Finally, a Squirrel Gets Its Own Baseball Card. Plus: Top 7 Rodents in Baseball History
from Wildlife PromiseThe new 2012 Topps Series 1 baseball card set features a single highlight from the St. Louis Cardinals’ incredible run to the World Series.
It’s the only thing about the Cards’ season that was stranger than Kyle Lohse becoming a solid starter.
It’s a squirrel.
The card commemorates Game 4 of the National League Division Series, when a bushy-tailed rodent scampered in front of the hitter, Cardinals’ utilityman Skip Schumaker, just before a pitch. Umpire Angel Hernandez called it a ball, and Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt and manager Charlie Manuel argued, because everyone knows that a squirrel on the field means an automatic timeout, right?
Unless otherwise linked, all nickname information is from the Don Zminda’s “From Abba Dabba to Zorro: The World of Baseball Nicknames.”
1) Roy Sievers, ‘Squirrel’
Slow, slugging former Senators’ great supposedly got this nickname as a basketball player in high school because he “(hung) around the basket like a squirrel around a tree.” Though a citation eludes me, I believe he supped on nuts, seeds and cones throughout the spring as well, hoarding and burying food so that he might revisit his caches years later.
2) Orval Overall, ‘The Big Groundhog’
Early 20th century Cubs’ pitcher got this nickname because he was an agriculture student. Also: had a dense grey undercoat and digging claws. Alas, groundhogs may now be emerging earlier due to global warming, to their detriment—even worse than if Orval had reported for Spring Training in the middle of a Chicago blizzard (tip goes to Miles Grant for that tidbit as well as parts of this post).
3) Billy Shipke, ‘Muskrat Bill’
Old timer was almost my height/weight twin, and nobody knows what made him muskrat-like. Perhaps his well-adapted swimming tail. Though even that would probably not have helped him escape calamities like the Kalamazoo River oil spill.
4) Cliff Melton, ‘Mickey Mouse’
Former New York Giant was born 100 years ago last month and had big ears. I’m surprised there aren’t more nicknames in this vein.
5) Whitey Herzog, ‘The White Rat’
6) Gary Gaetti, ‘The Rat’
7) Don Zimmer, ‘The Gerbil’
Submitted without comment.
Honorable mentions go to to ‘Bunny’ Anthony Brief and Rabbit Maranville since rabbits aren’t true rodents but are often confused as such and often referred to together as members of the same ‘superclass.’
Did I miss anyone? Tweet which of these baseball rodents (including Rally Squirrel) is your favorite using the hashtag #baseballrodents.