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When the Batter's Box All-Q team was posted recently, user HippyGilmore astutely noted, "I suggest combining the Q's with the U's, a pair of seemingly hopeless letters that may find the strength to compete together. Plus, Q just naturally goes with U."

Well, we're not going to resort to that quite yet. For while it is true that this will be a difficult team to assemble -- perhaps it's not as difficult as we originally feared.

Whereas the Q's had just 43 candidates for their roster, and the more recent I team also had just 43, there have been 50 players whose last or family name began with the initial "U."

What Do "U" Know? ... Six of the 50 U-boys, or a full 12 percent, are active right now ... only one player in the history of the game (and he's clearly the best player on this U-team) has had the initials "U.U.," that of course being Ugueth Urbina ...

The All-U team team has had a heavy Canadian influence (that is, in players for the Expos and Blue Jays, not necessarily Canuck natives) ... For instance, the all-time U home run leader (Willie Upshaw) is an ex-Jay, the #2 guy in wins (Tom Underwood) is an ex-Jay and the runaway saves leader is an ex-Po (ex-Expo, that is) as Urbina entered 2005 with 227 of the U's combined 384 total saves ... The #2 U in saves, Cecil Upshaw, had 86 and was part of the famous Chris Chambliss to the Yankees trade which sent Fritz Peterson to Cleveland after Fritz swapped families with Mike Kekich ...

George Uhle is head and shoulders the ace of the staff with 200 career wins on the nose, then after Underwood's 86, it's a steep dropoff to third and fourth, where late-inning guys Urbina and C. Upshaw stand with 39 (so far) and 34 wins, resoectively ... The rest of the U's in major league history, led Jim Umbarger's 25, have combined for just 135 wins ... It shouldn't surprise anyone that brothers both make an all-letter team, having the same last name and all, but it sure helps the Underwoods that they throw with their left hands ...

Upshaw's letter-leading 123 homers bests Del Unser, another former Expo, who hit 86, while Juan Uribe, who just recently cracked the 50-homer barrier, is the only other U to reach that milestone. Maybe B.J. Upton can get there someday ... W. Upshaw is also the career U stolen base leader with 88 ... Fella by the name of Bob Unglaub swiped 66 while Unser had 64 ...

In 15 years, it might seem ludicrous that Upton and Chase Utley aren't starting around the keystone for this team ... Right now, Utley has leapfrogged one of the Uribe boys to play 2B, but Upton lands at what may ultimately be his best defensive position, DH ... Incidentally, how did Melvin Emanuel Upton end up nicknamed "B.J."? ...

The backup catcher can be drafted into emergency team bus driver status, too, especially when behind schedule -- or is that a different Al Unser? ... Speaking of backup catchers, how did Mike Ulisney, he of the career .389 batting average, not make the team? Well, Ulisney racked up that gaudy number with a single season of 7-for-18 with the WWII-era 1945 Boston Braves ... There really isn't anyone to play 3B, unless young Upton ends up there someday, so Tim Unroe's eight games of experience there lands him a starting role ...

The 200-game winner Uhle also hit .289 over his 17-year career, with nine homers (and 21 triples!) to go with 189 RBI ... The aforementioned Unglaub is the only "U" in major league history to ever take the helm of a ballclub, so he gets the job by default despite a 9-20 mark in his only managerial stint as a 25-year-old with the 1907 Red Sox ...

The bench players and bullpen for this squad (that is, the "second team") is tentatively nicknamed "Rattle and Hum," as in "U-2" ... In honour of the way every athlete in history has talked to the press, we somewhat cryptically dub this team ...


Player/MGR Bob Unglaub (one of four managers for 1907 BOS, including Cy Young)

C Bob Uecker (no joke -- .200 hitter pretty good defensively)
1B Willie Upshaw (.262, 123 homers, 1978-88)
2B Chase Utley (Trails only Abreu, Burrell in 2005 PHI homers)
SS Jose Uribe (.241, 1984-93)
3B Tim Unroe (.221, 1995-2000; mostly a 1B)
LF Ted Uhlaender (.263, 1965-72)
CF Del Unser (.258, 87 homers, 1968-82)
RF Bob Usher (.235, 1946-52, '57)
DH B.J. Upton (STATS INC. scouting report mentions A-Rod)

C Al Unser (.251, 1941-45)
IF Juan Uribe (.266 through 2004; mostly a SS)
IF Tom Upton (.225, 1950-52)
IF Luis Ugueto (.214 for 2002-03 SEA)
OF Tom Umphlett (.246, 1953-55)
1B/2B/3B/OF Bob Unglaub (.258, 1904-10)

RHSP George Uhle (200-166, 1919-36)
LHSP Tom Underwood (86-87, 1974-84)
RHSP Jack Urban (15-15, 1957-59)
LHSP Jim Umbarger (25-33, 1975-78)
RHSP Jerry Ujdur (10-10 for '82 DET, 12-16 career)

CL-RH Ugueth Urbina (227 saves through 2004)
RHRP Cecil Upshaw (34-36, 86 saves, 1966-75)
LHRP Pat Underwood (13-18, 1979-83)
RHRP John Urrea (17-18, nine saves, 1977-81)
LHRP Jerry Upp (2-1, 1.69 for 1909 CLE)

C'mon Bauxites, surely "U" can do better?

U is for Upshaw, Urbina and Uhle | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Saturday, June 04 2005 @ 03:33 AM EDT (#118594) #
I would like to have seen Jim Umbricht remembered, a big RH who had two very nice years in the bullpen for the expansion Houston Colt 45s (ERAs of 2.01 and 2.61) and then died suddenly of a heart attack in April 1964, only 33 years old.
Magpie - Saturday, June 04 2005 @ 03:39 AM EDT (#118595) #
Del Unser, for no rational reason whatsoever, was one of my favourite players when I was a kid. So I'm glad to see him here.

And Bob Uecker... he loves to make fun of his own career, and as a hitter he was indeed a Huckaby. But Phil Niekro gave him a great deal of credit for helping Niekro become the pitcher he became, mostly by encouraging him to throw the knuckler and not to worry about what happened after it left his hand. Uecker would take responsibility for that.

"How do you catch a knuckleball? You wait for it to stop rolling and pick it up."

Mick Doherty - Saturday, June 04 2005 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#118603) #
It sounds like Umbricht, who I confess I do not remember, could easily bump Urrea from the bullpen.

Wow, the Astros have had more than their share of bad luck and tragedy with pitchers; Don Wilson and J.R. Richard, Umbricht ...
U is for Upshaw, Urbina and Uhle | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.