When it comes to the topic of nicknames, political correctness evaporates as quickly as a drop of Miller beer on a hot sidewalk. And there's quite a bit of local and national buzz these days about the current "Brew Crew" and its cast of characters, including The Hebrew Hammer, The Ax Man and a whole host of others. The 2011 Brewer team is quickly becoming well-known for their nicknames. It's beginning to feel a bit like a throwback to the days of Harvey's Wallbangers almost 30 years ago.
Nyjer Morgan occasionally refers to himself as Tony Plush, which he states is his "name on the field" or his "gentleman's name." That is so not legit, for my money. Nicknames, by definition, need to be earned, not given to yourself. Is an alter ego a nickname? Nyjer says it's just an alter ego that started when he was a kid, and was simply a nickname used among his childhood friends.
Recently, Morgan also said he saw the pitch on the way, and just "tickled it into the outfield" using his "Plushdamentals." Huh?
So today, I'm offering one of my own nickname for Nyjer. "NyMo the Dynamo." In the above context, perhaps not too far off. With this guy, is it alter ego, or altered states?
And what about some of the other current Brewers nicknames?
As we all know, Ryan Braun is aptly nicknamed "The Hebrew Hammer." That one is unlikely to escape him anytime soon. And I gotta believe the original "Hammerin Hank" is OK with it, too.
And John Axford? Also known as "The Ax Man." When he retires, I can see him standing in front of an army tent, for a Civil War re-enactment.
So how do some of these current Brewer nicknames stack up against some of the show stoppers from the past? For some of the younger Brewer fans, here's a trip down the foul line, and some Brewer nicknames from a bye-gone era.
The top 10, for my money:
Turnblow – Derrick Turnbow
Hammerin Hank – Hank Aaron
Downtown Ollie Brown
The Kid – Robin Yount
The Ignitor – Paul Molitor
Gumby – Jim Gantner
Boomber – George Scott
Stormin' Gorman – Gorman Thomas
Russell the Muscle – Russell Branyan
Soup – Jeff Suppan
And let's never forget that the old Milwaukee County Stadium gained its reputation for fun, as well as baseball, when back then, a team vice president named Dick Hackett hired Frank Charles to play the Wurlitzer organ during the games, and Hackett introduced team mascots nicknamed Bernie & Bonnie Brewer.
So how about "NyMo the Dynamo" for Nyjer? Does it stick? Got a better one? It's no good if he keeps giving himself a nickname. Would like to hear some other suggestions from you.
John Leaf was born in western Illinois, a mile east of the Mississippi. College in Chicago. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Leaf was goalie on the soccer team and captain of the golf team in college. He cut class to ride the "L" to see Cubs games, hung out for hours at the Art Institute and bent the brain doing graduate school in Theology.
He spent three mind-blowing summers in coastal British Columbia, as a resort photographer. He worked and lived in Minneapolis. He did hard time at a bank on LaSalle Street in Chicago and learned about PR, working at big firm a block off Michigan Avenue, while living in Evanston.
Now Leaf is just living the dream, under the radar, in Cedarburg. He's passionate about nicknames and launched his website three years ago.
He dabbles in yoga and cycling. Fishtailing as always, and taking a whack at life, like everyone else.