We’re entering week three of the shelter-in-place, and it’s officially time to have a little fun.
In that spirit and without further ado, here are the 10 funniest names in Giants history. Let’s just say for the sake of this list we are very grateful this club was founded in 1883.
10. Cannonball Titcomb, 1887 – 1889 New York Giants
I know what you’re thinking: If this is really the 10th funniest name in Giants history, what follows is going to be the greatest list of all time. While we’d like to think the latter is true either way, Mr. Titcomb’s placement at No. 10 is due to a rather large asterisk. His nickname wasn’t really Cannonball.
At least not while he was alive. He was referred to by his birth name, Ledell Titcomb, until two years before his death, when a profile written about him contained an anecdotal, unsubstantiated claim that “his mates at Haverhill nicknamed him ‘Cannonball’ after he split a plank with a pitched ball.” When Titcomb died two years later, his obituary also included the name, as well as a number of other erroneous claims about his life. The name has followed him until the present day.
The 5′ 6″ left-hander pitched for the Giants from 1887-1889, going 19-13 with a 3.02 ERA. 34 of his 35 starts were complete games.
9. Scottie Slayback – 1926 New York Giants
Born Elbert Slayback, which is arguably a funnier name, this second baseman from Paducah, Kentucky appeared in a grand total of two major league games during his career, both with the Giants during the 1926 season. He did not record a hit in eight at-bats. He did, however, secure the ninth spot on this illustrious list.
8. Slick Castleman – 1934-1939 New York Giants
I dare say, that’s one slick castleman.
This right-handed pitcher spent his entire career with the Giants as both a starter and a reliever. He was part of the Giants team that lost to the Yankees in the 1936 World Series. Honestly, we don’t have much more to say about Slick Castleman, other than we’re glad he chose to go by “Slick” rather than his old-timey birth name, Clydell.
7. Merkin Valdéz – 2004, 2008-2009 SF Giants
Okay, listen. Our goal here was to select exclusively players from a long time ago so as not to offend anyone, but Mr. Valdez has the unfortunate distinction of being named after one of the funniest items in modern society. If you don’t know what it is, Google at your own risk. What were we supposed to do, just ignore that?
A right-handed reliever, Valdez appeared in parts of three seasons with the Giants, posting a 5.24 ERA in 67 appearances.
6. Bill Malarkey – 1901 New York Giants
A more wholesome entry, named after your grandpa’s favorite synonym for nonsense. Like more than a few on this list, Mr. Malarkey would be remembered largely for his name. He appeared in just 15 career games, all with the Giants during the 1902 season. Apparently a 2.57 ERA didn’t cut it during the dead-ball era.
5. Moonlight Graham – 1905 New York Giants
Made famous by his inclusion in the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Moonlight played just one inning of one game in his major league career. The origins of his nickname differ depending on whom you ask, but the consensus seems to be that he was nicknamed “Moonlight” because he was fast as a flash on the base paths. Anyways, let’s take a break from reading and watch this clip:
4. Boileryard Clarke – 1905 New York Giants
We’re not sure what a boileryard is, but it definitely sounds like something that was around in 1905. Mr. Clarke apparently received the moniker because “I had a terrible voice which you could hear all over the diamond.” We don’t quite understand what that means either.
Clarke played in the majors for 13 years, his final one with the Giants. Clarke led all AL catchers in games played and fielding percentage in 1902 as a member of the Washington Senators, now the Minnesota Twins.
3. Jigger Statz – 1919 New York Giants
A name that sounds like someone who might play fast and loose with a scorebook, Statz started his career as a member of the Giants, before being involved in a trade that also included players named Elmer Ponder and Babe Twombly. Incredibly, Statz lived up to his name, as one of only eight players, along with Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Julio Franco, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Stan Musial, known to have amassed at least 4,000 combined hits in the major leagues and minor leagues, according to ESPN.
Fun fact that you probably already knew: Statz played himself in the 1929 Paramount film, Fast Company.
2. Jack Glasscock – 1890 – 1891 New York Giants (pictured above)
Any name with those four letters at the end is going to be funny. It’s just a fact. Put the word “glass” in front of it and you have an all timer. We’re not going to even get into how the first name plays into this hilarity.
Also nicknamed Pebbly Jack, Mr. Glasscock (imagine if this dude were a substitute teacher) played a whopping 17 years in the big leagues, two of which with the Giants. In one of those seasons (1891) he led the league in hits (172) and batting average (.336). It’s too bad he didn’t string a few more of those together with the Giants, or we might have the name “Glasscock” permanently placed on the Wall of Fame at Oracle Park.
1. Johnny Dickshot – 1939 New York Giants
Seriously though, how is this a real last name? Have you ever met, or heard of, or read about somebody with the last name Dickshot? It seems almost too good to be true, especially in a sport where a premium is placed on avoiding that very thing.
Oh and by the way, this guy’s nickname was Ugly. No seriously, check baseball reference. There were people who referred to this guy as Ugly Dickshot. This is a thing that happened.
Mr. Dickshot’s career lasted just six years, and his Giants career 34 at-bats.
But today, and for the rest of time, we will remember him as the funniest name in Giants history.