The list of great baseball nicknames is stacked and includes all-time monikers like “The Sultan of Swat,” “Hammerin’ Hank” and “Mr. October.” Over the years, several Giants players have helped enrich that list with unique sobriquets of their own.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable nicknames in Giants history:
Baby Bull: Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda’s father, Pedro “Perucho” Cepeda, was one of the best ballplayers of his generation in Puerto Rico, where he was also known as “The Bull.” When Orlando began playing baseball, he was thus known as the “Baby Bull.”
Big Six: Christy Mathewson’s moniker is believed to have been coined by sportswriter Sam Crane, who likened him to New York City’s Big Six Fire Company due to his ability to quickly put out fires.
Buster: Buster Posey’s father, known as Demp, was nicknamed Buster as a kid and passed it on to his son, whose full name is Gerald Dempsey Posey III.
Chili: Chili Davis, born Charles Theodore Davis, got his nickname after his father gave him an unflattering bowl cut when he was 12.
“My dad gave me a haircut ... and it wasn’t a very good one,” Davis told The Sporting News in 1982. “When I went out of the house, my friends got on my case and said it looked like someone put a chili bowl over my head and cut around it.”
The Count: John Montefusco's moniker is a play on words, as Count Montefusco sounds like the Count of Monte Cristo.
Donnie Barrels: Donovan Solano earned his nickname due to his uncanny ability to consistently drill line drives and find the sweet spot on the bat.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a truer nickname,” outfielder Mike Yastrzemksi said in 2020. “He just always finds a way to put the barrel on the ball and impact the game.”
The Freak: Tim Lincecum became known as “The Freak” due to his unorthodox delivery and his ability to maximize his undersized, 5-foot-11 stature.
HacMan: Jeffrey Leonard’s nickname stemmed from his tendency to take cuts rather than take pitches. The former Giants outfielder was also known as “One Flap Down” for his signature home run trot.
High Pockets: Hall of Fame first baseman George Kelly earned his sobriquet due to his towering 6-foot-4 frame.
Panda: In a game against the Dodgers in 2008, Pablo Sandoval scored from second after making an acrobatic leap to avoid a tag from catcher Danny Ardoin. Barry Zito, the winning pitcher that night, later compared Sandoval to Kung Fu Panda, the hit DreamWorks animation film that was released that summer. The nickname stuck, prompting fans to begin wearing panda hats around AT&T Park to show affection for the popular infielder.
The Reverend: Hunter Pence became known as “The Reverend” due to his stirring clubhouse speeches during the Giants’ World Series runs in 2012 and ‘14.
The Say Hey Kid: When Willie Mays was a rookie, he had trouble remembering people’s names, so he tended to greet everyone by saying, “Hey!” Local sportswriters took notice and began referring to him as “The Say Hey Kid.”
Stretch: Willie McCovey’s nickname was perfectly suited for his position, as his 6-foot-4 frame and long arms enabled him to consistently stretch for balls at first base.
The Thrill: Will Clark earned his nickname shortly after debuting with the Giants in 1986. It was coined by veteran catcher Bob Brenly as a nod to Clark’s early-season heroics with the club.
Woody: Kirk Rueter became known as “Woody” due to his striking resemblance to the animated cowboy from the Pixar hit Toy Story.