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Also Read: Baseball Names and How They Got That Way! (Parts I - V)
Part VI Part VII Part VIII   Part IX  Part X  Part XI Part XII Part XIII Part XV Part XVI Part XVII Part XVIII Part XIX Part XXI Part XXII

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

                Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports


Baseball Names and How They Got That Way! Part XXI (N)

      The words and phrases are spoken and written day after day, year after year - generally without any   wonderment as to how they became part of the language. All have a history, a story. For those of you who liked Part I, Part II, Part III, X, XV and all the others and wanted more, here is more, just a sampling. As always, reactions and suggestions always welcome. And bear in mind - - this is by no means a complete list. 


NAIL The act of throwing out a runner.

NAILS   Lenny Dykstra, allegedly this former major leaguer was as tough as nails.

NASTY BOYS  Norm Charlton in 1990 split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, where he teamed up with fellow relievers Rob Dibble and Randy Myers to form the "Nasty Boys"- a fearsome trio that Cincinnati rode all the way to a World Series sweep of the favored Oakland A's.

       NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM Located at Cooperstown, New York, the site where Abner Doubleday - as myth would have it - invented the game of baseball, the Hall of Fame, established in 1939, is the oldest institution of its kind in the United States.

        NAUGATUCK NUGGET  Born Francis Joseph Shea on Oct. 2, 1920 in Naugatuck, Connecticut,  Frank "Spec" Shea won 2 games in the 1947 World Series as a rookie for the New York Yankees. His nicknames came from his place of birth and his poor vision.

      NEW YORK YANKEES  The Baltimore Orioles franchise was purchased for $18,000 by well known gambler Frank Farrell and former New York City Chief of Police William S. "Big Bill" Devery, who bragged that he had never read a book. Farrell and Devery owned hundreds of pool rooms and nearly as many politicians, and they knew their way around town. 

        The team was at first called Highlanders both after a famous British Army regiment named Gordon's Highlanders, and because Hilltop Park  was their home ballpark and was located on a hilltop overlooking Washington Heights.

        The name “Yankees” was used first by sportswriters Mark Roth of the New York Globe and Sam Crane  of the New York Journal, the name appearing in print for the first time on June 21, 1904   in the Boston Herald.

       NICE GUYS FINISH LAST  As baseball player and manager, Leo Durocher prided himself on his combativeness. He schemed, argued, and fought with the opposition-and sometimes with his own teammates. His feelings about "nice guys" as revealed in the quote above, now almost a cliché attributed to him, expressed his baseball philosophy and underscored his attitude toward winning (see LIP, THE).

      NIGHTCAP The second game of a doubleheader.

      NINETY SIX  William Symmes Voiselle was also known as "Big Bill" for his size.  Born January 29, 1919 in Greenwood, South Carolina, he and friends were stymied on Sundays by the rules of the day - no baseball on Sundays. They would sneak over to a local creek area in Nine Six, South Carolina and play.   Voiselle in the 1940s took his skills to the major leagues as a pitcher with the Pirates and the nickname from his early playing area.

       NICKEL SERIES   Refers to old days when New York City teams played against each other and the tariff was a five cents subway ride.

       NIGHTRIDER  Don Larsen of New York Yankees “perfect game” fame called himself that because it reminded him of comic books heroes he read about and it fit with his late-night bar wanderings. 

      NOMAR   Nomar Garciaparra’s “nickname” is unique. His first name (which is actually his middle name) is his father's name (Ramon), spelled backwards.

       NUMBER l/8 On August 19, 1951, Eddie Gaedel, wearing number l/8, came to bat for the St. Louis Browns against the Detroit Tigers. Gaedel, who was signed by Browns owner Bill Veeck, walked on four straight pitches and was then replaced by a pinch runner. The next day the American League banned Gaedel, despite Veeck's protests. Gaedel was a midget, only three feet, seven inches tall.

       NUMBERS  In 1929, the New York Yankees introduced identifying numbers sewn on the backs of player jerseys, the first time that uniform numbers were used on a full-time basis.

       For the record, here is the list of the "original " ten Yankee uniform numbers:

 #1 - Earle Combs,

#2 - Mark Koenig

#3 - Babe Ruth,

 #4 - Lou Gehrig,

#5 - Bob Meusel,

 #6 - Tony Lazzeri,

 #7 - Leo Durocher,

 #8 - Johnny Grabowski,

#9 - Benny Bengough,

#10 - Bill Dickey







Harvey Frommer is his 34th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 40 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball." Frommer's newest work CELEBRATING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION is next.

Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed.

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