Recently Hideki Matsui, known as Godzilla in Japan, appeared on the cover of a national magazine with the caption, Shemp, along with a picture of his counterpart from The Three Stooges. The funny thing is that his manager DonS in the Illowa APBA League has been calling him that for years. It got me thinking about nicknames and I found myself wondering, where have all the nicknames gone?
Of course a few players today are known by their nicknames, like ARod & JRoll, but those are more abbreviations than true nicknames. Then there’s B.J. Upton, an abbreviation again, but this time it’s for Bossman Junior, his dad was known as Bossman, that’s a little better, but still not quite there.
Back in the day, players were known as Ernie “The Schnoz” Lombardi and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson for the size of their beaks. Then there were players with nicknames Jim “Mudcat” Grant, John “Blue Moon” Odom, and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. One of the best nicknames was Jim “Catfish” Hunter, made up by the colorful Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley. Hawk Harrelson dubbed Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas and Carlos Lee as El Caballo. Dennis Martinez was a Nicaraguan, known as El Presidente. Of course Roger Clemens was often times referred to as The Rocket. The Freak seems to have stuck with NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.
But it seems today, for the most part, good nicknames are a thing of the past. I’d like to hear from you, with your favorite nicknames of yesterday and today, and maybe even some nicknames for current players that might be appropriate.