One of my favorite books is the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. It’s not really a book, it’s more of an encyclopedia for baseball fans, but it makes for great reading sitting on the sofa when you don’t feel like committing an hour to a novel.
Within the book, James breaks down baseball history into decades, drawing out the unique highlights from history that statistics gloss over. Heaviest player, fastest player, worst fielders, best fielders, best young players, etc. Great stuff.
Anyway, one of the best parts is his recounting of the best nicknames from each decade, and how nicknames change throughout time. From Arlie “The Freshest Man on Earth” Latham to “Sudden” Sam McDowell to Larvell "Sugar Bear" Blanks, it’s an interesting insight into how the players were viewed in their times.
As I was reading about some 19th century nicknames, I got to thinking: What would Kevin Durant’s nickname be if he played in the 1920’s, or the 1950’s? Since the young man from Texas is still without a real nickname, I thought it would be a good warmup for those thinking of what he should be called.
1900s: The Maryland Marauder
1910s: The Dark Destroyer
1920s: The Dalmation
1930s: The Flying Freshman
1940s: Kool Kat
1950s: The Texas Tornado
1960s: Apollo Kevin
1980s: Heavy D