Nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words – nicknames, all time, all ways for Yankees. Through the decades sporting scribes, fans, friends and relatives, opponents and teammates have outdone themselves pinning nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words – nick-names on Yankee personnel and experiences.
These have run the gamut, from apt to asinine, from complimentary to crude, from hero worshipping to hellacious, from amusing to amazing. Herewith, a sampler.
Babe Ruth leads the pack in the number of nick-names attached to him. Called “Babe” by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, his first professional team because of his youth. Early on he was also called “Infant Swatagy,” G.H.Ruth was also called “Jidge” by Yankee teammates, in German, short for George.
Opponents referred to him negatively as “The Big Monk” and “Monkey.” He was also called “Two Head, a negative nick-name used by opponents to describe the size of his head which seemed very huge to some. They also called him a lot of unmentionables.
Sportswriters glamorizing the big guy came up with these monikers: “Home Run King,” “The Bambino”, “Bammer,” “the Bam, ” “the Wali of Wallop”, “the Rajah of Rap”, “the Caliph of Clout”, “the Wazir of Wham”, “the Sultan of Swat”, “The Colossus of Clout,” “Maharajah of Mash”, “The Behemoth of Bust,” “Behemoth of Biff,” “The King of Clout” and the “Goliath of Grand Slams.”
“The Babe” – George Herman Ruth leads off the list and pads it for most nick-names acquired. He called most players “Kid” because he couldn’t remember the names of even his closest friends.
In spring training 1927, Babe Ruth bet pitcher Wilcy Moore $l00 that he would not get more than three hits all season. A notoriously weak hitter, Moore somehow managed six hits in 75 at bats. Ruth paid off his debt and Moore purchased two mules for his farm naming them “Babe” and “Ruth.”
But enough of George Herman Ruth. Now onto the bon mots, aliases, expressions for all matter of Yankees:
A-Rod – Abbreviation for Alex Rodriguez.
“All American Out” – What Babe Ruth called Leo Durocher because of his limited hitting ability.
“Almighty Tired Man” – Mickey Rivers, for his slouching demeanor
“American Idle” – Carl Pavano was known as this because he could never stay on the field and stay healthy.
“An A-bomb from A-Rod” – classic home run call, John Sterling
“It is high, it is far. It is gone! The Yankees win. Thuuuuuuuuh Yankees win!” – another classic home run call, John Sterling
“Battle of the Biltmore” – 1947 World Series celebration in Manhattan’s Biltmore Hotel was a time and place where Larry MacPhail drunkenly fought with everyone ending his Yankee ownership time.
“Babe Ruth’s Legs” – Sammy Byrd, employed as pinch runner for Ruth and “Bam-Bam” for Hensley Meulens, able to speak about five languages, but had a challenging name for some to pronounce.
“Banty rooster” – Casey Stengel’s nickname for Whitey Ford because of his style and attitude.
BOOKENDS: Speaking of nicknames, “the Lip” was the favored one for Leo Durocher for obvious reasons. To read all about the feisty and sometimes outrageous manager, pick up a copy of Leo Durocher by celebrated author Paul Dickson (Bloomsbury, $28.00, 304 pages). It is a fabulous read with all kinds of new information. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Just a sampling from The Ultimate Yankee Book, fall 2017
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Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 41st year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 43 sports books including the classics: New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and most notable and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park.
A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/