What would baseball be like if players didn’t have nicknames?

Nicknames are fun, and they’re great ways for fans to feel connected with their favorite players. Sometimes these contrived monikers even take on lives of their own; if asked to name the greatest hitter of all time, how many people would say George Ruth?

People both inside and outside the game spend countless hours trying to guess which players will be the next Ted Williams or Pete Rose, so why not spend a few minutes thinking about which players’ nicknames have inherited the assumed the places of “The Splendid Splinter” and “Charlie Hustle?”

The following slides comprise my list of the best nicknames in baseball today. The winners were selected primarily on creativity, coolness, and, in some cases, the moniker’s elevation from silly sobriquet to a title that becomes a player’s identity.

Of course, the popularity of the name has to count for something too. For example, Jhonny Peralta isn’t on this list because not many people know that his nickname is “Guitar” (also because it’s a stupid nickname).

Finally, as part of my aforementioned emphasis on creativity, no player whose nickname is simply a derivation of his actual name was allowed to crack the top 10. That means no “A-Rod,” “King Felix,” or even “Magnum Z.I.”

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