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Fairbanks Sunday Times – October 28, 1906

Pugilistic Nicknames

By John H. Heath


NEW YORK.—The practice of giving nicknames to boxers has been so pronounced that few of the more capable men have escaped it. No matter whether it was done by the sporting public or writers, the boxer of any prominence whatsoever who has not had some sobriquet applied to him in sportive familiarity is a rarity. In many cases the appellation bestowed upon a fighter has been used so persistently that the public either did not learn his correct name or forgot it. In others it was just some fanciful epithet that really didn’t mean anything.


But it is a privilege supporters of boxing have reserved for themselves and they will not be denied. When one looks over a list of boxers who have been active in ring circles during the last generation he will find a set of names that runs the gamut from Colonial French to Volapuk . Sometimes the names will refer to the boxer's former occupation, to his birthplace, religion, race, nationality, or has been prompted by some peculiarity of appearance, method of fighting or some physical infirmity.

Often, however, they are misleading and could just appropriately be applied to some tree, horse or stone pillar. While in most cases but one name was given a boxer, others were given two, three and as high as half a dozen.

Bob Fitzsimmons, for instance, at different times has been called Ruby Robert, ex-blacksmith, Cornishman, New Zealander, Antipodean and the Farrier. Jim Corbett has been referred to as Gentlemen Jim, Pompadour and the ex Bank Clerk: Jim Jeffries as the Boiler Maker: John L. Sullivan as the Boston Boy and the Mighty John L.

Peter Jackson, as the Midnight Mars; Peter Maher as the Irish Champion and the Dublin Man, though he was born in Galway. Tom Sharkey has been known as the Sailor and the Able Seaman, and Jack Munroe as the Butte Miner.

Dick Moore was known as Gentleman Dick; Geoffry Thorne as Jeff; Mike Conley as the Ithaca Giant; Paddy Slavin as the Sydney Cornstalk; Joe Goddard as the Barrier Champion; Peter Everett as Mexican Pete; George Godfrey as Old Chocolate; Ed Corcoran as Denver Ed Smith; Tom Carey as Jabber Carey; Con Coughlin as the Galway Man; Joe Hugan as Philadelphia Jack O'Brien: Jim McVey as Connie McVey; Herbert Slade as the Maori, and ,Mervin Thompson as the Cleveland Thunderbolt. Amos Smith was called Mysterious Billy so he would not be confused with Philadelphia Billy, Texas (Tarantula) Billy and Australian Billy, all with the same surname.

Al Marx was called the Cowboy: William Gabig,  Big Bill; George La Blanche, the Marine;

Lemuel McGreggory, the St. Joe Kid; 'Frank Craig, the Harlem Coffee Cooler; George Cole, the Trenton Tea Warmer: Bill Quinn, Scaldy Bill; Jim Watts, the Pendennis Pet; Paddy Purtell  was the original Saginaw Kid, though in later yearn it was given to George Lavigne; Eddie Carter 'was called Kid; Norman Selby , Kid McCoy; Noah Brusso, Tommy Burns: Frank Herald, Reddy and also the Nicetown Slasher;  John Ferguson, Sandy: Ed Martin, Denver Kid; Jim McCormick, Texas Jim; C. A. C. Smith, the Thunderbolt.

Joe McAuliffe the Mission Boy; Charley McCarthy, Bull. Johnny Dwyer was the original Brooklyn Strong Boy, the name being applied later to Jack Fallon; Bill Bradburn was called the Stock Yards Pet; Mike Brennan was the original Montana Kid, before It was given to Dave Campbell; Charlie Kamerer was the Fighting Dutchman and Jack Johnson is called Arthur.

Billy Layton, Jimmy Kelly, John Donaldson and Jimmy Butts were all known as Professor at different times; Jimmy Carroll, the middle weight, was called Brooklyn Jimmy, while the English lightweight of the same name was known as Foxy Jimmy; Martin Costello, was Buffalo; Jimmy Connelly, as One-Eyed, and Jim Dunn was known as Wild Bill.

Bill Hanrahan was known as Soldier Allen; Jim Ferns as the Rube ;  William Doughty is Jack Dougherty: Joe Welch, Spider Welch; Jack McAuliffe the Copper Boy; Frank Patterson was the original Butcher Boy.

 Joe Gans was occasionally referred in as the Iceberg; Oscar Gardner, the Omaha Kid ; Frank Erne, the Student; Sam Fitzpatrick, the Australian Comet ;Scott Collins, Bright Eyes; Billy Welch, Young John L.: Frank McLain was the original Cuban Wonder, Emil Sanchez being called the same name later; Tommy Hogan, of Pittsburg was Kid; Joe Young fights under the name of Tommy Ryan and was dubbed "Tonsillitis Tommy”; Jack and Mike Sullivan are the Pippin Twins; Jack Dempsey was the Nonpareil; Tom Tracey, Smiling Tommy; Billy Teller, Black Spike, and Cornelius Moriarty was known as Wilmington Jack Daly.


Bill McPartland was generally called Kid; Aurello Herrera is the Mexican; Willie Fitzgerald is the Fighting Harp; George Green was the original Young Corbett . Hugh Clavin is known as both Young Erne and Yl YI by his intimates.

Jimmy Kennard was the St.Paul Kid; Mike Leonard was the Beau Brummel; Billy Vernon was the Haverstraw Brickmaker; Billy Ernst the Bushwick Dutchman; Jack Collier, the Rockaway Lifesaver; Lee Hill was called Sugar-Foot: George McFadden was Elbows: Billy Mellody is Honey; Fred Morris, Muldoon's Cyclone; James Curtin was Spider Kelly; Billy Hill, Muldoon's Pickanniny; Hiram Goldstein was called Hymie; Battling Nelson's full name Is Oscar Matthew Battling Nelson: Tom Moore is known as Young Mowatt; William Ryan is Buddy; Tom Sullivan is Brooklyn Tommy; Frank Wongo was the Indian, and Phil Powers is known as Young Donahue;  Johnny Griffin was the Braintree Lad ; Ike Weir was the Belfast Spider

 Tommy Kelly was the Harlem Spider; Joe Bernstein, the Ghetto Champion; Tom Palmer as the Pedlar and the Little Box of Tricks; Albert Griffith was Young Griffo; Walter Egerton was the Kentucky Rosebud; Billy Murphy was called Australian Billy and the Little Torpedo;

Wm. Broad has always been Kid  to ring followers; Terry McGovern, Terrible Teddy; Austin Rice is the Iron Man: Charles Nehring is the Charley Neary who recently stopped Herrera; and Rosario Locke is called Kid. Jerome Quigley was often called the Fighting Plumber; Hughey

Napier, the Kangaroo; Jack Bonner, the Fighting Miner; Foster Walker, the Messenger Boy; Tom McCarthy, Woburn Tom; John Boyle was always called Crockey; George Kerwln, the Mystery; Frank Garrard, the Letter Carrier: and Tommy Ryan, of Philadelphia, was called Philadelphia Tommy to distinguish him from Tonsillitis Tommy.

Among the old-timers Jem Mace was the Gypsy; John Mahan was known as Steve Taylor; Dick Goodwin was Spring Heel Dick; W. Thompson was generally known as Bendigo;  Bill Perry was called the Tipton Slasher many years before the present-day boxer with the same nickname, Benny Yanger, tried his hand at the game; Bill Sheriff was the Prussian, Bill Poole was known as the American boy; the famous John C. Heenan was known as the Benicia Boy; Sam Hurst was the Staleybrldge Infant, and Jack Burke was called the Irish Lad.