The Atlanta Braves used to have lots of players with cool nicknames. But according to Thomas Stinson of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, those days are long gone.
From the AJC:
So what happened? Who are Huddy and Yatesie and Thormie and what did they do with the past? Sounds like roll call for the Mickey Mouse Club.
To be honest, it’s not just the Braves. It has happened all over baseball. Stylized noms de guerre have been replaced by a formula: take the first syllable (first or last name will do) and add a “y” or “ie.” It’s quicker. It’s cuter. It’s kinder.
It’s also nondescript, homogenized and disconnected to a time when Rico Carty was Beeg Boy and proud of it.
I think Stinson is dead on with his assessment of the state of nicknaming in the MLB. When “Big Papi” qualifies as the coolest moniker around, you’ve got a problem. And we’ve got a serious over-abundance of Rods (A-Rod, K-Rod, etc.) and Gonzos (Juan Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez, etc.).
I don’t expect that baseball’s spate of boring nicknames will go away overnight. But it’s not like there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ve got the power of the internets on our side, after all. So let’s start assigning some cool nicknames!
As a little inspiration, here’s a list of nicknames belonging to Braves players past, as compiled by Stinson:
BEST OF BRAVES OLD-TIMERS
Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky
Hank “The Hammer” Aaron
Darrell “Howdy Doody” Evans
Ralph “Road Runner” Garr
Orlando “Cha Cha” Cepeda
Larvell “Sugar Bear” Blanks
Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff
Greg “Mad Dog” Maddux
Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga
Phil “Knucksie” Niekro
Dale “Murf” Murphy
Terry “The Big Tub of Goo” Forster
Rico “Beeg Boy” Carty
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think the first player we need to nickname is Ryan Howard. No fat baseball player should go nicknameless. The Philadelphia Inquirer sponsored a contest to choose a name for Howard a while back, but the winner, “The Broad Street Bomber,” didn’t really stick.
And no wonder. Like El Guapo, Big Papi and other portly players who have come before, Howard’s moniker should be a tribute to his heritage. And it should make reference to the fact that, you know, he’s wide.
So let’s pick a nickname for Howard. Who’s got an idea?