CHICAGO -- There are nicknames that have stood the test of time and found their way to the plaques hanging in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are others that arose from singular moments or remind us of earlier eras in history.
Ask anyone for their favorite baseball nicknames and you're bound to get different answers. There is no definitive way to come up with a list of the best monikers of all time. For the Cubs, someone like Ryne Sandberg is known by one name: Ryno. But, is that a great nickname? That's up to baseball fans to debate.
With more than a century's worth of history in the books for the Cubs, there have been many fantastic nicknames over the years. Others missed the mark, or just did not stick. Trying to come up with the 10 best is a tall task, and our picks will probably differ from yours. And that's what makes these debates so entertaining.
Here are our choices for the 10 best nicknames in Cubs history.
1. Mr. Cub
Maybe it's not the most creative nickname in franchise history, but it's the most iconic. Once the title of "Mr. Cub" is earned, there is no stripping it away. And no player was more worthy of such a distinction than the great Ernie Banks, who broke the Cubs' color barrier, won two National League MVP Awards, launched 512 home runs and was honored with a plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
2. Three Finger
Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown earned his nickname because, well, his pitching hand had been disfigured in childhood accidents. He lost part of his index finger in a farming accident and sustained damage to his middle finger and pinkie in a separate incident. The result? Some wicked movement on pitches that helped him become an ace for the Cubs teams that went to four World Series (and won two) between 1906-10.
3. El Mago
The nickname is Spanish for "The Magician," and there really is no better way to describe some of the feats that Javier Báez pulls off on a baseball field. Between his acrobatic slides, lightning-quick tags and defensive wizardry, the name just works. Chicago media members Eugene McIntosh and Terrance Tomlin of The Bigs first came up with a name that Báez and his fans have embraced.
4. The Hawk
It's not uncommon for people to simply call Hall of Famer Andre Dawson by the name "Hawk" when they see him. The origin story dates back to Dawson's Little League days, when an uncle said his nephew attacked the baseball like a hawk. The nickname is even displayed on Dawson's Hall of Fame plaque.
5. The Red Baron
This nickname dates back to a famous fighter pilot in World War I, but it is linked to Rick Sutcliffe in the baseball world. The reason is pretty straightforward: Sutcliffe had red hair and a full red beard during his playing days. The Cubs' Red Baron went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA en route to winning the NL Cy Young Award in 1984, and he spent eight years with the North Siders.
6. Sweet Swinging Billy
Hall of Famer Billy Williams had one of the prettiest left-handed swings in baseball, leading to the nickname of "Sweet Swinging Billy from Whistler." That full moniker is in reference to Williams' childhood hometown in Alabama. The name just has a smooth flow to it, and Williams' skill as a hitter made it work.
7. The Professor
Two pitchers in Cubs history have been known by this nickname. Greg Maddux was the first, and Kyle Hendricks has been associated with the descriptor in more recent years. Both pitchers relied on intelligence on the mound rather than overpowering hitters. Hendricks has been compared to Maddux due to his precision-based style. Hendricks' status as a Dartmouth College alum helps, too.
8. Slammin' Sammy
You can argue that there are better nicknames, but Sammy Sosa's rise to the national spotlight during the 1998 home run chase makes his nickname worthy of this list. Sosa became known as "Slammin' Sammy" as he battled Mark McGwire for the single-season home run record and captivated the country. Sosa topped 60 homers three times and is the Cubs' all-time home run king.
9. Mad Dog
It is an obvious play off Maddux's last name, but the "Mad Dog" nickname also worked for the Hall of Fame right-hander. No one would have looked at Maddux and thought he was one of the dominant pitching forces in baseball history. But when he took the mound, he turned into a mad dog that attacked hitters with pinpoint command.
10. The Human Crab
There are plenty of nicknames from Cubs history that could round out this list, but we'll go with Johnny Evers. As Chicago's second baseman in the early 1900s, Evers was part of the famous "Tinkers to Evers to Chance" line in the poem entitled, "Baseball's Sad Lexicon." This nickname described the way he would move to scoop up ground balls, but it also fit Evers, who was known for his quick temper. Baseball nicknames in the early 20th century were fantastic, and this is a great one.
Some other nicknames from Cubs history include:
• Big Z (Carlos Zambrano, 2001-11)
• Bull (Leon Durham, 1981-88)
• Cap (Cap Anson, 1876-1897)
• The Crime Dog (Fred McGriff, 2001-02)
• Daddy Long Legs (Dexter Fowler, 2015-16)
• Death to Flying Things (Bob Ferguson, 1878)
• Dizzy (Dizzy Dean, 1938-41)
• Every Day (Don Elston, 1953, 1957-64)
• Flash (Tom Gordon, 2001-02)
• Froggy (Bill Hands, 1966-72)
• Hack (Hack Wilson, 1926-31)
• High Pockets (George Kelly, 1930)
• Hippo (Hippo Vaughn, 1913-21)
• Kid K (Kerry Wood, 1998-2008, 2011-12)
• King (King Kelly, 1880-86)
• Kong (Dave Kingman, 1978-80)
• The Lip (Manager Leo Durocher, 1966-72)
• The Mississippi Mudcat (Guy Bush, 1923-34)
• The Octopus (Antonio Alfonseca, 2002-03)
• The Old Fox (Clark Griffith, 1893-1900)
• Old Tomato Face (Gabby Hartnett, 1922-40)
• The Peerless Leader (Frank Chance, 1898-1912)
• Pop (also Cap Anson)
• The Rebel (Randy Hundley, 1966-73, 1976-77)
• Ryno (Ryne Sandberg, 1982-97)
• The Sarge (Gary Matthews, 1984-87)
• Shark (Jeff Samardzija, 2008-14)
• Shooter (Rod Beck, 1998-99)
• Smiling Stan (Stan Hack, 1932-47)
• Swish (Bill Nicholson, 1939-48)
• Wild Thing (Mitch Williams, 1989-90)