This team has no room for Bobby Wine (or son Robbie, even if he is younger and therefore arguably a "Wine cooler") ... as for the harder stuff, even Australia's largest group of independent liquor retailers (catch on -- that'd be Porter's) has no place here, where it's all about the Beers... just sidle up to the bar and be careful not to spill, man!
So, what's on "tap" for our All-Beer team?
NOTE: Click on the linked part of each player's name for proof of each beer's existence.
First, would you believe that there has never been a ballplayer in the major leagues named Coors or Labatt? No ballplayer named "La Bat"?? Horrors! Worse, even the most obvious full names -- Charles Wells and of course the greatness of Sam Adams -- produce no results.
Still, we seem to have plenty of brands in stock to fill this team; we'll do our best to only use exact matches -- so no go for Joey Cora (Coors), Hugh Duffy (We have a Duff, though), Tommy Harper and even the poetically named Biff Schlitzer; similarly, Larry Walker doesn't get in with Walkerville beer; not even misspelled homonyms will count -- for instance, nobody named "Conners" has ever played in the major leagues.
Last names (George Foster) and first names (Sterling Hitchcock) are both fine; nicknames are okay, because frankly, without Foxx, Keeler, Sutcliffe, Hunter and Capra -- even Cochrane's well-known nickname is really a nickname -- this beer team would be pretty, uh, flat. But we'll be reasonable and draw the line at including a reach like Iron Duke Snider. Major beer ingredients and other related terms (Johnny Hopp, Jim Brewer) will be considered; but sorry, Lefty O'Doul -- non-alcoholic "beers" are not eligible.
We will only permit one player per beer brand name, forcing us into choices such as Ray over Leon Durham; George over Rube Foster; and Damian over Stu Miller.
All brands mentioned are verified with the help of a pretty comprehensive list at http://www.thebeerstore.ca (and other googled info) while the names, stats and statuses of the players are, as always, verified with the help of the indispensible http://www.baseballreference.com
We've gone through an extensive beer "draft" and selected the following players:
Meet THE BEER NUTS
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Player/Manager: Mickey Cochrane** (348-250, two pennants, one title)
C Mickey Cochrane** (Not Mantle?? No, we're OK in CF and will take the HOF C)
1B Jimmie "Double X" Foxx (.325, 534 homers)
2B Ray Durham* (.279, 242 SB through 2004)
SS Ernie Banks** (512 homers)
3B Jeff King (.256, 154 homers)
LF George Foster* (.274, 348 homers)
CF Dale Murphy* (.265, 398 homers)
RF Andre Dawson* (.279, 438 homers)
DH "Wee Willie" Keeler** (OF hit .341 with 2932 hits)
C Damian Miller* (.264 through 2004)
1B/OF Johnny Hopp* (.296, 1939-52)
OF Mike Cameron* (.248, 161 homers through 2004)
OF Ed Pabst (.308 in 39 AB, 1890)
3B/UTIL Jack "Lucky" Lohrke (.252, 1947-53)
SS/UTIL Ed Busch (.262, 1943-45 PHA)
RHSP Jim "Catfish" Hunter** (224-166)
RHSP Rick "The Red Baron" Sutcliffe* (171-139)
LHSP Sterling Hitchcock (74-76 through 2004)
RHSP Buzz Capra* (31-37; led NL in ERA in 1974)
LHSP John Smith ("Phenomenal" was 41-50 over 1887-88; 54-74 career)
CL-RH Rod Beck* (286 saves through 2004)
LHRP Jim Brewer* (69-65, 132 saves)
RHRP Joe Black (30-12, 25 saves; '52 NL ROY)
RHRP Matt Duff (yeah, it's a fictional beer, but he has his own Web site!)
LHRP Mike Kilkenny (23-18, 4 saves, 1969-73)
(i.e., not quite making the team)
LHSP Carl Fischer (46-50, 1930-37)
C William Fischer (.274, 1913-17)
1B Brick Smith (.111 for 1987-88 SEA; that's his real first name!)
1B/OF Norm Laker* (.275, 1958-63, '60 All-Star)
2B/SS Neal Ball (.251, 1907-13)
RF Bud Weiser (.162 in 41 games, 1915-16 PHI)
UTIL Randy Ready (.259 over 13 seasons -- but he's no James)
I know, I know ... how does a guy actually named Bud Weiser not make the team? And neither does the only MLB player ever actually named "Beers" (RHRP Clarence, two-thirds of an inning for '48 STL, three hits, one walk, four runs, one earned)?
Well, to be honest, each guy's playing career was about as high-quality as the beer with which Mr. Weiser shared his name.
Still, Bauxites, propose a toast ... how can this team be better?