This past Thursday, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star reported that entomologist Bob Anderson, from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, named a newly discovered species of beetle after former Blue Jays slugger José Bautista. Anderson is a fan of Toronto sports and decided to honor Bautista due to his famous bat flip after hitting a three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Rangers.
The species is known as Sicoedrus bautistai, found in Bautista’s native Dominican Republic. It is a true weevil in the family of beetles known as Curculionidae. There are over 60,000 known species of weevils.
According to Armstrong, Anderson has coined names for two or three hundred species across his 30-year career. Bautista is not the first athlete to serve as the namesake for an insect. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had a species of wasp named after him in 2015, called Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski. Additionally, José Fernández-Triana of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada named a species of parasitoid wasps after legendary Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, Diolcogaster ichiroi.
Bautista, 38, spent the 2018 season in the NL East with the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. He hit a combined .203/.348/.378 in 122 games. His days of being a starter are numbered, but he could serve as a bench bat next season. He likely will have to settle for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Even if Bautista doesn’t have a uniform come spring training, he has a species of beetle named after him and no one can take that away from him.