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When nicknames were cool

Sep 14, 2010, 3:35 PM EDT

We occasionally get a cool nickname these days, but it’s rare. Mostly we get lame variations of the A-Rod thing, which is a concept I had thought reached its nadir with the ironic “Man-Ram” but came roaring back to life with the non-ironic “Car-Go.” Oy.

But there used to be a time when you could call guys “Dummy” and “Three-Finger” and “Fatty” and “Turkey” without fear of being called insensitive by the nickname police.  Which, now that I think about it, wasn’t very nice and probably caused guys to have self-esteem problems they masked with strong liquor and phony, self-destructive machismo. But dadgummit, the names looked great in the paper!

Mental Floss has a number of great baseball nicknames today, complete with origin story. I highly recommend it.  And how can you pass up a recommendation from a fella some people call Shyster?

  1. BC - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    I was going to say that Razor Shines was the greatest nickname ever, but apparently that’s his real name.

  2. Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Part of me died when I saw “Death to Flying Things” wasn’t an original.

  3. BC - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    What, no Pepper Martin? What kind of list is this?

  4. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    “now that I think about it, wasn’t very nice and probably caused guys to have self-esteem problems they masked with strong liquor and phony, self-destructive machismo.”
    Most people weren’t spineless jellyfish with self esteem problems back then, like we have today. Call me what you will, I know my real name, and i’ll never forget it. I just can’t get into the PC thing. It must be Jersey water or something, because my friends are all pretty mean and ruthless when it comes to social interaction with other friends. Everyone I work with as well, Ok the men anyway. But I’m thinking the New Yorkers are with me on this for the most part.

  5. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    We have cool nicknames today too. Coco Crisp, Milton Bradley, Oh, wait, sorry Mrs. Crisp, sorry Mrs Bradley.

  6. scatterbrian - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Coco is short for Covelli

  7. ralphdibny - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I never understood why Pigpen never caught on for Craig Biggio.

  8. Simon DelMonte - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    My brother and I found “Death to Flying Things” while thumbing through the Baseball Encyclopedia. It remains one of my favorite nicknames.
    And it’s also why every baseball fan should be required to own a copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia or similar book, or database, and turn to a random listing once in a while. You never know what you will find.

  9. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Well, I’d go by Coco too then.

  10. AllThat - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Charlie Hustle…….Too bad Pete……….Gambled and lied for most of your life……….

  11. RichardInBigD - Sep 14, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    First, what the hell is a “ster”, and how can you tell if it’s shy? And there are too some cool new nicknames coming out these days. Just not always at the major league level. My son was on a team whose best three pitchers were like a litte club. Their real names were Adam, Kevin and Nick, AKA “A-Train”, “K-Train” and “Nick-at-Night-Train”. Known throughout their competitive little circle of select teams.

  12. Omega - Sep 14, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    I think it is just a shame that a lot of guys seem to have internal club nicknames that don’t seem to make the press much anymore. My favorite is still Aaron Cook of the Rockies, all his teammates call him ‘Cookie’.

  13. gottago - Sep 14, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Who is the ol’ black guy in the black and white photo? I bet he must have had a cool nickname way back then when nicknames were cool. He kind of looks like Oil Can Boyd, but surley all of his pictures would have been in color since he played in the 80′s and 90′s – the 1980′s and 1990′s.

  14. Tony A - Sep 14, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    My brother and I did the very same thing, many, many years ago. Worst thing about it was, we were in a public library, already in giggle mode from some of the nicknames we had come across, and when that came up, it was all we could do to stiffle the real guffaws that were trying to come out. Good memory…

  15. murd - Sep 15, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    I think Soria has the best in the game right now. The Mexicutioner.

  16. Snappy - Sep 15, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Don’t be sorry to Mrs Bradley, apparently Milton Bradley senior filled out his son’s birth certificate and abandoned the family. Ouch

  17. RickB - Sep 15, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Yeah, it’s Oil Can. Could be a pic from a newspaper that was slow to convert to color.

  18. Trevor B - Sep 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    You HBT guys need to make a post and follow it with a poll to find the best nick name of the last 15 yearsish. Really, it is sad that nicknames are a dying breed now days, but I’d like to think Pudge (although you no longer hear it) was probably the best. I’m not fond on the nick names that just take the first part of the first and last name (A-Rod, Man-Ram, Han-Ram, Cargo) or a variation of A-Rod (K-Rod).

    I’m not even particularly fond on Pujols’ “El Hombre” and neither is he as Stan was the only “The Man”, therefore rendering El Hombre not that original, unless you don’t know a lick about spanish or history.

  19. Steve-O - Sep 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    When I was still playing little league ball not too long ago we had a player on our team who, although he was 14 or 15 didn’t look much older than 6 or 7 years old. We called him Seven all year long and it got to the point that even his parents would chant it when he got up to bat. Pretty classic.

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