Now done with wandering the countryside momentarily, I'd like to wish the Thoughts Askew readership a Happy New Year. I would like to inaugurate 2013 by welcoming back our standard drivel, the continuation of a project I have been working on intermittently for a period of time bordering on forever, the greatest names in Major League Baseball history. We have seen an amazing list of candidates so far, from Rusty Kuntz to Ugly Dickshot to Stubby Clapp. Amazingly, only half of the players have been named Dick. Don't expect a notable rise in maturity level amongst the choices below, especially since I've allowed several of you degenerates to vote. With no further procrastination, I present to you the most apt appellations sandwiched in the directory between Duke Maas and Tim Pyznarski. You'll probably notice the high rate of alcoholism amongst our contestants.
Catcher: Chick Manlove - Our world would be a much less happy place if Manlove had not been deemed worthy of seventeen major league at bats in 1884. Never has a name sounded so ineffably gay while also retaining a tinge of heterosexuality. The extra impetus of the odd nickname gives Chick the edge over second place finisher, Kurt Manwaring.
First Base: Jackie Mayo - In an effort to avoid being gross or sophomoric, mainly to keep the audience confused, I will refrain from making any comments on the discharge brought to mind here. Mayo managed to spooge out (okay I lied) over fifty base hits for the Phillies during a short career in the late 40s and early 50s. Honorable Mention: Talmadge Nunnari
Second Base: Frank "Scat" Metha - I believe guano is an ingredient in Methamphetamine, which is without a doubt how Scat obtained his nickname. I base this stone cold fact on absolutely nothing, except that after such a short career (36 total at bats) Frank was probably in need of another source of income. Honorable Mention: Dick Padden.
Shortstop: Chick Naleway - with two Chicks on this team, I feel it likely we will have a menage a trois. Naleway surely must have gotten into porn, because like the rest of the fellows so far, he did not have a long, majestic stay in the big leagues. Two measly plate appearances in 1924 and it was all over. From a sociological perspective, I imagine the relentless heckling these players must have endured did not lend itself to great success. Predestined failure: is it all in the name? Postscript: Chick is buried in Resurrection Cemetery, leading me to think first of zombies, then of this classic scene.
Third Base: George "Doggie" Miller - Pickings were slim at third base to be perfectly honest. Miller actually had quite a long career, which according to the previously stated theory, means fans were not able to make much hay from his name. In fact, he was the first player in Pirates history to finish ten full seasons for the franchise. What sets him above the other weak contestants are his two other odd nicknames: Foghorn and Calliope.
According to Baseball Reference, he earned his most commonly used moniker by breeding dogs. The article goes on to mention he is the only player ever named Calliope (but not Foghorn) and that he was somewhat fond of obliterating his liver.
Outfield: Les Mann - Let's sing Hedwig and the Angry Inch together now! Les was also nicknamed Major, but that was before the surgery. Or was it a horrible hedge-trimming accident? Either way, he went on to have a long major league career, playing outfield for the Cubs in the days before they became consistently terrible.
Outfield: Dizzie Nutter - Some of these can only be ruined by comment. I'll let you sit back and savor the comedic possibilities of sexual vertigo on your own. Nutter played one brief season for the 1919 Boston Braves.
Outfield: Angel Pagan - Angel currently plays for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. I have not been able to confirm whether he is an atheist, but wow would that be a wonderful bit of irony. Honorable Mention: Queenie O'Rourke.
Pitcher: Dick Pole - I think by now we are all aware I can't make one of these lists without including a man named Dick somewhere. Assign the blame to my proclivities if you will, but I think if we are honest with ourselves we can all agree that a name just can't have too many wiener inferences. Dick Pole lasted six seasons in the mid 1970s, with a nicely inflated ERA above five, which he no doubt blamed on Carter's economic policies. Proving the old Shaw axiom about those that can't do, teach, Pole went on to become a pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds.
Pitcher: Wedo Martini - Wedo wanted to prove that an Italian could go on to become something besides a gangster or a priest. With a career ERA of over 17 I'll let you decide for yourself how well that turned out for him.
Pitcher: Doug "Buzz" McWeeny - Chicagoan McWeeny, (which is something that should definitely be on the McDonald's menu), was a lot more successful than Martini, winning 37 games for his hometown White Stockings, which is a mere 37 more than Martini won. Doug also had a bit of luck in that the term Weinie did not enter the American lexicon until twenty years after he retired. It makes me want to travel back in time and give him the heckling he missed out on.
Pitcher: Cletus "Boots" Poffenberger: What determines the course of a man's life? Is he predetermined to fall thanks to a terrible name choice by his parents? Does the intemperate life of baseball carry him down into the depths of disgrace? What happened to form Boots, who had a short three year major league career, is uncertain, but we do know the result:
*During one game in Nashville
the free-spirited ballplayer had a few shots of gin before he first took the
mound. It didn’t take long before Boots became angry after some calls that did
not go his way, and decided to fire the ball at the umpire that resulted in a
90-day suspension. In retrospect Boots admitted that he had previously taken a
few beers before scheduled to pitch, and said of the umpire incident, “It just
slipped up on me this time.”
Former Pirate Dock Ellis, who once pitched a no hitter on acid, was unimpressed.
Pitcher: Heine Meine - Known as the Count of Luxembourg (the area of St. Louis in which he lived), Meine was a feisty hurler who managed to survive on wits and control, as he lacked velocity. Baseball made him many connections in the world of alcoholism, which he parlayed into a second career as the owner of a speakeasy. The bar served a variety of moose milk (a combination of vanilla ice cream and several liquors) which was supposedly potent enough to peel the paint off of a battleship. Honorable Mentions: Jeff Manship, Ossie Ozborn, The Only Nolan, and Limb "Big Pete" McHenry.
*Reprinted from Chatter From the Dugout.