St. Louis Cardinals and the Best Player Nicknames Ever

Lake CruiseAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals and the Best Player Nicknames Ever

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    ST. LOUIS - MARCH 31:  Former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith waves to fans during the opening ceremony before the Cardinals were to take on the Colorado Rockies on opening day at Busch Stadium March 31, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by E
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The "Redbirds"—as the St. Louis Cardinals are nicknamed—have a storied history of winning and doing it with flair.  The franchise owns some of the most unique characters and nicknames in all of American sports.

    I've yet to see a countdown on the nicknames of the Cardinals.  This could be the first. 

    You witnessing history and I'm humbled by your presence. 

    Please feel free to enjoy.

16. Joseph "Creepy" Crespi (1938-42)

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Fans show their support for former St. Louis Cardinals player Stan Musial in between innings as the St. Louis Cardinals play against the Colorado Rockies at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The The Cardinals
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Crepsi was the leadoff hitter for the 1942 World Series champions. Musial batted behind him and he still managed a whopping .243 batting average.

    No wonder they called him “Creepy.”  I’m kidding of course.

    A St. Louis native, he died there in 1990.

15. "Silent" George Hendrick

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  George Hendrick of the Tampa Bay Rays poses during Photo Day on February 22, 2008 at the Raymond A. Naimoli Baseball Complex in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The cool Oakland, California native was quick. Because of his reluctance to talk to the media, he was caught on tape boasting about his “blazing speed”  and received the nicknamed for doing so.

    He was talking to a Kansas City Royals player during a disputed play with an umpire at first base in the 1985 World Series.

    Standing on first base and listening to the first baseman and opposing coach ferociously argue the call, George said, "It was that blazing speed that did it."

    After hearing the audio and knowing George was silent, I was literally holding my stomach laughing.

14. Rogers "The Raja" Hornsby

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    ST LOUIS - JULY 18:  Statue of Rogers Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals is outside of Busch Stadium on July 18, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    No relation to Ali Haji-Sheikh—the former NFL placekicker—Hornsby sounds more like a jazz player’s name.  The slugger jazzed up the baseball with the bat. He became a 1926 World Champion with the Redbirds.

13. George "Specs" Toporczer

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Fans tailgate outside Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Houston Astros in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The "blind mellow jelly" of baseball, George spelled his last name Topoycer as a major league player. 

    In 1921, he became the first player—except for pitchers—to wear glasses on the field of play. 

    His 1941 autobiography, Baseball: From Backlots to Big Leagues is still considered a top manual for budding coaches and players.

    Groping his way to the shower without his glasses, one player was allegedly overheard to ask, "Who sent him up?"

12. Enos "Country" Slaughter

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    ST LOUIS - JULY 18:  Statue of Enos Slaughter #9 of the St. Louis Cardinals is outside of Busch Stadium on July 18, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    A one-man slaughterhouse at bat, Slaughter played with Stan Musial during the 1940s and tore the cover off the ball. 

    He was also fleet of foot—famously scoring from first base on a bobbled single during a game in the World Series. 

    Known for orchestrating the Mad Dash in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series, he got a statue outside of Busch Stadium to prove that he was the one who did it.

11. Stan "The Man" Musial

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15:  U.S. President Barack Obama (L) presents Baseball Hall of Fame member Stan Musial the 2010 Medal of Freedom as Basketball Hall of Fame member and human rights activist Bill Russell (R) applauds in the East Room of the White
    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    He was awarded a Medal of Freedom by president Obama in February 2010. 

    He also owned a restaurant for many years in St. Louis named Stan Musial and Biggies. Across the highway from Forest Park and down the street from where the Blues played, the spot was almost a landmark.

    Having served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, Musial himself is almost a St. Louis landmark.

10. Lou "Base Burglar" Brock

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    ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14: U.S. President Barack Obama greets Hall of Famer Lou Brock after throwing out the first pitch at the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
    Pool/Getty Images

    This is a nickname I just invented for the Hall of Fame outfielder and entrepreneur.  Or maybe it was broadcaster Mike Shannon.  I forget which one.

    13 steps in stealing second base was his formula.

    Who still has their Brock-a-brella?  I lost mine years ago.  I could have nicknamed him Lou "Brock-a-Brella" Brock ... 

    Maybe not.

9. Paul "Daffy" Dean

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    ST. LOUIS - APRIL 06:  Fans buy programs before the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day on April 6, 2009  at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Opposing players were often ducking from Dean's fastball. Speaking of Paul—no relation to Daffy Duck—the younger of the Dean brothers would’ve been the ace on just about any other staff. 

    His Hall of Fame brother was the only one standing in his way on the Cardinals.

    Big brothers—can’t live with them, can’t make the Hall of Fame on the same team with them.

8. Jay "Dizzy" Dean

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    ST LOUIS - JULY 18:  Statue of Jay Hanna 'Dizzy' Dean #17 of the St. Louis Cardinals is outside of Busch Stadium on July 18, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    One of the greatest pitchers in NL history, he was left off the All-Century squad.  Bob Gibson was the only Cardinals pitcher on it.  Gibbie’s nickname isn’t cool enough to make this list.

    In Game 4 of the 1934 World Series, Dean was struck in the head by a throw to first from a pivoting Detroit Tigers shortstop.

    Knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital, a headline declared—allegedly—“X-Rays of Dean’s Head Reveal Nothing.”

    Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, singer Billy Preston would say.

7. Johnny Leonard Roosevelt "Pepper" Martin

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    PHOENIX - APRIL 19:  Batting coach Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals signs autographs for fans before the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 19, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Pete
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Salt of the red earth, Martin owned more names and nicknames than a "Li'l Bit."  He was also known as the “Wild Horse of the Osage."

    The leadoff hitter for the 1934 World Series champions, he set the table for Frankie Frisch and Joe Medwick and crew.

    He also set the table for nicknames.  A well-known old school warm-up exercise in baseball is allegedly named after him.

6. Arnold "'Bake" McBride

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    With a baker's dozen worth of speed, Bake was able to thrill Cardinals fans.  A 1970s Cardinals center fielder, he was the blueprint for Willie McGee, who came in the 1980s.

    Cardinals fans have always been thrilled with base-running, and McBride and McGee were two of the fastest the franchise ever had.

    If anyone knows the recipe or the origin of this nickname, please holler back at me.

    I have some beefy columns to bake. 

5. Joe "Ducky" Medwick

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Fans wait outside Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Houston Astros in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Some players ducked after the ball left his bat. Medwick was the cleanup hitter for the 1934 World Series champions—an era that produced a bunch of colorful nicknames.

    I guess players in general had nicknames early on.  I wonder what my nickname would have been? 

    Being a player/writer for the team, I would probably have been called—drum roll please—"The Stroker."

4. James Anthony "Ripper" Collins (1931-36)

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Fans wait outside Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Houston Astros in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Collins also played for the Cubs and Pirates, but we're concerned with his six hard-hitting seasons with the Cardinals. 

    Collins' bat eased any managerial concerns Frankie Frisch had during the 1930s.  "Ripper" broke out in 1934 with 35 home runs to lead the league.  He smacked in 128 RBIs and batted .333.

    He also hit .367 in the World Series, which the Redbirds won in seven games.

3. Ozzie "The Wizard of Oz" Smith

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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 25:  Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith attends the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 25, 20010 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    "Because of the wonderful things he does" the St. Louis restaurateur's image and moniker are all of over the community. 

    Broadcaster Jack Buck and color commentator Mike Shannon were fond of calling the great Smith by this moniker.  If you ever saw some of his amazing defensive plays, you’d understand why.

    He also gave the 1980s Redbirds their hearts.

2. Frankie Frisch: The World Famous "Fordham Flash" from the Bronx

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    ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - APRIL 6: Fans stand outside Busch Stadium prior to the opening day game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium April 6, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    He was the third place hitter and the player/manager of the famous 1934 World Series champions.  A right-handed switch-hitter, he played second base for eleven seasons with the Redbirds.

    With a no-holds-barred approach to playing the game, he was the player/manager from 1933-37 and the anchor of the squad.

    He was named one of the first three National League All-Stars (1933-35) and played on the 1931 World Series champion Cardinals.

    In his latter days, he became known as the "Old Flash"—not the "Old Peeping Tom."

1. The "Gashouse Gang" (1934)

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 29:  Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals line the walkway above a hand made sign during the World Series Victory Parade and Rally on October 29, 2006 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    "Gashouse" is often used to refer to the 1930s Depression era Cardinals in general, but best describes the 1934 team.  

    A rag-tag bunch, they earned one of the most memorable nicknames in Redbirds' records and are the epitome of the 1930s American past time.

    Shortstop Leo Durocher is credited with saying the American League looked down on the lowly Cardinals  and didn't want them. 

    Shabby, dirty and smelly, the Gang, in revenge, peeled the cover off the ball at the plate, and ran the bases like the wind—and broke it.

    This breaks up my tour of the Cardinals and their legendary nicknames.  Until next time, keep thinking up those classic names for guys like me to write about.  God bless and good nicknaming.