With less than two years to go until the Pawtucket Red Sox make their 2021 debut in Worcester, the team is looking at what might be on their jerseys — even if only for “one-off” promotional nights.
The Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate’s official name will most likely be the Worcester Red Sox — unofficially shortened to “WooSox” — when their move from Rhode Island to the Massachusetts city is complete. However, the organization has also filed trademarks on several potential nicknames for their new home.
The first two names refer to Worcester’s long-defunct Major League Baseball team, simply named the Worcesters, which played in the National League from 1880 to 1882. Believed to be the only team in MLB history without an official nickname, the Worcesters have also been referred to as the Brown Stockings and the Ruby Legs — though it’s unclear if anyone actually called them that at the time.
Wicked Worms appears to be a riff on Worcester’s “Wormtown” nickname.
All three trademarks were filed on Feb. 22, but apparently went unnoticed until the Worcester Business Journal first reported on them Wednesday morning. According to the trademark office, the trademarks apply to a wide range of clothing and “entertainment services in the nature of baseball games and exhibitions.”
Dan Rea, the executive vice president of real estate development and business affairs, told Boston.com in a statement Wednesday that the team is “still considering different options for our team nickname.” In November, the organization began soliciting name ideas in preparation for their move to soon-to-be-built Polar Park. Rea says they’ve garnered “hundreds” of ideas.
“We have made no final determinations of any kind, but have been looking at different options that have resonated to some degree in fan plan sessions, meetings with various members of the community, and informal conversations,” he said.
Rea also noted minor league team brands and identities are “often fluid.” Not only do the Pawtucket Red Sox informally go by the name PawSox, but it’s not uncommon in the already-eccentric world of minor league baseball for teams to change their names and jerseys for single promotional nights. For example, an hour down Route 84 from Worcester, the Hartford Yard Goats will play a handful of games this season as the River Hogs, Los Chivos, and Steamed Cheeseburgers.
It’s a similar story in Pawtucket.
“We are also changing our name again this season on Tuesday nights to the ‘Osos Polares’ as part of an Hispanic outreach initiative,” Rea said, “and we will do a fun ‘one-off’ night on June 20 when we change our name to the Pawtucket Hot Wieners as a nod to a local culinary staple.”
Rea said the team is continuing to discuss “various options” and will have more information about their naming process in the “near future.”