The 10 Best Baseball Team Nicknames of All Time

26 Jul

Baseball, over the years, has never had a shortage of nicknames for individual players as well as teams. Just as my list of top hockey team and tandem nicknames included a pair from the sport’s most iconic franchise, the Montreal Canadiens, this list of the ten best team nicknames has two for the national pastime’s winningest club, the New York Yankees, and it doesn’t even include their most famous nickname – “The Bronx Bombers”. Here’s the list:



1. Murderer’s Row – this nickname was given to a portion of the lineup of one of the best teams of all time, the 1927 Yankees. Opposing pitchers had to face a string of batters that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri. That Yankee team finished with a regular season record of 110-44, won the American League pennant by finishing 19 games ahead of their closest competitors, then swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.




2. Gashouse Gang  – this nickname belonged to the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, who won the National League pennant that year, then beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. It’s said that the name was coined by the team’s scrappy shortstop, Leo Durocher, due to the team’s reputation for a shabby appearance and rough-and-tumble style of play. Opponents often claimed that the Cardinals took the field in dirty, unwashed, smelly uniforms, and at the time factories that turned coal into gas were usually known for their foul smell.




3. Amazin’ Mets – the 1969 New York Mets, who just a few years before were a bumbling expansion team, gained this nickname by shocking the baseball world by taking advantage of a late season collapse by the Chicago Cubs to win the NL Eastern Division crown. They continued their surprising run by sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the NL championship series and stunning the heavily favored and more experienced Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. They’re sometimes also referred to as the “Miracle Mets”.




4. Whiz Kids – averaging just slightly over 26 years of age as a team, the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies earned this nickname when they fought off a late season challenge from the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League pennant. Two of the team’s young stars, pitcher Robin Roberts and outfielder Richie Ashburn, would go on to be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, the Phils were swept by the powerhouse Yankees in the World Series.




5. The Big Red Machine – the 1970s Cincinnati Reds, managed by Sparky Anderson, were so loaded with talent that Anderson once joked that his only job was to write down the starting lineup and get out of the way. Between 1970 and 1976, they won four National League pennants and a pair of World Series. The team’s lineup included 3 Hall of Famers, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, and a player with certain Hall of Fame credentials in Pete Rose.


Dem Bums 2


6. Dem Bums – a sports cartoonist of the 1930s, Willard Mullen, christened the Brooklyn Dodgers with this nickname after a cab driver, when asked about the team, proclaimed “dem bums is bums!” The Dodgers, at the time, had a reputation as lovable losers and Mullin created a cartoon character (pictured above) to feature in the newspaper. The character remained a beloved mascot of the team’s fans throughout the years, and when the club finally defeated their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, in the 1955 World Series, a newspaper headline in large print letters asked “WHO’S A BUM?”




7. Harvey’s Wallbangers – the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers were managed by Harvey Kuenn (above) and featured a lineup of power hitters that included Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Gorman Thomas, Cecil Cooper and Ted Simmons. They wound up winning the American League pennant and got the nickname for their reputation as a capable offensive club. The Brewers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.


George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin


8. Bronx Zoo – the 1970s New York Yankees got this nickname after George Steinbrenner bought the team and brought in Billy Martin to manage it. The owner and manager often battled publicly and Martin was fired and re-hired multiple times. Also, the team’s roster was loaded with colorful personalities like Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Sparky Lyle and Mickey Rivers, although the “Bronx Zoo” nickname mostly signified the constant feuding between Steinbrenner and Martin.




9. Black Sox –  the Chicago White Sox have been known to their fans as the “Chisox” or the  “Pale Hose” over the years, but the 1919 version of the team became known for this nickname due to one of sports’ all-time scandals, as they were accused of throwing the World Series that year to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight White Sox players, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, were acquitted of any wrongdoing in court but still banned from baseball for life by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.




10. The Boys of Zimmer  – the 1989 Chicago Cubs were managed by Don Zimmer and thrilled Chicago baseball fans by winning an unexpected NL East division title that year. Looking back, that Cub team was a talented one, boasting players like Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston and pitchers Rick Sutcliffe, Greg Maddux and Mitch Williams. They eventually lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NL Championship series.


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