Nickname Watch: The Baby-Faced Assassin

kimbrel

Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel, naturally blessed with both boyishly rosy cheeks and lethal competitive instincts, has been called (and more than once) the Baby-faced Assassin. With this epithet coming into wide usage, it is perhaps only a matter of time before an attempt is made — either by Mr. Kimbrel himself, or by arbiters of culture like Baseball-Reference.com — to give it some sort of official sanction. We here at Nickname Watch take a conservative stance on such matters, and have consistently advised that a very high burden of proof be set for those wishing to claim a nickname. In the case at hand, we consider the burden of proof to be especially high, since this nickname has in fact already been used in Major League Baseball: (nick)namely, by longtime Reds reliever Danny Graves. Though it is easily argued that Mr. Kimbrel is a superior player to Mr. Graves — and after all, to employ a reductio ad absurdum, we would certainly not strip the name “Splendid Splinter” from Ted Williams due to the revelation of prior use by some minor player — the seniority of the latter man, I’m sure we can agree, should have some value.

But the trouble does not stop there, because even Mr. Graves is but one of a long list of individuals laying claim to the name “Baby-faced Assassin.” Were the decision solely ours, we would disqualify the phrase from Mr. Kimbrel’s official usage on this basis alone. But it is not ours, and therefore, we must at least entertain the suggestion that Mr. Kimbrel has somehow staked a worthier claim to it than any of his predecessors. Because this particular nickname depends in large part on aesthetic considerations, we suggest, as a preliminary step of information-gathering, that images of prior claimants be displayed and public opinion solicited as to the strength of each claim. For reference, we have arranged claimants in reverse chronological order, according to the period during which each was “active.”

Stephen-Curry1

Stephen “The Baby-faced Assassin” Curry, American professional basketball player (2009- )

BrianLee

Brian “The Baby-faced Assassin” Lee, American professional ice hockey player (2007- )

JamesPurnell

James “The Baby-faced Assassin” Purnell, British Labour Party politician (2001- )

TaufikHidayat

Taufik “The Baby-faced Assassin” Hidayat, Indonesian badminton player (1998- )

JoshBarnett

Josh “The Baby-faced Assassin” Barnett, American mixed martial artist and professional wrestler (1997- )

DannyGraves

Danny “The Baby-faced Assassin” Graves, Vietnamese-American relief pitcher (1996-2006)

FergalOBrien

Fergal “The Baby-faced Assassin” O’Brien, Irish professional snooker player (1991- )

Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar “The Baby-faced Assassin” Solskjaer, Norwegian footballer (1990-2007)

MarcoAntonioBarrera

Marco Antonio “The Baby-faced Assassin” Barrera, Mexican professional boxer (1989- )

GlennSeton

Glenn “The Baby-faced Assassin” Seton, Australian racing driver (1984- )

IsiahThomas

Isiah “The Baby-faced Assassin” Thomas, American basketball player (1981-1994)

PaoloRossi

Paolo “The Baby-faced Assassin” Rossi, Italian football striker (1973-1987)

JohnCollins

John F. “The Baby-faced Assassin” Collins, mayor of Boston (1960-1968)

ChubPeabody

Chub “The Baby-faced Assassin” Peabody, defensive lineman for the Harvard football team, and governor of Massachusetts (c. 1941)

BillCorbus

Bill “The Baby-faced Assassin” Corbus, American football guard who played for Stanford University (1931-1933)

JimmyMcLarnin

Jimmy “The Baby-faced Assassin” McLarnin, Canadian professional boxer (1923-1936)

Historical note. Though Mr. McLarnin was reputedly the first to be known as “Baby-faced Assassin,” we have been unable to find contemporaneous documentation of the nickname. Certainly he was often referred to as “baby-faced” in the newspapers, beginning in the late twenties. The addition of “assassin” may have been encouraged by the exploits of gangster and murderer “Baby Face” Nelson (see below), who had earned public notoriety by 1931. In that same year, the actor Lew Ayres (see below), who was also routinely described as “baby-faced,” was reported to be making a movie called “The Baby-Faced Killer.” The film was either released under a different title, or was not released at all. To the best of our knowledge, the first undisputed print appearance of the full phrase “baby-faced assassin” occurred on November 29, 1941, in the Daily Boston Globe, when it was used in reference to Chub Peabody.

BabyFaceNelson

“Baby Face” Nelson

LewAyres

Lew Ayres, “The Baby-Faced Killer”

rooney

ADDENDUM: Wayne Rooney, “The Assassin-Faced Baby”




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Alexander Nevermind
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Alexander Nevermind

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez: The Baby Killer
Hector Espino: The Kid Killer (El Niño Asesino)

comment image

http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2013/5/21/4348250/hector-espino-mexico-baseball-home-run-king-profile

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Jack-Jack attack!

Failedstate
Member
Member
Failedstate

The assassin of Babies Facescomment image

BenH
Guest
BenH

Isiah Thomas’ face looks like the opposite of that of a baby’s.

Casper
Guest
Casper

This nickname really should be reserved for boxers — and, you know, assassins.

AC of DC
Guest
AC of DC

Perhaps we could first take a step back and acknowledge that this is kind of a silly nickname. The definite article suggests a singular character the significance of which follows from a presumably contrary pairing. But this works only if “baby-faced” connotes some aura of innocence, a debatable feature which at the least varies by observer. Almost certainly none of these men was an actual assassin (some contention could be made re: Boston politicians); the epithet serves then to reinforce the popular but daft notion that professional athletes are “gladiators,” “warriors,” or “killers” — as though a sporting event were a life-and-death matter.

In conclusion, I would move that the committee apply the ‘DO NOT CARE’ stamp, or better still, remand the case to a lower court for rebranding. PPS, Screw Rooney.

James K.
Guest
James K.

Wayne Rooney looks like a little penis in a striped red shirt.

matt w
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matt w

Hoary joke: It was said of Chub Peabody that he was the only man to have four towns in Massachusetts named after him. Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.

not_brooks
Guest
not_brooks

What ignorant, lowdown, slanderizing, sonofab**** said that?! My name is GEORGE Nelson! Not Babyface!

Oh, Beepy.
Guest
Oh, Beepy.

Kimbrel has both the Baby-est Face as well as the Assassiny-est breaking ball of the listed claimants. I hearby issue the stern reccomendation that the previous Baby-Faced Assassins not only no longer be referred to by Craig Kimbrel’s Officially Sanctioned Nickname, but also that they are not referred to after this date and time as possessing the qualities of those associated with one who is thought to be babyish in the facial region. Their faces are decidedly adult, whereas Craig Kimbrel (heretofore referred to as The Baby-Faced Assassin, [TB-FA for short]) in fact not only possesses both a face similar in configuration and rosiness to the face possessed by the common human baby, but I have it on good authority that he may in face possess several unique baby faces, one of which may or may not have belonged to one Baby “Face” Nelson who became famous for starring opposite Hannibal Lector on the A-Team, which chronicled the true-to-life adventures of one Mr. Mister T. Tea, a bodyguard for an independent militia in the late seventies.

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