Bill Wambsganss

William Adolf Wambsganss (1894-1985) was a Major League second baseman who played from 1914-1926. He also possesses one of the more interesting last names I can ever recall hearing.

Nicknamed “Wamby,” Wambsganss hit .259, crushed seven taters and drove in 519 runs in his somewhat average career. No, non-baseball fans – Wamby didn’t dislike potatoes – a tater is baseball slang for a home run. The tater is, however, apparently a reference to the fact that baseballs were known as potatoes back in the day. (Wikipedia Glossary_of_baseball – this page is actually pretty funny, and informative!)

But it is for one play that Wambsganss is by far best remembered for. In game five of the 1920 World Series, Wamby caught a line drive hit by Clarence Mitchell, touched second base to retire Pete Kilduff (love the last name!) and tagged Otto Miller coming from first, completing what remains the only unassisted triple play in World Series history! Earlier in the game, Wambsganss scored when teammate Elmer Smith crushed the first grand slam in World Series history off Burleigh “’Ol Stubblebeard” Grimes. The blast also scored Hall of Famer Tristram E. Speaker. Talk about a homer of epic funny name  proportions!

Wamby with the three victims of his famous triple play. They don’t look very pleased about the situation!

However, it seems that Wamby was not fond of only being remembered for his historic triple play. During an interview with Lawrence Ritter, Wambsganss stated: “Funny thing, I played in the big leagues for 13 years, 1914 through 1926, and the only thing that anybody seems to remember is that once I made an unassisted triple play in a World Series. Many don’t even remember the team I was on, or the position I played, or anything. Just Wambsganss-unassisted triple play! You’d think I was born on the day before and died on the day after.”

Hey, I’d give anything to be remembered for one of the greatest plays in World Series history. But to each their own, I guess.

In any case, you go, Wamby!


About Rob

Huge San Diego Padres fan, working as an economic consultant in Pasadena, CA. Contributor to the Funny Names Blog.
This entry was posted in funny names in baseball, Greatest hits. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bill Wambsganss

  1. marksackler says:

    There have actually been fewer unassisted triple plays (15) than perfect games (23) in baseball history. Add the funny name and Wamby is truly one of a kind. 🙂

  2. What a game that must have been: The first and only unassisted triple play in World Series history. the first grand slam in World Series history and the first home run hit by a pitcher in a World Series game.

    On the other hand, the lead never changed hands in any of the seven games in the series, so Game 5 would seem to have been it in terms of excitement.

  3. Dave says:

    Wamby was no namby pamby!

  4. Wamby. That is classic. Surely he’d be too distracted by his own name to even hit the ball. I know if Wambsganss was my surname, I’d be walking into lampposts all over the place just out of the pure emotional weight of my name.

  5. Pingback: Aloysius Gonzaga « The Blog of Funny Names

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