50 Worst Nicknames in Baseball History

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2011

50 Worst Nicknames in Baseball History

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    Everyone, including baseball players, hopes that they can get a cool nickname. However, for many players that is not the case.

    There have been a number of great nicknames throughout baseball's storied history, but there also have been a few that it is not too hard to laugh at. Some of the nicknames on this list are funny, while others just don't make much sense.

50) "Cactus Gavvy" Cravath

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    There is a bit of a unique story behind how Clifford Cravath got his nickname. Legend has it that the second part of his nickname, Gavvy, came from the Spanish word "gaviota" which means seagull.

    Cravath earned the Cactus nickname because he grew up in the west and had a prickly personality. He never liked this part of his nickname.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

49) Derek "Mr. November" Jeter

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    There are a number of nicknames, such as "The Captain," that Derek Jeter has earned throughout his career. However, his "Mr. November" moniker is title that he does not deserve.

    Jeter did hit a walk-off home run as Game 4 ended on Nov. 1, but he struggled during the rest of the month. In fact, after that home run he went just 2-11 with four strikeouts.

48) John “Pretzel” Pezzullo

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    Pretzels are a great bar snack. However, it is not a great nickname.

    This is the nickname that John Pezzullo earned during his short playing career. He appeared in 58 games during his career.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

47) Ralph “Putsy” Caballero

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    While "Putsy" is certainly not a cool nickname, Ralph Caballero was a member of a team that had a cool one.

    They were the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies' team, known as the "Whiz Kids" managed to win the NL Pennant despite having an average age of 26.4.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

46) Jack "Slug" Burns

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    It is not uncommon for baseball players to get nicknames that reference animals, and most players get a nickname that refers to one of the creatures near the top of the animal kingdom.

    Jack "Slug" Burns was not as lucky. A slug is one of the least intimidating animals that there is. The thing cannot even survive a few grains of salt.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

45) Ewell "Turkey" Gross

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    Ewell Gross must have never had it easy. When he was on the playground as a child, he certainly heard calls of "Ew, Gross" when other students wanted to mock him.

    Once he reached the major leagues, he couldn't even pick up a good nickname. He was given the nickname "Turkey."

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

44) Rafael “El Enano” Furcal

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    In English, "El Enano" means "The Dwarf." Rafael Furcal is 5'8" which is just below average height. The name does not exactly fit him.

43) Doug “Eyechart” Gwosdz

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    If it wasn't possible to discern from Gwosdz's last name it is pronounced GOOSH. His nickname was given to him by Chris Canizarro.

    Photo Credit: MTBL Central

42) Granville “Granny” Hamner

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    It makes sense how Granville Hamner got his nickname, but it is not a great one. By shortening his first name, Hamner ended up with a rather embarrassing nickname.

    Rumor has it that Hamner would bring his teammates chicken noodle soup when they were sick.*

    *Not true

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

41) Jim “The Toy Cannon” Wynn

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    Jim Wynn earned his nickname, "The Toy Cannon," as a result of both his stature and his great arm. He stood just 5'8."

    During just his third year in the majors, Wynn led the Houston Astros in outfield assists with 13, and he was given the nickname that stuck with him throughout his career.

    Photo Credit: Astros Daily

40) John “Chewing Gum” O’Brien

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    In the 1800's there were not many baseball players who chewed gum in the dugout or during the games. John O'Brien was one of the first ones to do so, which explains his nickname.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

39) Bill “Goober” Zuber

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    Nowadays, a goober is a goofy person. The term may not have had the same meaning when it was given to Bill Zuber as a nickname, but it is still a poor nickname for him to have.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

38) Thomas “Toad” Ramsey

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    Thomas Ramsey is yet another ballplayer with an animal name who makes the list. He is stuck with the boring nickname of "Toad."

    Nothing like being nicknamed after an animal people mistakenly thought gave people warts. That certainly couldn't have been good for Ramsey's reputation with the ladies.

37) Joseph “Pepper” Peploski

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    The origins of Joseph "Pepper" Peploski's nickname should be easy to figure out. However, it is an uncool nickname. Who wants their nickname to be synonymous with something that people but on their food?

    Photo Credit: Out of the Park Baseball

36) Francis “Salty” Parker

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    One of the things that goes along with pepper is salt. Unfortunately, Salty Parker never played any games with Joseph "Pepper" Peploski, but they did both make their only appearances for the Detroit Tigers.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

35) Tony “Mosquito” Ordenana

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    Mosquitos are known for being pesky and annoying. Tony Ordenana actually earned his nickname because of his speed.

    Ordenana played in just one game during his major league career, but he went 2-for-4 with three RBI.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

34) Hollis “Sloppy” Thurston

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    At no point in time is being called sloppy every a compliment. However, Hollis Thurston somehow managed to end up with the nickname "Sloppy." The name did fit though as Thurston had a career K/BB ratio under one.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

33) Jose “Pantalones” Santiago

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    Jose Santiago's nickname is on this list because of how silly it is. His nickname "Pantalones" means pants. No creativity and no fun there.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

32) Gene “Half Pint” Rye

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    Gene Rye's nickname fit him given that he stood just 5'6". The problem is that Rye's nickname "Half Pint" is an insult. Rye did not take offense to it, but it is a poor nickname to have.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

31) Hub “Piano Legs” Pernoll

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    The term piano legs refers to anyone who has very strong legs. This is because the weak-looking legs of a piano are able to hold up all of the weight of the instrument.

    While the nickname speaks to Hub Pernoll's strength, it is a boring nickname.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

30) George “Possum” Whitted

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    While a possum is not a formidable animal, it is certainly a step up from a toad or a mosquito. George Whitted is the only known possum to win a World Series ring. He played for the 1914 World Champion Boston Braves.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

29) Charles “Chub” Collins

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    Unlike his nickname suggests, Charles "Chub" Collins was not overweight. He weighted only 165 pounds.

    Maybe he earned his nickname because he was a little bit too excited that he was one of the first Canadians to play in the MLB.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

28) Johnny "Grandma" Murphy

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    There has already been a Granny on this list, but Johnny Murphy's nickname, "Grandma" ranks higher because it was not derived from his first name and he had a strong dislike for it. He preferred his other nicknames, "Fireman" and "Fordham Johnny."

    He earned this nickname because of his sedate disposition.

27) Oliver “Patsy” Tebeau

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    Patsy is a term that is used as an insult. However, back in the late 1800's, this was no the case and Oliver Tebeau ended up with the nickname "Patsy."

    There are a number of people who wouldn't mind if a current football player with a similar last name got this nickname as well.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

26) Exavier “Nook” Logan

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    The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a nook is a cranny. From there, the next thought on the mind is often about English muffins. Nowhere in the thought process does Nook Logan come along.

    Logan's nickname becomes a bit embarrassing when you learn that he was named after a pacifier.

25) Bill “Wagon Tongue” Keister

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    Bill Keister was known as "Wagon Tounge" during his career. Surprisingly, he was not the only player to have this nickname. Joe Adams, who made just one major league appearance in 1902, had the same nickname.

    In 1901, Keister led the American League in triples with 21.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

24) Ernie “Schnozz” Lombardi

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    This is yet another nickname that is insulting to the player. However, can players really be faulted for giving Ernie Lombardi the nickname "Schnozz?" Just look at the nose!

    Photo Credit: Out of the Park Baseball

23) Gary “The Rat” Gaetti

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    Just one look at the picture, and it suddenly becomes clear why Gary Gaetti was given his nickname. His mustache looks like a set of whiskers, and his teeth resemble those of a rat.

    Photo Credit: Fans of Mediocrity

22) Charles “Fatty” Briody

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    At 5'8" and 190 pounds, it is easy to see where "Fatty" Briody got his nickname. This was not the only nickname that he had during his career. He was also known as "Alderman" during his eight-year career.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

21) "Chesty” Chet Johnson

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    Chet Johnson's nickname sounds like something that would be used in a bar conversation that occurred between a group of men 20 years ago.

    While Johnson may not have had major league success, he pitched just five games, he had a number of fans in the minors. He was a comedian and Groucho Marx was a huge fan of his.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

20) Jeffrey “Penitentiary Face” Leonard

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    How scary does a player need to look to earn the nickname "Penitentiary Face?" Apparently they just need to look exactly like Jeffrey Leonard.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

19) Pearce “What’s the Use” Chilies

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    While his nickname is not a cool one, the story behind it is. When batters would step up to the plate for the opposing team, Pearce Chilies would scream out "What's the Use" and the term became his nickname.

    Chilies was an interesting character. He managed to create a system to steal signs from the opposing catcher, and he was eventually arrested for a crime, escaped from jail and disappeared.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

18) William “Kitty" Bransfield

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    "Kitty" was not the first nickname that William Bransfield had. He was actually known as "Kid," but a reporter with bad hearing made a mistake when he heard the name and his new nickname was born.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

17) Nyjer "Tony Plush" Morgan

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    Nyjer Morgan has a few personalities. Off the field, he is known as Nyjer Morgan. However, when he is on the field, he says that he is "Tony Plush." Morgan says that it is one of his alter egos and that he is much more laid back off the field.

16) Hugh "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy

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    With a nickname like "Losing Pitcher," it is a wonder why Hugh Mulcahy's team, the Philadelphia Phillies, threw him out on the mound for eight years. He never won more games than he lost in a season.

    Amazingly, Mulcahy was selected for the 1940 All-Star Game. He finished his career with a .336 winning percentage.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

15) James “Skeeter” Webb

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    The most famous "Skeeter" is not James Webb, but rather Doug Funny's best friend from the classic show "Doug."

    As for why Webb's nickname is deserving of a spot on this list, check out this video from Dave Chappelle.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

14) Gabby “Old Tomato Face” Hartnett

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    While baseball has never had a Mr. Potato Head, it did have an "Old Tomato Face." Gabby Hartnett's nickname was a bit of a insult to him.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

13) Frederick “Firpo” Marberry

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    "Firpo" Marberry was one of the best relievers in the early history of baseball. He led the American League in saves five times.

    He was given his nickname because he looked like boxer Luis Firpo.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

12) Randy “Big Unit” Johnson

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    There are probably a number of guys out there who use this nickname, but not for the same reason that Randy Johnson had it.

    Johnson was given the "Big Unit" nickname by Tim Raines after Johnson ran into him during batting practice. Raines called him a "big unit," and the nickname stuck with Johnson.

11) Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd

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    Boyd's nickname actually has nothing to do with him having a rusty arm. In his hometown in Mississippi, beer is referred to as oil. He earned the nickname as he was growing up.

10) Charles “Chick” Lathers

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    "Chick" Lathers seems like the name of an actress in a bad adult film. Lathers actually had a short two-year stint in the major leagues.

9) Eric “Boob” McNair

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    Anyone under the age of 16 is likely laughing at that Eric McNair's nickname. Surprisingly, he was not the only major league player to have this nickname.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

8) Joseph “Boob” Fowler

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    Joseph Fowler is the second major league player to have this laughable nickname. It would be great if we could go back to the old times of baseball where many of the players' nicknames were insults.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

7) Raymond “Snooks” Dowd

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    A few years ago, this nickname would not have made the list. Then again, a few years ago "Jersey Shore" had not yet been broadcast across the airwaves.

    Snooki, or "Snooks" for short, has ruined this nickname for Raymond Dowd. All reports indicated that Dowd did not spend his free time reeking havoc on the lovely beaches of New Jersey.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

6) William “Baby Doll” Jacobson

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    If a baseball player has the nickname "Baby Doll," one would expect that he has a small stature. That is the exact opposite of Johnson who had a hulking 6'3", 215-pound frame.

    Johnson got his nickname by a woman saying "‘you must be that beautiful doll they were talking about" after he hit a home run.

    Photo Credit: The Baseball Biography Project

5) Travis “Pronk” Hafner

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    "Pronk" is probably one of the most ill-conceived nicknames in baseball. He was known as both "The Project" and "The Donkey" during the early part of his career.

    Someone decided to combine the two nicknames and the new hybrid nickname "Pronk" was the result. Somehow, it managed to stick.

4) Clarence “Cuddles” Marshall

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    When thinking of an incredibly intimidating and fitting baseball name, "Cuddles" is likely the last choice that comes to mind. That was the nickname that Clarence Marshall had during his career.

    He got his nickname when his roommate Jim Page spoke to a newspaperman who was hoping to find a nickname for Marshall. The inspiration came because of the number of young women that would come into the lobbies of the hotels where the team was staying. 

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

3) Charles “Lady” Baldwin

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    It is an insult to tell someone that they "throw like a girl," so it is no wonder that "Lady" is near the top of the list for the worst nicknames in baseball history.

    Charles Bladwin was given his nickname by his teammates because he did not smoke, curse or drink. These were all things that were very common for players of his era.

    The awesome mustache could be a vehicle to exert his masculinity.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

2) Russell "Rusty" Kuntz

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    Number of jokes that I can make that will get me in trouble: 42

    Number of acceptable jokes: 1

    When he missed a few games, Russell Kuntz's arm was a bit "Rusty." Wow, that was terrible.

1) Johnny “Ugly” Dickshot

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    Really? As if Johnny Dickshot did not already take enough flack because of his last name. Sorry Johnny, "Ugly" is the worst nickname in MLB history.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference