There was a time when nicknames were common in major league baseball. Today, there are a few, and some players wear them proudly. They may have been associated with a physical deformity, or some physical trait, like red hair. Many were very colorful, and some, you just wondered how in the world that guy got that handle.
The Dodgers have had more than their share of these characters. And some of those are in the Hall of Fame. Probably the most recognizable nickname in baseball history is Babe. And if you bring that name up, a fan will usually say, Babe Ruth.
The Dodgers had their own Babe in the 30’s, Babe Herman. He wasn’t as good as Ruth, but he still holds the team record for the highest batting average in any season. He hit .393 in 1930. That was arguably the best season ever by any Dodger player in history. Check this slash line, .393/.447/.678 with 35 homers, 130 RBIs and an OPS of 1.124. His OPS+ was 169. And he did not even win the batting title! Bill Terry of the Giants hit .401.
But let’s get back on track about nicknames in baseball. Babe’s real name was Floyd Caves Herman. Babe Ruth supposedly was hung with his nickname by his Baltimore teammates when he first arrived on the scene. He was a babe in the woods so to speak.
But he earned a couple of others along the way, The Bambino, and the Sultan of Swat. But nicknames go back much further than Ruth. One of my favorites is a player who was with the Phillies before the turn of the century. His name was Robert Ferguson. His nickname? “Death to all Flying Things”. Wow. How did that guy get that handle?
He got the nickname because of his prowess as a fielder. He wore many hats over his career in baseball, player, league official, umpire and manager. He also served as president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players from 1972-75. He had a 14-year career in the majors and hit exactly 1 homer. He was noted for his stubbornness and temper.
But the list of nicknames is very long, he is just one colorful name on the list. Some of them are just head scratching. For instance, former reliever, Don Stanhouse, was called Full Pack by his manager, Earl Weaver, because he would smoke a full pack of cigarettes when he was pitching. Made him that nervous. But his other nickname was hung on him by his teammates. Since there was already a Stan the Man, Musial, his teammates called him Stan the Man Unusual.
Harold Reese became Pee Wee in his youth because of his prowess with that particular marble. A game rarely played today. Carl Furillo, before he came to the Dodgers, was known as the Reading Rifle, a tribute to his hometown, and his strong right throwing arm. In Brooklyn, he earned another one, Ol Skoonj. A reflection on his love of the Italian dish, Scungilli.
The Cardinals had Dizzy and Daffy, the Dean brothers, the Dodgers had Dazzy. His nickname was related to his dazzling fastball. Charles would rarely be called Charles after that handle was laid on him. What is amazing about Vance’s career is the fact that he had won zero MLB games before his 30th birthday. From then on he won 197. And became a Hall of Fame pitcher.
Duke Snider got his nickname from his dad for his self-assured swagger. He earned a couple of others while in Brooklyn, “The Duke of Flatbush, and the Silver Fox. Chase Utley was called the Silver Fox towards the end of his career.
Here are some of the more recognizable and unusual nicknames. Mickey Mantle, The Commerce Comet, Stan Musial, The Man, The Donora Greyhound, Leo Durocher, The Lip, Hank Aaron, Hammer, Hammerin Hank, Bad Henry, Walter Alston, Smokey, Luke Appling, Old Aches and Pains. Wade Boggs, Chicken Man, Lou Gehrig, The Iron Horse.
Yasiel Puig, The Wild Horse, Lou Brock, The Franchise, Albert Pujols, The Machine, El Hombre and Tio Albert, Honus Wagner, The Flying Dutchman, which was weird because Wagner was German. The Waner brothers were known as Big Poison and Little Poison. Ozzie Smith,, The Wizard, Willie Mays, The Say Hey Kid, Don Sutton, Black and Decker.
There was Bill Spaceman Lee, David Big Papi Ortiz, Ted Williams, The Splendid Splinter, Joe DiMaggio, The Yankee Clipper, Mordecai, Three Finger Brown, Chief Bender, Mitch Wild Thing Williams, Oil Can Boyd, Adam Dunn was The Big Donkey.
As you can see, the list is long. Some of the names were known only to the players’ teammates. Others were well known by the public. The Dodgers have CT3 and Code Red, Chris Taylor and Dustin May. The Catman, Tony Gonsolin, and JT was Redturn. I also liked when they had that players day promotion and the players put different nicknames on the back of their jerseys, one of my favorites was Ross Stripling, better known as Chicken Strip.
Koufax was “The Left Arm of God”, Roseboro was Gabby. Orel Hershiser, Bulldog, Ron Cey, The Penguin, Steve Garvey, Popeye, Frank Howard, Hondo, Lou Johnson, Sweet Lou, and Fernando was El Toro. They are not as prominent as they once were. They take us back to a simpler time.
Most nicknames were made up by sportswriters and stuck. The writers were colorful back in the day. Not so much anymore.
Partially true. But many were not. Many were hung on the player by teammates, some like Snider and Reese were acquired in their youth.
I actually wrote this, not Jeff. But he is busy the next couple of days. Also it should be the Waner Brothers, not Wagner.
We have nicknames.
Mine was hung on me when I was stationed in Germany. While on duty on our tac-site, my fellow soldiers felt I snored like a bear, so now since I am much older, I am the Old Bear. My grandkids used to call me Ye Olde Curmudgeon. Before I became the Bear, I had the nickname of “Chowtruck.” Why? Because while we would be manning our missile site in Korea, we would get hungry later in the evening. We would send down to the EM club for a burger run. Minimum amount they would send one up for was 2 bucks. Now burgers were 15 cents, and not everyone was hungry. But whenever I was up there, the 2 dollar order was no sweat. 4 burgers and a couple of cokes.
I like it.
Been fixed. I do like to take credit for the good ones. 😉
See how you are???? LOL 😊
Fix the Wagner brother to Waner brothers
Fix Miller’s from-the-stretch pitching!
““The one flaw in Miller’s game is that he’s worse with runners on base, in results but also in stuff, losing about a half a mile an hour on his pitches and missing fewer bats when he’s working from the stretch. With the bases empty, hitters hit .188/.263/.259 off Miller, but with men on base they hit .278/.335/.451, including eight of the 12 homers Miller allowed on the season. It’s enough that Miller is going to have to make an adjustment at some point to reach his ceiling.”
I love this post!
I think/know there are a ton of nicknames, however the Press no longer uses them.
Blame the AP styleguide, or the NYTimes’ but I think reporters are more inclined to use proper names, and frivolities like nicknames are a thing of the past.
Some current nicknames:
Kershaw: The Claw, Kid K, The Minotaur or Kersh
Urias: El Culichi
Treinen is Train.
Austin Barnes’ nickname is Sam!
This is a fun reference:
They have the same list on Wikipedia
When I heard yesterday that Gonsolin had signed for 2 years/6.65 million, I thought that was really pretty low for him.
I just came across this note in the NY Post, of all places, and now I’m feeling better about his deal:
“Gonsolin gets $3.25 million this year and $3.4 million in 2024.
His salary in the second season can escalate by up to $3 million based on a points system in which he will be credited one point for each start, or each relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings: $500,000 apiece for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. The 2024 salary also would increase by $1,125,000 for winning a Cy Young Award this year, $625,000 for finishing second or third in the voting and $500,000 for finishing fourth or fifth.”
So, he could actually earn a total of 9.65 million if every point incentive was reached. Since I have no clue how average salaries are calculated for luxury tax purposes, maybe this helps AF keep things lower for this year instead of having to include the 2024 incentives into this years AAV.
They do not include incentives in the AAV. In my cynical mind, when I first saw it, knowing that the Dodgers low-balled the arbitration number, that they minimized their injury risk cost with two low guarantees, but with a huge upside if there is no injury. Again in my cynical mind, I am wondering if the Dodgers think there is a potential significant injury they wanted protection from.
No accusations, no suppositions, no allegations. Just a question that popped in my brain.
Gonzo had forearm issues last year. Some believe he is headed for TJ eventually.
I wish all contracts were like this one. If a team wants to award a player for past performance then give him a signing bonus but future pay should be based on performance. Yes, I know signing bonuses count toward AAV.
Just strikes me as good business. He’s definitely an injury risk in my mind but at least if he can avoid it he can put a nice amount of extra cash in his bank acct.
We have two Miggies Vargas and Rojas!
Outman and Miller could both be all-stars based on their tools and likewise fail if their weaknesses can’t be fixed. Outman struggles with contact and Miller struggles with control and apparently pitching from the stretch.
Some of my favorites – Dr. Strangeglove (Dick Stuart), Poosh ’em up (Tony Lazzeri), human rain delay (Mike Hargrove), Toy cannon (Jimmy Wynn), Crime dog (Fred McGriff), Shoeless Joe (Joe Jackson)
What is Rich Hill’s nickname? i think he has one… Dick Mountain?
Justin “Red” Turner
Actually JT uses Redturn 10
Bob Geren is no longer the Dodger Bench coach, Danny Lehman has been moved to that position. Geren is not the on field coordinator.
For the first time publicly, Dodgers brass today addressed the team’s decision to release Trevor Bauer during a meeting with local reporters
Full story coming later on @latimessports w/ quotes from Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedman, but for now here are a few notable takeaways:
Friedman was asked if he regretted signing Bauer in the first place:
“The way it played out is obviously not what we thought. But with the way things have transpired, we feel good about our decision to move on and focus on the guys that we have.”
Friedman also said that while the Bauer situation was a major unknown this winter, it wasn’t necessarily a hindrance to the team’s offseason:
“I don’t think it impacted what we either did or attempted to do this offseason.”
Dodgers president Stan Kasten said the team feels “we did make the right decision.”
He said they took the entire two weeks after Bauer was reinstated to decide whether to release him “to be sure we were making the right decision.”
More from Kasten on the decision-making process:
“We had the time to check all our bases, get all the input you could get to make a decision, which we did. And that included hearing from Trevor, because we had not spoken to him since the beginning of this.”
Kasten didn’t provide details about the team’s meeting w/ Bauer the day before they DFA’d him –– including his claim that the team told him they wanted him back
“I’m not gonna get into contradicting or agreeing with anything about what was supposed to be a private conversation.”
Kasten said they hadn’t made a final decision prior to the meeting with Bauer, but that “we all had a strong feeling all the way through the process of the right way to handle this”
He added they reached their decision to release him “within a very short time” after that meeting
Just read it. Didn’t believe several lines in it. Felt to me they continue to iron out the wrinkles in their story.
They just need to come out and admit that they screwed the pooch when they signed Bauer. They totally blew it and don’t want to admit it. There were warning signs that Bauer was a risk.
@Badger many lawyers went into the creation of that story.
@ohioI think that’s exactly what happened, but what’s to gain by admitting it?
It goes away.
I will be away for most of today due to a medical procedure. Hopefully I will be able to resume writing by Saturday.
Hope it turns out excellente! Got one in the cue for you.
Are you surprised by this quote from Gomes?
“I think Muncy is a great athlete, personally. He always graded out well,” Gomes said. “Vargas is our second- or third-fastest guy on the team, which is probably not appreciated at all. So he’s also a good athlete. It’s more about getting him reps and getting his feel at second base. I think a combination of it all is really strong.”
The quote surprised me at first, but we did get rid of Trea and Cody, possibly our two fastest guys.
Another quote in that same article stated that Vargas feels 2b is his best position and it’s the one he enjoys playing the most.
Frankly I’m surprised by all of it. I had him at third. Now I hear he covers a lot of ground. He’s fast? Either that or the rest of the team is slow.
I would have thought that Thompson, Outman, Lux, Betts, Taylor and maybe even Smith would have been faster.
I checked sprint speed from last season.
Outman and Vargas didn’t have enough appearances to be on the list, but of the guys who are still around Lux is the fastest, followed by CT3, Trayce, Mookie, Muncy (all above the MLB average). And then Freddie and Barnes. I’m surprised that Barnes ranks so low, although we’re looking at pretty minor differences from best to worst. They rate them in feet/second. Reference is Baseball Savant.
Keith Law continues the nearly unanimous industry praise for the Dodgers drafting and development team.
The Dodgers are #1 system in his rankings on TheAthletic.
AZ apparently is top heavy while LA is deeper.
Dever’s 11 year contract sure lowered his simulator points.
It would appear that depth will be tested soon.
Over at ESPN, they put together a column of bold predictions for some of this year’s top prospects. The prediction from Eric Karabell about Vargas is pretty great.
Diego Cartaya (C): Will be the next Will Smith — or better
&h=60&w=60By the end of the year, it’ll be fair to wonder whether Cartaya can be just as good — if not better — than Smith, the current catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Smith, 27, is already one of the sport’s greatest catchers. But Cartaya’s combination of on-base ability and power, along with his plus arm strength and steadily improving defense, will soon make industry executives wonder if Smith might actually be expendable.