What’s in a Name?

Andrew McCutchen (Credit: Keith Allison)
Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates: The best Andrew in sports right now?

This is going to be the Year of Andrew, at least in sports. Andrew McCutchen will try to defend his National League MVP award. Andrew Luck led the Colts to a playoff win. Andrew Wiggins is expected to be a top pick in this summer’s NBA draft. I can’t turn on a game without seeing one of my namesakes playing well.

While I realize Drew Brees is out of bounds (his actual first name is not Andrew), there is debate over whether I can claim someone like Andrew “Andy” Murray, the defending Wimbledon champ. Things get even murkier for other first names. My younger brother Stephen wants to claim Stephen Curry as the best athlete who shares his name, but the Warriors’ All Star pronounces his name “Stef-in.” Should that count? If not, it’s slim pickings for Stephens everywhere. Not so for my friend Pete, who could go with an icon in tennis (Sampras), baseball (Rose), or basketball (Maravich).

My friends Griffin and Lee are not so lucky. Griffin told me he couldn’t think of a single athlete who shared his first name. Lee has some options but none are particularly good (former relief pitcher Lee Smith isn’t exactly inspiring). However, both Lee and Griffin have the pleasure of seeing their first names on the backs of players’ jerseys. Blake Griffin and Cliff Lee come to mind.

McCutchen and Luck have established themselves as pro stars. There are talented young Andrews in the pipeline (Wiggins was not the only top recruit to share my name; there’s also Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison). To paraphrase Milhouse from The Simpsons, Everything’s coming up Andrew!

Is this something you think about? If so, who are the best athletes, current or former, who share your first name? Let me know in the comments section.

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