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August 4, 2008

The Putz stopped here, too

Seldom does a Seattle series go by that I don't get several e-mails or personal entreaties to interview reliever J.J. Putz. And, of course, this is understandable because of the similar ridiculousness of our respective surnames.

Some of you probably remember that I did just that a couple of years ago for a column in the print edition of The Sun. I approached J.J. in the Mariners clubhouse and introduced myself and expected some kind of reaction when he heard my last name, but he just stared at me like I had just surfed back from Gilligan's Island.

No problem. I explained to him that because I was a semi-respected journalist with a very silly name and he was an up-and-coming baseball star with a silly name, we should be having a bonding moment of mutual understanding after mutual lifetimes of middle school taunts and rebuffed marriage proposals.

When he finally figured out what I was talking about, he politely informed me that no natural kinship existed between us because his last name is not pronounced the way it would seem by the spelling. It is pronounced with a longer "U" sound (Pootz) and he was never the object of junior high or any other kind of name-related ridicule.

I suppose I should be happy for him, but if I recall the column I wrote at the time, I just felt stupid that it never occurred to me to tell everyone that my last name is Schmook.

While we're on the subject, what's your favorite funny sports name?

I'm partial to NASCAR driver Dick Trickle, who is one of the very few people who make me count my name-related blessings.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:50 AM | | Comments (29)


Dick Trickle is in fact a brilliant name (I have always secretly thought he is missing a brilliant marketing opportunity by not having a car sponsored by Flomax). I have also always been partial to former major league pitcher and current pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, the one and only Dick Pole.

"m" is for massively obvious accidental humor by saying I am partial to Dick Pole. Stoopid Mondays!

When do we start to hear about various O's passing through waivers?

As a terp fan, I liked Exree Hipp. Al Trouser Trautwig is funny, too.

We needed to sweep yesterday.

Funny how none of us fickle fans want the Crow fired these days.....

G Mac: Waiver floats are confidential, but the whispers will start trickling out any time now. pete

Gold, Schmucker, gold.

In the words of Rex Barney--"Give that NASCAR driver a Flomax!" Putz is lying. There is no doubt he had teachers pronounce his name the way anyone reading it would during roll call, leading to a roomful of chuckles. Plus, once his classmates could read, they would undoubtedly take the liberty of using the more traditional pronounciation. He's obviously repressing his traumatic childhood.


When the O's played the Cubs this year, I laughed everytime his name was said. And when the fans chanted his name..... my wife told me I was not mature enough to watch baseball anymore.

Just to get it out of the way:

Rusty Kuntz

I also happened to like the name "Coot Veal".

Well I haven't come across an athletes name worse than this:

Unfortunately, "Schmook" wouldn't be much of an improvement...

Other names I poached from Wikipedia:

Ten Million - Baseball player from the 1910s.

Boo Moore - minor league baseball player in the Boston Red Sox organization in 1980s/90s

Urban Shocker - a Major League Baseball pitcher in the 1910s-20s.

Wonderful Terrific Monds III - a baseball player in the Atlanta Braves farm system in the early 1990s. WTM I, his grandfather, was given that name because his own parents were so pleased when their son was born. Baseball writer Peter Gammons called it "one of the greatest names" for a ballplayer he has heard.

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish - (Cal "Buster" McLish) Pitcher for several major-league baseball teams about 1948-1964.

and of course, "Johnny Dickshot".

Dick Trickle has to be the worst name. I mean, who want to go through life named after part of the male anatomy? What were his parents thinking?

I don't know. I'll ask mine. pete

G Mac: I still want The Crow fired. I have not wavered in that stance for about 5 years now.

Your blog reminds me of Roch's, except he put actual information on the O's in it along with really bad jokes.

Jeff, I hope to do that once in awhile, too. The Orioles, however, will not even wake up in Anaheim for another hour. pete

I'm excited--more for his name than his scrappy playing style--about Stubby Clapp coming out of retirement to play for the Canadian Olympic team once again.

Putz better worry about his job. Morrow is lights out.

Noticed the wrestler from North Carolina referenced by The Big C above wants to be a doctor. Urologist I presume.

Former Penn State hoops coach Dick Harter has to be in the running in this stiff competition.

Note to The Big C:

You win.

Coco Crisp's mom has a lot of explaining to do. Look for Coco's brother Cookie Crisp to make an impact in the Majors very soon. Do you think Coco eats his own cereal?

Its not nearly as "suggestive" as some others mentioned here, but there are two more names to be thrown in here: Milton Bradley and Jamie Quirk.

God Shamgod

the Mapp brothers: Majestic and Scientific

Chris Weinke, he played baseball and football!.

One of my favorites comes from the 80s during the Billy Martin-era at Oakland: Shooty Babbit. He was a Ricky Henderson wannabe with emphasis on the wannabe. On the Orioles, Drungo Hazewood. Is that a baseball name, or what? Guy was the equivalent of Pedro Cerrano from MAJOR LEAGUE. Hit the fastball a ton, but bat no like the curveball.

Milton Bradley and Coco Crisp. Baseball has board games and cereal covered. Maybe Coco's name was modified to avoid copyright infringement.

I'm just glad that Bartolo Colon didn't go into medicine and wrote an advice column, "Ask Dr. Colon". Ewwwww...

And why has no announcer ever picked up on the smooth way that saying "Justin Speier" rolls off your tongue. All a manager has to do is hand him the ball, in relief of the starter, and say his name right back to him.

I have both the NYY starter Wang and the Seattle reliever Putz on my rotisserie baseball team. This year, they've both been disfunctional.

I also like the initials of the National who fathered 5 kids by 4 women before reaching 22 - E.D.

viva viagra!

There was an outfielder for the Orioles in the early 50's, when they were still in the International League. Joe Melondick. I think he ended up coaching a high school team in Baltimore.

Viva La Evolucion ;)

I can't wait to see the PUTZ jerseys at CitiField... or read the headlines the first time that he blows a game...You gotta love New York!

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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