WHO MIGHT BE ON FIRST, BUT SMITH, JOHNSON AND WILLIAMS ARE EVERYWHERE ELSE
There is only one Zarley Zalapski.
That’s not necessarily a testament to his 12-year, 99-goal career in the NHL, but, rather a reference to his first name – a handle so rare, it doesn’t appear inside the top 1,000 on any of the internet’s myriad baby name generators.
Conversely, there’s Bobby Smith.
Which one? Pick one. Fourteen of them have taken the field, court or ice in the history of the Big Four sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).
And while it appears all the good names are reserved for hockey players, the most common surnames are spread throughout all four sports.
So what is in first when it comes to the most common last names in pro sports history?
A LOOK INSIDE THE NAMES OF THE GAMES:
The answer is fairly obvious. The aforementioned “Smith” easily outpaces the field in, well, the field and outside the parameters of pro sports.
- “Smith” is the most common surname in the United States, according to the 2000 U.S. Census — with about 2.5 million of them running around — athlete or not. It’s the only surname with a whole number (1 percent) in terms of the total percentage of the American population.
- The number of professional athletes named “Smith” is no different. In the history of the Big Four, 612 players named Smith have cashed a check from a pro franchise with their name on it.