DimDer Depot

The DimDer Depot is a page dedicated to keeping a running list of minor league nicknames that are diminutives or derivatives (DimDer) of their MLB parent club. As of this writing, this is by no means a comprehensive list. I will continue to add to it as I unearth more of them.

DimDers can take many forms, but the simplest explanation is that they are identities which are unique/different from the parent club, but are clearly influenced by the parent club. Examples of diminutives include the Moultrie Colt .22’s (for Houston Colt .45’s) and Rockford Cubbies (for Cubs). Derivatives include the Memphis Redbirds (for Cardinals) and Salem Avalanche (for Rockies). The many iterations of the Redbirds over the years are examples of a minor league team taking on a widely-popular nickname for their MLB parent club, similarly to if minor league clubs were called the Tribe (for Cleveland) or the Bombers (for the New York Yankees). It’s a fine line, but I consider these type of nicknames to be different than A’s for Athletics since that “nickname of a nickname” is used to refer to the MLB team about as frequently (if not more) than the full nickname. So even though A’s is a diminutive of Athletics, I don’t consider, say, the Modesto A’s to be a DimDer.

I also consider a team to be a DimDer if the minor league team takes their name from a player who was heavily associated with the MLB affiliate, so long as there is a name origin connection with that parent club. Two current examples of this are the Aberdeen IronBirds (for Cal Ripken Jr./Orioles), and Round Rock Express (for Nolan Ryan/Rangers and Astros). It can venture into the subjective at times, but I feel that I have a reasonably clear sense of when something is classified as a DimDer.

Aberdeen IronBirds – Orioles (Cal Ripken Jr.) 2002-present

Bradenton MaraudersPirates, 2010-present

Charleston ChaSoxWhite Sox, 1959

Charlotte O’sOrioles, 1976-1988

Clinton C-SoxWhite Sox, 1960-1965

Colorado Springs Sky SoxWhite Sox, 1950-1958 (later used as vestigial DimDer)

Columbus Confederate Yankees Yankees, 1964-1966

Deerfield Beach/Winter Haven Sun Sox White Sox, 1966

Elmira Red WingsCardinals, 1932-1934

El Paso Sun DodgersDodgers, 1972

Erie SeaWolvesPirates, 1995-present (vestigial DimDer)

Evansville TripletsTwins, 1970 (later used as a vestigial DimDer)

Hamilton Red WingsCardinals, 1939-1954, 1956

Knoxville Sox White Sox, 1972-1979

Lakeland Flying Tigers Tigers, 2007-present

Louisville Redbirds Cardinals, 1982-1998

Macon RedbirdsCardinals, 1983

Memphis Redbirds Cardinals, 1998-present

Middlesboro CubsoxCubs and White Sox (Co-op), 1963

Moultrie Colt .22’s Colt .45’s, 1962-1963

Newark Co-PilotsPilots, 1968-1979

Niagara Falls Sox White Sox, 1982-1985

Orlando RaysDevil Rays, 1997-2003

Reading Fightin’ Phils Phillies, 2013-present

Rochester Red WingsCardinals 1929-present (vestigial DimDer)

Rockford Cubbies Cubs, 1995-1998

Round Rock ExpressAstros/Rangers (Nolan Ryan) 2005-present

Salem Avalanche – Rockies, 1995-2008

Salem Buccaneers – Pirates, 1987-1994

San Antonio BulletsColt .45’s, 1963-1964

Springfield Redbirds – Cardinals, 1978-1981

Tucson Sidewinders – Diamondbacks, 1998-2008

Honorable mention: teams that took their nickname from the Philadelphia Phillies’ unofficial Blue Jays nickname from the 1940’s.

Bradford Blue Wings Phillies, 1944-1949

Salina Blue JaysPhillies, 1946-1952

Schenectady Blue Jays Phillies, 1946-1957 

Utica Blue SoxPhillies (also became a Vestigial DimDer and Non-DimDer of the Red Sox and White Sox)

Honorable mention to the honorable mention:

The Green Bay Bluejays were a new team in 1946 and were affiliated with the Phillies. Just like these others, right? Nope. There was a team called the Green Bay Bluejays in 1940 (called the Blue Sox in ’41) that existed before Philadelphia started dabbling with the bird nickname. This would (sort of) make them the rare pre-emptive DimDer.

Possible DimDers

Quincy Jets. After the 1961 season, the Midwest League’s Quincy Giants were dropped by San Francisco. For 1962, Quincy found a new parent in the brand new New York Mets, and they immediately changed their nickname to Jets. It could be a coincidence, but when the Mets bolted after the ’63 season, the Illinois team immediately reverted to their heritage identity–the Quincy Gems. 

Riverside Pilots. In 1993, the California League’s Reno Silver Sox (second version) was moved to the Inland Empire and the Seattle Mariners took them under their wing. The new franchise adopted the Mariners’ new and popular navy/silver/teal color combo, and took on a name–Pilots–that nodded (intentionally or not) to Seattle’s baseball history. I had assumed that the name was simply a nod to Riverside County’s March Air Reserve Base, but fellow Minor League Geek Brian Stanley sent me a newspaper clipping that had a quote about the name from the team’s GM: “It’s got both that nautical and aeronautical feel to it.” Does that make it a DimDer? I’m thinking about it. 

Other lists involving DimDers:

Running list of vestigial COTOBs and DimDers

Running list of FauxTOBs and Non-DimDers

Running list of pre-emptive COTOBs and DimDers