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MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 31089795 Bud Norris Bud+Norris MLB

It's not that his nickname is so unusual, but the Astros pitcher has a great story behind the moniker. Back when David S. Norris was just three years old, he demanded to drink a Bud like the rest of the guys at the dinner table. His mother put the kibosh on that request but the name stuck. He even got to ride on Budweiser's Clydesdale-drawn carriage on Opening Day 2012 when Houston played the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30940350 Tim Lincecum — "The Freak" Tim+Lincecum+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Freak%26quot%3B MLB

Lincecum, 5-11 and skinny is known as “The Freak,” for his unusual throwing motion — and the downright freakish reality that someone his size can throw a baseball so hard.

Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864269 David Ortiz — "Big Papi" David+Ortiz+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BBig+Papi%26quot%3B MLB

Rumor has it that when David Ortiz joined the Red Sox as a free agent in 2003 he didn't know anyone by name, so he just called everyone "Papi." Eventually, the gentle giant from the Dominican learned the names and became a fan favorite in Beantown, and everyone started calling him "Big Papi."

Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864270 Roy Halladay — "Doc" Roy+Halladay+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BDoc%26quot%3B MLB

Roy Halladay's nickname was coined by late Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek. Halladay started his major league career with the Blue Jays in 1998. It’s a reference to the famous Wild West gunslinger "Doc" Holliday. Some will also claim he's called the "Doc" because he fixes problems with a surgeon's precision when he takes the mound.

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864271 Albert Pujols — "The Machine" Albert+Pujols+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Machine%26quot%3B MLB

Considered the most feared batter of the past decade, Albert Pujols hits like a machine. Also known as Prince Albert, the Dominican slugger is a nine-time All-Star with three NL MVPs, six Silver Slugger Awards and two World Series titles. Just don't call him El Hombre. He famously rejected that moniker in deference to the St. Louis Cardinals great Stan "The Man" Musial.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864268 Felix Hernandez — "King Felix" Felix+Hernandez+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BKing+Felix%26quot%3B MLB

"Here comes King Felix" was the call of Mariners fans before he debuted at the age of 19 in August 2005. After all, he was Seattle's minor league pitcher of the year in '04. He's lived up to the hype. In his fifth major league season, the right-hander from Venezuela posted a 19-5 record with a 2.49 ERA. The following year, in 2010, he led the AL with a 2.27 ERA and won the AL Cy Young Award.

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864272 Shane Victorino — "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Shane+Victorino+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Flyin%27+Hawaiian%26quot%3B MLB

Speedy Shane Victorino was born in Wailuku, Hawaii. In high school, he won the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at the 1999 spring state track meet. The center fielder continues to fly in the majors as a three-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time All-Star. Plus, he won a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies.

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864273 Jose Bautista — "Joey Bats" Jose+Bautista+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BJoey+Bats%26quot%3B MLB

You better think twice if you're going to mess with Joey Bats. Bautista, whose Twitter name is @JoeyBats19, starred in an "Untouchables" parody called "The Hitman" for an clip in 2011. The slugger is the 26th player to hit at least 50 HRs in a season and he set the Blue Jays' single-season record with his 54 dingers in 2010.

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864276 Daisuke Matzusaka — "Dice-K" Daisuke+Matzusaka+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BDice-K%26quot%3B MLB

Daisuke Matzusaka started his career in his native land of Japan, where he led the league in strikeouts four times, wins three times and ERA twice. Dice-K also won seven Gold Gloves in the Japanese League and was a seven-time All-Star. The Red Sox paid $103 million for Dice-K in 2007. His nickname is easier than his given name for Americans to pronounce; besides what pitcher wouldn't want to be associated with the letter "K"?

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864275 Francisco Rodriguez — "K-Rod" Francisco+Rodriguez+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BK-Rod%26quot%3B MLB

Pitchers gain notoriety for strikeouts. Francisco Rodriguez’s nickname plays on that fact. As a member of the Angels, he led the AL in saves three times between 2005 and 2008, capping it off with 62 in '08.

Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864267 Ivan Rodriguez — "Pudge" Ivan+Rodriguez+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BPudge%26quot%3B MLB

Ivan Rodriguez isn't the first guy nicknamed "Pudge" to play behind the plate — remember Carlton Fisk? — but some will argue this younger "Pudge" version is the best all-around, if not the best defensive, catcher to play the game. In fact, Rodriguez was given the nickname as an homage to Fisk. Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won the 1999 AL MVP, the 2003 World Series with the Marlins and 13 Gold Gloves. During his 21-year career, he caught 46 percent of attempted base stealers, well above the MLB average of 30 percent. He decided to retire in April 2012.

Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864274 Vladimir Guerrero — "Vlad the Impaler" Vladimir+Guerrero+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BVlad+the+Impaler%26quot%3B MLB

Vlad the Impaler was a horribly cruel man but an effective warlord in the 15th century. Well, Vladimir Guerrero wasn't that kind of dangerous, but with his free-wielding bat, he often crushed opponents in box scores. Also known as Vladdy, the Dominican slugger won the 2004 AL MVP and eight Silver Slugger Awards and was a nine-time All-Star. He batted .318 with 449 homers during his 16-year career.

Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30873026 Randy Johnson — "The Big Unit" Randy+Johnson+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Big+Unit%26quot%3B MLB

The idea for Randy Johnson's nickname no doubt came from his 6-foot-10 frame. The reputation for strikeouts, 100 mile-an-hour fastballs and hard-biting sliders probably helped, too. Johnson ranks second on the all-time strikeout list with 4,875. The 10-time All-Star won five Cy Young Awards and was a co-World Series MVP for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

Tom Gannam -
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864708 Mark McGwire — "Big Mac" Mark+McGwire+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BBig+Mac%26quot%3B MLB

Mark McGwire's nickname has nothing to do with the Golden Arches, but it does describe how big he was during his 16-year career. He broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record with 70 in 1998. McGwire won the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year and was a 12-time All-Star. He also won a World Series title with the A's in 1989.

Joy R. Absalon - USA TODAY Sports
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30935705 Fred McGriff — "Crime Dog" Fred+McGriff+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BCrime+Dog%26quot%3B MLB

McGriff was given his nickname by ESPN anchor Chris Berman. It referenced the animated canine "Crime Dog McGruff," which debuted in 1980 in a series of TV commercials, comic books and live appearances for the National Crime Prevention Council with the slogan "take a bite out of crime."

(Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images) - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864707 Frank Thomas — "The Big Hurt" Frank+Thomas+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Big+Hurt%26quot%3B MLB

You can put it on the board, Yesssssss. Frank Thomas was always a scary sight in the batter’s box at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds and his stature contributed to his nickname, coined by former player and White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson. Thomas, who also played football at Auburn, won the AL batting title in 1997, was a two-time AL MVP and made the All-Star team five times during his 19-year career. He finished with 521 homers and 1,704 RBI, while batting .301.

Christian Petersen - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30873021 Reggie Jackson — "Mr. October" Reggie+Jackson+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BMr.+October%26quot%3B MLB

In baseball, October is the time to put up or shut up … and Reggie Jackson was a master at stepping up come October. That’s how he got his nickname. His three-homer performance for the Yankees against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series is one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

Focus on Sport - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30876236 Roger Clemens — "Rocket" Roger+Clemens+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BRocket%26quot%3B MLB

Roger Clemens' nickname is a dead giveaway that describes his powerful arm. Clemens, who ranks third all time with 4,672 career strikeouts, owns the most Cy Young Awards with seven. He won two World Series titles, both with the Yankees, and was an 11-time All-Star.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30875031 Mark Fidrych — "The Bird" Mark+Fidrych+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Bird%26quot%3B MLB

Mark Fidrych took the nation by storm during 1976. Nicknamed "The Bird," because a coach felt he resembled Big Bird of Sesame Street. This Tigers pitcher caught the public's attention with his long, curly locks and zany antics. He would go on to win the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year after a 19-9 campaign with a league-leading 2.34 ERA.

Rich Pilling/MLB Photos - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30930121 Al Hrabosky — "The Mad Hungarian" Al+Hrabosky+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Mad+Hungarian%26quot%3B MLB

The southpaw's nickname alludes to his nationality, distinctive facial hair and antics on the mound. During his time with the Cardinals, Hrabosky became a fan favorite for his pre-pitch routine: He would turn his back to the batter, walk toward second base, vigorously rub the ball, take a deep breath and pound the ball into his mitt. Then he would storm back to the mound and stare down the batter.

St. Louis Cardinals, LLC/Getty Images - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864723 Dennis Boyd — "Oil Can" Dennis+Boyd+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BOil+Can%26quot%3B MLB

Dennis Boyd earned his nickname from his hometown of Meridian, Miss., where beer is referred to as oil, and made quite a name for himself as one of baseball's more colorful personalities in his day. He averaged more than 14 victories per season from 1984-86, with a career-high 16 games as a key member of the '86 Bill Buckner-heartbreak Red Sox staff. He fell off the radar after leaving the Red Sox following the '89 season, and was out of baseball before his 32nd birthday. Life after baseball saw personal struggles, and in 2012 he reportedly admitted to often pitching under the influence of cocaine during his career.

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864712 Gary Carter — "The Kid" Gary+Carter+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Kid%26quot%3B MLB

Gary Carter earned his moniker for his full-time exuberance and his role as media darling. During a 19-year career that started in Montreal, the catcher won three Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger Awards. He was the All-Star Game MVP twice and played a major role in the Mets' 1986 World Series title. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. He died in 2012 after a battle with brain cancer.

Rich Pilling/MLB Photos - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864709 Nolan Ryan — "The Ryan Express" Nolan+Ryan+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Ryan+Express%26quot%3B MLB

Nolan Ryan put fear in hitters’ eyes like a runaway locomotive for 27 years over four decades. Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson said, “Everybody loves ice cream, but nobody likes it stuffed down your throat by the gallons. That was Nolan Ryan’s fastball.”

George Gojkovich - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864724 Pete Rose — "Charlie Hustle" Pete+Rose+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BCharlie+Hustle%26quot%3B MLB

The hard-charging slugger was given the nickname "Charlie Hustle" by Yankee greats Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle. In a 1963 spring training game vs. the Yankees, the Reds rookie drew a walk, but sprinted to first, prompting Mantle and Ford to yell from the dugout, "There goes Charlie Hustle!" The nickname stuck.

Robert Riger - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864721 Ozzie Smith — "Wizard of Oz" Ozzie+Smith+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BWizard+of+Oz%26quot%3B MLB

Ozzie Smith first made a name for himself as a member of the San Diego Padres. His pregame backflip may have been his trademark, but his unparalleled work with the leather made him a wizard in the infield. Smith was named to 15 All-Star teams and won 13 Gold Gloves on his way to Cooperstown. Smith's most famous moment may have come with his bat, when his first career home run from the left side of the plate gave the Cardinals a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS. (Jack Buck's call of the play — and its place in baseball lore — has kept "The Wizard" in the baseball vernacular well past Ozzie's playing days.)

Rich Pilling - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864722 Willie Stargell — "Pops" Willie+Stargell+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BPops%26quot%3B MLB

Willie Stargell earned his nickname in the latter part of his career for his paternal presence on the field. His leadership was crucial to the Pirates World Series wins in 1971 and 1979; the latter team was known as the "We Are Family" Pirates.

Michael Zagaris/MLB Photos - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864711 Carl Yastrzemski — "Yaz" Carl+Yastrzemski+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BYaz%26quot%3B MLB

With a moniker that difficult to spell and pronounce, is it any wonder Carl Yastrzemski's name was shortened to something more user-friendly? He was a magician at playing caroms off The Green Monster left field wall in Fenway Park during his 23 years in Boston.

Louis Requena/MLB Photos - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30936503 Carlton Fisk — "Pudge" Carlton+Fisk+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BPudge%26quot%3B MLB

As an eighth grader, Fisk was 5-foot-4 and weighed 155 pounds. A relative dubbed him Pudge and it stuck with him even as he shed the baby fat. Fisk embraced the nickname;  “Pudge” is engraved on his Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown.

Dave Tenenbaum -
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864716 Willie Mays — "Say Hey Kid" Willie+Mays+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BSay+Hey+Kid%26quot%3B MLB

Willie Mays announced his presence with his spectacular play at the plate on in center field.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864710 Whitey Ford — "Chairman of the Board" Whitey+Ford+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BChairman+of+the+Board%26quot%3B MLB

Already known by a nickname, Edward "Whitey" Ford earned another handle as the big-game pitcher on the great Yankees teams of the 1950s and early '60s.

Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864718 Stan Musial — "Stan the Man" Stan+Musial+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BStan+the+Man%26quot%3B MLB

Stan Musial’s nickname was coined by sportswriter Bob Broeg, but Musial was anything but a mere mortal. Beloved in St. Louis, he stood at the top or near the top of nearly every statistical category.

Photo Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864282 Hank Aaron — "Hammerin' Hank" Hank+Aaron+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BHammerin%27+Hank%26quot%3B MLB

Hank Aaron, the man who finally broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record with 755, could really hammer a baseball. He played for 23 seasons, from 1954-'76, 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves of the NL, before concluding his career with two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL. Aaron was a 25-time All-Star, won four NL home run titles and won two NL batting titles along with three Gold Gloves. In 1957, as a member of the World Series champion Braves, he was named the NL MVP.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864717 Ted Williams — "Splendid Splinter" plus others Ted+Williams+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BSplendid+Splinter%26quot%3B+plus+others MLB

Ted Williams is one of the best hitters in Major League history. Makes sense that his nickname has to do with his bat. He was so good, he needed several monikers. Besides being called The Splendid Splinter, he was also known as The Thumper, Teddy Ballgame and The Kid. Teammate Johnny Pesky called him simply No. 9.

Olen Collection/Diamond Images - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864281 Lawrence Berra — "Yogi" Lawrence+Berra+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BYogi%26quot%3B MLB

Berra got his nickname from a childhood friend who thought the catcher resembled a Hindu yogi when he sat with arms and legs crossed waiting to bat. Berra won 13 World Series with the Yankees and was an 18-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP. His No. 8 is retired by the ballclub. A certain cartoon bear is named for hte Hall of Famer.

Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30861727 Ernie Banks — "Mr. Cub" Ernie+Banks+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BMr.+Cub%26quot%3B MLB

Ernie Banks was the first African-American player for the Chicago Cubs, making his debut on Sept. 17, 1953. He quickly endeared himself to baseball fans on the North Side and was famous for saying "What a great day for baseball. Let's play two!" Cubs fans affectionately refer to Banks as "Mr. Cub," for his years of dedicated service to the team. His career totals include 512 home runs, 1,636 RBI, 1,305 runs scored, 2,583 hits and a .274 average. Banks was named to 11 All-Star teams in his career.

Rogers Photo Archive - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864714 Joe DiMaggio — "The Yankee Clipper" or "Joltin' Joe" Joe+DiMaggio+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Yankee+Clipper%26quot%3B+or+%26quot%3BJoltin%27+Joe%26quot%3B MLB

Joe DiMaggio's prowess at the plate earned him the name Joltin' Joe. In 1939, he was dubbed "Yankee Clipper" by Yankees announcer Arch McDonald, who compared DiMaggio's speed and range in the outfield to the new Pan American flying boat. The man who still holds the record for hitting in 56 consecutive games, embodied the Yankee spirt. For a while he was also known as Mr. Marilyn Monroe.

Diamond Images - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30875006 Lou Gehrig — "The Iron Horse" Lou+Gehrig+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Iron+Horse%26quot%3B MLB

When Lou Gehrig got his chance to get into the lineup, he made the most of it. Gehrig took over at first base for the New York Yankees when Wally Pipp took a day off. Gehrig earned his nickname by playing in 2,130 straight games, ending his career with the famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech at Yankee Stadium on April 30, 1939. He died two years later of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a dengerative muscular disease now named for him. His consecutive games record stood until 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. broke it.

MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864279 Babe Ruth — "The Sultan of Swat" Babe+Ruth+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Sultan+of+Swat%26quot%3B MLB

As a 19-year-old, George Herman Ruth Jr. caught the attention of Jack Dunn, the owner of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. Ruth had to have a legal guardian sign his professional baseball contract, so Dunn stepped up, leading teammates to call the youngster "Dunn's new babe"; the nickname stuck, along with its variation "The Bambino." Ruth took baseball to a new level, winning seven World Series with the Yankees and becoming the all-time home run king with 714, a record that stood for 39 years. In 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, breaking his own record, and earning another nickname, “The Sultan of Swat." Boston Red Sox fans blamed their 86-year world championship drought on the "Curse of the Bambino," referring to the sale of Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919. The original Yankee Stadium was called "The House that Ruth Built."

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864705 Ty Cobb — "Georgia Peach" Ty+Cobb+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BGeorgia+Peach%26quot%3B MLB

Born in Narrows, Ga., Cobb received his nickname from his birth state, but you can't say he played as nice as a peach since he was considered one of the dirtiest players in the game. Cobb played 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and his final two with the Philadelphia A's. Until Pete Rose broke his hits record, he was No. 1 on the list with 4,189. In 1936, he received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot with 222 out of 226 votes.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864713 Joe Jackson — "Shoeless Joe" Joe+Jackson+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BShoeless+Joe%26quot%3B MLB

Jackson received his nickname after playing a minor league game in his stockings because a new pair of spikes had given him blisters. Even his bat had a nickname; he called it "Black Betsy." She sold for $577,610 at auction. Jackson was suspended from baseball in 1920 for allegations of his involvement in the throwing of the 1919 World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. Although a Chicago jury acquitted Jackson two years later, MLB Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned Jackson and seven other Chicago players from baseball for life.

Jackson's legendary bat, Black Betsy,

Photo Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30864720 Casey Stengel — "The Old Perfessor" Casey+Stengel+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Old+Perfessor%26quot%3B MLB

Charles Stengel acquired many nicknames over the years. A player and manager from the early 1910s into the 1960s, he was born in Kansas City, and was originally nicknamed "Dutch" due to his German ancestry. After his major league career started, he acquired the nickname "Casey" from the initials of his hometown and influenced by the 1888 Ernest L. Thayer poem "Casey at the Bat." In the 1950s, sportswriters dubbed him "The Old Perfessor" for his sharp wit and his filibusters on all things baseball.

Rogers Photo Archive - Getty Images
MLB 49 1580 MLB's best nicknames 30885138 Bob Feller — "The Heater from Van Meter" Bob+Feller+%26mdash%3B+%26quot%3BThe+Heater+from+Van+Meter%26quot%3B MLB

Also known as "Rapid Robert" and "Bullet Bob" for the speed of his fastball. Pete Rose once said of Feller: "He could throw a fastball through a car wash and not get it wet." Feller, born in Van Meter, Iowa, is the only pitcher to toss a no-hitter on Opening Day. He never pitched in the minors, beginning his 18-year career with the Indians at age 17, becoming the first pitcher to win 20 games before he was 21. Scout Cy Slapnicka signed him for $1 and an autographed baseball. Feller was an eight-time All-Star and won the World Series with Cleveland in 1948.

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