Back in 2014, I wrote a series of blog posts about the origin of minor league team names. Since then, the minor league landscape has changed a lot. Clubs moved, adopted new names. All reasons to have a new series in which the new names are added and explained. This time the letter:
The Carolina Mudcats, previously named Kinston Indians adopted the name of the previous team 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 over there. Anyhow, the name was chosen with a name the team contest. This name won by a landslide.
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.
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.
The Charlotte StoneCrabs 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 StoneCrabs.
The StoneCrabs are named after the sea creatures that are native to Florida.
The name Lookouts can be derived from a mountain in the neighborhood of Chattanooga, which is called Lookout mountain.
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 colors 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.
The name LumberKings dates back to the city’s history of the 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.)”
A new name on the list.
When the Savannah SandGnats moved to Columbia, SC, in 2016, the team needed a new name. A name the team contest resulted in 2,300 names of which FireFlies was chosen. The name was inspired by the Photinus Frontalis in the nearby Congaree National Park.
Parts of the team’s uniforms glow in the dark as a tribute to the team’s name.
The Columbus Clippers started to play in 1977 as the newest addition to the International League. After a name the team contest, a committee chose out of three names. There were two reasons the committee picked the name. They liked the alliteration and the nautical theme for Columbus’ team. The only nautical link is the name of the city as it is named after Christopher Columbus.
Corpus Christi Hooks:
The Hooks are named after the city’s association with fishing. A hook is also another name for a curveball.