Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. First of all, it usually means family and secondly, it reminds us to take stock of where and what we are and to be thankful. The tradition goes all the way back to the Mayflower and that band of misfits and adventurers that crossed the Atlantic to start a new life. Today, just for fun, I am going to list some baseball players who have the same name as some of those Mayflower passengers.
Let’s start with William Bradford, the second governor of the Plymouth colony (Plimoth is more accurate). His writings give us most of what we know historically about the fate of the Mayflower and its passengers and crew. Bill Bradford pitched one game in the Major Leagues. He pitched two innings for the Kansas City A’s on April 24, 1956 against the Tigers.
It did not go well. He gave up a homer to Reno Bertoia, his second batter. It was the only homer Bertoia hit in 1956. Two batters later, Ray Boone also took him deep. Thus, Bradford finished his career with a 9.00 ERA, a 9.00 hits per nine and a 9.00 homers per nine in his career.
Bradford’s given name was William D. Bradford, thus qualifying him for our list. He was not a descendant though as his family came to Virginia in the mid-1650s. Oh, also, did you know that Wil Myers’ full given name is William Bradford Myers? No wonder he never played for the “Royals.”
William Brewster was the spiritual leader of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Charlie Brewster was a shortstop but his name is not the same. There was a William Brewster who played in the minors in 1941. Baseball-reference.com does not know anything about him.
Edward and Samuel Fuller were two brothers who sailed on the Mayflower. Edward died the first winter in America. There was an Edward Fuller who played two games for the National League Washington Nationals in 1886. He was not a direct descendant of Edward or Samuel, but instead traces back to Lt. Thomas Fuller, a brother of Samuel and Edward who came to Plymouth Colony on a later ship.
There was a Frank Fuller who played for the Tigers in 1915 and 1916 and for the Red Sox in 1923. His full name was Franklin Edward Fuller. But his nickname was, “Rabbit.”
Thomas Rogers was another Mayflower Pilgrim who died in that first awful Winter in Massachusetts. There was a Tom Rogers who pitched four years in the Major Leagues for some really bad teams like the St. Louis Browns. To be honest, he wasn’t very good either and finished with a 15-30 career record.
John Tilley was another Pilgrim who died that first winter in the New World. John Tilley’s baseball career fared little better. He played two seasons, one in 1882 and in 1884. He had a career batting average of .138. Oops. The baseball John Tilley was an Irishman whose grandfather came to NYC in the early 1800s.
So far, our Mayflower players aren’t very good, are they?
John Turner not only died himself in that first Pilgrim winter, but both his sons died too. Awful. Jerry Turner had a ten year career from 1974 to 1983. His given name was John Webber Turner. But he could not be a descendant of the Mayflower guy. Jeffrey Turner was African-American.
Thomas Williams was another of those unfortunate souls that perished that first winter after the Mayflower delivered its passengers. Jackson Williams got a cup of coffee with the Rockies this past season after eight years in the minors. His given name is Jackson Thomas Williams.
Tom Williams or Thomas C. Williams pitched for the Cleveland Spiders in 1892 and 1893. He did not pitch badly, so you wonder why his career kind of ended there.
Edward Winslow was a fairly prominent member of the Pilgrim group and at least he didn’t die that first winter. The closest I could come to him was an Eddie Winslow who played several years in the minors from 1912 to 1922 with a couple of years absent probably due to WWI. Baseball-reference.com doesn’t have anything on him.
William Latham was eleven years old when he crossed that Atlantic in 1620. He was an apprentice to first governor, John Carver. Bill Latham, or William Carol Latham, pitched seven times for the Mets in 1985 and then seven more for the Twins in 1986. His main claim to fame was that he was traded to the Twins along with Billy Beane (yeah, that guy).
Not all of the Mayflower passengers were Pilgrims for part of that Separatist group trying to escape King James. Thomas Weston, that unscrupulous financier of the Mayflower voyage sold his own tickets too. One of those passengers was Richard Clarke. He died the first winter in the colony.
Grey Clarke played 63 games for the 1944 Chicago White Sox. He walked a lot and had a .351 OBP and only struck out six times. Even so, it was his only season in MLB although he did play twelve years in the minors. He was a 31-year-old rookie. His given name was Richard Grey Clarke and had the rather comical nickname of, “Noisy.”
Another of the Weston passengers on the Mayflower was Christopher Martin, who was a prominent player (pun!) in the History Channel’s Mayflower special. Martin died that first winter.
Chris Martin, or Christopher Riley Martin pitched sixteen times in relief for the Rockies in 2014. It appears that he was not very lucky and his FIP was much better than his ERA.
The Mullins family is a fascinating Mayflower story. Father William, Mother and son, Joseph, all died the first winter. The only family survivor was Priscilla, who married John Alden and became the subject of a Longfellow poem as the unrequited love of Miles Standish.
Miles (or Myles) Standish is a Mayflower passenger many remember from school. He wasn’t a Pilgrim though and was a hired military man Thomas Weston employed to teach the Pilgrims the art of war.
Miles Standish was a minor league player in the late 1890’s.
Richard Warren was another Thomas Weston man and though he had a family, he came alone to Massachusetts. He survived the initial winter and after some years brought his family over. But he died in 1628 and his wife lived another forty-five years beyond him. His daughters married and had several children and many Mayflower descendants have him in their family tree.
Rick Aguilera had 86 wins and 318 saves in his sixteen-year career. His given name is Richard Warren Aguilera.
William White was another Thomas Weston passenger and died the first winter. His wife married Edward Winslow, who had lost his wife that same winter.
There have been six MLB players with the given name of William White. Four of them played as Bill White including the one who was an All Star and broadcast for the Yankees. Another played as Will White and the other played as Barney White.
And there you have it. Those are the baseball players that bore the name of Mayflower passengers. Have a great Thanksgiving!