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   What's In A Yankee Name? Part II

Nick-names galore have attached themselves to Yankees, past and present. If you liked the first installment of this sampler, herewith, another and much longer list. Enjoy!

 "Home Run Twins" - Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, phrase coined in 1961.

"Iron Horse" - Lou Gehrig, for his power and steadiness.

"Joltin' Joe" - Joe DiMaggio, for the jolting shots he hit.

"Jumping Joe" - Joe Dugan, for being AWOL from his first big league club as a youngster.

"Junk Man" - Eddie Lopat, for frustrating hitters and keeping them off stride with an assortment of slow breaking pitches thrown with cunning and accuracy.

"Kentucky Colonel" - Earl Combs, for his Kentucky roots.

"The King and the Crown Prince" - Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, self evident.

"King Kong" -  Charlie Keller, for his muscular body type and black, bushy brows. 

"Knight of Kennett Square" - Herb Pennock, for his raising of thoroughbreds and hosting of fox hunts in his home town of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

"Knucksie" - Phil Niekro, for his knuckleball.

"The Lip" - Leo Durocher, for his mouth.

"Lonesome George" - George Weiss, for his aloof ways. 

"Lou'siana Lightnin'" - Ron Guidry, for his fastball and the state he came from.

"M&M Boys" - Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. 

"Mail Carrier "- Earle Combs, for his speed and base stealing skills.

"Major" - Ralph Houk, for rank held in the Armed Forces and demeanor.

 "Man of a Thousand Curves" - Johnny Sain, hyperbolic reference to his assortment of curve balls.

"Marse Joe" - Joe McCarthy, for his commanding style.

"Master Builder in Baseball" - Jacob Ruppert, and that he was.

"The Merry Mortician" -Waite Hoyt, for his cheery soul and off-season mortician work.

"Man in the Iron Hat" - Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Hutson, for the same squashed derby hat he wore over and over again.

"Man nobody knows" - Bill Dickey, for his blandness.

"The Mick" - short for Mickey (Mantle).

"Mick the Quick" -  Mickey Rivers, for his speed.

"Mickey Mouth" - for Mickey Rivers and his motor mouth.

"Mighty Mite" - Miller Huggins, for his size and power.

"Milkman" - Jim Turner, for an off-season job delivering milk.

"Mr. Automatic" - Mariano Rivera, for his virtually unflappable behavior and special skills as a Yankee stopper.

"Mr. May" - George Steinbrenner's sarcastic jibe at Dave Winfield because of his postseason struggles as compared to Reggie Jackson's successes and Mr. October nick-name.

"Mr. November" - Derek Jeter, for his World Series home run, the first of November, 2001.

"Mr. October" - In Game Five of the 1977 ALCS Billy Martin benched Reggie Jackson. In a comeback win against Kansas City Jackson returned to slap a single. Thurman Munson sarcastically called Jackson "Mr. October." The nick-name would have taken on a different meaning but Jackson fitted the nick-name to his persona.

"Moose" - Bill Skowron's, grandfather called him Mussolini because of a resemblance to Mussolini. As the story goes, the family shortened the nickname to "Moose."

"Murderer's Row" - Yankee lineup boasting powerful batters: standard version was the meat of the 1927 lineup of Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Earl Combs and Bob Meusel.

Backup version was the 1919 entry of Ping Bodie, Roger Peckinpaugh, Duffy Lewis and Home Run Baker.

"My writers" - Casey Stengel's phrase for journalists he was close to.

"Nightrider" - Don Larsen called himself that because it reminded him of comic books heroes he read about and it fit with his late-night bar wanderings. 

"Oklahoma Kid" - The young Mickey Mantle, for the state he came from. 

"Old Fox" - Clark Griffith of the old Highlanders, for his cunning ways.

"Old Reliable" - Mel Allen gave Tommy Henrich that nickname after a train that made its way from Cincinnati through Allen's home state of Alabama and was always on time and could be depended on. Henrich was also called "The Great Debater" for his sometimes loquacious and argumentative ways.

"Ole Perfessor" -  Casey Stengel, for the time in 1914 when he had a spring training baseball coaching stint at the University of Mississippi.

"The One and Only" - Babe Ruth, he was.

"The Peerless Leader" - Frank Chance, for his keen baseball mind. 

"Plowboy" - Tom Morgan, for the way he moved about.

"Poosh 'em up, Tony" - Tony Lazzeri  was a magnet for Italian fans at Yankee Stadium who would scream out this phrase urging him to hit home runs.

"Porky" - Hal Reniff, for his physical look.

"Pride of Penacook" - Red Rolfe, for the little town he hailed from in New Hampshire.

"The Pride of the Yankees" - Lou Gehrig, and he was.

"Prince Hal" - Hal Chase, for the charismatic, elegant, royal quality he had.

"The Prince of Beer" - Jacob Ruppert, for beer interests and royal manner.

"The Principal Owner" - George Steinbrenner, no doubt here.

"Push Button Manager" - Joe McCarthy, for his by the book ways.

"Ragin' Cajun" -  Ron Guidry, for his Louisiana roots and fire.

"Rags" - Dave Righetti, abbreviation of his name 

"Reg-GER-oo" - Reggie Jackson, an endearing reference name coined by Howard Cosell. 

"Root" - Jake Ruppert's corruption of Babe Ruth's name.

"Ruppert Rifles" - The Yankees, during Jake Ruppert's tenure.

"Sad Sam" - Sam Jones, for his downcast look on the playing field.

"Sailor Bob" - Bob Shawkey, for his time spent mostly in 1918 in the Navy as a yeoman petty officer aboard the battleship Arkansas. 

"Schoolboy" and  "Schoolboy Wonder" - Waite Hoyt, for his major league debut in 1918 when he was a teen ager.  

"Scooter"-  Nick-name for Phil Rizzuto coined by Mel Allen. " I guess it was when I was down south," Rizzuto explained. "You know, southerners have a very quaint unusual way of saying things. Well, Billy Hitchcock was on the team with me down in spring training. You know my legs are short (I'm short all over but my legs are very short) and when he saw me run, he said: "Man, you are not running, you're scootin'."  And from scootin' I got "Scooter."

"Second Place Joe" - Joe McCarthy's three straight second-place finishes prompted this tag in the three seasons before the Yanks won four consecutive world championships, 1936-39. The name was also used when he was manager of the Cubs and had some disappointing second place finishes.

"Silent Bob" - Bob Meusel, for his aloofness.

""Silent One" - Chris Chambliss, for his taciturn manner, name given by Howard Cosell.

"Solid citizens"- Name Joe McCarthy gave to players he relied on.

"Slick" - Whitey Ford used a spitter to strike out Willie Mays in the 1964 All-Star Game. That was just one of the reasons for the Yankee star's nick-name.

"Slow" - Joe Doyle, for his time consuming pace.

"Smash" - Gil McDougald, for the verve of his personality.

"Springfield Rifle" - Vic Raschi, after his birthplace in Springfield, Massachusetts.

"Spud" - Spurgeon Ferdinand Chandler was called that and it was easier for everyone.   

"Squire (or Knight) of Kennett Square" - Herb Pennock came from historic Kennett Square, PA an area of horsemen and fox hunters. Pennock himself was an expert rider and a master of hounds.

"Steady Eddie" - Eddie Lopat, for his consistency year after year as a Yankee pitcher, nick-name originated with Mel Allen.

"Stick" - Gene Michael, for his lean and long appearance.

"Superchief"  Allie Reynolds, for his one-quarter Creek Indian ancestry and winning ways on the mound.

"Supersub" - Johnny Blanchard, home run hitter as a pinch hitter,. extraordinaire   
    "The Switcher" - Mickey Mantle, for switch-hitting par excellence.   

"T.J." - Tommy John.

"Tanglefoot Lou" - For Lou Gehrig, early days and fielding trials as a player.

"The Tabasco Kid" - Norman Arthur Elberfeld, for his liking of the stuff and his personality.

"Three Million Dollar Man" - Nick-name placed on Catfish Hunter when he signed with the Yankees as a free agent for that sum in 1974.

"Twinkletoes" - George Selkirk, for his running with his weight on the balls of his feet, hence the nickname given to him by teammates at Newark in the International League.

"Two Head" - A negative nick-name used by opponents to describe the size of Babe Ruth's head which seemed gigantic to some.

"The Unholy Trio" - Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, for their devilish ways.

"The Weatherman" - Mickey Rivers, for his knack for predicting weather.
    "The Warrior" - Paul O'Neill, name pinned on him by George Steinbrenner for the outfielder's pugnacious ways.

"The White Gorilla" - Goose Gossage, for the way he looked.

"Whitey" - Whitey Ford, for the tow head blonde hair he sported as a 50s hurler.

"Window breakers" - Name given to the 1936 Yankees for their slugging power. 

"Winny" - Dave Winfield, affectionate shortening of his name. 

"The Yankee Clipper" - for Joe DiMaggio for the way he glided about centerfield at Yankee Stadium.

"The Yankee Clipper" - A slap at George Steinbrenner who longed to see his players clean-shaven.

"The Yankee Empire Builder" - Ed Barrow was all of that.


#   #   #

You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

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About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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