Monday, June 25, 2012

The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 38: 1989 Upper Deck #415 "Oil Can" Boyd

No sport has better nicknames than baseball.

Sure, there was Jack "The Assasin" Tatum in football. Or even "Mr. Hockey", Gordie Howe. Basketball had "Dr. J", Julius Erving.

But what other sport can lay claim to having a player with the nickname "Death To Flying Things"?

Who can forget "The Human Rain Delay", "Catfish" Hunter, or "Pokey" Reese?

I couldn't say for certain what my all-time favorite baseball nickname is. However, I can tell you that "Oil Can" Boyd is right near the top of the list.

As was the case with "Rock" Raines, the cardboard community was pretty much split on which name to use for Boyd's baseball cards during his playing career.

While Upper Deck and Donruss chose to use his famous nickname, Topps and Fleer omitted it and simply used his given name, Dennis, for his cards.

To me, the backstory behind a nickname is just as interesting as the nickname itself.

Boyd once said that sipping a cool beverage on a hot summer day was so smooth that it was "just like drinking oil".

Hence, the nickname "Oil Can".

While they've certainly dwindled in recent years, there's still some great nicknames in today's game. "Chipper" Jones might be the last legendary nickname in the game today, but we still have "Mr. November" Derek Jeter (also known as "The Captain") or "The Greek God of Walks", Kevin Youkilis. (Whom I look forward to seeing on the South Side of Chicago.)

Personally, I prefer to see a player's nickname on the front of his baseball card. There's been a ton of guys named Dennis over the years.

There was only one "Oil Can".

1 comment:

hiflew said...

I think Alex Rodriguez started the downfall of nicknames with his abbreviated A-Rod. Now everybody is just abbreviates rather than put any original thought into it. That being said, I have always appreciated the nickname, "The Greek God of Walks," even though I never really liked the player.