91) The Croatian Sensation – Toni Kukoc Kukoc was billed as the greatest European basketball player when he joined the Bulls prior to the ’93-’94 season and was a valuable sixth man on three championship teams.90) Goose – Richard Gossage You’d never know it from his nickname, but Gossage terrified opposing batters with a fastball that approached triple digits.Before the days of bullpen specialists, he regularly secured two and three inning saves.
The list below is inevitably somewhat biased towards athletes from the past 30 years, though the greatest nicknames stand the test of time and many from the first half of the 20th century are recognized.Rodriguez will likely have a spot waiting for him in Cooperstown as well.96) Chi Chi – Juan Rodriguez Chi Chi’s jovial personality and signature “toreador dance” brought some much needed panache to the PGA Tour.by Paul Knepper Nicknames have long played a prominent role in sports. 100) The Rifleman – Chuck Person The longtime Pacer was dead on from way behind the arc and equally as sharp with his tongue. 99) The Assassin – Jack Tatum No elaboration necessary for this nasty former Raiders defensive back.They personalize the athletes for the fans, build camaraderie among teammates, add a humorous element to the competition and are essential to the myth-building of sports legends. 98) Donnie Baseball – Don Mattingly Donnie remains a crowd favorite in the Bronx because of the way he approached the game.
There are many factors to consider when determining what makes a great nickname. Bill James summed him up best: “100% ballplayer, zero percent bullshit.” 97) Pudge – Carlton Fisk and Ivan Rodriguez Fisk’s nickname was due to his big frame and he wore it well, belting his way into the Hall of Fame. These are the 100 greatest sports nicknames of all-time.95) Pops – Willie Stargell The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates’ theme song was Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Stargell was the head of that family.Pops won World Series with the Pirates in ’71 and ’79. MVP Award as he and brother Paul “Daffy” Dean led the famed St.94) Nails – Lenny Dykstra “Nails” was befitting of the gritty, gutsy center fielder for the championship 1986 Mets. Louis Cardinals “Gas House Gang” to world series glory.92) The Flying Tomato – Shaun White This red head Californian has taken competitive snowboarding to a new level with his death defying Double Mc Twist 1260.