Most Popular First Names in Baseball History – by Birth Decade

I went to Target Field last week as part of the SABR annual convention, and got to see a fellow named Liam Hendriks pitch for the Twins.  Liam, while a relatively popular name in the UK, is an uncommon name here in the US (William being the much more common variant).  Mr. Hendriks is the first “Liam” to ever play in the Majors.

That got me wondering of the differences in the birth names of Major Leaguers versus the US general public over time.  Here are the most popular boys names in each decade from 1880-1980, with “Public” coming from the Social Security Administration and “MLB” culled from the Lahman database.

You of course understand that there won’t be too much difference between Mike/Michael, Bill/William and the like.  Its still interesting to see how the popularity of certain names has changed.

Perhaps we’ll see a bunch of “Bryce”s starting in the 2030s?

1880s
PUBLIC MLB
Bill John
Jack William
Harry James
Ed George
Joe Charles
George Frank
Jim Joseph
Frank Henry
Fred Robert
Tom Thomas
1890s
PUBLIC MLB
Bill John
Joe William
George James
Frank George
John Charles
Charlie Joseph
Jack Frank
Harry Robert
Bob Edward
Ray Henry
1900s
PUBLIC MLB
Bill John
Joe William
Jim James
Ed George
Johnny Charles
George Robert
John Joseph
Al Frank
Ray Edward
Red Thomas
1910s
PUBLIC MLB
Bill John
Joe William
Bob James
Johnny Robert
Al Joseph
Jim George
George Charles
Ed Edward
Frank Frank
Jack Thomas
1920s
PUBLIC MLB
Bob Robert
Bill John
Jim James
Dick William
Joe Charles
Al George
George Joseph
Jack Richard
Don Edward
Frank Donald
1930s
PUBLIC MLB
Bob Robert
Jim James
Don John
Dick William
Bill Richard
Joe Charles
John Donald
Tom George
Ron Thomas
Frank Joseph
1940s
PUBLIC MLB
Jim James
Bill Robert
John John
Mike William
Dave Richard
Bob David
Tom Charles
Steve Thomas
Ron Michael
Dick Ronald
1950s
PUBLIC MLB
Mike James
Dave Michael
Bob Robert
Jim John
Steve David
Tom William
John Richard
Rick Thomas
Bill Mark
Mark Charles
1960s
PUBLIC MLB
Mike Michael
Jeff David
John John
Steve James
Mark Robert
Scott Mark
Kevin William
Dave Richard
Jim Thomas
Chris Jeffrey
1970s
PUBLIC MLB
Mike Michael
Jason Christopher
Chris Jason
Brian David
Matt James
Scott John
Ryan Robert
John Brian
Kevin William
Steve Matthew
1980s
PUBLIC MLB
Chris Michael
Matt Christopher
Josh Matthew
Mike Joshua
Ryan David
Brandon James
Brian Daniel
Jason Robert
Jeff John
Jose Joseph
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3 thoughts on “Most Popular First Names in Baseball History – by Birth Decade

  1. Births on the left and current players on the right, or is the right MLB players who had been born in the same decade?

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