The recent post on Yogi reminded me of an even earlier New York baseball player who seems to have influenced the charts. He wasn’t a Yankee, though — he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers).
The baby name Howie debuted on the charts in 1943 — it was the top debut name for boys that year, in fact — and half of those baby boys were born in New York specifically:
1946: 8 baby boys named Howie – 6 in New York
1945: 7 baby boys named Howie
1943: 10 baby boys named Howie [debut] – 5 in New York
The heavy New York usage makes me think the influence was Howard Henry “Howie” Schultz, a 6′ 6″ two-sport professional athlete who played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers starting in August of 1943. The day after his impressive debut, the New York Times referred to him in a sub-headline that read: “First Sacker Wins Fans.” (“First sacker” is an old fashioned way of saying “first baseman.”)
That said…I’m not 100% certain Howie Schultz is the influence here. He’s my best theory so far, but just in case: Does anyone out there have any other theories about who/what might have popularized the name Howie circa 1943?
P.S. The other sport Schultz played professionally? Basketball. He was on several different teams in the ’40s and early ’50s, including the championship-winning 1952 Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers).
Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.
Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.
Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.
Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!