Meet Mr. Smith

I had a random thought today…what is the most common name in MLB?  Not surname, full name.  Not just today, of all time.  After a bit of research it appears that the most common full name of all time in MLB is (drumroll)…Mike Smith.  Forget Coco Crisp, Milton Bradley, Boof Bonser, Nap Lajoie, Wonderful Terrific Monds, Juan Pierre, Von Hayes, Jair Jurrjens, Waite Hoyt, Eppa Rixey, Moses J. Yellow Horse, or Tristram Speaker.  It turns out that five Mike Smiths played in the majors according to baseball-reference.com.  Curiously, only three are truly Mike Smith by birth.  One player came into this world as Elmer Smith and another as Elwood  Smith.  Amazingly, the remaining three Mike Smiths all have the middle name Anthony.  Also of note, a man simply known as “Smith” who pitched and batted in one 1884 game for the Baltimore Monumentals.

Mike Smith

Deeper into the rabbit hole reveals there are just three Smiths playing in the majors today:  Joe Smith of the Indians, Jordan Smith of the Reds, and Seth Smith of the Rockies.  But the best first names/nicknames teamed up with the vanilla Smith include:  Brick Smith, Germany Smith, Happy Smith, Klondike Smith, Phenomenal Smith, Pop-boy Smith, and Skyrocket Smith.  Thus far only one Smith is a Hall of Famer, that being the great Ozzie Smith.  This infographic from Flip Flop Fly Ball is a nice, clear summary of the MLB surname frequency trends from 1871 to 2009.

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