Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trivia On Thursdays - Most Common Last Names

My husband had told me he was watching a game show on TV and heard the most common last name in the US is Rodriguez.  Now I realize our Hispanic population is growing at a rapid pace, as compared to all of the other ethnic groups, but I was rather surprised to hear it may have over taken the top spot.  It's rather unusual, because for decades names like Smith and Johnson have held the highest spots.  So I did a little research and found that the name Rodriguez does, in fact hold top honors, but in just one particular segment of our country....that is, in National League Baseball.  So my husband may have missed that part of the question on the game show, which I assume they must have included in their question. 
Below is an article titled 'Baseball's Biggest Clan - Thy Name is Rodriguez'
by Joel Millman from the Wall St. Journal ....

Among the more than 8,500 players who were under contract to Major League Baseball teams at the beginning of April, there are thousands of different surnames.

They range from the lone Tabachnik on the jersey of a Single-A pitcher in the San Diego Padres farm system to 95 players with the name Rodriguez—the most for any extended clan in baseball.

Considering that a remarkable 32% of all players (2,726) come either from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, it's not exactly startling that nine of the top 10 most common surnames have Latino origins. Following Rodriguez it's Martinez (68), Gonzalez (65), Perez (63), Garcia (62), Hernandez (57) and Ramirez (53). Lyman D. Platt, a genealogical studies expert who specializes in Latin America, says a mere 11 Spanish surnames account for a quarter of the population in this hemisphere.

Indeed, the only non-Latino surname to crack the top 10 was Smith, which was represented by 40 Americans and one Canadian.

So which top baseball clan is the best? When it comes to batting average, the winner—as of last Friday—was the Ramirez clan. Led by Hanley of the Florida Marlins (.351) and Manny of the Los Angeles Dodgers (.319), the Ramirez boys have a .275 average. (There's a kid named Alvaro Ramirez who's hitting .372 for a Chicago Cubs farm team in the Dominican Republic.)

While the Rodriguez clan is the largest by far, its overall .257 batting average leaves something to be desired. The extended family isn't getting much help from its most famous member, Alex of the New York Yankees. He was hitting .254 as of Friday.

—Joel Millman

Here are the cumulative batting averages for hitters with the most common surnames in baseball.

NAME Batting Average No. of Hitters

Ramirez .275 23

Smith .266 15

Martinez .263 31

Perez .259 30

Rodriguez .257 45

Hernandez .256 22

Garcia .244 28

Gonzalez .234 31


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