As you may have heard, Braves outfielder and strikeout artist B.J. Upton will play the 2015 season as Melvin Upton Jr., his given name, rather than using the Bossman Junior nickname he'd inherited from his father and used throughout his career. With the topic of player monikers making brief headlines, a user on Imgur hosted an album of pictures from Reddit detailing an extensive list of all MLB players who don't go by their given first names. Let's see, it's late February, we've got a week until fake baseball games, and over a month until real ones ... yeah, let's explore this.
Which Oakland Athletics eschew their first names in favor of middle names and nicknames? There are six entrants on the list (not including Jario Garcia), but I have no idea how that ranks among other teams; there are 108 images spread among 30 teams, so six is above-average, but I don't know who had the most. It's also missing Isaac "Ike" Davis, so it's not a comprehensive list, merely an excellent one. Or, maybe Ike is a normal abbreviation for Isaac, like in the common cases of Benjamin "Ben" Zobrist or William "Billy" Burns? I don't know; I don't think I've ever known an Isaac or an Ike in my life. But Davis' platoon-mate doesn't abbreviate his name -- Country Breakfast was born Billy Ray Butler, not William.
Note that the Imgur/Reddit list includes players who go by initials, who you may or may not think belong -- obviously A.J. probably isn't your given name, as long as the A stands for your first name. B.J. Upton still would have belonged, though, since he's Melvin Emmanuel.
Tom Pom and Alex Leon
Let's start with two players who I think should go back to their real names. The first is Thomas Andrew Pomeranz. Sure, there's nothing wrong with Drew Pomeranz; your eyes are so attracted to the pizzazz in his surname that they hardly linger on whatever precedes it. But what he misses out on is the excellent rhyming potential. Thomas Pomeranz is a bit of a mouthful, granted, but it wouldn't matter because everyone would just call him Tom Pom. Maybe that would get old after, like, a week. Or maybe it would be incredible.
As for Alex Arnold Leon, I don't think I need to explain this one. We need more Alex's in MLB, because it's a hell of a name. Sure, maybe I'm biased, but X seems like an objectively cool letter. I'd probably say the same thing if his name was Max, Felix, Axel, Dexter, or Xavier. Excellent names, all of them. Arnold Leon is pretty badass, though, evoking images of both the Governator and Luc Besson's classic action film character. There's a lot of power in that name. But he's squandering his literal X-factor. The Alex community needs to move on from the A-Rod saga, and Leon has the chance to help.
Pomeranz and Leon are two of the six players on the A's 40-man roster who don't go by their real first names. The other four should probably stick with the names they're already using, because in each case the pseudonym is better than the real thing. In order to cover them, here's a little multiple choice quiz for you. Choose your answer, hit Submit, and click Next to see the next question. (Don't bother with the Hints, because there are none.) There are six questions in all, though not all of them relate to the A's.
How did you do? Share your score in the comments, but don't give any answers away! (Remember the "spoiler font" option, located next to the picture and hyperlink options, which blacks out text until you pass your mouse over it.) In no time at all, we'll see our boys fighting against Vernon Christopher Carter, Garry Seth Smith, Christopher John Wilson and James Evan Gattis for AL West superiority -- heck, maybe they'll even face Donald Zackary Greinke in the World Series!