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From “the Captain” to “Friday Night Massacre”

The Bronx Bombers alias the New York Yankees, the most successful franchise in baseball history has a corner on lots of things including nick-names. For your reading pleasure, a sampling of nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words and of course nick-names,

“The Captain” – Derek Jeter – was such an icon that the Yankees have yet to name a new Captain one since his retirement.

“Captain Clutch” – Derek Jeter, that he was

“Chairman of the Board” – Elston Howard coined it for Whitey Ford and his commanding and take charge manner on the mound.

”Carnesville Plowboy” – Spud Chandler, for his hometown of Carnesville,

“The CAT-a-lyst” – Mickey Rivers, given this name by Howard Cosell.

“Georgia Catfish” – James Augustus Hunter was his real name but the world knew him as “Catfish,” primarily because of Oakland A’s owner Charles O. Finley. Finley. Hunter ran away from home when he was a child, returning with two catfish. His parents called him Catfish for a while. Finley decided that Jim Hunter was too bland a name a star pitcher and revived Hunter’s childhood nickname.

“Columbia Lou” – Lou Gehrig, for his collegiate roots.

.            “Commerce Comet” – Mickey Mantle, for his speed and being out of Commerce, Oklahoma.

“The Colonel” – Jerry Coleman saw combat in both World War II and the Korean War, As a Marine Corps aviator, he flew 120 combat missions and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

It was also a nickname for pitching coach Jim Turner who came from the south and used by Jim Bouton in Ball Four in a derogatory fashion.

“The Count” – Sparky Lyle, handlebar mustache and lordly ways

“The Count” – John Montefusco, because his name reminded people of the Count of Monte Crisco.

“Core Four” Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada were all drafted or signed as amateurs by the Yankees in the early 1990s. After playing in the minors together they made their debuts in 1995. With the four as a nucleus, the Yanks in the next 17 seasons missed the playoffs only twice, played in the World Series seven times, won five world championships.

“The Crow” – Frank Crosetti loud voice and chirpy ways.

“Curse of the Bambino” – Since 1920 and the selling of Babe Ruth to the Yankees by Boston owner Harry Frazee in 1920, the Yankees have won all those championships. The Red Sox have won a few.

“Daddy Longlegs” – Dave Winfield, for his size and long legs.

“Danish Viking” – George Pipgras, for his size and roots

“Deacon” – Everett Scott, for his not too friendly look.

“Death Valley” – the old deep centerfield in Yankee Stadium.

“Dial-a-Deal – Gabe Paul, for his telephone trading habits.

“Donnie Baseball” – Don Mattingly’s nickname. Some say it was coined by Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay; others say it came from Kirby Puckett. Kay takes the credit; Mattingly gives the credit to Puckett.

“Ellie”   – Affectionate abbreviation of Elston Howard’s first name

“El Duquecito” – Adrian Hernandez because of a pitching style similar to Orlando “El Duque.”

“Father of the Emory Ball” – Rookie right-hander Russ Ford posted a 26-6 record with 8 shutouts, 1910, using that pitch.

“Figgy” – Ed Figueroa, short for his surname which was tough, for some, to pronounce

“Five O’clock Lightning” – At five o’clock the blowing of a whistle at a factory near Yankee Stadium signaled the end of the work day in the 1930s and also the power the Yankees were unleashing against opponents on the Yankee Stadium playing field.

“Fireman” – Johnny Murphy, the first to have this nick-name was the first great relief pitcher. Joe Page picked up this nick-name for his top relief work later on.

“Flash” – Joe Gordon was fast, slick fielding and hit line drives.

“Flop Ears” – Julie Wera. Was dubbed that by Babe Ruth. A backup infielder, Wera earned $2400, least on the ‘27 Yankees

Yankees,”Fordham Johnny” – for the college Johnny Murphy attended.

“Four hour manager” – Bucky Harris, who put his time in at the game and was finished.

“Friday Night Massacre” – April 26, 1974, Yankees Fritz Patterson, Steve Kline, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, and half the pitching staff were traded to Cleveland for Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Ceil Upshaw.

One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. In 2010, he was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field

 A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of

His highly successful THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK is readily available from the author or  Amazon.

Harvey Frommer
I'm the author of 10 books. If you're looking for autographed copies just go to my Twitter @Sportsology and DM me.

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