Dec 3, 2013, 2:26 PM PST
Baseball players have some intimidating nicknames. There’s Mariano “The Sandman” Rivera, Albert “The Machine” Pujols, Grant Balfour “Rage,” “Big Papi” David Ortiz, “King” Felix Hernandez, and Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry. Wait… Kitten Face?
Gentry, who was acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, easily has one of the strangest nicknames ever. The first use of the nickname can be credited to a Rangers fan named Michael Gruber.
The cute monicker caught on and made Gentry a cult celebrity in Texas. He has even been seen in the Rangers’ clubhouse wearing a shirt featuring his image with added whiskers. There’s also a “Kitten Face” Twitter account and many cat-themed Gentry photos on this Pinterest page.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram documented the strange phenomenon last season:
Gentry doesn’t know how that nickname originated but believes his play on the field has gotten him more recognition from fans.
“I really don’t know how I am viewed because I’m not on Twitter or Facebook, but fans appreciate players who work hard and play the game the right way,” Gentry told the Star-Telegram. “That’s how I approach it every day. I’m going to run every ball out and I’m going to hustle and give everything I have.”
His on-the-field play does speak for itself. Gentry, 30, batted .280 for the Rangers in 2013. He achieved career highs in runs (39), triples (4), home runs (2), walks (29) and stolen bases (24) last season. Kitten-loving Rangers fans miss him already.
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