Saturday, January 22, 2011

Will it be "Mayor Bob" or "Mayor Jeff"?

As we know, Madison's Mayor is better known as Mayor Dave than Mayor Cieslewicz. I suppose fear of failure had something to do with that in the beginning. People didn't know how to pronounce Cieslewicz and they didn't want to look like dope while they insulted the new mayor, so they took the easy way out. C'mon, how hard is it to say? Sizzle-witz, right? No, wait, Chess-ell-wich? Ok, ok, it's really chess LEV ich.

A few years into his mayoralness, I noticed several people around Monona calling our Mayor Robb. Is it really that hard to say Kahl (call)? Slavic names warrant diminutives, four-letter German ones don't. Besides, Kahl is already a nickname according to it's the German: nickname from Middle High German kal and means ‘bald’.

If we must have nicknames for our mayors, let's be creative and imitate contemporary sports. For example, Mayor Dave could have adopted the moniker D-Sizzle and thus anticipated the American tackle football playah, T-Sizzle of the Baltimore Ravens (aka, Terrell Suggs). No doubt D-Sizzle would have had more, well, sizzle than plain old Mayor Dave.

The black helicopter crowd would have dropped their gyroscope if this t-shirt said D-Sizzle was coming for them.
 Which brings me to my point - besides wasting time until tomorrow's kickoff - what are we going to call the next mayor of Monona? I'm not asking who's going to win, I'm asking what appellation will we hang on them? Will it be Mayor Bob or Mayor Jeff? Please, no. If we're going to use their plain old names, let's stick with Miller or Wiswell - each of which is easy to say.

Here's some help.

The world of sports is robustly rich with impactful nicknames, a veritable horn o' plenty. Bob is out of the gate and ahead of the field in this regard and he seems to be angling for the one-name renown usually reserved to Brazilian futebol players. (Remember his catchy 'BOB' yard signs from 4 years ago?) At first I thought 'Bob' was too plain to qualify for one-name status. Most Brazilian players have names with little resemblance to Bob (to my ear anyway) such as Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Cafu, but now comes Fred. Yes, there are Brazilian football players named Fred - just Fred.

So if a Brazilian footballer can be be just Fred, then heck yeah our mayor could be just Bob (not Mayor Bob, just Bob). But lookout, there's more than one Fred in Brazilian soccer! There's also this Fred. It's the other Fred, known to his mother as Frederico Chaves Guedes, who has played for the World Cup team. Holy smokes! There's another Brazilian soccer-playing Fred and he's dead at the age of 26!

We don't have any other Bob's amongst the elected officials today, but who's to say that won't change? And the city of Monona does employ another Bob (Johnson) and he is arguably more important than the mayor because he keeps stuff in working order. No, Bob is not gonna work.

Jeff prefers a more formal approach, referring to himself as Jeffrey Wiswell, Sr. This calls to mind the harrumphing amongst conservatives when Jimmy Carter was elected President. I recall the (defunct) St. Louis Globe Democrat editorializing that having won the presidency as Jimmy from Plains, Carter should be referred to by his full names: James Earl Carter. Brazilian soccer players are known by one name, serial killers are known by three-names, but not presidents or mayors.

Did you know alder Wiswell is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol (Government Relations Officer) once a Colonel always a colonel, I say. Jeff could be The Colonel, although it sounds better if you can add a modifier, like Kentucky, before you whoop out the 'colonel'. (My tongue is so far into my cheek with this post that it's poking it out the other side, but the rank of Lieutenant Colonel is impressive.)

Your turn. Make some suggestions (and don't go there, don't suggest The Whizzinator). The obvious choice for Jeff Wiswell is "Whizzer" for Byron White, a star running back in college and later a conservative US Supreme Court Justice.

(Or maybe we should just stick with Mayor Miller or Mayor Wiswell, as the case may be.)
Here are some nicknames from the world of sport:

1. "The Splendid Splinter" (Ted Williams)

2. "The Sultan of Swat" (George Herman "Babe" Ruth)

3. Willie "Hit 'em Where They Ain't" Keeler

4. "Hammerin' " Hank Aaron

5. "The Big Unit" (Randy Johnson)

6. "The Georgia Peach" (Ty Cobb)

7. Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown

8. "The Yankee Clipper" ("Joltin' Joe" DiMaggio)

9. Fred "Bonehead" Merkle

10. Walter "Big Train" Johnson

Honorable Mention: "Big Mac" (Mark McGwire), "The Say Hey Kid" (Willie Mays), "Double X" (Jimmy Foxx), Paul "Poison" Waner and Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner, "Dizzy" and "Daffy" Dean, "Donny Baseball" (Don Mattingly), "Rapid" Robert Feller, "The Chairman of the Board" (Whitey Ford), Willie "Pops" Stargell, "Junior" (Ken Griffey), Roger "The Rocket" Clemens, "Dr. K" (Dwight Gooden).

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames- 1880-1899

Old Hoss--Charles Radbourn (1880-1891)

Bid--John McPhee (1882-1899)

The Hoosier Thunderbolt--Amos Rusie (1889-1901)

The Cyclone--Cy Young (1890-1911)

Little Napoleon--John McGraw (1891-1906)

Old Fox--Clark Griffith (1891-1914)

Wee Willie--Willie Keeler (1892-1910)

The Flying Dutchman--Honus Wagner (1897-1917)

Happy Jack--John Chesbro (1899-1909)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1900-1909

Three Fingered--Mordecai Brown (1903-1916)

The Mighty Mite--Miller Huggins (1904-1916)

Mahatma--Branch Rickey (1905-1914)

The Georgia Peach--Ty Cobb (1905-1928)

The Big Train--Walter Johnson (1907-1927)

Home Run--Frank Baker (1908-1922)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1910-1919

The Ole Professor--Casey Stengel(1912-1925)

Rabbit--Walter Maranville (1912-1935)

Slug--Harry Heilman (1914-1932)

The Sultan of Swat--Babe Ruth (1914-1935)

Dazzy--Clarence Vance (1915-1935)

Old Stubblebeard--Burleigh Grimes (1916-1934)

The Fordham Flash--Frankie Frisch (1919-1937)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1920-1929

The Iron Horse--Lou Gehrig (1923-1939)

Hack--Lewis Robert Wilson (1923-1934)

The Mechanical Man--Charlie Gehringer (1924-1942)

The Beast--Jimmie Fox (1925-1945)

The Lip--Leo Durocher (1925-1945)

The Meal Ticket--Carl Hubble (1928-1943)

The Hoosier Hammer--Chuck Klein (1928-1944)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1930-1939

Dizzy--Jay Hanna Dean (1930-1947)

Old Aches and Pains or Fumblefoot--Luke Appling (1930-1950)

Arky--Joseph Vaughn (1932-1948)

Joltin' Joe--Joe DiMaggio (1936-1951)

Country--Enos Slaughter (1938-1959)

The Splendid Splinter--Ted Williams (1939-1960)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1940-1949

Pee Wee--Henry Reese (1940-1958)

Duke--Edwin Snider (1947-1964)
Stan the Man--Stan Musial (1941-1963)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1950-1959

The Say Hey Kid--Willie Mays (1951-1973)

Killer--Harmon Killebrew (1954-1975)

The Vacuum Cleaner--Brooks Robinson (1955-1977)

Hoot--Bob Gibson (1959-1975)

Stretch--Willie McCovey (1959-1980)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1960-1969

Knucksie--Phil Niekro (1964-1987)

Catfish--Jim Hunter (1965-1979)

Cakes--Jim Palmer (1965-1984)

The Ryan Express--Nolan Ryan (1966-1993)

Mr. October--Reggie Jackson (1967-1987)

Baseball Hall of Fame Nicknames-1970-1979

The Wave--Dave Winfiled (1973-1995)

The Wizard of Oz--Ozzie Smith (1978-1996)

The Ignitor--Paul Molitor (1978-1998)

Need more names? Jeezus, what are you an insomniac? Go here for roughly a jillion nicknames.


One last thing. About that link to apparently the author thinks grizzly bears reside in Wisconsin:
The Number One Threat To Wisconsin? BEARS!: Two grizzly bears from the Brookfield Zoo feasted on a football and a Cheesehead with the Green Bay Packers logo. They were filled with meat and vegetables. The reason that the cheesehead wasn't sitting on top of a Packers fan's head at the time, is because the zoo doesn't like for the bears to have a lot of 'empty calories'.

Ok, the line about empty calories is pretty fuuny, but don't they have any black bears at the Brookfield Zoo? Maybe the black bears peed themselves and ran for cover when they saw the Cheesehead.


Addendum: Somehow the Deep Thinkers compiling the above lists of sports nicknames left out Stan the Man Musial! Stan Musial. I am adding him to the 1940's list of great Hall of Famer nicknames.

To see an even more complete HOF nickname list go to the Baseball Almanac.


  1. How about "Mr. Too-much-time-on-his-hands-too-much-sport-on-his-brain Wood?" (Just teasing!)

  2. Wiswell-Mayor Infinity
    Miller-The Bluer, Greener, Brighter Mayor.