PHOENIX -- A unique person deserves a unique nickname. So it goes that Giants right fielder Hunter Pence came to be dubbed "Wawindaji" for Major League Baseball's inaugural Players Weekend, when ballplayers, managers and coaches can wear their favorite moniker on the backs of their jerseys. Players will also wear
PHOENIX -- A unique person deserves a unique nickname. So it goes that Giants right fielder Hunter Pence came to be dubbed "Wawindaji" for Major League Baseball's inaugural Players Weekend, when ballplayers, managers and coaches can wear their favorite moniker on the backs of their jerseys. Players will also wear uniquely colored gear.
Rather than select his own nickname, Pence threw the floor open for teammates to choose a suitable one for him. Ultimately, the English language didn't suffice for a huge personality such as Pence's. Left fielder Jarrett Parker was the enterprising Giant who found a fit.
"I tried to think of a cool one, so I looked up "Hunter" in Swahili and came up with Wawindaji, which was 'lion hunter,'" Parker said. "I was trying to think of a nickname to call Hunter, and I really didn't think of a nickname, so I looked for 'Hunter' in a different language. I could have done Japanese or something, where it would have been just a symbol."
• Giants Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
As singular as Pence's weekend nickname is, he wasn't striving for something different.
"I wasn't trying to go for that," Parker said. "I don't think either of us were."
Each jersey will also include a sleeve patch, on which the player will pay tribute to a person or persons who influenced his career.
• What you need to know for Players Weekend
After the weekend, game-worn Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions with 100 percent of the net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation. The initiative was established in July 2015 with a $30 million commitment to improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs in the United States and Canada.
Here's a roundup of Giants players and their nicknames:
Ty Blach: "THE PREACHER"
"Our radio announcer in Triple-A, Johnny Doskow, came up with that. He started calling me that during games. I really didn't have anything else to go with, so that's what I went with."
Tribute patch: Dad, Mom, Hay, Nikki, Blachs, Mike, Coaches, Teammates, Cav, EJ -- Hayley is Blach's sister; Nikki is his fiancee; Mike is a family friend who taught Blach much about baseball; and EJ was one of Blach's boyhood coaches.
Bruce Bochy: "BOCH"
The Giants manager thought it was funny when his son, Brett, pitched for the Giants, because they called him Boch, too. Things occasionally got confusing in the dugout.
Tribute patch: Dad -- "Number one, he helped me develop a passion for the game. Like anything, if you develop a passion for something, you want to do it well or as best as you can. Just by spending time with me playing catch, coaching me in Little League and Babe Ruth on those Army bases played a huge part in my staying in the game as long as I have."
Madison Bumgarner: "MAD-BUM"
Bumgarner doesn't like his nickname much. But, he said, "I figured I'd just go with it. I don't have anything else to put on there, so I figured I'd play along with the weekend."
Tribute patch: Ali -- She's Bumgarner's high school sweetheart, whom he married.
Player Page for Matt Cain: "HORSE"
Cain got this moniker by carrying the starting rotation with his workload.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad and Grandad Goose
Brandon Crawford: "B-CRAW"
Crawford remembered only one other nickname. "Somebody called me 'Crawdaddy' in fourth or fifth grade," he said.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- They nurtured his love for the game as a youth by taking him to Giants games at Candlestick Park beginning when he was very young.
Kyle Crick: "CRICKY"
"I think they just added a Y, right? That's just baseball."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- "They took me to all my games. Dad went to my pitching lessons three times a week."
Sam Dyson: "ROJO"
"That's due to my red hair."
Tribute patch: Gwenn & Sid -- His parents. "They were the most influential people in my life and they gave me a chance to succeed."
Cory Gearrin: His last name
Tribute patch: Rick Robinson and Wes Caldwell -- His coaches in college and high school, respectively. "I wouldn't be here without either of them," Gearrin said.
Gorkys Hernandez: "CAZADOR"
"Cazador" means "Hunter" in Spanish. "That's been my nickname for a long time," Hernandez said. "Playing winter ball in Venezuela, when I started to play every day, I made a couple of plays and stole a home run and everybody called me, 'Cazador! Cazador!'
Tribute patch: Mom & Brothers -- Familia -- "I'm the oldest, so I have to take care of them. God is first, but after God, there's family."
Nick Hundley: "HUNDO"
It's a derivative of his surname.
Tribute patch: Dad -- His father is a lifelong influence.
Ryder Jones: "JONESY"
"I feel like everybody with the last name 'Jones' naturally is called 'Jonesy,' " he said.
Mark Melancon: "STRETCH"
That's a reference to news reports he considered somewhat far-fetched.
Tribute patch: Dad -- His father was an obvious influence.
Carlos Moncrief: "C-LOS"
"'Cricky' likes calling me that," he said.
Tribute patch: Cries, Big N, Gizzle, Tribune, Papris, Smoove, Wifey, Bam, Speedy, Arc -- Family members, his wife and four sons
Matt Moore: "MATTY MOE"
"In high school, my fastball touched 94 miles per hour, so people liked saying, 'Matty Mo/Ninety-four.'"
Tribute patch: Greg Trammell -- A favorite coach of Moore's
Josh Osich: His last name
Tribute patch: Mom & Dad, Kline, Sut, Jess, Roe/Laura -- Besides parents, Minor League pitching coach Steve Kline, high school coach Robert Sutcliffe, his wife and his in-laws.
Jarrett Parker: "PARK"
"I didn't get much time to think about mine," said Parker, who came up with Pence's nickname.
Hunter Pence: "WAWINDAJI"
"Lion hunter" in Swahili.
Tribute patch: Howard Pence II -- Elder brother who shaped Hunter's' baseball development.
Buster Posey: "BUSTER"
A longtime family nickname.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- His lifelong influences
Jeff Samardzija: "SHARK"
"I already have a cool nickname," he said.
Tribute patch: Family -- At one point, his brother also served as his agent.
Pablo Sandoval: "PANDA"
Barry Zito named him after the animated movie hero Kung-Fu Panda.
Denard Span: "SPANIARD"
His nickname is a derivative of his surname.
Tribute patch: Wanda Wilson -- Span's salute to his biggest fan, his mother.
Chris Stratton: "STRAT"
See Hunter Strickland's explanation immediately below.
Tribute patch: Dad and Butch Thompson
Hunter Strickland: "STRICK"
"It's what we do," Strickland said of the tendency to shorten a teammate's name by a syllable.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Team Carone Foundation -- Besides parents, a fund established for a friend who died of pancreatic cancer.
Kelby Tomlinson: "TOMMY"
Another from the shorten-by-a-syllable genre.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- His biggest boosters, of course.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.