Skip to main content

What's in a (nick)name?

Greetings...as I have shared in this space, I'm making my way through the masterful Ken Burns "Baseball" miniseries (my version of spring training, as I quipped to a friend recently).  Watching that, I'm struck by one of the lost aspects of sports--player nicknames.

The great George Herman "Babe" Ruth, possibly the most famous baseball player to ever live, had MANY nicknames, in addition to the name by which most know him:

Bambino
Sultan of Swat
Wazzir of Wham
Caleph of Clout
Behemoth of Bust
and more

His New York Yankee teammate, the durable and underrated Lou Gehrig, was nicknamed "The Iron Horse," owing to his consecutive game streak that was broken a few years ago by Cal Ripken, Jr.  And Cal had no nickname that I know of.

Another Yankee, Joe DiMaggio, was known alternately as "Joltin' Joe" or the "Yankee Clipper."  National League slugger Jimmy Foxx was known simply as "Double X," and Rogers Hornsby was called "The Rajah."

So what happened?  Why don't athletes have colorful nicknames anymore?  In more modern times, the best nickname I can think of was for former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Sean Casey, who became known as "The Mayor."  This was largely because he was so outgoing that he would chat with EVERY baserunner and even the umpire during play.  A close second was former outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who was known as "Nails."  As in tough as.

Ken Griffey, Jr. was known as simply "Junior," which was more of his name (to separate him from his dad, Ken Griffey, Sr.) than a nickname.

Still another that comes to mind was the great Pittsburgh Pirate Willie Stargell, who, in the latter stages of his career, became a vocal leader on the Pirates club and was dubbed "Pops" by his younger teammates.

I want nicknames to come back.  And not the idiotic ones that Chris Berman of ESPN is known for.  The worst one of his?  Bert "Be Home" Blyleven.  Clever once, but not if it's often repeated.

Who's with me?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…