Let's face it -- when it comes to memorable baseball monikers, no one will ever top Wonderful Terrific Monds III.
Nonethless, the Minor Leagues are chock full of unique, alliterative and just plain bizarre names. Since 2007, MiLB.com has staged Minors Moniker Madness every year in order to determine the best of the best. The winner receives the annual "Wonderful Terrific Monds III" award in honor of the seven-year playing career (1993-99) of a man who was, quite literally, Wonderful.
Minors Monikers Madness is a bracket-style tournament, featuring 64 of the Minor Leagues' top names pitted head to head. As the field narrows the tension becomes greater, leading to nationwide speculation regarding who will walk away with this coveted honor.
Past winners of the Wonderful Terrific Monds III Award include Houston Summers (2007), Will Startup (2008) and Dusty Napoleon (2009). All of these individuals were greatly aided by homegrown voting campaigns, a fine illustration of the immense change that can be brought about through the enthusiastic championing of the democratic process.
All three of these past winners expressed pride upon being told that they had received the Monds Award -- more or less.
"I've been catching a lot of grief from my teammates," said Summers, upon being told he had won. "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."
Startup, after shocking upsets over Jorge Poo Tang and Henry Henry in 2007, emerged victorious the next year.
"I don't think any celebrations are in order," said Startup. "But it would be funny to get a plaque or something like that. Then maybe I could slip it in the team trophy cabinet, right next to 'Coach of the Year' and 'Minor League Player of the Year.'"
Startup beat Dusty Napoleon in that year's contest, and the following year the A's farmhand brought home the crown himself. (Does anyone see a pattern forming here?)
"People were really getting into [the contest], especially after I lost last year," said Napoleon. "I know my brother was sending out a lot of e-mails. And I went to a big high school, so a lot of people there jumped on board and were passing it along."
The runner-up last year was the one and only Beamer Weems. Will he finally be able to come out on top in 2010? Or will an even more magnificent moniker find a way to win it all?