30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Passing Down Knowledge

Ted Williams might have been one of the greatest hitters of all-time, but his managerial career wasn't quite as stellar.  That being said... he definitely made an impact on his players.

1969 Topps #539

Mike Epstein entered the 1969 season with a career .229 batting average, but his first year under Williams tutelage, he hit a career high .278 and 30 home runs.

Another player that significantly improved was Frank Howard.  Last year I read a very interesting tidbit over on Horizontal Heroes about how Williams told him to lay off bad pitches which impacted his walks:strikeouts ratio.

Howard went from leading the league in strikeouts (in 1967) to leading the league in walks (in 1970).  Before The Commish's post, I was familiar with Howard's career... but hadn't heard his nicknameThe Capitol PunisherHow sweet is that?  It's definitely one of the coolest nicknames in baseball.

I loved it so much, after reading his post I immediately headed over to COMC and picked up this autograph:

2019 Topps Heritage High Number Real One Autographs #ROA-FH

The card back mentions that Howard broke Babe Ruth's record by hitting 10 home runs in one week during the 1968 season.

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, he still holds the record.

Like Epstein, Howard hit the most home runs of his career in 1969 and matched his career high in batting average as well.

1972 Topps #510

Why this post, right now?  Well... this past Sunday was the anniversary of Williams signing a five year contract to manage the Washington Senators.  He only fulfilled four of those five years before quitting at the end of the 1972 season.

1970 Topps #211

But he left behind a legacy as being the only Senators manager to have a winning season (1969).  That year, he won the AL Manager of the Year Award.  Unfortunately it's easy for this piece of hardware to get lost in the shuffle when it's sitting in the trophy case of one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

Today's question of the day:

Who do you think has the coolest nickname in MLB history?

In addition to The Capitol Punisher and The Splendid Splinter... I really love these nicknames:

The Human Rain Delay:

2019 Topps Archives Signature Series
1992 Topps #609

The Sultan of Swat:

1995 JSW All-Stars #3

Man of Steal:

2017 Topps Fire Monikers Blue Chip #M-4

The Chairman of the Board:

1977 TCMA Renata Galasso #25

But I think if I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be:

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Nickname Greats #NG-AH

If you don't believe in mind over matter or the power of facial hair, then you're not familiar with Al Hrabosky.  This guy would psyche himself out and mentally become the biggest, baddest, beard yielding guy on the mound.

Well that wraps another post.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Ty Cobb, "The Georgia Peach," and Charlie Gehringer, "The Mechanical Man."

  2. There's a Fleer card from 88 which shows Tony Gwynn and Vince Coleman that is captioned "The Hitting King and The Thief". Which seems very harsh on Vince Coleman!!

  3. My personal favorite has to be "The Crime Dog" Fred McGriff

    Coolest? That's a tough one, but I have to go with Bill "Spaceman" Lee.

  4. James Thomas Bell...otherwise known as "Cool Papa" Bell.

  5. I like Dodger Frank Howard more than Senator Frank Howard. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have this card:


    The best nickname was for 19th century infielder Bob Ferguson. He was known as "Death To Flying Things"

  6. Capitol Punisher is great. Hadn't heard that one before.

  7. Doug Gwosdz, a catcher for the Padres in the ‘80’s was nicknamed ‘eye chart’ due to his last name having such random letters.

  8. I agree with Greg - Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson is a legendary nickname. If we're talking more modern baseball, I'm fond of "Yogi" Berra. It's so burned into my mind I often forget that's not his real name.

  9. "Puddin' Head" Willie Jones. Walt "No - Neck" Williams. Anybody called Mookie or Boog.

  10. Cannonball Titcomb.

    Also, not to nitpick, but weren't Babe Ruth and Whitey Ford's nicknames "Babe" and "Whitey"?

  11. Another player Williams helped was weak-hitting shortstop Ed Brinkman.

    He had Ray Oyler-level batting averages before Teddy arrived. Then under Williams he raised his average to an acceptable mark (for middle infielders).

    After Brinkman was traded to the Tigers, he reverted to no-hit status.

  12. And here I thought Darrell Porter should be named The Human Rain Delay.

  13. My favorite player of all time John "Boog" Powell,George "The Boomer" Scott,and a Basketball one I love Steph (The Baby Faced Assassin ) Curry.

  14. I'll add another vote for "Death To Flying Things" but I also want to mention another 19th Century player named Arlie Latham who was dubbed "The Freshest Man On Earth".

    Need to make my obligatory mention that Frank Howard ended his career with a brief tenure with the Taiheiyo Club Lions in 1974. And I do mean brief - he hurt himself in his first at bat on Opening Day and then retired. His entire NPB career was one game in which he went 0-2 with a walk. His 1974 Calbee cards are very expensive but he has some recent BBM ones that are more reasonable.

  15. Love the Howard and Williams cards. I've been trying to Track down a Ted Williams SSPC single which appears to be the only card depicting Ted as the Texas Rangers' manager.

  16. The Ryan Express.

    You definitely don’t think of Ted Williams as a manager at all....at least it doesn’t jump to my mind first. I do like that Rangers card though, might have to track one of those down.

  17. I'm surprised that on a post with Ted Williams in it, no one has mentioned his fantastic nickname "The Splendid Splinter"! (The Red Sox have had some fantastic nicknames in their history: "The Laser Show", "Big Papi", "The Rocket", and my vote for favorite: "The Spaceman!")

  18. 20 comments and no one has mentioned "Bip" Roberts yet.

  19. when i was a young fan, i thought that "the penguin" was a solid nickname. others i liked were "the iron horse", "the left arm of god", "the say hey kid" and "the bambino". even simple nicknames like "campy", "dusty", and "big d" were good. much better than today's lazy nicknames like "arod", "k-rod", and "v-mart"
    i am not a fan of chris berman, but i did enjoy a couple of his nicknames, if they can be considered as such. the two i liked were bert "be home" blyleven and john "tonight, let it be" lowenstein.

  20. Nice Ted Williams cards. he looks mightily confused in that 1972 Topps card. But even if he was he sure knew more about baseball than 98.5% of the people who've played the game. Not a fan of Berman, either.

  21. Dave Parker. The cobra. Jimmie foxx had a couple cool nicknames. The beast . And double xx. Those are some cool Ted Williams cards

  22. Fuji,
    I tried emailing you but it bounced back. It was regarding a 2017 blog you did on Evelyn Kawamura. I wanted to share an image we discovered in a time capsule, thought you might be interested. Feel free to email me.
    -Principal Dillon, Iao School, Wailuku Maui

  23. john sharp - heard of the georgia peach, but not the mechanical man. i like it

    jongudund - lol. guess he shouldn't have stole so many bases

    johnnys trading spot - i agree. just in this comment section alone

    hiflew - oh. totally forgot about spaceman.

    swing and a pop-up - that is a "cool" one

    night owl - that card is awesome. i'll have to track one down for my collection. as for ferguson's nickname, i'll have to google the story behind that nickname

    jeff b. - the things we learn on blogs

    jeremya1um - that's a good one. never heard of him or the nickname before

    elliptical man - all 3 of those are classics. i actually considered the big hurt, but it just missed the cut

    nick - that's so true. the same thing applies to babe ruth

    unknown - when i hear mookie, i immediately think of do the right thing

    sean - like with nick and yogi berra... sometimes i just forget that babe and whitey weren't their birth names

    jim from downingtown - i'll definitely look into brinkman. at least he had a couple of solid years. was porter slow at the plate too?

    sg488 - i don't even think i knew john was boog's first name.

    npb card guy - looks like death to flying things is gonna take this round. and i'd love to add one of those bbm howards to my collection

    chris - his 1972 card (see above) has him with the rangers.

    sumomenkoman - i wasn't alive, so i don't think of him as a manager either. like i know he was, but it's not the first thing that pops into my head

    matt - i failed to mention teddy ballgame, but i did throw the splendid splinter into my post. big papi is another classic. the spaceman too.

    jongudmund - another guy that i forget that his nickname isn't his actual name

    gcrl - the left arm of god is pretty awesome. it's moved into my top 5. as for berman, i haven't watched him in years, but i enjoyed him as a kid on espn

    peter k steinberg - i feel like the photographer took the picture right before he sneezed

    kirk - can't believe i forgot the cobra. nice call.

    principal dillon - email sent