Thursday, October 23, 2014

How Cool Are These Nicknames?

FranT and I just drafted a list of our favorite sports nicknames. We got fifteen picks each, and what we're left with are the best 30 individual nicknames in sports, according to us.

1. FT "Yogi" Berra

I'll take a great player with an even better nickname with the top pick. Lawrence "Yogi" Berra is the selection because -- even though I've never seen a yogi -- Yogi looks more like a yogi than any other person I can imagine.

2. BK The Hick From French Lick (Larry Bird)

His friends speculated that if he couldn't play pro ball, he'd have been the head garbageman in French Lick, and 100% happy with that.

3. FT The Sultan of Swat (Babe Ruth)

4. BK The Big Hurt (Frank Thomas)

I love how this nickname takes a feeling and makes it a noun - it's the abstract art of power hitter nicknames!

5. FT The Bus (Jerome Bettis)

6. BK The Galloping Ghost (Red Grange)

A streak of fire, a breath of flame
Eluding all who reach and clutch;
A gray ghost thrown into the game
That rival hands may never touch;
A rubber bounding, blasting soul
Whose destination is the goal.

-Grantland Rice, after Grange put up 262 yards and 4 TD's on Michigan. Who was coaching that team, Brady Hoke?!

7. FT "Bear" Bryant

8. BK The Iceman (George Gervin)

9. FT "Pistol" Pete Maravich

10. BK The Great One (Wayne Gretzky)

11. FT "Broadway Joe" Namath

12. BK The Crime Dog (Fred McGriff)

Love my 90's sluggers.

13. FT The Splendid Splinter (Ted Williams)

The wonderful-sounding alliteration makes the moniker an all-time great, just like Teddy Ballgame himself. (Did I just cheat and take two nicknames with one pick?) 

14. BK The Say Hey Kid (Willie Mays)

15. FT Cool Papa Bell (James Thomas Bell)

16. BK The Fridge (William Perry)

Who's cooler than The Fridge?

17. FT "Mean Joe" Greene

18. BK The Georgia Peach (Ty Cobb)

19. FT Mr. Hockey (Gordie Howe)

The dude played in 4 decades - what could be a better nickname for him than Mr. Hockey?

20. BK The Chicoutimi Cucumber (Georges Vezina)

Named as such for his cool demeanor in goal, NOT for being rumored to have fathered 22 children. Who knew?

21. FT Donnie Baseball (Don Mattingly)

22. BK Grandmama (Larry Johnson)

I, like most clowns of our generation, was introduced to Grandmama as well as Alonzo Mourning on the Charlotte Hornets by the classic My Brother and Me tv show. Not my Zo poster!

23. FT The Bayonne Bleeder (Chuck Wepner)

24. BK Sweetness (Walter Payton)

25. FT Louisiana Lightning (Ron Guidry)

26. BK The Commerce Comet (Mickey Mantle)

27. FT Kung Fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval)

28. BK Oil Can Boyd (Dennis Boyd)

It was actually kind of sad when it came to light how many drugs Oil Can Boyd did during his playing career (including before games), but he was named such for his propensity to crush beers, or "oil cans" as they were referred to in his hometown. He's still alive, by the way.

29. FT Chocolate Thunder (Darryl Dawkins)

"There's no way your team will break more backboards than mine"

30. BK The Kingslayer (Kawhi Leonard)

A lovely nickname because of its play off of another nickname (LeBron's The King) as well as pop culture (Game of Thrones. We'll see if this crosses over from nerd appreciation to the mainstream.

Also Receiving Votes: The Wizard of Oz (Ozzie Smith), Mr. Cub (Ernie Banks), The Voice of God (Bob Shephard), Megatron (Calvin Johnson), Johnny Football.

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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav

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