Tigers Players Weekend nicknames explained

August 24th, 2017

DETROIT -- MLB and the MLB Players Association are presenting the inaugural Players Weekend from Friday through Sunday, when all players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs as well as specially designed caps and socks. Players can put a nickname on the back of their jersey, rather than their last name, and wear uniquely colored spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, sleeves and catching masks.

The Tigers will get their chance this weekend in Chicago, where they'll face the White Sox in a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Tigers have been bouncing ideas and requests off each other and off clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel for a while.

It'll also go for a good cause: Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned at auctions.mlb.com, with all of the net proceeds being donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a collaboration between the MLB and MLB Players Association focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada.

Tigers Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

Toward that end, each jersey will include a sleeve patch, on which each player will mark the name of a person he wishes to thank for helping to advance his career. It could be a family member, a coach or a friend.

What you need to know for Players Weekend

Here's a roundup of Tigers players and their nicknames:

Matthew Boyd: "Matty B"

Boyd has gone by that nickname since he joined the Tigers in 2015.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Boyd's father, Kurt, was his coach in youth ball and suggested he switch from a right-hander to a lefty pitcher at age seven.

: "Miggy"

Cabrera's nickname, a shortened version of Miguel, is synonymous with him.

Tribute patch: Familia -- Cabrera's mother, Gregoria, was a longtime member of Venezuela's national softball team. His father, Miguel, often visits in the United States. His uncle, David Torres, is a former Minor League player who trained Miguel as a kid.

: "Nick"

Nothing special here, just the short version of name -- literally, a "Nick" name. "I wish I would've been more creative," Castellanos said, "but when they asked me what my nickname was, I just kind of said Nick."

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Castellanos' mother, Michelle, was born and raised in Detroit as a Tigers fan. Along with his father, Jorge, they encouraged Castellanos' baseball dreams. "The kid's first word was 'ball.' I kid you not," she said a few years ago.

: "Fulm Piece"

"I don't really have a nickname. It's kind of like high school days," Fulmer said. "I didn't know what else to resort to."

Tribute patch: Family

: "Shaner"

Greene sometimes goes by "Greeny" in the Tigers' clubhouse, but Shaner is another nickname for him.

Tribute patch: Mom and Pops -- Greene's father took an active role in his career and helped him when he was coming back from Tommy John surgery in college.

: "Jazz"

"My dad gave it to me when I was a kid," Hicks said. "Whenever music came on, I would start dancing, so he started calling me Little Jazz Man. … We have Johns everywhere in our family. I went by John Austin, and then when my dad gave me the nickname, it kind of took over."

: "Candelita"

Spanish for "little frame" or "fiery," Iglesias picked up the nickname in Cuba. It's meant to describe his style of play.

Tribute patch: Familia -- Iglesias' father, Candelario, sparked his interest in the game and would hit him grounders as a kid in Cuba. He eventually made it to Miami after Iglesias defected.


Jimenez, a recent callup, was still undecided as of earlier this week.

Tribute patch: Familia -- Joe's older brother, A.J., is a catching prospect in the Rangers' organization. When Joe was called up for the first time back in April, the first person he called was his father, who cried.

: "Juicy J"

Jones said Kinsler gave him the nickname for the jersey, as he did for some other rookies.

Tribute patch: -- TBA

: "Bootsie"

Kinsler's nickname comes from his 2007 season in Texas. He missed a month with a stress fracture in his foot, and when then-manager Ron Washington spotted him in a walking boot, he nicknamed him. "When I got here, we got and then he started calling me that," Kinsler said. "I don't know how he found out about it."

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Kinsler's father got him into Little League baseball in Tucson, Arizona, when he was 9 years old. His parents drove him back and forth to games.

: "Mowgli"

"From the Jungle Book," Machado said. "I just like the name."

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad

: "Night Hawk"

Though Mahtook often goes by "Jedi," he picked up "Night Hawk" from a quote in the movie "Step Brothers"

Tribute patch: Mom -- Mary Ann Mahtook raised her son following his father's death when he was 4 years old. She beat breast cancer in 2010.

: "Papicho"

Martinez went against V-Mart and went with his Spanish nickname.

Tribute patch: Mama -- Martinez's mother raised him after his father died of a heart attack when he was young. His mom convinced him to stick with the game when he was frustrated as a youngster.

: "McCannon"

McCann picked up the "McCannon" moniker for his strong arm behind the plate, which he uses to throw out would-be basestealers at a high rate.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- McCann was given a 1-in-4 chance of surviving birth due to a tear in the amniotic sac early in pregnancy, but Jim and Carla McCann had faith he would live. Carla McCann was James' T-ball coach when he was 4 years old and she attended every game.

Alex Presley: "Pres"

Presley simply went with a shorter version of his last name.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Ron and Heidi Presley helped foster Alex's interest in the game all the way to his collegiate career at the University of Mississippi.

: "Robomb"

The nickname came from a scoreboard feature the Tigers have between innings, when they put together emojis to make phrases. Since there's no emoji for a "mine," the scoreboard used a bomb emoji, and teammates gave him the nickname.

Tribute patch: Dad -- Kevin Romine played seven years in the Majors with the Red Sox before becoming a police detective in Los Angeles. Despite long hours on the job, he would come home and work with Andrew and his younger brother Austin on hitting and fielding, fostering their own baseball dreams.

: "Sanchie"

Sanchez has gone by his nickname, a play off his last name, since joining the Tigers in 2012.

Tribute patch: Family -- Sanchez has frequently cited the inspiration of his family, including wife Asa and daughter Anabella.

: "Aussie"

Saupold was born and raised in Australia and still lives there in the offseason. His entrance music is Men at Work's "Land Down Under."

Tribute patch: Parents -- Saupold's mom, Deanna, flew from Perth, Australia, to Baltimore to watch him make his Major League debut last year.

: "Donald"

Teammates in Triple-A Toledo decided Stumpf rhymed with Trump and nicknamed him. Veterans on the team decided that would be the nickname on the back of the rookie's jersey.

Tribute patch: Family -- "It's broad enough for everybody," Stumpf said.

: "J-Up"

Upton has had the same nickname, his first initial and the first part of his last name, since breaking into the Majors. It's also part of his Twitter handle.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Melvin Upton Sr. passed down his love for the game to Justin and his older brother, Melvin Upton Jr. Both were first-round Draft picks, and their parents visit both frequently during the season.

: "Vergy"

"That's just always been my nickname," VerHagen said. "I got it from my summer-ball coach when I was in seventh grade."

Tribute patch: Tommy -- Tommy Hernandez runs the Dallas Tigers, VerHagen's travel-ball team as a kid. "He coached me from the time I was 9 until I was 18," VerHagen said. "There's about five of us who were there the whole time. He just taught me how to play. He looked over us."

: "JV"

Verlander has gone by his initials as a nickname ever since he made it to the big leagues with the Tigers.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Verlander's parents, Richard and Kathy, helped foster his interest in baseball, while setting a disciplined routine that shaped his career.

Alex Wilson: "Dale"

Alex and were going to use "Dale" and "Brennan" from the movie Step Brothers. Then Justin was traded to the Cubs at the end of July. Manager Brad Ausmus nicknamed them the Wilson brothers last year.

Tribute patch: Family -- Alex Wilson was born in Saudi Arabia, then moved with his family to Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Jordan Zimmerman: "JZ"

Like Verlander, Zimmermann went with his initials.

Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Zimmermann picked up his work ethic by working on his family's farm while growing up in tiny Auburndale, Wisconsin.