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2021, the Dead Ball Era 2.0?

What’s old is new again

Frank “Home Run” Baker of New York American Baseball Team at Bat

A few weeks ago, the news broke that Major League Baseball would be deadening the baseball for the upcoming 2021 season. An interesting revelation, seeing as how MLB never actually admitted to “juicing” horsehide spheres to begin with.

The implications of new ball composition could be far-reaching: less home runs, more balls in play, much gristle for the conspiracy theory mill. All that fun stuff. But a disservice would be done to the issue without discussing perhaps its most profound impact: nicknames.

Back in the original Dead Ball Era (roughly 1900-1919), some of the greatest monikers ever bestowed on professional athletes were propagated. A few examples...

  • Frank “Home run” Baker (pictured in the header)
  • George “High Pockets” Kelly
  • Nick “Tomato Face” Cullop
  • ”Doughnut” Bill Carrick
  • Frank “Bald Eagle” Isbell
  • George “Pea Soup” Dumont
  • ”Rawmeat” Bill Rodgers
  • Joe “Wagon Tongue” Adams
Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Giants
Ol’ High Pockets himself (the beanpole in the middle)
Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

While not exactly on the level of Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, or Sam Crawford in terms of baseball talent, such figures will be remembered for their colorful epithets alone.

In that spirit, with baseball potentially set to be plunged back into another dead ball environment, I humbly present some nickname throwback possibilities for members of the Twins’ active roster:

  • ”Hip Hip” Jorge Polanco
  • Mitch “Squat” Garver
  • ”Ozzie” (Lewis Thorpe)
  • Taylor “Stretch” Rogers
  • Randy Dobnak (no nickname needed when one resembles a Dead Ball Era star)
2021 Minnesota Twins Photo Day
Put this in sepia tone and it could pass for 1921.
Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images
  • ”North/South” Dakota Chalmers
  • Max “von” Kepler
  • ”Twilight” Kyle Garlick
  • J.A. “Smiley” Happ
  • ”Elf” (Matt Shoemaker)
  • Josh “Wopner” Donaldson
Dustin Hoffman In A Scene
Hint for above nickname
Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images
  • Jake “Bat” Cave
  • ”Gretel” (Hansel Robles)
  • Devin “Stink” Smeltzer
  • ”REM” (Nelson Cruz)
  • Jhoan “No Mas” Duran
  • Rocco Baldelli (his given name is Rocco)
Divisional Series - Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees - Game One
“Yo Rocco!”
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

This is about as creative as I get, folks, so newer/better nicknames are always appreciated in the comments.!