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The Best Bird Nicknames in Baseball History
One of the most notable sporting stints of the past year was Meadowlark Lemon. During the last half of the 20th century, Lemon became synonymous with the Harlem Globetrotters, arguably the most entertaining sports franchises in the world.
Much of Lemon’s legacy will be down to his charm, as kids and adults have come to love his antics on the pitch. One of his standout skills was his half-court hook, which he performed with astonishing frequency.
Part of his legacy, however, will always be his nickname. When he was born on April 25, 1932, his first name was George Meadow Lemon. For almost the rest of his life, until his death on December 27, 2015, he was known as Meadowlark.
While bird nicknames aren’t all that uncommon, “Meadowlark” was certainly unique. Few basketball players have been tagged with the nickname bird, though it seems many of them are getting closer to flying.
Avian nicknames are much more common in baseball, where one can actually form a list of players who have associated themselves with types of birds.
First Base: Chick Gindel
One of the notorious members of the Black Sox, Gandil received a lifetime ban for his role in fixing the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati.
Second Base: Doug Rader, “Red Rooster”
The former Houston All-Star played mostly in the hot corner before becoming a Big League coach.
Shortstop: Rick Burleson, “Rooster”
The popular broadcaster spent his career with the Red Sox, where he helped the team win both division championships as well as a pennant.
Third goal: Ron Cey, “Penguin”
Earning the Monitor due to his unusual gait, the Los Angeles All-Star helped lead the Dodgers to multiple pennants and the 1981 World Series championship.
Left field: Ken Harrelson, “Hawk”
A prolific hitter who became an entertaining author and broadcaster, Hawkeroo even served as the White Sox’s general manager for a time.
Center Field: Andre Dawson, “The Falcon”
The National League’s Most Valuable Player as a Chicago Cub, the gifted slugger entered the Hall of Fame as the first player to represent the Montreal Expos.
Right field: Warren Cromartie, “Cro”
Dawson’s sidekick in the Montreal outfield, the gifted hitter rose to prominence with an entertaining book about his tenure as a baseball player in Japan.
Receiver: Claude Jayhawk Owens
After a high-profile high school career in Cincinnati, the Colorado backstop made a four-year career in the Majors.
Starting Pitcher: Mark Fydrich, “The Bird”
Possibly the most famous bird of all time, the entertaining Detroit Cy Young Award winner has had an all too brief career.
Pitcher Relief: Rich Gossage, “Goose”
The Yankees’ closest will forever be remembered as one of the pioneers of late-inning pitching dominance.
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