Nickname Seeks Player: “Hot Lettuce”

Our ongoing quest, in the manner of a noble knight-errant, is to assign cool nicknames to players rather than indulge in the tired, lamewad paradigm of assigning cool players nicknames. Before we launch the latest installment, however, a trip through our Hall of Honouur, which is so stately, so regal, so much itself a celebration of the Norman Conquest, that an extra British-English unstressed “u” is required for proper spelling. …

Bad Miracle” – Wily Mo Peña
Captain Black Tobacco” – John Danks
$45 Couch” – Yuniesky Betancourt
Liván Hernández” – Liván Hernández
Frog in the Pot” – Carlos Zambrano
Aqua Velva Man” – Chase Utley
Victorian Sex Rebel” – John Axford
Good, Round Friend” – Prince Fielder
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass” – Kyle Farnsworth
Interrobang” – Adrián Beltré
Turbaconducken” – Ty Wigginton

And the nickname now available for purchase? It’s “Hot Lettuce”!

Denotations, Connotations, Implications, Intimations, and Incriminations:

It is a landmark day in the young annals of Nickname Seeks Player: a reader contribution. Faithful page viewer Bryz, who surely has better things to do, passes along this championship explanation:

I am in the middle of student teaching right now, and I had to bring the leftover remains of a chicken Caesar salad to school for lunch. Not desiring some cold chicken, I chose to nuke my salad via microwave prior to eating it. I took the first bite of chicken… not bad! Then I moved to a Caesar dressing-covered piece of lettuce. One chew, two chews, pause, spit it back into the bowl. It was terrible. Apparently lettuce above room temperature is like drinking cold (not iced) coffee; it’s just not right.

I was telling this story to a fellow student teacher and friend of mine at the end of the day, and I explained how the salad sucked overall because of the hot lettuce. That was when I thought instantly of the “Nickname Seeks Player” posts at NotGraphs, and I felt that something I had just said would fit perfectly: “Hot Lettuce.”

Lettuce by itself is rather blah. It’s nothing outstanding by itself, and I bet no one has ever said with gusto, “I want some lettuce today!” It’s something you add, but I don’t think you’ll really miss it if it’s gone. But hot lettuce is a whole different story. It is something that is just… filthy. Nasty. Has the power to make you do a spit-take. Thus, what I am imagining in a “Hot Lettuce” type of player is someone that overall was unspectacular, but when he got hot (performance-wise, not Adrian “Don’t touch my head!” Beltre hot or Carson Cistulli-attractiveness hot), watch out! This player being hot turns him into a dominating force.

We like it. The concept of “Hot Lettuce” as a nickname, that is, not actual, foul-tasting hot lettuce.

Prototypes from Baseball’s Gauzy Past:

More from Bryz:

Players that I feel fit this description might be John Mabry. 2.1 career WAR, and 1.6 of it was amassed in his 2002 season chronicled in Moneyball. Rich Harden is another player that I like, because he’s mixed in some “meh” seasons (regular lettuce) with some great seasons (hot lettuce). There’s certainly also other, non-green wearing, non-former Athletics players that could come to mind for this nickname.

I would add: Mike Damn Laga.

Guiding, Determinative Query:

What current major-league player should be nicknamed “Hot Lettuce”?

The convention floor, which is filled with hot lettuce and used, tortured rubbers, is open for nominations …

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Handsome Dayn Perry can be found making love to the reader at's Eye on Baseball. He is available for all your Twitter needs.

56 Responses to “Nickname Seeks Player: “Hot Lettuce””

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  1. At the wise suggestion of this post’s author, I submit Alfonso Soriano. It is a double entendre of the explanation given in the post, as well as reference to the piles of cash Mr. Soriano has acquired from the Cubs.


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  2. ElJosharino says:

    Cody Ross. Mediocrity to the max, except in the 2010 postseason.

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  3. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Joel Zumaya. He brings the heat, but do you really want him out there?

    Then again something music based may be better for Zumaya after that Guitar Hero injury…

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  4. glassSheets says:

    Milton Bradley

    When he gets hot he ruins everything near him. Plus he wore green with Oakland.

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  5. Bryz says:

    I’m glad to see my suggestion has become an official “Nickname Seeks Player.” Can’t wait to see who else gets nominated!

    I suppose since he’s still a current player and I had suggested him earlier, Rich Harden must be included.

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  6. Kyle says:

    I’ll nominate Nelson Cruz. Without doing any real research, it seems like the dude is prone to some crazy fluctuations in performance, as well as health. He’s been on some of my fantasy teams, so I’m pretty much an expert.

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  7. fjrobinson44 says:

    Brooks Conrad

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  8. Jose Guillen would’ve made a great “Hot Lettuce”.

    Is there anyone with the last name “Green” that fits the bill?

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  9. Yirmiyahu says:

    I like the nickname, but I don’t like the connotations everyone’s attaching to it. When I think “hot lettuce,” I don’t think of a mediocre player who gets on a hot streak. Lettuce is a pretty alright thing that is awful when heated; your interpretation of the nickname implies the exact opposite.

    When I think of “hot lettuce,” I think of a player who looks good and fresh and appealing, but then when you give him a try, he’s absolutely spit-it-back-into-the-bowl awful. Delmon Young comes to mind.

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  10. phoenix2042 says:

    james loney. because he is an insanely unexciting player, except for his ridiculous end of the year. He hit .397/.466/.679 in August and .348/.411/.606 in September. he was the 33rd ranked firstbaseman the year before and 20th ranked firstbaseman this past year, so he is really rather blah, except for those two blistering months.

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  11. Redlegs11 says:

    It needs to be a player that a fanbase is divided on. Some people prefer hot lettuce while others hate it. Therefore, I’m going with Adam Dunn.

    No fanbase was ever divided about a player (that Im aware of) like the Reds during the last couple years of his time there.

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  12. Keegs says:

    Rick Ankiel is basically the human manifestation of the Hot Lettuce concept. From his peak as a fireballing prospect, to his postseason spontaneous combustion, to a weirdly excellent offensive 2008, and now his random hot streaks where he kills the ball. As a whole, he seems completely bland and replaceable, except that he’s actually fascinating, horrifying, and ultimately unforgettable. Just like a microwaved salad.

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  13. phoenix2042 says:

    how about lyle overbay? he was pretty blah for a number of years there with brewers and blue jays, going between replacement level and average for the most part. but then this year he fell off a cliff to the tune of an 85 wRC+ and -6 defense at first base to make him worth -.6 WAR.

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  14. noel says:

    Allen Craig

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  15. Steve says:

    Nyjer Morgan- like lettuce, contributes nothing of value, yet known for becoming hot and hurting people’s mouths… literally. Unless you’re Gaby Sanchez.

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  16. Bryan Curley says:

    J.D. Drew

    Has any player ever been less inspiring than Drew? He never smiles, never frowns and never shows any emotion. He never reached the level he was supposed to back in his early days, yet he’s been a solid major league player for his entire career. He has stretches of dominance when he’s absolutely locked in, but most of the time he’s just kind of there. He’s despised in Philadelphia, played well enough in St. Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles to not really be bothered by the media and has left Boston fans divided over his aforementioned seemingly uninspired play.

    J.D. Drew is Hot Lettuce.

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  17. Nathan says:

    Hot lettuce would be bad… so Brandon Inge.

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  18. Jack says:

    Lettuce is a food that when its good, there’s nothing exciting about it, and generally is complemented by other better things (Salad Dressing, Mini Corn Cobs, Croutons). But its in abundance and everyone in existence has had it. This is also known as Guillermo Mota. He’s not an exciting reliever, but has been on every team at some point. He can fit in on any team/salad, but he’s the most bland thing there. He is a warm body at the end of the bullpen.

    Similarly Mota has caused Mike Piazza and Prince Fielder to explode with anger, just like hot lettuce causes your taste buds to explode in anger. Prince Fielder even looks like a taste bud.

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  19. lollosaurus says:

    Adam Dunn. You expect him to just show up and hit 40 HR a season but then suddenly something happens and he totally sucks, and his suckiness is so bad that the rest of the team sucks. Just as you expected the lettuce to be tasty, but suddenly after being microwaved, the lettuce sucks and makes the entire salad suck.

    Jeff Francoeur works, too. Everything about the guy screams “Hot Lettuce.”

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  20. Fattington_Bear says:

    If we’re gonna go with the idea of Hot Lettuce as something that’s unappealing, then can I just nominate the Baltimore Orioles franchise as a whole? I can’t think of anything more unappealing than that horrible, horrible team.

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  21. Matt says:

    Edwin Encarnacion

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  22. cj says:

    dan johnson.
    never really noteworthy until he hits the BIG home run

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  23. Dave says:

    Aaron Miles.

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  24. Greg W says:

    Adam Dunn makes sense to me, consistent, reliable, a known commodity for 6 years.

    Then he put on a black hat and wilted in the heat.

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  25. futurecfo says:

    Colby Lewis. That is all.

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  26. nubillybaroo says:

    John “Hot Lettuce” Lackey

    He is not a fresh arm, his face matches the green monster during after game pressers, and definitely needs to be washed down with a beer.

    Also being that he was crisp good lettuce at one point, he is now hot and disgusting, perhaps from contact with hot fried chicken.

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  27. bgrosnick says:

    Waste of space, waste of time, bland. Could have once been good, but has been ruined? Sounds like a middle reliever to me. And not just ANY middle reliever!

    Joba Chamberlain

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  28. Waluigi says:


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  29. Morse says:

    Oliver Perez.

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