Fun with Middle Names

My middle name is Jacob – Paul Jacob Cooke.  With no disrespect to my mother, she strapped me for life with an awfully boring middle name.  While I am forever grateful that my mom and dad had the good sense not to stick me with oddball first name that I could never escape, middle names are the perfect place for that kind of stuff.   You see some people’s middle names and you just know that their parents wanted to go crazy in naming them, but realized the lasting effects it might have on their child so they buried their creativity between the first name and surname instead.

Then again, instead of naming him ‘Tim’, my dad wanted to name my brother ‘Martin Luther King Cooke’ because he was born on MLK day (and no, he sadly was not kidding).  As your normal looking white kid, he wouldn’t have made it out my middle school alive had he been Martin Luther instead of Tim.

Perhaps because of my own mundane middle name, I have always had a bit of a fascination with middle names – the odd ones, the awesome ones, the head scratching ones, and everything in between.  Let’s take a look at middle names of the Orioles.

Buck Showalter was born William Nathanial which is sort of boring – it makes him sound like a soldier in the American Revolution.  So what do you do when you have dull first name and middle name that you want to get away from?  Well, run around the locker room completely naked until everyone starts calling you “Buck”, of course.

Lew Ford is known in baseball as being – well – perhaps a bit eccentric.  So it should come as little surprise that Ford would ditch his bland birth name (“John”) in favor the shortened version of his middle name (“Lewis”).

James Jerry Hardy combined his first and middle names to arrive at J.J.  Jerome O’Bryan Hoes combined his first and middle names to arrive at . . . L.J.?  Yea, I don’t get it either.

Nolan Reimold’s Baseball Reference page lists his full name as “Nolan G. Reimold”.  I was sort of hoping that this was a Homer J. Simpson situation where the middle initial really doesn’t stand for anything other than the letter, but no such luck.  A Google search revealed the Orioles’ left fielder/designated hitter’s middle name is “Gallagher”.  Now the only mystery left to solve is if Nolan himself prefers to leave his middle name as an initial or if Baseball-Reference randomly made that decision on their own.

Then there is Luis Ignacio Ayala.  Ignacio is unique, cool sounding middle name on its own.  I thought that even before I went and looked up the meaning behind the name.  Diminutive forms of Ignacio include Iggy, Iggie, and Nacho.  How great would it be to have Nacho Ayala coming out of the bullpen, slinging 90 MPH fastballs by right-handed batters, catching home runs in his hat, and passing along his phone number to female fans in the stands?  Come to think of it, is pretty great when Luis does all of that stuff, but it would be even better coming from a guy named Nacho.

There are other Oriole middle names that are slightly off the beat and path.  Chris Davis’ middle name is Lyn.  The Orioles backup catcher is Taylor Hill Teagarden.  If Troy Patton ever ends up playing on the same team as the Pirate’s prospect Jameson Tallion, he’ll need to go by his middle name (“Jaimieson”) to be the first Jameson/Jaimieson pitching duo in American professional sports history (I didn’t actually look that fact up but I am relatively confident in making that claim).

However, none of those players win the reward for best nickname on the Orioles.  That prestigious award goes to the Orioles’ gold glove and All-Star centerfielder, Adam Jones.  Actually, that would be Adam La Marque Jones. Adam’s middle name passes all of the important tests needed to reach “great middle name status”.

Is it unique?  Of course.  Is it unique in a good way?  I’d say yes.

Does it sound cool when you say the entire name?  Go ahead, say it aloud.  Adam La Marque Jones.  Check.

Could the middle name function as a first name in an event that the first name fails to live up to its duties?  La Marque Jones.  Double check.  We have winner.