I admit, I thought the Suzy Q's team, with just 43 candidates for roster spots, would end up being the hardest to fill. But then, there are exactly the same number of candidates, 43, for an "All-I," team -- that is, a team made up entirely of players whose last or family name begins with the letter "I." Let's just hope we don't end up with a team of (sorry) I-sores ...
Elliptical "I"nformation ... "I" players had exactly 200 career MLB saves among them heading into 2005 and Jason Isringhausen owned 177 of them; Hideki Irabu was a distant second with 16 ... Through 2004, the Toad also trailed Izzy, but by just one, for second all-time in I-wins; Kaz Ishii's 36 edged both the St. Louis closer's 35 and the Japanese I-con's 34 ...
Frank Isbell is the team's fifth starter and a key utilityman on the bench; after one so-so season as a RHSP for the Cubs, moved across town and became a position player for the White Sox for nine years ... Yes, that other pitcher's name really is "Ham Iburg," and he probably belongs on the old original Hall of Names "All-Food" team ...
What are the odds that two guys named Ignasiak would be in the bullpen -- and a righty/lefty combo at that? ... Hooks Iott makes the team, but Happy Iott doesn't; research indicates that, against all odds, they were not related, meaning Dane and Garth Iorg are the only "Io" siblings in MLB history (so far) -- and both of them make this team, though only Garth cracks the starting lineup ... Look at that, an All-Izturis middle infield! ...
So these I-guys, like their Q brethren, make up another exclusive fraternity -- though at least this one has an actual Hall of Famer -- but the candidates make up a club so small we can only dub them ...
THE PRIVATE I'S
**indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Player/MGR Doc Irwin (Torontonian only "I" to manage in MLB; 416-427, 1889-99)
C Brandon Inge (.227, 13 homers through 2004)
1B Mike Ivie (phenom flamed out; .269, 81 homers)
2B Maicer Izturis (debuted in '04 with final MON team)
SS Cesar Izturis (2004 NL Gold Glove)
3B Garth Iorg (.258, 1978-87)
LF Pete Incaviglia (206 homers, only "I" with more than 100)
CF Monte Irvin** (Negro League great hit .293 for 1949-56 NYG, CHC)
RF Raul Ibanez (.283, 85 homers through 2004)
DH Charlie Irwin (.267, 981 hits, 1893-1902)
C Hank Izquierdo (.269 for '67 MIN)
IF Omar Infante (.254 through 2004)
IF/OF Garey Ingram (.267, 1994-97 LAD)
OF/1B/3B Dane Iorg (.276 hitter over 10 years even pitched two games)
UTIL Frank Isbell (played every position, hit .250, 1901-09)
UTIL Arthur "Doc" Irwin (versatile .241 mostly at SS; 93 SB leads "I's" )
RHSP Hideki Irabu (34-35 career)
LHSP Kazuhisa Ishii (36-25 wins through 2004)
RHSP Ham Iburg (11-18 in 30 starts for 1902 PHI; only season)
LHSP Bert Inks (27-46, 1891-96)
RHSP Frank Isbell (4-7 in 1898, converted to position player)
CL-RH Jason Isringhausen (177 saves through 2004)
RHRP Jeff Innis (10-20, 5 saves, 1987-93)
LHRP Hooks Iott (3-9, 1941 & '47)
RHRP Mike Ignasiak (10-4, 1991-95)
LHRP Gary Ignasiak (0-0, 3.86 for '73 DET)
C'mon Bauxites, who gets voted off the I-land?