Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Twins Are Coming: What Would Sarah Palin Say?

Goose Goslin got his nickname
from his rather large nose.
Perhaps as Ben Revere dashed home with the winning run for the Minnesota Twins this afternoon, he yelled out a warning to the Cleveland Indians. OK, probably not. That's just the way I imagine Sarah Palin would report it.

In reality, Revere, on a mission to score, issued no warning to the enemy. But seeing a player with such a distinguished last name triggered memories of baseball name games of my youth.

Harry Caray was famous for fooling with players' names, often pronouncing them backward, for no apparent reason. Bill Melton of the Chicago White Sox thus became Llib Motlem.

Other name games took a little more thought. For instance, creating a list of players whose names fit their positions. How could Rollie Fingers, Bill Hands or Three-Finger Brown been anything other than pitchers?

Another list would include players whose names had a common theme, animals perhaps. For that list you might find Kevin Bass, Steve Trout, Dizzy Trout, Rabbit Maranvile, Rob Deer, Moose Skowron, Catfish Hunter, Jimmie Foxx, Nellie Fox, Tim Salmon, Ducky Medwick and the two Gooses (Geese?), Goslin and Gossage.

Then there are the players who perhaps collected nicknames based on their eccentricities. Dizzy Dean, Goofy (Lefty) Gomez, and Daffy Dean (although his nickname seem to have been hung on him to match his brother's sobriquet).

Maybe because baseball offers more time for reflection (between innings and, nowadays, between pitches as batters fiddle with their batting gloves), but no other sports seems to generate so much chatter like this. Or maybe it's all the beer that fans (and Harry Caray) consume that leads to all this nonsense.


  1. How do you know Harry was saying those names backward on purpose? He could've just been drunk and reading them backwards.

  2. Good point, but I do remember him talking about how much he liked saying names backward.

    ReplyDelete - MLB