Sports in general have always been filled with nicknames for players. In football, there has been Crazy Legs Hirsch, Sweetness, Prime Time, All Day, Beast Mode, The Galloping Ghost, The Honey Badger, among many others. Basketball offers Air Jordan, Dr. J, Wilt the Stilt, The Big O, Black Mamba, The Dream, The Greek Freak, Pistol Pete, The Mailman and many more. However no sport has utilized nicknames over the years like baseball.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Walter “Big Train” Johnson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Pete Rose-known as Charlie Hustle, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb- the Georgia Peach, Joe DiMaggio-The Yankee Clipper, Ted Williams-the Splendid Splinter, Franklin “Home Run” Baker, Jerome Hannah “Dizzy” Dean, Paul “Daffy” Dean, Willie “The Say Hey Kid” Mays, Hammering Henry Aaron, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Reggie Jackson known as “Mr October, Ron “The Penguin” Cey, Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, Crime Dog Fred McGriff, Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas, Charles “Chili” Davis, and David “Big Papa” Ortiz is a short list of some of the great nicknames through Major League baseball history.
Past Alabama players with nicknames over the years include outfielder Taylor Dugas- “Dugie”, the schools all time hit leader. Double play combination from 2008-2010 Josh Rutledge and Ross Wilson were known as “Rutty” and “Willie” during their playing days. Nathan “Peanut” Kilcrease was a fan favorite from 2008-2011 partly because of his diminutive size, but more so because of how great a pitcher he was, still holding many school records. Closer Thomas Burrows, who holds the all time save record for Alabama, was known as “Tater” during his career from 2014-2016. Emeel Salem was a two time All American centerfielder during his career from 2005-2008 and was known simply as “E” by players and fans. Jerry Shelton, father of current Bama pitcher Nathan, is the school’s all time leader in being hit by pitches which earned him the nickname “Stitch”. Chase Lee was the closer for the past three season for the Tide and earned the moniker of “The Viper” from fans, and it has carried over now that he is in pro ball. Pitcher Dylan “The Real Deal” Smith finished his career last year and was a second round draft choice by the Detroit Tigers.
Current players on the Tide roster have been tagged with some unique nicknames as well. The team itself has been dubbed #GVT (Good Vibe Tribe) by shortstop Jim “Juice” Jarvis and third baseman Zane “Zeus” Denton. First baseman Drew Williamson is known as “Big Country”, fellow first baseman Davis Heller, who stands 6”8” is called “Big Cactus” (he is from Arizona) by a group of fans and “Meat” by his teammates. Infielder Bryce Eblin is called “Bruce” by teammates as a play on his first name. Harvard grad transfer Tommy Seidl is called “Sarge” for his leadership abilities and intensity. Pitcher Jacob McNairy brought his nickname, “Goob” with him to the Capstone. Outfield/infielder Caden Rose is called “Squirrel”. Several players have variations of their names as their handle. Among the outfielders Owen Diodati becomes Dio, William Hamiter is Hammy, Andrew Pinckney is called Pink, and Camden Hayslip is “Slippy”. Among the pitchers Antoine Jean is called ‘Toine, Landon Green is “Lando” by most and “The Cattleman” by some, Hunter Hoopes is “Hoopsie” and Garrett McMillian is “G-Mac”.
Sports are fun and nicknames are part of that fun. In the comments, drop some favorite nicknames of some of your favorite athletes. The baseball team is working hard to get ready for opening day which falls on February 18th. The squad looks to build on last years regional appearance and has the look of a good, hungry team. I’ll be writing more as the season gets closer on what to expect and players to look for.