How every MLB team got its name.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Named after the Western diamondback, a rattlesnake species native to the Southwest. Winner of a competition run through the Arizona Republic, the prize of which was lifetime season tickets.
Atlanta Braves: Team owner James Gaffney was a member of the Tammany Hall political machine, whose logo was a Native American chief. Name was briefly changed to the Bees when Bob Quinn bought the team, but was changed back after 5 sub-par seasons.
Baltimore Orioles: Named after the Baltimore Oriole, a species of bird. 3 previous baseball teams played in Baltimore, all of whom used the same name.
Boston Red Sox: The team has worn red socks since the 1908 season. Sox was shortened from stockings as it took up less space on a newspaper headline.
Chicago White Sox: Were originally known as the White Stockings, the former name of the Chicago Cubs. Stockings was shortened to Sox as it took up less space on a newspaper headline.
Chicago Cubs: Originated from the Chicago Daily News in 1902 due to the amount of young players on the team. Earlier names included the Colts and the Orphans following the departure of their "pop" Cap Anson.
Cincinnati Reds: Shortened from Red Stockings, also the name of a separate team founded in 1869, the first all-professional baseball team, who wore red stockings. Name was changed to Redlegs from 1954-1958 due to anti-Communist sentiment, a name that lives on as their mascot's.
Cleveland Indians: Named to "honor" former outfielder Louis Sockalexis due to the "fun" he that he would inspire in crowds. Sockalexis was subject to racial taunts and whoops from the crowd in Cleveland and at away games. In announcing the new name, the Cleveland Leader wrote, "In place of the Naps, we'll have the Indians, on the warpath all the time, and eager for scalps to dangle at their belts."
Colorado Rockies: Named after the Rocky Mountain range, which runs near Denver. The name was also used by Denver's first NHL team, which is now the New Jersey Devils.
Detroit Tigers: Originates either from the orange stripes players wore on their black socks, or from the Detroit Light Guard branch of the National Guard, which is nicknamed "The Tigers."
Houston Astros: Named due to NASA's Johnson Space Center being located in Houston. The team's original name was the Colt .45's, "The Gun That Won the West," which won a "Name The Team" contest.
Kansas City Royals: Named after the American Royal livestock and horse show, rodeo, and barbeque competition held annually in Kansas City. 2 previous Negro League teams also used the name, and a separate Negro League team was named the Monarchs. Sanford Porte of Overland Park submitted the winning name into a contest.
Los Angeles Angels: "Los Angeles" is Spanish for "The Angels," and Los Angeles is known as "The City of Angels." A PCL team in Los Angeles used the same name from 1893 to 1957. Fun fact, one of the PCL Angels' owners Robert Cobb was the namesake of the Cobb salad.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Named due to fans having to dodge Brooklyn's complex network of trolley cars, which killed over 130 people in the first 3 years of operation.
Miami Marlins: Adopted the name of 3 previous South Florida minor league teams. Marlins are often found off the coast of Florida.
Milwaukee Brewers: Milwaukee has a long tradition of brewing beer, and Miller's headquarters is in the city. Milwaukee's first major league team also had the name before moving to St. Louis, and later Baltimore.
Minnesota Twins: Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as the Twin Cities due to their proximity.
New York Yankees: The team was initially named the Highlanders due to their ballpark being located on top of a hill. Newspapers shortened this to Yankees due to them playing in the American League.
New York Mets: The team's corporate name is "Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc." and Mets was a welcome shortening of this. Rejected names included Bees, Burros, Continentals, Skyscrapers, Skyliners, Jets, Empires, and Islanders. I'd imagine there's an alternate timeline where the Jets play hockey, the Mets play football, and the Islanders play baseball.
Oakland Athletics: Name comes from the term "Athletic Club" and the name of Philadelphia's first baseball team, Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies is short of Philadelphians, the team's earlier name.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Following the collapse of the Players' League, players were allowed to return to their old teams. However, the Philadelphia Athletics (no relation to the current team) did not keep star second baseman Lou Bierbauer on their reserve list, and he was signed by Pittsburgh. The Athletics decried this move as piratical, so Pittsburgh played in to this and changed their name to the Pirates.
San Diego Padres: The Padres took the name of an earlier PCL team in San Diego, who in turn took their name from the Franciscan friars who founded San Diego in 1769.
San Francisco Giants: Although the name Giants was already in use, in 1885 player-manager Jim Muthrie reportedly called his teammates his "big fellows" and "giants" after a win, which popularized the nickname. Before this the team was known as the Gothams.
Seattle Mariners: "Mariners" was selected by Bellevue resident Roger Szmodis due to "the natural association between the sea and Seattle and her people, who have been challenged and rewarded by it."
St. Louis Cardinals: Named after the shade of dark red the team wore starting in 1899. The cardinal bird first appeared on the logo in 1922.
Tampa Bay Rays: Named after rays of light from the sun that you can't see inside their stadium. Originally named after the Devil Ray, a species of ray found in the tropics. The team originally wanted to be called the Sting Rays, but a team in Maui was already called the Sting Rays and wanted $35,000 for the rights to the name.
Texas Rangers: Named after the Texas Rangers law enforcement and investigation agency.
Toronto Blue Jays: Named after the blue jay, a species of bird that can be found in Toronto and southern Ontario. Team owner Labatt Breweries has a brand of beer named Labatt Blue, so the name also tied in to that.
Washington Nationals: Named due to Washington D.C. being the nation's capital, and was the name D.C.'s first team officially used from 1905-1955. Their name in Montreal, Expos, was based off of the 1967 World's Fair being held in Montreal.
TL;DR: Socks and newspapers
submitted by Solar424