Marc Pierce karhu at
Mon Apr 16 20:31:58 UTC 2001

On Tue, 3 Apr 2001, Larry Trask wrote:

> I know of no modern form.  The first name that popped into my head was that
> of Bid McPhee, the great 19th-century second baseman, who was voted into
> the Baseball Hall of Fame last year.  However, on checking, I find that his
> real name was John Alexander McPhee, and that 'Bid' was a shortening of
> 'Biddy', apparently a nickname conferred in those days on a player of
> diminutive stature (McPhee was small).

> Now, if someone will only tell me how the old-time third baseman Charles
> 'Piano Legs' Hickman acquired his nickname, I'll be a happy man.

> Larry Trask

According to "Baseball Nicknames" (p. 125): "Hickman was 5'8" and weighed
185 pounds.  He had thick legs like those of a piano."

Also, apropos "biddy," this is still reasonably common in some contexts,
e.g. youth basketball leagues are often called "biddy basketball."  Is
this perhaps a variant of "bitty"?

Marc Pierce

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