The newest minor league baseball team from the Frontier League are the London Rippers. The Frontier League is one of the best independent league’s in professional baseball, and is stationed predominantly in the midwest. London’s new team is receiving a great deal of criticism lately for their nickname, named after the serial killer Jack the Ripper.
If you live in a bubble and don’t know who Jack the Ripper is…He was one of the most notorious serial killers in history. Of course, by now his stories are more like urban legend more than reality, but he was indeed real. The Ripper was said to have killed at least five people in London, England during the 1880’s.
London, Ontario’s newest baseball team is drawing a great deal of criticism for their Ripper nickname. Their mascot is a shady man in a top hat, wielding a weapon and resembling the notorious killer. Can it be any more obvious? A strong majority feel the name gives recognition to Jack the Ripper or almost exploits a horrific situation from the past. Either way, the London Rippers organization is being ripped apart literally, by local media and residents.
I work for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. I am one of their broadcasters, so the media coverage I have seen for this event is beyond unusual for a Frontier League newcomer. The league has opened its arms to new organization’s every season.
Just last year, Joliet from Illinois was added to the league and actually won the Frontier League Title during their inaugural season. Joliet is the home to an Illinois state penitentiary and correctional facility. The team nicknamed themselves the Slammers, a reference for being locked up in prison. Nobody was offended when Joliet released their nickname last year, even though it is named after a prison that has housed thousands of murderers, child abusers, sex offenders, etc.
The Frontier League is up-and-coming league in the minor league baseball circuit. Each year, the league looks to expand and enhance the experience for all those involved. However, the addition of the London Rippers has created a stir across the world and most of North America. Truly, these nicknames have a bit more significance than most people would believe.
The team president and general manager, David Martin said, “the team’s name has nothing to do with the killer. That (Jack The Ripper) is not our story. Ripping a ball is used in baseball all the time,” said Martin.
Martin went on further to say the mascot’s name is Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could “rip” the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario.
However creative the team name and story may be, you have got to be kidding me. How are you going to name a team from London, the Rippers? Everyone and their mother knows the terrible tail of Jack the Ripper. Is this just an unexplained coincidence? Or is it simply ignorance and neglect on the part of the London organization?
Nobody can say the London Rippers entered professional baseball quietly or even if they will stay. But, this is one of the most highly criticized and publicized expansion entrances to a league, before a game in their organizational history has been played, of all-time. Truly, the Rippers will be getting a lot of attention this season whether they want it or not, or until they change their nickname.