Don't like the name "Rhinos" for Baltimore's entry...


August 12, 1993

SO YOU don't like the name "Rhinos" for Baltimore's entry in the National Football League expansion derby? Too ponderous? Too slow-moving? Too un-Baltimorish?

Here's a little history on previous names of Baltimore football teams, courtesy of Sun sports columnist John F. Steadman, from his book, "The Baltimore Colts Story":

"The city's earliest association with pro football came in the late 1930s when Jack Ogden, then general manager of the International League baseball Orioles, put a club in the Dixie League, which was strictly a minor league setup.

"The team was known as the Bluejays -- at least in Baltimore. However, on the road they were called the Orioles, since Baltimore and Orioles were practically synonymous. Orioles or Bluejays, the name made little difference. They played more like sparrows. The club lasted three seasons" -- 1936 through 1938.

When Baltimore joined the All-American Conference in 1947, the pTC new owner, Robert Ridgway Rodenberg, wanted to call the football club the Whirlaways. In one conversation, he explained it this way: " 'It's a natural because Baltimore is a racing town and Whirlaway used to race here. "

Instead, they held a fan contest:

"There were 1,887 entries and the winner received two season tickets, a $50 bond, a lamp and an autographed Colt football. The winning selection was submitted by Charles Evans of Middle River. Members of the judging committee included N.P. Clark of the News-Post, Eddie Fenton of WCBM, Nelson Baker of WFBR, Bailey Goss of WBAL, Nick Campofreda, a former pro player at Washington and Detroit besides being a broadcaster; Joe Finnerty, club lawyer; Sam Hammerman, Advertising Club executive, and Bob Swindell of the Touchdown Club.

"The name Colts, which proved so popular, has a horsey flavor in a horse racing town. It also suggested a new, spirited undertaking and the newspaper headline writers loved it because it counted only four and a half units of type."

Rhinos, it turns out, is nearly as convenient for headline writers.

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