Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nicknames in the nick of time?

IT WAS GOOD to see Gail Collins, the delightful New York Times columnist, promoting Butch Otter as a Republican presidential candidate. Among her reasons for supporting the Idaho governor was that he would be the first president to be a member of Ducks Unlimited. Besides she notes happily, his candidacy would give her the opportunity to visit Idaho for the first time.

She has made a good choice. Otter would restore to the American culture the use of nicknames that disappeared from the days when mobsters were best remembered by such colorful references as "Machine Gun Kelly" or, more recently, "Vinnie Carwash", to give you some idea of their line of work.

(Butch means "wisdom" in early German - but good luck on that one in these fluttery days.)

Maybe Butch Otter could do something to bring back nicknames to other fields in the public eye. There was something compelling about calling a pool shark "Minnesota Fats", or crowd-stirring wrestler "Man Mountain Dean".

Ah, baseball was all the more interesting with characters named Catfish Metkovich, Peanuts Lowrey, Hammerin' Hank, the Splendid Splinter, the Yankee Clipper and PeeWee Reese. And how could anybody ignore Ernie Lombardi, whose nose reached first base long before the rest of his body. He was, as everyone lovingly knows, "The Schnozz".

Finally, there were Dizzy and Daffy, and even a "Butch,'" Wynegar, in this case. And if you don't remember it, I know a guy who has his baseball card.

So, on to Idaho, Ms. Collins. Butch Otter does have something to offer and should be rewarded for it. Sorry, Mitt, but that is really your middle name. Between Willard and Romney.


Henry said...

Would that be "Splinter" as in Ted Williams or was their someone else named "sprinter".

Grumpy Abe said...

My error, Hank. Thanks.

Mencken said...

Having just gone to the opthamologist twice in the last couple of weeks, I'll go with the Padres' Doug "Eyechart" Gwodz.

Grumpy Abe said...

Very good, Mencken. But as long as we're at it, how about:: Noodles Zupo, ,Flunkie Willoughby, What's the Use Chiles and Battleship Gremminger. All Golden Oldies!

Anonymous said...

Goodness. How could you overlook "Swish" and "Push 'em up"?