Nats fans, you are not going to believe this. This just might be the best obscure trivia we have uncovered about D.C. baseball.
We used to have a team, the first one here called the Senators, between 1891 and 1899. They were horrible, and as a result, were contracted.
The second Washington Senators arrived here in D.C. back in 1901 when the newly formed American League relocated the Kansas City Blues. Well, this team was no better and a famously deprecating saying was born: “Washington: first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.”
The 1904 season was the worst, when the team went 38-113, finishing dead last, 55 ½ games behind the pennant winning Red Sox — this is the sixth worst record in the history of Major League Baseball (this was the team that had Georgetown’s Charlie Moran).
Help, in the form of Walter Johnson, was still years away, so the team came up with another idea. They would rename the team.
I stumbled across a Washington Times article from February 27th, 1905 discussing the future name of the Washington baseball team. What I read was excellent and amusing.
The last hundred of the four hundred suggestions for a new name for the Washington baseball club contained fifty-four new suggestions, making a total of 220 separate names so far proposed.
In this one hundred there were some unique ideas, such as that of the man who, out of compliment to the strenuous character of the President, wants the club called “Teddies.” Another, referring to the entrance of the club upon a new career, suggests that it be called the “Debutantes.” Still another thinks that in view of the many newspaper men connected with the organization the club should be called the “editors.”
Hold it right there! The Washington Teddies? The team was not named after him AND he always loses the President’s Race? Ugh, life is rough being the 26th President of the United States. Tough break dude. Maybe the next Nats turn back the clock game? Who do we lobby to make that happen?
Of course, there’s more.
Here are some of the arguments used in behalf of several of the suggestions:
Eagles–”The name is appropriate because it is significant of strength. With this name they will soar high.”
Representatives–”I suggest the nickname ‘Reps’ for your club. Perhaps ‘Senators’ was a little ambitious and difficult to live up to. ‘Representatives’–’Reps’–will serve to represent the city with distinctive suggestiveness, and ‘Reps’ is a short, snappy nickname for the outside ‘boys’ to play with.
The Potomacs–”I suggest for the regenerated Washington baseball club the nickname of ‘Potomacs,’ which has the twofold advantages of euphony and local significance.”
Surprise Party–”If we win it will be a surprise, if we lose it will be the same.”
I literally laughed out loud when I read that one. Someone had a great sense of humor. Let’s keep going.
The Climbers–”As beginning with 1905, they will steadily climb the ladder until they have reached a position in the race when another and well-earned name can be given them–’Champions.’ At least such is the hope of one, and I may say all of the well-wishers of the club.”
The Kittens–”Kittredge wants to play in Detroit on account of business connections, but the little catcher is too valuable for Washington to let go. He is needed here to steady the numerous youngsters, and ‘Kit’ knows how to do it.
The guy’s full name was Malachi Kittredge. Malachi!
The other new names suggest in this hundred are as follows; Paragons, The Rallies, The Distances, Metropolitans, Puritans, Washington Trumps, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds, Limericks, The President’s Own, Red Stockings, The Alerts, Filibusters, R. P. B.’s (Runners, Pitchers and Batters), Red Sox, Sluggers, Midgets, Voodoo Doctors, Dome Climbers, Capitolines, Eurekas, Kids, Soldiers, Buccaneers, Radfords, Statesmen, Sampsons, Lowlanders, Busters, Victories, Antelopes, Our Boys, Exceptionals, Pink Sox, Grass Cutters, Hercules, Lads, Professors, Mutes, Lambs, White Rats, Round Robins, Utopians, Hatchet Bearers, Rail Splitters, Larks, Actors, Juniors.
This was a great article to read while watching the home run barrage against the Cubs. Wait until the Washington Teddies make it to the playoffs. #TEDDITUDE
Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District. He lives in Columbia Heights with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog. On September 3rd, 2013, the second site launched as Ghosts of Baltimore.