This Week in YSU Sports History: Top Five Halloween-Themed Team Nicknames

By Ben Luli


This week in sports history is a special Halloween-themed edition. Today we look at the top five Halloween themed nicknames in sports history. Ranging from mysterious creatures to sweet-sounding names, this list has something for every Halloween fanatic. 


#5 – Red Grange: The Galloping Ghost

Grange was a three-time consensus All-American halfback at the University of Illinois, leading the Illini to a national championship in 1923. In 2008 Grange was named the best college football player of all time by ESPN, and in 2011 he was named “Greatest Big Ten Icon” by the Big Ten Network. Shortly after his final college game in 1925, he joined the Chicago Bears of the NFL. Grange played six years with the Bears, winning two NFL championships and being named to the 1920s All Decades team along the way. Grange is a charter member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. “The Galloping Ghost” got his nickname from his elusive running style. 


#4 – Gary “Bones” Bromley

Bromley was a professional ice hockey goaltender from 1971 to 1982. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. He also played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Calgary Cowboys and Winnipeg Jets. Bromley played 136 games in the NHL, amassing a record of 54-44-28. He is best remembered for his “skull” mask which he wore during his years with the Canucks. The idea for the design came from his nickname. 


#3 – Derek “The Boogeyman” Boogaard

Boogaard played left wing in the NHL from 2005 to 2011. He was a member of the Minnesota Wild for five seasons and a New York Ranger for his last season. Boogaard was an intimidating presence on the ice, standing at 6 feet 7 inches tall. His combination of size and physical play led to the creation of his nickname, “The Boogeyman.” Boogaard wasn’t the most skilled player on the ice, but his work ethic and determination to improve his craft made him a solid NHL player. 


#2 – Kevin Durant: The Slim Reaper

Probably the most well-known athlete on this list, Durant has cemented an outstanding career in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a 10-time All Star, six-time All-NBA first team selection, and arguably the best scorer of his era. Durant was drafted second overall by the Seattle Supersonics in the 2007 NBA Draft. After Seattle moved to Oklahoma City and rebranded as the Thunder, Durant became the face of the franchise and the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2014. After joining the Golden State Warriors in 2016, he became a two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP. He now plays for the Brooklyn Nets and is currently recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. “The Slim Reaper” nickname originated from a user on Reddit, and comments on his thin frame and his elite scoring ability. 


#1 – John Candelaria: The Candy Man

The number one Halloween themed nickname references the best part of Halloween — candy. Candelaria’s nickname is a play on his last name. He was a major league pitcher for 19 years, playing for eight different teams. His best years came as a Pittsburgh Pirate where he pitched a no-hitter in 1976, was an All-Star in 1977 and a world champion in 1979. Candelaria also played for the California Angels, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers.