When it comes to baseball players and nicknames, they play a big role in baseball history. Baseball nicknames are meant to describe and represent a player’s personality, looks, or how they play. Essentially, nicknames are meant to serve the purpose of telling us more about a person.
For example, Jose Bautista is nicknamed “Joey Batts” because of the iconic bat flip that happened in the 2015 ALDS. The current Toronto Blue Jays roster has many players with well-known nicknames. While these nicknames are comical they also maintain historical significance. How many of these nicknames are you familiar with? Let’s take a look at some significant baseball nicknames of the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays roster.
Toronto Blue Jays: Meaningful Baseball Nicknames
Brandon Belt “Baby Giraffe”
Meet Brandon Belt 👋
His Nicknames: Sparky, Captain and Baby Giraffe 🦒
He LOVES chicken tenders 😋
“I’m really excited to play for a team that’s going to win A LOT” pic.twitter.com/q0l2zlcUT8
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 20, 2023
While Brandon Belt goes by a couple of nicknames, the one that is the funniest and most predominant is “Baby Giraffe.” He earned this nickname while playing for the San Fransisco Giants but why that nickname? Well, according to an article from Metro League, “The nickname “The Baby Giraffe” was given to Belt in August 2011 by Giants announcer Duane Kuiper, who commented on Belt’s lanky appearance while tracking down a fly ball in left field during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.”
Since that day this nickname has remained highly significant with Belt. The nickname represents his great performance in the outfield resembling how a giraffe moves, his strong power as a hitter, and how he also looks like a giraffe. But there’s more! As indicated by an article by CBS News Sacramento, after Belt was given this nickname as a rookie player, a baby giraffe was named after him. He earned this privilege because of his star performance with the Giants. To this day he still resembles a giraffe and the nickname is suited perfectly for him. Do you agree?
Matt Chapman “Hurtado”
HURTADO FOREVER. MATT CHAPMAN IS DADDY https://t.co/IbtKWiOuMn
— Gate 14 Podcast (@Gate14Pod) August 30, 2022
While Matt Chapman is commonly referred to as “Chappy” he has another nickname that is much more heartfelt because of the story it carries. You might be wondering what a “Hurtado” is and why Chapman picked this nickname. Well, when Chapman was with the Oakland Athletics he picked the nickname “Hurtado” after his college teammate named Nick Hurtado.
Sadly, Hurtado passed away from cancer in 2013 and wasn’t able to fulfill his goal of playing in the majors. So, Chapman decided his friend wasn’t going to go unnoticed. Chapman commemorated him by picking the nickname “Hurtado” and putting it on the back of his jersey during MLB’s Players’ Weekend. With the MLB’s Players’ Weekend, players have the luxury of being able to choose a nickname to put on the back of their jerseys. So, Chapman chose “Hurtado” so that his friend could be represented in major league baseball. Chapman thought it would be the best way to help carry out his dream.
Chris Bassitt: “The Hound on the Mound”
The Hound on the Mound:
✅ 2nd complete game
✅ 1.97 ERA in last 7 starts
✅ 5-1 in last 7 starts
✅ 20 straight scoreless IP
✅ Got that dog in him 🐶 pic.twitter.com/XndFcF49TZ
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 13, 2023
Chris Bassitt goes by a few nicknames, but “The Hound on the Mound” is a popular one that many fans love. Bassitt has been associated with dog-like features, specifically the hound dog or bassist hound. Due to his last name and his facial features, he resembles a hound dog. So, from being called and nicknamed “The Hound” this has transformed into “The Mound on the Hound,” which is quite suiting for Bassitt as again he resembles the hound dog and he is a pitcher on the mound.
The nickname has a nice rhyming spin on it and it suits and fits Bassitt perfectly. The fans love Bassitt and his nickname is also suitable because he pitches with confidence with his sinker pitch. “The Hound on the Mound” has put out some strong performances with the eight different pitches that he throws.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. “El K”
— Jose Perez (@JosePerez1205) July 11, 2023
The 2023 Homerun Derby Champ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the common nickname “Vladdy” but he also goes by “El K.” What is the meaning and story behind this nickname? Well, for starters the nickname “El K” was chosen by him for MLB Players’ Weekend. This event was meant for players to get creative and illustrate their individuality.
This nickname dates back to when Vladdy was a child. It was given to him because as a baby he would babble a lot as most babies do. But his favourite sound to make was “ka” which is the Spanish diction of the letter “K.” Following this, his uncle gave him the nickname “El K” and it has been carried forward and used till this day. Overall, Vladdy wanted to showcase his Spanish routes and used a childhood memory to formulate his nickname.
Kevin Kiermaier: “The Outlaw”
Kevin Kiermaier is…
THE. OUTLAW. pic.twitter.com/l4jgOV8PVe
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 11, 2023
When Kevin Kiermaier played for the Tampa Bay Rays he was given the nickname “The Outlaw” by his manager Joe Maddon back in 2014. The reason behind this was the fact that Kiermaier is a very strong athlete in the outfield. He has made some spectacular catches and has done it with flare. Kiermaier’s aggressive style of defense left an impact on Maddon and he felt it bore a resemblance of an outlaw.
An outlaw is also similar to a cowboy. Kiermaier is the type of player in the outfield that is adventurous and stands out for his tenacious skills and this is how Maddon viewed him. Evidently, his nickname maintains a strong relationship with his defensive and aggressive approach as a center fielder. Let’s not forget that he is a three-time gold glove winner.
Jose Berrios: “La Makina”
Jose Berrios day is done:
WHAT A START FOR LA MAKINA LETS GO pic.twitter.com/yliFic4Fbu
— Gate 14 Podcast (@Gate14Pod) July 30, 2023
When Jose Berrios played for the Minnesota Twins he earned the nickname “La Makina” which in Spanish means “The Machine.”He got this name from his trainer back in 2011. When Berrios would train he would work out very hard and his trainer recognized his driven effort to prepare for games.
If we had to describe his pitching style when he played for the Twins, he without question was a workhorse and when you watched him pitch you could see how focused he was. He has a killer right arm and is the type of pitcher that means business. He works hard and makes sure to also eat healthy. Still today, he resembles this style of pitching and has a respectable ERA of 3.31.
All-time baseball nicknames
“The Hawk” Andre Dawson pic.twitter.com/b8jzhBDdVk
— OldTimeHardball (@OleTimeHardball) November 15, 2022
While most of these players were given these nicknames when they weren’t a Toronto Blue Jay, they still remain with them and will always remain significant to their growth as players. A nickname is so much more than just a name, a nickname carries meaning along with a story. In fact, nicknames can sometimes be used more often than a person’s actual name. They are catchy, they are fun and most of all they maintain significance.
They are just like a tattoo as they have a story and carry a valuable message. When it comes to nicknames, some nicknames are given to people, while some people create their own nicknames. To wrap things up, baseball nicknames will forever be a popular sports phenomenon that people will cherish.