ST. LOUIS -- Players Weekend has brought out a variety of interesting stories from players on all 30 teams. From creative nicknames on jerseys to interesting dedications written on patches, the opportunity to express what makes each player unique has been embraced, even in the most unexpected ways.The Rays are
ST. LOUIS -- Players Weekend has brought out a variety of interesting stories from players on all 30 teams. From creative nicknames on jerseys to interesting dedications written on patches, the opportunity to express what makes each player unique has been embraced, even in the most unexpected ways.
The Rays are certainly no exception. One of their more eye-catching nicknames, however, comes from a player who wasn't expecting to be in the Majors this weekend.
Relief pitcher Chih-Wei Hu was called up from Triple-A Durham on Thursday, the day before Players Weekend began. Although Hu didn't know he would be joining the team in St. Louis, he was told last week that images of his jersey with the nickname "Who?" on it were being shared on Facebook, despite him still being in the Minors.
"The first time I saw it was on Facebook," Hu said. "Two days ago I was a Minor Leaguer, [I thought,] 'I'm not getting called up. ... If I go to the big leagues I might use it.'"
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Much to Hu's surprise, he was called up in the nick of time. Awaiting in St. Louis was a brightly colored Rays jersey with "Who?" written on the back. He's not sure who assigned the nickname, which he was asked many questions about from people who saw it online while he was still with Durham, but Hu embraces it and appreciates how unique it is.
"I like it. It's very special," said Hu, ranked as the Rays' No. 20 prospect. "You never see people that use a question mark on their uniform. It's funny."
"Who?" plays off of the infamous Abbott and Costello skit, "Who's on First?" Growing up in Taiwan, Hu saw the skit many years ago and was aware that the joke was applicable to his own name as another Taiwanese player, Chin-lung Hu, who played for the Dodgers and the Mets, set the precedent for the convergence of "Who?" and baseball.
The use of the pun is seemingly infinite. When manager Kevin Cash was asked who has the best nickname on the team, his answer was instantaneous.
"Chih-Wei Hu. You told me [with the question] "Who has the best nickname?" Cash said, laughing. "I'm glad he's here. I think we called him up just for that."
All that's left to see is if Hu will get the opportunity to full take advantage and get on first base, so everyone can ask, "Who's on first?" The idea of the pitcher as a pinch-runner for that purpose had not been ruled out.
"Potentially, we'll see," Cash said. "We don't have a ton of speed. He might get in there as a pinch-runner."
On board with the idea, Hu is embracing the chance to take part in this weekend, even though the name and the callup were unexpected.
"That would be a good experience for me, my pinch-running debut," Hu said. "Last time I ran the bases was about 10 years ago. ... That would be very special."
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.