On rare occasion, there will be a minor league team that shares the nickname (or is a derivative nickname of) a major league team that has yet to exist. This typically occurs when an expansion team announces their name and branding at least a year in advance of actually taking the field, and their minor league affiliates take on elements of that brand in anticipation.
Preemptive COTOBs and DimDers
Orlando Rays. I’ve spilled plenty of digital ink on the Orlando Rays, one of the weirdest teams in minor league history. The short version is that the O-Rays took to the field wearing Devil Ray-esque gear a full year before Tampa Bay ever did. They also presaged the Devil drop a decade ahead of time.
Incidentals and other weird situations
Green Bay Bluejays. The Bluejays of the Wisconsin state league were a new team in 1946 and were affiliated with the Phillies. So they were a knockoff on the Phillies’ old unofficial Blue Jays nickname, 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 make them the rare pre-emptive DimDer.
Indianapolis Indians. Indy was a staple of the American Association in the earlier part of the 20th Century, and the Indians moniker dates back to 1902. That year, the American League’s Cleveland franchise was called the Broncos, and they changed their name to the Naps in ’03 before settling on the Cleveland Indians in 1915. The Indians and the Indians were affiliated for a few years in the 1950s. Even though Indy had the name first, this was a purely incidental affiliation.
Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino. The Sixers are currently an Angels affiliate and the cheeky nickname-place name reversal makes them a DimDer, right? Not so fast. Though it is very likely that the nickname was a riff on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Sixers were a Mariners affiliate when they came up with the mouthful of a moniker. They didn’t join up with the Angels until 2011–at which point the parent club was already making the switchover to just Los Angeles. In a way, this makes them both a preemptive DimDer and a Non-DimDer with incidential affiliation.