With Mike Trout playing at an unconscious level ( .349 AVG, 5 HRs, 13 SBs in just about 150 ABs) for a 20-year-old (or anyone for that matter), we thought we would share the all time best fish-named ball players.
Obviously, our thoughts go first to Tim Salmon, a man who played his entire career for the Angels. Mike Trout is just picking up the proud fish-named tradition first laid down by DH Tim. It will be an upstream swim for Trout to match Salmon’s 299 career home runs.
Next is Mr. Hall-of-Famer Catfish Hunter. Hobbled by a hunting accident during his senior year that left him without a toe, Catfish didn’t get much attention from scouts. The owner of the Kansas City Athletics gave Catfish his nickname for no other reason than “Big Toe” was taken I suppose. He went on to win over 200 games, including a perfect game and several no hitters.
Another Trout on our list is 1940s player Dizzy Trout. Having a hearing impairment, Dizzy was passed over for service during World War II. It was during those years that he had his best seasons, winning 27 games in ’43. He also spawned another fishy ballplayer as his son, Steve Trout, pitched for 12 years in the majors.
There was another aquatically name ballplayer in the 40s, Bobby Sturgeon. Sturgeon was a middle infielder for the Chicago Cubs and the then Boston Braves. His career was interrupted, however, when he joined the Navy.
We can go back further if you like, but we have to dig into the minors. Big Bill Whaley had a whale of a good time playing minor league ball in the 20s. That’s not entirely true. He did play 23 games in ’23, all with the St. Louis Browns, racking up 1 RBI before he was cast off again into the minors. Catch and release.
Let’s jump to present day where we have to get creative before we hook perhaps the biggest fish of them all. Jeff Samardzija‘s nickname is “Shark“, a nickname he got as a football player at Notre Dame. Another aqua-nicknamed ball player is Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Friends call him “Sea-bass” and he’s been known to be generous and pick up the dinner tab on occasion.
But we have another current major leaguer who needs no nickname to be placed among fishy named ballplayers: Collin Cowgill. Part bovine, part fish, Cowgill could make another list of meaty ballplayers, along with 1911 player, Harry Steakley or Dmitri Young, who was nicknamed “Da Meat Hook.” But it’s a crowded Oakland outfield, so we aren’t going to talk about Cowgill, but instead we’ll circle back to Mike Trout.
Did I mention that Mike Trout was hitting .349 as a 20-year-old? I have a feeling that there will be some tall tales spun about him before his career is over.
Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments.
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