aren't given names but they're the names that show up on Baseball-Reference.com.

Anonymous said...

FY is the big surprise to me.I used to work with a guy who had those initials.He got caught stealing.