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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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July 26, 1948

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Dropcap_q_quaint uiz time: What does this headline mean?

It's pretty clear we're talking about baseball, but who are the Twinks and the Suds?

The Twinks were a familiar headline name in The Times for the Hollywood Stars. I never understood the need for the nickname's nickname. You really need another way to say Stars?

The Suds referred to the Seattle Rainiers, named after a local brewery.
The story was a run of the mill wire report on the doubleheader but there's one line that really stopped me. The Seattle pitcher is referred to as a "wrong hander."

As a lifelong left-hander, I've been called a southpaw, a port sider and even a goofy footer, but a wrong hander?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the pitcher was right-handed.

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Comments (2)

In those days, the headline count was king. No computerized typefaces
that can be squeezed and kerned. The Linotype was inflexible. Twinks had
a count of 6 1/2, Stars 5. So in your example:

Twinks Cop Opener,
Drop Nightcap to Suds

Stars would be too short. Though this headline writer broke the rule,
the slot man usually wanted the first line to be as long or longer than
the second. As for Suds (4 1/2), Rainers (7) would be too long.

Beyond headlines, sportswriters, up to about the mid-60s, used nicknames
for nicknames in stories because they thought it gave their stories
informality. Here are the ones I remember for the old Pacific Coast League:

San Diego Padres: Pads
Hollywood Stars: Twinks
Los Angeles Angels: Seraphs
Portland Beavers: Bevos
Seattle Raniers: Suds

From the majors:

Brooklyn Dodgers: Bums
Cleveland Indians: Injuns
Chicago White Sox: Pale Hose
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bucs
St. Louis Cardinals: Cards
Philadelphia-Kansas City Athletics: A's
Philadelphia Phillies: Phils
Washington Senators: Nats
Baltimore Orioles: O's

Notice that the derivatives are shorter, therefore better headline
words. Some, of course, remain today.


Baseball players: Horsehiders
Football players: Gridders
Basketball players: Hoopsters
Track and Field: Thinclads
Tennis: Netmen and Netwomen
Golf:: Linksters
Wrestlers: Matmen



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