What follows is page one of a list that includes nicknames and last names of baseball players whose combinations I found unusually interesting. Obviously, this is all a matter of taste.

The right nickname can do wonders. Harry Simpson would be little remembered if he hadn't become known as Suitcase Simpson. Willie Jones is a fairly forgettable name, but Puddin' Head Jones lives on in our memories.

There have been 41 major league players with the last name of Walker. We remember some more than others, not necessarily because of their skill, but because of their nicknames — Dixie, Harry the Hat, Rube, Tilly, and the mysterious Mysterious.

Not all great nicknames were treated equally. For example, the first one of my forty favorites did not replace the man's first name, the way "Yogi" replaced Larry as Berra's first name, or "Babe" replaced George when it came to the greatest player of them all.

But here are my favorite forty:

'Bow-Wow' Arft
Henry Irven Arft was best-known as Hank Arft, and this nickname, while obvious, was little used. And since he was a first baseman for the lowly St. Louis Browns (1948-52), Arft wasn't exactly famous. Like many players of his era, Arft's career was interrupted by World War Two. He served with the Navy on a destroyer escort, the USS Goss, and was in Tokyo Bay on VJ Day in 1945.

(Many years before Arft was born, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle tried to pin "Bow Wow" on George Miller, widely known as "Calliope" and "Foghorn." "Bow Wow" referred to the noise Miller made on the field, especially while coaching at one of the bases. "Bow Wow" never caught on; instead the player-coach became known as "Doggie" Miller.)

'Yogi' Berra
Lorenzo Pietro (Lawrence Peter) Berra once told the Saturday Evening Post he got his nickname from future teammate Jack Maguire while growing up in St. Louis. “Some of us went to a movie with a yogi in it and afterwards Jack began calling me Yogi. It stuck.” Berra is an obvious choice for my list; after all these years, there remains only one Yogi. He was a New York Yankee catcher, later manager of the Yankees and the New York Mets, a Hall of Famer and one of the best-hitting catchers ever (.285 lifetime average; 358 home runs). 

'Camera Eye' Bishop
Max Bishop, a light-hitting second baseman, spent 12 seasons (1924-35) in the major leagues, the first 10 years with the Philadelphia Athletics, then with the Boston Red Sox. Bishop's lifetime batting average was .271, but here's the thing: his on-base percentage was .423. That's because Bishop drew more than 100 bases on balls for eight consecutive years; thus his nickname.

'Ping' Bodie
Francesco Stephano Pezzolo followed the lead of an uncle and changed his name to Frank Stephan Bodie, selecting the last name from the small California mining town where the family had once lived. "Ping" was the sound of a ball meeting Bodie's 52-ounce bat. Bodie was an outfielder for the Chicago White Sox (1911-14), Philadelphia Athletics (1917) and New York Yankees (1918-21). His lifetime batting average: .275.
'Oil Can' Boyd
Dennis Ray Boyd got his nickname from his beer-drinking teen years in Meridian, Mississippi, where he and his friends referred to the beverage as "oil." Boyd was a pitcher, a free spirit, and a Boston Red Sox fan favorite, who won 78 games (against 77 losses) in his 10-year major league career. His best season was 1986 when he compiled a 16-10 record. He's one of the few modern-day players to have an original, but decidedly old-fashioned nickname.

'Gates' Brown
He was born William James Brown in 1939, and became known as "Gates," the story goes, because that's what his mother called him while he was a toddler. Brown claimed he didn't know why his mother called him, "Gates," but he preferred it to "Billy." Brown was an outfielder-designated hitter with the Detroit Tigers (1963-75) and one of baseball's best pinch-hitters. In fact, the first time he pinch hit, in 1963, he belted a home run, something he did 15 other times before he retired in 1975.


'Three Finger' Brown

Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown came upon his nickname in painful fashion. He injured his right hand twice in childhood accidents in his hometown, Nyesville, Indiana. He lost most of his index finger to a piece of farm machinery; later he broke several bones in the hand when he fell while chasing a rabbit.

A Hall of Fame pitcher, Brown won 239 games in his 14-season major league career, which included two seasons in the Federal League where he pitched for three teams — the St. Louis Terriers, Brooklyn Tip Tops and Chicago Whales. Most of his pitching was done for the Chicago Cub of the National League. He posted a 26-6 record for the Cubs in 1906, 29-9 in 1908, and 27-9 in 1909, and his career earned run average was an incredible 2.06.

'Putsy' Caballero
Why Ralph Caballero was nicknamed Putsy is unknown. Now his name makes him sound like a character in 'The Sopranos.' In 1944, Caballero joined the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming, at 17, the youngest third baseman in major league history. He bounced back and forth from the Phillies to the minors until 1952.

'What's the Use?' Chiles
Pearce Nuget Chiles was not a nice guy, and his details of his professional baseball career, which included 130 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1899-1900, are sketchy. As for his nickname, he supposedly had a cocky habit of shouting "What's the use?" at batters who hit balls his way. He was primarily an outfielder, who occasionally filled in at first and second base. Off the field, he conned people, took advantage of underage girls, spent time in jail and even more time on the run, eventually dropping out of sight.
'Wheezer' Dell
There are two stories behind William George Dell's nickname. Apparently the six-foot-four pitcher wheezed when he breathed, understandable because his nose looked like it had been smashed by a baseball bat. But according to a story by David Toll on nevadatravel.net, Dell's nickname originally had nothing to do with wheezing. It seems Dell grew up in Butte, Montana, and as a teenager fell in love with a girl named Eleanor, who lived many miles away in Weiser, Idaho, which is pronounced WEEZ-ur. Dell married his Weiser girlfriend, and his baseball teammates began calling him Weiser Dell. It didn't take long for Weiser to turn into "Wheezer."

Wheezer Dell won 20 or more games seven times in the minor leagues, but had a short major league career, appearing in three games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1912, then pitching for three seasons (1915-17) with the Brooklyn Robins.

'Tookie' Gilbert
As a boy, Harold Joseph Gilbert played baseball with his older brothers. They called him "Rookie," but Harold pronounced it "Tookie." That's how nicknames are born, but if he had pronounced it the way lots of kids do, then Gilbert would have been the first Wookie. A first baseman, Gilbert played for the New York Giants in 1950 and '53, batting .203 with seven home runs in 183 games. In retirement he was sheriff of Orleans Parish in Louisiana, but in 1967 died of an apparent heart attack while driving his car. He was only 38.

'Mookie' Wilson
I'm going out of alphabetical order, but it seems to me 'Tookie' and 'Mookie' belong together. Outfielder William Wilson is well remembered for two things — his nickname (which stemmed from the way he said "milk" when he was a child) and the ground ball he hit in the 1986 World Series (the one that rolled between the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner). Wilson retired after the 1991 season with a lifetime batting average of .274, but if we were giving bonus points for nicknames, Wilson would be in the Hall of Fame.

'Pumpsie' Green
Elijah Jerry Green said his mother started calling him Pumpsie when he was a toddler, but doesn't know why. He is best known as the first black player for the Boston Red Sox, the last major league team to integrate. Green joined Boston in 1959 after batting .320 with Minneapolis of the American Association. Primarily a second baseman, he also played shortstop and third base. He batted ,242 in 1960, the only season he played more than 100 games. He played his final major league game in 1963, with the New York Mets.

'Noodles' Hahn
When he was a boy, Frank Hahn carried lunch to his father's place of work. The lunch invariably was noodle soup. His friends picked up on this and started calling the boy "Noodles." He soon showed promise as a pitcher, so much promise that he made his major league debut in 1899 with Cincinnati. The left-hander started brilliantly — a 23-8 rookie season. He'd go on to win 20-plus games three times in the next four seasons, but then developed arm trouble, and his career ended in 1906, the one year he pitched for the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees). Hahn's overall record was 130-94.

'Ziggy' Hasbrook
Why Robert Hasbrouck was called Ziggy is a matter of conjecture. Why Hasbrouck became Hasbrook was an attempt to simplify the spelling of his last name. Hasbrook was a native of Grundy Center, Iowa, and played just 11 major league games, nine at first base in 1916, two at second base in 1917, all for the Chicago White Sox. He retired from professional baseball three seasons later.

A three-sport athlete, Hasbrook is listed as a player for the Rochester Jeffersons and Rock Island Independents of the American Professional Football Association in 1921. (The APFA would soon become the National Football League). The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) article linked above claims Hasbrook also played for a national championship basketball team in Muscatine, Iowa, but I'd take that with a grain of salt. There was a semi-pro basketball team in Muscatine (another member was Al Gould, who briefly pitched for Cleveland), but there was no national champion in this category, though several teams laid claim. While in Muscatine, Hasbrook as played for the city's minor league baseball team and coached its high school basketball team.

'Abba Dabba' Tobin
Pitcher Jim Tobin's nickname conjures up thoughts of "Aba Daba Honeymoon," a song popularized by a 1950 Debbie Reynolds movie ("Two Weeks With Love"), but written way back in 1914. So did Tobin get his idea from the song, or was his inspiration something else, something that also inspired the song?

According to Bruce Markusen, in a piece on detroitathletic.com, Tobin, briefly a member of the 1945 Detroit Tigers, liked to do imitations of a vaudeville magician. As part of the act, Tobin would pause in the middle of a magic trick and declare, “Abba Dabba, are you ready?”

Tobin"s lifetime record was 105-112, but he spent six of his nine major league seasons with the lowly Boston Braves, four times leading the team in victories. On May 13, 1942, Tobin became the first modern day pitcher to hit three home runs in one game. He had six home runs for the season, which tied him for third best on the team. On April 27, 1944, Tobin threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodger. Two months later, he threw another no-hitter, against the Philadelphia Phils, but this time the game was called after five innings.

'Ubbo Ubbo' Hornung
Michael Joseph "Joe" Hornung was an outfielder-first baseman in the early days of the major leagues (1879-1890) who spent most of those seasons with the Boston Red Stockings who morphed into the Boston Beaneaters. He was known more for his fielding than his hitting, since his lifetime batting average was .257.

His unusual nickname stems from his habit of shouting what sounded like, "Ubbo ubbo," whenever he was pleased with something he did during a baseball game. Seems the Boston fans picked up on this, and began referring to him as "Ubbo Ubbo."

'Bumpus' Jones
Baseball researchers are having a field day with Charles Leander Jones, who threw a no-hitter in his first major league appearance, but among the unanswered questions is, "What's the deal with his nickname? Who or what is a Bumpus?"

David Nemec's "Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Volume 2," suggests there might be some validity to the explanation offered to a reporter after Jones' surprising no-hitter: That Jones had bumped around to so many teams (at least six) in the past two seasons, that "Bumpus" seemed an almost logical nickname.

Jones was signed by Cincinnati in 1892 just in time to pitch against Pittsburgh in the last game of the season. A year later, the distance from the pitcher's box to home place was changed from 55 feet-six inches, to 60 feet-six inches. Perhaps Jones couldn't cope with the extra five feet of distance, because he won only one major league game after his no-hitter, though he pitched in the minors until 1900.

Another pitcher named Jones —Elijah Albert Jones of Oxford, Mississippi — joined the Detroit Tigers in 1907. Some people called him "Bumpus," but his big league career consisted of four appearances that season, plus two more in 1909.

'Puddin' Head' Jones
Willie Edward Jones might well have remained plain ol' Willie Jones were it not for a song called "Puddin' Head Jones" about a class clown. Willie became "Puddin' Head" as a youngster, and the nickname endured forever.

Jones played third base for the Philadelphia Phillies Whiz Kids in 1950. He had a 15-year major league career, with a lifetime batting average of .258, hitting 190 home runs along the way.

'Wagon Tongue' Keister
William Keister used a wagon tongue bat, made from what is deemed the strongest wood. Such wood was used for wagon tongues (I'd call them handles) for horse-drawn wagons. If Keister annoyed teammates with his bragging about his bat, the nickname could have had a double meaning (as in wagging tongue). Certainly he was one of the best hitters in the late 1890s, early 1900s, but should have paid more attention to his glove. In 1901, playing shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles of the American League, he batted .328, with 21 triples, but he made 97 errors in just 112 games. His lifetime major league batting average was .312.

'Tacks" Latimer
Clifford Latimer was given the nickname in 1898 while catching for Austin of the Texas League. Latimer later told an interviewer "Tacks" was chosen by someone in Austin, perhaps a sportswriter, who apparently believed every ballplayer should have a nickname. Latimer claimed he had no idea why he was called "Tacks."

While his nickname made him sound like a Damon Runyon character, Latimer's life became something out of a James Cagney movie. After the catcher left baseball (which included just 27 major league games in five seasons, 1898-1902), he became a policeman with the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1924, he shot and killed a superior, Lt. Charles Mackroft. Latimer was sent to prison, but proved a model inmate; he was pardoned in 1930.

'Poosh 'em Up' Lazzeri
He was born Anthony Michael Lazzeri, but it's his nickname – and I don't mean Tony – that makes this player memorable. Oh, the fact he was a New York Yankee alongside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig AND Joe DiMaggio helps. But only Lazzeri was called "Poosh 'Em Up."

According to a 1993 story in the Salt Lake Tribune, Lazzeri's nickname originated in that city during that 1925 season. One of the player's biggest fans was restaurant owner Cesare Rinetti, who made sure Lazzeri and his young bride were well fed. It was during a game against Seattle that Rinetti shouted out, "Poosh 'em up, Tony!" And spectators around him picked up the chant, which urged the player to advance the runners. Lazzeri responded with a home run. Salt Lake sportswriter John Derks learned of the incident and wrote a story about it. Overnight Lazzeri had himself a nickname.

According to a 1993 article by Hal Schindler in the Salt Lake Tribune, the player's last name in those days was spelled Lazerre (sometimes LaZerre). Somehow it became Lazzeri."

The second baseman had a well-deserved reputation as a good clutch hitter; seven times with the Yankees he drove in more than 100 runs. His best season was 1929 when he batted .354, and his a major league career high 18 home runs, something he did three times. However, with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League, he hit 60 home runs in 197 games.

'Bake' McBride
Arnold McBride's nickname is short for "Shake and Bake" — a nickname of a nickname — which reflected McBride's personality and playing style. McBride was an outfielder (1973-82) for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phils and Cleveland Indians. He broke in with five straight .300-plus seasons and finished his 11-year career with a lifetime .299 average. His Afro seemed to explode from his cap, which earned him a place on everyone's all-hair baseball team.
'Tug' McGraw
Pitcher Frank McGraw received his nickname shortly thereafter. It was coined by his mother who said he tugged when she breast-fed him. McGraw was one of baseball's top relief pitchers for the New York Mets (1965-74) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1975-84). Long after he retired, it was revealed he'd had an affair and fathered a son who went on to become a country music superstar — Tim McGraw.
'Dots' Miller
Few players can top John Bernard Miller's nickname story. As a 22-year-old rookie second baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909, Miller was called either "Jack" or "Barney" . . . until a reporter asked legendary shortstop Honus Wagner to identify the man who'd be playing next to him in the infield. Wagner had a heavy German accent, and when he answered, "That's Miller," it sounded like "Dot's Miller." I'm guessing the reporter knew what Wagner was saying, but decided to have fun with Miller's name. From then on, however, the player was known as "Dots."

Miller wound up his 12-year major league career playing more games at first base than second; he also played several games at shortstop and some at third. He was a good fielder and a clutch hitter. While he never hit higher than .290, he led the Pirates in runs batted in, with 90, in 1913. The next two seasons he led the St. Louis Cardinals in RBIs.

'Prunes' Moolic
George Moolic played just 16 games in the major leagues, and did it in 1886 with Cap Anson's Chicago White Sox. Moolic was mostly a catcher, and a light-hitting one at that, batting .143 in 56 at bats. Moolic lives on because of his unusual nickname, baseball's one and only "Prunes". I wish I knew the story behind it.
'Offa' Neal
The middle syllables of his first name must have inspired Theophilus Fountain Neal's nickname ... or maybe it was his batting performance in his 13 major league at bats — oh for 13. His given name is one of baseball's best. Neal was a 29-year-old infielder when he appeared in four games for the New York Giants in 1905. He didn't turn pro until he was 27, and spent most of the 1905 season with Baltimore of the Eastern League. After failing to make the Giants in 1906, he returned to the minor leagues, retiring at the end of the 1907 season.
'Bots' Nekola
According to Joe Nekola, a retired New York Police captain, his uncle, pitcher Francis Joseph Nekola, grew up in the Bronx in an Italian neighborhood. Neighbors were baseball fans who thought Nekola was Italian (his family actually was Czech) and "because he was a 'crazy' southpaw, he was called 'Bots,' the Italian word for crazy." I found no such Italian word. Perhaps it was slang or a heavily accented pronunciation of "bats" (as in "bats in his belfry"). Bots Nekola pitched briefly for the New York Yankees in 1929. He is better known as Boston Red Sox scout. (He signed Carl Yastrzemski.)
'Blue Moon' Odom
A pitcher for Kansas City and Oakland Athletics (1964-74), Johnny Lee Odom went to Cleveland, then Atlanta, and finished with the Chicago White Sox in 1976 when he pitched the first five innings of a no-hitter against his old team, the A's. Francisco Barrios came in and pitched the last four innings. The nickname "Blue Moon" reportedly was the creation of A's owner Charlie Finlay, who believed players should have colorful nicknames. 
'Muddy' Ruel
As a youngster, Herold Dominic Ruel (1) got his face splattered when he caught a ball made of mud or (2) showed up at home so covered in mud that his father dubbed him "Muddy." Those are two of the explanations for the catcher's unusual nickname, but the truth may be something else.

After Moe Berg, Muddy Ruel might have had baseball's brightest mind. Like Berg, Ruel was a catcher; he played with several American League teams (1915-34) and managed St. Louis Browns in 1947. Ruel was behind the plate for the most tragic pitch in major league history. It happened on August 17, 1920, when he was with the New York Yankees. Ruel was catching when Carl Mays threw the pitch that hit and fatally injured batter Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indians shortstop, the only major league player ever killed during a game.

Ruel earned a law degree from Washington University of St. Louis, and became an expert in baseball law. He became special assistant to baseball commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler.

'Twinkletoes' Selkirk
George Selkirk ran funny, not on his toes, but on the balls of his feet. Frankly, I don't see how that's possible, but that little bit was included in an explanation of how he received his unusual nickname. The Canadian-born outfielder for the New York Yankees (1934-42) had the distinction of inheriting uniform number 3 (since retired) that had been worn by Babe Ruth. Mostly referred to by his given first name, it was "Twinkletoes" that made Selkirk memorable. He hit over .300 in five of his first six seasons, twice driving in more than 100 runs.
'Sloppy' Thurston
As a boy, Hollis Thurston worked for his father, who owned a restaurant and operated a soup kitchen for the poor. "Slop" referred to the food or the manner in which it was served. That's one explanation for the pitcher's nickname. The other is that someone was being sarcastic, because Thurston was almost excessively neat, described as "a meticulous and dandy Jazz Age dresser."

He pitched with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators from 1923 to 1927. His best season was 1924 when he won 20 games for the White Sox, losing 14.

'Pie" Traynor
As a boy in Somerville, Massachusetts, Harold Joseph Traynor and his friends frequented a store run by a clergyman named Father John Nangle. Every day, so the story goes, Father Nangle would ask the boys what they wanted, and Traynor would say, "Pie." Father Nangle took to calling the boy "Pie Face", later shortened to Pie.

Many consider Traynor the greatest third baseman of them all. The Hall of Famer was a starter for Pittsburgh for 13 seasons, though his association with the Pirates extended many more years. He had a lifetime batting average of .320, routinely drove in more than 100 runs.

'Peek-a-Boo' Veach
William Veach arrived as a pitcher in 1884, and got his nickname when he was caught looking for signals being relayed to him by his manager via a spectator. Opponents noticed Veach glancing at the grandstand and began yelling "Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!" Veach won three games, lost ten in 1884 and 1887. He played again in 1890, but usually as an outfielder and first baseman, though he also showed up at second base. He played 100 major league games, batting .215.
'Coot' Veal
How Orville Veal wound up with his nickname is open to debate. Cooter is a kind of turtle ... and a coot is a kind of bird with weird toes, and I've heard of something called a cooter pie. Some credit New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel, who supposedly referred to him as "Cooter," but I suspect Stengel merely added the "er" to an existing nickname.

Veal, a native of Sandersville, Georgia, was a shortstop who saw some action for Detroit, Washington and Pittsburgh (1958-63). He's remembered partly for his last name, which puts him on those all-food baseball names lists people keep coming up with.

'Daddy Wags'
This nickname — and the two that follow — play better without the last name. This one belongs to outfielder Leon Wagner, who made his major league debut in 1958 with the San Francisco Giants, but emerged as the first star of the fledgling Los Angeles Angels in 1961. He hit a career high 37 home runs in 1962, but a war of words with management was one reason Wagner was traded to Cleveland in 1964. He remained with the Indians until his career began to slide in 1968. A year later he left the majors, played minor league ball for a couple of seasons, then retired with a .272 batting average and 211 home runs.

'Big Poison' and 'Little Poison'
In a way, the story behind these famous nicknames doesn't make sense, but even one of the brothers involved claimed there was validity to one variation of the story. Both players, Paul Waner (top) and his younger brother, Lloyd are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. They were outfielders and teammates on the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1927 to 1940, though both had careers that extended a bit beyond that.

Their nicknames can be blamed on the New York City accent (or a Brooklyn accent). Whether it was a loud-mouthed fan in Brooklyn, or a newsboy near the Polo Grounds, somebody yelled about the big person and the little person who were hurting the Giants — or the Dodgers — by getting so many hits.

As Lloyd Waner remembered it, the nicknames stemmed from a New York Giants fan with a loud voice who often shouted about the Waner brothers when they played against the Giants at the Polo Ground. A newspaper writer must have heard him, and wrote about it, handing out the nicknames in birth order, and turning "poyson" into "poison." There was a small problem. Though younger, Lloyd was slightly bigger than his older brother, so, in a way, he should have been the big person (or "poy-son").

Paul Waner had more impressive statistics — .333 lifetime average, 3,152 hits, six seasons when he batted .354 or higher, three National League batting titles. Lloyd Waner batted .355 as a rookie in 1927, and hit higher than .350 two of the next three seasons. His lifetime average was .319, and he had "only" 2,459 hits. He was a difficult man to strike out. In fact, in 1941, when he was slowing down and played only 77 games, he didn't strike out at all — in 234 trips to the plate.

'Kettle' Wirts
I wish I knew who came up with the nickname for Elwood Wirts. "Kettle" is a classic. Wirts was a catcher who played all 49 of his major league games with Chicago teams, the Cubs (1921-23) and the White Sox (1924). His only big league home run was a grand slam. Wirts was one of those major leaguers who truly could not hit his weight, which was 170 pounds. His batting average: .163. He fared much better in the minor leagues where his lifetime average was .279. After retiring as a player, he did some managing in the minors. Later he was director of a baseball school in Sacramento, and a beer distributor.

'Yats' Wuestling
The most interesting thing about infielder George Wuestling is an account of the deal that sent him to the major leagues in 1929. According to James C. Isaminger in his Philadelphia Inquirer column on January 13, 1932, Tom Turner, president of the Pacific Coast League Portland Beavers, which owned Wuestling at the time, went into the office of Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin with a cut-out batting picture of Wuestling mounted on a wooden base.

"Look at that player,' said Turner, making his sales pitch. "Do you get his style at the plate that alert and up-and-doing manner and the beam of confidence in his smiling face?" Within minutes, Navin purchased the contract of a man who was batting only .252 at Portland. Wuestling went on to hit just .189 for the Tigers, and later was an add-on in a trade with the New York Yankees, who released Wuestling after he batted .190 in 25 games.

Now if only someone would explain why he was called "Yats". I suppose the story could resemble the one that resulted in "Dots" Miller's nickname, with a reporter asking a shortstop with a Swedish accent (a la comedian El "Yumpin' Yiminy" Brendel), for the name of his second baseman, and he replies, "Yat's Wuestling."