Perhaps you heard ... earlier this week, catcher Wilson Ramos of the Minnesota Twins appeared in his first career game, in lieu of the ongoing injury to Joe Mauer. In that debut, Ramos had four base hits, just the twelfth player -- and the very first catcher! -- in major league history to accomplish that feat.
In one of the great quirks of baseball -- which is, of course, filled with great quirks! -- Ramos fills out a full "starting lineup" of these four-hit wonders. Let's meet the, um, "a-four-mentioned" team now as we introduce ...
THE FOUR TOPS
** Hall of Famer
C Wilson Ramos (2010 Twins; no further career stats as yet!)
1B Willie McCovey** (1959 SFG; 521 career homers, 1959-80)
2B Delino DeShields (1990 MON; 463 career SB, 1990-2002)
SS Cecil Travis* (1933 WAS; .314, parts of 1933-47)
3B Ted Cox (1977 BOS; .245, 1977-81)
LF Bill Bean (1987 DET; .226, 1987-95)
CF Kirby Puckett** (1984 MIN; .318, 207 homers, 1984-95)
RF Mack Jones (1961 MLN; .252, 1961-71)
LHP Russ Van Atta (1933 NYY; 33-41 career after 12-4 rookie mark)
1B Art Shires (1928 CHW; .291, 1928-32)
2B Spook Jacobs (1954 PHA; .247, 1954-56)
OF Derrick Gibson (1998 COL; 14-for-52 career, 1998-99)
That's what it's good four ... We do have to shuffle folks around a little to fill out the lineup, but it's all legitimate -- Cox, for instance, debuted with the Red Sox as a DH, but was primarily a third baseman in his surprisingly brief career, while Travis debuted at the hot corner, but played more at shortstop in his fine career ... And Mack Jones should make the shift from CF to RF pretty seamlessly ... Actually, Jones, Bean and Gibson could all play anywhere in the OF, but we'll definitely go with the HOFer Puckett in CF -- six Gold Gloves earns a guy that respect ...
Also a Hall of Famer, McCovey's four hits came against still another Hall of Famer, Robin Roberts -- quite a debut! ... I was personally surprised to learn that Deshields never made an All-Star team, but even so, he will probably be best-remembered as the player once traded even-up for Pedro Martinez ... Travis missed most of four full seasons to World War II, or else might have ended up with around 2400 hits and some serious Hall consideration himself ...
Speaking of lopsided trades, the youngster Cox was once the centerpiece of a deal the Indians made in which they surrendured a pitcher named Eckersley to the Red Sox ... Cox ended his career with the 1981 Blue Jays, getting 15 hits in 50 at-bats, meaning he did end up a .300 hitter, for that one season, anyway ... Van Atta worked more out of the bullpen (131 games) than as a starter (76 games) -- but how was he supposed to live up to that debut, with not only his own four hits but twirling a complete-game 16-0 shutout against the Senators ...
Travis is the only 20th-century player to amass FIVE hits in his debut, while Deshields is the only member of the four-hit-debut club to endure a team loss in that debut ... Don't be confused by Bill Bean -- no "e" -- he's not the Moneyball guy; that's Billy Beane ... None of our three "bench" players really deserve a full-time DH position -- and as noted earlier, the one player who made his four-hit debut as a DH is starting at third base. So we'll stick with the traditional nine-man lineup -- how do you DH for Van Atta anyway, when he made this team based on his hitting ability? ...
In its first game, this club projects to collect thirty-seven base hits ... After that, who knows?