Friday, April 25, 2008

Is Eugenio Velez Cheesy Good Enough?

I'm watching Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants have quite a pitching duel with Chris Young of the San Diego Padres. And while I'm wondering if any fans are giving, home plate umpire, James Hoy, an earful for his struggles with the strike zone I was miffed that no matter how much or how loud I voiced my dislike of Hoy's strike zone I was pretty sure he would not be able to hear me (on the other side of my television).

Meanwhile, I noticed the striking resemblance between the Giants' Eugenio Velez and the Cheetohs Cheetah. Just then the thought of nicknames popped up. How do players get their nicknames? Is it their resemblance facially or behaviorally or both?

I'm going to throw out a list of nicknames and they are all pretty much self-explanatory. Those players who have more than one popular nickname (Ruth, DiMaggio) had to be the greatest of all-time. The more adjectives it takes to describe someone's performance on the field of play- in a positive or negative manner- the better impression that player makes. And it's likely you will remember players of this ilk long after they called it quits.

Hammerin Hank Aaron
Little Louie Aparicio
Yogi - Lawrence Peter Berra
Dominican Dandy- Juan Marichal
Cha Cha, Baby Bull- Orlando Cepeda (his father was legendary)
Georgia Peach- Ty Cobb
Dizzy- Jay Hanna Dean
Yankee Clipper, Joltin' Joe-Joe DiMaggio
Stretch, Big Mac- Willie Mc Covey
Say Hey- Willie Mays
Leo -the Lip- Durocher
Big Six- Christy Mathewson
Rapid Robert Feller
Fordham Flash- Frankie Frisch
Iron Horse- Lou Gehrig
Hoot- Bob Gibson
Big Train, Barney- Walter Johnson
Commerce Comet, the Mick- Mickey Mantle
Big Cat- Johnny Mize, Andres Jose Padovani Galarraga
Flying Dutchman- Honus Wagner
Cyclone- Denton True Young
Babe, the Bambino, Sultan of Swat, Colossus of Clout- George Herman Ruth
"El Enano" - Rafael Furcal (while with the Atlanta Braves...translation: the dwarf)
Speed Limit- Russell Martin (Dodgers' young catcher)
Phat Albert- Albert Pujols
Little Poison- Lloyd Waner
Big Poison- Paul Waner (rumor has it Poison is based on Brooklynese for "person.")

I don't know if Velez looking like the Cheetohs' Cheetah or his being fleet of foot contribute to those thoughts of the fast cat that make Eugenio worthy of such a nickname but my first impression of the young Giant infielder-outfielder is cheesy good...Look at him. The classic goatee and lean build of said cat. Not quite Tony the Tiger GREAT, but fast approaching. Catcher's Beware: this object may suddenly appear in your rear-view window just like that (snap of finger)! Slow pitching deliveries to the plate may prove fatal to your chances of catching him.

(thanks to Wikipedia for their help with some nicknames.)

-Kevin Marquez