Where did the baby name Peerless come from in 1999?

Football player Peerless Price
Peerless Price

The curious name Peerless first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1999:

  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: 6 baby boys named Peerless [debut]
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: unlisted

And that’s the only time it’s ever popped up, making it a one-hit wonder.

Where did it come from?

Wide receiver Peerless Price, who played football in the NFL for nine seasons (1999-2007).

The thing that boosted his name into the SSA data, though, was his memorable senior year at the University of Tennessee.

In 1998, the Tennessee Volunteers football team wasn’t expected to do as well as it had in 1997, because several key players (including quarterback Peyton Manning and linebacker Leonard Little) had graduated.

Defying expectations, it did even better. The Vols went undefeated in 1998, thanks in large part to Peerless Price. They also won the national title by beating the Florida State Seminoles at the Fiesta Bowl on January 4, 1999. Peerless was named co-MVP of the game, and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated a week later.

Peerless Price was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1976. Here’s how his mother, Vinder Burress, chose his unusual first name:

It was the name of a moving company I’d seen ads for. I liked the name, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It means without equal.

And how did Peerless himself feel about the name? Toward the end of his final college football season, he said:

In sports I felt I had to prove myself because of my name. They say your name doesn’t make a difference, but it really does.

What are your thoughts on the name Peerless?

P.S. The Vols play in Neyland Stadium, which explains why the baby name Neyland is particularly popular in the state of Tennessee. And the Vols’ fight song, “Rocky Top” (1967), was composed by Nashville songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.


Image: © 1999 Sports Illustrated

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Peerless come from in 1999?

  1. I like the name Peerless, and really, it ought to be used some. It’s got a good meaning, looks nice in print with its double set of double letters, and a pleasant sound if you like the sound of names like Arliss and Alice.
    The surname paired with Peerless could make a difference – Peerless Price has a sound that is just pure beauty.

    Peerless kind of reminds me of the virtue names of the Puritans, although they would never use it, for it is too prideful and boastful.

  2. Peerless is a very challenging name to live up to. Peerless Price was a regular customer of mine when he played for the Atlanta Falcons. He often shipped football gear, mostly jerseys with his name and number on them, all over the country to friends and family. He was very polite, but always had a phone earpiece in his ear, always talking to someone, and I never knew whether he was speaking to me or the other person on the phone. Very embarrassing for me sometimes !!

  3. My first thought when seeing the name Peerless is that it’s a brand of faucets. If I could get past that it’s really not a bad name. I do agree that pairing it with the last name Price works well.

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