Pirates' nicknames for Players' Weekend

August 9th, 2018

For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.

Here are the nicknames the Pirates will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:

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Chris Archer: "FLACO FUERTE"

This "skinny strong" nickname began with Orestes Destrade, a former Major Leaguer and a current Rays broadcaster. The first time he met Archer, Destrade grabbed the right-hander's arm and said, "Hey man, you're skinny! How do you throw so hard?" Archer responded, "I'm flaco, but I'm fuerte." Destrade liked it, and the title caught on. When Archer got a chance to pick a Players' Weekend nickname, he also liked "FLACO FUERTE" as a bridge between cultures -- an American player using a Spanish nickname.

Josh Bell: "JB"




This one is all about home for Diaz, a native of the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo. Last year, he met a handful of Little Leaguers from his hometown at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., and said they couldn't believe there was a big leaguer from Maracaibo, a "maracucho" just like them.

Corey Dickerson: "C-DIZZLE"

: "FRAZ"


This was perhaps the Pirates' most unusual nickname a year ago, but the story is familiar by now. Freese and his wife, Mairin, have a dog named Bob. One of Freese's friends, Bob, has a dog named Dave. When they're together, Freese goes by Davehuman and Bob (the dog, not the friend) is Bobdog.

Josh Harrison: "J HAY"

He's been "J-Hay" since he was a kid, so there's no sense changing it up now. Harrison goes by this nickname more often than either his first or last name, and it's even his Twitter handle: @jhay_da_man.


Hechavarria tells the story in three parts. First, the slick-fielding shortstop used to be called "perro" (dog in Spanish) because, as interpreter Mike Gonzalez said, "He was known to grab the ball however he could, whether it was with his mouth or whatever; he would do whatever it took to make sure he grabbed the ball." That nickname followed him from Cuba to the United States, but Hechavarria shied away from it when he realized "dog" had somewhat of a negative implication.

Then comes the part where Hechavarria earned his new nickname. It was Sept. 18, 2013, and his Marlins team was playing the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia third baseman had just robbed Hechavarria of a bunt hit. So Hechavarria said, "When that guy comes up to bat, I'm going to do whatever it takes to not let him get a hit." Asche hit a high line drive, and Hechavarria leapt "probably the highest I've ever jumped in my career or lifetime" to make the highlight-reel catch. But he landed on his hands and knees. A Marlins broadcaster exclaimed that Hechavarria looked like a panther and asked for his approval, and thus "La Pantera" was born.

Finally, there's "Uuff." Hechavarria uses the expression in person, and on social media, as "the highest way of me celebrating something." The first time he met his girlfriend? Uuff. Big hit with the game on the line? Uuff. Another great play at shortstop? La Pantera, uuff.

: "KEY"

After arriving in Pittsburgh's clubhouse following the Trade Deadline, Kela quickly issued a friendly notice that everyone should call him "Key."

: "CHET"

Pirates fans learned last year that "Chet" is essentially a more aggressive alter ego for the mild-mannered Kuhl. The right-hander is currently on the 60-day disabled list, but "Chet" -- Kuhl's hard-throwing, hyper-competitive persona -- will return whenever Kuhl is able to take the mound again.


Luplow laughed when informed on Thursday that his "nickname" was simply his last name. He goes by "Loop," and his Players' Weekend jersey may ultimately reflect that.

: "TATO"


Mercer is a veteran leader for the Pirates, but he's sticking with the same nickname he used last season. Mercer earned the moniker as a freshman at Oklahoma State University.


Have you seen him? After joining the Pirates in January, Moran quickly became known for his calm, almost expressionless demeanor and his bushy red beard.

Joe Musgrove: "MOOSE"


This one's not too complicated. Last year, Neverauskas became the first Lithuanian player in Major League history. Nobody can share this nickname with Neverauskas.



This one doesn't have anything to do with Polanco's caffeination habits, believe it or not. He earned the nickname as a teenager in the Dominican Republic. His coach said he looked like another player nicknamed "El Café," so they started calling Polanco, "El Coffee," and it stuck. It's even his Twitter handle: @El_Coffee.



This is the same nickname Rodriguez used last season, an abbreviation of his longtime nickname "Chi Chi," which may be related to golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.


A.J. Schugel: "SCHUG"

: "JAMO"

Spoken like "J-Mo," his Players' Weekend nickname last season, this is Taillon's most frequently used nickname around the clubhouse.

Felipe Vazquez: "NIGHTMARE"

Vazquez picked up this nickname around Players' Weekend last season, and it stuck. The hard-throwing lefty closer even incorporated the moniker into his extracurricular duties in Pittsburgh's clubhouse, taking on the name "DJ Nightmare."


This might be the cleverest use of the opportunity. Williams' nickname will be above his jersey number, spelling out "Project 34." That is the name of Williams' charitable nonprofit organization benefiting people with spinal cord injuries. Williams changed his jersey number to 34 this season in honor of his friend and former teammate, Cory Hahn, who was paralyzed from the chest down after sliding headfirst into second base at Arizona State University.