Walk-up songs give you a momentary yet monumental view into a player’s soul and mind, perhaps triggering a connection that you otherwise would not have made as a spectator. I recall learning that John Axford would have “New Noise” by Refused play every time he ran out from the bullpen. It was a moment that proved to me that baseball players were, in fact, humans that don’t all exclusively listen to Florida Georgia Line.
A lot of fun can be had perusing Baseball-Reference’s nickname tracker. Did you know that Bill Tomb was known as the Chinese Bandit in the 1960s? I’m not even remotely certain that I know what that means. If I was to hazard a guess, I would imagine that a remarkable level of racism went into that creation. Current Red Sox star Travis Shaw is known as the Mayor of Ding Dong City. Some are genuinely confusing. Why would Eugene Moore be called Deerfoot AND Lucille? Why would Ronald May be nicknamed Tri-Pod?
Using meticulous research and advanced sabermetrics, we have identified the top ten nickname-based walk-up songs of all-time.
Bob Oakley – Valuable Blonde
Oakley was blessed with one of the most unique nicknames in the history of Major League Baseball, but with that blessing comes the most unfortunate curse. While no tune goes by that exact title, plenty of songs discuss the value of blondes, both male and female, at explicit length. Oakley gets and loses points for both an abundance of songs about valuable blondes and no single song about valuable blondes.
John Reigar – Milkshake
Barring a government conspiracy greater than any of us could imagine, I was not present on the night that John Reigar was gifted the nickname of Milkshake. I, therefore, cannot speculate on its seemingly nonexistent origins. What I can tell you is that Milkshake strikes about as much fear in me as a loaf of bread. And to be clear, I love bread. The divisive split between adoration and lamentation of Kelis’ “Milkshake” prevents Reigar from making the cut.
Dozens of Players – Shorty
Seriously, there are like a million guys nicknamed Shorty. Apparently, it was a thing to be as uncreative as possible. 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” is an inclusive positive statement to all, which both hurts and helps its cause to crack the top ten. It misses the cut because I’ve heard it like a billion times (999,999,997 times of which not by choice) and man it gets old. Question, if a batter nicknamed Shorty faces a pitcher nicknamed Shorty and this song is played for Shorty’s walk to the plate, who benefits from the brief mental spark that it might actually be their birth month and day?
Marty Marion – The Octopus
Marty Marion’s decision to use iconic children’s musicians the Wiggles’ Henry the Octopus is the very definition of making a statement. We just aren’t sure what it is. Is it purposefully ironic? Is it his own subtle way of reminding his children how much he loves them? Or, perhaps, the most obvious choice, he simply loses his mind getting amped up to this song. Who could blame him? This audio masterpiece certainly cracks your humble author’s top three favorite songs of this list.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s top ten list.