The Name Game

Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada

Everyone at some point in their life has wondered “what does my name mean”. This personal distinction is part of our identification. In some cases, it’s the perfect description. In other cases, the meaning seems like it comes from left field.


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Names are often chosen as a way of honouring a persons legacy. This selection reflects parents’ hopes for their offspring.

Here’s a rundown of Blue Jays and the meaning of their first names. I thought it would be fun to analyze the meanings and see if they match up with what each player represents to the team. See for yourself…


Aaron Sanchez

From the Hebrew (‘Aharon) meaning = Exalted, High Mountain, Lofty

Popularity ranking: #50 in United States, #72 in Canada

Famous: Aaron Paul, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Eckhart

Some guys are just meant to be pitchers. The mound is their fortress. It is atop that mountain where Aaron looks down upon foes wearing strange colours, and strikes them out with his filthy, sinking, laser beam offerings.


Christopher (Chris) Colabello

From the Greek (Christophoros) meaning = Bearing Christ, To bear, To carry

Popularity ranking: #30 in United States

Famous: Chris Evans, Chris Rock, Chris Pratt

Chris carried the weight of 7 years in the Independent League, but still persevered to the Show. After a cup of coffee with the Minnesota Twins, Toronto gave him a chance, where he now proudly wears the Blue Jay and Maple Leaf on his chest. The New England native says he couldn’t imagine playing for anyone else.



Edwin Encarnacion

From the Old English elements ead meaning = Rich Friend, Valued

Popularity ranking: #297 in United States

Famous: Edwin Van der Sar, Edwin Jackson, Edwin Moses

Edwin’s value to the team is his lofty position as cleanup hitter in the batting order. As he’s demonstrated over the years, Edwin can make crowded bases empty again with one swing. You simply can’t put a price tag on a guy who cleans up after himself.


James Anthony (J.A. or Jay) Happ

Jay is the short form of JAMES, from the Hebrew JACOB (Ya’aqov) meaning = Supplanter

Popularity ranking: #9 in United States, #12 in Canada

Famous: James Franco, Jay Leno, James Harden

Jay was signed to supplant the loss of David Price. What ever pressure he felt from that, he’s not showing it. He continues to forge ahead with the new and improved version of himself, which Jays fans are growing to appreciate.


Jose Bautista

Spanish and Portuguese form of JOSEPH. From the Hebrew (Yosef) meaning = Increase, Addition, He will add

Popularity ranking: #20 in United States, #63 in Canada

Famous: Jose Canseco, Jose Altuve, Jose Calderon

Jose increases the Jays’ home run count on the daily. He’s hit more four-baggers than any big leaguer since 2010. Not to mention, the base on balls he adds every game. To sum up, that’s a lot of production.


Joshua (Josh) Donaldson

From the Hebrew (Yehoshu’a) meaning = Salvation

Popularity ranking: #24 in Canada, #25 in United States

Famous: Josh Duhamel, Josh Hartnett, Josh Groban

Josh is the salvation of many tricky infield ground balls that look like hits, but alas are not. He is also the saviour of close games that require a little walk-off magic, his specialty.


Justin Smoak

From the Latin (Lustinus) derived from JUSTUS meaning = Just, Upright, Righteous

Popularity ranking: #96 in United States

Famous: Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Justin Trudeau

Justin is the perfect description of ‘walk tall and carry a big stick’. Although, his power numbers are down in the early going, his base on balls are propelling his OBP to righteous proportions. Someone has been hanging around Jose Bautista.


Kevin Pillar

From the Irish (Caoimhín) meaning = Kind, Gentle, Handsome

Popularity ranking: #70 in United States, #82 in Ireland

Famous: Kevin Durant, Kevin Spacey, Kevin James

Kevin dives on grass (or turf) and gently cradles each fly ball in his glove before it hits the ground. How kind and thoughtful of him. His pitching staff thinks so.


Marco Estrada | Marcus Stroman

Marco is the Italian form of MARK, which is a form of MARCUS derived from MARS meaning = God of War, Warring

Popularity ranking (Marco): #15 in Italy, #308 in United States

Popularity ranking (Marcus): #39 in Canada, #158 in United States

Famous: Marco Polo, Marcus Allen, Marcus Garvey

If you chose to go to battle, which two Blue Jays pitchers would you take? Definitely the guy whose heart is bigger than his entire body and never seems to back down from a challenge. If you haven’t guessed, that would be Marcus. And, probably the guy who doubters never seem to give credit to, and don’t believe can repeat what they themselves witnessed in awe the year before. If you haven’t guessed, that would be Marco.


Michael Saunders

From the Hebrew (Mikha’el) meaning = Who is like God, Poor, Humble

Popularity ranking: #7 in United States, #46 in Canada

Famous: Michael Jordan, Michael J. Fox, Michael Buble

Michael is a Canadian kid from Victoria, British Columbia. Of course he’s humble. Duh!


Roberto Osuna | Robert Allen (R.A.) Dickey

Roberto is the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of ROBERT, from the Germanic (Hrodebert) meaning = Bright, Famed, Shining

Popularity ranking (Robert): #61 in United States

Popularity ranking (Roberto): #77 in Mexico, #343 in United States

Famous: Robert De Niro, Roberto Alomar, Robert Downey Jr.

Roberto grew up a poor kid in Mexico, but surrounded by love and family endured to become baseball’s youngest shining star. At just 21, he pitches in the most intense situations with composure and grace. Some people are just destined for the brightest lights.


Russell Martin

From the French surname meaning = Little Red One, Red haired

Popularity ranking: #408 in United States

Famous: Russell Crowe, Russell Brand, Russell Westbrook

I can only assume base runners see red when Russell throws laser beams to pick them off. After nailing each runner, Russell flashes a wide smile amidst a bushy, red beard. Fear the beard, all who dare.


Ryan Goins

From the Irish surname (Ó Riain) meaning = Little King

Popularity ranking: #14 in Canada, #37 in United States

Famous: Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Seacrest

Ryan’s kingdom is a baseball infield. Little King, also known as GoGo, stands on the diamond next to the Big King, they call Tulo. Little and Big float, pirouette, dive and inevitably turn the most majestic double plays. Oh, my lord!


Troy Tulowitzki

From the Greek city of Troy. Also from the Irish surname meaning = Soldier

Popularity ranking: #274 in United States

Famous: Troy Aikman, Troy Polamalu, Troy Ave

Since joining the Blue Jays, Troy hasn’t hit his offensive stride. But, his glove work never suffers. He has the best fielding percentage of any shortstop in history and hasn’t committed an error since joining the Jays (54 games and counting). Through all his injuries and offensive woes, Troy soldiers on.


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