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Reader Bill Kellick recently pointed me toward Connie, which is a site devoted to Connie Nicholas Carberg, who in 1976 was hired by the Jets to become the NFL’s first female scout. She’s devoted most of her life to the Jets (her father was the team’s internist for 24 years, so she grew up around the team), and her site is filled with interesting Jets-centric photos.

Here, for example, is a great shot of Jets players participating in a charity basketball game — apparently while wearing their football jerseys — at Babylon High School on Long Island in the summer of 1968. That’s running back Emerson Boozer taking the jump shot while wearing Chucks. Note that the Babylon team is wearing sleeves (for all of today’s images, you can click to enlarge):

And here’s a gem — the team’s 1966 Thanksgiving dinner menu:

There are also lots of candid photos of Joe Namath and other Jets greats, some crazy retro clothing (that’s Emerson Boozer again on the left, with his wife, Enez Boozer, seated next to him), and more — it’s a really fun site to explore, and definitely worth your time.

As I looked at the various photos, though, one thing stood out: Connie herself has worn a tremendous number of Jets-branded shirts and dresses over the years. I counted a dozen, and I think I may have missed a few because the site has so many different photo galleries. Here, check this out (if you can’t see the slideshow below, click here):

There are even more T-shirts to be found if you count the ones worn by other people in the various photos. The site’s photo galleries are like a Jets merch time capsule.

I hadn’t known about Connie or her website until now, so big thanks to Bill Kellick for the tip.

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Membership update: Three new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Chris Valenzuela’s card, shown at right, which is based on this Arizona hoops sweatback jersey — Scott did a great job with it, no?). These are the first three cards of the current batch of eight, so they won’t be printed until we fill the other five slots.

If you want to fill one of those slots, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here. And, as always, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we make the cards here.

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Too good for the Ticker: Got a spare 30 grand lying around? Then you might wanna give it all to me already and what the fuck is taking you so long put it toward this vintage Mets bullpen buggy, which looks like it’s in great shape.

But wait a minute — something ain’t right. The headlights are just, you know, headlights. Everyone knows a real bullpen buggy is supposed to have headlights mounted in baseball gloves. Hmmmmm. Maybe you should just give the 30 grand to me after all.

On the plus side, the buggy’s cap has a blue squatchee, which of course is period-appropriate. If the Mets had a buggy like this today, let’s hope they’d trade it for a shortstop or a lefty reliever it’d have an orange squatchee. But New Era would probably insist on having its logo on the side.

My favorite part of the auction listing: This photo of the gas and brake pedals. Nice!

You like bullpen buggies? You might wanna check out this ESPN article on buggy history that I wrote a few million years ago. Lots of good photos and info — enjoy.

(Big thanks to Mets Police honcho Shannon Shark for tipping me wise to this one.)

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

The other day I watched a clip of a 1980 Spurs/76ers game, featuring George Gervin and Julius Erving. Or, as they were better known, the “Iceman” and “Dr. J.” Or, by the even shorter monikers “Ice” and “Doc.”

I realized that athletes don’t have cool nicknames anymore. Take Kevin Durant, for instance. Every so often the internet or the media tries to give Durant a nickname, and none of the suggestions stick. In fact, they’re usually hackneyed and forced. (“Slim Reaper?” Come on.) He just goes by KD, and that’s good enough, I guess.

My question is, what are some of your favorite athlete nicknames? Have you ever given someone — either a friend, teammate, or even an athlete you watch — a nickname? Do you have a nickname? If so, what’s the story behind it?

I like boxer Thomas Hearns’s “Motor City Cobra” tag. Two nicknames in one! I’ve never had a nickname that stuck long-term, but in eighth grade my baseball team called me “Chewbacca,” for reasons that remain unclear. Lastly, I was the coach of my brother’s grade school basketball team when I was 17, and our center was so big and so stiff and awkward that when he fell to the floor, it was like a tree was falling. So I called him “Big Oak.”

As always, post your responses in today’s comments.

• • • • •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Mono-black uniforms — with black lettering, too — for Mississippi State (from Sander Bryan). … The Orioles released their 2015 promotional schedule. Andrew Cosentino is excited for the Buck Showalter garden gnomes giveaway. … Fans chose which jersey the Birmingham Barons will wear on their Star Wars night (from Phil). … For a moment yesterday it seemed that the UAB softball team was going to wear #FreeUAB helmets during a game last night in support of the school’s football program, but it turned out to all be a hoax (from Phil). … A fan at Yankees Spring Training wore a No. 31 Derek Jeter shirt, because Jeter wore that number for the Tampa Yankees in Single-A ball (from Patrick O’Neill). … All the players on Tennessee wear stirrups (from Dustin Semore). … Amanda Punim found a very intriguing high school team photo that made the cover of the San Clemente Times. “All of the players went high-cuffed, but the hosiery was a variety of stirrups, and Nike, Under Armour, and logo-free socks,” Amanda explains. “It’s on the beach and they are wearing street shoes like Vans and Converse. The boy second from the front is holding a cane, pretending it is a bat. There is a memorial patch and it appears that some players are purposefully covering it up.” So much going on, I love it.

NFL News: The Browns will unveil their new unis in a one-hour TV special on April 14 (from Phil). … 49ers LB Patrick Willis wore his tie in an interesting fashion at his retirement press conference yesterday. I’d say there’s a 30 percent chance that this catches on with the youth of today (from Phil). … Lions fans are burning and burying their Ndamukong Suh jerseys (from Phil). … The USFL’s LA Express wore dark facemasks in 1985, but kicker Tony Zendejas wore a white one in a game against the Breakers (from Chris Markham).

Basketball News: LeBron James lost his headband during the Cavs’ game against the Suns on Saturday and continued to play without it last night. … Mavs F Chandler Parsons, who switched shoe brands after having ankle issues this season, will continue to wear taped-over Jordans until his custom-made Anta shoes arrive. … The Jazz gave away gorgeous striped socks last night. … New Adidas shoes for John Wall. “What’s cool is that this is a rare case of non-charity-related pink in men’s sports in the US,” says Adam Hainsfurther. “What’s double cool is that it’s a great way of tying into local culture/events with the cherry blossoms blossoming in the next few weeks.” … The Nets wore their “Stars and Stripes” sleeved alternates last night (from Phil). … New postseason uniforms for Cincinnati. … NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he’s surprised no one paid any attention to the ads on the jerseys of NBA All-Star Saturday competitors. I’d counter that it’s not a big talking point now because the NBA has been doing this since 2009 and, as Paul says, “There’s a huge difference between what’s worn in the slam dunk contest and what’s worn in a game.” ”¦ Wisconsin wore their new color-blocked March Madness uniforms for a practice.

Grab Bag: Only one hockey item today: The Capitals will wear St. Patrick’s Day warm up jerseys on Saturday (from Phil). … This company’s slogan looks familiar (from Stephen Lemire). … Tiger Woods is launching a new restaurant, and he and his developer needed permission from Nike to use the name “Tiger Woods” (from Don Silsby). … Georgetown’s lacrosse team has 18 uniform combinations (from Phil). ”¦ Rugby referees in Uganda say it’s hard to officiate some high school rugby games becomes some teams don’t have uniforms.

Comments (139)

    What a wonderful gal, and such a fine story. I loved being a Jets fan (and an AFL fan) during Connie’s early years in particular, when the Jets had a distinctive Long Island flavor. Or, to harken back to Paul’s place-name verities of yesterday, a Long Island+Queens flavor.

    Thinking the same thing!

    Those shorts the Jets hoopsters are wearing…where have I seen those before? Ah yes, Joe Namath’s Beautymist commeerrcial.

    There are still some good sports nicknames: Terence “Pot Roast” Knighton is a prime example.

    Some faves: Richie “Tombstone” Jackson, Tom “Griz” Jackson, Lionel “Little Train” James, Denis “El Presidente” Martinez.

    When I briefly played football in the ’70s, I was nicknamed “Flash”. It was completely ironic because I had neither speed nor quickness.

    Anybody who relishes nicknames should read Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel. Hilarious treatments of baseball nicknames. Pretty damn funny about a lot of things, actually, but baseball is at the heart of it all.

    Correction: Anyone who relishes anything about the content found on Uni Watch should read Roth’s The Great American Novel.

    My favorite nickname was The Little Ball of Hate for former hockey player Pat Verbeek.

    That name’s been attached to Brad Marchand of the Bruins in recent years, as well.

    The Browns unveiling their new uniforms in a TV special…are they going to announce that they’re taking their designs to South Beach?

    QOTW: according to a pack of Topps I bought a few weeks back, the A’s Craig Gentry is nicknamed “Kitten Face”.

    That wins in my book.

    Glad to see the Vols baseball team “Gets It.” Now, if only those stirrups came in orange..

    I thought about sending in similar sentiments for my alma mater, Auburn. As you can see from yesterday’s game, the Tigers “get it,” too. War Eagle!


    QotW: While I agree that sports nicknamery peaked circa 1980 – Charlie Hustle, Mr. October, Super Joe Charboneau, The Great One, a little later in the decade Senor Smoke – one of the joys of the late, lamented Bat-Girl blog was the playful use of nicknames for everyone. Not just Twins players, but opposing players, teams, and cities. The site is gone, but you can find it in the Internet Archive. Here’s a representative nickname glossary page:


    There’ve been a few really good nicknames in baseball recently. Everyday Eddie Guardado, for example. And Nats fans and beat reporters came this close to making “Hot Stuff” permanent for Steven Strasburg.

    Peaked circa 1980?! Hardly. The golden age of sports nicknames coincided with the golden age of sports itself, namely the first half of the 20th century. I mean, can one seriously compare “The Fun Bunch” or “The Fearsome Foursome” to “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” or “The Seven Blocks of Granite”? (OK, “Purple People Eaters” comes close). “Sweetness” to “Bronco” or “The Galloping Ghost”? “Mr. October” to “The Sultan of Swat” or (my personal favorite) “The Wild Horse of the Osage”? Not to mention that back then it was accepted (if not downright expected) that a person’s physical features and/or traits provided great nickname fodder – you could call a deaf player “Dummy,” a rotund one “Fat Freddie,” or one whose digits were mangled in a farm accident “Three Finger.” Hell, perhaps cruelest of all you could even give an unsuccessful hurler the perfectly-descriptive” “Losing Pitcher.”

    Good point! OK, maybe, nicknamery fell off its historic plateau circa 1980 would be a better way to say it. The decline since the early ’80s seems precipitous.

    . . . that decline coincides with the career of one Chris “You’re With Me, Leather” Berman who flung thousands of hack and twee nicknames into the ether. Coincidence? I think not!

    It especially seems to have declined in hockey. Back in the day, you had nicknames like “Rocket”, “Roadrunner”, “Tiger”, “The Hammer”, “Hound Dog” and “Battleship”.

    Nowadays, they just stick “-er” or “-ey” at the end of the player’s last name and leave it at that.

    Nicknames are still in vogue in the world of link. I’m a sucker for bad-boy Ronnie “The Rocket” O’Sullivan, but you can’t beat a nickname like Pot the Lot Dott or Hong Kong Fuey.

    Speaking of bullpen carts, they would certainly be fun to have back in the game. One thing I’ve wondered, though, is where would they be stored? That might be a big hurdle. At Nationals Park, the relief pitchers are in bullpens in left and right field. They run out of a chain-link gate that’s only wide enough for one person. So the carts wouldn’t be able to go in the bullpens. We have our grounds crew area in center field. It could be stored there, but it just wouldn’t be feasible to open the center field gate for the cart to go pick up the pitcher and then drive him in. Especially with Manfred’s obsession of “speeding up the game.”

    On the one hand, who would go to a Tiger Woods restaurant?* On the other hand, the best steak I’ve ever had was at Harry Caray’s joint in downtown Chicago, so you never know.

    *Menu: the best appetizer you’ve ever had, above-average entree, but dessert arrives late and tastes like crap.

    I don’t think Erving and Gervin were known by their nicknames when they were teammates on the Virginia Squires.

    Erving already was “The Doctor” while on the Squires, but Gervin hadn’t yet been dubbed “The Iceman.”

    Pretty sure Erving was The Doctor even before college.

    Always thought The Iceman was one of the best names ever. Also Magic Johnson, and his entire team had the nickname Showtime.

    Darrell Dr. Dunkenstein Griffith was another.

    Canadian Hall of Fame curler Al Hackner also has the nickname ‘The Iceman’

    QotD: Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, former Cleveland Indians pitcher.

    /also “The Assassin” and “Dr. Death” of the 70’s Oakland Raiders.

    Slim Reaper is an awesome nickname. Better than Durantula, which is better than plain old KD. All of which are better than being skinned alive, which is better than Durant trying to christen himself with a stupid-ass nickname like “The Servant”. No one would willingly call himself that, even if he were a servant.

    I laugh every time I think of Durant calling himself The Servant. It’s so bad, so unimposing and so insulting.

    “El Duque” is such a great moniker, you just know who he is without even remembering his real name is Orlando Hernandez.

    Zendejas wore one of those white plastic masks…. think late 60’s bears…. not really a white mask in the traditional sense, just a plastic that was impregnated that color.

    John Riggins is The Diesel. I liked the horns going off as he rumbled for a TD (and then casually tossed to the ball to the ref).

    At least the kids in that beach baseball photo weren’t wearing those sandals that EVERY softball guy seems to wear when not in cleats.


    Ted Hendricks = The Mad Stork. Also, my daughter Rae has very light skin; we call her Day Glow or Night Light much to her amusement.

    ha- the Raider were possibly the best nckname TEAM of all time:

    The Snake

    The Mad Bomber

    Old Mother Hubbard




    Hendricks might have been The Mad Stork since he was in college at Miami, but in the Raiders he was “Kick ’em”, as in “Kick ’em in the Head Ted”


    I can’t stand the initial “nicknames” because they’re not thoughtful except for this one that I wish caught on…

    Tittie for TIm TEbow. Who wouldn’t love calling a guy Tittie.

    I really like “County Breakfast” for Billy Butler because you can’t figure it out from his name.

    I have a friend who’s a Twins fan and he told me about the nickname. I really like it.

    Any Thanksgiving dinner that does not feature a relish tray deserves to have its table flipped.

    QOTW: My grandfather’s nickname on his coal mining company baseball team was “Rabbits.” I’ll go with that.

    Fred McGriff – Crime Dog
    Roy Halladay – Doc
    Pablo Sandoval – Kung Fu Panda
    Rich Garces – El Guapo
    Kevin Youkilis – The Greek God of Walks

    I always hated “Doc” for Roy Halladay because his name isn’t Holliday so it doesn’t fit. It would’ve been more fitting for Matt Holliday.

    Andrew Toney “The Boston Strangler,” Darryl Dawkins “Chocolate Thunder,” Art Donovan “Fatso”

    Downtown Freddie Brown
    Never Nervous Pervis Ellison
    Bobby Bingo Smith
    Robert Tractor Traylor
    Dinner Bell Mel Turpin
    Dominique The Human Highlight Film Wilkins

    Karl The Mailman Malone.

    I tried caling myself The Milkman for a while because of him, but it didn’t stick. I also used to call myself Air Windex when I cleaned the glass. My teammate always laughed at that one, since my verticality and my rebounding were average at best.

    Tree Rollins. Seems so simple and obvious for a basketball player, but he’s the only person nicknamed Tree that I’ve ever heard of.

    QotW: It’s lost some of its novelty over the year, but the first time I heard “The Fridge” I thought it was the greatest nickname ever.

    I like old nicknames like Sal “The Barber” Maglie just because you don’t get as many Sals in baseball and almost no barbers.

    I’m a drummer.
    A zillion years ago I was given the nickname “Jon E.”

    It’s a play off of Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick.


    that’s one of the great stage names in Rock….beats being Brad Carlson…one of the great things about the Budakon album, is the Japanese teenies chanting ‘Bun E Carlos’ over and over…

    “On the drums, Mr. Bun E. Carlos!”

    The kicker is, unbeknownst to my family until my Grandma (from Rockford–where my Dad grew up as well) let us know when I was in Jr HS; Bun is my Dad’s cousin!! When my bandmates got wind of this, that’s when they applied the nickname to me.

    Tony Zendejas always wore a white single bar facemask with the LA Express. Here he is against the Houston Gamblers.
    And he wore one Nike shoe and one Puma shoe.
    Try doing that today…

    Just a quick random question: Is it just me or are the Yankees pinstripes thicker and closer together than say the Phillies and Cubs?

    From the modern ones, Vince Carter’s “Half Man, Half Amazing” perfectly captures his freakish athleticism in his early years as well as the reluctance to display said athleticism during what should’ve been his peak.

    Not a fan of self-given nicknames, but I love Anthony Morrow’s “Black Boi Pachino”. So dumb, so good.

    Also self-given, but appropriate – Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba”.

    Though my favorite modern sports nickname is Clint Mathis’s “Cletus”, which he apparently has tattooed on his back.


    Best nickname ever: Flozell “The Hotel” Adams, purely for the fun and absurdity and the fact it doesn’t quite rhyme.

    Runner up: Clyde the Glide.

    Honourable mention: “Missing” Link Gaetz because because you just can’t make that stuff up.


    Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd
    Jarrod “The Pillsbury Throwboy” Lorenzen
    Theodore “Teddy Ballgame” Williams

    I’m thinking that model of bullpen cap buggy gained notoriety in the 1971 World Series and was marketed to all the teams. I remember the Mets cap buggies appearing around 1972 or 1973 at Shea. The Mets kept one in their bullpen and one in the visitor’s bullpen. As cheap as the Mets were at the time, they spent money to buy different covers for the visitors’ buggy to match all the NL team caps at the time (Montreal was a cool one). The one in the picture could be one of the original Met cars, but that’s not how it looked in its heyday…if it is one of the two originals, it has been repainted and as Paul said the gloves on the headlights are missing. They also painted the Mets cap on instead of the cover they used originally.

    QOTW: In the late ’80s, the University of Iowa football team had a bruising fullback named Richard Bass whom head coach Hayden Fry referred to as “link.” The moniker might have been a bit cumbersome for everyday use, but it was nonetheless frequently used by fans and the news media during Bass’ playing days at Iowa.

    (sorry for the consecutive posts)

    Another great Red Sox nickname, for the comedy factor: Dustin “Laser Show” Pedroia.

    The genesis of Laser Show: link

    John Dillinger had the nickname “Jack Rabbit” because he was a former athlete and he’d leap over the high bank counters with ease.

    As for sports, I love ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich

    Cleveland Indian Mike Hargrove, who was so deliberate in his mannerism when he was batting, he was known as the “Human Rain Delay”. I heard a discussion on the radio the other day concerning the pace of play in baseball, they mentioned half the players now mimic Hargrove.

    I never liked the concept of throwing at a batter intentionally, no matter the reason. And yet, if I were pitching against Hargrove, I would have drilled him in the backside if he pulled that stuff on me.

    Seems like a really nice guy, and I respected him as a manager. As a player he was a pain in the neck.

    I always loved Walt ” No-Neck” Williams! former MLB’er for many teams in 60’s and 70’s.

    That’s a good’un, which brings to mind Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Which then brings to mind another athlete nicknamed for an anatomical oddity: Antonio “El Pulpo” (The Octopus) Alfonseca, dubbed thusly for his polydactyly.

    QOTW: David “Skywalker” Thompson.

    Also, former Orioles pitcher Sammy Stewart was from Swannanoa, North Carolina, so his nickname was “The Throwin’ Swannanoan.”

    Along those lines, former Washington and Bengals QB Jack Thompson was known as “The Throwin’ Samoan.”

    I remember when Dwight Gooden came up to the Mets in 1984 and was promptly dubbed “Dr. K.” At the time I thought it felt really forced and lame — Julius Erving was already Dr. J (and remember, Erving had been a local star with the Nets, although by this time he was in the twilight of his career with the Sixers). I remember thinking, “Why can’t they come up with something unique, instead of piggybacking on Dr. J? This won’t last.”

    But it did last. Soon nobody even called him Dwight Gooden anymore — he became Doc Gooden.

    Twelve years later, Rey Ordoñez came up to the Mets, wore No. 0 (to match the first letter of his last name), and was briefly called “the Wizard of O” — an obvious rip-off of Ozzie Smith’s “Wizard of Oz” nickname. And I thought the same thing: “This won’t last.” And it didn’t.

    Isn’t Kevin Durant the Durantula?
    My favorites tend to be from baseball of yore, and alliterative:

    Fordham Flash – Frankie Frisch (doubly alliterative!)
    Splendid Splinter – Ted Williams
    Commerce Comet – Mickey Mantle

    Some local favorites:

    1) Le Magnifique – Mario Lemieux
    2) The Cobra – Dave Parker
    3) I always Call Marc Andre Fleury “The Fleur-Dog” – No reason, just said it since he has been with the team…now it’s sort of an inside thing with me and my buddies
    4) I always loved how, even though it was before my time, Bob Prince would call Roberto Clemente “Bobby”. Seems only Prince could get away with that.

    A couple outsider favorites:

    1) The Mad Hungarian – Al Hrabosky
    2) Teddy Ballgame – Ted Willaims (best all time in my opinion)


    Carlton “Pudge” Fisk
    Luis “El Tiante” Tiant
    Bill “Space Man” Lee

    and of course David “Big Papi” Ortiz

    I know pretty Red Sox centric but the first three I grew up watching.

    As to more recent knicknames… Glenn “Big Baby” Davis is always cracked me up …and I always loved that Henri Richard got his name “The Pocket Rocket” off a play on his big brother Maurices ” The Rocket”…

    QotW: A few folks beat me to my favorites — “The Big Hurt” and “Crime Dog.” When I was 12, we moved from Omaha to Atlanta, and I started watching Braves baseball on TBS. I’ll always remember:

    Al Hrabosky – “The Mad Hungarian”
    Steve Bedrosian – “Bedrock”
    Phil Niekro – “Knucksie”
    John Smoltz – “Smoltzie”
    Mark Lemke – “Dirt”
    Greg Maddux – “Mad Dog” or “The Professor”
    Larry Wayne Jones – “Chipper”
    Tim Hudson – “Huddie”

    A few of my other favorites from MLB:

    Pete Rose – “Charlie Hustle”
    Mike Hargrove – “The Human Rain Delay”
    Andres Galarraga – “The Big Cat”
    Jeff Bagwell – “Bagpipes”
    Bret Saberhagen – “Sabes”
    Lenny Dykstra – “Nails”
    Joe DiMaggio – “The Yankee Clipper”
    Don Mattingly – “Donny Baseball”
    Jay Buhner – “Bone”
    Felix Hernandez – “King Felix”

    Some of my favourites were Tom Terrific, Mr. October (it is cool that we witnessed the moment that that name was born), the Scooter. Then of course there are the nicknames that completely replace an athlete’s first name: Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Sparky Lyle. Paul has observed that Doc Gooden is part-way down this road, as is Goose Gossage.

    As far as nicknames that I have given — for several years I played in sim baseball leagues at I had a regular team called “I Paesani”, on which I used all players of Italian descent. The centrepiece of that team was my favourite of all of them, Mr. Richard Aldo Cerone, to whom I gave the nickname “The Magnificent Mediterranean Mustachioed Marvel”.

    I used that nickname (or the abbreviated version “Mustachioed Marvel”) very often in the conversations within the leagues in which I took part, much to the chagrin of the other participants.

    I love “I Paesani”

    Frankie “The Crow” Crosetti better be on there. Who else you got?

    Mainstays of my team, apart from The Mighty Mustachioed Marvel, were Joe D., the Scooter, Rocky Colavito, and Joe Torre. At second base I used Biggio more often than Lazzarri. And I could rarely fit Crosetti into most of my teams because Torre’s 1971 season was so good. Likewise, the Marvel’s heroic 1980 season left no spot for Yogi or Campy or Piazza as the starting catcher.

    In What If Sports, each player’s season comes with a “salary”; and the teams have salary caps (on which the league’s participants decide). So it’s not possible to have the best possible player/season at each posistion. Thus I tended to have a rotating set of good useful player who were not superstars: Lee Mazzilli, Jack Clark (yes, he’s Italian), Pete Incaviglia, John Cangelosi, Carl Furillo, etc.

    The Paisani were weakest in the rotation. We typically had Sal Maglie, Johnny Antonelli, and Frank Viola. Good, but usually not competitive with other teams that had typically been built around pitching first. But we always had a great bullpen: Righetti, Franco, Sambito, Dave Giusti.

    I also mistakenly used at least one player thinking that he was Italian: Mike Mussina.

    Playing seasons at What If Sports was great fun. The banter in each league was priceless. It was there that I would wax rhapsodic about the greatness of my players. If Cerone homered or drove in a run, then everyone knew it, because I would go on and on extolling his Magnificence.

    But the Paesani were rarely good. We had two winning seasons out of 14; though in one of them we won 90 games and finished second in our division.

    Still, we led every league in cool-looking players, as exemplfied by the Marvel and his Magnificent Mustache. In fact, it was a Paesani team rule that all players had to have mustaches; those who couldn’t grow them were subjected to treatment involving potentially lethal levels of hormones. (Sorry, Biggio.) As a result, our swarthy handsomeness was unchallengeable. Some of us consider that more important than winning.

    Frank “Home Run” Baker…

    “The Iron Horse”
    “The Train”
    “The Georgia Peach”

    Moose Skowron
    Iron Man McGinty

    Commonly known:
    NFL…Crazy Legs & Prime Time
    MLB…The Say Hey Kid & Pops
    PGA…The Walrus & The Golden Bear
    Somewhat obsure(?):
    NFL…Skeets & Fuad-O-Matic
    NHL…Boxcar and Fat Balloon
    MLB…The Blade & 541
    NASCAR…Front Row Joe & Mr. Excitement

    The Slam Dunk contest “advertisements” don’t really qualify as such. They were patches for the Slam Dunk Contest, which had the Slam Dunk Contest logo, and since the contest is sponsored by Sprite, said logo included the Sprite logo. It’s no different than when a college football team plays in, for example, the Vizio Fiesta Bowl and the bowl logo patch includes the Vizio logo. It wasn’t really a Sprite advertisement, which is probably why most people didn’t notice it.

    Since the column on nicknames seems to be inclusive here’s the best I knew personally. In my late 20s and 30s for many winters we rented time in a gym once a week for pick-up hoops games. Some local kids would normally show up and join us. There was one kid who was “touched” as my mom would put it. The other kids looked out for him but weren’t over the top about it. The amusing part was the nickname they had for him, “Knowledge”. He got it the joke but didn’t seem bothered by it. They were his buddies.

    There’s a couple guys on the New York Rangers who should have cool nicknames:
    Derick “Commandant Brassard” (like Commandant Lassard from, aw hell if you really need to know)
    Kevin “Mays” Hayes (er, “skate like Mays, shoot like Hayes”?)

    One of the all-time best nicknames was Soviet hockey great Helmut Balderis aka “Elektrichka” (the electric train).

    Good stuff, people. Another one of my favorites was from the late 1970s, when pitcher Doug Bird was nicknamed “The Fidrych.”

    QOTD: Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner

    If that’s not the World’s Greatest Boxing Nickname, it’s at least got to be in the conversation.

    And oh hell, I forgot about perhaps the most eccentric rogues in all of sports, pro tennis player Art “Tappy” Larsen – so named due to his post-WWI PTSD-induced need to tap his opponent with his racket three times during every changeover. To the point that one opponent, in an act of gamesmanship, crossed over on the opposite side of the court – resulting in Tappy chasing him around and around the net seeking to satisfy his compulsion. (See also the legendary anecdote in the third comment from the linked obituary)

    And then there’s tennis great Rene Lacoste, better known to most as designer of the “alligator” shirt. Whose nickname was “The Crocodile.”

    Evgeni Malkin gets mentioned a lot by fans and the local broadcasts as Geno. Most of the other Pens players call him Geno as well. Marc Andre Fleury also gets called Flower a lot by his teammates, and by extension the fans now that they know it…I think lots of players on all sorts of teams in all sports have nicknames for each other in the locker room and clubhouse, nicknames that we don’t necessarily ever hear about as fans.

    Jerome Bettis’ nickname wasn’t that long ago. Or was it? 10 years? Jeez.

    Chris Davis on the O’s gets called Crush Davis every so often.

    I like the semi-insulting nicknames that play off of other guys’ nicknames. Like former Bucks center Ervin “No Magic” Johnson.

    “Big Daddy” Don Garlitts and his “Swamp Rat” dragsters,
    “The Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt,
    Edwin Keith “Banjo” Matthews,
    Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher,
    “The Iceman” Terry Labonte,
    “The Rooster” Ricky Rudd
    Kyle “Rowdy” Busch
    “Engine Engine #9” Kasey Kahne
    “Smoke” Tony Stewart
    and there is an old-school funny car team known as the Nitro Mafia

    95% of nicknames are asinine. That being said,how is it no one has mentioned Too Tall Jones or Hollywood Henderson?

    Or, the Pocket Rocket (Henri Richard, Maurice “the Rocket”‘s younger brother). How many snickers and guffaws did that generate.

    Bryant “Big Country” Reeves

    “Sweetness” Walter Payton

    “Rockin'” Robin Yount

    A kid on one of my son’s little league teams had the nicknmae ‘Squirts’. As you can guess, he got this name because he had some intestinal difficulties at practice one day.

    QOTW: Nicknames of some guys I played ball with; Goober (not sure how this one came about), Mouse (small guy), Scoobie-doo (Guy had last name of Scobey); Beatonoffski (the beaton is his name); Quadzilla (penchant for quad bogies in golf); Triple X (for putting 3 straight Xs on holes because guy was playing so badly and took no score); Ben-wa balls (guy’s name Ben of course); Short Ribs (another small guy); Moron Magnet (always seems to find morons when driving); El Lurpo ( a lurp being like a worm burner golf shot and the guy hits his fair share); Timber (tall guy) and that’s about all I can think of I have given out or know of. Pro sports-wise, I can’t think of any. Nicknames me and my friends give out are for those we know other than Tiger Woody.

    This is fun – I’m remembering more as the day goes on

    Bert “be home by eleven”

    I always thought Berman’s nicknames were awful, but a few stuck with me

    Andre “Bad Moon” Rison
    Curtis “My Favourite” Martin
    Oddibe “Young Again” McDowell

    Agree completely David. 99% of Berman’s stuff made me irrationally angry but these are the few that seemed to catch on as actual nicknames.

    QOTW: I actually think Durant’s nicknames are among the more original these days. Between Durantula and Slim Reaper, they sure beat the go-to combo of first initial + first syllable of last name. A-Rod, D-Will, D-Wade, D-Rose, D-Fish, T-Mac, . And simply using their initials is downright lazy, even when appending the player’s uniform number to it, unless said initials have some broader meaning or reference (e.g. DeMarcus Cousins = DMC)

    Currently, I’m partial to the three nicknames of Rams’ K Greg Zuerlein–Greg the Leg, Legatron, and Young GZ.

    I seem to remember reading someplace that Alexander Semin’s teammates with the Caps called him “Jizz”. I hope it’s true, and that it followed him tobRaleigh.

    Eric “Sleepy” Floyd
    Willie “Stretch” McCovey
    Gerald “Buster” Posey
    and what about Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain…or John “The Count” Montefusco (a take on The Count of Monte Cristo).

    I forgot some other classic nicknames…Mark “The Bird” Fidrych (known for talking to a baseball), “Pistol” Pete Maravich,
    “Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya, Charles “Sonny” Liston, Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran…and the “Sugars”….”Sugar” Ray Leonard and “Sugar” Ray Robinson. One fighter legally changed his name to reflect his well-known nickname: Marvin Hagler>>>>”Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

    George “The Animal” Steele
    “Nature Boy” Rick Flair
    Jim “The Anvil” Niedhart

    Do those count?

    Oh yes they do. Some of my favorites in that realm are “The Apex Predator” Randy Orton, “The Gold Standard” for Shelton Benjamin and, of course, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

    And Paul Levesque’s collection of nicknames — Hunter Hearst Helmsley, “Triple H,” “The Game” and “The Cerebral Assassin” — are in a league of their own.

    Paul – based on your love for the Brannock device, can I assume you’re also a fan of volvelles? I didn’t realize that “volvelle” was the correct name for paper wheels, but there’s a great article – and photos – of the Yale Arts Library’s collection. Not uni related, but worth a look! link

    Wayne — You may be interested to know Paul had an interesting guest entry by Kristen Hively on volvelles in 2010.


    QotW: The Ticket is a radio station here in Dallas that excels when coming up with nicknames for players. They are the origin for Gentry’s nickname “Kitten Face”. My personal favorite was the nickname they have to Dirk during the 2011 finals run. They called him “Ghostface Drillah”. A nice Wu Tang adaptation to our favorite 7ft German.

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