YANKEE MONIKERS & NICKNAMES, HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY
BY HARVEY FROMMER
Nom de plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words - nicknames, all time, all
ways for Yankees. Through the decades sporting scribes, fans, friends and
relatives, opponents and teammates have outdone themselves pinning nom de
plumes, aliases, sobriquets, catch words - nick-names on Yankee personnel and
These have run the gamut, from apt to asinine, from complimentary to crude,
from hero worshipping to hellacious, from amusing to amazing. Herewith, a
Babe Ruth leads the pack in the number of nick-names attached to him.
Called "Babe" by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, his first professional team
because of his youth. Early on he was also called “Infant Swatagy,” G.H.Ruth was
also called "Jidge" by Yankee teammates, in German, short for George.
Opponents referred to him negatively as "The Big Monk" and "Monkey."
He was also called "Two Head, a negative nick-name used by opponents to
describe the size of his head which seemed very huge to some. They also called
him a lot of unmentionables.
Sportswriters glamorizing the big guy came up with these monikers: “Home
Run King,” "The Bambino", “Bammer,” “the Bam,", "the Wali of Wallop", "the
Rajah of Rap", the Caliph of Clout", "the Wazir of Wham", "the Sultan of Swat",
"The Colossus of Clout", “Maharajah of Mash", "The Behemoth of Bust,”
“Behemoth of Biff,” "The King of Clout", and the“Goliath of Grand Slams.”
"The Babe" - George Herman Ruth leads off the list and pads it for most
nick-names acquired. He called most players "Kid"; because he couldn't remember
the names of even his closest friends.
In spring training 1927, Babe Ruth bet pitcher Wilcy Moore $l00 that he
would not get more than three hits all season. A notoriously weak hitter, Moore
somehow managed six hits in 75 at bats. Ruth paid off his debt and Moore
purchased two mules for his farm naming them "Babe"; and "Ruth".
But enough of George Herman Ruth. Now onto the bon mots, aliases,
expressions for all matter of Yankees:
"A-Rod" – Abbreviation for Alex Rodriguez.
“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” – classic home run call, John Sterling
“It is high, it is far. It is gone! The Yankees win. Thuuuuuuuuh
Yankees win!” - another classic 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.
BOOKENDS: Speaking of nicknames, “the Lip” was the favored one for
Leo Durocher for obvious reasons. To read all about the feisty and sometimes
outrageous manager, pick up a copy of Leo Durocher by celebrated author Paul
Dickson (Bloomsbury, $28.00, 304 pages). It is a fabulous read with all kinds of
new information. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Just a sampling from The Ultimate Yankee Book, fall 2017
Pre-order from Amazon
Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is
in his 41 st year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is
the author of 43 sports books including the classics: New York City Baseball,
1947-1957″ and Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed
Remembering Yankee Stadium and most notable and best-selling Remembering
A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: