Call me Ishmael

What ever happened to the great nicknames in sports?

Think about baseball players: Dizzy Dean, Pee Wee Reese, Satchel Paige, Charlie Hustle and Babe Ruth. From basketball there was Air Jordan, Wilt the Stilt, Dr. J., Hakeem the Dream, Earl the Pearl and Magic Johnson. Football offers Nobby Wirkowski and Bibbles Bawel.¬†Hockey had The Golden Jet, Rocket Richard, Teeder Kennedy and Turk Broda. In golf, there was The Golden Bear; in boxing, Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

In the modern era, everything comes up short. A-Rod? A non-starter. Joey Bats? An abomination. The Kid? Every neighbourhood has one.

Maybe the problem is that sports has become more of a business than entertainment for the masses. No player stays in one place long enough to be given a nickname by the locals. Who wants to invest in a guy who’s going to be gone next year to a competing team, replaced by someone else who’s already been in three cities.

As Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra may or may not have said: A nickel isn’t worth a dime today.

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