The MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers bear an artifact title, but it was somewhat obscure to begin with so no one really notices. (The club was originally called the "trolley dodgers", after a popular turn of the century nickname for Brooklynites.)
Except for occasional "Turn Back the Clock" games, the Chicago White Sox haven't worn white socks since 1976.
The Atlanta Braves originated in Boston in 1870, as the Red Stockings no less, but were not called the 'Braves' until 1912; John Montgomery Ward suggested the name Braves because the new owner, James E. Gaffney, was a member of Tammany Hall, which was named after a Native American chief and used an Indian image as its mascot. Tammany Hall doesn't even exist anymore, so the team is obviously not run by anyone associated with Tammany Hall. Everybody now just assumes it was just a team name someone picked.
The Chicago Cubs (originally the Chicago White Stockings) were first called 'Cubs' around 1902; journalists were referring to how very young the players were.
Venezuelan Baseball: the Navegantes Del Magallanes originally played in Caracas' then satellite town Los Magallanes de Catia, itself named after the famous marine. When the league made a "only one team for city" rule, the Magallanes team moved to the nearby city of Valencia, where there is no seashore, but they maintained the full name because it was too emblematic.
Both of Major League Baseball's Triple-A level leagues have artifact titles ever since the American Association disbanded in 1997.
The Pacific Coast League is the most evident. When it was founded in 1903, the team furthest from the Pacific Coast was in Sacramento. Now, they have teams in Des Moines, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, and Round Rock, Texas (a suburb of Austin). Only three of their now 16 teams are even in states that border the Pacific, and only Tacoma is actually all 'that' close.
When the International League was founded in 1886, the name was appropriate, two of its eight teams were in Canada. They even had a team in Cuba between 1954 and 1960. But the IL hasn't had a single team outside the US since the Ottawa Lynx moved and became the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs before the 2008 season.
One MLB stadium once had naming rights held by a corporation that was otherwise no longer in existence. The current home of the Houston Astros was originally known as Enron Field. After that company collapsed in an epic accounting scandal, the Astros soon bought back the naming rights and called it Astros Field. The stadium is now Minute Maid Park (after Coca-Cola's fruit juice brand).
NASCAR: The middle two initials stand for "Stock Car"; the cars haven't been stock since The Sixties, and the formula now includes such race-car-only features as tube chassis and a slightly more centered driver's position.
Until the 2013 season, the formula also included carburetors, which very few cars still on the road have. In a NASCAR commercial running in Feb. 2010, a driver points out that even the "headlights" are actually a decal. (But they don't need real headlights, because the track is always lit.)
All the open-wheel cars raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the years when it only hosted the Indy 500 had long since switched over to using methanol, and now ethanol, as fuel, but they still call the garage area Gasoline Alley. Since the name of the eponymous comic strip (see above) is also an artifact of bygone days, this is an interesting example of a name that became artifactual in two entirely different contexts.
The final day of practice before the Indy 500 has been called Carb Day, short for the former name of Carburetion Day, since 2000. In any event, the cars in the race have used fuel injection for decades.
However, when NASCAR started holding the Brickyard 400 there every year, the name still makes sense since its "stock cars" still use gasoline, albeit a specially-formulated high-octane racing blend that, while you could use it in your car, would make the engine knock like crazy.
The Dakar Rally. Began as the Paris - Dakar Rally as that's precisely where it ran. Retained the Paris Dakar Rally name as it gradually became the "Various places in southern France to Dakar" rally. The race hasn't been held in Africa since 2007. A terrorist attack that killed four French tourists resulted in the cancellation of the 2008 race, and the event has been held in South America since 2009.
In Formula One, during sessions and races when drivers' positions are listed on the side of the screen, they are identified by the first three letters of their last name... except Michael Schumacher, who was identified as 'MSC'. This trope is why: it's from when his brother Ralf Schumacher was also a F1 driver, they were identified as 'MSC' and 'RSC' to differentiate between the two Schumachers.
The Anaheim Ducks get more and more out of place every year considering the last The Mighty Ducks movie was released in 1996. Considering they no longer play in The Arrowhead Pond, but The Honda Center instead, the name is getting even further displaced.
Somewhat averted when "Mighty" was dropped from the team name after Disney sold the team. The connection is still pretty unavoidable considering how Anaheim is home to Disneyland.
The name of the Pittsburgh Penguins was inspired by the nickname of their home arena, "The Igloo", meaning they fell right into this after moving into the Consol Energy Center and the Igloo was demolished. Then again, it didn't make much sense in the first place.
The Atlanta Flames were named after the massive fire that nearly razed Atlanta during the American Civil War. Then they moved to Calgary, a city which was nearly razed by a massive fire in 1886.
Many people assume that the Winnipeg Jets were named for Bobby Hull, the "Golden Jet", who played for the Jets for eight years, but the team was actually named for a previous minor-league team that existed before Hull joined the NHL. The name may instead refer to one of Winnipeg's main industries, the manufacture of jet aircraft parts (embraced by the current logo, which is the roundel of the Royal Canadian Air Force with the silhouette of a CF-18 Hornet superimposed on it). (Or it could simply be a cool name.)
The Montreal Canadiens are an oft-unrecognized form of this trope. Their name doesn't refer to what are now called "Canadians" in the common sense. Rather, it refers quite specifically to French speakers in colonial times, as until surprisingly late in Canadian history the term specifically meant "French-speaker in the New World", as these were thought of as the "indigenous" of the non-aboriginal population (the English-speaking arrivals saw themselves as British for the most part). The team name comes from the original, amateur Club de Hockey Canadien — the term "Canadien" here distinguishing the francophone Québécois from the cross-town, English-speaking Montreal Maroons. Today, the word's connotations have changed 180 degrees, and "Canadien" is the last word that Quebec nationalists want to be called, so this trope is played straight. However, Québécois do know what the word actually means, and if Quebec were to separate from Canada, the team name would undoubtedly stay the same and not be thought of as contradictory.
Five out of fourteen teams in Finnish major ice hockey league have word "ball" in their name. They were founded when football, bandy and Finnish baseball were the most popular sports, but nowadays only TPS ("Turku Ball Club") has any activity outside ice hockey.
The National Hockey League itself is now technically an international hockey league, with teams from both Canada and the USA.
it's been an artifactual title for 89 of the league's 98 seasons, ever since the Boston Bruins joined the NHL in 1924, just seven years after the league's founding.
Similar to the baseball's Pacific Coast League, the East Coast Hockey League (or the ECHL as now refers to itself) has not been East Coast-centric ever since the merger with the Western Hockey League in 2002. It's gotten to the point where the league now has a team in Anchorage, Alaska, which is about as far West as you can go and still be in North America.
Basketball no longer requires players to throw a ball into an empty peach basket.
The Los Angeles Lakers get their name from their earlier location of Minnesota, "Land of 10,000 Lakes". LA has five.
LA's other team, the Clippers, moved from San Diego. A clipper is a type of ship, and San Diego is known for its shipping industry and large US Navy base. LA's not exactly far from the water, but doesn't have any significant connection to boats.
Subverted by the San Diego Rockets, so-called because the city built rockets, missiles and jets, moved to Houston, where NASA's Mission Control is located.
Similarly subverted by the Pistons. They began as the Fort Wayne Pistons, named after one of the products original owner Fred Zollner's company made. After a decade, Zollner moved the team to Detroit, and, as the city was/is the heart of the American automobile manufacturing industry, kept the name.
The Utah Jazz, originally from New Orleans. They moved to Salt Lake City in 1979 but didn't change the name, allegedly because because the team's then-owner thought it would be a temporary stop and they'd move again soon. They didn't.
The Memphis Grizzlies are named after a bear species that doesn't live anywhere near Tennessee, but does live in British Columbia, as the team was originally based in Vancouver.
The New Orleans Hornets draw their name from the nickname of Charlotte ("Hornet's Nest", as General Cornwallis described the city as "a hornet's nest of rebellion" during the American Revolution).
Finally averted in 2012, when the team announced they would be changing the name to the Pelicans, after Louisiana's state bird. And Charlotte's team, the Bobcats, followed suit by taking the Hornets name back starting with the 2014-2015 season.
The term "field goal" derives from the sport's origins as a wintertime alternative to football. In the early days, each field goal was worth the same number of points (one) regardless of where it originated, just like in football. As basketball became a huge sport in its own right, this connection was gradually lost, and the term itself became completely obsolete with the inauguration of the 3-point arc.
College football's Liberty Bowl game was so named because it was originally played in Philadelphia, but it moved after just five games there (1959-63), first for a one-year stay in Atlantic City, then to its permanent home in Memphis.
The American Football positions "Halfback" and "Fullback." Judging by the names, one would think that the fullback would line up further behind the halfback, but in many modern offensive formations the fullback lines up ahead of the halfback or at the same distance (so as to block for the halfback).
Soccer is the same. Fullbacks play as the "wings" of a back 4, yet are not very full in most cases, and not very back as well. The name comes from the ancient 2-3-5 formation, wherein the two back players, or "fullbacks", got pushed out to the side to accompany first the "halfback", now the sometimes called central defender or center back, who dropped in from the middle of the 3. Next was another central back, which finally altered it so the "fullbacks" play on the wing with attacking intent while the "halfbacks" stay back and defend 90% of the time.
The "onside kick" in American football. Originally this referred to a rugby play in which the team that had the ball could kick it downfield and anyone who was "onside"—namely, the kicker and anyone who was behind him—could advance downfield and recover the ball. Players on the kicking team who were "offside" at the time of the kick—ahead of the kicker when he kicked the ball—were not eligible to recover it. This play is still part of rugby, but in American football it has come to refer to a special kickoff play. In this "onside kick", the kicker kicks the ball in a way that gives his team the best chance to reccover the ball, usually by kicking the ball sideways along the line of scrimmage rather than straightaway downfield. All players line up behind the kicking line, so there is no more onsides or offsides and the term in American football is a misnomer.
Division names in the National Football League suffer from this, especially before the 2002 realignment. New teams occasionally joined the league, and divisions ranged from four to six teams. By 1995 most of the NFC Western division's teams were east of the Mississippi River. Reluctance to break up traditional rivalries kept these divisions in place until the league finally reached 32 teams in 2002, allowing a realignment into eight equal-sized divisions. It didn't happen without a fight, and there are still oddball things like Dallas in the East and St. Louis in the West, as preserving established rivalries was considered far more important than geographically logical divisions.
Two stadiums used primarily by the NFL have, or once had, naming rights held by a corporation that was otherwise no longer in existence. PSINet Stadium in Baltimore (now M&T Bank Stadium) kept that name for a couple of seasons after PSINet went under in the dot-com crash. Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts was originally called CMGI Stadium, but that company also went under in the dot-com crash. The naming rights were soon bought by Gillette... which no longer exists as a separate company, and is now a brand of Procter & Gamble.
As this Onion article points out, the Steelers' name refers to an industry that is no longer very prominent in Pittsburgh, though one could argue that the name is nowadays an homage to the city's heritage.
The Tennessee Oilers were a brief historical example of this. This was done intentionally, because when the team moved from Houston the owner wanted to make sure that all of the team's history would still be "owned" by him, and that a new Houston Oilers team couldn't be formed later. Which is exactly what had happened with the Cleveland Browns when they moved and became the Baltimore Ravens; 4 years later a new Cleveland team was formed that took the name and history of the old Browns.
The Indianapolis Colts are named after a tradition of its original city, Baltimore, horse breeding\racing. Just another reason for Maryland fans to be bitter about their sudden move.
This 'almost' happened with the Kansas City Chiefs. They were founded as the Dallas Texans in 1960, and when Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City in 1963, he originally intended for them to keep their name. So they'd be the Kansas City Texans.
The term "touchdown" came from rugby, where the player must actually touch the ground with the ball to score. Rugby renamed it "try", which is itself a mild example of this trope as it refers to earlier versions of the sport where the try wasn't worth any points by itself, and only gave an opportunity for the team to "try" for a goal, worth 3 points. Now, a try is worth 5 points, and while the team will still kick for goal after a try, it's only worth 2 points.
Donegal Celtic football (soccer) club are actually based in Belfast, over 100 km from County Donegal. It was founded by men from parts of the city that have Donegal-derived names (Lenadoon, Gweedore, Glenveagh, etc.) and has no connection to the actual place.
Many soccer teams in the former Soviet Union have the same issue as the Steelers, mentioned above — Metalist Kharkiv, Otelul Galati (Otelul being Romanian for 'steel'), Rotor Volgograd, Lokomotiv Moskow.
The name "CSKA" is very common in eastern European soccer teams; in several Slavic languages, it abbreviates "Central Sport Club of the Army", even though none of the clubs are army clubs any more.
Similarly, the prefix "Dinamo" originally referred to a clubs associated with the police force, and "Lokomotiv" originally referred to teams made up of railway workers.
Many English soccer teams:
Crystal Palace F.C. were founded by workers at London's Crystal Palace, which burned down in 1936.
Arsenal F.C. was founded by workers at Woolwich Arsenal, in south-east London. Since 1913 they have been based in Highbury, north London.
Sheffield Wednesday is derived from the Wednesday Cricket Club (est 1820), which played all its matches on Wednesdays. They set up a football team in 1867 which eventually became far more successful, and, needless to say, plays games on all days of the week.
Milton Keynes Dons get their name from their predecessor club, Wimbledon F.C.
Millwall F.C. are another London example, leaving Millwall for South London in 1910. Their current home ground is in Bermondsey.
Preston North End originally played in the north end of the town, but since 1875 have been based in Deepdale, in the centre of Preston.
Leyton Orient seem to have got their name because one of their players worked for the Orient Shipping Company.
Accrington Stanley take their name from a team named Stanley Villa, based at the Stanley Arms on Stanley Street. They now play at a ground on Livingstone Road.
Port Vale are actually located in Stoke, which has neither port nor valley. The name was taken from the pub where the club was founded.
Grimsby Town F.C. moved to Cleethorpes in 1898 — admittedly only three miles away, but still a separate town.
The Brazilian "Club of 13" biggest soccer teams has 20 members.
Also, Palmeiras' stadium is Palestra Itália, as the team still had that name when it purchased it (they changed it in the 1940s as references to Axis countries became illegal). And its nickname is the previous name of the venue, Parque Antarctica (as it was started by the eponomynous beverage company).
Since 1974, the trophy for winning The World Cup has not been a cup.
This is actually an aversion, as the league's name is actually the FA Premier League. No mention of England. English is merely a disambiguation term to differentiate it from other leagues, such as the Scottish Premier League, and not part of the official name.
Track and field is still officially known as "athletics"—a holdover from ancient Greece.
Actually, "athletics" is not the official name of track and field. It's the official name of the sport that includes track and field. The sport has three other disciplines—cross country running, road running, and race walking.
Figure Skating got its name from its original focus on having one skate a series of predefined Compulsory Figures on the ice (like a Figure Eight). With the advent of television, home audiences found the process of watching skater after skater perform a series of mundane movements followed by minutes of nitpicky judging to be boring in the extreme so the Figure part of Figure Skating began to play less and less of a role in official competitions until being completely eliminated in 1990.
Rugby union club London Irish was founded in London for Irish immigrants — they now play in Reading (40 miles from London) and as of January 2011 had only two Irish players.
Less of an artifact as of December 2013, as the club has now been purchased by a group of London-based Irish businessmen.
An Artifact Nickname: Brazilian swimmer Fernando Scherer is known in his country as "Xuxa", a nickname he earned in his youth for having golden locks similar to an eponymous TV host from that country. Ever since he became a professional swimmer, he is bald (in that sport, it's either that or a swim cap).
The UK's premier tennis venue, home of Wimbledon Championships, is formally named the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This is a deliberate adoption of this trope: though croquet was dropped, and the name changed to reflect this in 1882, the current name was instated in 1889, for sentimental reasons. note The "All England" part of the name isn't really indicative either, as the club's orbit extends across the whole of the UK. The "Lawn" part is, though: Wimbledon is now the only grand slam event played on grass.
Mixed martial artist Nick "the Goat" Thompson was originally nicknamed "the Fainting Goat" due to the frequency at which he was knocked out. When he learned better defense and toughened up, his nickname got shortened to just "the Goat," which has no relevance or meaning.
The Big Ten Conference, in recent years, has never actually had 10 teams. Penn State joined in the early 90's, taking it up to 11 (the logo was then updated to include an "11" in negative space to represent this). It got even better when Nebraska joined in 2011, their departure from the Big 12 Conference (along with Colorado to the Pac-10, which now has 12 members with the addition of Colorado and Utah) resulted in the Big 12 having ten members and the Big Ten having twelve. The Big Ten expanded even further in 2014, adding Maryland and Rutgers to give the league 14 full members. The Big Ten, with its eponymous network and 100 years of history, will not be relinquishing its name to the fifteen year-old Big 12, which may just raid the Mountain West Conference anyway.
From the time the University of Chicago left the conference in 1946 to the time Michigan State joined four years later, they had only 9 teams.
The Big Ten is matched by the Atlantic 10 Conference, which also has 14 members (see below for more details on that conference).
Both are topped by the Northeast-10 Conference of Division II, which has 15 members (16 until UMass Lowell left for Division I in 2013).
The Pac-10 averted this with a 2011 expansion, it at least renamed itself the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah. However, the "Pac" part (short for "Pacific") has been something of an artifact since 1978, when Arizona and Arizona State joined the then Pac-8 to become the Pac-10.
The SEC abandoned the "Southeastern" part of their name (or at least stretches it right up to the breaking point) with the inclusion of Texas A&M (located in what's considered part of the American Southwest, though with College Station being in east Texas at least it's geographically near the Southeast) and Missouri (Midwest, and being in the northern edge of central Missouri it's even more of a stretch than Texas A&M) in 2012.
Similarly, the Atlantic Sun Conference abandoned "Atlantic" in 2005 when East Tennessee State joined. Although ETSU left in 2014, "Atlantic" is still an artifact because Northern Kentucky joined in 2012.
Ditto for the Atlantic Coast Conference, which added Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania has no Atlantic shoreline, but is still considered Mid-Atlantic) and Notre Dame (from Indiana, far from the Atlantic) in 2013 and Louisville in 2014.
The Atlantic 10 has been an example of this trope for almost all of its history. It was founded in 1975 as the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League, beginning play in 1976, and changed its name to the Eastern Athletic Association in 1977. During this time, the league was popularly known as the Eastern 8. Although two schools left in its early years, both were immediately replaced, keeping the conference at 8 members. However...
The conference expanded to 10 members in 1982, and adopted the "Atlantic 10" name. But wait... West Virginia had been a member since the league's formation, and remained a member until 1995, making "Atlantic" a misnomer.
After Penn State left for the second and final time in 1991, the A10 was down to 9 members. The conference has never had exactly 10 members since that time.
Then to 8 when Duquesne left in 1992... but they came back a year later.
West Virginia and Rutgers left in 1995, and five new schools came in, bringing the conference to 12. This would have made "Atlantic" accurate... except that two of the schools added were Dayton and Xavier, in Ohio. (Dayton is still in the league.)
Since then, the league has had 11, 12, 14, 16, 13, and now 14 members. Also, Dayton has been joined as a non-"Atlantic" member by Saint Louis (since 2005) and, for the 2012–13 season only, Butler (from Indianapolis).
The Big East is similarly a geographic artifact title. Originally consisting exclusively of East Coast schools, the conference began mildly moving away from its namesake in 1995 when it added Notre Dame (located in Indiana) as a non-football member. However, this trend increased in 2005 when it was raided by the ACC for teams and thus had to replace them with several Midwestern schools such as Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, and DePaul. Then things reallybegan to unravel in the early 2010s when the Big East was further raided by several neighboring conferences and, in an ill-fated attempt to survive, was forced to take this trope Up to Eleven, adding teams as far south as TCU in Texas and as far west as Boise State in Idaho (both moves were later cancelled). Even after the 2013 breakup into two smaller conferences, the new Big East (consisting primarily of the small Catholic private schools of the previous iteration) still breaks its naming description, as half of the 10 teams in the conference are located in the Midwest. The other half of the breakup (mainly the larger public state schools) apparently decided to preemptively avoid this issue altogether by renaming themselves the very geographically inclusive American Athletic Conference.
The West Coast Conference has had BYU, located in the inland western state of Utah, as a member since 2011.
Australian Rules Football: As the AFL expanded from a Victorian to a national competition, many Victorian clubs lost their connections to the suburbs they were named after. Collingwood, Hawthorn and St Kilda no longer have any ties to their namesake suburbs, and (except for Melbourne) the rest of the suburban grounds are used only for training and social purposes (the league's nine Melbourne-based teams have a grand total of two home stadiums)