American Heroes - Puddin' Head Jones
We tend to think of great and/or ridiculous baseball nicknames as relics of the turn of the 20th century: Rube Waddell, Old Hoss Radburn, Chipper Jones, Chubb Collins.
But then there's the exception that proves the rule: Puddin' Head Jones, long a nonsensical nickname favorite of mine. Ol' Puddin' Head -- you don't mind if I call him Ol' Puddin' Head, do you? -- played into the 1960s! The 1960s! Yep, Ol'Puddin' Head, even with that nickname, started his career after World War II, not before the Spanish American War. Go figure.
There's a lot to love about Puddin' Head. First, he proves American is not, and never has had any sort of racism issue. When I first found out about Puddin' Head, I was certain he was a black dude and the nickname was some sort of racist one that I don't quite understand given to the first non-White to play for the Phillies, Indians, or Reds. But it turns out he's a white guy. Go figure. This conclusively proves once and for all that America wasn't even racist in the 1940s. Take that, NAACP!
Second, upon further googling of Puddin' Head Jones, I found the location of his grave. So next time you're in Laurinburg, North Carolina, stop by Hillside Memorial Park and pour one out for Puddin' Head, nickname giant, and proof that there's no such thing as racism. Thanks Ol' Puddin' Head.