Baseball Names - and
How They Got That Way! Part XIV (G)
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 of the all the "G's out there.
As always, reactions and suggestions always welcome
GASHOUSE GANG The St. Louis Cardinals of the mid1930's earned this
nickname because of their unique individual personalities and their
spirited performances on and off the field. Mingled together to make
baseball history were such competitors as "the Dazzling Deans,"
Dizzy and his brother Paul; Pepper Martin, who as a third baseman
used his chest to stop ground balls; Joe "Ducky" Medwick, also known
as the Hungarian Rhapsody because of his verve and drive and
Hungarian origins; and a young shortstop named Leo Durocher, who
some were already calling Screechy because of his nonstop chatter.
On the field they played with wild abandon--stealing bases, taking
chances, fighting with each other and the opposition, covering their
uniforms with dirt so that it "appeared as if they worked in a
gashouse and not a ball park," as one observer declared. And that
was how the nickname was born.
In the 1934 World Series, Joe Medwick did more than astonish
thousands and thousands of Detroit Tiger fans. The Cardinals were on
their way to a seventh game 11-0 romp over Detroit. In the sixth
inning of that game, Medwick tripled and allegedly spiked Tiger
third baseman Marv Owen. Taking his left-field position the next
inning, Medwick was bombarded with rotten fruit, beer bottles, raw
eggs, and other missiles. Ducky did not duck, but stuck out his jaw
and called for more. Baseball Commissioner Landis called for Medwick
and informed him that he was taking him out of the game for the good
of baseball--and for the good of Medwick. The Gashousers earned
their name for many things, but this was the first time one of them,
one wit observed, was removed from a game because he smelled up the
GATOR Ron Guidry hailed from Louisiana alligator
GAY CABALLERO Yankee Hall of Famer hurler Lefty
Gomez, for his Mexican roots and fun loving ways.
GAY RELIEVER Name given to former Yankee relief pitcher Joe Page
for his night owl activity.
GEHRIGVILLE Bleachers in right-center at Yankee
Stadium, a place where Lou Gehrig hit a few shots.
GEORGIA PEACH Tyrus Raymond Cobb, baseball immortal?
played 22 seasons for the Detroit Tigers and two more for the
Philadelphia Athletics. He also managed Detroit in the years
1921-26. Cobb compiled a lifetime batting average of .367, stole 892
bases, and won 12 batting titles in a span of 13 years. By the time
he retired, he had set 90 individual records. Cobb was born in
Narrows, Georgia, and his nickname was partially derived from his
native state, which is called the Peach State. His nickname is also
rooted in the glorious but tempestuous talent of the man many claim
to be the greatest baseball player of all time. Cobb was not one who
fit the stereotype of the typical Southern gentleman. Once he almost
demolished a baseball roommate as they jostled to get to the
bathroom. "I just had to be first," was Cobb's response--and his way
GERBIL For looks and behavior, the nickname fit Don
GETTYSBURG EDDDIE Eddie Plank starred for the
Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1914) and got his nickname from his
time as a student at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
GIANTS One sultry summer's day in 1885, Jim Mutrie,
saber-mustached manager of the New York Gothams, was enjoying
himself watching his team winning an important game. Mutrie screamed
out with affection, "My big fellows, my giants." Many of his players
were big fellows, and they came to be Giants. For that was how the
nickname Giants came to be. And when the New York team left for San
Francisco in 1958, Giants, Mutrie's endearing nickname, went along
GO-GO SOX The 1959 Chicago White Sox won the team's
first American League pennant in 40 years, as they excited Windy
City fans and others throughout the United States with their
distinctive style of baseball. As a team, the Sox batted only .250,
but their 113 stolen bases paced the majors and they parlayed speed
and daring into a playing pattern good for 94 wins. Where there was
an opportunity to take an extra base, the White Sox took it. Where
there was a chance to use their speed or their bunting ability, they
capitalized on it. Seemingly always on the move and using what
ability they had to maximum advantage, the White Sox earned the
nickname of Go-Go Sox, whose assets they inflicted on the
opposition. Their siege gun was Luis Aparicio ("Little Looie"), a
5'9", 160-pound speedster who led the majors in stolen bases with
56. Aparicio also batted .332, walked 52 times, and scored 98 runs
to pace the "go" in the Go-Go Sox.
"GOING, GOING, GONE" Originated by former New York
Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen, this phrase has become part of the
popular language. Allen used the words to describe the suspense
generated by balls hit to the distant reaches of Yankee Stadium,
which traveled and traveled until they went out of the playing field
and into home run territory. Sometimes just "Going, going" was
uttered--as the ball would be caught before it was " gone. "
GOLDEN GREEK Harry Agganis, of Greek ancestry, was
born on April 20,1930, and died, too young, on June 27, 1955. A
powerfully built player, Agganis batted .251 his first year as a
member of the Boston Red Sox, and .313 in his second and final year.
The unrealized potential of Agganis makes his nickname especially
GOLDEN OUTFIELD Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Duffy
Lewis formed the outfield for the Boston Red Sox in the years
1910-15. Speaker and Hooper are both in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Lewis played Fenway Park's left field so well that the incline in
front of the wall was known as "Duffy's Cliff." The trio, which
earned its nickname because of its value to the Red Sox and its
exceptional skills, really glittered in the 1915 World Series. Lewis
batted .444, Hooper .350, Speaker .294, and collectively they
accounted for 20 of Boston's 42 hits. The storied outfield was
broken up after the
1915 season, when Tris Speaker was traded to the
GOOD FIELD, NO HIT Mike Gonzalez played major league
baseball for 17 years with a variety of teams. Born in Havana, Cuba,
he had a lot of baseball knowledge but a not-too-effective command
of English. It was during his time as a scout that a phrase that has
become part of the popular language was first uttered by Gonzalez.
He was asked to check on a minor league ball player and--as the
story goes--to telegraph back his findings to the major league club
that had shown interest. Gonzalez watched the young ball player for
a few days and noted that he couldn't swing the bat but had
defensive skills. And then Gonzalez, saving time, money, type, and
English, sent his scouting report: "Good Field, No Hit."
"Gooneybird" Hurler Don Larsen's teammates called
him that for his late-night behavior.
GOOFY (EL GOOFO) Name earned by legendary pitcher
Lefty Gomez for his wild antics.
GOOSE Pitcher Richard Michael Gossage, for loose
and lively style.
GRAY EAGLE Hall of Famer Tris Speaker played 22 years in the majors
and had a lifetime batting average of .344. His nickname came about
because of the unique manner in which he played center field. Tris
would play very shallow and race back to swoop down on fly balls hit
over his head like some mighty eagle going after its prey.
GRIFFITH STADIUM Located in Washington, DC, it
opened July 24, 1911 and closed September 21, 1961. The stadium
was named for Clark Griffith who owned the team from 1920 until his
death in 1955.
GREENBERG GARDENS Hank Greenberg closed out his
illustrious major league career in 1947 as a member of the
Pittsburgh Pirates. A power-hitting right-handed batter, he blasted
25 homers that year--most of them into a section of the outfield
that was dubbed Greenberg Gardens.