Top 5 Player Nicknames in Detroit Tigers History
As long as the Detroit Tigers organization has been around so have player nicknames. Big Papi, The Mick, Big Hurt, and the Ryan Express are just to name a few of the classic nicknames. This gives the player some separation from the rest of the league as one would only have to mention the nickname and fans would know who you are talking about.
As personal as their bats are, so are their nicknames. During players weekend, MLB has a special weekend where the players are allowed to wear their nicknames on the back of the jersey. This gives players across MLB to showcase their personality.
Below are the top five nicknames in the history of the Detroit Tigers. There are plenty to choose from but these are my top five. Plenty of colorful ones put to colorful characters.
5. Richie Hebner: "The gravedigger"
Richie "the gravedigger" Hebner played three seasons for the Detroit Tigers. He was a solid, all-around player with a good work ethic. Back in his day, baseball players made little to no money. Therefore, most players had other jobs in the offseason. Hebner's job? He put his skills to work by digging graves for $35 per grave. He did this in West Roxbury, Massachusetts at a cemetery. Hebner did not have amazing numbers with the Detroit Tigers but he was consistent. During his time in Detroit, he had 25 home runs, 128 runs batted in, a .267 batting average, and 199 hits in 250 games.
4. Charlier Gehringer: "The mechanical man"
Charlie "the mechanical man" Gehringer. Not as good of a story as the gravedigger, but Gehringer got his name through baseball. Lefty Gomez gave Gehringer the nickname "the mechanical man" due to his robotic consistency. Gehringer played an incredible 19 years with the Detroit Tigers organization. He hit 184 home runs, 1,427 runs batted in, a .320 batting average, and 574 doubles in 2,323 games. Gehringer appeared in six all-star games and owned both the batting title and AL MVP award in the 1937 season.
3. Don "coyote" Wert
Don "coyote" Wert was an unusual baseball player as he was quiet and kept to himself. Detroit Tigers manager Charlie Dresden noticed this and made a note of it. Dresden wanted more chatter out of Wert and Wert did just that. From his third base position, he began to make loud, yipping noises, reminiscent of a coyote. Wert played eight seasons with the Detroit Tigers. He hit 77 home runs, 366 runs batted in, had a .244 batting average, and 927 hits in 1,090 games. Wert played in the 1968 MLB All-Star game.
2. Aurelio Lopez: "Senor smoke"
Aurelio "senor smoke" Lopez was a solid pitcher who went out there and did his job. In 1984, he paired with Willie Hernandez as one of the best 1-2 combos in MLB. Lopez got his nickname because he was a chubby right-hander who threw smoke on the mound. Lopez played seven years with the Detroit Tigers. He had a record of 53-30, a 3.41 ERA, and 519 strikeouts in 355 games. He appeared in the 1983 MLB All-Star game. Lopez was elected mayor in his hometown in Mexico just before a fatal car crash took his life.
1. William Brown: "Gates"
William "gates" Brown has an unusual nickname of gates. How is this unusual? Well, his mom came up with the nickname and he does not know where she got it from. Exactly where it came from is still a mystery. Gates was a colorful character on and off the field. Gates spent 13 years with the Detroit Tigers. He collected 84 home runs, 322 runs batted in, a .257 batting average, and 582 hits in his Tigers career.