I heard on ESPN tonight that Pirate RHSP Ian Snell is the first pitcher named "Ian" to ever appear in the big leagues.
Actually, he's only the second player named Ian in the game's long history. The other is Rangers' 2B Ian Kinsler, 0-for-4 against Snell, who was dominant in allowing no earned runs in a complete game win. So we had baseball's first-ever Ian vs. Ian matchup. (Alert the media!)
But that got me to thinking ... who are the players who had or have truly unique given/first names? It's a harder question than you might think.
For instance, I thought of Vance Law ... but did you realize there have been nine men with the first/given name of "Vance" to play big league ball? (That's not even counting the four with that last/family name and six more with the middle name "Vance"!) ...
Speaking of Vances, we're not looking for nicknames -- and besides, there have been two MLB players nicknamed "Dazzy" anyway.
Now, I'm sure there are plenty of players out there who have unique given names. But I admit, I am at a loss as to how to search for such monikers (any ideas, genius Bauxites?) other than to sit around scanning old rosters and picking out unique-sounding names then searching BaseballReference.com to see if they actually are unique ... not only did that not work out for me with "Vance," I must further admit that I have no real desire to slog through such old lineups.
There have been two Doyles. Both guys who went by Honus were actually named "John," and besides, there were two of them. Same deal with the three guys named (actually nicknamed) Ginger. There have been two players named Levi, but one went (actually, goes) by "Jared," so that sort of counts. Heck, there have even been three guys named Joaquin who went by that name (and one "Jackie" who didn't, plus five middle names) ... so, over to you, Bauxites.
Can we brainstorm up a few uniquely-named ballplayers? Maybe even put together a roster of such men? Dang, I can't come up with ONE such name, so coming up with 25 might be well nigh impossible. But let's see. Whatchagot?