ST. LOUIS -- Players around the Major Leagues have taken full advantage of the opportunity to sport nicknames of their choosing during the inaugural Players Weekend, which began on Friday and runs through Sunday.Rays right-hander Tommy Hunter took a shortage of cloth and turned it into one of the most
ST. LOUIS -- Players around the Major Leagues have taken full advantage of the opportunity to sport nicknames of their choosing during the inaugural Players Weekend, which began on Friday and runs through Sunday.
Rays right-hander Tommy Hunter took a shortage of cloth and turned it into one of the most unique nicknames on all of the 30 teams, "Two Towels." He is gaining plenty of recognition for the name, even though it originated from a joke in the clubhouse. He worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Friday night's 7-3 win over the Cardinals.
• Rays' Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
"We had some towels [in the clubhouse] that weren't very big and they didn't fit me very well, so I needed two," Hunter said. "I walk out and I said, 'Tommy Two Towels' and everybody laughed. Now it's a big joke. ... I guess everybody likes having two towels. I guess I need them more than others."
While using two towels may not be something that is unique to Hunter, the name has certainly garnered attention, much to his surprise. While many players went with more serious or meaningful names for their jerseys, Hunter decided to have some fun with it. Players Weekend was created to give players the opportunity to express themselves, from wearing unique cleats to choosing goofy names to sport for three games.
"It's a good weekend for everybody to just have fun in the middle of the dog days of August," Hunter said. "We're excited."
Hunter is not afraid to share that he feels his nickname is the best on the team. He supported his view by citing Cut4's ranking of the best 101 nicknames for Players Weekend, where his jersey came in second behind Kyle Seager (aka "Corey's Brother" for Players Weekend) of the Mariners, whose brother is Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager.
"I have the best nickname," Hunter said. "It was voted No. 2 somebody told me yesterday, so I have obviously have to have the best one in this clubhouse if it was No. 2 league wide, which is crazy."
Players were also given the opportunity to choose names of a person, organization, league or value that was instrumental in their development to write on patches on their jersey sleeves. In addition to the nickname, Hunter choose to recognize his family on one arm (parents, Pam and Ray, sister, Megan, wife, Ellen, and son, Henry) and his high school coach, Rich Andriole, on the other.
While Hunter is certainly taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase a variety of parts of his personality, he is still deciding if there is an opportunity to use the moniker going forward, although he wasn't opposed to the idea of starting a potential towel line.
"I'm all for it. Bed Bath and Beyond, my wife likes that. Hunter said. "If you guys think that there is a future in this for me, I am in."
Game-worn jerseys from Players Weekend will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100 percent of proceeds to be donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, an establishment focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and ability of amateur baseball and softball across the U.S. and Canada.
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.