Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Explaining Rangers Players Weekend nicknames

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers, along with the other 29 teams in the Majors, are taking part in the inaugural Players Weekend as they began a three-game series against the A's on Friday in Oakland.

Players have the option to don a nickname on the back of their jersey, rather than their last name, while repping unique colorful jerseys made especially for the weekend by Majestic Athletic, to go with customized spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers, along with the other 29 teams in the Majors, are taking part in the inaugural Players Weekend as they began a three-game series against the A's on Friday in Oakland.

Players have the option to don a nickname on the back of their jersey, rather than their last name, while repping unique colorful jerseys made especially for the weekend by Majestic Athletic, to go with customized spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher's masks and bats.

Along with the plethora of nicknames, players will wear patches on the sleeves of their jerseys that include a white space to recognize a person or organization that helped with their development.

Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

Here's how the Rangers will be celebrating the occasion:

Elvis Andrus: "Comando"
Andrus' brother, Erold, gave him the nickname, which in his native Venezuela refers to a general in military ranks. He earned it after signing his first professional contract with the Braves in January 2005.
Tribute patch: "Los Osos"
"Los Osos," which translates to "The Bears," was a youth team in Venezuela founded by Andrus' father that he played for while growing up. Andrus said it's one of the first organized teams he could remember playing for.

Tony Barnette: "Barnitez"
Barnette noted that he already goes by a nickname, so he decided to have a little fun with this one. He wanted to give a shoutout to the heavy Latin influence inside the Rangers' clubhouse and throughout the Majors.
Tribute patch: "Steve Murphy"
Murphy was Barnette's coach in junior high and the first coach to cut him from a team, while also recognizing him as one of the first people who taught him how to respect the game.

What you need to know for Players Weekend

Adrian Beltre: "El Koja"
Beltre had an uncle that called him "Kojac" as a kid in the Dominican Republic due to his extremely short haircut, and because he always seemed to have a lollipop in his hand. But he shortened it by a letter in order to avoid any copyright infringements.
Tribute patch: "Andrea"
Beltre will be honoring his mother, who was one of his many family members on hand at Globe Life Park earlier this season when he collected his 3,000th career hit. She's been a key member of his support system throughout his illustrious career.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx: "El Rubio"
Bibens-Dirkx's long blonde hair while playing in Venezuela, along his lengthy road to the Majors, led to his nickname. He said it was a bit easier for people to recognize him in that manner than by his unique last name.
Tribute patch: "My Family"
Bibens-Dirkx, who made his Major League debut this season at 32 years old, relied on his family in a way most players may not be able to relate to.
"When you're 31 years old and in Independent ball, things aren't looking so great," Bibens-Dirkx said. "They were my backbone."

Andrew Cashner: "Cash"
Cashner used a play off his last name for his nickname, as many other players around the Majors have done as well.
Tribute patch: "Mom and Dad"
Cashner has credited his mom, Jane, who's battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia and breast cancer, for being his first coach, while never missing one of his starts. He's gone on to create the Cashner Family Foundation, ""Pitching for a Cause," which provides support to hospitals and communities for children going through trying times.

Robinson Chirinos: "Pelo Buche"
In Punto Fijo, Venezuela, where Chirinos was born and grew up, "Bouche" refers to mini cactuses that reside in pots on the ground. Chirinos' spiky hair as a child resembled the cactuses and friends and family proceeded to don him with the nickname.
Tribute patch: "Clariomcl"
Chirinos had high praise for his youth coach, who took an active role in his development and even drove Chirinos to and from practices and games.

Shin-Soo Choo: "Tokki 1"
"Tokki" is the Korean word for rabbit, and Reds first baseman Joey Votto helped give him the nickname, as they battled each other for the highest on-base percentage while playing for the Reds in 2013. Votto will be wearing "Tokki 2" as his nickname.
Tribute patch: "J.S. Jang, S.O. Jo"
Choo will be representing his Little League and high school coaches, respectively. He said they were always available to make sure he was at practices while his parents were busy at work, and credits them with being the first coaches to truly hold him accountable on and off the field.

Alex Claudio: Using last name
Tribute patch:"Mom and Dad"
Claudio, like many players on the Rangers and throughout the Majors, will be representing his parents, as the 25-year-old is thankful for their contributions that have led him to gaining a key role in the Rangers' bullpen.

Delino DeShields "Poppa"
DeShields' father, also named Delino, gave him the nickname, which was used while Delino Sr. navigated a 13-year Major League career.
Tribute patch: "Big Bop"
DeShields also be representing his father on his sleeve, who was nicknamed "Bop." Deshields' father is currently the manager for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.

Nick Gardewine: Using last name

Phil Gosselin: Using last name

A.J. Griffin: "Sweet Lettuce"
Griffin was an avid listener of the "Jim Rome Show" while growing up in Southern California, which referred to hair as "lettuce." Griffin certainly has plenty of "lettuce" to accompany the nickname.
Tribute patch: "Tim and Kathy"
Griffin said he was unsure of how much info he was supposed to give to the league for his patch and wrote a "serious paragraph" chronicling all the people who've helped him throughout his career. He'll have his parents represented on his sleeve.

Video: Griffin discusses his Players Weekend nickname

Jason Grilli: "Grill Cheese"
Grilli was quick to mention his father, Steve, who played with the Tigers in the '70s, was the original holder of the nickname, given to him by former teammate Gene Lamont. When Grilli joined the Tigers in 2005 while Lamont was a coach for the team, it was a natural pairing. The nickname is also used as his Twitter handle.
Tribute patch: "Steve Grilli"
While Grilli will be representing his father's name on his sleeve, he said his entire family has been instrumental throughout his career. Their understanding of the rigors that come with being a Major League player have been huge factors in his success.

Cole Hamels: "Hollywood"
Jimmy Rollins tabbed the San Diego native with the nickname early in Hamels' time with the Phillies, as Hamels went on to be named MVP of the 2008 World Series.

Jose Leclerc: "Pico"
Leclerc's nickname, which translates to "Peak," refers to the diving motion of his pitches.
Tribute patch: "Anjelo Leclerc"
Leclerc will be recognizing his older brother, who he played with as a Minor Leaguer in the Rangers' system before his brother was selected by the Red Sox in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft.

Jhan Marinez: "La Electricidad"
While growing up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Marinez earned his nickname (The Electricity) due to his inability to stand still as a young player, while always looking for new ways to have fun with the game.
Tribute patch: "MOM -- DAD"
Marinez credited his parents for instilling his fun-first mentality about the game, helping lead to his nickname.

Nomar Mazara: "Big Chill"
Mazara's calm demeanor, mixed with his prolific production at the plate -- and his 6-foot-4 stature -- while debuting last year as a 21-year-old helped him earn the moniker.
Tribute patch: "Bolivar"
Mazara chose to recognize Simon Bolivar, the former Venezuelan military and political leader who helped liberate many countries in South America and the Caribbean from Spanish rule.

Mike Napoli: "Porterhouse"
Napoli received his nickname from Beltre in Napoli's first year of his first stint with the Rangers in 2011, but there's not really a special meaning behind it. The Rangers reached the World Series that year, as Napoli belted 30 home runs, so, naturally, it stuck.
Tribute patch: "MOM"
Napoli's relationship with his mother, Donna Rose Torres, has been well-chronicled, and he credits her as the most influential person in his life. He has her name, written with her signature accompanied by a rose above it, tattooed on his left arm.

Brett Nicholas: "Jethro"
Nicholas was given his nickname by his family at a young age in reference to the character from "The Beverly Hillbillies." Actions like eating cereal out of giant Tupperware containers helped him earn it, he said.
Tribute patch: "Frank"
Nicholas will be representing his grandfather, who he said he was always able to have a good time with, no matter the sport or activity. Nicholas' grandfather was such an influence on him that he used "Frank" as his son's middle name.

Rougned Odor: "El Tipo"
Odor's prodigious power led to his label, which means "The Type," but is meant to refer to someone who's a man's man, or not short for confidence. Like Grilli, he uses his nickname as his Twitter handle.
Tribute patch: "MOM"
Odor has been on a baseball field for all of his life, as his father, Rougned, and uncle, Rouglas, worked within Major League organizations. But it was his mother, Carolina Zambrano, along with his grandmother, who he spent much time with during his early days on the diamond.

Martin Perez: "El De Guanare"
Though not scheduled to pitch this weekend, Perez will represent his hometown. He said it's important that people back in his Venezuelan hometown know he hasn't forgotten where he came from.
Tribute patch: "Hector Ortiz"
Ortiz was a manager for Perez at Class A Hickory, and Perez credited the Rangers' current first-base coach for always helping him in the Minor Leagues.

Drew Robinson: "Petey"
Robinson said that "Petey" is an alter ego that teammates Ryan Rua and Joey Gallo gave him while they developed in the Rangers' Minor League system. He couldn't remember exactly where it first started, but it's stuck with him throughout his career.
Tribute patch: "Brian Whitaker"
Whitaker was Robinson's coach at Silverado High School (Las Vegas, Nev.). He lauded his focus on developing players, while being able to avoid outside pressures that sometimes came in the form of parents or recruiters.

Ricardo Rodriguez: Using last name

Tyson Ross: Using last name
Tribute patch: "Oakland Babe Ruth"
Ross, an Oakland native who began his career with the A's, got his start in organized baseball in the Oakland Babe Ruth League. He watched players like Dontrelle Willis, CC Sabathia and Rollins growing up, before following in their footsteps and becoming a Major Leaguer.

Ryan Rua: "Ryno"
Rua got his start playing competitive baseball in a travel league while growing up in Amherst, Ohio. He said the team's coach implored each player to find a nickname, so "Ryno," a common nickname for people named Ryan, was an easy choice.

Jeff Banister: "Banny Rooster"
Banister's nickname, which is also his Twitter handle, is derived from his last name's similarity to the banty rooster. Banister said he was a small child, which led to his love for banty roosters -- roosters that also tend to run on the smaller side. Also, like banty roosters, Banister said he overcame the lack of height with toughness and grit.
Tribute patch: "La Marque Little League, Mom & Dad, Bobby Beach Std."
Banister played for La Marque Little League while growing up in Texas. Bobby Beach Stadium was where the league played its games, and was named after a child who died on the field after being hit in the head with a ball. Banister grew up near Beach's parents and credited them as an influence in his younger playing days.

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Texas Rangers