Stan Hochman: One nickname for Phillies' aces rises to top

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The Phillies' pitching stars: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. (File photos)

IF YOU want to create a nifty nickname for a player, a team or part of a team, you have to think like a bride. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Well, maybe not too blue because the kids are gonna want to wear the T-shirt to school and some grumpy principal is gonna ban the garb, stirring a tempest in a T-shirt, which, on second thought, is not such a bad idea.

Borrowing is one thing, stealing is another. Which is why Fab Four for Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels is a terrible idea. It belonged to the Beatles. And then it identified those hoopsters at Michigan. Or were they the Fab Five? Anyway, why would we want anything that reminded us of Chris Webber, who had run out of timeouts and talent by the time he got here.

Even if you spelled it Phab Phour, it would be embarrassing. It's like throwing opposition homers back onto the field. That's a Wrigley Field thing, that's a Cubs thing, and the last time that franchise won anything Abraham Lincoln was president.

You detect a note of arrogance? Uh huh. I'm the guy who nicknamed that 1983 Phillies team "The Wheeze Kids" and it stuck. Yo, lightning might strike again 27 years later.

I want the best starting rotation in baseball called "The Un-four-gettables." Little musical reference in there, which should please Kristen Lee, who loved the city's cultural climate first time around. And the quaint chance to play Nat King Cole's version of "Unforgettable" whenever Cole Hamels pitches.

Other than Ruben Amaro Jr. and his front office elves, who thought Lee was "gettable" with the Yankees offering 7 years and $150 million?

That's it, that's my best shot. I had some other ideas, including "The Fourtissimos," which refers to the musical direction to play loudly. Maybe too obscure. And besides, these might be four of the most soft-spoken guys in the whole cockeyed game.

I had a patriotic theme, "Armed Fources" plus "Deadly Fource" and "Brute Fource" but baseball is not a violent game, unless you're sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium wearing the other team's gear.

I thought about "The Enfourcers" but didn't want to focus on the mob angle. I thought about that Grant Wood painting and posing the four guys in overalls and farm implements and calling them "Pitch-Fourked." But that might have been too subtle.

That's the problem, worrying about how the nickname sounds as well as worrying about how it looks on a shirt.

I considered calling them "The Fourmula" with a subtitle of 4 x 25 = 100.

And I thought about "Mount Rushfour" with their portraits carved on the side of a mountain. And then there was the spinoff of a Broadway show about Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins called "Million Dollar Quartet." Could have called them "Zillion Dollar Quartet" and scattered the shirts with musical notes.

You think a T-shirt will sell of the four guys in golfing garb, all of them swinging a bodacious driver, and the warning "Four!!!!" underneath?

I thought about "Four-um" with the guys posed in front of Roman columns. And "Four-closers" with the guys padlocking the enemy's bullpen gate. Or their own. And "Fourmaldehyde" with the four pitchers in lab coats and smoking test tubes.

There was "Four-in-hand" with the four pitchers pulling a stage coach, which would sell big at the Devon Horse Show and nowhere else. There were others that didn't make the cut, variations on "Fourtress" and "Fourmidable" and a golden oldie lifted from Moses Malone, "Fo' Fo' Fo'."

I had some nasty ones too, like the four guys shattering a Yankees logo with pool cues and the slogan "Four-Cue."

And a historical theme, calling them the "Four Freedoms" and posing them in front of the Liberty Bell. I'll bet you didn't know that besides freedom of speech and freedom of religion, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who promised freedom from want and freedom from fear.

"Un-four-gettables" is my winner. What do you think?

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