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Baseball Names - and How They Got That Way! (L)

The words and phrases are spoken and written day after day, year after year - generally without any   wonderment as to how they became part of the language. All have a history, a story. For those of you who liked Part I, Part II, Part III, X and all the others and wanted more, here is more, just a sampling. As always, reactions and suggestions always welcome

LE GRANDE ORANGE Rusty Staub played for the Montreal Expos in the years 1969-71. "He came here as an unknown, and not only was he our first big star," Expo President John McHale remembers, "but he had a way of relating to the people and a sense of being a  star. His reddish hair, his physical stature, his unselfishness made him an easily identifiable figure. He was a very important factor in those years in the success of the team." Staub's size, red hair, and personality all merged into the nickname the Montreal fans coined for him.

LEFTY  Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton was a  private man who never talked to the press. He was a southpaw and a man with some odd habits. 
letters   team name printed on the front of a jersey.
LIP, THE When he was an infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1930's, Leo Durocher was known as Screechy because of his high-pitched voice and bench-jockeying ability. As he moved through his 17 year playing span and 24-year managing career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros, Durocher attracted the ire of umpires and the hostility of rivals with what they termed his motor-mouth. A tough, combative, at times profane individual, Durocher's nickname was an apt one.

LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL In 1939 Carl E. Stotz founded the first Little League in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Within two decades, kids and parents all over the United States and other countries were competitively involved. Williamsport has been the site of the Little League World Series since 1947. And the enterprise begun by Stotz is a big time sports phenomenon.

LITTLE NAPOLEON John J. McGraw came from the old Baltimore Orioles to take control of the New York Giants on July 16, 1902. He inherited a last-place team that had had 13 managers since 1891. The man they called Muggsy immediately released half the players on the roster of the Giants. "With my team," he said, "I'm absolute czar." Driving, cajoling, innovating, McGraw moved the Giants from a last place finish in 1902 to a second-place finish in 1903. He drove the New York team to a pennant in 1904. In his 30 years as manager, the Giants won ten pennants and finished second 11 times. McGraw's small physical stature contrasted sharply with the giant power that his gait, his face, and his name, projected throughout the world of  baseball. He was famous for such lines as "The only popularity I know is to win," "Do what I tell you, and I'll take the blame if it goes wrong," and "I do the hiring and the firing around here." He was little in size but had Napoleonic power, and these two traits merged into the nickname of the man who was one of the greatest managers in baseball history.

LITTLE PROFESSOR Joe DiMaggio's younger brother, Dom, played center field for the Boston Red Sox for 11 years and compiled a lifetime .298 batting average. He wore glasses, was a keen student of the game, and was but five feet, nine inches tall and 168 pounds-and these characteristics supplied the reason for his nickname.

THE LINE   Detroit Hall of Famer Al Kaline was called this as a tribute to his reliability and a play on his last name.

LITTLE LOOEY Small in size, shortstop Luis Aparicio made his mark as a member of the Chicago White Sox in the 1950s.

LOLO   Mickey Lolich, former pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, for his last name, and how low his leg drive was in his delivery.         

“LONESOME GEORGE Former legendary Yankee General Manager George Weiss, for his aloof ways.                                                  

LOOK THE RUNNER BACK A situation in which a pitcher attempts to control a base runner by staring at him, implying a throw; the pitcher's gaze alone will most times convince a runner to stay close to the base.

LOOPER A batted ball that drops in flight.

LOSING PITCHER  One year he won eight games and lost 18; another year he won ten games and lost 20; in 1939 he lost 16, and in 1940 he led the National League in losses with 22. These statistics earned Hugh Noyes Mulcahy his nickname. In a nine-year career, Mulcahy won 45 games and lost 89.

LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), named after the famed New York Yankee who had the disease

LOUISIANA LIGHTNING The 95-mph speed he can put on a fastball and his Louisiana birthplace have earned for Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees his colorful and alliterative nickname.

LOUISVILLE SLUGGER This bat is named for the Kentucky city that was named for a French king, Louis XVI, in 1780. The Hillerich and Bradsby bat factory has been manufacturing Louisville Sluggers since 1884. One white-ash tree is needed to produce 60 bats. More than 6 million bats are manufactured annually. Major league ball players use 2 percent of the annual production, but each of their bats is built according to precise individual specifications. Babe Ruth's Louisville Slugger model weighed 48 ounces, while the one wielded by Wee Willie Keeler weighed just 30 ounces.                                                          

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

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. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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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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