Pitchers and catchers reported this week for spring training, the annual ritual I miss so dearly since moving from Florida. Baseball has been much on my mind.
File this under “library, treasures of the.”
Whenever I’m blue, I get a book down from the shelf, turn to page 78 and begin to laugh.
It’s The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book and it’s one of those things available by special order. You can also find a used copy online, often for assloads of money.
Whatever the cost, it’s worth every penny.
You can also find it at the library, which is a pretty cool place. It’s like the Internet, only with stuff printed out.
On page 78, the authors simply list their favorite nicknames of ballplayers. I’ve never needed more than five bites of the first column before I begin to feel better.
I present this selection of names as a public service to all humanity. If only the United Nations General Assembly would join me in my mission to bring peace to the world . . . .
If this was read aloud before that body, in all the languages of earth, we could achieve a just and lasting peace.
It’s hard to fight when you’re laughing.
(I use the Rocky Bridges card as an illustration above. The nickname ‘Rocky’ isn’t nearly as funny as his real name — Everett. But Boyd and Harris write an essay on every baseball card in their book and the essay on Bridges is probably the funniest.)
Unfortunately, the tradition of baseball nicknames seems to have been lost. Since Boyd and Harris compiled this list four decades ago, there haven’t been too many colorful additions. Chris Berman does his part on ESPN. There was a player on the University of Florida baseball team some years back named Dave Majeski. I tried to get one of my sportswriter friends to work Purple Mountains Majeski into his story one day. He did, but it didn’t catch on.
The baseball nickname is the entymological equivalent of the dodo. So appreciate these names while you can.
Bless you, Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris. Your book is a treasure.
(Insert drum roll . . . )
Read this aloud at the office. Suggest new names for your pals. Fuck bringing sexy back. Let’s bring nicknames back.
(Big rimshot here . . . )
And now, broken down into alphabetical order, the silliest baseball nicknames we can find:
A: Wagon Tongue Adams, Snitz Applegate, Bow Wow Arft.
B: Bee Bee Babe, Sweetbreads Bailey, Rattlesnake Baker, Belve Bean, Bananas Beans, Desperate Beatty, Boom Boom Beck, Jittery Joe Berry, Hillbilly Bildilli, Red Bird, The Darling Booth, Goobers Bratcher, Bunny Brief, Chops Broskie, Turkeyfoot Brower, Oyster Burns.
C: Scoops Carey, Ding-a-Ling Clay, Whoops Creeden, Crunchy Cronin, Dingle Croucher.
D: Daffy Dean, Peaceful Valley Deizer, Hickory Dickson, Bullfrog Dietrich, Buttermilk Dow, Pea Soup Dumont.
E: Piccolo Pete Elko, Slippery Ellam.
F: Broadway Flair, Sleuth Fleming, Suds Fodge.
G: Inch Gleich, Gabber Glenn.
H: Snags Heidrick, Bunny High, Bootnose Hofman, Herky Jerky Horton, Twinkles Host, Highpockets Hunt.
J: Bear Tracks Javery.
L: Candy LaChance, Whoop LaWhite, Bevo LeBourveau, Razor Ledbetter, Grasshopper Lillie, Memo Luna.
M: Cuddles Marshall, Humpty McElveen, Beauty McGowan, Sadie McMahon, Boob McNair, Spinach Melillo, Earache Meyer.
O: Peach Pie O’Connor, Orval Overall.
P: Pretzels Pezzullo, Cotton Pippen, Pinky Pittinger, Primo Preibisch, Truckhorse Pratt, Lumber Price, Shucks Pruett, Shadow Pyle.
Q: Wimpy Quinn.
R: Icicle Reeder, Raw Meat Rodgers, Half-Pint Rye.
S: Slim Sallee, Horse Belly Sargent, Skeeter Scalzi, Silk Stalking Schafer, Wildfire Schulte, Steeple Schultz, Blab Schwartz, Pius Scwert, Twinkletoes Selkirk, Colonel Bosco Snyder, Spook Speake, Fish Hook Stout, Inky Strange, Sleeper Sullivan, Homer Summa, Suds Sutherland, Ducky Swann.
T: Patsy Tebeau, Pussy Tebeau, White Wings Tebeau, Adonis Terry, Cannonball Titcomb, Turkey Tyson.
U: Dixie Upright.
V: Peak-a-Boo Veach.
W: Podgie Weihe, Icehouse Wilson, Kettle Wirtz, Chicken Wolf.
Z: Zip Zabel, Noodles Zupo.
For more fun along these lines, I heartily endorse The Outside Corner’s “All Innuendo Team,” featuring Rusty Kuntz, Stubby Clapp, Johnny Dickshot and many others.
I love baseball — Lord help me, I do.