Get a bunch of guys together and have them play nine innings of baseball—and what are you going to hear? Razzing and name calling mostly. Some of the names will stick over time, and we are left with classic baseball nicknames.
Here is a list of the best, strangest and most colorful major league baseball nicknames of all time. The top three names (in our opinion!) are given for each category. Check out the honorable mention lists for more. Choose your own favorite!
Just the funny stuff
Top 3 Most Funny Baseball Player Nicknames
1. Swamp Baby
Charlie Wilson was a shortstop for Boston and St Louis in the early 1930s. Early in his career Charlie pulled a prank that would change his name forever. He decided to flood the ball field one day because he didn’t feel like practicing. The stunt was immortalized in the classic movie Bull Durham.
2. Fish Hooks
Allyn Stout was a pitcher for four major league teams over his career. His Cardinals team of 1931 won the World Series, although he did not play. He was part of a trade for HOF Leo Durocher to STL Cardinals. While fishing in Florida, Stout took a large saltwater fishing plug with three treble hooks in the forehead. Ouch.
3. Jughandle Johnny
According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (Third Edition), “A curveball with a sharp break or broad arc that bends like the handle of a jug” is called a jughandle. Jughandle Johnny Morrison had a wicked breaking ball during his playing days with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1920s.
- Johnny Lanning – Tobacco Chewin’ Johnny
- Joe Sargent – Horse Belly
- Juan Berenguer – Señor Smoke, El Gasolino
- George Winter – Sassafrass
- Eddie Lopat – The Junkman
- Howie Storie – Sponge
Not sure what it means, but it makes me slightly uncomfortable
Top 3 Most Suggestive Baseball Nicknames
1. The Big Unit
Hall of Famer Randy Johnson stood 6’ 10” tall and brought the heat with his fastball. Need we say more?
2. Silk Stockings
Harry Schafer played for the Boston Red Stockings. No one seems to know why he was called Silk Stockings. To confuse things even more, his teammates prefered to call him Dexter.
We’re not sure how Alex Malloy earned his descriptive nickname. It may have simply been a simple contraction of his first name. Or perhaps he was constantly licking his pitching fingers to get more movement on the ball. Either way, Lick finished his career with a 0-6 lifetime record from one season in 1910.
- John Titus – Tight Pants
- Dick Van Zant – Foghorn Dick
- Jim Korwan – Long Jim
- Bill Lange – Little Eva
- Gene Host – Twinkles
- Matt Stairs – Wonder Hamster
- Johnny Marcum – Footsie
- Dode Paskert – Honey Boy
- Frank Oberlin – Flossie
- Phil Powers – Grandmother
Giving ‘em the business
Top 3 Most Descriptive Nicknames
Ernie Lombardi was a big man with large hands. He could hold seven baseballs in one hand. His large nose earned him the nickname of the Schnozz from fans. He was good natured about the razzing, often making fun of himself.
Bill Lee was the Spaceman—the counter-culture, off-speed throwing reliever for the Red Sox and Expos. They said he could jog each day to Fenway Park without being affected by traffic fumes because of his marijuana use.
3. Grunting Jim
Apparently Jim Shaw grunted so hard while pitching you could hear him all the way up in the grandstand. He played seven seasons with the Washington Senators.
- George Herman Babe Ruth – The Sultan of Swat (the home runs king)
- Walt Williams – No Neck
- Al Simmons – Bucketfoot Al
- Bruce Sloan – Fatso
- Fred Merkle – Bonehead
- Fred Hofmann – Bootnose
- Milt Pappas – Gimpy
- George Fisher – Showboat
- Babe Phelps – Blimp
- Dave Odom – Blimp, Porky
- Jimmy McAleer – Loafer
- Archie Stimmel – Lumbago
- Pryor McElveen – Humpty
- Benny Meyer – Earache
- Billy Taylor – Bollicky Bill
- Phil Collins – Fidgety Phil
- Roscoe Miller – Roxy, Rubberlegs
- Gene Krapp – Rubber Arm
- Eddie Palmer – Baldy
- Frank Brower – Turkeyfoot
- Al Verdel – Stumpy
- Pat Paige – Piggy
- Lou Scoffic – Weaser
- Sleeper Sullivan – Old Iron Hands
- George Selkirk – Twinkletoes
- Ralph Savidge – Human Ripcord
- Marv Rickert – Twitch
- Gus Williams – Gloomy Gus
- Jake Virtue – Guesses
- George Murray – Smiler
- Lou Skizas – The Nervous Greek
- Ed Phelps – Yaller
- Jim Mutrie – Truthful Jim
Baseball’s all-food lineup
Top 3 Most “Edible” Nicknames
1. Puddin’ Head
Willie Jones most likely got his nickname from a song. In the early 1930s a popular tune on the radio was Puddin’ Head Jones. The lyrics told of a slow-witted chap who was down on his luck:
Oh, Puddin’ head Jones was fat and funny
Dumber than sticks and stones
Now that is just why the kids all called him
Woodenhead, Puddin’ Head Jones
Willie on the other had did just fine. He was an important member of the 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids” National League champions.
George Gerken played in only 44 games over two seasons in the late 1920s. His surname made for easy pickings to his teammates. Pun intended.
3. Candy Man
It only makes sense that John Candelaria would be called the Candy Man.
- John Hoffman – Pork Chop
- Pretzels Getzien – Pretzels
- Jack Lamabe, Denis Menke, Gabby Hartnett and Nick Cullop – Tomato Face
- Tom Dougherty – Sugar Boy
- Bill Campbell – Soup
- Ray King – Burger
- Jim Davenport and Erv Kantlehner – Peanuts
- Tommy Dowd – Buttermilk Tommy
- Bill Carrick – Doughnut Bill
- Harry Keener – Beans
- Eddie Morgan – Pepper
- Andy Oyler – Pepper
- Luke Hamlin – Hot Potato
- Jim Hamby – Cracker
- Tommy Giordano and Bill Koski – T-Bone
- Tom Tuckey – Tabasco Tom
- Kid Elberfeld – The Tabasco Kid
- John O’Brien – Chewing Gum
Where’d ya say yer from?
Top 3 Most Regional Nicknames
1. The Wild Elk of the Wasatch
Ed Heusser was from the western edge of the Rocky Mountains in Utah, otherwise known as the Wasatch Range. Whether he was a wild elk is unknown. He was the NL ERA champion in 1944 for Cincinnati.
2. The Earl of Snohomish
The bespecticaled Earl Torgeson was a fiesty infielder from Snohomish, Washington. He wouldn’t hestitate to get in a tussle with the opposing team, but he would always remove his glasses first.
3. The Naugatuck Nugget
Yankees announcer Mel Allen, known as “The Voice of the Yankees,” gave Spec Shea his nickname. Shea was from Naugatuck, Connecticut.
- Lon Warneke – The Arkansas Hummingbird
- Hub Perdue – The Gallatin Squash
- Brian Daubach – Belleville Basher
- Rob Picciolo – Pepperdine Peach
- Guy Bush – The Mississippi Mudcat
- Don Nicholas – The Phoenix Flash
- Joe Ward – Happy of Manayunk
- Pepper Martin – The Wild Horse Of The Osage
- Minnie Minoso – Cuban Comet
- Herb Pennock – The Squire/Knight Of Kennett Square
- Sammy Strang – The Dixie Thrush
- Tip O’Neill – The Woodstock Wonder
- Heinie Meine – The Count Of Luxemburg
- Jim Scott – Death Valley Jim
- Al Hrabosky – The Mad Hungarian,Hungo
- Amos Rusie – The Hoosier Thunderbolt
- Phil Roof – Babe, The Duke of Paducah
- Steve Rachunok – The Mad Russian
- Eddie Plank – Gettysburg Eddie
Top 3 Most Unusual Baseball Monikers
1. Rawmeat Bill
Bill Rodgers was a believer in the power of raw meat. He ate raw meat for better power at the plate and encouraged his teammates to do the same. His unremarkable baseball career only lasted a few years, but he lived to the ripe old age of 91.
2. The Mechanical Man
Yankee’s pitcher Lefty Gomez said of Charlie Gehringer, “you wind him up on opening day and then forget him.” Thus was born The Mechanical Man. The second baseman played a total of 19 seasons for the Detroit Tigers.
3. The Freshest Man on Earth
Arlie Latham was a star player for the St Louis Browns in the 1880s. But he was better-known for his antics and pranks with teammates. He would somersault to avoid being tagged. He would light firecrackers in the clubhouse. A common term from that era, “fresh” was often used to mean “wise guy” or “cheeky.”
- Steve Sparks – Phone Book
- Rufus Smith – Shirt
- Tim O’Rourke – Voiceless Tim
- Frank Smith – Piano Mover
- Frank Thomas – The Big Hurt
- Charlie Pabor – The Old Woman in the Red Cap
- Bob Seeds – Suitcase Bob
- Bill Keister and Joe Adams – Wagon Tongue
- Danny Reynolds – Squirrel
- Johnny Schmitz – Bear Tracks
- Hank Sauer – The Honker
- Hub Pernoll – Piano Legs
- Herman Pillette – Old Folks
- Eric McNair – Boob
- High Pockets Kelly – High Pockets
Top 3 Most Dangerous Baseball Names
1. Mr. Murder
Monte Irvin was a star of the Negro Leagues and Major Leagues. So lethal was his bat, they called him Mr. Murder. He is also a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
2. The Needle
Baseball great Ted Williams called Johnny Pesky “The Needle.” Pesky had a long, thin nose that Ted thought was worthy of the moniker. He was also known as Mr. Red Sox.
Little is known of George Stutz, other than his 9 plate appearances for Philidelphia in 1926 and that he was called Satan.
- Joe Frazier – Cobra Joe
- Creepy Crespi – Creepy
- Harmon Killebrew – Killer
- Jack Thoney – Bullet Jack
It just sounds good
Top 3 Coolest Handles
1. Cool Breeze
Rodney Scott is one cool dude. His teammate John Mayberry gave him the name Cool Breeze because of his unflappable outlook. Scott played for six different teams in the 1970s and 80s.
2. Sweet Music
Minnesota Twin Frank Viola had a sweet circle change pitch and a name of a musical intrument. The name “Sweet Music” is attributed to a local sports writer and became Frankie’s moniker through his entire major league career.
3. Say Hey Kid
Willie Mays is known as the best all-around player in baseball history. The origins of his nickname are not clear. One story is that when he first arrived in the minor leagues, he didn’t know anyone’s name so he would say “Hey man. Say hey, man” to get their attention.
- Dave Rajsich – The Blade
- Fred McGriff – Crime Dog
- Reggie Jackson – Mr. October
- Eddie Mayo – Hotshot
- Ed Kenna – The Pitching Poet
- Whitey Ford – The Chairman of the Board,Slick
- Earle Combs – The Kentucky Colonel
- Ty Cobb – The Georgia Peach
- John Montefusco – The Count
Now you’re thinking!
Top 3 Most Creative Baseball Nicknames
1. The Nashville Narcissus
Red Lucas was a control pitcher and when he batted, he walked often. His creative nickname was given to him by Colonel Bob Newhall, a reporter for the Cincinnati Tribune.
2. The Human Rain Delay
Mike Hargrove drove opposing pitchers and managers crazy with his routine at each plate appearance. He would adjust his helmet. Then he would adjust his batting glove. Then he would pull down each sleeve. Then he would wipe his hands on his pants. Sometimes he’d repeat the whole process again before finally stepping into the batter’s box.
3. The Man Nobody Knows
Bill Dickey was an All Star catcher. His career lasted 17 years with the Yankees. But his low-key personality and aloofness made him the Man Nobody Knows.
- Barney Pelty – The Yiddish Curver
- Bris Lord – The Human Eyeball
- Leo Durocher – Leo The Lip, Lippy
Short names are easy to yell
Top 3 Short Nicknames
Hal Rice was Stan Musial’s backup in St Louis. He didn’t have much of a chance to shine.
Howie Krist had the look of a fresh-faced farm boy. His teammates called him Spud. The high point of his career was an undefeated season (10-0) for the Cardinals in 1941.
Frank Heifer only played in 11 games for the Boston Red Stockings in 1875. Typhoid struck down Heck at the early age of 39 years old.
- Warren Miller – Gitz
- Al Myers – Cod
- Paul Maloy – Biff
- Fred Kommers – Bugs
- Ray Kremer – Wiz
- Ernie Herbert – Tex
- Willie McGill – Kid
- George McConnell – Slats
- Steve Korcheck – Hoss
- Gene Fodge – Suds
- Harry McChesney – Pud
- Yip Owens – Yip
- George Moolic – Prunes
- Bill Moran – Bugs
- Frank Naleway – Chick
- Harvey Hendrick – Gink
- Joe Kracher – Jug
- Tony Rensa – Pug
- John Quinn – Pick
- Kirby Puckett – Puck
- Jennings Poindexter – Jinx
Baseball has a rich tradition of colorful characters and even more colorful nicknames. This list of baseball nicknames exhibits some of the best. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these great names.
You may also enjoy reading this listcaboodle.com list of famous last words of notable celebrities.