Talk:Worcester Worcesters

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Comment by[edit]

Regarding the latest history revision of Worcester’s 19th century National League team, they were called the Brown Stockings aka Ruby Legs. I don’t care what any revisionist writer says as that is his opinion, nothing more. There may not be any contemporary accounts of the name, (Remember, they played in the 1800's) but that does not mean the names did not exist. There are numerous historical documents referring to “Brown Stockings” and “Ruby Legs” and the names did not just come out of nowhere. There’s just too many references. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, one in particular refers to a National League game played at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio on 6/9/1881 - “Cleveland Spiders 5 Worcester Brown Stockings 3". If the SABR historical text has the exact date, park it was played in and final score, then chances are the nicknames are correct as well. Think about it..... He also mentions the team was expelled by the league in 1882 because of minuscule attendance. That there was no direct purchase by Alfred Reach and Colonel John Rogers, who would later change the name to the Phillies. Can he prove they were expelled? -- Originally posted to article by (talk · contribs) at 03:46, 9 Jun 2005

    • I agree with you, I think someone was a little zealous in their edit. SABR, which you pointed out,, and all refer to this team as the Ruby Legs. Many teams from the 1800s have been given a permanent modern name with city followed by their nickname, even though the teams were referred to in different ways when they played. Neonblak 13:01, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

MLB says otherwise ... sort of[edit]

This link to John Clarkson's career stats at


shows that Major League Baseball recognizes the "Brown Stockings" as a name, though, when you try to find them, they do not exist anywhere else on the site. LonelyBeacon 18:21, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Team name[edit]

I apologize if I ruffled any feathers with the page move. There have been a recent rash of changes to the Phillies pages changing pipelinks which originally linked to the Worcester Worcesters to the Ruby Legs. As to the current name, does "Worcester Worcesters" really make sense? I'm not a big fan of keeping the nicknames because they were never officially adopted, per the source I provided after the page move. Then again, "Worcester Worcesters" is... well... dumb. Would we be amiss changing to the "1880 Worcesters season" and the like? KV5 (TalkPhils) 19:07, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Worcester Worcesters I don't like at all.. Personally, I'd rather it remain the Ruby Legs, since that is what Baseball Reference and many of the other current sources use to talk about this team.Spanneraol (talk) 20:21, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Current sources, yes, but it seems obvious to me that there's a case of mistaken identity, from the quote provided in the source. KV5 (TalkPhils) 20:24, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Still, if someone is looking up information about this team are they more likely to look for Worcester Worcesters or Worcester Ruby Legs? We should stick with current sources for our naming conventions.. If we have to go back to contemporary names then we would have to change many of the other team pages as well.Spanneraol (talk) 20:29, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Like... what? KV5 (TalkPhils) 22:07, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I mentioned the Alleghenys to you before as one, although the page is not named that. The early teams should just be called "1882 Alleghenys season" or something similar. This also came up with "Kelly's Killers" not long ago, as they were generally just that, with no Cincinnati attached, when they weren't called (confusingly) the Reds. All the Boston Americans articles would have to be changed to just "Boston". Going back further, a lot of NA teams would have to be fixed (most prominently, the early Athletics were really "Athletic of Philadelphia"). And that's just off the top of my head. -Dewelar (talk) 05:21, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

If they had no special nickname, they would have been called "Worcester", or "the Worcesters", but never "the Worcester Worcesters". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 23:35, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that is what I would prefer to show. Like I mentioned to Dewelar, the move to the current name was a knee-jerk reaction from me because it's the old name of the page. "Worcesters" or "Worcester Baseball Club" would be the most appropriate names for this page, IMHO. KV5 (TalkPhils) 23:52, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
It was bound to happen... this subject to come up again. I am fine the "Worcesters" if it must be changed from the "Ruby Legs", for the purpose of historical accuracy. Whatever this settles on, I will change my Featured List over as well.Neonblak talk - 05:06, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
"Worcester Ruby Legs" or just "Worcesters", as Bugs says above the page should certainly not remain as it is. -Dewelar (talk) 05:19, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think that, in this case, "Worcesters" is more correct. Because the external sources say "Ruby Legs" at places(which I still think is mistaken identity), we should just have redirects. That's what they are for. KV5 (TalkPhils) 12:01, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Using "Ruby Legs" would probably fall under the WP:COMMONNAME guideline. If your source is accurate, then it might be slightly more correct to call them the Brown Stockings anyway, but then almost nobody would know that. -Dewelar (talk) 13:50, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

The core problem is well-meaning modern historians trying to retrofit old-style team names to modern standards. Allegheny is a good example. They were shown as Allegheny in the standings. That was the name of the city. Teams were sometimes called by nicknames, if they had any (Chicago White Stockings) or more often than not by just their name followed by an artificial plural: The Chicagos, the Bostons, the Alleghenys (not the "Alleghenies"). "Kelly's Killers" is an interesting study. Their "official" name was apparently Cincinnati Reds in the AA. However, there was already a Reds team (the current franchise) in the NL. Because Mike Kelly was such a prominent figure in that flamboyant (and mostly incompetent) team, the media dubbed the team "Kelly's Killers", and probably not intending to be complimentary. That unofficial nickname turned up in Lee Allen's late-1940s history of the Cincinnati Reds. He wrote about them with the same level of amusement as the local writers of 1891 must have (sports were not taken nearly as seriously then as they are today), and referred to the club only as "Kelly's Killers", not as the Reds, and certainly not as the "Cincinnati Kelly's Killers". That would have made no more sense than to call the Yankees the "New York Bronx Bombers". I don't know about you, but I've never seen that usage. It's just "Bronx Bombers", which is known among fans to be equivalent to "New York Yankees". Regarding Worcester, as far as I know it was just plain Worcester, or "the Worcesters" as I discussed earlier. It would be nice if someone living near there could do some primary-source research and find out what they were actually called by the local media. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 12:00, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Since the Athletics were mentioned, that's another interesting case. In the early days, nearly all the clubs were based in New York or within a short train trip from New York, and generally the city name was not mentioned except formally (Mutual of New York, Eckford of Brooklyn, Athletic of Philadelphia, Atlantic of Brooklyn, etc.) because it was understood by the fans. So the teams were listed in standings as Mutual, Eckford, Athletic, Atlantic, etc., and there was no problem. As professional ball became organized and widespread, the city name started to come into it. I have not studied the local media coverage, but I would guess that NL entry in Philadelphia was called the "Philadelphias" originally and, in an apparent lack of imagination, became shortened to "Phillies" over time. The name "Athletic" for the NA, NL, and later AA clubs persisted. And even the early AL entry was called "Athletic" in the standings, and would have been called "Athletics" in the old style. That was soon altered to "Philadelphia" in the modern style, in the standings, and the team became commonly known as "Philadelphia Athletics". However, according to Marc Okkonen's study of uniforms, at no time during their stay in Philly did the A's actually ever display the word "Philadelphia" or the letter "P" on their jerseys and/or caps, as their NL counterparts did. It was always either the fancy letter "A" (a tradition dating to the 1860s) or the word "Athletics" (only one season, their last year in Philly). They wore their original team designation "A" proudly - and they still do, in Oakland, even if they don't necessarily know its origins. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 12:17, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Bugs' conjecture on the Phillies is correct: the team has never had an official name other than the Phillies, shortened from Philadelphia by the media of the time. The "Quakers" nickname was picked up by some but faded quickly, and the Blue Jays was never official. KV5 (TalkPhils) 12:25, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Also "Phils", for the same reason. And it's worth pointing out that a cartooned Quaker figure (akin to the Quaker Oats guy) was being used by the baseball guides (though apparently not by the team itself) to symbolize the Phillies, as late as the 1950s. According to Okkonen, the word "Phillies" did not actually appear on the shirts until 1933. The 1920s and 1930s were a time when several teams started putting their nicknames on their shirts when they had not done so before, despite being known by these nicknames for decades earlier. Some teams were early adapters. The Cubs started wearing a bear logo inside a "C" as early as 1908. The Senators, trying in vain to establish their new official name, wore "Nationals" on their shirts in 1905 (a century later, the Nationals name looks like it will stick). But it was the 1920s and 1930s before nicknames were routinely displayed on uniforms. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 12:42, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Hence why the Phillies have honored Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein with unique letter "P"s instead of a retired number—they didn't use numbers until they started using full uniform names, but the lettering used was unique. KV5 (TalkPhils) 13:50, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
So... we have any sort of agreement here? Looks like most people are confortable with the "Worcesters". With all other variations re-directing that.Neonblak talk - 14:32, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I think what we really need to do is decide how we want to represent team names at an overall level. We have two choices: either we move this page back to Ruby Legs, which is how the team is represented in all the well-known sources (including Retrosheet), or we move this page to just "Worcesters" AND ALSO move every other old-time franchise to the most accurate name. Either of those is acceptable to me, but doing this for JUST THIS ONE TEAM wouldn't be. -Dewelar (talk) 15:20, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
What we really need is for someone with access to microfilm of the local Worcester newspapers of that era to spend some time and find out which of the distantly-removed sources (if any) has it right. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 15:54, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
That would be useful, yes -- assuming we're going the accuracy route and not the "what does everyone call them" route :) . Technically, calling them "Worcesters" probably violates WP:COMMONNAME. If we're going to call them "Worcesters", then we need to carve out an exception, like we did for player pages. -Dewelar (talk) 16:10, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
As I explained earlier, "Worcester" was the name of the club, and "the Worcesters" was simply a variant on that, like "the Chicagos" or "the Bostons". "Worcesters" is not an "official" nickname, it's just the style that media often used to refer to ball clubs in those days. If the veracity of this "Ruby Legs" stuff is in doubt, then revert back to the official name of the club, which is not "Worcester Worcesters", it's just plain "Worcester" - or "Worcester Baseball Club", to put it more fully. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 16:24, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I am aware of that. It just has nothing to do with my point. Calling them "Worcester" is in just as much violation as "Worcesters" would be. Much as we might wish for page titles to be about accuracy, they are, sadly, not -- or, at least, not as much as we would like. -Dewelar (talk) 16:44, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
The baseball encyclopedias that I have simply call them "Worcester", without getting into the issue of nicknames. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 17:11, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I was just re-reading the part of Lee Allen's history of the Cincinnati Reds, in which he talked about how the Worcester club (no nickname given or suggested) managed to drum the Cincinnati club out of the league following the 1880 season. Worcester itself was dumped after the 1882 season, and the current Reds, which began in the AA in 1882, are still with us, and Allen takes a measure of glee in that. Part of the issue is that Worcester is a mere blip in the history of MLB. A SABR researcher named Nowlin extensively researched the early years of the Red Sox and discovered that the "Pilgrims" nickname was largely a myth. The Red Sox, of course, are a major part of baseball lore and there figures to be interest in that subject. No one has bothered to do likewise for Worcester, apparently, because no one cares. Worcester spent less time in the National League than Providence did, and they would be totally forgotten except for one incredible June day in 1880 when a young pitcher named Lee Richmond threw a perfect game for them. FYI, the newspaper account referred to the team as "the Worcesters", and their opponent as "the Clevelands". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 17:21, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict - twice now - cut it out and let me answer you already...) I cannot verify that. I was forced to move on short notice a few months ago and donated many of my baseball print sources to the local library (those suckers are heavy!), so that may very well be true. Every major on-line source (Retrosheet, Baseball Reference, Baseball Almanac, Baseball Chronology, and many more, although has nothing beyond 'WOR') calls them the Ruby Legs. So, that brings us back to my original point -- if we do this for Worcester, then we do it for ALL the old teams. Otherwise, leave it at Ruby Legs so that it's in agreement with existing standards. There's no good argument for doing anything in between. -Dewelar (talk) 17:26, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
The key issue, as I see it, is where did this "Ruby Legs" come from? I have a book called Professional Baseball Franchises, by Peter Filichia, published in 1993. It attempts to list every professional ball club in the history of North America (including Canada and Mexico) since 1869 when the Cincinnati Red Stockings turned pro. There are various clubs listed under Worcester for various times (most of them minor league clubs). The 1880-82 major league club is listed as "Worcester Brown Stockings". The book has a practice of listing alternative nicknames where known, but there is nothing said about "Ruby Legs", for any time period. My guess is that some sportswriter in that time period coined that as a play on "Brown Stockings" somehow - maybe they looked more red than brown to that writer - just as the Chicago White Sox are also called the "Pale Hose". Where did it come from? In the case of the Boston "Pilgrims", it came from Fred Lieb, who apparently saw it somewhere, sometime, and latched onto it. I don't like to see wikipedia publish questionable information. There is an obvious conflict of sources here, and when that happens, it behooves someone (if they care enough) to go back to the sources and see where they got their information from. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 17:59, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and keep in mind that those various sources you cite tend to be derived from each other, so it's likely really only one source, parroted by the others. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:00, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Another possibly interesting tidbit is this entry from a 1955 book called The Encyclopedia of Sports, by Frank G. Menke, A.S. Barnes & Company, p. 30:

In 1882 the National League passed a rule requiring specific colors for each team:

  • Boston: Red
  • Buffalo: Gray
  • Chicago: White
  • Cleveland: Navy blue
  • Detroit: Old Gold
  • Providence: Light Blue
  • Troy: Green
  • Worcester: Brown

Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:06, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Just to regurgitate something that I noted two years ago (the post just above the start of this current conversation) ... not that Major League Baseball is an absolutely unquestionable source, but MLB (and by extension the National League), recognize "Brown Stockings" as the official name. You would hope that this is based on superb research carried out in the extensive libraries they have available ... though you can't be sure. One wonders if the evolution was "Worcester Baseball Club" ... then in 1880 they are forced to start wearing brown, and like other teams, it was easier to get brown socks (or red socks, or blue socks) compared to pants and tops, and that some sports writer just started calling them the "Brown Socks" rather than "Professional Baseball Club of Worcester". So, the team may never have actually adopted the name, but the name may have been "officially adopted by the NL/MLB afterwards.
This may ultimately come down to titling the article with some accepted name of today, and including a discussion of the naming problem. LonelyBeacon (talk) 18:46, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I just would like to know where "Ruby Legs" came from. It wouldn't likely have come from thin air. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:51, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

(outdent again, and *sigh* another edit conflict - twice again - it's like you guys don't want me pointing this out *grin*) I'm not trying to argue with you. Bugs, at least not about what the team name actually was, or about what, in an ideal world, the page name should be. It's good to have all this information, and I'm glad that you are providing it for all of our edification, and it should all be included in the article itself. What I'm trying to do, given the constraints under which we operate within Wikipedia, is to hammer out some guidelines for franchise page names which address both (a) consistency between all of our articles, and (b) not running afoul of Wikipedia's own guidelines. -Dewelar (talk) 18:53, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

The argument I'm making is that the "common name" rule does not apply. There are very few fans who ever heard of this club, let alone have a shared "common name" for it. And the sources are in conflict with each other. The various electronic sources you pointed out are, in fact, a single source, which conflict with printed sources. But if you call it simply "Worcester", with some appropriate parenthetic qualifier, then there is no issue. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:57, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
And around and around we I said above, if you believe that WP:COMMONNAME, and others agree with you (my mind is not made up at this point), then we will need to carve out an exception similar to WP:NC-BASE, which as it stands applies ONLY TO PLAYER ARTICLES. Assuming such an exception is accepted by Wikipedia, that still leaves us with coming up with our own convention. That is a point on which I'm still waiting for your input, because until we have it, like it or not, this page MUST remain back where it was. -Dewelar (talk) 19:11, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Here's the answer. [2] "Ruby Legs" is false, pure and simple. It was a misinterpretation of a headline. "Ruby Legs" was being used as a synonym for Boston - the Red Stockings. The author of this book maintains that the club was simply "Worcester". No "Brown Stockings", definitely no "Ruby Legs". I would call it "Worcester (National League 1880-1882)" or something like that. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 19:15, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, so, I'm assuming at this point that either you're not reading what I'm saying, and are just tossing out stuff as you feel like it, or you just don't care to actually make progress on this discussion. Let me know if I'm wrong, because at this point I'm ready just to move it back and be done. -Dewelar (talk) 19:20, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand what you're asking. The original question seemed to be, "What is the proper name of this article?" And the answer is most assuredly NOT "Worcester Ruby Legs" nor "Worcester Worcesters". You could use "Worcester Brown Stockings", as we have a couple of printed sources that assert that. I would say "Worcester (National League 1880-1882)", while a bit wordy, is probably the best answer. But you can't use "Worcester Ruby Legs", because that is demonstrably false, and it is against the rules to knowingly present false information, regardless of citations that assert something is true - because it puts wikipedia in the position of knowingly furthering that false information. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 19:30, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
There are two points here. First of all, I do not believe that "knowingly presenting false information" refers to article naming. If it did, then there would be no article called, to pick a particularly controversial example, Jesus. That was not the man's name, but is what he came to be called via later transliteration of his real name (Yeshua, or something similar - even in Latin his name would have been "Iesus"). That's exactly the type of thing that WP:COMMONNAME is meant to address.
As far as what I'm asking, it is this: what should our naming convention for franchise pages be? Should it follow WP:COMMONNAME, in which case this (and other similar pages) will be called one thing (whether that be "Worcester Ruby Legs" - however distasteful and incorrect that may be - "Worcester Brown Stockings", or perhaps something else entirely)? Or should it strive for accuracy, in which case this (and other similar pages) will be called something else (in this case, your "Worcester (National League 1880-1882) would be the chosen name, but we must ALSO change a BUNCH of other pages)? As you can see, how we proceed will depend on how we answer this question, and I think we would all appreciate your input on it. -Dewelar (talk) 19:48, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, I think I see what you're getting at. Let's use a diverse analogy, the Bayeux Tapestry. That's the "common name" of that medieval work. In the very first sentence, it points out that it's not a tapestry, it's an embroidery. You could take the same approach here. You could keep calling it "Worcester Ruby Legs" on the grounds that that's the "common" name (which is questionable, but let's suppose that's the case) and right away explain that it wasn't really the team's name. Then you don't have to change any other articles, and you can redirect other name variants to the "Ruby Legs" article. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 20:23, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. What I am hoping to do, using this particular discussion as a springboard, is determine a more global policy for WP:BASEBALL. Once the global policy is set, THEN what the name of the article should be can be established more readily using this pre-established convention. Obviously once we've got something here we will have to take it to the project, but let's see if we can come up with a proposal first.
As for the "Ruby Legs" issue...isn't sources copying each other pretty much how a "common name" gets established in the first place *grin*? -Dewelar (talk) 20:40, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and that's how misinformation spreads throughout the internet. I would prefer that wikipedia not be an agent of that misinformation. If you want to do it the right way, then lose the nicknames altogether for 19th century teams, and use names that are unique, factual, and not dependent on what someone thinks a club's nickname was in 1880. Nicknames are really irrelevant, which is why baseball encyclopedias have tended to ignore them, maybe until recent years. You can debate all day about whether the Chicago NL club's name in 1905 should be "Colts" or "Cubs", and in fact there is no proper answer, because both were used and neither was official. But they are both under the current club, Chicago Cubs, so there's no problem there. The problem is with defunct teams, like Worcester. If you're looking for a standard, you probably need to separate current franchises from defunct franchises. Milwaukee Brewers is understood to be the current NL club, formerly an AL club, and still formerly the AL's Seattle Pilots. Milwaukee Brewers (minor league baseball team) is understood to be the long-running club in the minor league version of the AA. However, if you're really looking at an overall standard and not just this Worcester case, then this probably needs to be brought up on the project page, if it's not already there. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 21:02, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm not just talking about the Internet. I'm talking about true historical research as well. One person, who happens to be regarded as an authority on a subject, makes an error. Many, many other people who AREN'T authorities pick up on that error and spread it across the globe. By the time some other expert figures out the error, it's too late to change it. Unfortunately, due to its own policies, Wikipedia is pretty much bound to be just such an agent of misinformation that you (and I) would prefer that it not be. It is not our choice to make, although there are small ways in which we can combat it and put a check on it in our own little corner, at least for a while *grin*.
Everything you say above is perfectly true. The question is: does the project at large have the determination to set forth a new set of naming conventions that challenge WP:COMMONNAME in this way? Or will they decide it's better to go with the flow? I think the time has come to point them here and see what bubbles up. -Dewelar (talk) 21:22, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I see Bugs' point regarding the "Worcesters" not being a valid usage for the team. In my Worcester all-time roster, I used a book called "Boston's ballparks & arenas" written by Alan E. Foulds. He has the club as being organized in 1879 as the "Worcester Baseball Association". This seems to me a formal name for the club, no nicknames, no city pluaralized, just the straight name of the club. I am willing to re-visit ALL the team names from the 1800s to fix them all, and use this as the precedent.Neonblak talk - 00:48, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Research into Naming[edit]

After lurking on this page for a year or so I found myself with a little spare time this week and decided to come out of (or at least temporarily suspend) wikiretirement to do some primary source research.

I looked at the game recaps from the Worcester Evening Gazette's microfiche archives for 1881 and 1882 -- a few selected dates over both summers, including pretty much all of September and the first week of October in both cases. Here's what I found:

  • Teams are generally referred to by what Baseball Bugs calls the "false plural": simply adding an "s" to the city name, e.g. the Worcesters, the Bostons, the Troys.
  • This seems not to be solely an Evening Gazette thing; text quoted from the Lowell Courier also uses the false plural.
  • Sometimes, in box scores and in standings tables, teams are referred to by abbreviations or by the city name in singular form (as would be the case today): Wor., Cleve., etc.; Worcester, Washington (not National), etc.
  • As suspected by participants in the July 2009 dicussion above, nowhere in the Worcester team's hometown newspaper's coverage do the words "Ruby Legs" or "Brown Stockings" appear. Few NL teams would seem to have had official nicknames in the early 1880s. I found only two or three exceptions: the D.C. entrant is called the Nationals of Washington, although it is also called the Washingtons. The Detroit entry of 1882 is called both the Detroits and (I found this once) the Wolverine team. Sometimes the Troy players are called the Trojans, although this may be a descriptive adjective (i.e., "those men from Troy") rather than a true team nickname (i.e. intended to pay homage to the historic Trojans of Asia Minor).
  • Although the team's official name upon its incorporation is given on the all-time roster page as Worcester Baseball Association, the contemporary press account of the team's dismissal from the league calls it the Worcester Base Ball Club ("Base Ball Gossip: Worcester Frozen Out of the League", Worcester Evening Gazette, Worcester, Mass., September 23, 1882). I don't consider this strong enough evidence to make any changes -- 19th century journalism wasn't THAT precise -- but the official name bears further investigation. Maybe the official incorporation papers can be found.

From this, and following the 2009 conversaion above, I draw the following conclusions:

  • "Worcester Worcesters" is redundant and anachronistic; nobody ever called them that.
  • In encyclopedic text -- out of consideration to the fact that the modern reader isn't used to the "false plural" -- the name of the team ought to be rendered as Worcester; or the Worcester team -- no nickname given.
  • The name of this article ought to be Worcesters; or Worcester (NL) or Worcester (National League 1880-1882), or something similar to that, or possibly Worcester Base Ball Club or Worcester Baseball Association.
  • Any mentions to "Ruby Legs" and "Brown Stockings" in Wikipedia should be constrained to notes discussing these names' (probably) incorrect use in 20th century reference materials -- until and unless we can get some verifiable primary sources establishing their use in the 1880s. It is anachronistic and misleading to use invented/retrofitted names for the Worcester franchise.
  • As noted above in July 2009, this discussion has ramifications for many of the other 1880s NL teams (and 1870s ... and 1890s? I'm no expert on when the nicknaming trend really caught on). Were the Hartfords really ever called "the Dark Blues" by their fans? Did the Troy organization ever truly adopt "Trojans" as its name?

Do with this what you will.

``` W i k i W i s t a h ``` 22:54, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Kudos. Your research reminds me of the work that one researcher (I forget his name just now) did in reference to the early Boston Red Sox and concluded that "Pilgrims" was never used by the team and hardly ever by the sportswriters. Worcester has such a short major league history that probably almost no one has bothered to really look into it that much - and the one who did, apparently got it wrong. Nicknames were just inventions of news writers. As an example, the Chicago Cubs of the early 1900s were called "Cubs" by one newspaper and "Colts" by another - consistently. But they had no official nickname until 1906 or so, when they decided they liked "Cubs" better. And the use of the "false plural" was rampant. I've seen it in every 19th century newspaper that I've looked at. Their best sense of marketing was to promote the city they were from. "Chicagos" or "Worcesters" came naturally. And their shirts said "Chicago" and "Worcester". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:20, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, good research. I am happy that someone has willing to spend countless hours of their own time going through dozens of microfilm and microfiche. The overall point I was making above (I think...) was that since the available reliable online resources claimed that the "nickname" of the Worcester team was the Ruby Legs. And as I said above, I am clearly for historical accuracy. I can easily agree to name a change that reflects the research, say Worcesters (NL). This I believe would be consistent with Wikipedia values without going into the what the actually name of team would have been, i.e. Base Ball Club of Worcester or something similar. I would also support the additional scrutiny of the others mentioned above as well. A quick search of's minor league pages show at least two Worcester teams in the 1870-1880s who could have been just Worcesters as well.Neonblak talk - 06:29, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I guess I didn't read all of what I wrote above, I did note that an author claims that the team was established as the "Worcester Baseball Association". So that, of course, could be used. Works well with "Worcester Baseball Association all-time roster" I might add.Neonblak talk - 06:35, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Would certainly rather see this than the current (even though I'm the one that moved it); the current location was just to keep pace with the standard "city, nickname" pattern but the correct version would be preferred. "Worcester Baseball Association" would be best IMHO. — KV5Talk • 12:10, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Any of these is better than the current name, though I tend to agree with Neonblak that "Worcesters (NL)" (or, I'd add, "Worcester (NL)") is the best course of action. I don't know of any other ballclub on Wikipedia where the corporation name is used in preference to the name-as-called-by-fans.
Somebody mentioned above (in 2009) that the absolute best course of action would be to bring this to the Wikiproject or task force level and come up with a standardized treatment for the 19th century teams that didn't have true nicknames. Worcester is certainly one of these; as I mention above, I suspect Hartford and Troy of the NL are, as well, and someone more familiar with the subject may be able to name a few more. Without having done any research other than reading game summaries in the Worcester paper, I'm suspicious about the Cleveland "Blues" and Providence "Grays" as well. ``` W i k i W i s t a h ``` 14:35, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
The traditional baseball encyclopedias generally call teams by their city and league when referencing historical stats. Team nicknames come and go, and there's a tendency among the general public nowadays to try to retrofit older teams to modern standards, in which nicknames are a vital part of the marketing effort, and are really a part of the team's name rather than being just a nickname. However, various sources stick with the old approach. The Elias Book of Baseball Records, Elias being MLB's official statistician, numbers the clubs in chronological order and lists only their city name and their operational years: Boston, Chicago, etc. No team nicknames. They do list player nicknames, i.e. "Babe" Ruth instead of "George" Ruth as the now-defunct Sporting News record book used to. The TSN books also used to list records by team and nickname, but only the current nickname, not the legacy nicknames. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:50, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
It's perhaps rather telling that Retrosheet, which tries to cover prominent team nicknames where possible, simply refers to the 1880-1882 Worcester club as "Worcester NL Team".[3] No Ruby Legs, no Brown Stockings. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:55, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
But also complicating matters is the fact that that is a recent change; it hasn't always been that way. — KV5Talk • 00:59, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe they independently reached the same conclusion - that the "Ruby Legs" thing was incorrect. It's possible they have a "contact us" where someone could ask what's up. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:51, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

OK, so...[edit]

...since everyone agrees "Worcester (NL)" or "Worcester (1880-82)" is preferable to the awful "Worcester Worcesters", who's going to change it? RMc (talk) 22:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Don't change it to "Worcester (1880-82)" because that makes it seem like the article is about the town of Worcester during that three year period. Spanneraol (talk) 23:03, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I would rather see "Worcester Baseball Association" or "Worcester (National League)" before an abbreviated version or the years. National League is a descriptor, but unless you know baseball you don't necessarily know what "national league" it's referring to. Worcester Baseball Association is clear, concise, official, and descriptive. If others disagree because it was never a commonly used name, then that's fine with me, it's just my opinion. But I'm against unnecessary abbreviations and the years invite possible confusion. — KV5Talk • 01:30, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I think when we are talking about this era of baseball team names, using the official name might be the best course of action; just have every other possible name redirect to it. So if a vote were held, I'd go with "Worcester Baseball Association". One nitpick though, was baseball one word at all in the early 1880s, as opposed to "base ball" or "base-ball"?Neonblak talk - 10:31, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
It was all three. The two older usages didn't die out until about the 1910s. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd vote for "Worcester (National League)" as the best option. As far as any of us can tell, "Worcester Baseball Association" was never used except in incorporation papers, if even then, so I do question whether it really qualifies as a "common name"; press accounts and, I would presume, common parlance would call the team "Worcester" or "the Worcesters" or "the Worcester nine." Confusion by non-Americans over what "National League" means will be quickly dispelled by the lede sentence of the article. ``` W i k i W i s t a h ``` 02:19, 21 January 2012 (UTC)