August 27, 2017

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned baseball nicknames like Dizzy, Dazzy, Daffy, Ducky and Sparky?

Asks Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald on the occasion of "Players Weekend," when the MLB players are wearing uniforms with nicknames on their backs. Most of the nicknames today are "just a lengthening or a shortening of a player's name, much the way it's done in hockey." Miles, who writes about the Chicago Cubs, isn't too excited about calling Anthony Rizzo "Riz," John Lackey "Lack," and Pedro Strop "Stropie."
But I loved the multilayered nicknames of yore, such as the... Wild Horse of the Osage, the sub-nickname of Pepper Martin, whose given name was Johnny Leonard Roosevelt Martin, a pretty cool given name at that for a mainstay of the St. Louis Cardinals Gashouse Gang.
So, the whole team can have a nickname.
Better yet were the nicknames that had you looking up the players' real names, in the Baseball Encyclopedia back in the day or on Baseball Reference today. Dizzy, Dazzy, Daffy, Ducky and Sparky were Jerome, Charles, Paul, Joe and George, respectively....
Today, there's Scooter Gennett (the former Brewer, who's now a Red). For Players Weekend, Scooter wore his real name, Ryan.

Here's Matt Mueller at On Milwaukee, ranking all 39 of the Brewers nicknames. He too is not pleased with the names that are simple variations on the original name, like "Webby" for Tyler Webb. (#38.) Take it one more level, Webby. At least get to "Duckfoot." Mueller gives #8 place to Brett Phillips, for "Maverick":
The reason why Brett "Maverick" Phillips is an awesome nickname is because IT'S NOT A NICKNAME. "Maverick" is Brett Phillips' actual middle name. Those parents knew what they were doing. I hope he has a sibling with Iceman for a middle name....

37 comments:

rhhardin said...

Nicholasname.

rhhardin said...

You have to avoid the nicknames of slave owners.

rhhardin said...

Dogs have dog names. A cat with a dog name is made a clown.

rhhardin said...

"JH" for Jesus.

rhhardin said...

Derrida says philosophers name dogs with dog names so that they remain obedient.

rhhardin said...

So baseball nicknames in baseball keeps the players obedient.

David Begley said...

Current University of Nebraska-Lincoln baseball player: Morris "Mojo" Hagge.

Lem said...

Nicknames of yore might be considered bullying now.

Nobody wants to go through sensitivity training.

Lem said...

Or 'microagression'. My phones AI won't predict that word yet.

exhelodrvr1 said...

White privilege.

AJ Ford said...

Don't forget about Who, he plays first base. What's on second. I Don't Know iis on third. Today's pitchibg.

Ann Althouse said...

"Dogs have dog names. A cat with a dog name is made a clown."

Funny, I thought when I saw the names on the uniforms last night, I connected it with National Dog Day, which I'd just learned about. I thought what might be going on was they were using their dog's name.

By the way, I almost got a dog and was going to name it Jasper. Then I got a cat and used the name Jasper. Are you calling my cat Jasper a clown?

(This happened in the 1970s. I haven't had a cat in decades.)

EDH said...

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned baseball nicknames like Dizzy, Dazzy, Daffy, Ducky and Sparky?

My all time favorite player was Dingle Norwood.

William said...

Does the author know there was a James Garner TV show called Bret Maverick?

Saint Croix said...

Nicknames are awesome. In F3, we all get a nickname. And you can't complain about your nickname. If you complain about your nickname, you get a worse one. My nickname is Soundtrack because I make a lot of noise when I exercise. Off the top of my head, some of the nicknames I can remember.

007
My Sharona
Wax Off
Money
Strummer
Rev
Horse
Grapevine
Ditka

One guy's wife complained about Cowboy and so his new nickname became Assless Chaps.

Never complain about your nickname!

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Ah - good old Sparky Anderson.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Were that many baseball nicknames really aligned with cartoon ducks?

Henry said...

Here's The Sporting News ranking of the 75 best player's day nicknames.

One of the best is 25. Who? … Chih-Wei Hu

But Gary Sanchez's nickname -- Kraken -- is awesome because it is his actual nickname.

Big Papi, sadly, is retired.

Laslo Spatula said...

Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford.

Uh oh.

I am Laslo.

Curious George said...

Some good ones although all are retired:

Mookie Wilson
Oil Can Boyd
Pee Wee Reese
Duke Snyder

My favorite baseball knicknames:

Nuke Laloosh.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Baseball nicknames just don't cut it anymore. It's hard to compete when the NFL has players with names like Barkevious Mingo and D'Brickashaw Furgeson.

J2 said...

Rollie Fingers, pitcher.
Not a nickname

khematite said...

In the Rollie Fingers vein, there was Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown. Germans like Henry Manush got nicknamed "Heinie" and if your name was Lou Novikoff you were "The Mad Russian." NYC's three shortstops in the 1950s were Scooter, Pee Wee, and Blackie. Blackie got his nickname partly because his last name was "Dark" but mainly because he used a black bat.

Crimso said...

Rusty Staub is what happened, that's what.

David said...

Brewer nicknames? The Sudsy Boys? Whatever you call them they will still leave too many runners on base and have erratic relief pitching.

Otto said...

Nicknames were a way of identifying yourself outside of your tribe. It was a form of Americanism, now dead.

exiledonmainstreet said...

There is a prospect in the minors whose real name is Handsome Monica. I pray that Handsome Monica makes it to the majors. With a name like that, who needs a nickname?

Paddy O said...

I think it's a generational thing. I didn't think in terms of nicknames growing up. I mean I sort of use one here, but no one ever once has called me that in real life. I got called by my last name on occasion, which is itself a kind of nickname (not that all last names are, but some can be). I didn't know anyone with nicknames growing up, I can't remember anyone in any level of schooling, including college.

GWB was a nicknamer. Maybe the Baby Boomers were the last to use it. I didn't learn school songs or wear beanies my freshman year or any of that either.

I wonder if it's due to the wider variety of names. When everyone's a Robert or William or Charles, you make distinctions.

Maverick was also a Mel Gibson movie. But any Gen-Xer or younger would immediately think of Top Gun.

exiledonmainstreet said...

My favorite Brewer nickname is "Bat Boy" for Zach Davies, the 6'0" 155 lb. pitcher who looks like he's 14 years old. He struggles to grow facial hair.

However, Bat Boy does not struggle against the Dodgers. He shutout best team in baseball last night, who couldn't hit his 89 mph pitches. That's the second time he's beaten them this year.

Molly said...

I guess it doesn't fit on the back of a jersey, but Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson played for and managed the Phillies back when.

The Godfather said...

When I was a teen-ager in an all-boys school, everyone had (at least one, usually several) nicknames, and most of them were at least insulting, and generally crude. They would ALL be microagressions today. But the way it worked was, when someone called you by your insulting nickname, you knew you were accepted.

Bricap said...

How could Tyler Webb not have a Caddyshack influenced nickname?



Bricap said...

The Count was originally John "The Count" Montefusco, former Giants pitcher in the 70s. Must have been a play on the Count of Monte Cristo. Not sure how Garza got to that moniker.

Known Unknown said...

RE: BIRD DOG
"What a weird, wonderful nickname. The team's lone 2017 all-star says the nickname came from his college ball days, doing everything with a smile on his face. I, on the other hand, like to imagine it's some odd reference to the cartoon TV show "Cat Dog" but with a bird instead genetically bonded with a dog. Would watch; make it happen, Adult Swim."

Is the author really this dumb? He doesn't know what a bird dog is?

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Not sure how Garza got to that moniker."

He looks like Count Chocula.

Bricap said...

Interesting. Thanks, exiled.