What's in a Yankee Nickname?
Yankee nick-names have run the gamut from
complimentary to embarrassing, from hero worshipping to amusing from
over-reaching to on target. Herewith, a sampler.
"The Babe" George Herman Ruth leads off the list
and paces the list in most nick-names acquired. First called "Babe"
by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, his first professional team
because of his youth, G.H.Ruth was also called "Jidge" by Yankee
teammates, short for George. He called most players "Kid," because
he couldn't remember names, even of his closest friends. Opponents
called him "The Big Monk" and "Monkey."
Many of Babe Ruth's nick-names came from
over-reaching sports writers who attempted to pay tribute to his
"The Bambino", "the Wali of Wallop", "the Rajah of
Rap", "the Caliph of Clout", "the Wazir of Wham", and "the Sultan of
Swat", The Colossus of Clout, Maharajah of Mash, The Behemoth of
Bust, "The King of Clout."
Other Yankee nick-names, expressions, bon mots of
note for "Babe" and "Ruth" In spring training 1927, Babe Ruth bet
pitcher Wilcy Moore $l00 that he would not get more than three hits
all season. A notoriously weak hitter, Moore somehow managed to get
six hits in 75 at bats. Ruth paid off his debt and Moore purchased
two mules for his farm. He named them "Babe" and "Ruth."
"Babe Ruth's Legs" - Sammy Byrd, used as a pinch
runner for Ruth "Bam-Bam" - Hensley Meulens could speak about five
languages and had a difficult name to pronounce.
"Banty rooster" - Casey Stengel nickname for Whitey
Ford because of his style and attitude.
"Battle of the Biltmore" 1947 Series celebration in
Manhattan's Biltmore Hotel was a time and place where
Larry MacPhail drunkenly fought with everyone and
ended his Yankee ownership time.
"Biscuit Pants" - A reference to the well filled out
trousers of Lou Gehrig.
"Billyball" - the aggressive style of play utilized
by Billy Martin
"Blind Ryne" - Ryne Duren because of his very poor
vision, uncorrected -20/70 and 20/200.
"Bob the Gob" - Bob Shawkey spent most of 1918 in
the Navy as a yeoman petty officer aboard the battleship Arkansas.
"The Boss" - A a formerly apt description of Yankee
owner, George Steinbrenner
"Boomer" - David Wells, for his in your face
"The Boston Massacre" - described the way the Red Sox
collapsed in 1978 and the seep of a four game series by the Yankees
Broadway" - Shortstop Lyn Lary was married to
Broadway star Mary Lawler.
"Bronx Bombers" For the borough and home run power.
"Bronx Zoo" a derogatory reference to off color
behavior on and off the playing field through the years and
especially in the 1970s.
"Brooklyn Schoolboy" was what they called Waite Hoyt
for his time as a star pitcher at Erasmus High School.
"Bulldog" - Jim Bouton, for his tenacity.
"Bullet Bob" - Bob Turley, for the pop on his
"Bye-Bye"- Steve Balboni, the primary DH of the 1990
Yankees had 17 homers but hit just .192.
''Carnesville Plowboy'' - Spud Chandler for his
hometown of Carnesville,
"Deacon" - Everett Scott, for his not too friendly
"Georgia Catfish" - Jim Hunter, name given to him by
Oakland owner Charles Finley
""the CAT-a-lyst," name given to Mickey Rivers by
Howard Cosell for his ability to trigger Yankee team offense.
"Chairman of the Board" - Elston Howard came up with
the phrase in tribute to Whitey Ford and his commanding and take
charge manner on the mound.
"Clutch versus Clutch" - qualitative commentary about
Yankee-Red Sox competition.
"Columbia Lou" - Lou Gehrig because of his collegiate
"Commerce Comet" - Mickey Mantle
"The Count" - Sparky Lyle, handlebar mustache and
"The Crow" - Frank Crosetti loud voice and chirpy
"Danish Viking" - George Pipgras, for his size and
"Daddy Longlegs. - Dave Winfield, for his size and
"Death Valley" - the old deep centerfield in Yankee
Stadium - a
home run here was a mighty poke.
"Dial-a-Deal - Gabe Paul earned this one for his
telephone trading habits.
"Donnie Baseball" - Don Mattingly was the only player
in any sport to have a nickname with the actual name of his or her
sport in it. Some say it was coined by Yankee broadcaster Michael
Kay; others say it came from Kirby Pucket. Kay takes the credit;
Mattingly gives the credit to Puckett.
El Duque" - Orlando Hernandez
"El Duquecito" -ADRIAN HERNANDEZ because of a
pitching style similar to Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, the younger
Cuban is of no relation to his elder countryman.
"Ellie" - affectionate abbreviation of Elston
Howard's first name
"Father of the Emory Ball" Rookie right-hander Russ
Ford posted a 26-6 record with 8 shutouts, 1910
Fireman" - The first to have this nick-name was
Johnny Murphy, the first great relief pitcher who put out fires.
Joe Page picked up this nick-name for his top relief work later
"Five O'clock Lightning" - At five o'clock the
blowing of a whistle at a factory near Yankee Stadium signaled the
end of the work day in the 1930s and also what the Yankees were
doing to the opposition on the field.
Flash" - Joe Gordon earned this nick-name because of
his fast, slick fielding and hot line drives.
Four hour manager" - Bucky Harris, who put his time
in at the game and was finished.
"Fordham Johnny" - for the college Johnny Murphy
"Friday Night Massacre" - April 26, 1974, Yankees
Fritz Patterson, Steve Kline, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, and half the
pitching staff were traded to Cleveland for Chris Chambliss, Dick
Tidrow, and Ceil Upshaw.
"Gator" - Ron Guidry, who came from Louisiana
"Gay Caballero" - Lefty Gomez for his Mexican roots
and fun loving ways.
"Gay Reliever" - Joe Page for his night owl
" Gehrigville." Bleachers in right-center at Yankee
"The Godfather" - Joe Torre, for his Italian roots
and his leadership skills on the baseball field.
"Gooneybird" - Don Larsen's teammates called him that
for his late-night behavior.
"Goofy" or "El Goofo" - earned by Lefty Gomez for his
"The Great Agitator" -for Billy Martin, self
"Grandma" - it was not a nick-name Johnny Murphy
liked, but he was called that for his pitching motion, rocking chair
style. Another story is that fellow Yankee Pat Malone gave him the
name because of his complaining nature especially as regards food
"Happy Jack" Jack Chesbro's time as an attendant at
the state mental hospital in Middletown, New York where he pitched
for the hospital team and showed off a very pleasant disposition won
him the nickname.
"Holy Cow" - one of Phil Rizzuto's ways of
"Horse Nose" - a nick-name given catcher Pat Collins
by Babe Ruth, a reference to a facial feature.
"Horsewhips Sam" - Sam Jones earned this because of
his sharp-breaking curve ball.
"House That Ruth Built" - Ruth's immense popularity
that propelled the Yankees into their new home, Yankee Stadium
"Home Run" - Frank Baker, for the two game winning
homers he hit in the 1911 World Series.
"Home run twins" Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris,
phrase coined in 1961.
"Iron Horse" - Lou Gehrig
"Joltin' Joe" - Joe DiMaggio, for the jolting shots
"Jumping Joe" Joe Dugan earned his nickname for being
AWOL from his first big league club as a youngster
"Junk Man" - Eddie Lopat frustrated hitters off
stride with an
assortment of slow breaking pitches thrown with cunning and
"Kentucky Colonel" - Earl Combs came from Kentucky
"The King and the Crown Prince" - Babe Ruth and Lou
King Kong" Charlie Keller earned this nick-name
because of his muscular body type and black, bushy brows.
"Knight of Kennett Square" - Herb Pennock because he
raised thoroughbreds and hosted fox hunts in his home town of
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Knucksie" - Phil Niekro because of his knuckleball
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
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"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
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