Baseball Nicknames

It’s no secret that I’m a baseball fan, more specifically a Minnesota Twins fan. And with two big Twins stories in the news this week, I thought I ought to make another excuse to write about baseball. I mean, there’s so much slang and jargon that it practically has its own language, so it sort of fits in with the blog, right? And one of the best parts of baseballspeak is nicknames, which is what I want to write about today.

As for what was in the news this week, here we go. Outfielder Delmon Young, one of my favorite players, got traded to the Detroit Tigers. A sad day, friends. A sad day. But, that same day, Designated Hitter Jim Thome hit his immediately legendary six hundredth home run. A great day, friends. A great day. That’s my excuse, okay. That’s my excuse for talking about baseball nicknames.

Delmon Young has a great baseball nickname, “Delmonster.” Now, I don’t know how wide spread the use of this nickname is. It could just be that the drunken fans I sit by in the cheap seats like to yell this, but still, it’s a good nickname nonetheless. It’s much nicer than his other nickname, “Duh Duh Duh Delmon,” which he probably got because he tends to run circles in the outfield, sporting a confused look, before he tries to catch the ball. Jim Thome has some good nicknames, too. There’s “The Pride of Peoria,” after his hometown, “Mr. High Socks,” after his preference of foot coverings, and “My Homie, Jim Thome,” just because, well, it rhymes.

From my preparatory ponderings about nicknames and from my research (ahem, nerd) it seems that baseball nicknames (and probably most nicknames, for that matter) fall into one of several categories.

Nicknames based on real names
These tend to be the most obvious nicknames to make.

  • Steve Bedrosian: Bedrock
  • Yuniesky Betancourt: YuBet
  • Bert Blyleven: Home By Eleven Blyleven
  • Jeff Conine: Conine the Barbarian
  • Jimmie Foxx: Double X
  • Yovani Gallardo: Yo-Go
  • Aaron Harang: The Harangutan
  • Harmon Killebrew: Killer
  • Xavier Nady: X-Man
  • Guy Tutwiler: King Tut
  • Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez: A-Rod

Nicknames based on physical appearance
This is where you get yer pudgy guys named “slim” and tall guys named “shorty” and these gems, most of which are based on actual characteristics:

  • Mordecai Brown: Three Finger (That old farm-machinery accident sure did help his curveball.)
  • Johnny Dickshot: Ugly
  • Bob Fothergill: Fats
  • Bruleigh Grimes: Ol’ Stubblebeard
  • Gabby Hartnett: Old Tomato Face
  • Charlie Hickman: Piano Legs
  • Randy Johnson: The Big Unit (because he was tall, people)
  • Chet Johnson: Chesty Chet
  • Timmy Lincecum: The Freak
  • Ernie Lombardi: Schnozz (Seriously, check it.)
  • Connie Mack: The Tall Tactician
  • Don Mossi: Ears (Dude did have some big ears.)
  • Pop Tate: Dimples
  • Walt Williams: No neck (I thought maybe this was an overstatement, or maybe he had a really long neck and this was some kind of joke, but really, the man has a very short neck.)

Nicknames based on personality
Taken from on and off the field:

  • Joe Berry: Jittery Joe
  • Paul Blair: Motormouth
  • Lou Boudreau: Good Kid
  • Al Hrabosky: The Mad Hungarian
  • Sam Jones: Sad Sam
  • Tim Keefe: Smiling Tim
  • Bill Lamar: Good Time Bill
  • Bill Lattimore: Slothful Bill
  • Steve Lyons: Psycho
  • Eddie Mayo: Hotshot
  • John Garrett Olerud: Big Rude
  • Lou Skizas: The Nervous Greek
  • George Stone: Silent George
  • Gus Williams: Gloomy Gus

Nicknames based on skill
You’ve got yer Iron Horses. You’ve got yer Hammers. You’ve got yer <insert hometown/home state here> <insert skill>.

  • Hank Aaron: Hammer
  • Eddie Basinski: Bazooka
  • Roger Clemens: Rocket
  • Frankie Frisch: The Fordham Flash
  • Chuck Klein: The Hoosier Hammerer
  • Ron Guidry: Louisiana Lightning
  • Franklin Gutierrez: Death to Flying Things
  • Reggie Jackson: Mr. October (because he’d always shine at the end of the season)
  • Addie Joss: The Maestro of Twirlology
  • Joe Mauer: Baby Jesus
  • Earl Moore: Steam Engine in Boots
  • Adolfo Phillips: Panamanian Flash
  • Darrell Ray Porter: Double Barrel Darrell
  • Babe Ruth: The Sultan Of Swat
  • Jimmy Wynn: Toy Cannon

Nicknames based on pop culture:
Everything from cartoons, to rock bands, to serial killers.

  • Jerry Adair: Casper The Friendly Ghost
  • Jack Clark: Jack The Ripper
  • Darrell Wayne Evans: Howdy Doody
  • Thomas Anthony Henke: The Terminator
  • Eric Hinske: Hinkse, With His Best Shot
  • Hideki Matsui: Godzilla
  • Fred McGriff: Crime Dog
  • Mickey Rivers: Mickey Mouth
  • Travis James Snider: The Amazing Sniderman
  • Dick Stuart: Dr. Strangelove
  • Devon Markes White: Devo
  • Zolio Versalles: Zorro
  • Shane Victorino: The Energizer Bunny
  • Mitch Williams: Wild Thing
  • Eugenio Velez: (MJ’s) Thriller
  • Don Zimmer: Popeye

Random Other Great Nicknames
These don’t fit into the other categories, but they were just too good not to share.

  • Joe DiMaggio: The Yankee Clipper
  • Charlie Gehringer: The Mechanical Man
  • Dudley Michael Hargrove: The Human Rain Delay
  • Carb Hubbell: The Meal Ticket
  • Joe Jackson: Shoeless Joe
  • Kenny Lofton: Mayor of Cleveland
  • Christy Mathewson: The Christian Gentleman
  • Eddie Mathews: Eddie Mattress
  • Willie Mays: The Say-Hey Kid
  • Brooks Robinson: The Human Vacuum Cleaner
  • Billy Williams: Sweet Swingin’ Billy from Whistler

More fun nickname goodness
Here’s a link to the song “Panda and the Freak” by The Baseball Project. It lists the greatest baseball nicknames from baseball history (and today!).

Don’t have a nickname but always wanted one? Well, thanks to the interwebs, you can now have one via this online nickname generator.

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