Baseball has provided some of the best nicknames for players over the decades. Great nicknames including the Big Unit, the Say-Hey Kid, Big Papi, and the GREAT BAMBINO!
Between 2017-2019, MLB added the Players’ Weekend with relax rules on what players could wear and specialized jerseys that players could put their own nicknames on the nameplate to have player show their own uniqueness. Although MLB has yet to bring this event back after the pandemic season, the three years it did happen gave us great nicknames throughout the league. Rockies players throughout their existence have also had great nicknames, so here are some of the best.
Jon Gray, The Gray Wolf
Jon Gray jumped onto the scene in 2015 and ended up being a key part of the rotation during the Rockies playoff seasons. Gray’s nickname was a combination between his last name and his wolf tattoo. He describes his nickname and tattoo saying, “It’s a wolf paw with Celtic design and, of course, it was perfect to put ‘GRAY’ in the four catchers. I liked the design and thought it was kind of cool. That’s where it originated.” Gray’s tattoo is an expression to his family’s connection to the Cherokee nation. Like our next nickname on the list, the Gray Wolf has also been integrated in Gray’s social media handles.
Charlie Blackmon, Chuck Nazty
Charlie Blackmon and his persona of Chuck Nazty has been a fan favorite for many years now. Chuck Nazty has been the face of Blackmon’s social media persona for over a decade starting out on Twitter and eventually adding an account on Instagram.
A voice deep down told me it's time to grow up. Then a voice even deeper down said "I want my hair cut into a mullet." Growing up = not fun— Charlie Blackmon (@Chuck_Nazty) August 9, 2012
When asked how the nickname came to be Blackmon is quoted to say “I spent way too little time thinking about it. I spent maybe five seconds thinking about it. I was like, ‘Just call me Chuck Nasty with a Z.’ Had I known it would have followed me around like this, I probably would have put more thought into it.” While the self-imposed nickname was an afterthought for his twitter handle, the legend that is Chuck Nazty has grown ever since. For a more detailed account of the nickname behind the Rockies outfielder, read our own Renee Dechert’s 2018 article “The evolution of Charlie Blackmon’s social media self, Chuck Nazty”.
Todd Helton, Toddfather
Todd Helton is the true Toddfather, regardless of what fans from Cincinnati and New York would like to believe that Todd Frazier is, despite the evidence of Helton being call this back in 2008, three years before Todd Frazier joined the league. The Rockies commercial in 2008 references the Godfather movies
Before the Rockies 2008 commercial, Helton also was given the fatherly persona in the early 2000s with Todd and the Toddlers. With being one of the few veteran players on the team and a fresh group of rookies, Helton mentored the players and helped the team grow which eventual led to the team’s lone World Series appearance in 2007. Also note, Todd Helton’s Hall of Fame fate will be release today at 4 pm MT on MLB Network, so make sure to tune into MLB Network to see if he will be inducted this year or have to wait another year.
Andrés Galarraga, The Big Cat
Andrés Galarraga, an original member of the Blake Street Bombers, and one of the Rockies first favorite players has on of the best nicknames in franchise history. The Big Cat nickname dated back to 1979, given to Galarraga by his manager Bob Bailey while playin in the Calgary Rookie League. Bailey gave him the nickname for his “cat-like quickness and agility around the first-base bag.” Galarraga’s combination between his 6’ 3” stature and 230 pound frame helped influence the nickname. The Big Cat lived up to his nickname hitting 172 home runs and stealing 55 bases in five seasons with the Rockies, especially when he hit a ball to the moon against the Marlins.
Josh Fogg, The Dragon Slayer
One of the best nicknames, if not the best nickname in Rockies history was bestowed to pitcher Josh Fogg by teammate during the Rockies 2007 World Series run. Holliday gave Fogg the nickname during the run because his ability to outpitch the opposing team’s aces down the stretch and throughout the playoffs, including All-Stars Brandon Webb, Chris Young, Dontrelle Willis, and Brad Penny. The Dragon Slayer was a key member of the team’s playoff run and was the starter in the famous Game 163 against the Padres.
What are your favorite Rockies nicknames? Who else did we miss? Let us know in the comments!
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Drew Creasman ponders the age-old question for Rockies fans, can the team be fun even though they will not be good? The Rockies had a lackluster season in 2022, leaving many fans checked out by the middle of the summer, but had some debuts from highly touted prospects to make things a little more interesting come September. Next season, the Rockies aren’t expected to be contending for any postseason spots, but with full seasons out players like Tovar, Toglia, and Veen, at least Rockies fans will have something to look forward to this year.
The voting results for the 2023 Hall of Fame voting gets release today, January 24th at 4 pm Mountain Time on MLB Network. Scott Rolen and Todd Helton lead the pack, hovering around 80% of the public ballots so far. With a 75% threshold for induction, most models have Rolen and Helton falling short this season, leaving only Fred McGriff to be inducted from the veteran’s committee vote back in December. The voting will be close and come down to a few votes, so Helton should be added to the Hall either this July or next year.
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