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Steve Alvest


19th century baseball player nicknames

Baseball is known for its colorful player nicknames. I've been doing some research on 19th century baseball and was struck by some of the interesting nicknames I came across.

19th century baseball player nicknames

    1. Ice Box Chamberlain

    Some sources attribute the nickname to his ability to remain cool when facing tough opposition, but at least one source links the nickname to chronic laziness.

    2. Orator Shafer

    he received the nickname because he "was a great stickler for his rights and talked to himself when not talking to the Umpire."

    3. The Only Nolan

    Nolan received his nickname in 1878. In that era, "the only" was a common term used to describe anyone who excelled at something.

    4. Pretzels Getzien

    Sources conflict as to whether the nickname was derived from his German ethnicity or from the belief that he was able to throw a "double curve" following "the curves of a pretzel."

    5. Lady Baldwin

    Baldwin was given the nickname "Lady" because of his "quiet ways" and his refusal to swear or to come into contact with either tobacco or liquor.

    6. Old Hoss Radbourn

    He earned the nickname “Old Hoss” because of his hard work and devotion to the game.

    Fun fact: Radbourn is also known for being the first person photographed gesturing the middle finger.

    Another fun fact: It is speculated Radbourn might be the namesake of the charley horse, a painful leg cramp not unlike that from which he suffered.

    7. Peek-A-Boo Veach

    Veach acquired his nickname when playing for Kansas City in 1884. It was during this season that his manager Ted Sullivan had set up timing plays to pick runners off first base through the use of signals that Veach would have to wait and look for. Players had caught on to this trick and began calling him Peek-A-Boo because he would be looking around for signals.

    8. Silver King

    The first part of King's nickname was a reference to the color of his hair, while the latter part was a translation of his German surname.

    9. Phenomenal Smith

    He reportedly received the nickname "Phenomenal" after pitching a no-hitter against Baltimore on October 3, 1885. Only two batters reached base, one on an error and one on a base on balls, and Smith picked off both runners at first base.

    10. Chicken Wolf

    As a teenager a friend dubbed him “Chicken”

    11. Live Oak Taylor

    Not sure how he got his nickname, but I had to include it.

    12. Dick Burns, Tony Suck, Joe Quest, and Frank Mountain

    I lumped these together at the end because they aren't nicknames. They're real names. Dick Burns and Tony Suck are self explanatory in why I find them amusing. Joe Quest and Frank Mountain sound like WWE stage names.

    Fun note: If you look up "Frank Mountain" on Wikipedia, it says on top, "For the mountain formerly known as 'Frank Mountain', see Herodium."

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