7. Rick “The Red Baron” Sutcliffe: 1984 – 1991.
As a pitcher, the nickname “The Red Baron” gives the impression that you’re about to cut down opposing batters like an ace fighter pilot cuts down enemy airplanes. Rick Sutcliffe didn’t exactly have the highest strikeout numbers, but he did enjoy a good amount of success in his own right.
1984 marked Sutcliffe’s only Cy Young season after a mid-season trade to the Chicago Cubs from the Indians. What had been a miserable season for the righty changed to a magical season where he improved his ERA+ from 80 to 144 and won 16 of the 20 games he started in Chicago.
While he’s not in Cooperstown, Sutcliffe put together a solid career, winning Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers and totaling three All-Star appearances. He ended his career with a 97 ERA+ and a total of 1,679 strikeouts.
As for his nickname, Sutcliffe owes Cubs broadcasting legend Harry Caray for coming up with the moniker after noting his auburn hair. He also has the legend to thank for luring him back to Chicago after he became a free agent after his Cy Young season.
It’s an intimidating nickname which implies the presence of a grizzled, tactical veteran capable of taking down other skilled ballplayers and I love it. After all, when you’re being compared to a mythical WWI fighter pilot, you’re probably doing something right.