When you’re an everyday person who hasn’t been able to become famous, sharing a name with a celebrity, be it a movie star or athlete, may seem pretty cool. In this case, however, for three Major League Baseball players who have the namesake of two Mariners greats, Randy Johnson and Nelson Cruz, it may be seen as a blessing and a curse to have their name in common with MLB stars.
Being born with the name Adam Levi, I was quick to realize that no Seattle Mariners, baseball players or any professional athlete of the four major North American sports shared my name. That was a bummer.
The closest I ever came to having the same name as an athlete happens to be a former Mariner, Adam Lind.
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But I’m just a fan. I don’t have any skin in the game (literally) and never will.
For those athletes that have made it their lifelong goal to make a name for themselves, it might be frustrating to share a name with some of the greatest athletes of all time, rendering it nearly impossible to be the best of their namesakes.
For some former MLBers, having the same name as a future hall of famer or all-star has gotten in the way of being remembered or even celebrated by past and present fans.
On the flip side, they might argue that having the same name as a beloved star in the league can bring their forgettable, lackluster career to prominence.
It depends on which side of the coin you want to look at. I would figure that most agree with the former.
In the cases of former journeyman pitcher, Nelson Cruz, the Atlanta Braves former utilityman, Randy Johnson, and the Minnesota Twins former designated hitter, Randy Johnson, due to the incredible success of the Mariners former ace and their current power bat, these men will be overlooked by their namesakes.
That’s not to say they would’ve have been remembered or revered had the Mariners Randy Johnson and Nelson Cruz not played the game at all. They most likely would not have been, but it sure doesn’t help.
In three seasons as a backup, the Braves former Randy Johnson only hit six home runs, drove in 30 runs, and had stolen base success rate of 31% on 16 attempts.
Over in Minnesota, two years prior to the Braves Johnson suiting up, the Twins had a player named Randy Johnson who had an equally insignificant career.
The mustachioed Twins hitter started 1982 out on a hot streak hitting five home runs, driving in 13 men and batted .367 in Apri, but would go on to finish the year with just five more dingers, 20 more RBIs and would complete that season with a batting average of .248. His 1980 season had no highlights as he only played 75% of his games as a pinch hitter.
Finally, when it came to the original Nelson Cruz, he had the longest career of the aforementioned namesakes. He would play six seasons of ball with four teams. Cruz achieved three quality starts but had a career ERA of 5.04.
With numbers across the board that don’t raise any eyebrows, it makes sense that these namesakes are some of the many forgotten players the league has seen come and go. Luckily for Mariners fans, they can hold bragging rights that it is their players with namesakes that are having the best career.