By Tim”Shoe” Sullivan
If you ever wanted to meet someone with a nickname, go to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Seems like almost everyone there has one.
Point has people with all kinds of nicknames. Some of them have good reasons behind them. Many of them fit to a “T”. And there are others that make no sense at all.
Oddly enough, it seems like 98 percent of everyone in Point who has a nickname is a guy. To tell you the truth, I can only think of one girl who has a nickname. One.
Sandy Duda. Her nickname is “Zippity”. As in Zippity Doo da.
Bob Pesch has one of the most recognizable nicknames in town. It’s “Ma”. Most people don’t even know his real name is Bob. Everyone calls him “Ma”. He got the nickname because he was always taking kids he coached to Brewer and Bucks’ games
in his van. Someone said “He’s like everyone’s Ma”, and it stuck.
Over the years, you could meet a lot of folks in bars, softball, and rec basketball. Half of the players in the leagues had nicknames.
Ma Pesch’s teammates were Larry “Crow” Zimmerman and Bob “Mumbler” Giese. Mumbler always mumbles. Now then, Mumbler Giese should not be confused with his older brother Rick who answers to “Harvey”. Harv is also known as “The Glide” due to a basketball play at St. Pete’s many moons ago. And he isn’t the only “Harvey” around. There’s also Mark “Harvey” Kubisiak of ShopKo and Everett “Harvey” Slack.
By the way, Mumbler always hangs around with Pat “Woba” Witkowski. And Pesch’s neighbor was Billy “Waldo” Ellenz. Ma lives with Dick “Big Rufus” Konopacki who will never be mistaken for Kenny “Little Rufus” Worden. Hey.
A few blocks north of Ma lived Tom “Dr. Q” Quimby who adores the basketball star Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Dr. Q. used to work with Tom “Cat” Kujawski.
Pesch had many softball teammates, including Mike “Caz” Spreda, John “Carpsucker” Toepfer, Don “Duck” Shannon, and Dave “Nax” Nachman. Duck and Nax went to school with Tom “Wino” Bernas .
And then there’s the Kedrowski clan. Johnny “Three-Mile” Kedrowski, Dave “Smiley” Kedrowski, and Mark “Harpo” Kedrowski. All of them know Bruce “Prune” Kinney who’s in a category by himself.
From my neighborhood were Dale “Futz” Varsho whose brother Gary played for the Chicago Cubs, Ron “Minnow” Shimek, and the legendary Trivia guy Jim “The Oz” Oliva.
Ma’s Children softball team played against Jim “Thurman” Wroblewski, Kent “Stanley” Zelhofer, Dave “Bootsie” Stroik, and Rick “Bullhead” Koehler.
Most of them bowled against Bobby “Big Horse” Opiola who isn’t related to Bob “Horse” Rohde who played on the Pointers with NBA ref Blaine “Goose” Reichelt who lived above Partner’s Pub with Randy “Chi Chi” Wievel when Jeff “Moff” Moffet and Mike “Pearlie” Derer ran Partner’s. Mark “Turtle” Ohlert and J. “Clarke” Pinzer frequented the Pub. Pinzer also answers to “Karnac”.
Karnac played softball with Dave “Roundy” Kluetz, Ron “Hawk” Bornhauser, Mike “Woodduck” Lubenow, and Marc “Sniffer” Vollrath.
Sports nicknames were always big around Point. You had Dave “Puffo” Roman, Adam “Bomber” Rutta, and track star Donny “Ducko” Ceplina. Some great softball players were Dave “Five-Mile” Rasmussen, Stan “Stash” Potacki, and Todd “Marvin” Barnes. And we can’t forget Todd “Wad” Higgins who played against Dave “Wad” Nolan.
Bar owners included Dennis “Buffy” Burke, Jim “Tumor” Mozuch, and Craig “Archie” Hansen. Tom “Jingles” McCarten and Bob “Rubba” Klosno played for Archie’s. So did Mike “George” Glodosky who was at our 50th high school reunion as was John “Flub” Nolan. Mickey “Red Fox” Berard knew the Buffy’s crowd well.
Softball players with nicknames were everywhere. Florian “Junior” Jurgella. John “Yatch” Herek. Dave “Mortie” Morton, Jon “Flipper” Lowery, Phil “Flipper” Okray, Gary “Fringe” Olson, Chris “Ern the Burn” Groholski, and Scott “Hoot” Whitney who was a teammate of Wad Higgins. And back before Jerry “Jughead” Krueger ran the Rec Department, one of the first softball announcers in Point was John “Hoot” Sebora.
Our Kim’s Barrel Inn basketball team had Bill “Big Daddy” Tracy, Mark “Big Mo” Molski, Brian “Load” Filtz, and Dave “Junkyard” Kanas. The Unique softball team featured Steve “Carbo” Carr and Mike “Spike” Shulfer.
Scott “Slab” Kovatch had a dandy softball team with Paul “Rainmaker” Zelewski and Jeremy “Low One” Niemczyk. Zelewski got his nickname cuz his home runs went really high.
And the nicknames just kept coming. Bob “Nipper” Nitka made pizza. Chad “Chipper” Bielen knows his sports. Myron “Zip” Paukert was a character. Lloyd “Bugsy” Gross and Gary “Fingers” Prince were good bowlers.
And then there were the “Weasels”. Tom “Weasel” Koehl, “Weasel” Kruzitski, and Jay “Weasel” Casey.
Bugsy, Rubba, Mumbler, Junkyard, and Wino are all right up there near the top, but the craziest one isn’t Joe “Colonel” Sanders. The best nickname was an old guy who hung around the Dewey Bar.
“Spit In The Ocean”
Gotta end this nickname piece with a quick story. Way back in the day, a few of us were scoring softball and basketball games for the Rec. Had to fill out forms for the SPJ (Stevens Point Journal). One day, the sports editor kinda called us all on the carpet. He couldn’t believe so many of the local players had so many nicknames. He told us in no uncertain terms that we were to cease writing nicknames. So the next week, “Chi Chi” wrote in his game write-up: “Joe Sanders left in the third inning with a
This is the “Shoe” signing off. Take care.