I randomly got to thinking the other day about sports nicknames, and more specifically Red Sox nicknames. I want to say it was because someone who doesn't watch baseball asked me what Big Papi's real name was but it could have been something completely different. So I figured, since I was kind of bored, I'd try and put together the list of the Top Ten Best Red Sox Nicknames.
Since the obvious winner would have been Ted Williams because he basically has the TWO best nicknames in The Splendid Splinter and Teddy Ballgame, I figured that I would just do the top ten best after him. Then, when I gave it a little thought, I figured I'd add Johnny Pesky as Mr. Red Sox to the list too and focus more on the last 50 years so that most people could have at least seen these guys play.
Also, I don't count abbreviations of your name as a nickname. That shit is just lazy and shouldn't even be considered a nickname. So that means Jason Varitek (Tek), Derek Lowe (D-Lowe), Carl Yazstrimski (Yaz), Mike Greenwell (Greeny), and Timmy Wakefield (Wake) are out right away.
During the time I grew up watching the Sox, it's kind of amazing that the best players on those Red Sox teams were pretty much nickname-less.
Pedro Martinez - Petey
Nomar Garciaparra - Nomah...I hate this. Thanks Jimmy Fallon.
Manny Ramirez - Manny Being Manny is not really a nickname but more of a personal slogan of his.
Ok, so here's the Top Ten Best Red Sox Nicknames of the last 50 years.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Damon - "Caveman," just kidding, I hate this. Is "Crazy" Carl Everett a real nickname? That one fits perfectly if it is.
Just missed the cut but probably should've made it if I didn't hate his guts: Roger "The Rocket" Clemens. That's a hell of a nickname. My brother actually had the poster of him were he was staring in for the sign from the catcher with the ball behind his back with a rocket attached to it. It was awesome.
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10. Jeff Reardon - "The Terminator"
I have to be honest, I had no fucking idea that Jeff Reardon's nickname was "The Terminator." It caught me so much by surprise, that I started to love the fact that a guy who looks like this has that nickname. He only played a couple of season with the Red Sox but he did get 40 saves in one of those seasons and still gets some Hall of Fame consideration every year, so I let him just barely make the list so I didn't have to put Johnny Damon on here.
9. Mo Vaughn - "The Hit Dog"
One of the sweetest power swings I've ever seen. The only reason I didn't really like "The Hit Dog" is because it basically just combined the nicknames of Fred McGriff's "The Crime Dog" and Frank Thomas' "The Big Hurt," so it really lacks on the originality scale.
I wish I could think of a nickname that somehow includes The Foxy Lady strip club that he was always at in Providence but it'd be kind of weird to give someone the nickname after they're already retired, right?
8. Carlton Fisk - "Pudge"
Sorry Ivan Rodriguez, but this is the real Pudge. Although, I did like the fact that Ivan would rather go with Pudge than with I-Rod, which is what some people wanted to call him. This picture is kind of iconic or something, right?
7. Kevin Youkilis - "The Greek God of Walks"
"The Greek God of Walks," coming from Youk's ability to get on base and work counts into the double-digits per at bat. Billy Beane was all about Kevin Youkilis coming up through the minors with his focus on getting as many people on base at as high of a rate as possible. Now, THIS is an original nickname. Yeah, maybe it's not that fearsome to be known for walks, but it works for his high on base percentage nonetheless. Now, if he just would have charged that douche Joba Chamberlain on the fucking mound...YOOOOOOUUUUUUUUKKKK!!!
I wrote a farewell to Kevin when he was sent over to the White Sox for a bag of balls.
6. Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd
His nickname was such commonplace that I actually forgot was his actual first name was. He just went by "Oil Can" Boyd and that was that. I mean, shit, he's even listed as Oil Can Boyd on Basbeball-Reference.com.
5. David Ortiz - "Big Papi"
Really, Big Papi is the perfect nickname to fit David Ortiz's personality.
4. Trot Nixon - "The Dirt Dog"
Trot Nixon may be my all-time favorite Red Sox player. His grit and effort was relentless during his time with the Sox and rightfully earned him his nickname, The Dirt Dog. Technically, Trot is actually a nickname since his real name is Christopher Trotman Nixon, but I've already told you that shortened names don't count, and The Dirt Dog is way better anyway. It's always fun to see the stats of professional athletes in high school since they were obviously so athletic that they could excel in any sport. Trot was quarterback of his high school football team (named North Carolina state player of the year) and received a scholarship offer to play at NC State after breaking his high school's records set by former NFL players Sonny Jurgensen and Roman Gabriel.
And check out his baseball stats from his senior year (also named state player of the year for baseball) on his way to a state title, of course.
.512 Batting Average
12 Home Runs
56 RBIs (state record)
Pitched 40 Innings with a 12-0 record and a 0.40 ERA
Named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year
Man, I love Trot Nixon.
3. Rich Garces - "El Guapo"
Rich Garces was listed as 215 in the Boston Red Sox program. 215! I guess if you're going to lie about your weight, you go big or go home...and El Guapo knows a little something about going big. He looks like pretty much the most fun guy ever to hang around with. It would be awesome to just hang out, have a couple of beers, and try to eat as much guac as humanly possible with him.
2. Wade Boggs - "Chicken Man"
Boggs' nickname was coined by teammate Jim Rice because he would eat chicken before every game. Wade Boggs was a really superstitious guy that did this for every single game he ever played, even coming out with a recipe book about different chicken meals that he would make pre-game.
He woke up at the same time every day.
He took 150 ground balls in practice.
He took batting practice at 5:17.
He ran sprints at 7:17.
I guess he was kind of a weird guy, but holy moly could he hit. But even more impressive, holy moly could he throw back beers like they were water.
RIP Wade Boggs.
1. Dustin Pedroia - "Laser Show"/"La Luna"
It probably helps to have two nicknames but they're both pretty fucking awesome. Both of them are so cocky but in the best way possible.
Here's where Laser Show came from.
And here's La Luna.
Both are gold. If there was one guy on the team who I think I would enjoy hanging out with the most, it would be Dustin Pedroia, no doubt about it.