Nicknames and slang of the Detroit Tigers


Paul Howard “Dizzy” Trout (June 29, 1915 – February 28, 1972) played for the Detroit Tigers for fourteen seasons, appearing in two World Series, in 1940 and 1945 (in which he had an ERA of 0.66 in the Series).

I heard on the radio this morning an appropriate turn of phrase in lieu of  Justin Verlander’s (“The Monarch”) performance in yesterday’s Game 1 of the World Series, and it goes something like this: The are two types of ball players. Humble ones and those preparing themselves to be humbled.

Origins of the Detroit Tigers name:

There are various legends about how the Tigers got their nickname. One involves the orange stripes they wore on their black stockings. Tigers manager George Stallings took credit for the name; however, the name appeared in newspapers before Stallings was manager. Another legend concerns a sportswriter equating the 1901 team’s opening day victory with the ferocity of his alma mater, the Princeton Tigers. The earliest known use of the name “Tigers” in the news was in the Detroit Free Press on April 16, 1895.

The truth is revealed in Richard Bak’s 1998 book, A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium. In the 19th century, the city of Detroit had a military unit called the Detroit Light Guard, who were known as “The Tigers”. They had played significant roles in certain Civil War battles and in the 1899 Spanish-American War. The baseball team was still informally called both “Wolverines” and “Tigers” in the news. Upon entry into the majors the ballclub sought and received formal permission from the Light Guard to use its trademark and from that day forth it is officially the Tigers. In short, the Tigers most likely wore stripes because they were already Tigers, rather than the other way around which is the conventional story.

The “Tigers” name originates from the 19th century military unit that was based in the city and held the same name. They are nicknamed “the Motor City Kitties”, “the Bengals”, and “the Tigs.” (Via

Nicknames, slang and mottoes of the Detroit Tigers

AJax Austin Jackson

“Always a Tiger” — Team motto

Babe — Woodrow Wilson Davis

Battleship — Lorenzo Edward Gremminger

Bennett Park — Tigers ballpark (1896–1911)

Big Daddy — Cecil Fielder (1st base, 1990–1996)

Big Sam — Sam Thompson (outfilder 1885-1906)

Big Wheel — Lance Parrish (catcher, 1977–1986)

Bip — Leon Joseph Roberts (1998)

Birdie — George Robert Tebbetts

Blackie — James Francis O’Rourke

Black Mike — Gordon Stanley “Mickey” Cochrane (catcher 1937)

“Bless You Boys” — Rally cry coined (in sarcasm) by Al Ackerman, a Detroit sports anchor legend.

Bobo — Lewis Norman Newsom

Boob  — Donald Eric McNair

Boomer — David Wells (pitcher, 1993–1995)

Boots — Cletus Poffenberger

Boulevard Park — Tigers ballpark (1901–1902)

Briggs Stadium — Tigers ballpark (1938–1960) named after plumbing fixture manufacturer Walter Briggs, Sr.

Bucketfoot  — Al Aloysius Harry Simmons

Bumpus  — Elijah Albert Jones

Burns Park  — Tigers ballpark (1901–1902)

Butch  — Donald Martin Kolloway

Chick— Charles King (outfield, 1954–1956)

Chief — Elon Chester Hogsett (pitcher, 1929–1936)

Corktown — is the oldest neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

“Deee-troit Base-ball!” — A popular rally cry for the Detroit Pistons has also been adapted for the Tigers

Denny — Dennis Dale McLain (the last pitcher in Major League Baseball to win 30 or more games during a season)

Dingle  — Frank Donald Croucher

Dizzy — Paul Howard Trout (pitcher)

“Eat ‘Em Up Tigers! Eat ‘Em Up!” — 1968 rally cry when the Tigers won their third World Series

“Ee-Yah”  — Third base coach Hughie Jennings’ famous saying/shout

Fire Trucks  — Virgil Trucks (pitcher, 1941–1943, 1945–1952, 1956)

Firpo — Frederick Marberry (pitcher, 1933–1935)

Flea — Herman Clifton (infield, 1934–1937)

Gates — William James Brown (outfielder, 1963–1975)

Gee — Gerald Holmes Walker (outfield)

Gonzo — Luis Gonzalez (outfield, 1998)

Goose — Leon Allen Goslin (left field, 1934–1937)

Grandy — Curtis Granderson (outfielder 2005–2009)

Hammerin’ Hank — Hank Greenberg (1st base, outfiled, 1930–1946)

Happy  — Archie Richard McKain

Heini — Henry Emmett Manush (outfield, 1923–1927)

Heinie — George Schuble

Hippity  — John Leonard Hopp

Honolulu  — Johnnie John Brodie Williams

Hook —  Kenneth Wandersee Johnson

Hoot — Walter Evers (outfield, 1941–1952, 1954)

Horse Belly  — Joseph Alexander Sargent

Hotshot  — Edward Joseph Mayo

Hub — Harry Walker

Hurricane  —  Robert Sidney Hazle

Icehouse — George Peacock Wilson

“It’s Gum Time” — 1996 season late-innings rally cry

Jack — John Scott Morris (pitcher)

Jeep  — Donald Henry Heffner

Jo-Jo — Joyner Clifford White

Juan Gone — Juan González (outfield, 2000)

Kickapoo Ed  — Oron Edgar Summers

Kid Rick  —  Rick Porcello

King Kong  — Charles Ernest Keller

King Tut  — Guy Isbell Tutwiler

Legs — Richard Henry Weik

Lima Time — Jose Lima (pitcher, 1994–1996, 2001–2002)

Liz — Elias Funk (infielder, 1930)

Mad Max — Max Scherzer

Miggy, Cabby and or the Big Cat — Miguel Cabrera (infielder, 2007-present)

Mr. Tiger, The Line, 6, Big Al, Mr Perfect, Salty — Al Kaline (outfield, 1953-1974)

Navin Field — Tigers ballpark (1912–1938) named after Francis Joseph Navin principal owner of the Detroit Tigers in Major League Baseball for 27 years, from 1909 to 1935. He also served as vice president and acting president of the American League.

Nook— Exavier Prente Logan (outfield, 2004–2005)

Nubbin — Wayne Gaffney McLeland

Papa Grande (Spanish for Big Potato) — José Valverde (relief pitcher 2010-present)

Paws — The Tigers mascot

Phoenix  — Joaquin Benoit

Piano Legs — Charles Taylor Hickman

Pichardo — Osvaldo José Virgil (1958, 1960–61)

Pinky — Michael Franklin Higgins (3rd base, 1939–1946)

Plowboy — Tom Stephen Morgan

Prince — Henry Oana (pitcher, 1943–45)

Prince Hal — Hal Newhouser (pitcher 1939-1955)

Pudg or I-Rod — Iván Rodríguez (catcher, 2004–2008)

Red — Jerome Downs

Red — Robert James Wilson

Rip — Raymond Allen Radcliff

Rocky — Everett Lamar Bridges (infield (1959–1960)

Rocky Rocco —  Domenico Colavito (outfield, 1960–1963)

Rowdy Richard — Richard William Bartell

Roxie — Alfred Lawson (pitcher, 1933, 1935–1939)

Rufe — James Ruffus Gentry (pitcher, 1943–48)

Rusty — Daniel Joseph Staub

Sassafras — George Lovington Winter

Satchelfoot — Edwin Lee Wells

Scat — Frank Joseph Metha

Schoolboy — Lynnwood Rowe (pitcher)

Señor Smoke — Aurelio Lopez (pitcher, 1978-1985)

Shoddy — Alfred Shaw

Shotgun — John William Peters

Silver Fox  — Jim Northrup (outfielder, 1964–1974)

Skeeter — William Henry Barnes (infield, outfield, 1983–1994)

Skids — John Joseph Lipon

Sleepy Bill — William Thomas Burns

Slick — George Coffman (pitcher)

Slug — Harry Heilmann (outfielder, 1914, 1916–1929)

Sniper  — Doug Fister

“Sock It To ‘Em, Tigers!” — Rally cry used during the 1968 season

Sparky  — George Lee Anderson (manager, 1979–1995)

Stinky — Harry Albert Davis

Storm — George Earl Davis (pitcher, 1993–1994)

Stormin Norman — Norm Cash

Stubby — Frank Overmire

Submarine — Elden Le Roy Auker

Sweet Lou — Lou Whitaker

The Barranquilla Baby  — Edgar Rentería (2008)

The Bird — Mark Fidrych (pitcher, 1976–1980)

The Chosen One — Drew Smyly

The D-Train — Dontrelle Willis (2008–2010)

The Earl Of Snohomish — Clifford Earl Torgeson

The Georgia Peach  — Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb (outfielder, 1905-1928)

The Mayor — Sean Casey (1st base, 2006–2007)

The Mechanical Man — Charles Leonard Gehringer (second baseman (1924–1942)

The Monarch —  Justin Verlander

The Monster — Richard Raymond Radatz

The Pig — Henry Franklin House

The Roar Of 84 — 1984 World Series Champions

The Tabasco Kid — Norman Arthur Elberfeld

Tiger Stadium — Tigers ballpark (1912–1999)

Tigers — Established in 1894. They are the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the American League

Tigertown — was the first made-for-TV movie produced for the Disney Channel, produced in 1983 staring Roy Scheider as an aging baseball player for the Detroit Tigers

Tram — Alan Trammell (shortstop, manager, 1977-1996)

Tubby — Frank Bernard Reiber

Twilight Ed — Edwin Henry Killian

UUU — Ugueth Urtaín Urbina Villarreal (2004–2005)

V-Mart — Víctor Martínez (designated hitter, 2011-present)

Whit — John Witlow Wyatt

Wheels — Frank Willis Carswell

“Who’s your Tiger?” — Rally cry (2006–2008)

Wolverines — The Detroit Wolverines were a 19th century baseball team that played in the National League from 1881 to 1888

Yats — George Wuestling (shortstop, 1929–30)



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