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Pop Quiz: The Real First Names Of MLB Players & Managers

A large number of MLB players, managers, and other figures go by a name other than their real first name. In most cases, the unofficial first name is a variant on the person's middle name, though in others it is an unrelated nickname. This phenomenon starts at the very top of MLB, with its commissioner, "Bud" Selig (birth name: Allan Huber Selig).

The quiz below tests your knowledge of the birth names of 50 MLB figures. Most of the players are fairly well known. A few questions should be very easy--if you don't know Chipper Jones' real name, shame on you--but some will be quite difficult. Shortenings (like "Will" for "William") and common nicknames (like "Jack" for "John") are not included; players whose initials are based on their first & middle names (like James Jerry "J.J." Hardy) aren't on the quiz, either.

I split the names up into smallish groups of 4-8. Except for group VII, which features 3 Josés, none of the first names are used more than once. All the players are known by a name other than their birth name, with the exception of 2 of the 5 Caseys in Group IX. 


If you prefer a text quiz, you can find it at the bottom of this post. There's also a link to the answer key after the jump. 

Here's the answer key.

In case you are curious, here are a few more (mostly lesser known) players who go by a middle name:

  • (Kenneth) David Herndon
  • (Dustin) Eli Whiteside
  • (William) Josh(ua) Reddick
  • (Michael) Lance Lynn
  • (John) Logan Forsythe
  • (Harold) Louis Coleman
  • (Russell) Matt Downs
  • (David) Shelley Duncan
  • (Justin) Todd Coffey

Additionally, there's the strange case of J.D. Drew, whose real name is "David Jonathan." His initials should really be "D.J." Though I suppose I can cut him some slack, since I wouldn't want to share a name with one of the daughters from Full House, either.

Of the 50+ players and managers I found who go by an alternate name--far from a comprehensive list, I should add--here are the names that were most commonly switched away from:

  • William (5 times)
  • Robert (4 times)
  • David (4 times)
  • Jon / John / Johnnie (4 times)
  • José (3 times)
  • James (3 times)
  • Harold / Harry (3 times)
  • Christopher (twice)
  • Donald (twice)

And here are the names that were most commonly switched to:

  • Mike (4 times)
  • Casey (3 times)
  • Bud (twice, 3 times if you count Selig)
  • Brandon (twice)
  • Corey (twice)
  • Lance (twice)
  • Logan (twice)
  • Matt (twice)

Infer what you want from those lists. The names "Louis" and "David" were both switched to and switched away from.

Here's the text version of the quiz, if that's what you prefer:

I. Outfielders

  1. Corey Hart
  2. Corey Patterson
  3. Denard Span
  4. Dexter Fowler
  5. Drew Stubbs


(A) Jon
(B) Keiunta
(C) Donald
(D) Robert
(E) William

II. 1B / LF

  6. Adam LaRoche
  7. Ben Francisco
  8. Lance Berkman
  9. Logan Morrison
10. Seth Smith


(A) Justis
(B) Garry
(C) William
(D) Louis
(E) David

III. Infielders

11. Brandon Inge
12. Brandon Wood
13. Chone Figgins
14. Gordon Beckham
15. Matt Tolbert


(A) Charles
(B) Christopher
(C) Desmond
(D) James
(E) Richard

IV. Nicknamed Players

16. B.J. Upton
17. Bud Norris
18. Buster Posey
19. Chipper Jones
20. Homer Bailey
21. Skip Schumaker


(A) David Dewitt
(B) David Stefan
(C) Jared Michael
(D) Larry Wayne
(E) Melvin Emanuel
(F) Gerald Demp

V. Managers

22. Brad Mills
23. Buck Showalter
24. Bud Black
25. Dusty Baker
26. Mike Quade


(A) Johnnie
(B) Harry
(C) James
(D) William
(E) Gregory

VI. Starting Pitchers

27. Kyle Davies
28. Nick Blackburn
29. Rich Harden
30. Ross Ohlendorf
31. Roy Halladay
32. Scott Baker
33. Tommy Hunter
34. Zack Greinke


(A) Raymond
(B) Curtis
(C) Robert
(D) Hiram
(E) Donald
(F) Timothy
(G) Harry
(H) James

VII. Latin-American Players

35. Albert Pujols
36. Álex Cora
37. Aroldis Chapman
38. Fernando Salas
39. Liván Hernández
40. Miguel Cabrera
41. Ricky Nolasco


(A) Eisler
(B) Noel
(C) Albertin
(D) Carlos
(E) José [x3]*

* 3 of the players
   are named José

VIII. A Few Mikes

42. Mike Adams
43. Mike Carp
44. Mike MacDougal
45. Mike Stanton


(A) Giancarlo
(B) Jon
(C) Christopher
(D) Robert

IX. All the Caseys in MLB

46. Casey Blake
47. Casey Coleman
48. Casey Janssen
49. Casey Kotchman
50. Casey McGehee


(A) Casey John
(B) Casey Michael
(C) Joseph Casey
(D) Robert Casey
(E) William Casey