Baseball is always associated with having great traditions. It is a sport full of little intricacies, values and "unwritten rules" that have always been a huge part of its charm. Dating back to the late 19th century, it took many years for baseball to develop and turn into the sport full of traditions that it is today. Of course, all sports have their own unwritten rules and traditions. NFL games on Thanksgiving Day. The handshake line at the end of a playoff series in the NHL. However, if there is one thing that has always been a part of every spot and particularly a major part of baseball, it is the tradition of players having great nicknames.
Nicknames in sports come in a variety of ways. Oftentimes, they derive from a player's physical appearance. William Perry, the massive 335 pound defensive lineman on the 1985 Chicago Bears was more commonly known as "The Refrigerator." They can come from someone's playing style. Tim Duncan is known as "The Big Fundamental" for his simple, yet efficient way of playing basketball. Nicknames can also simply be a result of how amazing a player they are. Wayne Gretzky, who is widely considered to be the greatest hockey player to ever play, is simply known as "The Great One."
What makes nicknames in baseball so great is that they have been a part of the sport since its inception over 100 years ago. It seems as though every baseball player in the early 20th century had a nickname. The list below contains players from multiple different eras. It factors in how the nicknames relate to players' talent, physical attributes, playing style, and, of course, how funny they are.
15 Randy Johnson: "The Big Unit"
14 Ted Williams: "The Splendid Splinter"
13 Mike Hargrove: "The Human Rain Delay"
12 José Bautista: "Joey Bats"
11 Rusty Staub: "Le Grand Orange"
10 Frank Howard: "The Capital Punisher"
9 "Shoeless" Joe Jackson
8 Lou Gehrig: "The Iron Horse"
7 Fred McGriff: "Crime Dog"
6 Brooks Robinson: "The Human Vacuum Cleaner"
5 Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"
4 Pablo Sandoval: "Kung Fu Panda"
3 Mariano Rivera: "The Sandman"
2 Babe Ruth: "The Great Bambino"
1 Bartolo Colón: "The Big Sexy"
This may be the only list ever created where Babe Ruth is ranked second and Bartolo Colón is ranked first. "The Big Sexy" is the craziest nickname for a number of reasons. Bartolo has had a long career in the big leagues and has been an All-Star pitcher three different times in 1998, 2005, and 2013. However, he began to achieve a universal appreciation and cult following upon joining the New York Mets in 2014. At a massive 285 lbs, Bartolo never had to bat while playing so many games in the AL. Howeverm once he was playing in the NL for the Mets, his at-bats became a constant source of comedy with half-hearted swings and his helmet constantly flying off. That being said, on May 7th, 2016, Bartolo Colón became the oldest player to hit his first Major League home run at the age of 42. The irony of "The Big Sexy" nickname has become so popular that it turned into a very popular t-shirt. Colón's teammate Noah Syndergaard, who was less than a year old when Colón signed his first Major League contract, bought his entire family "Big Sexy" t-shirts last Christmas.
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