Cubs Win, Spark Baby Name Trends?
November 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Baseball, considered by many America’s favourite game, has long inspired baby names. Loyalty for sports teams can run deep, with multiple generations of families finding common interest, bonded through cheering on their favourite team.
This year’s Cubs run, and subsequent victory, inspired plenty of new parents.
Seattle-based former Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock welcomed her first child with husband Chris Siegfried on October 19, a son they named Asher Wrigley, in honour of the Cubs’ well-known ivy-covered home diamond. For these two, the connection is extra personal, as Siegfried was drafted by the Cubs in the 11th round of the 2007 MLB draft, though he spent his career pitching in the minor leagues. Then, on October 31, when the Cubs were just days away from ending a 108-year-old title drought (the longest in US professional sports), Miss America 2009 Katie Stam welcomed a son with her husband Brian Irk. Months before she gave birth, she made a playful bet with her husband that if the Cubs won the World Series, she’d let him name the baby Wrigley Oliver, but if they lost, his name would be Oliver Wrigley. Oliver would honour her grandfather. Their son went unnamed for two days, until the Cubs Game 7 extra-inning win sealed the deal.
“It wasn’t a win-lose kind of bet, I loved the name Wrigley and I wanted them to win!” Stam, also mom to 3-year-old Charlotte Bell and Rose Lee Esther, 17 months, told People. “It was just a fun, silly way to pick our son’s name instead of arguing about it.”
But it’s not just celebs who have commemorated the Cubs magic run with a baby name. Carl and Andria Corlew from Joliet, Illinois named their daughter, born October 27, Addison Clark – after the cross-streets that mark the entrance to Wrigley Field. And it wasn’t just Illinois Cubs fans getting in on the name game: Matt and Megan Jansen of Hiawatha, Iowa named son Benjamin Matthew, born November 2, after Cubs’ Wold Series MVP Ben Zobrist, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa couple Cody and Kylie Angle welcomed daughter Bracy Wriglee on November 1. Jason D’Amato of Chicago compromised with wife Kristy: though he wanted to name his new daughter, born in mid-October, after Cubs broadcasting great Harry Caray (known to non-fans for Will Ferrell’s SNL impression), but she overruled him and they went with Faith Victoria instead – “faith” for his lifelong loyalty to a team nicknamed the Lovable Losers (he said, “It takes a lot of faith to be a Cubs fan”), and Victoria because it means “victorious”.
Another Chicago couple, Ralph and Julie Dynek, just had baby number five – daughter Ivy Marie Wrigley Diamond – and she’s keeping a family tradition alive. All five Dynek kids were named in honour of the Cubs, but after using Addison, Clark, Sheffield and Grace Waveland for the first four – the four streets that circle the ballpark – they had to get right into the heart of the park for their latest. And if they have another son, they say they could name him Bricks – after the other unique interior wall feature at Wrigley Field.
While parents can get creative, finding ways to honour their team with countless different kinds of names, surname-name Wrigley appears the most obvious choice for Cubs-related baby names, and it could be because the park is noted among the most beautiful in baseball. Can the name reach an audience outside Wrigleyville?
Wrigley Park first opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park, after baseball exec Charles Weeghman, who commissioned it for use in Federal League. When the league folded in 1915, he pooled financial resources with several wealthy Chicago sources, including chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley, Jr. (Who can remember the Wrigley’s Doublemint commercials from the ’80s and ’90s, with all those twins and that catchy theme song?) Without getting too far off topic, Weeghman, Wrigley, and others purchased the Chicago Cubs, and moved them to the beautiful new park. Chewing gum sales being what they were, perhaps, Wrigley was able to buy controlling interest in the team, and the park, in 1918, renaming it first Cubs Park in 1921, then the famed Wrigley Field in 1926.
The Wrigley family name derives from Old English, and is a habitational name from Wrigley Head near Salford in Lancashire. The origins of the name are uncertain – it is thought that Wrig could derive from wrigian, which means either ‘to strive’ or ‘to bend/to turn’ (but could also derive from a personal name), while ley is presumed to derive from Old English leah, meaning ‘wood,’ or ‘clearing.’
When teams are winning (and even when they’re not, like this Toronto Maple Leafs fan from Kingston, Ontario), it’s not uncommon to see parents name new babies in honour of their beloved teams. The Chicago Cubs, though, became something of America’s team during this year’s run – will the bump in celebratory Cubs-inspired names be evident in national statistics next year, or be focused on Chicago and the surrounding areas?
Have you ever considered, or did you go with, a sports team-inspired baby name? Would love to hear your name story in the comments!