I've always been curious about Val Majewski's name. Not his last name, though I believe it's pronounced My-ESS-kee. Nope, I'm talking about the "Val" portion of his name. In general, Val is not a very popular name for men; Majewski is the only Val in O's history. (In 1960, they briefly had a catcher named Valmy Thomas, for what it's worth.) A quick trip around the web tells me that the Birds' 2004 Minor League Player of the Year was born Walter Val Majewski. This briefly made me wonder why he would choose to go by Val, as I'm sure its seeming feminity left him open to teasing from children, simple-minded hecklers, and the like. But if you think about it, he didn't have a whole lot of options. "Walter" is a relic from another era, bringing to mind venerable newsmen and sour-faced character actors, but not exciting young baseballers. "Wally" sounds kind of silly, and again is a tad anachronistic. He could have used his initials, but "W.V." doesn't really roll off of the tongue, and maybe he had some sort of deep, dark grudge against the state of West Virginia. So, in an attempt to be his own man, he went with Val. That's my story, anyhow.
I actually have a friend from my college days who also goes by "Val", though her given name is Victoria. Again, this seems like an unconventional shortening, but she has her reasons. Apparently when she was younger her crueler classmates would call her "Sticky Vicky", which was of course fairly upsetting. I'm surprised that they didn't go for "Icky Vicky", but I have to admit that the word sticky conjures much more varied and grotesque interpretations. So Val it is, and I have to admit that it suits her well. She's really a fascinating person; she's studied in South Africa, traveled much of Europe, conquered horseback riding and mountain climbing, and found employ in both a Renaissance Fair(e?) and a touring theatrical group. Val has done all of these things before the age of twenty-five and pushes boldly ahead. With her enterprising attitude, blond hair, and imposing physical presence (if she's not 6' tall, she's pretty darned close), I've sometimes joked that Val is short for "Valkyrie".
I struggle to find a similar match between Val Majewski's name and his character, but then I don't really know as much about him. Though if you're wondering where he's gotten to, he (like Jay Gibbons) took a detour to the Atlantic League earlier this year. After a short stint as a Newark Bear, he grabbed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros. In 25 games at AAA Round Rock, he's hitting .275/.390/.536. Injuries played a major part in derailing his progress in the Orioles' organization, but at the age of 27 maybe he's still got some major league baseball left to play.