Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The lost art

Whenever some old fart starts waxing nostalgic about how athletes in his day were better, stronger, had healthier skin and constitutions and were more dynamic in bed, I usually suggest to them that they are missing Bill O'Reilly and they should go turn on the TV and stop talking. Or I would if I wasn't so busy thinking about what corner of their mattress they hid their fortune under. But one thing that those oldies definitely have right is nicknames. Nicknames used to be awesome; nowadays they're just a lazy-assed contraction of a player's first or last name. Jeff Bagwell, a surefire Hall of Famer and owner of the most ridiculous batting stance ever forged by man, is called "Bags" by his teammates. Bags! This would be acceptable if he had a penchant for carrying peoples' luggage unasked-for, or liked to steal hobos' bindles. But as far as I know he does neither of those things, he simply has a nickname that is a crappier version of his last name. A sorry state of affairs. So in honor of a lost art, I would like to celebrate some of my favorite nicknames, one at a time. Here are some undeniable truths:

- Alliteration is always good.
- Old-timey sounding nicknames beat modern-sounding ones. If it sounds like something Mr. Burns would say, it gets a big fat stamp of approval.
- More words doesn't necessarily make a nickname better, but they can't hurt. Two and three words are common for older players, but if you have a 4 or 5 word nickname, you've made the big-time.
- Most importantly: the best nicknames are descriptive. They should conjure up an image, and that image should have something to do with the player.

So, on with my first nickname: The Donora Greyhound

This one will probably be only moderately familiar to non-hardcore baseball fans - this player has a much more famous (and less interesting) nickname. Nicknames with the form "The ____ _____" are not uncommon for top-20 all-time type players. He is one of two Hall of Fame caliber players who hails from Donora, Pennsylvania, and the other player could very easily have been given this nickname himself. Along with Hank Aaron and Tris Speaker, he is the most underappreciated transcendent star in baseball history. Oh, and he rocks a mean harmonica. So if you didn't know, the answer is him.


Blogger David Bowie said...

Well, not totally lost. We still have the Answer and the Black President.

Wed Nov 01, 10:53:00 PM EST  
Blogger Craig said...

There are some great nicknames for current players. The NBA seems to do this better than anyone, actually, and I'm not really sure why. "The Black Mamba", for example, removed from all the extraneous Kobe bullshit, is a tremendous nickname, and will only be cooler in 50 years when you have to explain to people about Kill Bill.

Football's a fucking wasteland. T.O. is not a nickname, yet this is about the best they have to offer.

Baseball is mostly dead, but there are a few. A couple of my favorites are attached to players who are still active.

Wed Nov 01, 11:05:00 PM EST  
Blogger Sycophantman said...

If only to try and help...

Matt 'Forever Frat' Leinart

Thu Nov 02, 09:57:00 AM EST  
Blogger bosstoonlou said...

I guess the public wouldn't buy it if Shawn Green started endorsing himself as "Jewboy."

Thu Nov 02, 03:36:00 PM EST  
Blogger Craig said...

In my world, Shawn Green is already Shawn "Jew" Green. I literally cannot speak his name without adding it.

Thu Nov 02, 03:44:00 PM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home