LOS ANGELES -- "The Wild Horse is loose." Short of a Cooperstown induction, there might be no higher honor for a Dodger than to be nicknamed by iconic broadcaster Vin Scully, as outfielder Yasiel Puig was during a memorable mad dash for a triple in 2014.• Players Weekend gear available at
LOS ANGELES -- "The Wild Horse is loose." Short of a Cooperstown induction, there might be no higher honor for a Dodger than to be nicknamed by iconic broadcaster Vin Scully, as outfielder Yasiel Puig was during a memorable mad dash for a triple in 2014.
• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
There was no language barrier for the Cuban-born Puig, who embraced the electrifying image of Scully's words. Puig later named his charitable foundation "Wild Horse Children's Foundation" and, later this month, he will wear the nickname "Wild Horse" on the back of his jersey as part of the Players Weekend celebration.
"I liked that name he called me when I was running super crazy on the bases or try to make a catch," Puig said. "I used that name for my foundation because I like it, it's fun. And I put that with my number for the foundation to help the kids in Los Angeles and Miami and the Dominican Republic.
"How do you call it, nickname? That's my baseball nickname, so I wanted to use that for the Players Weekend. I could have used Puigyourfriend or Puigalways late, but I used Wild Horse for the back of my jersey because it will help my foundation with that name on my back."
• Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game
MLB and the MLB Players Association are introducing the inaugural Players Weekend, with all players wearing colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs through Sunday. They will have the opportunity to have a nickname placed on the back of the jerseys made by Majestic Athletic, as well as to wear and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.
Also, each player will wear a special patch on his sleeve showing the progression of a child evolving into a Major Leaguer. Under that logo is white space, and every player will mark a name of a person who they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers, such as family or a coach. Puig will salute "Mon and Dad."
The 26-year-old Puig is having his best season since 2014, having already set a career-high in home runs with 21. He's only 14 RBIs short of his career high of 69, and through better conditioning he has avoided the disabled list for the first time in three years.
Puig's foundation strives to aid economically disadvantaged children and families by distributing food to needy families, purchasing and distributing toys for kids, providing athletic equipment to schools and youth leagues in need, donating supplies to community centers and providing school supplies to underprivileged schools. Puig held a fundraising poker tournament at Dodger Stadium in May, with proceeds benefiting the foundation.
On Players Weekend, game-worn, Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 by MLB and the MLBPA with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.
The uniforms will first be worn by the Pirates and Cardinals during the MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 20 during the 2017 Little League World Series. That game will take place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Phillies affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.