As fans, we candidly accept the names of our favorite teams, no matter how outlandish they may be! But have you ever wondered what prompted some of the more unusual names, or thought something as basic as “Cardinals” might have an unconventional backstory? Check out five of the most fascinating origins of professional sports team names.
Before relocating to the City of Angels in the 50s, the Dodgers got their start in Brooklyn in 1883. Originally, the team went through a slew of names before finally settling on the “Trolley Dodgers.” The name refers to exactly what it sounds like – dodging electric trolleys, as Brooklyn was only the second city in the US to replace horse-drawn transportation for electricity. When the team headed out west, the name stuck (sans the “trolley,” of course).
Was Disney’s “The Mighty Ducks” based on the loveable group just south of LA? Nope, it’s the other way around, actually. In 1993, The Walt Disney Company founded a professional hockey team in Anaheim, and named it after the blockbuster hit.
St. Louis Cardinals
Right around the turn of the 20th century, St. Louis knew its pro baseball team as the “Perfectos,” but given their lackluster record, it wasn’t necessarily indicative of the team’s caliber. (As we all know, that would later change.) So when sports writer overhead a charming female fan refer to the uniforms as a “lovely shade of cardinal,” he began referring to the team as the Cardinals in his articles. Given this was a time when many teams were naming themselves after their stocking colors, the nickname quickly caught on – permanently.
This one sound simple enough, since intimidating animals are typical in team-naming brainstorm sessions. But Chicago replaced the “Staleys” with the forest giant when new owner George Halas picked the “Bears” in response to the “Cubs.” His reasoning? Football players are bigger than baseball players.
San Diego Chargers
New team owner Barron Hilton was in search of a fresh name for his recent purchase, and held a contest with a trip to Mexico promised to the winner. After receiving the suggestion “Chargers” via mail, he allegedly never opened another letter. Why was he so keen on the name? The story goes he was quite fond of his new Carte Blanche credit card, and fell in love with USC’s “Charge!” Bugle cry.