Origins of Minor League team names: C

Since 2004 I am addicted to Minor League baseball. Not that it is easy to attend a game when you live in the Netherlands, but I love the way those clubs are more focused on families, children and the related entertainment.
In 2008 I attended my first Minor League game at Adelanto, CA. The High Desert Mavericks (A Advanced affiliate of the Mariners) hosted the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (then an Angels affiliate, now part of the Dodgers organization) in a California League matchup. Since then I am in love.

I thought it would be nice to post the explanations of how teams got their names. Something that I have done for a couple of baseball forums already. I hope you like it.

This time the letter:


Carolina Mudcats:
The Carolina Mudcats, previously named Kinston Indians adopted the name of the previous team that called Zebulon (NC) their home. That team moved to Pensacola after the 2012 season.

Cedar Rapids Kernels:
Minor League baseball has been around since 1949 in Cedar Rapids. The local team adopted many names, mainly those of the parent clubs. In 1993 the team adopted the name Kernels. I could not find anything that explains the nickname but since Cedar Rapids is located in Iowa, I assume that it is because of the corn production overthere. Anyhow, the name was chosen with a name the team contest. This name won by a landslide.

Charleston RiverDogs:
Over the years, the local team in Charlotte SC donned various nicknames. In 1994 the name was changed to RiverDogs. Their stadium is located at the banks of the Ashley River and RiverdDog is local slang for big river rats.

Charlotte Knights:
Professional baseball has been around in Charlotte NC since 1901. The current team is playing under the name Charlotte since 1976 when the team was named Charlotte Orioles. From 1988 the team is called the Knights thanks to a “name the team” contest.

Charlotte Stone Crabs:
The Charlotte Stone Crabs were formerly known as the Vero Beach Dodgers, later the Vero Beach Devil Rays. The franchise was founded in 1980, and played at Holman Stadium, the former spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team was affiliated with the Dodgers from 1980 to 2006. In 2007 the franchise’s affiliation changed to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; they were then renamed the Vero Beach Devil Rays. Under their new name they won the 2007 Florida State League championship. On August 25, 2008, it was announced that the Vero Beach franchise was sold to Ripken Baseball, which resulted in a relocation of the franchise to Port Charlotte, Florida to become the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
The Stone Crabs are named after the sea creatures that are native to Florida.

Chattanooga Lookouts:
The name Lookouts can be derived from a mountain in the neighbourhood of Chattanooga, that is called Lookout mountain.

Clearwater Threshers:
Since 1985 the Clearwater pro baseball team is affiliated with the Phillies. Until 2004 the team was named Clearwater Phillies, but after the team moved to a new stadium it changed it’s team colours and name to Threshers.
A thresher is actually vital towards the separation of a stalk of grain from the straw, as well as the subsequent separation of the kernel from the rest of the head.
It’s also a species of shark, which makes a whole lot more sense given the team’s logo.

Clinton LumberKings:
The name LumberKings dates back to the city’s history of lumber industry.
When affiliated baseball moved to Clinton, the club held a name the team contest. The winning entry was submitted by Giants fan, Norma Stauffer, of 2188 17th Place in Clinton, who received $100 cash, two season box seat tickets and a LumberKings cap and jacket for submitting the new name. Stauffer was the only fan to submit “LumberKings” and chose the name based on “the old lumber business in Clinton (Lamb, Curtis Co., etc.)”

Colorado Springs Sky Sox:
The Colorado Springs team relocated from Honolulu in 1988 and adopted the name Sky Sox is in honor of the Colorado Springs’ Western League Sky Sox which played at Memorial Park from 1950-1958. Colorado Springs sits at 6,351 feet above sea level which makes it the highest professional ballpark in the United States, which explains the name.

Columbus Clippers:
The name was chosen during the city’s bicentennial. The city houses a replica of Columbus’ ship, Santa Maria. That wasn’t exactly a Clipper, but at least it is some kind of explanation. A rumor states that the name is a link to the past when the club was a Pittsburgh affiliate. Pirates sail around in vessels and a clipper is a vessel.

Connecticut Tigers:
After moving to Norwich from Oneonta “Connecticut Tigers” was only expected to be used for the 2010 season with a name-the-team contest expected to be held after the season to decide a permanent name. However, at the fan forum on April 17, 2010, general manager Andrew Weber stated the team is rethinking the contest due to the positive reactions of fans to the connection to the major league Detroit Tigers. On November 22, 2010, the team’s Facebook page confirmed the name is to remain “Connecticut Tigers” permanently.

Corpus Christi Hooks:
The Hooks are named after the city’s association with fishing. A hook is also another name for a curveball.

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