Some people like their nickname, some people don’t. There are two rules when it comes to nicknames though: No matter how you shake it once you get a nickname, you are stuck with it for the long haul, and you can never, under any circumstances, give yourself a nickname. For the most part you will get nicknames that are some variation of a person’s name. You’ll hear the Royals rattle off Wiggy, Bish, Stairsy, Nev, Murph and know who they are talking about because of the likeness to their surnames. What about a Digger, Deke, Mookie, River, and Fuji?
Here is the story about some of their nicknames.
Chris Sorensen “Fuji”: It originated back in mosquito baseball. I grew up watching wrestling, Master Fuji, the manager used to throw salt in wrestler’s eyes; well I used to do it when I played first base as a kid. 8 years old and I would grab the chalk and throw it the same way. That’s where it originated and it’s stuck ever since.”
Mike Washburn “Mookie”: “When I first started playing Fuj just randomly started calling me Mookie Ball Game and it sort of stuck, now most of the guys call me Mook. It wasn’t something I was ever called before but it started and has stuck,” – Washburn
“Anyone with the name Mike, I nickname Mook. First day he came back from school I called him Mook and all the boys heard it and it stuck,” – Sorensen
Steve McCarty “River”: “River came from Steven Hicks (Hicksy, Mike Lint (Hoss), Jody Peterson (Peebs) and my brother Roger. We used to play at one of the three Royals fields every day. I think one day Hicksy or Hoss made a comment on a play and called me ‘Sweet River Brown’, it stuck I guess and is shortened to just River most of the time.”
Derek Wilson “Deke”: “I was a good hockey player from a very young age and I had really good hands, I “deked” the goalie a lot and scored. My grandfather, who ran the hockey stick factory in St Stephen, gave me the nickname when I was 5 or 6 years old. It stuck to the point where some of my college profs would call me Deke because they didn’t know my real name. “
Phil Merrill “Digger”: “The nickname “Digger” started when I was 4 or 5 years old, playing hockey. I was much smaller and shorter than all the other players in the league. I played the game hard digging and grinding for the puck. My dad told me as a boy to work hard and do my best. That’s where the name “Digger” came from. As soon as the puck was dropped I was digging in the corners against bigger players. Coaches would say that I was fearless and wasn’t worried about the size of my opponents. The name has followed me ever since.”