Book Review: Urban Shocker All-Stars

What's in a name? According to Damon Gulcynski’s new book ‘Urban Shocker All-Stars: The 100 Greatest Baseball Names Ever’, quite a lot.

Damon Gulcynski’s new book Urban Shocker All-Stars: The 100 Greatest Baseball Names Ever dives into the rich history of America’s Pastime to uncover the greatest monikers ever seen on a major league field.

The book combines humor and history and is a quick read at 104 pages. It is the perfect companion for the hour in-between eating your hot dog and getting the official line-ups to write down in your scorecard (what, that isn’t your gameday routine?).

Gulcynski doesn’t simply list the top-100 names in alphabetical order. He organizes them into subgroups ranging from Old-Timey Greats and Modern Day Marvels to more irreverent categories such as Cranium Crew and Drugs. Each player included in the top-100 names gets a write-up that covers his career, as well as some humorous anecdotes. The player write-ups are a nice trip down memory lane for any longtime baseball fan, as many of the players featured were far from big stars during their heyday (such as a personal favorite of mine in the 1980s, reliever Eric Plunk, who I used to call Plunkhead when he had a bad outing. I was a very mature nine-year-old.).

There is even a poem or two, including this ditty on the greatly named 1980s outfielder and former Golden Spikes winner Oddibe McDowell.

An Ode to Oddibe
By Damon Gulczynski
Oh! Owed-a-bee.
You were to be.
The next great power-and-swing thing.
But it simply didn’t happen.
Such a shame.

The writing style is breezy, informal and fun, and it’s easy to skip around to different sections if you are looking for a certain category of names. The book can be purchased in print or for the Kindle on Amazon here. Grab it before your next trip to the park!


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