Sports Outside the Beltway

Where Have the Great Nicknames Gone?

AJC veteran Thomas Stinson laments the passing of the nickname era in baseball.

Time was, the Braves franchise was a most verdant ground for baseball nicknames.

The Mad Hungarian. The Hammer. Howdy Doody. The Road Runner. Cha Cha.

Classic, handy names, the kind that have helped describe the game since when the Babe was still a babe.

Sugar Bear. Crime Dog. Mad Dog. Big Cat. Knucksie. Murf. Big Tub of Goo.

So what happened? Who are Huddy and Yatesie and Thormie and what did they do with the past? Sounds like roll call for the Mickey Mouse Club.

To be honest, it’s not just the Braves. It has happened all over baseball. Stylized noms de guerre have been replaced by a formula: take the first syllable (first or last name will do) and add a “y” or “ie.” It’s quicker. It’s cuter. It’s kinder.

It’s also nondescript, homogenized and disconnected to a time when Rico Carty was Beeg Boy and proud of it.

Here’s hoping this is just a fad. Happily, some names just won’t fit the formula and stand out, like Brian “Mack” McCann, like a 1960s remembrance.

Below is how some of Bobby Cox’s roster reads, how he refers to them when calling from the dugout steps.

Honor Jeff Francoeur, whose Frenchy provides hope for the future.


    Player — Cox’s nickname

    Yunel Escobar — Yunie

    Tim Hudson — Huddy

    Andruw Jones — Andy

    Chipper Jones — Chip

    Edgar Renteria — Rentie

    John Smoltz — Smoltzie

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia — Salty

    Matt Diaz — Matty

    Willie Harris — Willie C.

    Kelly Johnson — KJ

    Scott Thorman — Thormie

    Tyler Yates — Yatesie

    Brian McCann — Mack

    Bob Wickman — Wick

    Jeff Francoeur — Frenchy



    Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky

    Hank “The Hammer” Aaron

    Darrell “Howdy Doody” Evans

    Ralph “Road Runner” Garr

    Orlando “Cha Cha” Cepeda

    Larvell “Sugar Bear” Blanks

    Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff

    Greg “Mad Dog” Maddux

    Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga

    Phil “Knucksie” Niekro

    Dale “Murf” Murphy

    Terry “The Big Tub of Goo” Forster

    Rico “Beeg Boy” Carty

Maybe Chris Berman killed the tradition?

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.