Plenty of athletes in plenty of sports have Christmas-y names. Any sort of list would be endless, and there would always be someone shouting, “Hey! What about Fabian D’Elf or Pepe Reindeer?!”
So we took a different approach this Christmas and instead highlighted five yuletide names that caught our eye in 2012. Grab some eggnog, crank up the volume on “Jingle Bells,” and enjoy.
No. 5: Neftali Feliz, pitcher, Texas Rangers
The 2010 AL Rookie of the Year and All-Star selection, Feliz holds the MLB record for most saves by a rookie in a single season (40). He also threw a 102-mph pitch during his rookie campaign.
In 2012, the Rangers attempted to convert Feliz from a closer to a starting pitcher; however, Feliz blew his elbow out in May and had to have Tommy John surgery to repair it. The good news: Texas appears to be interested in bringing him back to the role of a reliever.
As you continue your recovery this winter, Feliz Navidad, Neftali.
No. 4: Garth Snow, general manager, New York Islanders
Snow’s career in the NHL spanned from 1993 through 2006 with the Quebec Nordiques, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. Immediately after his retirement in 2006, Snow was named general manager of the Islanders.
Snow was named the 2006-07 NHL Executive of the Year by Sports Illustrated and has turned the Islanders and the NHL on their heads through his unorthodox methods, such as recently offering all of the team’s draft picks to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the No. 2 overall selection.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it Snow.
No. 3: Frostee Rucker, defensive end, Cleveland Browns
After spending the first six years of his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, the former third-round draft pick out of USC has moved upstate to the Cleveland Browns this season.
Through 14 games, Frostee the Snowman has tallied 42 total tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble. He had a particularly chilling effect on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 with six total tackles and on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14 with seven.
No. 2: Johnny Jolly, defensive end, Green Bay Packers
It was great to be big and Jolly in 2006 when the defensive end from Texas A&M was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round. Jolly worked his way up to a starting position on the Packers defense in 2007, where he performed quite well through the 2009 season.
However, Jolly also enjoys codeine, and the legal problems stemming from his opiates addiction have resulted in prison time and indefinite suspension by the NFL. Good news for Jolly, though: he was released from prison in May and placed on shock probation.
Ho ho ho.
No. 1: Dionte Christmas, shooting guard, PBC CSKA Moscow
At Temple, Christmas tore up the hardwood, setting multiple school and conference records, leading the Owls to a 2008 upset over No. 8 Tennessee, and being named the 2009 Atlantic 10 Conference’s Most Outstanding Player. With 2,043 collegiate points scored, Christmas is just the fourth player in school history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark.
Christmas has had cups of cocoa with the Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, but he really made his mark with the Aegean Rethymno of the Greek Basket League, finishing the 2011-12 season as the league’s top scorer.
In October, Christmas signed with perennial European basketball power PBC CSKA Moscow. So in case you’re wondering, Christmas is in Russia this year.
From all of us at TeamNames.net to sports fans everywhere, have a very merry Christmas.