Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 25th, 1901

Denver Grigsby Born

That was his real name, Denver Clarence Grigsby. He was born in Kentucky so I don't know where the name comes from; perhaps his parents were just fond of the city. Generally speaking, there aren't too many "city" ballplayers, even if you include nicknames and Bermanisms. There was a "Seattle Bill" James (no relation, I assume to the Bill James) who played for the Braves in the teens and guys like Rudy "New" York; my personal favorite is probably Steve Phoenix, who was, in fact, born in Phoenix.

This is hardly a shock of course, ballplayers tend to come from more rural areas than cities and many of the greats have nicknames that reflect that, Mickey Mantle's "The Commerce Comet" perhaps most famously, while Roger Bresnahan (the first catcher inducted into the Hall of Fame) was "The Duke of Tralee." Baseball's highest levels are played in the cities, but most of the guys playing come from outside those areas, so it would seem that now city names will remain rare.

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