Shortly after the Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Carlos Beltrans in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday -- seriously, Beltran did it all last night, including pitching 13 innings and recording all 39 putouts himself -- the MLB Twitter feed tried to start a thing.
Se-ñor. Octubre. @Cardinals. Walk. Off.— MLB (@MLB) October 12, 2013
Señor Octubre. Okay, MLB Twitter feed. Whatever you say. Nevermind the fact that no one has ever called him that before or that it's a cheap, terrible reappropriation of one of the best nicknames in baseball history...
Actually, scratch that. Let's mind that. Let's mind that indeed. "Mr. October" was the excellent nickname Reggie Jackson rightfully earned thanks to his stellar play in the 1977 World Series. "Señor Octubre" is just someone looking at a Latin player in the playoffs and saying "Hey, let's steal Reggie's nickname in the least creative way possible! Yay us." It's terrible, but is it even the worst stolen nickname in baseball today?
Albert Pujols was known for a long time as "El Hombre." Like "Señor Octubre," this was just a Spanish translation of a legendary nickname, Stan Musial's "The Man." El Hombre was slightly better, though, because a) it sounds better than Señor Octubre ever will and b) it was a spiritual passing of the torch from one great Cardinal to another. Of course, now that Pujols is plying his trade in Anaheim, everyone is happy to forget it ever happened.
When he was still playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, someone thought it was a good idea to start calling James Shields "Big Game James." That name originated with NBA star James Worthy during the 1980s, who was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. Apparently all it took for someone to try to steal the name on Shields' behalf was a couple of good performances in October -- and the first name "James." I don't know about you, but I think it should take a little more than that to reappropriate one of sport's most iconic names.
The worst stolen nickname, however, brings us back to Reggie Jackson. While "Señor Octubre" is pretty terrible, it can't be the worst because, thankfully, it'll be forgotten by tomorrow. No, the worst stolen nickname in baseball today is definitely Derek Jeter's "Mr. November." Not only is it another cheap and obvious imitation of the game's best nickname, it also makes little sense.
Wouldn't you expect someone named "Mr. November" to have great November stats? Well, Jeter "earned" the nickname in 2001 during the Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series when he hit a walkoff home run for the Yankees in the 10th inning of Game 4. It came seven whole minutes into the month of November, but that was all it took for tabloid newspapers to latch onto the obvious nickname and exploit it. Never mind that, in the remaining three games played in November 2001, Jeter was bad, going 2 for 11, or that everyone could tell just how transparent the whole thing was. People wanted to think of Derek Jeter as Mr. November, so that's what the media gave us.
It's still terrible.