The best nicknames in Major League Baseball today

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 21: Wearing a jersey with his nickname "Showtime" on the back, Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to the dugout after lining out against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Angel Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 21: Wearing a jersey with his nickname "Showtime" on the back, Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to the dugout after lining out against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Angel Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Aug 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler (21) throws against the Houston Astros during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler (21) throws against the Houston Astros during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Play on Word Nicknames

Play on word nicknames really need to be grouped into two categories, simple and advanced. Both categories only make sense because something about the player’s name lends itself to being connected with another word. These names don’t necessarily represent anything about the player and are mostly just fun. The simple version uses the word while the advanced version requires a little more thinking.

Names like Bahnsen Burner (Stan Bahnsen), Oh Henry! (Henry Rodriguez), The Roa Constrictor (Joe Roa), The Podfather (Scott Podsednik), Wizard of Os (Roy Oswalt), The Giambino (Jason Giambi), Tacoby Bellsbury (Jacoby Ellsbury), or, my personal favorite, The Bourtabello Crushroom (Justin Bour) are great example of simple play on word nicknames. Of all the areas of nicknames, this is one where the modern day player seems to thrive.

Best Simple Play on Word Nicknames

  • Honorable Mention:
    • Wachamole – Michael Wacha
    • Obi Yan – Yan Gomes
    • Yasmanian Devil – Yasmani Grandal
    • Yerminator – Yermin Mercedes
    • Jonny Lasagna – Jonathan Loasiga
    • Parmigiancarlo – Giancarlo Stanton
    • Manaealator – Sean Manaea
    • The Yankee Clippard – Tyler Clippard
    • Rhys Lightning – Rhys Hoskins
    • Steckasaurus – Drew Steckenrider
    • Feddecini – Erick Fedde
    • Hans Kluber – Corey Kluber
    • Showtime – Shohei Ohtani
  • Runner-Up:
    • Vottomatic – Joey Votto
  • Winner:
    • Buehtane – Walker Buehler

Advanced play of word nicknames again uses the name of the player to make a connection with something else but in a more creative, indirect way. Names like Hank White (Henry Blanco), Scrabble (Mark Rzepcynski), The Big Lebowski (Lucas Duda), and Pickles (George Gerkin) are pretty good examples. My favorite nickname of all-time also falls into this category, The Count (John Montefusco).

For today’s game, I’m disappointed that Garrett Crochet is not currently referred to as The Needle but, I guess, there’s still time.

Best Advanced Play on Word Nicknames

  • Honorable Mention:
    • Dream – Luke Weaver
    • D. Mountain – Rich Hill
    • Digger – Kendall Graveman
    • Not Justin – Shane Bieber
    • Stink – Rougned Odor
    • Ferris – Walker Buehler
    • AC – Austin Slater
    • Pieces – Reese McGuire
  • Runner-Up:
    • Baby Ruth – Jeimer Candelario
  • Winner:
    • All Rise – Aaron Judge

Next. Ranking the 12 winningest teams in MLB history. dark

As it turns out, there are a lot more nicknames in today’s game than I would have thought. The New York Mets are the most prolific nickname-ing team with 19 and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the least with three. By my count there are 325 nicknames from the 1,200 or so players across 30 teams. That number doesn’t include any of the other abbreviated names or initials that a lot of players go by. It may not be the heyday of nicknames in Major League Baseball, but there are a lot of good ones out there.