Is there anything more “old timey” than old timey baseball from the early days of baseball? Yes—old timey baseball’s players’ colorful (by which we mean weird, crude, and mean) nicknames.
In the early 20th century, “dumb” was a word that meant “physically unable to speak.” Power hitter William Hoy was left with profound hearing loss and the inability to speak after a childhood fight with meningitis. So the other players called him Dummy.
This one is just the result of outdated slang. In the 19th century if something looked “like pudding” it meant “weak.” James Galvin was such a dominant pitcher, one who made batters weak like pudding, he earned the nickname Pud.
Harry Davis must have actually not smelled very good to have earned the nickname Stinky because his stats as a first baseman for the Detroit Tigers were pretty good. In 1932, he rung up 159 hits and 74 RBIs.
Mordecai Brown lost most of his index finger when it was cut off in a childhood farming accident. Nevertheless, he grew up to be a major-league pitcher (his unique hand was actually said to throw a very difficult to hit curveball). Players gave him the blunt if mean nickname Three Finger.
William Cummings was a star pitcher in the 1870s and is credited with inventing the curveball. He’s in the Hall of Fame under his nickname, Candy. It was Civil War-era slang to call that of a man who was good at his job.
Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Vance is best known as Dazzy Vance. Why? He had a super-fast fastball in the 1920s, led the league in strikeouts seven times, and all in all “dazzled” batters and fans.
Leon Goslin played almost 20 years in the big leagues en route to the Hall of Fame. He was a stellar hitter, but not a great fielder. He’d run after fly balls with his arms waving all around. Teammates thought that those gestures made him look like a goose flapping its wings, hence the nickname, Goose.
While playing in the outfield for the New York Yankees and Washington Senators in the 1920s, Nick Cullop tended to get incensed during games. When he’d get angry, his face would turn bright red, which is why his teammates called him Tomato Face.
Ugly Johnny Dickshot
Johnny Dickshot bopped around pro baseball in the 1930s and 1940s, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, and Chicago White Sox. His statistics are just okay, so he made himself memorable in a different way. He proclaimed himself “the ugliest man in baseball.” The nickname Ugly Johnny Dickshot stuck.