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March 22, 2023

Ranking the best MLB team names

Which MLB franchise has the best team name? We rank all 30.

After the World Baseball Classic thrilled fans across the globe, the 2023 MLB season is inching closer. One of the things I adore about baseball is that each game isn't a life-or-death scenario for fans, akin to the way a three-and-out from the Eagles in a Week 3 game (seemingly) spells eternal doom. I love the minutiae, sitting in the stands, eating a hot dog, sipping on a cold one and "Remembering Some Guys" with your friends while watching Kyle Schwarber mash home runs.

Before the Phillies begin their pursuit of a World Series title in earnest next Thursday, I want to have some fun with the world of baseball. I'm going to rank the best team names in the sport. This is not a list of the best, most talented teams overall. It's just a ranking of how cool a given franchise's name is, how it speaks to the region, its history, whether it's iconic and, simply, its appeal. 

I will give a quick take on each name name...

1. Brewers

A beer town that brought the world Miller Lite having this name is perfect.

2. Athletics

So simple and steeped in history, dating back to the franchise's championship days back at Shibe Park on 21st and Lehigh. 

3. Yankees

There is no more iconic team name in the sport.

4. Red Sox

Just a step below the Yanks in terms of how powerful their name and brand is. 

5. Phillies

I'm sure outsiders might think it's a little silly, but I love it and always have. They're doubling-down on being from Philly! It's admirable. 

6. White Sox

The "Sox" spelling in both Boston and Chicago is classic. 

7. Rockies

"Tapping the Rockies" at Coors Field while watching a team whose name encapsulates the most beautiful area in the country? That's a grand slam. 

8. Twins 

It's a name that couldn't exist anywhere else on any other team with Minnesota's "Twin Cities." That's a unique flare that sets it apart. 

9. Padres

That's what's in

10. Cubs

Nothing flashy, but it works. "Cubbies" is a great nickname, too. 

11. Mariners

This works so well for a team in the Pacific Northwest by bodies of water. 

12. Mets

For a franchise playing in the world's capital, Metropolitans/Mets hits home. 

13. Diamondbacks

Latter-day expansion teams typically have a tough time establishing a great brand and that goes across all sports. The Diamondbacks, however, are a perfect pairing with the Arizona desert. 

14. Reds

Sometimes, simple is best. 

15. Blue Jays

I can't see anything about the blue jay bird having any specific connection to Toronto or Canada, but it's okay with me. 

16. Dodgers

Low for one of baseball's most famous teams? Perhaps, but the namesake dates back to the franchise being in Brooklyn and people "dodging" trolley cars through the city. Does that fit for Los Angeles' horrendous public transportation system? No. 

17. Giants

Another team displaced from New York City that headed West, Giants is a bit generic and the New York Football Giants are the more famous team in American sports to hold that name. That hurts San Francisco in these rankings. 

18. Orioles

It's fine. 

19. Tigers

Also fine. 

20. Pirates

Pittsburgh will place much higher in my soon-to-come logo rankings.

21. Astros

Did they get knocked down a tad after last fall's World Series? Maybe! 

22. Guardians

It's not terrible, but at the very least, it's an exponential improvement on the franchise's previous name.

23. Rays

"Devil Rays" was infinitely better. 

24. Rangers

Sure? Whatever. 

25. Angels

This name makes no sense? I know it's no longer the case, but they still get docked here for that old "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" debacle. 

26. Nationals


27. Cardinals

For decades, there were two teams in St. Louis named the Cardinals in both the NFL and MLB. That's stupid! 

28. Royals

If I associate your team's name more so with a Lorde song than with baseball, there's a problem. After publication, a reader pointed out to me that the title of Lorde's song was inspired boy her seeing a picture of former Royal George Brett. That's a bit of trivia I wish I had already known, but I stand by the initial ranking regardless. 

29. Marlins

Another team that has a better logo than outright name. 

30. Braves

A name change is overdue much like what happened in Cleveland. 

On-Deck: Best Logos

In the Hole: Best Uniforms

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