First Names in Sports


First Names in Sports

There are plenty of players in professional sports, but there might only be one LeBron or Barkevious. Still, several athletes share their forename with a large number of their peers. Fifty-four “Chris” or “Christians” are active players on a team roster in the NFL, 58 in MLB. While it’s easy to the best D’Brickashaw that’s ever donned an NFL uniform, earning that recognition with the number of fellow Johns, Davids, or Toms playing is more challenging.

We looked at select common names across the four major sports leagues in America – MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL – to find players who outperformed their name-sharing brethren.

“Chris” is for Cutters.

When it comes to hurlers in MLB, Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox, formerly Chicago White Sox, outshines those sharing his first name. The most notable statistical difference is his WAR (wins above replacement), which measures a player’s value to their team. Sale has garnered a WAR that is 4.24 wins higher than any other Chris. His 6.22 WAR makes him a target for any team looking for a dominant pitcher, and the best Chris to take the mound.


For those ready to knock the ball out of the park, there’s one hitter who is rewriting history while also making it difficult to follow in his footsteps. David Ortiz, former designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, might make some up-and-coming Davids consider changing their names. His legendary performance at the plate makes him one of the best, averaging almost 17 more home runs per season than other Davids.

“James” is for Jumpers.

With six players named James active in the NBA today, and many more Jameses who have retired, you need to bring it if you want to standout. James Harden, shooting guard for the Houston Rockets, plays on a different level than others who share his name. Averaging 1,480 points per season, Harden outperforms other Jameses by almost 600 points. However, he’s not the best in class in every area, averaging 35 fewer rebounds and almost 19 fewer blocks per season.


“Patrick” is for Puck.

With almost 20 Patricks currently lacing up skates to play professional hockey, Patrick Kane is the only one to excel beyond the current and former players who also bear his name. Across every category, this member of the Chicago Blackhawks one-ups them. The winger leads other Patricks in goals (by almost 17 per season) and assists (over 30 times) per season. Kane also spends less time in the penalty box, close to seven minutes fewer than the average Patrick.


“Tom” is for Touchdowns.

If you’re filling out an NFL offense, three names should come to mind: Tom, Frank, and Brandon. Among quarterbacks, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is in a league of his own compared with the other Toms; he airs the ball out for almost 1,500 yards more per season than them. Frank Gore, running back for the Indianapolis Colts, by way of the San Francisco 49ers, owns his name by averaging more than 500 yards on the ground more than the collective Franks. Then, there’s Brandon Marshall, receiver for the New York Jets, who earns more than four touchdowns on average than his name class.

There are also some difference makers on the other side of the ball. The recently retired Charles Woodson, cornerback for the Oakland Raiders, takes the mantle of “Best Charles” into the sunset; he averaged almost nine more tackles and nearly two more interceptions than other Charleses. This Charles was certainly in charge.

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Games and Names

Would you really want to be named Tom if you were looking to play quarterback in the NFL and try to follow the great Brady? When you’ve got a generic name, like Bob or John, it’s hard to stand out. So just play for the love of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a D’Brickashaw, Metta World Peace, or a Charles, Fanatics has the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel for your favorite sport and players.

Top Names in Sports

Want to know how well your name stacks up? Enter a name and select the sport to see how many players have shared that name and what their stats are!


To compare pitching statistics, we filtered names to include only players with at least 100 innings pitched. Similarly, batting statistics were restricted to players with a minimum of 100 at-bats. Information for basketball, football, and hockey includes only players with at least 10 games played.