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Richard "Dick" Radatz was in the major leagues for only seven seasons, but his spirit lingers still. Radatz was a terrific relief pitcher, an overpowering force who was an American League All-Star in 1963 and 1964 when he played for the Boston Red Sox.

It's obvious why Jayson Werth was known as "Werewolf." Werth, an outfielder for 15 major league seasons with Toronto, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia and Washington, announced his retirement in 2018 after batting just .206 in 36 games with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League.

James Emory Foxx was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Foxx had muscles on top of his muscles, and to intimidate pitchers, he cut off his sleeves to put those muscles on display. A famous story tells how Foxx was discovered. The truth of this tale is much in doubt — Frank "Home Run" Baker supposedly was on a scouting trip through Maryland in 1924, got lost, and asked directions of a teenager who was walking a plow behind a mule. That boy was Foxx, and instead of pointing with his finger, he did it by lifting the plow.

Another player nicknamed "The Beast" was Mike Morse, a six-foot-five-inch, 245 pound outfielder-first baseman who played for six teams — Seattle, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Miami and Baltimore — from 2005 to 2017. Only three times did he appear in more than 100 games, having his best season with Washington in 2011 when he played 146 games, batted .303, with 31 home runs.

On the mound, staring at batters, six-foot-four pitcher Jim Coates reminded his New York Yankee teammates of "The Mummy." Coates also played for the California Angels, Washington and Cincinnati from 1956 to 1967.

Slim, swift New York Giant left fielder Joseph Gregg "Jo-Jo" Moore might simply have been called "The Ghost" for the way he appeared from nowhere to rob opponents of hits, but his hometown, Gause, Texas, added some punch to his nickname.

Stephen "Steve" Lyons, known for his zany behavior played major league baseball for nine seasons. He could play any position, but was not a consistent hitter. After his playing days were finished, Lyons did some broadcasting.

James Dalton Command played briefly with Phils (1954-55) at third base, but did a lot of catching in the minors. All six of his career runs batted in came in a double-header against the Brooklyn Dodgers, four of them on a grand slam off Carl Erskine. Why he became known as Igor is a mystery.

Pete Ladd, a six-feet-three-inch, 240-pound relief pitcher, played for three teams — Houston, Milwaukee and Seattle — during his six seasons in the major leagues. His best year was 1983 when he had 25 saves for the Brewers.

Ross Grimsley got his nickname due to the effect of his turquoise-colored contact lenses. The six-feet-three-inch left-hander was a pitcher who won 124 games between 1971 and 1982 with Cincinnati, Montreal, Baltimore and Cleveland.

Pitcher Tim Lincecum was the National League's Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009. Injuries shortened his career. His nickname came from his long, free-flying hair with San Francisco, and the expressions on his face as he pitched.

The most popular theory about why infielder Frank Angelo Joseph Crespi became known as "Creepy" is that many folks thought Crespi resembled actor Rondo Hatton (below, right), who'd created a movie character named The Creeper.

Primarily a second baseman, Crespi played a few games at shortstop and third base for the St. Louis Cardinals (1938-42). Crespi qualified for a deferment from service in World War Two because he provided the sole support for his mother, but he entered the Army, anyway, saying, "I don't think I'm too good to fight for the things I've always enjoyed."

Then came an incredible series of accidents. He suffered a compound fracture of his left leg in an Army baseball game, then broke the same leg during a training accident. While recovering, he broke it once more during a wheelchair race. His problems were far from over, because an Army nurse misused boric acid on his bandages, severely burning Crespi's leg, which underwent more than 20 operations. Though only 27, Crespi was unable to return to baseball, and he became a budget analyst for McDonnell Douglas. Crespi died of a heart attack in 1990.

Why was Forrest Vandergrift Jacobs nicknamed "Spook"? Explanations cite his speed and alleged ability to hit the ball to open spaces, but he didn't steal many bases and his batting average was .247. I may be off-base, but I think he just looked spooky.

Walter "Wally" Gerber picked up "Spooks" as his nickname as a youngster because he was all skin and bones. He carried 150 pounds on his five-feet-ten-inch frame. He was a fine-fielding shortstop, mostly with the St. Louis Browns, during 15 major league seasons.
Pitcher George Wiltse got his nickname not from a curve ball, but from his fielding ability. A minor league manager said Wiltse had hooks for hands. He'd go on to win 139 games in the majors, with two 20-win seasons. He occasionally filled in a first base.

Clarence Eugene "Hooks" Iott was a left-handed pitcher from Mountain Grove, Missouri, who won just three games in two major league seasons. However,, he won 175 games in the minors and once struck out 25 batters in a nine-inning game in the Northwest Arkansas League.

 

Pitcher Thomas Henry Bond won 40 games or more for three straight seasons in the early days of the National League. He had 195 wins by the time he was 23, but overwork took its toll; he won only 39 more games before retiring five years later.

Walter Franklin Bond died of leukemia before he turned 30. The tall outfielder-first baseman had a lacklustre six-season career except for one 12-game streak in 1962 when he had 19 hits, including six home runs, batted .380 and drove in 17 runs.

When he comes to espionage, Moe Berg was the real deal. A catcher with Brooklyn, the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox, Morris Berg was one of baseball's brightest and most popular players. 

Berg graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and spoke several languages, but as some players pointed out, Berg's education was lacking in one important area: He never learned how to hit a curve ball. His lifetime batting average was .243. He was in his eighth year of major league baseball before he hit the first of his six home runs.

Moe Berg is now remembered for his work as a United States spy who gathered information during a baseball trip to Japan in the 1930s, and for his dangerous espionage work behind Nazi lines during World War Two. Paul Rudd stars as Berg in "The Catcher Was a Spy," a film based on the catcher's days during the war.

James Emory Foxx an all-time great. He had two nicknames that put him in two of our films. Besides "Double X," he was known as "The Beast." In spy film terms, "Double X" would make him a villain, but Jimmie Foxx was one of the good guys.

Interestingly, Foxx originally had wanted to pitch or play third base, but when he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, he put his future in the hands of manager Connie Mack, who turned the 17-year-old prospect into a catcher. "Double XX" had a 10-game tryout with the A's in 1925 and had six hits in nine at bats. He played several games for Philadelphia in 1926 and 1927, but it wasn't until 1928 that he became an A's regular, playing many of his games at third base. However, Mack decided that from then on Foxx would be his first baseman.

For the next several seasons Foxx terrorized American League pitchers. Twice he hit 50 or more home runs on his way to a lifetime total of 534. He led the league in home runs four times and twice had the highest batting average, .356 in 1933 and .349 in 1938, by which time Foxx had been sold to the Boston Red Sox for $150,000 when Mack went on one of his infamous budget-cutting binges.

New York Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez, who, like Foxx, was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, contributed to the "Double XX" legend with some memorable quotes.

When asked how to pitch to Foxx, Gomez replied, "I'd rather not throw the ball at all." About Foxx's physique, Gomez said, "He has muscles in his hair."

In 1937, Foxx hit a ball off Gomez that went into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. Many years later, Gomez said, "When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, he and all the space scientists were puzzled by an unidentifiable white object. I knew immediately what it was. It was a home run ball hit off me in 1937 by Jimmie Foxx."

What better name for a spy film? Fenton LeRoy Mole was a first baseman who played 10 games for the New York Yankees in 1949. His nickname: "Muscles." He hit 22 home runs for Syracuse of the International League in 1952, but batted only .219.

Charles Alston Tebeau certainly was no Pussy Galore, but because of his nickname, he'll have to do. The interesting theory about that nickname is it seemed to originate with his initials, which spell CAT.

Well, I can imagine a situation in which teammates notice Tebeau's monogrammed luggage. Everyone is bored, or silly, and the next thing you know, someone is calling Tebeau "Pussy."

He played two games with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League in 1895, probably because his name was Tebeau. The team was managed by Pasty Tebeau, and one of the other players was George "White Wings" Tebeau. Apparently Pussy was not related, however.

He had three singles in six at bats, and retired from the big leagues with a .500 batting average. After that, Tebeau had a run of bad luck. In 1896, he was hit in the head by a pitch, and the injury convinced him to retire from playing.

I couldn't ignore a player named Henry "Harry" Spies. He played only one season (1895) in National League, with Cincinnati and Louisville. The catcher-first baseman, hit .261 in 326 at bats. His minor league career spanned 19 seasons (1889-1907).

The brothers were cast because of the way their last name is pronounced. It does not, as you might expect, rhyme with "luge," but with "boogie." Otto and Ossie Blueg-ee sound like Bond villains. I can hear Sean Connery making a joke about shaking a Bluege. And think of the fun he would have with the younger brother, who was nicknamed "Squeaky."

Otto Bluege, aka "Squeaky," was a shortstop for Cincinnati in 1933, batting .213 in 109 games. No surprise, he fared much better during his long minor league career. He managed in the minors for two season, and worked as a scout for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins for 26 years.

His brother, Ossie, enjoyed a long major league career with the Washington Senators, and was considered one of the best third basemen in baseball in the 1920s and '30s.

Oswald Bluege worked as an accountant during the off-season, earning him the nickname — what else? — "The Accountant." In retirement, he'd eventually become the Washington Senators' comptroller, then executive secretary. Before that, he was a coach for the team, later manager for five seasons.

Ossie Bluege never batted .300, but did hit .290 or better three seasons in a row. The All-Star Game didn't come along until Bluege was in his early 30s, but he made the American League team three years in a row.

Alfred Holmes "Fritz" Von Kolnitz is one of an unusually large group of players born in South Carolina. He came out of Charleston and was graduated from the University of South Carolina law school. He was a certified attorney at 21, but went directly from college to the Cincinnati Reds where he played five different positions, but primarily third base. 

He wasn't much of a hitter, and retired at 23, then joined the Army, serving as a major in World War One. He would later serve again in World War Two, as a lieutenant colonel. When he died in 1948, he was vice president of a Charleston real estate company.

Imagine Shirley Bassey singing, "Goldsberry, he's the man, the man with a fielder's touch, but don't hit much ... "

Gordon Goldsberry played four seasons (1949-52) in the American League, three with the Chicago White Sox, one with the St. Louis Browns, and batted .241 with six home runs in 510 at bats. Except for a couple of seasons in the low minors, the six-foot first baseman didn't hit for a high average. One exception was 1946 when the 18-year-old Goldsberry, playing for Albuquerque of the West Texas-New Mexico League, a notorious hitters paradise, batted .372 and had 21 triples.

He was born John Paul Bonser in 1981, but twenty years later legally changed his name to Boof. Bonser was a pitcher who reached the majors in 2006, but with the Minnesota Twins. Bonser was 7-6 as a Twins rookie. However, injuries shortened his major league career which ended in 2010.

As for the origin of his nickname ... perhaps some day an interviewer finally will ask him. Then perhaps Bonser will explain that, in his case, "Boof" doesn't refer to such things as bad drugs, having sex with a fat woman, masturbating, or mooning people in a public place, though my favorite definition of the word is "the last stroke a kayaker makes before going over a waterfall."

On the other hand, maybe Bonser was a chubby kid often described as "beefy." Or maybe the kid loved triple-decker hamburgers. Which would mean Boof comes from the French word boeuf, which (among other things) means "beef."

Appropriately, the other half of this Boof and Biff combo is a former catcher. That's no nickname, he was born Biff Benedict Pocoroba in 1953.

The name Biff conjures up several images — he's one of the sons in 'Death of a Salesman', right? And the villain in the 'Back to the Future' movies. His last name would roll dramatically off the lips of a ring announcer, either in wrestling or boxing.

Pocoroba was a catcher with the Atlanta Braves for 10 seasons. The best of those was 1977, the only year Pocoroba played more than 100 games; he responded with a .290 batting average and walked twice as often as he struck out.

 

Henry Louis Gehrig was one of the baseball greats, the so-called "Iron Horse," who played 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees before taking himself out of the line-up. Along the way he had 2,721 hits, a .340 lifetime batting average, 493 home runs, 1,995 runs batted in, and victories in six World Series. He was the subject of a memorable movie, 1942's "The Pride of the Yankees," starring Gary Cooper, and while he was dying of the disease that now bears his name, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of this earth."

He also was known as Larrupin' Lou, and at least once led a team called "The Larrupin' Lous" on a post-season barnstorming tour playing "The Bustin' Babes" led by Babe Ruth. It's also pretty well remembered that in 1938 he went to Hollywood and made a Western, called "Rawhide." Well, I've rounded up supporting players for a sequel.

Unlike Gabby Hartnett, whose nickname was facetious (because he was so quiet), another catcher, Charles Evard "Gabby" Street, truly had the gift of gab. His most famous battery mate, Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, said Street never stopped talking.

Street was a good catcher, but a poor hitter, with a lifetime batting average of .208. He played most of his games for the Washington Senators, but also spent time with Cincinnati, the Boston Braves, and New York Yankees.

After he retired, he managed in the minor leagues, then went to work with the St. Louis Cardinals, first as coach, later as manager. He did some more managing in the minors, before going back to St. Louis, this time to manage the Browns. He then became the Cardinals radio broadcaster for six seasons.

He may be best remembered for a silly stunt in 1908 when he agreed to catch a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument by journalist Preston Gibson. Street missed his first 12 attempts to catch the ball, but finally succeeded on the 13th try.

I've selected him as Larrupin' Lou's sidekick to follow the tradition of Gabby Hayes, who played the role in more movies than I can count.

Outfielder Walter Lloyd Carson was given a rather obvious nickname, inspired by a famous frontiersmen. The ballplayer's stay in the major leagues was brief — 21 games over two seasons (1934-35) with the Cleveland Indians. He batted .250.

He was just 27 years old when he realized his career was headed in the wrong direction. It was 1940 and he went from the Class B Jackson (Mississippi) Senators of the Southeastern League to the Class C Idaho Falls Russets of the Pioneer League to the Greenwood (Mississippi) Chocktaws of the Cotton States League. He returned to California, settled in Long Beach, and worked in the athletic department at Long Beach City College.

William Waterfield Widner was a pitcher who did most of his work for Columbus of the American Association in the 1880s. In 1889 he won 12 games, lost 20, and hit 18 batters with his wild pitches. Perhaps that was the origin of his nickname.

There were three other "Bills" in the major leagues whose nicknames were "Wild Bill" — Bill Donovan, Bill Hallahan and Bill Everitt, but only Widner has "Wild Bill" appear as part of his name on his pages on baseball-reference.com. Donovan won 185 games in the majors, Hallahan 102. Everitt was an infielder, who batted left-handed and hit over .300 for his first five seasons, then slumped, and was back in the minors three years later.

No nickname here, which accounts for the extra L at the end of Marshall, which was Bridges' given name. He was a pitcher-first baseman in the Negro Leagues, signed by the New York Giants in 1953. It was decided his future was on the mound, and in 1955 he began his rise to the majors, going 14-1 with Amarillo in the West Texas-New Mexico League, and following that with an 18-11 record with Topeka of the Western League. He never did play for the Giants, arriving in the majors in 1959 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played seven years in the majors, also pitching for Washington, Cincinnati and the New York Yankees. His best season was 1962 with the Yankees. He appeared in 52 games, had 18 saves, eight wins, and four losses.
John Frederick Blake was a pitcher from West Virginia who owed his nickname to George Stallings, who was good at managing, but a bit weak on names. Blake said Stallings called him "Sheriff" because he couldn't remember the pitcher's name, but knew he came from moonshine country, so he jokingly referred to him as "a moonshining sheriff." And "Sheriff" was more colorful than "John." Stallings, who'd managed the "Miracle Boston Braves" in 1914, took Blake under his wing in Rochester in 1921. Three seasons later, Blake joined the Chicago Cubs, for whom he played during most of his 10-season major league career. His best season was 1928 when he had a 17-11 record.
Charles Cason Gassaway was a left-handed pitcher who won just five games in the major leagues (1944-46). I have no idea why he was nicknamed "Sheriff," but he was much better known simply as "Charlie." His name was too good to resist. ("Sheriff Charlies Gassaway? He went that-away!"

James Otto Carleton was born in Comanche, Texas, in 1906. Standing six-feet tall, the right-handed pitcher (who was a switch hitter) broke into professional baseball in 1925 with the Texarkana Twins. He had several good seasons in the minors, but didn't reach the majors until 1932, with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a losing record as a rookie (10-13), but won 17 games in 1933, and 16 in 1934. Dizzy Dean was the ace of the Cardinals' pitching staff. For some reason, he and Carleton didn't get along. Carleton was traded to the Chicago in 1935, and would play four seasons with the Cubs. (In 1936. when he was 14-10 with the Cubs, Carleton helped his own cause by hitting three home runs.)

In 1939, Carleton was back in the minors, pitching for Milwaukee of the American Association. His 11-9 record earned him a return trip to the majors, and he pitched for Brooklyn in 1940. Highlight of the season was his no-hitter against the first place Cincinnati Reds, but Carleton won only five other games that year. He finished his career in 1941, back in the minors, with Montreal of the International League.

Carleton won 100 games in both the majors and the minor, and also threw a no-hitter in the minors.

Cecil Carlton Hughson was born in Buda, Texas, and attracted attention while pitching for the University of Texas, turning pro upon graduation. A year later, in 1938, he won 22 games for the Canton Terriers of the Middle Atlantic League, and three years later he was playing for the Boston Red Sox. In 1942, he emerged as one of the best pitchers in the American League, posting a 22-6 record. He was an all-star that season, and for the next two as well.

After spending 1945 in the Army, Hughson was a 20-game winner again in 1946, as the Red Sox won the pennant, only to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Hughson had arm problems after the '46 season, and was forced to retire three years later. His eight-season major league record was 96-54, but he won 72 of those games in four consecutive seasons.

There are a whole bunch of other baseball players nicknamed "Tex" — enough to form a posse — but I'm going with the two who were the most successful in the major leagues.

Baseball's best-known "Dusty" over the past 40 years has been Johnnie B. Baker, nicknamed by his mother when he was a youngster because he liked to play in dirt. Rather than call him "Dirty," she went with "Dusty."

He began as an outfielder who had a 19-season career in the majors, batting .278 and hitting 242 home runs. That led Dusty Baker to a 22-season career as manager, first of the San Francisco Giants, then the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington.

James Lamar Rhodes was destined to be nicknamed "Dusty," like most men named Rhodes or Rhoades. This particular "Dusty" was an outfielder who swung the bat from the left-side of the plate. He is remembered mostly for timely pinch hits.

He played for the New York Giants from 1952-57, and after a season with Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League, he returned to the Giants, who had moved to San Francisco, but Rhodes did not do well. It was in 1954 that Dusty Rhodes became a household name. He his .341 in 164 at bats for the Giants, including 15 home runs. In the World Series, Rhodes had four hits in six at bats, including two home runs, as the Giants swept the favored Cleveland Indians.

This is a perfect name for the town character, one that once upon a time would have been played by Walter Brennan. Our real-life Windy is John William McCall, who was a 19-year-old Marine in 1945, seeing action in Iwo Jima, then Okinawa. Two years later, he was a professional baseball player, pitching for Roanoke of the Piedmont League, property of the Boston Red Sox. The left-hander won 17 games, lost nine, and in 1948, despite a lackluster 9-12 record with Louisville of the American Association, McCall got the call from Boston and started one game for the Red Sox, being shelled for six hits and three runs in one and a third innings. He was charged with the loss.

In 1949 and '50, McCall bounced from the minors to the majors, and back again, first with the Red Sox, and then with Pittsburgh, though he did most of his pitching in Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, Louisville, and Indianapolis of the American Association.

After winning records with Birmingham of the Southern Association in 1952, and San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League in 1953, he joined the New York Giants in 1954, and remained with them until 1957, when he was demoted back to San Francisco. His best year in the majors was 1955 when he pitched 95 innings, and had a 6-5 record. Overall, McCall's record in the majors was 11-15.

He continued pitching until 1959, then retired at the age of 33. McCall said he was called "Windy" because he talked a lot.

Drungo LaRue Hazewood sounds like a fast-draw hero in a spaghetti Western. Or an inept gunfighter played by Tim Conway. Hazewood got into only six American League games, all in 1980. He'd looked great in spring training that year — reportedly hitting over .500 — but manager Earl Weaver cut him, jokingly saying it was because Hazewood was making the rest of the team look bad. He hit 79 home runs during four years with the Charlotte O's of the Southern League, but batted just .249 and struck out 554 times. Tragically, Hazewood died of cancer in 2013; he was just 53 years old.
It wouldn't be much exaggeration to say second baseman William "Bad Bill" Eagan drank himself to death. An illiterate, Eagan was a highly regarded player, a crowd-pleaser for his eccentricities and volatile personality, but an alcoholic. After two major league tries, he was given a third in 1898, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but his drinking cost him his job, though he was hitting .328. Months later, he fired three shots at his wife, but in his drunken state, Eagan missed. Free in 1899, he played for Detroit of the Western League, but soon was released. He kept drinking, and died in 1905. He was 35.
Charles Augustus Nichols was one of the greatest pitchers during the early years of the National League. In 12 seasons with the Boston Beaneaters (1890-1901) he won 329 games, lost 183. He had seven 30-win seasons, and was the youngest pitcher to reach the 300-win mark. In all, he had 361 career wins in the major leagues, 208 losses. Counting five seasons in minor leagues, he had 493 victories. He got his nickname soon after he began his professional career with Kansas City in 1887, Nichols was a skinny boy who looked younger than his 17 years. Some teammates thought he was the bat boy, and started calling him, "Kid."
Oldtimers may remember the song, "Johnny Angel." Meet the flipside. If only James Paulus Outlaw were playing today. While presenting their web gems, ESPN's reporters would keep a running tally of how many times the diminutive (5-feet-8) outfielder robbed someone of a hit. Outlaw also played third base during his 10-year major league career, most of it with the Detroit Tigers. He had a .268 lifetime average and hit only six home runs. He was a .300 hitter in the minors, and closed out his career as the player-manager of the

Norman Elberfeld was considered one of the scrappiest, dirtiest, most cantankerous baseball players of his time. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, such players were often called "Kid." This shortstop became known as Kid Elberfeld, until a New York sportswriter dubbed him "The Tabasco Kid." Elberfeld batted .271 in 14 major league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati, New York Highlanders, Detroit, Washington and Brooklyn. After his playing days, he was a successful minor league manager. He had five daughters who were excellent athletes. For more, check out the Kid Elberfeld website.

Infielder James Cato Galloway played briefly with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1912, hitting .185 in 54 at bats. While "Bad News" was his nickname (reason unknown), he usually was called Jim. He was tall (6-feet-3), and very slim. Appropriately, the native of Iredell, Texas, spent most of his baseball career in the Texas League where he had a lifetime average of .298. His best season was with Waco in 1925 when he batted .347 and hit 33 home runs. He also was a Texas League umpire for three seasons and later was president of the Beaumont team. He was inducted into the Texas League Hall of Fame.

Like "Gunsmoke," my Western would benefit from a folksy doctor called "Doc." There are several baseball "Docs" from which to choose —Dwight "Doc" Gooden, Doc Cramer, Doc Medich or the recently retired Doc Halladay, "Doc" being one of the most common baseball nicknames. (More than 60 players at last count.) Unfortunately, none is named "Doc" Adams.

I'll pass on the others and go with Guy Harris "Doc" White, a left-handed pitcher who went from Georgetown University to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1901, and two years later began an 11-season association with the Chicago White Sox. His family wanted White to study medicine — thus the nickname — and he dabbled a bit in dentistry, but established a name for himself in the American League. In 1904, he threw five consecutive shutouts; in 1907 he won 27 games. His lifetime won-lost record was 189-156.

Oh, that's right ... we don't have a leading lady, which gets us back to "Gunsmoke" and the inevitable Miss Kitty ... which is why we'll have to settle for Kitty Bransfield as the best choice among a handful of baseball names that were ambisextrous.

To give Miss Kitty some competition, we'll throw in Sadie McMahon.

 
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