Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Nicknames Newsbeat

Friday, August 01, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 7/13/14 - 7/22/14 (Subscription Required)

And what about the VORP of Geddy Lee?

... Have you ever looked at the decline (% wise) of nicknames historically? Seems to me like they are way down - unless made up for show now days (“King’ James LeBron). Jeter, Trout, etc., are not referred by nick names now…....any thoughts? An aside, one of my aunts had a family nickname back in the day, and her husband of like 30 years of marriage, called my mom to ask what her real name was ....... we used to be named and defined by our nick names, now not so much ..... and in sports I think the names were much richer

There is a difference between a nickname and a family name. My grandmother’s name was “Willa”, like Willa Cather, but she was called “Bill”; I was named George William and called Bill, after my grandmother. But that’s a family name, as opposed to a nickname; a nickname for me would be like “The Bearded Bastard” or “The Doctor of Decimal Points” or something. A lot of the names that were in the game in the 1918 era were actually family names which were just syllables, and I would suspect there might be more of those around than we notice, because each generation assumes that THEIR family names are normal. (Paragraph) But you have a point; COLORFUL nicknames, interesting nicknames, have certainly disappeared because of some twist of manners. A nickname reduces a player to the dimensions of the nickname. It states what is important about that player in a manner not chosen by the player himself, and in our current environment we tend to regard that as disrespectful. I may get skinned for putting it this way, but we don’t refer to Billy Hamilton as Flying Billy for generally the same reasons that we don’t refer to people from Mexico as Wetbacks.

Geddy Lee of Rush has long been a big baseball fan… In fact I recall an interview (checking, and yes, I’m right) almost completely about Lee’s familiarity with your work, Bill. He says he got into the Abstracts right after they moved from the homemade versions to the national release. Has he ever reached out to you? Seems like a very pleasant, interesting guy.

No, I’ve never had personal contact with him, that I know of. He does seem like a good guy.

Hey Bill, what would you say the chances are that Nick Markakis totals 3000 hits? I was looking over his numbers and he seems far more likely to do it than I ever expected.

Well, in terms of hits and age, he’s in a good position. The issue to be tested over time is whether he is a good enough player to stay in the league long enough to get the second 1500 hits.

I’m surprised you were that sanguine about Markakis’s chance for 3000 hits. I know that you qualified it with the “if” about whether he’s good enough to last long enough, but, isn’t THAT the main part of it, and isn’t it a clear enough “No”?

It is not clear, no. It might be 90% clear, but it’s certainly not 100% clear. Doc Cramer had 1700 hits after the age of 30; Markakis is a much better player than Doc Cramer. Markakis, now 30, will need about 1,450 hits after this season. All of the following had 1,400 or more hits after age 30: Sam Rice, Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel, Jim O’Rourke, Doc Cramer, Luke Appling, Edgar Martinez, Steve Finley, Lave Cross, Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Andres Galarraga, Jake Daubert, Cy Williams, Dave Parker, Raul Ibanez, Ozzie Smith, Enos Slaughter and Brian Downing. I is not apparent that Markakis could not do as well.

Players that could have been pitchers and hitters? Olerud and Winfield immediately come to mimd. Both were excellent pitchers at the college level who werent given the opportunity to pitch at the MLB level. Can you think of anyone else?

Hundreds. Literally. Greinke could play in the majors as an infielder. Catfish Hunter could have, Bob Gibson probably. Mark McGwire was a pitcher, I don’t know how good. There’s a lot of them. Who was that guy who was a tremendous two-way player at LSU. . . Cincinnati drafted him and made him a pitcher, which was obviously the wrong decision, but after two years everybody decided that it was too late to go back and get it right. Which I never understood. .. .. Ken Brett was a terrific hitter. Somebody asked him, when he was about 34, whether, if he could go back and do it over again, he would be an outfielder or first baseman. He said “absolutely.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2014 at 12:36 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, music, nick markakis, nicknames, orioles, sabermetrics

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Career minor-leaguer Jumbo Diaz called up after losing 69 pounds in offseason

The nickname came because at one point he was in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and they had two players named Jose Diaz. To make it easier, the hefty pitcher became “Jumbo.” But knowing that his weight was part of the reason he wasn’t getting called up — despite a 1.66 ERA in 2013 and good stuff, including a 96-97 mph fastball — Diaz decided to make a change last winter.

What happened to calling guys like this ‘tiny’ or ‘slim’?  Where have you gone ironic nicknames?

And I’m not sure I’m buying that teams are turning away guys with sub two ERAs who can throw 96 for aesthetic reasons.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 22, 2014 at 03:50 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: nicknames, reds

 

 

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Vegas Watch
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogBlue Jays to play Reds in Olympic Stadium on April 3 and 4
(3 - 4:06am, Nov 01)
Last: Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein

Newsblog2014-2015 MLB free agent power ranking
(28 - 3:40am, Nov 01)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(4911 - 3:37am, Nov 01)
Last: Ron J

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-31-2014
(27 - 2:24am, Nov 01)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogAFL Saguaros at Rafters
(6 - 2:17am, Nov 01)
Last: Gold Star - just Gold Star

NewsblogStatcast: Gordon stops 90 feet from tying Game 7
(33 - 2:14am, Nov 01)
Last: odds are meatwad is drunk

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(706 - 1:11am, Nov 01)
Last: odds are meatwad is drunk

NewsblogDeadline: World Series Ratings: Game 7 Scores Home Run For Fox
(40 - 1:02am, Nov 01)
Last: Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling

NewsblogJoe Maddon is to become Cubs manager, sources say
(142 - 12:42am, Nov 01)
Last: Andere Richtingen

NewsblogAngell: The Best
(29 - 12:29am, Nov 01)
Last: Morty Causa

NewsblogSan Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals - October 29, 2014 | MLB.com Box
(92 - 12:18am, Nov 01)
Last: S.F. Giangst

NewsblogMLB.com - In pursuit of Maddon, Cubs dismiss Renteria
(19 - 11:22pm, Oct 31)
Last: HMS Moses Taylor

NewsblogFull Count » Red Sox sign Koji Uehara to 2-year contract
(38 - 11:19pm, Oct 31)
Last: Merton Muffley

NewsblogRelix: Watch the Exact Moment the Phish Crowd Found Out the Giants Won the World Series
(7 - 10:19pm, Oct 31)
Last: Poster Nutbag

NewsblogSending Gordon | Joe Blogs
(45 - 10:14pm, Oct 31)
Last: Ray (RDP)

Page rendered in 0.9923 seconds
51 querie(s) executed