18 February 2010

what is a nickname?

according to thomas paine, 'titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title'.  fair enough.  i do know that there is something great about baseball and its propensity for great nicknames.  i think i have mentioned previously how much i like the 2006 fleer greats 'nickname greats' insert set, and i know i have posted about (the guy that is supposed to be) jay 'moon man' johnstone and jim 'the toy cannon' wynn before, but here are a few more from my collection that are worthy of high titular praise:

ron 'the penguin' cey
this could quite possibly be the best nickname ever.  it's not a 'berman-ism' like john 'tonight, let it be' lowenstein or bert 'be home' blyleven (both of which i absolutely love), but rather a reference to ron cey's gait.  maybe mordecai '3 finger' brown comes close.  i'll stick with the penguin, though.

here's burt 'happy' hooton.
i guess the man doesn't smile.  josh wilker kills anything i would have to say about hooton, so i'm not going to write anything more.

how about john 't-bone' shelby?
shelby's middle name starts with a 't', or maybe it's just 't', and that's where i thought the nickname came from, but always trustworthy wikipedia says it's due to his 'slight frame'.  whatever the reason, it's a good badass nickname.  shelby was a member of the 1983 and 1988 world champions.  everyone talks about mike davis' walk in game 1 of the 1988 series, but let's not forget that shelby drew a walk off of dwight gooden in the nlcs to set up mike scioscia's unlikely game-tying 9th inning home run.

tim 'rock' raines
as in 'solid as a...'.  i guess he got this nickname early on in his career, but it seems to me it didn't get mainstream attention until 1990 or so.

there are so many other great cards in the checklist (like rusty 'le grand orange' staub), and i may try at some point to complete this set.  until then, i created a few that should have been included.  here then are the 2006 fleer greats of the game nickname greats that should have been:

orel 'bulldog' hershiser
this should have been a no-brainer for the set.

mickey 'stunt man' hatcher
i think the entire 1988 dodger bench was nicknamed the stunt men, but i'll let mickey hold the name on his own.  he certainly responds to it in person.  plus, we need more mickey hatcher cards where he's not doing something goofy

you knew i would include a steve 'popeye' garvey card, didn't you?
i don't recall garvey being called popeye too much, actually, even though he did have large forearms.  i remember 'senator' or 'mr. clean', but he has signed several cards with this nickname so i guess it's legit.  don zimmer is a better popeye though, at least facially if not in the forearm department.

who else has a good nickname, worthy to be included in this set.  how about a certain blogger?
much better than the last names of four infielders, even if they were the infield of my youth.

if you, or anyone you know, happen to have any real nickname great cards lying around - i want 'em!


night owl said...

Awesome! I'm honored to be "part" of that set.

I've said this before, but the thing I like about nicknames of the players of our youth (and prior), as opposed to now, is the nicknames had something to do with a player's personality or physical makeup. I'm not much of a fan of "riffing on someone's name" nicknames, as Berman does.

Nice post.

Johngy said...

I am not a fan of Berman's name game, but it is better than the unimaginative nicknames of today, like IRod, ARod, DLee, ARam...
Back in my day (oh dear) we had Catfish, Blue Moon, Dock, Maddog and other such names.