Shoeless Joe Jackson

The Best Nicknames in the MLB

This list is dedicated to the greatest MLB nicknames. Some of these ballplayers made their debut in 1886 while others remain on the diamond today. Some may not be the most creative such as Mordecai Brown but some may have interesting explanations such as Walter Johnson. Whatever the case, here are the top 20 nicknames in professional baseball. 

1.) Ted Williams 

“The Splendid Splinter”

Arguably the best hitter of all time, Williams received his nickname because he was tall and thin like a splinter.

2.) George Ruth 


George Herman Ruth was given the nickname Babe after Jack Dunn signed him to the Baltimore Orioles. Since Ruth attended St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, Dunn had to become his legal guardian. Papers began to write “Dunn’s new babe” to introduce Ruth to the baseball world, and the nickname stuck.

3.) Lawrence Berra 


Apparently Berra received this nickname because when he sits with his arms and legs crossed, a friend said he looked like a Hindu Yogi.

4.) Ty Cobb

“The Georgia Peach”

Cobb was born in Narrows, Georgia and was given this nickname by sportswriter Grantland Rice.

5.) Willie Mays

“Say Hey Kid”

Allegedly, Mays would shout “say hey over there” to people whose names he did not know when he was a rookie.

6.) Walter Johnson

“The Big Train”

Johnson pitched during an era when trains were the fastest thing around. Johnson was one of the fastest pitcher of his time and therefore, he was compared to a train.

7.) Jim Hunter


This nickname was created by Oakland owner Charlie Finley, who started some story about Hunter catching fish in North Carolina.

8.) Carlos Ruiz 


The Phillies began to call their catcher Chucha which is Colombian slang for under arm odor as a joke. The media caught on and shorten the nickname to Chooch.

9.) Mordecai Brown

“Three Finger”

Brown lost part of his hand in a corn shredder when he was seven-years-old. Since he only had three fingers left, it seemed like a suitable nickname to his teammates. He played in the big leagues from 1903 to 1916.

10.) Pete Rose

“Charlie Hustle”

Whitey Ford called Pete Rose Charlie Hustle on multiple occasions but the most memorable one was when Rose was walked but sprinted to first base anyway.

11.) Joe Jackson

“Shoeless Joe”

Jackson was given his nickname when he played a minor league game wearing his stockings since his new pair of spikes caused blisters on his feet the previous day. When Jackson hit a triple, someone in the stands yelled, “you shoeless son of a gun,” and the name has stuck ever since.

12.) Reggie Jackson

“Mr. October”

Jackson was dominant every time he made it to the World Series, which tends to be played in October. In five World Series appearances, he hit 10 home runs, 24 RBI’s, and batted .357.

13.) Larry Jones


His family gave him this nickname because he was “a chip off the old block.”

14.) Bill Lee


Everyone agrees that the nickname was given to him by his teammate John Kennedy for being “out of this world” and a little “spacey.”

15.) Leroy Paige


His job as a young boy was to carry satchels and bags at railroad stations for passengers, thus the nickname Satchel was born.

16.) Gordon Cochrane 


When Tom Turner signed Cochrane to the Portland Pacific League in 1923, people thought he was just going to be another Irish, Scottish “mick.” Obviously he was anything but as he was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. Elvin Mantle even named his son Mickey after him.

17.) Denton Young


Young once lost control of his fastball and it wound up destroying a nearby fence. People commented that it looked like a cyclone hit the fence, hence Cy Young.

18.) Leon Goslin


He looked like a goose. Goslin had a way of flapping his arms when he was chasing fly balls and was generally awkward.

19.) Waite Hoyt


Hoyt was given the nickname Schoolboy because he was signed to a professional baseball contract with John McGraw’s New York Giants when he was only 15-years-old.

20.) Cornelius McGillicudy*

“Connie Mack”

There is rumor that the Meriden ball club, which he caught for, shortened his name to Connie Mack so it would fit on the scorecard but Mack himself disputed this.