What's in a Name is an ongoing feature where I document the stories behind some of the more unique team nicknames in baseball's history.
The Wichita Falls Spudders were a team that played in and out of the Texas League between 1920 and 1957 and at various times were affiliated with the Saint Louis Browns, Chicago Cubs, and Brooklyn Dodgers. The team was at it's peak in the 1920's and future World Series hero Don Larsen spent a summer under the North Central Texas sun there in 1950. Among the teams notable moments were Babe Ruth hitting a home run there in a 1930 exhibition game against the Spudders, winning the Dixie Series against New Orleans in 1927, and having their grandstand burn down during a game in 1922 (and again in 1924).
However, the most memorable thing about the team - at least in this writer's opinion - is the name Spudders. The name has nothing to do with potatoes and all. None. Zilch. What it is a reference to is the oil field workers that were common to the area and their referring to drilling a well as "spudding" and the workers that did that "Spudders."
Here is a link from Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's original guitar player, website about the team and it's stadium which hosted Elvis in 1955 http://scottymoore.net/spudderpark.html. Also, anyone interested in the history of the North Central Texas area and its race relations with baseball as its focus would be wise to check out Our White Boy by Jerry Craft.
Sources: Our White Boy by Jerry Craft with Kathleen Sullivan, The Texas League by Bill O'Neal
Photo Credit: The Portal to Texas History by the University of North Texas