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To celebrate this summer's Olympiad in Greece, we've assembled the all-Grease team for our ongoing Baseball's Hall of Names collection.

Summer Lovin', had me a blast
Built me a team with names from the past
Names shared with the crew and the cast
Of the film that can't be surpassed

Grease's all-name team
Ripped at the seams
But ... oh
For those summer twi-lights ...

Tell me more, tell me more, tell me moo-oh-oh-oh-ooh-ore ...

Okay, here's more .. and we don't mean former Braves and Cardinals hurler Forrest More, who compiled a career 2-10 mark by finishing 1-5 for each of those two teams in 1909.

Yes, this team celebrates the greatest movie ever made in the Olympic baseball team-less United States: the heart-wrenching story of two teenagers in love but forced to first deal with the peer pressures of their respective "gangs" as they pined, "Hopeleslly Devoted" to each other, even though the R-ratedness of their respectiverecollections of their shared summer at the beach ... ah, differed somewhat.

So let's get on with the business of finding players for this team; the players can share names with either a character in the movie or with the actor or actress who played that character.

The two leads, of course, were the inimitable John Travolta as Danny Zuko and the priceless Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsson, the two totally believeable 17-year-olds at Rydell High School. Let's establish right away that there has never been a Zuko who appeared in a major league game, nor has there been an Olsson (with that spelling, anyway), so we are forced to settle for a nice little reliever in Gregg Olson, a right-handed closer who racked up 217 career saves and a couple of All-Star appearances, primarily as an Oriole. If we wantto stretch it just a bit, we can petition to allow Frank Zupo, who caught about a dozen games for the 1957-61 O's on the team, but if we get that desperate for a backup catcher, we can go with our closer's eponymous pal Greg Olson, also an All-Star. with the Braves of the early 1990's.

One passing thought about Zuko ... when Danny went all Kermit Washington on the basketball court while trying to win a varsity letter to impress Sandy, Coach Calhoun concludes "he's a hitter!!" and drags him out to the diamond. Regardless of the fact that the willingness to punch the shooting guard defending you probably won't translate into making this guy Barry Bonds, the very first time young Zuko sees a baseball thrown in competition, on his very first swing, he hits the ball 700 feet down the left field line; after a terrible "foul" call by student-umpire Eugene, does Calhoun calm him down and work with the obviously Natural (in the Roy Hobbs sense) Zuko on hitting to all fields, on waiting on the pitch? No, he sends Zuko out to run track -- where, admittedly, he does letter in an unspecified distance running event.

Anyway, we'll start to get some depth on this team as we parse Olivia Newton-John's name and find our squad blessed with two more All-Stars in line-drive machine outfielder Tony Oliva and left-handed starting pitcher TommyJohn
who will likely bring a surgical approach to pitching for this team. Speaking of surgical approaches, sitting between Oliva and John in the clubhouse is another lefty starting pitcher, Doc Newton, who compiled the unlikely career record of 72-177 for three NL teams from 1900-1909. Combined, Newton-John got physical for a total mark of 360-402 over 26 major league seasons.

Worried about the pitching staff? Don't be ... remember, the two lead characters in the film were named Danny and Sandy .. and that gives us right-handed 171-game winner Danny Darwin and a little lefty who cobbled together "only" 165 wins in a career bedeviled by injuries, a certain Sandy named Koufax.

Having exhausted the usefulness of Danny and Sandy, we move on to the T-Birds and Pink Ladies,
respectively. We'll start with an All-Star third baseman who lasted just five years with the Phillies ... Pinky May ...Hey, what do you want? His first name is "Pink" and his last name is that of a Lady. He fits.

There are no T. Birds in the annals of baseball history, the closest we can come being former Royals reliever Doug Bird, but he was (obviously) a D. Bird. But we do have a Birdie T. -- and another All-Star, this one behind the plate, in Birdie Tebbets who can also fill out the lineup card if we don't find another manager; he piloted the two Ohio teams and the Mil-Braves to a 748-705 mark in the 1950s and 1960s, "managing" two third-place finishes, three fourths, five fifths and two sixths in 12 seasons.

But when we look at the individual Birds and Ladies, things get interesting. Remember the greatness of this cast?

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie
Barry Pearl as Doody
Michael Tucci as Sonny
Kelly Ward as Putzie

Pink Ladies
Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo
Didi Conn as Frenchy
Jamie Donnelly as Jan
Dinah Manoff as Marty Maraschino

Okay, even the biggest Saturday Night Fever and Xanadu fans have to admit that the key couple in Grease was Rizzo and Kenicki. Now, we can't quite pull off that double in major league history, so we'll have to settle for Johnny Rizzo, who played a little outfield and quite a bit of third base for four national league teams from 1938-42, and Wayne Krenchicki, mostly a third baseman, but he played every position but catcher for Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit and Montreal in the first half of the 1980s.

As for the actors behind Rizzo and Kenicki, no Channings or Conaways have ever made it in The Show, but Stockard Channing can rustle up a shorstop once deemed the equivlent of Bobby Abreu, in Kevin Stocker, while another middle infield options comes along in the no-hit, no-field person of Jack Conway, who played second, short and third for Cleveland and the New York Giants during World War II>

The rest of the T-Birds brought less than athletic nicknames to the table -- but believe it or not, we can represent Doody, Sonny and Putzie on our All-Grease roster.

Actually, there's no Doody, but Dude Easterbrook played eight positions for nine teams in the 1880s, and his versatility makes him a better addition than right-handed relief pitcher Dooley Womack, whose Ball Four fame seems to get him onto an awful lot of these all-name teams.

As for Sonny, we'll go with Former Braves shortstop/outfielder Sonny Jackson, while for Putzie, one J.J. Putz snuck into three games, with no record, as a right-handed reliever for the 2003 Mariners and apparently, according to Baseball Last Night is back with the M's.

It was actually easier to find major league comps for the Pink Ladies .. Frenchy, Jan and Marty.

Like Rizzo, Frenchy Bordagaray played some third base and some outfield, mostly for Brooklyn, from 1934-1945. Although, if the movie is to be believed, both Frenchy and Rizzo were willing to play well past third base -- oh well, there are worse things that they could do.

We'd love to go with Jamie Donnelly, the actress, in choosing names for this team, as at the very least we'd end up with current Angel setup All-Star Brendan Donnelly and The Old Man of the Sea(ttle), Jamie Moyer, on the pitching staff.

However, at least one Jan has actually played in the majors, left-handed relief pitcher -- and yes, this is the real full name -- Noble Jan Dukes, who pitched for the Senators/Rangers franchise from 1969-72,
compiling an 0-2 mark in 16 games.

But what about Dinah Manoff as Marty Maraschino? No, there's never been a Dinah, or a Manoff or a Maraschino -- or even anyone named Cherry! -- who ever made the big leagues. But several very interesting "Marty" options are available -- the best of which is probably former Redbird infielder Marty Marion, but this team is already replete with middle infield guys, so in order to bolster both the outfield and the middle of the lineup, we'll go with former Twins Rookie of the Year Marty Cordova.

Now we're down to the "and also featuring" portion of our cast.
For instance, who can forget?...
Eve Arden as Principal McGee
Frankie Avalon as The Teen Angel
Joan Blondell as Vi
Edd Byrnes as Vince Fontaine
Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun
Alice Ghostley as Mrs. Murdock
Dody Goodman as Blanche
Susan Buckner as Patty Simcox
Lorenzo Lamas as Tom Chisum

Eve Arden as Principal McGee gives us another fine addition to the outfield, former bi-league batting champ
Willie McGee
. His Cardinals teammate Vince Coleman is also aboard, courtesy of Edd Byrnes as Vince Fontaine; apologies to current Athletics OF Eric Byrnes -- he doesn't beat out Coleman as the Fontaine

No Avalons, plenty of Franks, and would you believe that of the 17 men named "Angel" to play in the bigs, none made it as teenagers? The best of the lot is probably current KC shortstop Angel Berroa -- but we'll stretch a little bit to nab a first baseman with pretty good pop (career high of 30 homers) and a nifty glove in Willie Montanez. See, back in 1966, the 18-year-old Montanez was the youngest player in the major leagues as he debuted with the then-California Angels. So, literally, Montanez was a teen Angel; good thing he didn't take his counterpart's lyrical advice and "go back to high school."

Joan Blondell as Vi, at best, offers us right-handed starting pitcher Blondie Purcell, who cobbled together a 13-42 career in nine years with six teams, but displayed great versatility in appearing in another thousand-plus games around the infield, outfield and even behind the plate.

Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun -- besides torchcing the budding baseball career of young Zuko, offers very little to this team, the best bet being lefty reliever Jeff Calhoun, who pitched in 118 games for 1984-88 Astros; but future Academy Award winner Lorenzo Lamas, as lunkhead Tom Chisum, gives us access to stil another erratic reliever in righty Lorenzo Barecelo.Grease was directed by Randal Kleiser, soclearly lefty swingman Randy Keisler deserves a spot on the squad.

Then there's Dody Goodman as the irascibale assistant principal, Blanche. And there's an entry to a new starting catcher, a guy who hit 50 homers in three years for the Yankees while backing up both Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, Johnny Blanchard

Now, then, to the starting lined for the Greased Lightning -- c'mon, who didn't suspect the team would be named that? This team is automatic ... it's systematic ... it's HYDROmatic ... it's ...
C Johnny Blanchard (Blanche)
1B Willie Montanez (Teen Angel)
2b Wayne Krenchicki (Kenicki)
SS Sonny Jackson (Sonny)
3B Frenchy Bordagaray (Frenchy)
LF Marty Cordova (Marty Maraschino)
CF Willie McGee (Principal McGee)
RF Tony Oliva (Olivia N-J)
DH Vince Coleman (Vince Fontaine)

MGR Birdie Tebbets (T-Birds)
UTIL Dude Easterbrook (Doody)
UTIL/RHP Blondie Purcell (Joan Blondell)
IF Pinky May (Pink Ladies)
C Frank Zupo (Danny Zuko)
LHP Sandy Koiufax (Sandy Olson)
RHP Danny Darwin (Danny Zuko)
LHP TOmmy John (Olivia N-J)
LHP Doc Newton (Olivia N-J)
CL Gregg Olson (Sandy Olson)
LHP Randy Keisler (Director)
LHP Jeff Calhoun (Coach Calhoun)
RHP Lorenzo Barcelo (Tom Chisum)
LOOGY Noble Jan Dukes
Hall of Names: Grease is the Word! | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Craig B - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#32113) #
I can't believe you'd have an all-Grease team without Oil Can Boyd or Greasy Neale.
_bin - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#32114) #

I know you generally frown upon negative comments, but I have to ask:

Craig B - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#32115) #
If you have to ask, you're in the wrong place.
_Rob - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#32116) #
Good movie, but I don't like singing, so it's a thumbs down for me. However, to borrow a Bill Simmons phrase, "Grease" is pretty good SLANFARE television.
Mike Green - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#32117) #
I know you generally frown upon negative comments, but I have to ask:

I'll try to answer Bin's question. "Because some of us find it fun". This site is a mix of hard-headed analysis, reporting, mostly good-natured banter, and fun. Not all of it is for everybody.

Now, back to business. I nominate Sandy Alderson as GM of the All-Grease team.
_Mick - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#32118) #
Oh, that's good. And your manager would probably be Danny Murtaugh, then you have another Danny-Sandy partnership running the show, just like the movie.
_nunavut greggie - Monday, August 23 2004 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#32119) #
what?...ray oyler doesn't make the all-grease team?

fun stuff

Hall of Names: Grease is the Word! | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.