There is such a thing as a good baseball name.
Some make you wonder what their parents were thinking. Consider Cohl Walla of the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps. Others are just enjoyable to say, like Magglio Ordonez of the Detroit Tigers.
Baseball names do not come around very often, so when you hear one, you absolutely know it.
Seth Schwindenhammer, of the Lowell Spinners, has such a name.
Fans recently voted Schwindenhammer into the semifinal round of the fourth annual Minors Moniker Madness tournament to determine who has the best name in the minor leagues.
The Spinner outfielder entered the tournament as the 15th seed in the "Natty Nattress" Bracket. Thanks in part to a "Vote for Hammer" campaign put on by the Spinners, the 15-letter last name has ridden upset after upset before topping the 16th seed, Gookie Dawkins, in the quarterfinals.
A fifth-round selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 MLB draft, Schwindenhammer has batted .226 with one home run and eight RBIs in his first season with Single-A Lowell.
Every Schwindenhammer at-bat has been dubbed "Hammer Time" in Lowell as the "Hammer" has embraced the publicity drawn by virtue of his name. Calling it an accessory to playing professional baseball, the 19-year-old still would love to have the title attached to his name.
"For having the best name, that’d be pretty cool," Schwindenhammer said. "Other than that, I’m not really trying to worry about it too much."
If Schwindenhammer eventually makes it to the majors, his 15-letter last name would surpass current Red Sox farmhand Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the longest nonhyphenated name in baseball history.
Lowell does not put player names on the back of its jerseys. If the club did, it would have to implement a strategy seen during the spring in Florida.
"Our spring training jerseys had our names on the back, and they just made it a smaller font," he said. "I would like to see it with everyone else’s size font."
The road to the final four has been fairly smooth for Schwindenhammer. In the first round, he upset the second seed, Skyler Stromsmoe. Tenth-seeded Petey Paramore was no match for Schwindenhammer in Round 2. He upended the 14th seed, Beamer Weems, before downing Gookie Dawkins in the quarters.
Schwindenhammer was not the only player in the competition with Red Sox roots. Salem pitcher Stolmy Pimentel advanced to the third round before falling to Rowdy Hardy, while Greenville’s Jordan Flasher and Pawtucket’s T.J. Large both fell in the first round.
Voting has already begun to decide the winner of Schwindenhammer’s semifinal matchup with Bubbie Buzachero. The winner of that pair will move on to face the winner of Rowdy Hardy and Mark Hamburger.
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