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                        “All American Out” and other Yankee Nicknames

                                         By Harvey Frommer

                        Nicknames for the greatest baseball franchise ever have run the gamut.  Some of them are asinine. Some others are insulting. There are even a few that have gone down in history and are remembered for their relevance and insights. You be the judge.




                        “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” – 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.

           “Barrows” – Jacob Ruppert’s corruption of Ed Barrow’s name

"Billyball" - the aggressive style of play favored by Billy Martin.

"Biscuit Pants" - Lou Gehrig, reference to the way he filled out his trousers.

          "Blind Ryne" - Ryne Duren’s vision, uncorrected -20/70 and 20/200.

          "Bloody Angel" - During 1923 season the space between the bleachers and right-field foul line at Yankee Stadium was very asymmetrical causing crazy bounces. It was eliminated in 1924.

"Bob the Gob" - Bob Shawkey in 1918 served in the Navy as a yeoman petty officer. 

            "Boomer" - David Wells, for his in your face personality.

The “Boss” –George Steinbrenner and that he was. Reggie had labeled the owner "the big guy with the boats" long before he became the "The Boss"

            "The Boston Massacre" - Red Sox collapse in 1978 and the Yankee sweep of a four game series in September.

            "Broadway" - Shortstop Lyn Lary was married to Broadway star Mary Lawler.

            "Bronx Bombers" - For the borough and home run power of Yankees.

            "Bronx Zoo" - A derogatory reference to off color Yankee behavior on and off the playing field through the years and especially in the 1970s.

   "Brooklyn Schoolboy" - Waite Hoyt had starred at Brooklyn’s Erasmus High School.

            “Bruiser” – Hank Bauer, for his burly ways

          "Bulldog" - Jim Bouton was dogged.

            "Bullet Bob" - Bob Turley, for the pop on his fastball.

            “Bullet Joe” – Joe Bush, for the pop he also could put on his fastball

            “Bye-Bye"- Steve Balboni, the primary DH of the 1990 Yankees, 17 homers but .192 BA.

"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, out of Commerce, Oklahoma.

          "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 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 displaying to the opposition on the 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.

            "Gator" - Ron Guidry, for his hailing from Louisiana alligator country.

            "Gay Caballero" - Lefty Gomez, for his Mexican roots and fun loving ways.

            "Gay Reliever" -   Joe Page, for his night owl activity.

            “Gehrigville" – The old Bleachers in right-center at Yankee Stadium.

            "The Godfather" - Joe Torre, for his Italian roots and his leadership skills on the baseball field.

            “Godzilla” - Hideki Matsui, his power earned him the moniker after the power- packed film creature.

            "Goofy" or "El Goofo" - Lefty Gomez, for his wild antics

            "Gooneybird" - Don Larsen, for his late-night behavior.

            "Goose" – Richard Michael Gossage, for his loose and lively style.           

           "Grandma" - Johnny Murphy, for his pitching motion, rocking chair style. Another explanation is that fellow Yankee Pat Malone gave him the name because of his complaining nature especially as regards food and lodgings.

            "The Great Agitator" - Billy Martin, self-explanatory.

           "The Great Debater" – Tommy Henrich, for his sometimes loquacious and argumentative ways.

"Happy Jack" - Jack Chesbro, for his time as an attendant at the state mental hospital in Middletown, New York where he pitched for the hospital team and showed off a very pleasant disposition.

            "Holy Cow" - One of Phil Rizzuto's ways of expressing awe

"Home Run Twins" (also “M & M Boys”) - Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, phrase coined in 1961.

          "Horse Nose" - Pat Collins via Babe Ruth, a reference to a facial feature.

            "Iron Horse" - Lou Gehrig, for his power and steadiness.

"Joltin' Joe" - Joe DiMaggio, for the jolting shots he hit.

"Jumping Joe" - Joe Dugan, for being AWOL from his first big league club as a youngster.

"Junk Man" - Eddie Lopat, for frustrating hitters and keeping them off stride with an assortment of slow breaking pitches thrown with cunning and accuracy.

"Kentucky Colonel" - Earl Combs, for his Kentucky roots.

"The King and the Crown Prince" - Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, self-evident.

"King Kong" - Charlie Keller, for his muscular body type and black, bushy brows. Keller hated the nick-name. When Phil Rizzuto used it, Keller would pick him up in one hand and kiddingly stuff “the Scooter” into locker.

"Knight of Kennett Square" - Herb Pennock, for his raising of thoroughbreds and hosting of fox hunts in his hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

"Knucksie" - Phil Niekro, for his knuckleball.

"Larrupin' Lou" - Lou Gehrig - Named by the press for his hitting, he also used the name for his barnstorming team he ran during the off-season.

"The Lip" - Leo Durocher, for his mouth.

"Lonesome George" - George Weiss, for his aloof ways. 

"Mail Carrier "- Earle Combs, for his speed and base stealing skills.

"Major" - Ralph Houk, for rank held in the Armed Forces and demeanor.

"Man nobody knows" - Bill Dickey, for his blandness.

"Man of a Thousand Curves" – for Johnny Sain and his assortment of curve balls.

"Man in the Iron Hat" - Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, for the same squashed derby hat he wore over and over again.

"Marse Joe" - Joe McCarthy, for his commanding style.

"Master Builder in Baseball" - Jacob Ruppert, and that he was.

"The Merry Mortician" -Waite Hoyt, for his cheery soul and off-season mortician work.

"The Mick" - short for Mickey (Mantle).

"Mick the Quick" - Mickey Rivers, for his speed.

"Mickey Mouth" - for Mickey Rivers and his motor mouth.

"Mighty Mite" - Miller Huggins, for his size and power.

"Milkman" - Jim Turner, for an off-season job delivering milk.

"Mr. Automatic" - Mariano Rivera, for his virtually unflappable behavior and special skills as a Yankee stopper.

"Mr. May" - George Steinbrenner's sarcastic jibe at Dave Winfield because of his postseason struggles as compared to Reggie Jackson's successes and Mr. October nick-name.

“Mister Consistent” – Roy White, and that he was

"Mr. November" - Derek Jeter, for his World Series home run, the first of November, 2001.

"Mr. October" - In Game Five of the 1977 ALCS Billy Martin benched Reggie Jackson. In a comeback win against Kansas City Jackson returned to slap a single. Thurman Munson sarcastically called Jackson "Mr. October."

“Mo” - Mariano Rivera, a shortening

"Moose" - Bill Skowron’ s, grandfather called him Mussolini because of a resemblance to Mussolini. As the story goes, the family shortened the nickname to "Moose."

"Murderer's Row" - Yankee lineup boasting powerful batters: standard version was the meat of the 1927 lineup of Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Earl Combs and Bob Meusel.    Backup version was the 1919 entry of Ping Bodie, Roger Peckinpaugh, Duffy Lewis and Home Run Baker.

"Muscles" - Many in the press referred to the Mick as "muscles" because of his huge arms.

"My writers" - Casey Stengel's phrase for journalists he was close to.


Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.

His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at:

The prolific author is at work on THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017)


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