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Minor League Baseball teams are notorious for using odd and unusual team names, logos, and mascots, much to the delight of many fans. For fans of the Montgomery Biscuits, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, or Fresno Tacos names, allow us to take odd names a few steps farther, across the Atlantic to European club baseball, where top minor league names find serious name competition.
Each of the 15 listed teams placed in the top 50 or received an honorable mention in Mister-Baseball’s latest rankings, meaning that they are all good baseball clubs! While they all may be good on the field, some make this list due to similar dominance of naming their team, but others make it for opposite reasons.
15. Beograd 96
Serbia’s capital city has a surprising number of athletic teams, including an American football squad. What they do not have, however, is a baseball team with an easily understandable name.
Despite ranking number 20 in Europe, Astros give us no clues as to where they play their home baseball games.
13. K. Borgerhout Squirrels
Borgerhout is a very good name for a suburb of Antwerp. Couple that with an ultra-threatening mascot like squirrels, and you have a winning team name.
12. Sant Boi
Technically a suburb of Barcelona, this Spanish team feels no need to include a mascot – understandable with a location that sounds as hip as Sant Boi. It remains to be seen if Big Boi is a fan.
11. SSHOR 42
I do not know what this means but this is a good name for a baseball team.
10. Zurich Barracudas
Switzerland loves Barracudas.
9. Montpellier Barracudas
Most French-sounding city pick least French-sounding mascot. Evidently barracudas are cool in France too.
I’ll never rock a Minsk coat in the wintertime like Killa Cam
Or rock some Minsk boots in the summertime like Will.I.Am
What’s cooler than a barracuda? German alligators. Europe loves cool animals.
6. Espoo Expos
Reaching into the honorable mentions here, but Finland’s top club includes both the classic Expos moniker and a location with tongue-twister alliteration. Well played.
5. Heidenheim Heidekopfe
Speaking of matching mascots and town names, the Philadelphia Phillies may have met their match.
4. SDUSOR – Diamonds
Similar to the Russian team with a similar name above, I do not wish to know the meaning behind this Ukrainian club’s rather unique name. The addition of Diamonds is a nice touch.
3. Baseball Klub Nada SSM Split
Less is definitely not more for this Croatian club. When in doubt, just make the name as long and odd as possible.
2. Reds Sleepwalkers
This club appears to have two nicknames…until you consider Hungary’s communist past. To be fair, it is unclear why “Reds” was chosen, but in any case, coupling it with sleepwalkers results in an odd mixture of politics and comatose baseball players.
1. Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks
You get middle-school humor and a non-threatening mascot, but my favorite part of this name is the specificity that these are not just ordinary ducks – these are diving ducks! Oh the intimidation!
Dan Weigel writes about pitching at Sporting News and occasionally about pitching and sometimes other things at Beyond the Box Score. His former European club, the London Mets, slots at number 29 on Mister-Baseball’s rankings but unfortunately did not beat out Beograd 96 for the final spot on this list. Follow him on twitter at @danweigel38.