Nickname Seeks Former Player: “America’s Step-Dad”

What we are doing is assigning cool nicknames to players rather than the opposite, which is a bloodless tradition that has been with us too much and too long.

So how does this running feature differ from the dear, departed exemplar of the genre? “Nickname Seeks Player” was devoted to active base-ball-ists, while “Nickname Seeks Former Player” is the province of those who no longer play this fine game because they are dead in spirit and perhaps also dead in the corporeal sense. Boileryard Clarke? Eligible! Sal Maglie? Eligible! Fred Lynn? Eligible! Dontrelle Willis? Eligible! Pete Rose? Asshole!

You may surmise from this that almost the entire sprawl of baseball history lies before you, like a sexy patient etherized upon a table. So prepare yourself to plumb both depths and heights as we ponder fitting candidates for this week’s name to nicked: “America’s Step-Dad”!

Before we proceed, though, let us remember those who have previously survived this crucible of sturdy ghosts. Last time out, Charlie Manuel edged Wade Boggs for the drilling rights to the nickname “Colonel Sanders’s Drinking Buddy.” So now let us — snifters in hand, cardigans beswaddling our mortal parts — gaze upon The Fireside Mantel of Reposed Fortune-Hunters:

Museum of Questionable Medical Devices” – Ted Williams
A Garbage Truck That Runs on Lightning” – Matt Stairs
Colonel Sanders’s Drinking Buddy” – Charlie Manuel

And now … “America’s Step-Dad”!

Implications and Intimations

America’s Step-Dad might be a well-meaning sort like Mike Brady. He might have “step-dad hair” like a middle-aged Robert Goulet. He enjoys being mediocre at tennis. He wears an ionized bracelet because, who knows, it might work. Perhaps, right now, he is at a Knights of Columbus luncheon. His handshake is sturdy yet not punishing. He occasionally complains that the color of the tough-up paint doesn’t quite match the color of his very rational sedan. He thinks about gas mileage. His medicine cabinet suggests mounting fates. He and your mother were brought together by a love of the evening news.

Who, citizens of sufficient origins, should be nicknamed “America’s Step-Dad”?

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65 Responses to “Nickname Seeks Former Player: “America’s Step-Dad””

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  1. pbs says:

    Kevin Millar.

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  2. Roll Fizzlebeef says:

    Jim Thome is America’s Step Dad. Quiet, knowing, clean-cut, and tries hard to be there for America when it’s feeling down.

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  3. chrisb says:

    Jim Gantner.

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  4. Hosewalt says:

    The answer is Kevin McReynolds

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  5. Steve says:

    It has to be an older player, obviously. Jamie Moyer might seem the obvious choice, but I’d argue he’s actually too old. It also needs to be someone who seems fairly straight-laced.

    My choice: Randy Wolf.

    A lot of step-dads sport the neatly-trimmed goatee. He’s definitely old enough to be a step-dad. He’s complains to umpires, but does so in a way that he isn’t widely considered a “hothead” or something. This tells me he’s the guy who occasionally asks to “talk to the manager”, or who writes a professional, yet strongly-worded letter of complaint–and still snail mails it.

    His insistence on not letting Jonathan Lucroy ever catch him over the duration of his Brewer tenure suggests he is fairly set in his ways–what step-dad isn’t?

    Yet, he seems like a nice enough guy. He really strikes me as a good neighbor. Despite his millions, I bet his vehicle would be considered rational.

    Your other criteria: gas mileage, evening news, firm-yet-not-crushing handshake, they all fit.

    Randy Wolf is America’s Step-Dad.

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  6. MikeS says:

    Tommy Lasorda. Only because my own stepfather always reminded me of Lasorda.

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  7. Hugh Briss says:

    Tom Brookens.

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    • therood says:


      I randomly sat next to Tom Brookens at a bar in DTW. I had no idea who he was at first, but I was wearing a White Sox hat and he started talking AL Central with me. He was pretty much the most ordinary baseball guy in the world and a solid alternative to America’s Weekend Dad (Mitch Williams) or America’s Real Dad (Lenny Dykstra).

      Additionally, Brookens mentioned that he was at Disco Demolition Night as a rookie and his thought as a young man was “If this is what the big leagues are like, this shit could be alright.”

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  8. Jay says:

    Nolan Ryan. Never know whether he’ll sit down and have a beer with you, or put you in a headlock and beat the piss out of you.

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  9. Smooth says:

    Bert Blyleven.

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  10. dp says:

    Steve Garvey is America’s Stepdad, and its real father as well. “You’re not my real Dad!” “Might want to take a look at those hairy forearms and immaculate pearly whites of yours and think hard about how your Mom and I met, sonny.”

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Noel says:

    David Cone, Don Mattingly or Luis Gonzalez

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  12. Brian says:

    It’s Garvey and it’s not even up for debate

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  13. Jennifer says:

    Charlie Leibrandt

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  14. Johnny Hummusbeard says:

    Knuckleballer Tom Candiotti!

    From his wikipedia page:
    “Candiotti was inducted into the International Bowling Museum’s Hall of Fame on June 27, 2007.”

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  15. Levi Stahl says:

    I wanted to vote for Will Clark, but I had Steve Garvey in the back of my mind, and the people here have convinced me. Plus, he fits the role of “guy your mom married whom you thought was a total phony but she thought was perfect, then later she tearily admitted that you were right about.”

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  16. olethros says:

    Stepdads aren’t gentle tempered, polo shirt bedecked, milquetoasts lazily boning your mom in the missionary position once a week or so. They’re drunken louts prone to unpredictable bursts of physical violence and fervent religiosity. As such, Ty Cobb.

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    • Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets says:

      You had me at milquetoast. I support Ty Cobb based on your appeal.

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    • chrisb says:

      This is the Garvey-type stepdad.

      The Cobb type is biological fathers to tons of kids by different mothers — a parade of chorus girls who were all the same age when he married and/or knocked them up. The Cobb type is not marrying women with kids.

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      • Røark says:

        He is also not AMERICA’s step dad. He might represent a stepfather to 85% of the residents of Florida, but the choice for America is Mit Romney in khaki shorts that sit three inches above the knee.

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  17. DD says:

    It’s gotta be someone you can see trying a little TOO hard to be liked and be “cool”, despite being boring as hell. Thome is a good option, though he’s still playing. I first thought of Jim Eisenriech. Moyer? Jim Palmer?

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  18. Jim Palmer.

    Pancakes for breakfast, kids.

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  19. deadhead says:

    I vote for one of the league leaders in illegitimate children…

    Tug McGraw!!

    Plus, Tug gets a little creepy with young girls, as some step-dads are wont to do. To verify his creepiness with young ‘uns witness this clip from the great tv show The Baseball Bunch (the 3:45ish mark).

    Also, noted sexual predator of a girl I went to HS with might be a nice fit…

    Luis Polonia

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  20. chiefglockandhummer says:


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  21. Coo says:

    Cal Ripken, Jr. He was more of a dad to me than you ever were, dad.

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  22. sporkless says:

    Pat Tabler. Boring AND creepy.

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  23. Katie says:

    John Olerud. Tall, quiet, adept, safety first.

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Double J says:

    Bo Belinsky. He was linked to all the tabloid hotties of his time (including engaged to Mamie Van Doren). The step-dad who was stepping out. i’m sure he got more rebounds than Dennis Rodman.

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  25. bob says:

    Robin Ventura… have you seen his press conferences?

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  26. Jack says:

    Might as well throw Pat Burrell into this. He literally could be both everyone’s step-dad and real dad simultaniously.

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  27. Dainer's Hubris says:

    Rick Monday, Marine Corps reservist, American flag savior, Canadian team in the World Series preventer. Oh, how I resent him.

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  28. agam22 says:

    Kevin Stocker. There is no one more milquetoast than Kevin Stocker

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  29. acklyoung says:

    Buck Martinez. The hair says it all.

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  30. Late but pertinent entry:


    Comes home drunk after going 0-For August

    Doesn’t give a damn about your math homework.

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  31. olethros says:

    Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. Google it.

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  32. RamboDiaz says:

    I’m late to the party, kinda, but I really totally super duper feel like Steve Garvey would be the exemplary paint-complaining evening-news-loving stepdad that America should have, even at the expense of America’s own fathers.

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  33. Beevis says:

    Tom Browning.

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  34. reillocity says:

    Tommy John.

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  35. BJFan says:

    Matt Stairs, O Canada

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  36. Eminor3rd says:

    Doug Meintceiwicz

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