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We're not gonna make it, no no
We're not gonna make it
'Cuz we don't have the talent
And we don't have the time"

- "We're Not Going to Make It
by The Presidents of the United States of America

Okay, unless you've been -- well, let's not say "in a cave somewhere," even that has political undertones these days -- unaware, tomorrow the United States will begin the pre-recount, pre-lawsuit process of electing a new president. (Either way, presuming the popular vote matches the electoral result, it will be the first time elected for the victor.) And that brings us to the inevitable "Baseball Hall of Names" All-Presidential-Names team.

From (Claudell) Washington to (Guy) Bush, it's an interesting challenge; and if you ever wondered why U.S. presidents throw out the first pitch on Opening Day, keep an eye on the pitching staff that develops throughout this process. As for defense policy and (offensive) production jobs, this team might fall a little short. But there will be plenty of campaign promises of success in those areas.

THE RULES: We will begin by selecting a list of the best player in MLB history associated with the name of each president, then will attempt to build a roster from that list; this is similar to the approach we took with the All-Irish team announced on St. Patrick's Day 2003 (in which, ironically, we took a swipe at then-new-presidential darkhorse John Kerry).

Of course, the "one player per presidential name" rule opens the door for two Bushes, Johnsons, Roosevelts Harrisons, and even -- according to the official "numbering" system of U.S. presidents, two Clevelands. That's good news for this team -- not the Cleveland part -- since it means we can welcome arguably the greatest RHSP of all time AND arguably the greatest LHSP of all time to this team, in Walter and Randy Johnson(s). Told you we'd have a pretty nice pitching staff when we were done, and we're just getting started.

Additional rules: No first names ... sorry, Roosevelt Brown (the only "Roosevelt" ever to play MLB, actually) and Grant Balfour, with special regrets to the greatness of Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander. Also ... no alternate spellings -- if the challenger wins tomorrow, that's means still no spot on this team for Kerry Wood or for Andy Carey. Nobody with the surname "Kerry" has ever reached the majors, so no matter who wins tomorrow, we are dealing with a finite roster from George W(ashington) to George W. (Bush).

Would you believe that eleven U.S. presidents have had a surname never shared by a single big league ballplayer in the history of the sport? And though it hasn't happened sice the 1950's, the following non-comps were somehow elected into office: Eisenhower, Truman, Coolidge, both Roosevelts, Taft, McKinley, Arthur (sorry, Mr. Rhodes), Fillmore and Polk. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, there were two presidencies each represented by the names Bush, Roosevelt (um, given the above, that won't really help us, will it?), Harrison and, according to the way presidents are counted, Cleveland -- one man, two administrations.

So here, in order of appearance as president, are the very best major league ballplayers with last names fit for a commander-in-chief.

There have been seven Washingtons in MLB history, if you count designated pinch-runner Herb (and what do politicians do best? They run!) -- but just one of those seven ever achieved All-Star status. Claudell Washington had nearly 1,900 hits, spread across 17 seasons for seven teams. Perhaps the most notable thing about his career is that he was traded for the dads of two future Hall of Famers -- Ken Griffey Sr. and Bobby Bonds. Either way, this .278 career hitter slammed 169 homers and stole 312 bases and will be a very nice addition to this team. Appropriately, given his surname, he may even end up hitting leadoff.

We get to choose two players here, thanks to the presence of John and John Quincy on the presidential roster, the 18th and 19th-century precursors to George and George W. The only All-Star in the list of 30 candidates is RHSP Ace Adams (yep, that's his real name), who was 41-33 for the 1941-46 New York Giants and made a WWII All-Star squad. The best Adams, historically -- no, it's not Terry - - was Charles "Babe" Adams, another RHSP who cranked up a career mark of 194-139 in 18 seasons with Pirates after one game (and one loss) with 1906 Cardinals. He had two 20-win seasons and nine more in which he reached double figures in victories.

There have been three Jeffersons in MLB history, including an Original Jay ... Jesse Jefferson was just 39-81 in his nine-year career with five teams (22-46 with Toronto). And outfielder Stan Jefferson was briefly a highly-touted Met phenom who played 296 relatively innocuous games for the Mets, Padres, Orioles, Yankees and Indians. The clear leader in the Jefferson election is DH/1B/OF Reggie Jefferson,who retired after the 1999 season with a .300 career batting average mostly with Boston and Cleveland. We will see that, presidentially speaking, he is not the best Reggie in this clubhouse.

Of the three Madisons to scuttle their way into MLB annals, the best, believe it or not, was probably 2B/SS/3B Art Madison, who hit .289 in 53 total games for 1895 Phillies and the 1899 Pirates. If we ever do an All-First-Lady team, remind me that Dolly Gray was a 20-game winner back in the '20s.

Eight people named "Monroe" have made MLB rosters, but by our own rule, Monroe Mitchell is ineligible. That's all right, the best of the lot is current Detroit OF Craig Monroe, who has turned himself into an excellent fielding, 20-homer guy while flying under the radar the past two seasons.

Apologies here to a boatload of All-Stars: two-sport Bo, former Cy Young candidate Danny, reliever Grant, 194-game-winner Larry, even pre-Santo Cubs 3B Larry. While all these guys are nice candidates, there are two incumbents -- current Hall of Famers -- standing by. If we end up needing a shortstop, we can go to borderline inductee Travis Jackson, but clearly the very best candidate is --remember the Jefferson comment above? -- the straw who stirs the drink, a man who might well actually run for president someday, Reggie Jackson.

That's right, there's never been a Roosevelt who made it to the big leagues, but sho'nuff there's a Van Buren ... Edward "Deacon" Van Buren, who played in 14 games in 1904, splitting time between the Brooklyn Superbas (one at-bat) and the Philadelphia Phillies (43 AB), hitting .250 and stealing four bases in four attempts.

We get two from this undistinguished crop of seven Harrisons to make the bigs, thanks to the equally undistinguished presence of both Benjamin and William Henry on the presidentail roll call. There's even a "Ben" Harrison who got two at-bats for (naturally) the Senators in 1901, but his real name was Leo, of all things. The best of the rest is RHRP Roric Harrison, who was 30-35 mostly with Orioles and Braves in the early 1970s. The second-best -- and we're really bottom of the pork barrell scraping here -- is Chuck Harrison, a 1B who hit .238 in 328 games from 1965-71 with Astros, and then the expansion Royals. All the other MLB Harrisons had cups of coffee; come to think of it, maybe to honor William Henry's 31 days as president, the shortest term ever by a wide margin, maybe we should go with RHRP Tom Harrison, who pitched one inning for 1965 kansas City A's and left the game with a career ERA of 9.00.

There are eight "Tylers" in MLB annals, but five of those are first names -- including the only All-Star, former Phillie "he was an All-Star?" Tyler Green. The other three Tylers all played for the Boston Braves, oddly enough -- including two who were teammates on the 1914 Miracle Braves Fred Tyler, who caught 19 games for the '14 champs, and George "Lefty" Tyler, who as you might guess was a LHSP, and a pretty good one who was 127-116 over 12 years, including 16-13 for the '14 Braves. Johnnie Tyler didn't come to Beantown until 1934-1935, when he played 19 games in the OF for the Braves, compiling a career average of (get this) .321. As nice as that is, if space permit, Lefty probably getst the Tyler space on our roster.

Of the 47 Taylors to play big league ball (not including the four with Taylor as a first name), there actually was one named Zachary Taylor, but his presidential name earned him just 48 at-bats in 13 games with 1874 Baltimore Canaries; Zack Taylor, was a semi-regular catcher for several NL teams over 16 years ending in 1935, but his real name was "James Wren Taylor." The best of the many other Taylor-made candidates is former All-Star 2B Tony Taylor, who actually played every position except pitcher and catcher in his 19-year career, mostly with the Phillies. His versatility will probably land him somewhere on this team.

There have been eight Pierces to put on the uniform, but clearly the best is All-Star LHSP Billy Pierce, a Detroit native who joined the Tigers as a teenager near the end of WWII, then went on to post a 211-169 career mark, mostly with the White Sox, before ending up with the Giants in the mid-'60's. He won 20 games in a single season twice, while reaching double digits in wins 11 times overall.

Two of the three Buchanans eligible were pitchers named Bob and Jim who sported career ERA+'s of 39 and 73 (not so) respectively. That leaves us with OF Brian "Buck" Buchanan, the former NYY farmhand who was part of Guzman-Milton-Knoblauch trade in 1998 and who has had some nice moments with the Twins and Padres; he is now with the Mets.

There have been just two Lincolns -- Ezra, a LHSP who was 3-14 for the 1890 Syracuse Stars and Cleveland Spiders and current St. Louis RHRP Mike Lincoln, who has cobbled together a 13-24 mark with the Twins, Pirates and Cards. "The Killer Inside" concludes that Mike is "Better Than Ezra."

Apologies to former All-Stars Alex, Billy, Bob, Charles, Davey, Don, Howard, Lance and even HOF 3B Judy Johnson and the other 89 Johnsons out there; we'll go with Walter and Randy.

Ten of the 20 MLB Grants take it as a first name; the best of the presidential namesake lot is clearly All-Star RHSP Jim "Mudcat" Grant, the first African-American to post a 20-win season in the A.L., when he was 21-7 for the 1965 AL Champion Twins, then beat the Dodgers twice in the World Series.

Nine men named Hayes ... there's a "Number nine ... number nine ... Purple Hayes" joke in here somewhere, but I don't want to work that hard. One is former Philadelphia A's All-Star backstop Frankie hayes, who slammed 119 career homers; former 3B Charlie Hayes belted 144 dingers, but never made an All-Star team. The best emerging from the, uh, haze, is former Indians uber-prospect Von Hayes, who played 1B/3B/OF and made a couple of All-Star teams with the Phillies, but who is best remembered as being the "one" in the five-for-one deal where the Indians turned him into Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jay Baller, Julio Franco, and Jerry Willard.

Our choices are limited to one: RHSP Bill Garfield, who was 1-9 with the 1889 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and 1890 Cleveland Spiders. Given the pitching depth we've already added, this guy seems destined for the AAA ("All-Vice-Presidents"?) squad.

Again sincerest apologies to Grover Cleveland Alexander; Ol'Pete's 373 career wins and three 30-win seasons would have made him an awfully nice third starter on this team. But rules are rules, so -- even with the potential of two Cleveland administrations equalling two roster spots, to we're pretty much limited on the one hand to Elmer Cleveland, a career.255-hitting 3B who started with 1884 Cincinnati Outaw Reds, then spent time with the 1888 New York Giants and Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and finally returned to Ohio (his name being Cleveland and all) to finish up with the 1891 Columbus Solons. So Cleveland played for Cincinnati and Columbus. Nice. On the other hand, we have RHSP/RP Reggie Cleveland, who made 203 starts and 225 relief appearances for the Red Sox, Cardinals, Brewers and Rangers, posting a career mark of 105-106. In one nine-year span, Reggie (the third Reggie on this team!) finished eight seasons with between 11 and 14 wins and between eight and 15 losses. He even spent one year as the Texas closer, notching 12 saves -- which just might make him this team's closer, too. It's true what they say, apparently -- with presidential politics, there's no relief in sight.

Okay, with an eye to the roster now; we'll have to decide later if HOFer Hack Wilson will DH for this team -- but that only happens if we find another CF and can pass on an All-Star like speedster Willie Wilson or perhaps even 30/30 threat Preston Wilson. Apologies to All-Stars Dan, Don, Glenn, Jack, Jim, Jimmie and Preston's Uncle Mookie -- especially to Don, who just might have built a Hall of Fame resume if not for his untimely death at the age of 29, already with 104 wins for the awful Houston Astros teams of the times.

Just two Hardings ... catcher Lou Harding backstopped one game for the 1886 St. Louis Browns, with a double in three at-bats for a career OPS of 1.000. RHRP Charlie "Slim" Harding gave up one run in twoinnings for the 1913 Detroit Tigers. It is not confirmed if this little-known battery ever worked together in a minor league game played at a stadium called Teapot Dome.

There have been six baseball-playing Hoovers, including SS/OF Buster Hoover, who played parts of four seasons with the 1888 Philadelphia Keystones, the 1884 Phillies, 1886 Orioles, then finally leaving the Chesepeake Bay region, for the 1892 Cincinnati Reds. The.288 career hitter showed no power, with just one homer in 525 career at-bats. Backup catcher Paul Hoover hit just .190 in a recent audition with the Devil Rays, while WWII shortstop Joe Hooever hit .243 in parts of three seasons for the Tigers. No other Hoovers played more than part of one season.

There is a Joe, a John, and a Ted among the 21 Kennedys eligible for this team -- but no Robert or Bobby. While current Angels 2B Adam Kennedy is putting together a nice career, Rox righty Joe Kennedy may have an All-Star appearance in his future, and former All-Star RHSP Vern Kennedy (104-132 in his career; 67-62 in the '30s and 37-60 in the '40s) had some good moments, the best of the Kennedys (sounds like an A&E special), nosing out his more versatile but less gifted with the bat father Bob, is former Cardinal and Padre catcher Terry Kennedy, who will be a fine backup for this presidential team? Backup? Sure, we haven't reached the late 1970's yet.

Of the six Nixons to make a MLB team, the best are outfielders Trot Nixon and Otis Nixon,who may be that CF we're looking for, while Russ Nixon was a serviceable catcher and also also managed the Reds and Braves to a .400 recordand five sixth-place finishes in five years.

Sixteen Fords, but only one real Cadillac among them -- the Chairman of the Board himself, the greatest Yankee pitcher ever, the 236-106 LHSP Whitey Ford, who you know, might not even make this team's rotation.

Apologies to a Toronto legend in "Touch 'em All Joe" Carter, but do you think this team could use a Hall of Fame catcher? Nothing against Terry Kennedy ... I knew Terry Kennedy, Terry Kennedy was a friend of mine ... but Terry Kennedy was no Gary Carter.

RHRP Arthur "Rip" Reagan was 0-2 in three games for '03 Reds as the only Gipper candidate.

The Clintons are almost as underrepresented as the Reagans, as the only candidate is Lou Clinton, an OF who hit .247 in 2153 AB with the Red Sox and five other AL teams from 1960-1967.

Young RHSP David Bush looks like he might have a nice career with the Jays, and ex-Jay Homer Bush certainly has a baseball name; but the two Bush roster spots go to an entirely different pitcher and middle infielder, in former good-field, not-much-hit Tiger shortstop Donie Bush and RHSP Guy Bush, who was 176-136 in 17 seasons with the Cubs, Red Sox and Boston Braves; he just edges out RHSP "Bullet" Joe Bush,who was 195-183, also in 17 seasons, mostly with the Philadelphia A's and Boston Red Sox.

Now, can we build a respectable All-U.S.-Presidents 25-man roster from that list of options? You bet ... the choices are mostly self-explanatory, though the incredibly rich pitching talent will probably cause some disagreement about who should be in the rotation instead of migrating to the bullpen. As for the lineup, the only real question came down to whether or not it was preferably to have Hack Wilson at DH and Otis Nixon in CF, or play Willie Wilson in CF and Reggie Jefferson at DH. We went with the former option, in deference to the Hall of Famer and all-time single-season RBI leader. Also, Jefferson is probably the best option at 1B, so problem solved.






Sent out to the AAA (Tris) Speakers of the House:
C Frankie HAYES
Baseball's Hall of Names: the All-U.S.-Presidents Team | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 04:56 PM EST (#19562) #
I don't know Mick about Von Hayes at third. He played only 10 games there in the majors. I might use Adam Kennedy at second, move Tony Taylor to third and call up Lou Harding to back up Carter, who hardly misses any games except when he's building habitat for humanity.

Helluva pitching staff.
_Rob - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 05:13 PM EST (#19563) #
I didn't even know Buchanan, Taylor, or Monroe were presidents. Does that make me the Canadian equivalent of the ignorant American?

Fun stuff, as always. This team would destroy the Prime Minister Team, which has to have Rickey Clark, if only for his innings pitched in 1969 and 1970.
_Master of the Z - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 05:35 PM EST (#19564) #
Herb Washington is an interesting story!

105 MLB games and ZERO at bats..... it's funny to think about, isn't it?

Master of the Zubaz
Mike D - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 05:51 PM EST (#19565) #
The All-Canadian Prime Minister Team probably requires a more thoroughgoing study...but a brief preview (a lot of LOOGYs!):

LRP Bob MacDonald
LSP Jim Abbott
2B Robby Thompson
LRP Ray King
C Gary Bennett
RF Albie Pearson
RSP Monte Pearson
DH Jack Clark
1B Will Clark
RSP Jim Turner
LF Pepper Martin
MGR Billy Martin

Excellent, Mick!
_Mark J - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 06:04 PM EST (#19566) #
Special regrets to missing out on Jack ROOSEVELT Robinson at second, too...
_Chuck Van Den C - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 06:16 PM EST (#19567) #
105 MLB games and ZERO at bats..... it's funny to think about, isn't it?

And he wasn't a particularly gifted base stealer: 31 for 48, 65%.

Washington's successor in Oakland was Larry Lintz, who took over in '76 and '77 (after Washington's '74 and '75). In '76, he batted just once in 68 games.

Whenever I hear about Herb Washington, I can't help but think of Renaldo "Skeets" Nehemiah, a world class hurdler who became a wide receiver for Joe Montana's 49ers.
_Chuck Van Den C - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 06:20 PM EST (#19568) #
Here's Washington's baseball card. Check out his position!
Mike Green - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 08:23 PM EST (#19569) #
Add Jeff King, Bill Campbell and Terry Turner (a pretty good shortstop of the deadball era) to the Canadian team. It looks like the Canadian team will have to move Jack Clark back to his original RF position, and Albie Pearson back to center. Charlie Bennett was a good 19th century catcher. As usual, the Yanks will administer a good whupping, as our starting pitching is utterly uninspired.
_Matthew E - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 09:07 PM EST (#19570) #
What would be really cool is if you could put together a team of guys like this:

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Theodore Roosevelt Lilly

...but those may actually be the only three.

The other way to make this harder is to make it so that a player's major league career has to have coincided with his namesake's presidential term. I think you could still fill out a lineup if you did it this way.
_Mick - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 09:13 PM EST (#19571) #
Okay, I formally throw down the gauntlet -- somebody out there put together a full article for an all-PM team, and I'll post it here as a pinch-hit (unless it's one of the roster members, in which case, post your own damn thread).

Then I'll look into setting up Ultimate Series II and see how this really does play out ... and here's my (only) helpful hint. You'll do better if you bump Billy Martin from the mamager's chair to 2B and replace Robby Thompson with the Staten Island Scott, Bobby Thomson ... ooh, wait, that breaks the spelling rule. But you need pitching help, right? How about the healthy All-Star arm of Justin Thompson?
Mike Green - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 09:26 PM EST (#19572) #
Well, you know, Mick, it's not exactly cricket to compare Canada 1867-present with the U.S. of A. 1776-present. You'll have to give up your early presidents. And speaking of cricket, how are we supposed to compete with prime ministers named Tupper and Borden unless we're going to play cricket. St. Laurent, Laurier and Trudeau are obviously not good for this game, but I'm sure would help for the all-chefs team.

Ah, who cares. We're Canadians- losing is part of the bargain.
_Mick - Monday, November 01 2004 @ 10:14 PM EST (#19573) #
You're on, Mike. When we played Ultimate Series I, we limited the All-Yankees team to 1977ff, to match up with the All-Jays team, so same principle. I'll start a team with 1867 (still getting both Johnsons, though just barely).

I'll even liberalize the rules for the PM team ... say, alternate spellings are fine and repeat usage of the same name (multiple Thompsons, for instance) while sticking to the original rules for the Prez team.
_Will aka RCS - Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 08:08 AM EST (#19574) #
I've got nothing to add here 'cept that I really enjoyed reading about the all presidents team. I was very interested in and impressed by this work. Thank you, Mick.
_Will aka RCS - Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 08:10 AM EST (#19575) #
And if I didn't get tripped up by the early 1840s and early 1850s (with the deaths of two Presidents), I can name all American Presidents in order.

Damn useless American history degree.....

(And the 1890s make my listing of the Canadian PMs unlikely.)
_Dr. Zarco - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 01:23 PM EST (#19576) #
After reading all the liberal banter here and biting my tongue, it's pretty satisfying to see David Bush hold off Kerry Ligtenberg and start the 5th inning. It was even tougher to hear it from people on whom it won't have an affect. So today's a happy day, just like 8 days from now when I project the Jays sign Delgado.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.