The Pittsburgh Pirates allegedly earned the nickname for allegedly pirating a second baseman, away from Philadelphia in 1891. Today, the Pirates have a number of nicknames on their young team. Many of them originate from their fun-loving manager Clint Hurdle. So let’s start with the nicknames of the management.
Manager Clint Hurdle leads this young Pittsburgh Pirates and doesn’t shy from placing nickname on his players, but Hurdle has a nickname from his own playing days. Playing in New York, Mets’ teammates placed the nickname Corporal Agarn because Mets 1985 bench was known as The F-Troop, after the classic 1960s television show. Larry Storch played Corporal Agarn on the show (Wielgus, A-Train, p.69).
Additionally, general manager Neal Huntington has received the nickname Wheel and Deal Neal for the number of trades he has made in recent years, especially low-risk, high reward trades (Perrotto, Pirates, 12/20/12).
The Pitching Staff
For the players, let’s start with the bullpen, known as The Shark Tank. The bullpen swarms the opposing teams and pick up wins and saves. They even have a 150-gallon tank in the Pirates’ clubhouse filled with sharks (Zeise, Bullpen’s, 5/30/13).
Members of the Shark Tank include Jason Grilli, who is known as Grilled Cheese, a likely spinoff from his last name (Baseball Almanac, Jason Grilli, 2013). Bryan Morris doesn’t have a nickname, but his slider has one: The Tennessee Twister. He was born and lives in Tennessee (Indy Star, Meet, 5/10/12).
Moving to the starting rotation let’s begin Pittsburgh’s 2014 opening day starter. Francisco Liriano received the nickname of the Franchise in his rookie year, He headed the Twins’ pitching staff and was one of the best pitcher in baseball before getting hurt (Thesier, Cuddyer, 6/11/06).
Gerrit Cole is known as the Cole Train (Baseball Almanac, Gerrit, 2013), while Charlie Morton earned the nickname of Ground Chuck. He’s a ground-ball pitcher (Morrison, Charlie, 3/4/14).
Newcomer to the Pirates, Edinson Volquez brought a nickname, Pedrito or Little Pedro, with him. Former Reds’ teammate Francisco Cordero said in 2008, “He’s in love with Pedro (Martinez). He sees Pedro like he’s a god” (Nelson, Volquez, 5/13/08).
Starting with the infield, catcher Russell Martin has the nickname Turtle. Some say he resembles actor Jerry Ferrara from the television show Entourage (Renck, Rockies, 8/19/07).
Neil Walker (2B) has a couple nicknames. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle gave him the nickname Dennis the Menace because he has a way of fouling things up for opponents. that was evident with his walk-off homer to win the first game of the 2014 season (AP, Pirates, 7/20/12). He also is known as the Pittsburgh Kid. He plays for Pittsburgh and grew up in Pittsburgh (Henderson, Should, 11/15/11).
Clint Barmes (2B) also has a two nicknames. “Butch was my high school nickname,” Barmes said, “and that’s a long story, but Clint Hurdle’s nickname for me is Nugget. That’s one I never had till last year, I guess. That’s about all I can think of right now, but I know there’s been a lot more” (Malinowski, Batting, 5/4/06).
At third, Pedro Alverez tops Walker and Barmes with three nicknames. He received the Pedrito as a child by his family. It, of course, translates to Little Pedro. As he grew, matured, and became the second draft pick in the 2008 MLB draft, he received El Mantatan. That translates to the Man (Grupp, Top-Pick, 9/30/08). He also has the nickname El Toro. That’s Spanish for the Bull, due to his strength and physique (Vanderbilt University, Pedro, 2013).
In the outfield, Andrew McCutcheon, the 2013 National League MVP, is affectionately known as Cutch. Travis Snider has a pair of nicknames. He earned Moonraker for his home runs (Baseball Cube, Players, 11/10/09) and also the nickname of Lunch Box Hero. Snider explained, “It was a nickname given to me. I like to eat. If you guys follow me on Twitter, you’ll see a lot of posts about food. Mostly steaks and red meat. It’s something for to have fun with fans and teammates” (Brown, Lunch, 3/15/13).
Hurdle gave Matt Hague (1B) the nickname of the Hit Collector following great spring training camps in 2012 and 2013 (Singer, Pirates, 3/13/13) and after leading the International League in hits in 2011 (Peloza, Pirates, 6/1/13).
Pitcher Jared Hughes earned the nickname, the Mayor, in the minor leagues for his ability to make friends with everyone he met (Harrison, Hughes, 9/13/12).
Hurdle pinned Lambino on Andrew Lambo as a play on his name and Babe Ruth’s Bambino nickname (Bernreuter, Andrew, 3/5/11).
Pitcher Jeff Locke, the Redstone Rocket, hails from Redstone, New Hampshire and has a wicked fastball (Spokeo, Jeff Locke, 2013). Hurdle is responsible for a second nickname — the Intern — for the time he spent observing former teammate A.J. Burnett during the 2013 season (Sawchik, Locke, 5/25/13).
One of Gregory Polanco’s past baseball managers pinned El Coffee on him. Polanco explained, “He just said, ‘We’re going to call you Coffee. OK?’ It stuck with everybody, but I like it” (Lembo, Prospect, 2/27/14).
Matthew Welker is known as Duke (Baseball Almanac, Duke, 2013).
Vance Worley received Vanimal while playing at Long Beach State for his intensity and Mohawk he sported (Murphy, Minnesota, 3/27/13).
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