Who Has The Best Sports Nickname?
In our lives, we all know someone with a cool or sometimes even ridiculous name and/or nickname. Same goes with our favorite sports/sports teams. We all have a player throughout sports history that’s name sticks in our head. Whether we like the team they played on or not, their name is stuck in our memories like pine pitch sticks on your skin. Here are a few of my favorite names/nicknames throughout Sports History. Should there ever be a Hall of Fame for this type of thing, these should make the cut.
“Chicken” Wolf (MLB 1882-1892)
This is a top tier nickname. It really can’t get much better than Chicken Wolf. The 10-year baseball veteran was a very solid hitter, ending his career with a .290 BA. He even seemingly ran like a chicken, rounding up 186 stolen bases in his tenure.
The 5-foot-9 Kentucky native, got his nickname by eating too much chicken stew before a game. Which ended up making him play poorly.
To add to it, his regular name is something you’d hear in a fairytale. William Van Winkle Wolf. Both his nickname and his real name are top tier.
“Dick” Butkus (NFL 1965-1973)
Now, hearing this name brings out the 5-year old in a lot of people. Meaning sometimes you can’t help but chuckle when you hear or read the Hall Of Fame Linebacker’s name. Of course, the Bears legend got his nickname from his real first name. “Dick” is a very common nickname for people with the name Richard. Why? I have no clue to this day how it works like that.
Butkus, has stayed relevant lately by becoming somewhat of a twitter celebrity. The tweets he puts out on his own account, will give you a good laugh. Recently the Bears were even brave enough to let him have a day to run their twitter account as well.
Von Wafer (NBA 2005-2012)
Another name that sounds like a food, this one being a candy. Vakeaton Quamar Wafer (real name), was a big part of my early NBA 2K playing days. If I remember correctly, there was an instance where I controlled the Celtics (when he was on the team), against a couple of my friends. The two of them were together on the other team and I went off with the former #11 HS Recruit. I doubt I won, but thanks to Wafer, I kept it close.
While I may have done well with him in 2K, Wafer’s NBA career didn’t pan out that well. In 6 seasons, he averaged 5.2 PTS, 1.2 REB, and 0.7 AST. While he was a part of 3 different playoff teams. None of those teams ever won the title. But no matter that, having a name that sounds like a candy, easily puts him on my list.
Dick “Night Train” Lane (NFL 1952-1965)
The NFL’s single season INT record holder did get his nickname from a song. But not from Jason Aldean’s 2012 hit, of course. Instead from Buddy Morrow’s 1957 hit of the same name. While it might not be as original as “Chicken” Wolf, it still rolls of the tongue nicely.
Not only does the HOFer hold a record that has stood for 70 years. He also was a main factor in major rule changes. In a game during the 1961 season, Lane made a tackle by grabbing the opponents face mask and pulling them to the ground. The opponent, Jon Arnett, laid motionless on the field after. That lead to tackles by the face mask being made illegal in the NFL.
That wasn’t it. Lane had somewhat of a signature tackling style, called the “Night Train Necktie”. Which, as i’m sure you could guess, was a clothesline style tackle by the head and neck area. Once the league had seen enough, that too became illegal. If it weren’t for “Night Train”, we could have seen guys like Lawrence Taylor and Ronnie Lott clotheslining the heck out of opposing players.
While not all four of the aforementioned former athletes were household names or the best players. They all will live in my own personal “Name Hall of Fame”.