Yankee 2nd baseman, DJ LaMahieu, is nicknamed "The Machine" because of his penchant for multi-hit games, regardless of who is pitching. He hits fast balls, curves, changeups, sliders...anything. There is even a rumor that a batboy once tossed him a rosin bag and DJ promptly sliced a double down the right field line, but I can't verify it. I don't know who slapped that label on him but at least we know why. Those are always questions where nicknames are involved: who gave it to them and why?
Here are a few classics and a few head scratchers:
Ted Williams - The Splendid Splinter - Obviously a great hitter and a very slim frame. No clue who gave it to him, probably the Boston press
Joe DiMaggio - The Yankee Clipper - Likely from his smooth running and hitting styles. I believe this came from the New York press.
Paul & Lloyd Waner - Big & Little Poison - Not the most elegant nicknames. The story is that the fans in the Polo Grounds called them 'Poison,' mispronouncing person. Seems a bit of a stretch to me. Interesting note: Paul hit .300 every year (averaging about .330) for his first 12 years in the majors. He was also a notorious drinker, often playing drunk. In 1938, he was convinced to stop drinking...and promptly hit .280. He also needed glasses but gave them up because, "I could see the ball too clearly and it was harder to hit."
Jim Hunter & John Odom - Catfish & Blue Moon - Two Oakland A's whose nicknames were given to them by owner Charlie Finley, because...well, just because he thought ballplayers should have them. He also encouraged his players to grow large handlebar mustaches.
Stan Musial - The Man - Supposedly came from a game where Musial had three hits. When he came to bat a forth time, a beat writer for the opposing said in the press box, "Oh no. Here comes that Man again," and it just caught on.
My favorite nickname has always been Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell. For years I wondered where it came from and the answer turned out to be very simple. He was from Vinegar Bend, North Carolina.
There are hundreds more , too many to go into all at once. I might make it a recurring feature.
Tonight begins a three game series between the Red Sox and the Yankees, arguably the biggest rivalry in sports. Alas, it isn't right now. The Yankees have more talented players than they know what to do with and Boston can't get out of their own way. Plus they've lost some key players this year: Chris Sale is on the Injured List and Mookie Betts and David Price have been traded to the Dodgers. Still the games will be hard fought just on emotion alone.
Joe Kelly was suspended for 8 games (reduced to 5) for an incident in the Houston-Dodger game last week. Hasn't cooled Kelly off any. In a recent interview, he called the Astro's "cheaters, snitches and liars." He couldn't say everything he wanted because he was on national TV. Can't wait for the next Dodger/Astro series.
Headline on ESPN: New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is everything MLB could want in a superstar. Basically true, but let's start with having him PLAY! There's a chance he won't be playing this weekend because of "lower body tightness." I 'm not even sure what that is, but if it's strange and different, Judge will find a way to get it.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman reportedly paid his ex-wife $1.75 million as part of their divorce settlement. Probably the biggest hit he's ever taken in the pocket." -- RJ Currie
"Owner Jerry Jones says Dallas Cowboys intend to play all their home games with fans in attendance. New slogan “People are dying to watch the Cowboys.”" -- Janice Hough
"Prince Harry & Meghan Markle bought a home in Santa Barbara that has 16 bathrooms. Most sports arenas don't have 16 bathrooms." -- Brad Dickson
"After a coronavirus
outbreak in a San Diego gym that was operating illegally: “My god,
people, you have the perfect excuse not to work out. Use it.”" -- Alex Kaseberg
"Just wondering.If the Blue Jays win the World Series, will they be treated to a championship parade through the vacated streets of Buffalo?" -- Dwight Perry
“How bad is it in Major League Baseball? 37 cardboard cutouts of fans placed in the stands just tested positive for COVID.” -- Brad Dickson