This post was going to be all about four 1956 Topps commons, and sharing a little bit about the players, but as I looked into them, almost all of them had interesting nicknames, so I’m focusing more on that.
Ellis “Old Folks” Kinder apparently got his name from the fact that he was 31 years old when he broke in with the Browns in 1946, and was 34 when he had his most success, going 23-6 with 6 shutouts for the 1949 Red Sox.
The blank jersey in the “action shot” appears to be due to Kinder changing teams in the offseason, as the Cardinals got him on waivers from the Red Sox. His time with the Cards would be short, as he’d get lost on waivers to the White Sox that July.
To a child of the 1970’s like myself, Jim Hegan will always be the father of 1B/OF Mike Hegan… But Hegan was well-known as an outstanding defensive catcher who caught three no-hitters and made five all-Star teams.
His nickname was “Shanty” for reasons I wasn’t able to determine.
Johnny Logan’s nickname was the one that initially grabbed my attention: “Yatcha”. Apparently it’s a bastardization of a Russian phrase used to quiet him down as a small child.
“Fiery”, “hard-nosed” and “scrappy” are ways I’ve seen Logan described. I think that gives a pretty good impression of the guy.
Dee Fondy is the only player in this post to lack a nickname, but there’s another description of him that I found as interesting: “Fleet first baseman”. That’s not a description one hears very often. Sure enough, he finished in the top 10 in stolen bases five times, and his 20 SB’s in 1954 was third in the league.
Dee wasn’t even a nickname, that was his legal first name. I’m going to retroactively call him “No-nickname Fondy”.