Unfortunately, nobody named "Nice" has ever played big league ball. However, we have plenty of choices among the Friends, Buddys, Goodmans, Allies and Saints out there.
Or do we?
Proper spelling is required (sorry, Jim Ray Hart, Tim Laudner, Cliff Politte, Doc Gooden and the entire Boone family) but pronunciation is optional (welcome aboard, Ellis Kinder). And you know, just because we can, we're going to stretch the spelling rule to allow for foreign versions like "Santo" and "Repoz." We will only use each name once, but variations on a phrase including the same word (Goodman, Goodenough) are acceptable. Otherwise "nice" words that are part of a longer name that doesn't make sense when broken down into its component parts (go home, George Pipgras and Ron Rightnowar) are not acceptable.
Nicknames acceptable only when it is the more common name by which a player is known -- so Buddy Bell, come on down; Frankie "Sweet Music" Viola, it'd be nice, but no dice. Five different guys nicknamed "Buddy" have been All-Stars with LOOGY Groom not one of them, but a nice fit in any bullpen -- still, here's where the "use a name once" rule applies.
And sure, Bell was better than any of the other Buddys, but we have a pretty sweet -- no, that's the catcher -- a pretty good (no, wait) ... okay, just say we have a should-be-Hall-of-Famer at the hot corner. But in addition to Santo, we'll only allow for one other "Saint" on the team -- though surprisingly there have only been three St. Somethings in big league history. C Ebba loses out to RHRP Randy in the battle of St. Claires besause, surprisingly, even with Bob Boone ineligible because of that pesky "E" problem, we find ourselves shorter on hurlers than on backstops.
Perhaps the uh, unkindest cut of all is of OF/C Mike Goodfellow -- we just couldn't find room on the bench for him. Maybe if his name had been spelled "Goodfella" he would have made us an offer we couldn't refuse. We also couldn't find room for Dixie Upright, who finished 2-for-8 for the 1953 SLB but never once played in the field, so we wouldn't know what to do with him even if we could make room on the roster.
Finally, as mentioned, nobody named "Nice" has ever played big league ball, but painfully, thanks to our spelling rule, we find ourselves also having to cut former Astros catcher Alan Knicely. Still, here they are, meet the 25-man roster for ...
THE NICE GUYS
**indicates Hall of Famer
MGR Leo Durocher** (Yeah, he doesn't fit the theme, but who else?)
C Rick Sweet (.234, 1978-83)
1B Wally Pipp (.281 hitter over 15 years)
2B Jerry Kindall (hit .213 from 1956-65)
SS Willie Wells** (Negro League star)
3B Ron Santo* ("Santo" Italian for "Saint")
LF Ival Goodman* (.281 for 1935-44 CHC, CIN)
CF Tom Goodwin (369 SB through 2004)
RF Sunny Jim Bottomley** (.310, 219 homers)
DH Ron Fairly* (.266 over 21 seasons)
C Ray Noble (.218, 1951-53)
C Joe Just (.156, 1944-45)
IF John Knight (.235, 1905-13 for 2B/3B/1B/SS)
IF Ed Goodson (1B/3B hit .260 from 1970-77 mostly for SFG)
OF Wilbur Good (.258, 1905-18)
OF Roger Repoz (.224, 1964-72)
RHSP Allie Reynolds* (six-time All-Star was 182-107 career)
RHSP Bob Friend* (three-time All-Star was 197-230 career)
RHSP Rick Wise* (two-time All-Star was 188-181 career)
RHSP Ellis Kinder (102 career saves but was 23-6 for '49 BOS)
RHSP Andrew Good (5-4 though 2004)
CL-RH Mark Clear (71-49, 83 saves)
RHRP Karl Best (5-6, 5 saves, 1983-88)
LHRP Buddy Groom (30-31, 26 saves through 2004)
RHRP Randy St. Claire (12-9, 6 saves, 1984-94)
RHRP Tommy Fine (1-3 for 1947 BOS and 1950 SLB)
Given the overwhelming niceness of this team, even further to Durocher's chagrin, it shouldn't surprise anyone that there's just the one single southpaw in the bullpen and none in the rotation. After all, anyone can tell you that it's right to be nice and nice to be right.
All that said, how can this team be even nicer and yet better, helping Leo disprove his own perhaps apocryphal statement?