Superior Names, Baseball History: Skeeter, Faries, Etc.

Let us delve once again into the rich mine of baseball’s greatest names and nick’d names. Though I am partial to the spectacular names of unspectacular careers, let us pause for a moment to consider the moderately impressive career of a one

Bill Knickerbocker.

Knickerbocker, as we all know, means “New Yorker.” Naturally, William Hart Knickerbocker was born and later died in California. Of course.

Ol’ Knickers played 10 seasons, got some MVP consideration, served in World War II, and finished his career with more caught stealings than steals — even once, in 1936, leading the league with 14 whoopsies and only 5 pilfers. He was basically David Eckstein 0.1.

Let’s skip for’d a bit to the beginning ledges of yon Steroid Era. Anyone remember Mr.

Skeeter Barnes?

It’s pretty obvious Will Henry Barnes earned his nickname in anticipation of the the yet-extant show Hey Arnold! which first aired two years after Skeeter’s final MLB game. Skeeter, as we all know, was a terrifying character on the late 1990s Nickelodeon show who routinely infested young children’s most awful nightmares with his not-white-nor-black-nor-Hispanic-nor-Asian-ness. Interestingly, Skeeter Barnes, the real human, was not not-white-nor-black-nor-Hispanic-nor-Asian.

The career of ol’ Skeet-Skeet — as I imagine he never once wanted to be called — is a rather movie-like one. Barnes was a utility infielder sporting a strong on-base percentage throughout the minors, but didn’t stick in the majors until he was nigh 34 years of age, whereupon he remained in the majors until the last ounces of value had been squeezed from him at age 37.

Disney is presumably in the pre-production stage.

Barnesie is currently an “outfield and baserunning coordinator” in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system.

Hey San Diego Padres fans! Do either of you guys remember a fellow named

Paul Faries?

A man named Faries had a mullet. Baseball wins everything.

Look, I don’t care how I’m supposed to pronounce “Faries.” For ol’ Paul, here, I did the least possible amount of research simply because I did not want to discover anything that could spoil the magnificence that is his brief mark on baseball history.

And what a beautiful mark it was.

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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.

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Dude, you have the wrong show. Skeeter was from ‘Doug’, not ‘Hey Arnold’. And the careers of the two Skeeters overlapped from 1991-1994.


The thought of Skeeters overlapping makes me uncomfortable.


I’m glad somebody here knows their classic Nickelodeon.