What popularized the baby name Crosby in the 2010s?

Hockey player Sidney Crosby (in 2016)
Sidney Crosby

The surname Crosby began popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the 1910s, but it didn’t start to see significant usage until a century later.

After entering the boys’ top 1,000 for the first time in 2011, it reached peak popularity in 2015:

Boys named CrosbyGirls named Crosby
2018344 [rank: 702nd]19
2017417 [rank: 626th]28
2016428 [rank: 625th]28
2015484† [rank: 578th]19
2014435 [rank: 615th]28
2013378 [rank: 647th]24
2012352 [rank: 672nd]22
2011306 [rank: 741st]25
†Peak usage

What fueled this rise?

Nova Scotia-born professional ice hockey center Sidney Crosby.

He was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2005 NHL Draft, and he’s played exclusively with the Penguins ever since.

His first season, as an 18-year-old, he finished runner-up in the vote for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie of the year.

After his second season, he was named captain of the Penguins — becoming the youngest team captain in NHL history (at that time).

During his third season, he (and teammates including Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal) helped the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Finally, in 2009, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup. And they would go on to win it again in both 2016 and 2017 — back-to-back, impressively.

Speaking of winning more than once…Sidney Crosby has also won various league-wide awards (e.g., the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy) multiple times each.

During the years that Crosby (the name) was picking up steam, usage was highest in two particular states: Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

  • 2010: 180 U.S. boys named Crosby – 18 (10%) in PA, 18 (10%) in MN
  • 2009: 72 U.S. boys named Crosby – 6 (8%) in PA
  • 2008: 55 U.S. boys named Crosby – 8 (15%) in PA, 11 (20%) in MN
  • 2007: 21 U.S. boys named Crosby

The Pennsylvania usage isn’t surprising, but why Minnesota? It could have to do with the fact that, during the single year Sidney Crosby attended Minnesota prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s, he led their U18 hockey team to a national title (as a 15-year-old).

The success of “Sid the Kid” hasn’t stopped the slow decline of Sidney, but it did give the name a slight boost in Pennsylvania specifically. And it’s likely behind the increased usage of Sid itself, starting in 2006.

Hockey player Sidney Crosby (in 2010)
Sidney Crosby

So has Sidney Crosby influenced baby names in Canada as well? Here’s the Canadian data for both his first name and his last name:

Boys named Crosby (Canada)Boys named Sidney (Canada)
20181130 [rank: 796th]
20171832 [rank: 772th]
20161436 [rank: 716th]
201530 [rank: 797th]39 [rank: 659th]
201428 [rank: 834th]38 [rank: 677th]
201324 [rank: 924th]30 [rank: 785th]
201231 [rank: 760th]31 [rank: 760th]
201123 [rank: 939th]54 [rank: 503rd]
201031 [rank: 767th]59† [rank: 472nd]
2009846 [rank: 576th]
20081350 [rank: 534th]
2007753 [rank: 496th]
2006.33 [rank: 663rd]
20057*20 [rank: 906th]
*Debut, †Peak usage

Crosby, who represents Canada internationally, was a member of Team Canada at both the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Canada’s men’s ice hockey team won gold in both tournaments. Notably, in 2010 — on home soil (ice?) — Crosby scored the “golden goal” against Team USA in sudden-death overtime.

The English surname Crosby can be traced back to any of various locations in England called Crosby. The place name is made up of the Old Norse elements kross, meaning “cross,” and byr, meaning “settlement.”

What are your thoughts on the name Crosby?

P.S. A boy born in 2015 was named Malkin Crosby Long after two Penguins players. I discovered him via a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article featuring several of Crosby’s young namesakes.


Images: Sidney Crosby 2016-04-28 by Michael Miller under CC BY-SA 4.0; Sidney Crosby (Team Canada) by VancityAllie under CC BY 2.0.

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