Male athletes with female first names

My friends and I noticed that many professional male athletes have traditionally female first names. Here are some examples (not including spelling variants):

Ashley, Shannon, Courtney, Kelly, Dominique, Jamie, Torry, Erin, Leigh, Tracy, Dana, Jodie, Lindsay, Darcy, Stacey

Additionally, they also seem to have names that aren’t necessarily female, but look feminine at first glance:

Kobe, Shaquille, Chauncey, Dion, Flozell, Vonnie, Tiki

While its difficult to prove, we all agree that it certainly seems like there’s a much higher probability for male athletes to have female names than a non-athlete male.

My theory is that giving a female name to a boy creates enough difficulties in his life while growing up that he becomes more athletic for various reasons such as 1) not getting beat up (where I grew up, a boy named Shannon, Ashley or Tracy wouldn’t survive the first day of school without some form of ridicule) and 2) proving his “maleness” on the playing field. Valid?

Rosie Grier.
Gail Goodrich.

Most of these are traditional male names that have been co-oped to become women’s names in relatively recent years.

I think you overestimate the abuse a kid with those names would receive. There would be some, but it would pass. Do you have any evidence that “female-sounding names” are in present in higher percentages in sports than in the general population? Without that it’s hard to show that this would have a significant impact.

Two more:

Christy Mathewson
Candy Maldonado

These are nicknames for “Christopher” and “Candido”, respectively, so depending on when and where they were adopted may have had no bearing on peer treatment in their early lives or cultures, but I’ve often wondered the same thing about these two.

Shel Silverstein and Johnny Cash would support your premise.

I’m sure this little tidbit helps repel the bullies in the schoolyard.:smiley:

Not really. It’s just something that my friends and I noticed. Basically we hear these names watching sports all the time, but very rarely anywhere else for males.

Kylie Leuluai

Gail Harris.

Gale Sayers sounds female, but that spelling is used by males (e.g., Gale Gordon).

“Rosey” is short for Roosevelt, so I’m not sure if it counts here. OTOH, he was also known for needlepoint and macrame, so maybe there’s still a connection.

I think the OP’s premise is silly, but I’ll play along.

Connie Hawkins?

Shannon Sharpe?

Leslie “Speedy” Duncan?

Dana Stubblefield (But the first Dana I knew of was Dana Andrews, a perfectly masculine actor of the Forties and Fifties)?

Shelley Duncan

Lynn Swann.

Not if you’re Dick Butkus.

He also went on the record as being pro-crying.

Connie Mack was short for Cornelius.

Since we’re talking out of our asses here, I’ll just say I know plenty of men with female sounding names and they’re not professional athletes. Numerous Kellys and Shannons, one Angel, several Gales (one of them being a Gayle, short for Gaylord), a fair number of Shirleys and, increasingly, Taylors as it moves from being a male name to female.

I suspect it’s just because you don’t encounter as many working and lower-middle class black and southern white men in other contexts as you do in sports.

(I work in a job where I’m dealing mostly by email with a pretty random (though mostly older) cross-section of the population, and have had a few mild embarassments with southern men named Ashley and the like).

While it varies by personality, I think that one’s given name can have a profound impact on childhood. Anyone with a funny, weird or gender-transcending name will almost certainly agree with me on this. And feminine names are probably the worst for boys. There’s really no escape from one’s name, and thus it really could affect one’s behaviour and activities.

While I agree that names considered to be feminine might be more prevalent in certain parts of the country and in some economic classes, there is still a prevailing view on what constitutes a feminine name today. This is why I purposely left off Angel from my original list. Angel is a male name for people of Latin origin.

Bill Simmons’ Lindsey Hunter All-Stars.

Just to toss one out here that most won’t quite know about…

Lynn Nolan Ryan

Kelly Hrudey was a goalie for the Los Angeles Kings.

He played for the New York Islanders too but I remember him as the crappy Kings goalie that would never go away. Also, every time a crowd would chant “HRUDEY,” it would just sound like booing. :smiley:

In Hrudey’s defense, it’s hard to look really good when you’re getting between 35-40 shots a night against you, courtesy of a paper-thin blueline.

Getting back to the OP, there’s Tracy Murray and Tracy McGrady, as well as former NHL player Carey Wilson.