9. Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks: 2014 – Present.
It wouldn’t be proper to talk about Maddux without also mentioning a player many consider to be his modern-day counterpart. Kyle Hendricks, known as “The Professor,” excels with his soft-tossing prowess, schooling batters with his precise pitch placement.
As a nickname, “The Professor” works on multiple levels for Hendricks, considering his background and his style of pitching. It also allows for various school-related jokes which I am very much a fan of.
Hendricks graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in economics and was, by all accounts in an article by Bill Platt, an excellent, committed student as well as a tutor. He passed up an opportunity to join the Angels in the 2008 draft to attend Dartmouth and further his education.
The other reason he has the nickname “The Professor” is because of his style of precision pitching which leaves batters fooled. His low velocity leaves him with little room for error, and because of it, he’s one of the best pitchers at getting strikes on the borders.
I enjoy this nickname simply because it gets better the more you know about Hendricks and the kind of person he was before joining the Chicago Cubs. But it still makes sense even as a casual fan. With his calm, collected demeanor, he also has the appearance of a college professor, which is just too perfect.