BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox called up 21-year-old Markus “Mookie” Betts over the weekend and the 21-year-old made his Major League Baseball debut in right field on Sunday against the New York Yankees.
By all accounts it was exactly what you’d expect from one of the organization’s top prospects, who not only made some noteworthy plays but also some glaring mistakes.
Betts reached base twice in his four at bats, garnering both a walk and a hit and scored one of the team’s eight runs. However, he was also caught stealing and his attempt to make a diving catch in the outfield led to a Yankees triple.
Betts and his “Mookie” nickname join a long line of Red Sox terms of endearment dating back to the inception of the franchise and George Herman “Babe” Ruth, also known as “The Sultan of Swat” and “the Bambino.” But the Babe’s Hall of Fame career is best known for his time with the Yankees, so for those reasons he cannot be included in this list.
We’ve ran the numbers, perused the interwebs and came up with this comprehensive list of the 10 best nicknames in team history.
10. The Rocket
The bulk of Roger Clemens’ seven Cy Young awards came during his Boston tenure, and although his time here is remembered in a mostly negative light, “The Rocket” is a tremendous nickname for one of the game’s best ever power pitchers.
9. The Hit Dog
Not to be confused with “the Crime Dog” Fred McGriff, the Hit Dog Mo Vaughn crowded the plate, hit moonshots and intimidated pitchers for the entirety of his career, the majority of his years coming right here in Boston.
8. El Guapo
Rich Garces was a serviceable relief pitcher for the Red Sox for seven seasons in the mid-to-late 1990’s and into the 2000’s. Garces, otherwise known as “El Guapo”, was listed at 250 pounds and looked more like an offensive lineman on some occasions. Naturally, “The Handsome” was a most-fitting nickname.
7. Oil Can
How does one get the nickname “Oil Can”?
If you’re a good beer drinker, and your hometown in Mississippi refers to the adult beverage as “oil” then you’re well on your way. Boyd’s partying ways (which include pitching under the influence of cocaine) are the stuff of urban legends. “Oil Can” remains one of the most colorful personalities the game has ever seen.
“Yaz” — simple yet sophisticated.
5. Laser Show
Red Sox fan favorite and second baseman Dustin Pedroia goes by many names: Pedey, Muddy Chicken, Dusty2Sacks — but none have sticked quite like “Laser Show.”
Carlton Fisk, not Ivan Rodriguez, was the original Pudge. The Red Sox legend, who also wore white socks during his time in Chicago, is one of only eight players to have his number retired in Boston.
3. Big Papi
The “Big Papi” moniker is uttered so often you sometimes forget his real name is David Ortiz. Papi is arguably the best designated hitter of all time and will garner serious consideration for the Hall of Fame when he eventually calls it a career.
Long after Ortiz is gone the Papi name will live on in the form of naturally, hardwood smoked snack sticks:
2. Mr. Red Sox
Johnny Pesky: the ultimate Red Sox lifer. There will never be another one like him.
1. The Splendid Splinter
I admit I’m a sucker for alliteration, and “The Splendid Splinter” fits the bill for me.
Ted Williams, also known as “The Kid”, “Teddy Ballgame”, “The Thumper” and “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” was the greatest Red Sox to ever wear the uniform and also one of the game’s all time greats. It’s incredible to think what his career numbers could have been had he not elected to serve three years fighting overseas in World War II.
Honorable Mentions: The Little Professor (Dom Dimaggio), Double X (Jimmie Foxx), Tony C (Tony Conigliaro), D-Lew (Darren Lewis), Eck (Dennis Eckersley), Way Back Wasdin (John Wasdin).
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