After three weeks and six rounds of voting, MiLB.com's inaugural Minors Moniker Madness contest has finally drawn to a close. The contest sought to determine who has the best name in all of the Minor Leagues, and boy did it ever.
Our winner received more than 10,000 votes in the final round and is none other than...Houston Summers?
Yes. Houston Summers. The 19-year-old Diamondbacks prospect trounced Richmond Braves reliever Will Startup in the finals, and is therefore the first-ever recipient of the Wonderful Teriffic Monds III Award.
While Summers may not have had one of the stranger names in the contest, he did have plenty of support from the folks back home in Guilford County, N.C.
"Our local newspaper ran a story about the contest, and I heard that the fire department put up a sign telling people to vote for me," he said. "I've been hearing a lot about it, from my teammates as well as my family."
As for the name itself, Summers says it has no connection to the Texas city.
"All the males in my family have names that begin with the letter "H" and I guess they just started running out of names," he said. "People didn't comment on my name much growing up, at least not until Apollo 13 came out. Then I started hearing all these 'Houston, we have a problem' jokes."
After a stellar high school career, Summers was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 47th round of the 2005 draft. He split the 2006 campaign between Rookie-level Missoula and Class A Short-Season Yakima, where he will most likely open 2007.
"I'm working on becoming a more consistent player," he said. "It was a huge jump going from high school to Missoula, where all if a sudden I was playing against guys who had played three or four years in college. I'm just going day-by-day, always trying to improve myself."
Summers' opponent in the finals was Will Startup, a left-handed reliever who spent some time in the Braves' big-league camp this spring. Like Summers, Startup was well aware of Minors Moniker Madness.
"I've been catching a lot of grief from my teammates," he said. "Our general manager printed up reports of the contest and put them all over the locker room, and guys have been acting like I was the one who did that, and saying I'm a prima donna.
"But my family has loved it. We've lived in a couple different places through the years, and once my Mom found out about the contest, she notified pretty much everyone she knew."
While Startup possesses an undeniably good baseball name, he was as surprised as anyone at the caliber of the opponents he defeated.
"I really didn't think I'd win against Jorge Poo Tang," he said. "And I really liked Henry Henry. When a parent gives their child a name like that, then the kid has no choice but to be famous."
"Overall, I really enjoyed the contest. It was a nice and easy way to enter the season. But with all those votes Summers got in the final, maybe it should be under review or something."
No such luck, Will. Houston Summers is the winner fair and square, and he's now the first-ever recipient of the coveted Wonderful Terrific Monds III Award for having the best name in all of Minor League Baseball.
Thanks for playing, everyone.
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.