In our recent Perry-themed return to the fun and games of the Hall of Names (after an absence of more than four months), the first reader comment, from long-time Bauxite lexomatic, opined, "I was thinking we needed a hall of names team to break things up. I tried coming up with a the Hill's themed one ... but that's a pretty bad team."
Gauntlet thrown! Challenge accepted! A hill to, if you'll pardon the pun, climb! And lex, far be it from me to say you're wrong, but this isn't a pretty bad team. It's a really bad team. Oh well, at least we built a full roster (with some leftovers, even) ...
... by opting to allow anyone on the team who had a first, middle or last name that begins with the letter string "Hill." (Sorry, Damon Berryhill -- you don't qualify!) Let's see how we do as we all burst into song ("The hills are alive ...") in anticipation of meeting ...
THE HILL STREET BLUE SOX
**indicates Hall of Famer
MGR Trey Hillman (125-167 since outset of 2008 with KCR; also managed in Japan)
C Marc Hill (.223, 1973-86)
1B Shea Hillenbrand* (.234, 108 homers, 2001-07, six teams)
2B Chuck Hiller (.243, 1961-68, mostly SFG, NYM)
SS Donnie Hill (also 2B/3B, .257, 1983-92, four teams)
3B Ivoria Hillis "Tony" Layne (.264, 1941, '44-45 WSH)
LF Jesse Hill (1935-37 NYY, WAS, PHA; .289, 43 SB)
CF Pete Hill** (Negro League star; was also player/manager)
RF Glenallen Hill (.271, 186 homers,1989-2001, seven teams)
DH Aaron Hill* (2B has hit .284 since 2005; already 30+ homers in '09)
C Taylor Hill Teagarden (hit .319 as 2008 TEX rookie)
IF Bobby Hill (.262, 2002-05)
IF Horace Hills "Hod" Ford (.263, four teams, 1919-33)
OF Herman Hill (.083, 1969-70 MIN)
OF Hugh Hill (.223, 1903-04 CLE, STL)
RHSP Ken Hill* (117-109, seven teams, 1988-2001)
LHSP Rich Hill (21-20 since 2005 CHC debut; now with BAL)
RHSP Carmen Hill (49-33, parts of 10 seasons, 1915-30; 22-11 for '27 PIT)
LHSP Bill Hill (9-28, 1896 LOU; 36-69, 1896-99, five teams)
RHSP Shawn Hill (8-16 since 2004 MON debut; now with SDP)
CL-LH John Hiller* (87-76, 125 saves, 1965-70, '72-80 DET)
RHRP Shawn Hillegas (24-38, 1987-93, five teams)
RHRP Milt Hill (5-1, 5.08, 1991-94 CIN, ATL, SEA)
LH-LONG Eric Hillman (4-14, 1992-94 NYM)
RH-LONG Homer Hillebrand (8-4, 2.51, 1905-06-08 PIT)
They couldn't make the climb?
C Koyie Hill (.215 since 2003; now with CHC)
3B Hunter Hill (.216, 2003-05 SLB, WAS)
IF Harvey "Hob" Hiller (.167, 1920-21 BOS)
2B Mack Hillis (.243, 1924 NYY, '28 PIT)
3B Meredith Hilliard "Marty" Hopkins (.211, 1934 PHI, '34-35 CHW)
2B/3B Kal Hill Segrist (1-for-23, 1952 NYY; 3-for-9, 1955 BAL)
RHS/RP Frank Hiller (30-32, 1946-53, four teams)
LHSP Hillary Houston "Hilly" Hathaway (4-3, 1992-93 CAL)
RHRP Jeremy Hill (0-1, 3.48, 2002-03 KCR)
RHR/SP Dave Hillman (21-37, three saves, 1955-62, mostly CHC, BOS)
?S/RP John Hillary "Cy" Swaim (13-22, 1897-98 WAS)
A number of other candidates who didn't make the team only had a brief cuppajoe in the bigs ... One-year wonders included Belden Hill (1890 BAL), Dave Hill (1957 KCA), Garry Hill (1969 ATL), Herbert Hill (1915 CLE), Milt "Red" Hill (1917 PHA), Oliver Hill (1939 BSN), R.E. Hillebrand (1902 CHC), Hildreth Milton "Hilly" Flitcraft (1942 PHI),Wilfred Hillard "Wil" Culmer (1983 CLE), Ed Hilley (1903 PHA), Pat Hilly (1914 PHI) and Edward Hill "Bobby" Rothermel (1899 BAL).
IS THIS TEAM WORTH, YOU KNOW, A HILL OF BEANS?
In the "didn't quite qualify" category, we do find an executive to run the ballclub in none other than the legendary Hall of Famer Kenesaw Mountain Landis. If he can commish, surely he can own, GM-ify and allathat? ... Two guys who don't make the club as players -- and really don't qualify with their names anyhow -- are Elias Peak -- a .202-hitting 2B for two teams in 1887 (not much of a Peak career "peak" after all, huh?) and Frank Mountain -- a RHSP who accumulated 49 wins (and 50 losses!) for the 1883-84 Columbus Buckeyes, but was just 58-83 overall from 1880-86 ... Mountain also dabbled in the OF and at 1B and even played one game at SS, but the .220 hitter displayed little power and no speed in 700+ at-bats, so we'll muddle on without him as roster-filler ...
There's something that seems right about the manager of this team being named "Hillman" ... Pete Hill, the HOF Negro Leaguer was, according to BaseballReference.com, a "five-tool player ... considered the greatest African-American outfielder before Oscar Charleston" ... The middle of this team's batting order might well be called the Hill Street Blue Jays, as I'd think your 3-4-5 is probably Aaron Hill, Glenallen Hill and Shea Hillenbrand ... You could make an argument for Pete Hill to hit third or fourth, but I think this squad's only HOFer probably is more suited for the leadoff slot ...
Bobby Hill was a key component of the 2003 PIT/CHC trade involving Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton ... How'd that work out, Pittsburgh? ... Oliver Hill's entire career was two pinch-hitting appearances with the 1939 Boston Braves. The 29-year-old lefty swinger doubled and scored a run in one of those appearances, "retiring" with a career OPS of 1.500 and an OPS+ of 307 ... Aaron can only dream of such a bottom line -- Hank Aaron, that is ... Looking forward to the game that Shawn Hill starts only to be relieved by Shawn Hillegas ... let's hope McCarver isn't calling that one ... Hod Ford, he of the middle name Hills, actually received MVP votes -- the only ones of his career -- in 1928, which by all statistical accounts was one of his worst seasons, as he hit .241 with no homers and one steal in 571 at-bats as the Reds' starting SS ... Hey, consider the stunning lack of power and speed, what else could an MVP voter ask for?
Eric Hillman, all 6'10" of him, must have "struck" an imposing figure on the mound, but he only struck out 96 batters in 232 big league innings ... So "imposing" vs. "reality" leads us back to the question -- how would this team do in, say, the 2009 AL Central?