Top 14 Most Bizarre Team Nicknames In American Sports

Now, when I say ‘nicknames,’ I mean mascots.

We could go into how Dartmouth has a giant walking keg as their mascot, but they’re the ‘Big Green.’ And why do the Phoenix Suns have a crowd surfing gorilla? A lot of things in life don’t make sense.

Overall, I’m here to talk generally about the strangest things or beings that represent teams as a whole.

But that being said, let me get something out in the open before we see the list of the truly most bizarre.

I got this idea because I’m from Illinois, which is why you’ll also see many mascots from the ‘Land of Lincoln’ on this list. Why in the hell Illinois seems to have the wackiest team names beats me. But do some homework and you’ll see I’m not the only one who feels this way.

There is some very strange school representation on the list below, and I’m not even including the Appleknockers, Cornjerkers, Pretzels, Polo Marcos or Wooden Shoes.

This may be the best story to every accompany the reasoning for a school's mascot choice. Legend is that a group of football players cut class and were then suspended for the first half of a big upcoming game. When they suited up for the second half they led their team to a big win. The 'cutters' won the game and the school's new nickname was born. 

That's right. This school for the deaf straight up went punny with their athletic program, naming their teams after the glam English rock band. In fact, that's Def Leppard with some students in the pic! Marketing geniuses.

PHOTO: Edweek

A player in the late 40s didn't know what he wanted to do after graduation and joked that he may become a 'hoboe' and 'ride the trains.' Soon after that comment the coach was angry and called all the players a bunch of 'hoboes.' Mmmhmmm.

Let's just say Santa Cruz is a very liberal town. Why not be liberal with a one-of-a-kind mascot, like, say ... a book-loving, athletic Ariolimax californicus sage.

A giant man stretching a thick rope between his hands isn't intimidating, it's a 911 call. But this is just good ol' Charlie Choker, the school's mascot since 1960. The 'rope' is actually a choker bell used to wrap around logs to help with transport. He's a logger not a serial killer, silly goose.

Yes, little people have protested. But Freeburg isn't changing their prideful nickname! A newspaper writer referred to one of their basketball teams as 'midgets' in an article nearly a hundred years ago after upsetting a rival school. Why change now? MAGA.


The boys teams are the orphans. The girls are the orphan Annies. Again, the name stuck after a sports writer from the 1940s commented on the team's ragged unis, saying they "look like a bunch of orphans." Kinda makes you want to use Doc's time machine to go back in time and 'accidentally' name some team mascots. Amirite?

It's not that. It's not that. It's not that. It's not that.

It's a mollusk ... with a long, protruding body coming out of its shell. C'mon bro. Give some love to the dancing clam.

They produce a lot of sugarbeets in the area. The more you know ...

Google image 'Honkers.' I promise, absolutely promise the results won't be what you think. I'll wait ........ Yeah, whatever that is, it's not Yuba City's either. Yuba is home to the Canadian geese. But let's face it, 'honkers' sounds a lot more fun.

PHOTO: JesuitHighSchool

Why not name a baseball team after a delicious, buttery baked good? If you haven't had a helpin' of some southern soul food you haven't lived. 

They make it very clear, it's not just an okra. It's a fighting okra.

Another minor league gem, the Baby Cakes are the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins named after the small plastic baby dolls one receives atop a 'king cake' each Mardi Gras season.

(also the Mighty Bunnies of Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska)

I guess because ... they're fast?

Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports. Follow him here or here. He’s happy he played for the Arthur Knights, a perfectly normal yet not over-used nickname. Eagles, Panthers, Bulldogs, Tigers and Wildcats are so vanilla.