Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What are your favorite nicknames?

Red Faber: Nickname too common.

An uncle in suburban St. Louis called my attention to a feature story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch concerning unusual nicknames for baseball players.

Among those the paper profiled is Hall of Famer Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne, who, before hitting the National League played professionally in Dubuque in 1879. That team included Charles "The Old Roman" Comiskey, who later owned the Chicago White Sox and entered the Hall himself.

The article also lists "Cool Papa," "Ducky," "Big Poison" (and, of course, "Little Poison"), "Highpockets" and a host of others.

The Post-Dispatch didn't mention either of the two players I have spent the most time researching Urban "Red" Faber (pictured) or Ray "Cracker" Schalk. Not a surprise regarding Faber; it seemed that every team in every sport had a "Red" on its roster during the 20th century. "Cracker" is more unusual, and might have qualified for the Post-Dispatch, but, hey, it's a newspaper article, not a novel.

Audience participation time: What nicknames do you consider the most interesting or unusual? Send in your choices.

Photo credit: George Bain Collection, Library of Congress


KL Snow said...

A quick glance down the list of Hall of Famers reveals a few easy choices:

George Herman "Babe" Ruth
Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean
James Augustus "Catfish" Hunter
Michael Joseph "King" Kelly
Walter James Vincent "Rabbit" Maranville
Henry Emmett "Heinie" Manush
Harold Henry "Pee Wee" Reese
Harold Joseph "Pie" Traynor
Clarence Arthur "Dazzy" Vance
Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson

Also, while they're not exclusively associated with one player, I think every team that's been around for more than 50 years has had a Chief, Kid, Lefty, and as you mentioned, a Red.

My favorite nicknames, though, are the ones I've developed myself and tried to make catch on. Last year's Milwaukee Brewers, for example, had Kevin Mench, with the largest recorded hat size in baseball history. I took to calling him the "Menchstrosity."

erik hogstrom said...

I have three favorites, all with San Francisco connections.
1) SF-born Hall of Famer George Kelly was called "Highpockets." I have no clue what that means.
2) SF Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey was called "Stretch."
3) More recent SF Giants hero Will Clark was called "The Thrill," and I will never forget his first major league at bat -- he homered off Nolan Ryan.