I have a keen interest in baseball player nicknames – Kid Gleason, Catfish Hunter, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams.
The only two that seem to have a true source are Kid Gleason and Shoeless Joe.
Apparently, Gleason was less than 5′ 6” and always looked like a kid. Hence, a nickname was born.
Shoeless Joe had a new pair of shoes that were killing his feet. By the time he was up to bat he had blisters. So he kicked off his shoes and went to bat shoeless and the name stuck. I guess we will never know why they called him Shoeless rather Barefoot Joe.
The other two Catfish and Lefty don’t seem to have any history, other than it seemed important to the baseball clan that everyone should be called by something other than their given name.