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Nickname Hall of Fame

Updated on June 3, 2013

Why This Site

Why this site? Good question. I have a fun habit of nicknaming people. I learned from an expert, my dad. You can read mine, and then submit your nicknames for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame idea, ORIGINALLY, for our purposes, was any nickname that has stuck for50 years or more. Now we are revising this site to include the best ones submitted recently. We want to recognize creativity, not merely longevity.........:)

A name that demeans a person does not qualify. Names like Shorty or Fats are borderline. They could go either way.


One of my favorite nicknames is "Grabzie", a name given to Don G. in the 1950's. One day at a Minneapolis used car lot, Don was trying to persuade a young man to buy an automobile. As the customer contemplated his decision, Don noticed the man was holding his wallet, which had a $20 bill in it. Suddenly Don grabbed the bill and said, "We'll take that for a deposit". Don ran to his sales manager, and returned shortly with a contract. The young man went along and bought the car.

Later, after some buyer's remorse had set in, the young man wrote to the Better Business Bureau. In his letter he said he did not remember the salesman's name, so he would simply refer to him as "Mr. Grabs". The name stuck.


This dubious nickname for a Minnesota businessman has survived for decades. Most people do not know how he got the name "Sparky". He goes by it openly, and he does not seem to ever try to squelch or "play down" the name. You would think he would, because. . . . . it comes from a weekend when he supposedly lighted his barn on fire to collect on his insurance. On second thought, perhaps that is the very reason he accepts the name so casually. No one thinks anything about it. Frequent usage of the name has made it seem so normal.

Tubby Smith

Our next nominee is the University of Minnesota basketball coach. When he arrived a couple of years ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune could not find enough paper and ink to write about this guy. They devoted no less than five (5) articles on the day he arrived to save the basketball program.

Tubby got his name as a baby who liked his tub baths.

Benny Duck

Many nicknames are started by changing names around. This one is for Denny Buck. I was given credit (or blame) for originating this one, but I did not. The guy who started this was Vicky Viola on the baseball field. I merely kept the name going (for about 60 years).

Fighting Phil

Fighting Phil Barger played quarterback for two universities, Michigan and Kansas State. He transferred to KSU for his sophomore year in 1958. I gave him that name 50 years ago, and thus he is eligible for the Hall :-)

Hurricane Edna

If you took Latin or Spanish in my high school you had to be in Edna's class. Edna was a good teacher. She made sure everyone paid attention and studied. But she did have a temper that you had to watch out for.  Her name came very naturally when a hurricane by that name hit Florida. She was Hurricane Edna from then on. 

Two-Tower Fowler

In 1955 our neighbor, Max Fowler, was putting much of his energy into his television equipment. When he put up a second TV tower, my dad named him Two-Tower Fowler. Later that summer Dad bought a new Nash, and then he was visited by the local Dodge dealer. The Dodge man said, "I'm here to sell you a car". He made Dad an offer that was too good to refuse, so Dad bought a second car. This prompted Max to give a nickname to my dad: "Old 110" (for two 55's).

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    • profile image

      B-Duck 9 years ago

      Harris, I always thought you were the culprit for that nickname. Now I can only give you part of the blame. To bad you didn't tell the story about the bar in San Francisco.

      The nickname I always liked best was Tricky Dicky for Nixon. It was very appropriate.

    • juliehorton profile image

      juliehorton 9 years ago from Utah

      This is a lot of fun and really clever. Great Hub!