Friday, May 8, 2009

What's In A Name?

Nicknames. I think baseball, more than any other sport, embraces nicknames for their players, especially in their home towns. There are obvious exceptions in other pro sports including Shaquille O'Neill's 50 nicknames or "Sweetness" Walter Payton, but only in baseball, I think, does almost every player on the team have some sort of nickname to their fans. Some stick, some don't. Many come to be part of a player's legacy. For instance, Ty Cobb is remembered as "The Georgia Peach". Makes him seem nice instead of calling him "The Racist Prick", which may have been more fitting.

We've been especially lucky in Detroit. From Mark "The Bird" Fidrych to "The Big Wheel" Lance Parrish to Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and back to "Mr. Tiger" Al Kaline, we've had some great ones. Even many of our not-so-great players have had memorable nicknames. William Henry Barnes will always be "Skeeter" to Tiger fans and Exavier Prente Logan will always be "Nook". I've been lucky enough to have rooted for guys like "Big Daddy" Cecil Fielder, Chet "The Jet" Lemon, "Sweet" Lou Whitaker, Mickey "Fruit Loops" Tettleton, and their leader, George "Sparky" Anderson over the years. In recent years, we've had "The Gambler", "The Mayor", and "The Human Roller Coaster" playing for us. As for the current group? Not a great group for nicknames. Some are famous for them. Others just have nicknames amongst myself and my friends, or at blogs I've read. Here's a quick list.

Joel Zumaya: "Zoom", "Glass Joel"
Justin Verlander: "JV", "Justin Credible"
Magglio Ordonez: "Maggs", "The Big Tilde"
Brandon Inge: "Special Little Guy", "Cringe", "BInge"
Placido Polanco: "Polly", "Mr. Potato Head"
Miguel Cabrera: "Cabby", "Ca-boom", "Miggy"
Curtis Granderson: "Grandy", "Mr. Perfect"
Jeremy Bonderman: "Bondo"
Rick Porcello: "Dreamboat Rick"
Fernando Rodney: "Capt. Crookedhat"
Dane Sardinha: "Not So Great Dane"
Ramon Santiago: "The Little Tiger That Could"
Josh Anderson: "Mr. Anderson", "Neo"
Dontrelle Willis: "D-Train", "D-List"
Zach Miner: Zach "Should Be In The" Miner(s)
Marcus Thames: "Well-Tanned Rob Deer"
Brandon Lyon: "Todd Jones Jr."
Jim Leyland: "The Marlboro Man"

And, of course...

Nate Robertson: "DesigNate Robertson"

7 comments:

OldEnglish said...

I like "Special Little Guy."

Wendy said...

"Neo"

I'm going to use that one.

Matthew said...

I was always a big fan of Jim Price referring to Kenny Rogers as "The Professor".

"The gambler" was an obvious nickname, but "The Professor" really captured Kenny as a player because of the approach he took to the game and the way he taught the other pitchers on the staff.

BigJP said...

My personal favorite is "Mr. Potato Head".

J Ellet Lambie said...

"The Well Tanned Rob Deer" is an instant classic. Cool story, linked to it on my blog this morning.

Walewander said...

"Brandon and the Angry Inge"

J Ellet Lambie said...

"The Well Tanned Rob Deer" is an instant classic. Cool story, linked to it on my blog this morning.