Quantcast

[Ed. – This is a guest post from BN’er Myles Phelps, a swell guy who writes about the Cubs from time to time (and you can find him on Twitter here). Myles wanted to share another idea with us, and it’s a hilarious list of random/obscure Cubs players. This is part two of the list, and here is part one, in case you missed it. This is second humorous/informative list Myles has shared with us, the first being his collection of Cubs surprises and scandals.]

Baseball is awesome. It just is. You’re reading this because you agree. Think about all the history that has happened during baseball’s existence. It has survived a great depression and two world wars. It has seen the moon landing and the invention of the television, cell phones and the Internet. It’s seen the Berlin Wall coming down and the first Black president. And that’s not even close to all of it (I’m sure you figured that out).

Besides these events, as we learned last time, history also gives us players that come and go. Some of these guys aren’t household names like The Babe and Murderer’s Row or Reggie Jackson. Some of these guy’s names are … Bubbles Hargrave and Orval Overall. Ever heard of them? Me neither.

Again I want to re-emphasize that I’m no expert. I don’t know what the Cubs lineup looked like during the Wilson administration. AND some of these players were actually legitimate in their day. But they have funny names. So let’s continue.

sweetbread bailey6. Abraham Lincoln “Sweetbread” Bailey (Cubs: 1919-1921; MLB: 1919-1921)

If you’re keeping track at home, this is now the third Cubs player on the list named after a president. I did some extremely light research, which literally took no effort at all. I went through my phonebook and found not one contact named after a president. Not one George Bush or Bill Clinton in the bunch (I know it’s a bit premature for those guys). I also had a pretty good sample size: I’ve got 259 contacts in my cellular device (cellphone). I know … I’m a pretty big deal.

(Just kidding, I’m not that vain. I did some more light research and found I’ve only called 4 out of those 259 people over the past week: my girlfriend, my grandma, my mom, and my good friend Bryan AKA “Bryno” AKA “The Big Cat.” I could probably delete the rest. But I won’t because who knows when I’ll need to do more research again.)

Alright let’s get this back on track. Cubs. Baseball. Sweetbread. (Ed. – Sweetbread.)

I couldn’t find much on him actually. His Wikipedia page basically has him being born, playing baseball (relief pitcher), and then dying of cancer to his pituitary gland (which I didn’t know was a thing). He did serve in WWI which is pretty admirable.

What a crazy ass name though.

7. Walter George “Jumbo” Brown (Cubs: 1925; MLB: 1925-1941)

Remember when I said in the beginning of this adventure that you really didn’t need to do anything to earn nicknames back in the early part of the 20th Century? Here again is proof for you.

Jumbo Brown was called Jumbo because he was, in essence, Jumbo. By all accounts, he was listed as being roughly 295 lbs during his playing days. For reference, CC Sabathia weighs 288 lbs currently.

That’s pretty Jumbo in my book.

Jumbo was actually around for some pretty interesting stuff throughout his days in the MLB. Besides being one of the first ever players to pitch in relief exclusively, he also played for the 1932 Yankees who ended up beating the Cubs in the World Series that year. This was the series of Babe Ruth’s controversial “called shot”at Wrigley. 1932 was also the season that Lou Gherig hit four homeruns in one game–he’s still only one of twelve people to do so.

That’s pretty awesome. He saw two of the greatest hitters of all time do two separately awesome things.

I haven’t seen anything nearly as cool as that. Closest I’ve come is seeing The Big Cat hit two home runs in slow pitch softball.

8. Louis Norman “Bobo” Newsom (Cubs: 1932; MLB: 1929-1953)

The way that Bobo earned his nickname isn’t any less hilarious than all the others so far because he was essentially crazy. He used to call everyone (including himself) Bobo. How nuts is that? Not only did he give himself a nickname, he called everyone else by his nickname that he gave himself. I don’t know what to say to that.

I may try it actually–just start calling everyone Myles. I know it’s not a nickname, but hell, I already know my own name so why should I learn others?

Bobo wasn’t a bad player. Actually, he pitched his way to earning four all-star appearances (once on the St. Louis Browns, twice on the Detroit Tigers, and once more on the Philadelphia Athletics).

But I’ve never heard of him, so here his name lies.

9. Wellington Hunt “Wimpy” Quinn (Cubs: 1941; MLB: 1941)

Alright. I’m going to be shocked if anyone out there knows who this guy is. He’s probably one of the more true obscure Cubs players that I found.

I have no idea how he got his nickname. He probably got into a fight once and didn’t do well. Or maybe he had a stupid voice. Or maybe it’s one of the nicknames that you get when you’re the opposite. Like maybe he was a super hardcore bare knuckle boxer. Or he could’ve wrestled a bear one time. I just don’t know.

Wimpy only pitched in three games as a Cub and really that was all of his major league career. He did have twelve years in the minors. I picture Wimpy as the original Bobby Scales.

10. Hiram Gabriel “Hi” Bithorn (Cubs: 1942-1943, 1946; MLB: 1942-1943, 1946-1947)

Bet you can’t guess how he got that nickname.

Just kidding, I bet you can.

Bithorn is somewhat of a historical figure in the MLB as a matter of fact. He was the first Puerto Rican to play major league baseball, which blows my mind that it took that long. Including Hi, there have been 243 Puerto Ricans to play in the MLB since. Currently there are 21. Way to pave the way, bud.

Hi had a bit of bad luck after his MLB career ended abruptly, however. A cop in Mexico shot him because he thought Hi was a communist. He was only 35 when he died.

Man, I really brought this post down. I apologize. But such is life, dear friends.

That’s a wrap for part two. Am I going to call out one of your favorite Cubs players for being obscure in part three? I hope not. But there’s only one way to find out.

Check back soon for the final installment.

  • King Jeff

    Isn’t there a stadium in Puerto Rico named after Hiram Bithorn?

    • Cesar

      That’s right. There’s where the WBC games in PR were played.

      • King Jeff

        Ah, I knew I had heard that name recently. Thanks.

        • jj

          I think the Expos played 1/2 a season at Bithorn. Didn’t know he was a player, let alone a cub.

    • PRcajun

      That’s correct! This really blew my mind as I’ve known of Hiram Bithorn for a very very long time (I’m Puerto Rican…hence the handle), but I had no idea he had played for the Cubs! That’s great!

      Really enjoying the list (and the guest posts) from Myles.

  • ssckelley

    I have a great uncle nicknamed Wimpy and it has nothing to do with his fighting skills. It was because of the Popeye character and his love for hamburgers as a young boy.

    • King Jeff

      Woah, you’re Hansman’s nephew?

      • hansman1982

        great-nephew at that…

    • DarthHater

      Yea, that was my thought, too. In the 1940s, Quinn was probably called Wimpy for being the Joe “Wimpy” Hansman of his day.

      Thanks again for writing these columns, Myles.

      Sincerely,
      Darth “Myles” Hater

      • Myles

        Perfect. Love it.

  • Cub2014

    Brett,
    I was wondering how long you think Bruno will stay in Daytona.
    Is he a capable defensive 2b to play in bigs. He is hitting .360 again
    With OBP of .440 again. They should be moving him up to see what
    He can do in AA

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He just needs a spot to open up at AA. Right now, the infield is already fairly crowded at second base with Alcantara and Torreyes both seeing time there.

  • Timmy

    Great series

  • daveyrosello

    All future Cub players will take a backseat to Adam Greenberg. How can you get more obscure than having a single at-bat facing a single pitch in a single game with the Cubs? I suppose a pitcher that throws just one single pitch?

  • Die hard

    Cubs had s pitcher that used to hypnotise himself before each game and he had a streak over several starts where he was lights out— then I guess the league caught up to him by holding the bat vertical over the plate before each pitch which caused him to throw fat pitches and he was gone soon thereafter–you can look it up

  • Die hard

    P.S.-Sunday, March 10, 2002
    Bill Faul was a baseball classic

    By Gary Estwick gestwick@enquirer.com
    The Cincinnati Enquirer

    [Edit: You can’t post entire articles. At most, you can post a small snippet with a link back to the original article.]

    • Saving Grace

      That’s a great obit ,I really enjoyed it.
      I had written something about him lower down not realizing he had been mentioned.
      I didn’t,t know about the toads

  • Die hard

    PPS—a snippet from article—-He hypnotized himself before games and talked to his arm. Opposing players would make fun of him by swinging watches and saying ‘tick tock tick tock’ while he was pitching.

    • Spriggs

      You should hear Randy Hundley talk about Faul! Randy wasn’t real fond of Bill :-)

  • cubmig

    Reading your column takes me back to my old neighborhood where I grew up…..especially as you focus on past players’ nicknames. Those names seem to be rooted in a colorful personal history of their own to be interesting in themselves. I my old neighborhood all of us guys had nicknames. There was “Bugs”, “Boozer”, “Pots”, ” Chiling and Chalong” (brothers), “Wedo”, “Chito”, “Turtle”, and on and on and on……..We all played sandlot ball and no one ever called another by his given name. Strange as it is, today I can’t match the nickname to a real name—–though the face is ever present.

    Just a thought provoked as I read…..

  • Saving Grace

    Wimpy Quinn got his nickname because of the wimpy character in popye
    The reason was wimpy,s ful name was j.wellington wimpy
    He got off to a bad start hitting in early 41 after the cubs had purchased his contract..
    Jjimmy Wilson the cubs manager had liked his arm in spring training and thou he had never pitched the cubs brought him up as a pitcher
    He ended up relieving in 3 games his only major league experience.
    A cool story,nice choice
    Very obscure and not many ,if any ever minor league hitters who have never pitched get called up to the big leagues as a pitcher
    He pitched for a couple more years after being sent down,but never made it back to the bigs
    Thou after being sent down he had an impressive 10 -4 record not bad for someone who never pitched

  • Die hard

    Adolpho Phillips

  • Die hard

    Chuck Connors, The Rifleman

  • Die hard

    Pete LaCock

  • Die hard

    Bob Buhl

  • Die hard

    Dick Tidrow

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. I will not stand for you suggesting that Dick Tidrow is either random or obscure.

      • Die hard

        Thank you–arguably was before but not now since BN made him famous

    • MichiganGoat

      Prepare to be stash-slapped

  • Die hard

    Can’t make this stuff up– I recall 1955 Cubs had guy named Hacker and guy named Fanning

  • Spriggs

    Awesome…Hilarious stuff Myles! Made my day. This and the fact Baez nor Jackson
    fanned today!

  • jj

    Mike Tyson or any other second basemen between Beckert and Sandberg not named Trillo. Sizemore, Macko?

    • Spriggs

      Joe Strain. Mick Kelleher. Rodney Scott. Steve Dillard. Bump Wills…

  • Saving Grace

    Dick short wave bartell ,Dutch”bunions” Becker, Zeke “bananas” Bonura, Tom “BUckshot” BRrown,Johnny “trolley line” BUtler, Al”the swamp fox ” Dark, Bill “Pickles” Dillhoefer ,Piccolo PEte Elko,
    Maybe my favorite. Bob “death to flying things”ferguson
    Johnny “patch eye” Gill, George “piano legs” GOre. Cliff “rubber head ” Heathcote
    Art “circus solely” Hofman , Dave ” kangaroo ” Jones , Al “deer foot” Kaiser ,three fingers BRown ,The Arkansas hummingbird Lon warneke , Carl ” the human icicle” LUndgren,
    Orval “Big groundhog ” Overall , Moe” thesnakeman ” Drabowsky ,Guy “Mississippi mud cat ” Bush
    The cubs have some of the great nicknames

  • Coach K

    I truly hope that you have Cal McLish on there somewhere.

  • Saving Grace

    McLIsh isn’t a nickname candidate
    Thou may have the longest name in cub history

  • Coach K

    True, not a nickname candidate but his name certainly falls in to the “random” category.

    • Internet Random

      Me?

      • Coach K

        Pecisely

  • Saving Grace

    Talk about obscure in notoriety as a cub and as a person it’s hard to beat Bill Faul
    He was a RH pitcher for the cubs in 1965 and 66
    He was a bodybuilder who believed in the power of hypnosis.HE was also an ordained minister who talked to his arm while pitching.
    Spaceman Bill Lee claims FAul would bite the head off a live parakeets prior to Astarte
    Once players got wind of his self hypnosis they would jump up on the top steps of the dug out and wave pocket watches saying Faul you are getting sleepy,sleepy
    He qualifies for the all time character team

    • Internet Random

      According to Wikipeepee:

      In 1965, the Cubs tied a major league record by turning three triple plays. Faul pitched in only 17 of the 164 games the Cubs played that season — but was on the mound for all three triple plays.

      • Spriggs

        Wow. Amazing stuff.

  • Spriggs

    Bobo Newsom also was known for having great success against Babe Ruth.

    • Spriggs

      I have to correct myself…. Bobo Newsom was the guy who faced both Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth in the majors. The guy who had the great success against The Babe was Hub “Shucks” Pruett.

  • Saving Grace

    Even more oddities in his résumé,he is very much at the top of the list

  • Saving Grace

    Cubs catcher. King Kelley. Likedto take baths while smoking cigars.
    He reportedly disliked taking bathes so he smoked cigars while bathing to get something positive out of them

  • Saving Grace

    Rabbit MAranville would keep a metal flask in his pocket during games for emergencies.
    He never said what was in it,but he was a notorious alcoholic so it wasn’t,hard to guess
    And people complained about Manny Ramirez going to the outfield with a plastic bottle of watering his pocket.
    Rabbit drank during games and still managed to make the Hal of fame

    • Spriggs

      …though Rabbit is one of the least deserving HOF’ers of all. His scrap factor must have been totally off the charts. 5’5″ and a .258 lifetime average to go with that OPS+ of 82.

  • Saving Grace

    Abraham Lincoln “sweetbreads ” bailey
    Sweetbreads are the thymus or sometimes pancreas of a young animal used for food
    Historians believe he got his nickname from the tendency to swerve his pitches into the sweetbreads of batters

  • Jimmy James

    Missed the part about this being a guest column….was sorta confused when I thought Brett had called his girlfriend this week……(what no calls to the wifey I thought). ;)

  • Pingback: Guest Post: The Most Obscure – or Just Random – Cubs Players of All-Time (Part Three) | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+