Since the inaugural Players' Weekend in 2017, Major League Baseball has given nicknames a new, national platform, encouraging players to don monikers on the back of their uniforms for a few games each year. But baseball nicknames are as old as the game itself, woven into the cultural fabric of the sport for decades.
They can bring levity and they can offend, and some do both. They can fade away with time or brand a player for life, or longer. What follows is a list of the few that have passed the test of time.
Here is a countdown of the 20 best nicknames in Orioles history, and why they came into existence:
20. “Dr. Poo Poo” (Stevie Wilkerson)
… Because the rookie utility man became known in 2019 for floating mid-50 mph lob balls to the plate during a string of successful mop-up pitching appearances.
19. “Groove” (Don Baylor)
… Because the sweet-swinging Baylor, who began his career in Baltimore from 1970-75, could get into one now and again at the plate.
18. “Flaky" (Jackie Brandt)
… Because the Orioles’ enigmatic center fielder of the early '60s was known as much for his oddball personality as for his play.
17. “Moose” (Mike Mussina)
… Because there is only one Moose in Cooperstown.
16. “Little Louie” (Luis Aparicio)
… Because the Hall of Fame shortstop made the most of his shorter stature. And because it rolls off the tongue.
15. “Otter” (Gregg Olson)
… Because of his body shape and because the All-Star closer wasn’t a natural in the batter’s box, where teammates chided him for hitting like an otter out of water.
14. “Brother Low” (John Lowenstein)
… Because the popular outfielder’s clutch hitting and goofy personality made fans feel like he was part of their family.
13. “Crush" (Chris Davis)
… Because once upon a time, few were better at crushing home runs.
12. “El Presidente” (Dennis Martinez)
… Because the standout righty was such a sensation in his home country of Nicaragua that he considered a run for president.
11. “Prince of Pranks” (Moe Drabowsky)
… Because the 1966 World Series hero was also known as a world-class practical jokester.
10. “Full Pack/Stan the Man Unusual” (Don Stanhouse)
… Because Stanhouse never made things easy as the Orioles’ All-Star closer of the late '70s, forcing manager Earl Weaver into nightly, ninth-inning chain-smoking sessions.
9. The Judge (Frank Robinson)
… Because nobody questioned the two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner -- his word was law both on the field and in the clubhouse kangaroo court.
8. “Cakes” (Jim Palmer)
… Because Palmer realized during the 1966 World Series that whenever he ate pancakes before a game the Orioles won. He kept eating them, and won a lot.
7. “Crazy Horse” (Mike Cuellar)
… Because few were more superstitious than the 1969 American League Cy Young Award winner, who always sat on the same spot on the bench, refused to sign autographs on days he pitched and adhered to several other eccentricities.
6. The Blade (Mark Belanger)
… Because of the eight-time All-Star’s angular build, and because he could pick everything at shortstop.
5. The Earl of Baltimore (Earl Weaver)
… Because when you win in Baltimore, you become royalty. And nobody won more than Weaver.
4. Steady Eddie (Eddie Murray)
… Because few were more consistent, and because it rhymes so perfectly. (For alliteration aficionados, see also: “Everyday Eddie”).
3. “Iron Man" (Cal Ripken)
… Because he broke baseball’s most unbreakable record, and will probably own it forever.
2. “Human Vacuum Cleaner” (Brooks Robinson)
… Because nothing got past the greatest defensive third baseman of all time (see also: “Hoover” and “Brooksie”).
1. Boog (John Powell)
… Because in his six-plus decades connected to the Orioles, nobody has ever called Powell by his given name “John.” Whether he is being summoned by a lone fan on Eutaw Street or cheered by a crowd, he is simply “Boog.”