With signing of Billy 'Country Breakfast' Butler, Athletics have a food-name monopoly
2014 is the year of hyper-specialization. The Blue Jays may field three Canadians next year with Russell Martin joining fellow Canucks Brett Lawrie and Dalton Pompey. With the Athletics signing Billy "Country Breakfast" Butler to a three year, $30 million deal, there's a chance that the SEC will step in to prevent the team from monopolizing food-named ballplayers.
While baseball history is filled with hilarious food-named athletes, ranging from Ham Allen to Pretzel Pezzullo to current Cardinals farmhand Max Foody, the A's have had a higher than average number of those players come through their doors.
Even ignoring GM Billy Beane, here are seven of the most notable edible Athletics.
7. Ed "Eggie" Lennox
Though Lennox went only 1-for-19 for the Philadelphia A's in 1906, the fact that he was a rare ballplayer nicknamed after a breakfast food get him on this list.
Even better, Eggie once played on the Campbell's Soup baseball team.
5 & 6. Zack Wheat and Ty "Georgia Peach" Cobb
Though the two Hall of Famers are known mostly for what they did for other clubs, Wheat playing 18 years for the Brooklyn Robins and Superbas (before they became known as the Dodgers) and Cobb with the Tigers, the two teamed up for the Philadelpia A's in 1927. That season, Wheat hit .324 in part-time play at the age of 39 while Cobb hit .357 at the age of 40. (Of course, Cobb did lead the league in caught stealings with 16. Guess the passage of time, despite what Jaden Smith says, does exist.)
Wheat would retire at the end of the year, though Cobb would come back for one more season, batting .323 at the age of 41.
4. Catfish Hunter
The third Hall of Famer on this list, Catfish got his nickname rather cynically. Rather than earning it by doing something like eating catfish po' boys in his underwear before every start, A's owner Charlie Finley gave it to him so that he could market the pitcher. Finley even came up with a convincing backstory, though sadly it doesn't involve any half-dressed meals.
As detailed in the book, Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, the eccentric owner told Hunter:
3. Coco Crisp
Born Covelli Crisp, his siblings soon tooked to calling him "Cocoa" because of the delicious chocolate breakfast cereal. Though the name didn't stick as a child, Crisp listed it on a team questionaire when he was in Double-A. Soon enough, his teammates made sure that it wound up on the scoreboard. And now you know the rest of the story.
Covelli is a fine name, but Coco is a much better fit for someone who does this:
And gets one of these:
1 & 2. Chili Davis and Chip Hale
"Wait a second," you're saying. "Chili Davis and Chip Hale never played for the Athletics. They were just the hitting coach and bench coach, respectively."
And fine, if you want to argue semantics, then go ahead. But they did have to show up to work every day in uniform. And the team released this, the greatest of all food-related ballpark promotions. And that's including dollar hot dog night.
I think it more than makes up for it.
I've seen one of these bad boys in action and let me tell you, they're pretty magical.