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WIth dear memories of Mick and his Hall of Names series on everyone's mind, former Roster member Mike Green has stepped up to the plate to contribute to the series.

Take it away, Mike....

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Ohhkay .... so it's been an awfully long time since we created and published a Hall oF Names team here on Batter's Box. It's about time we changed that, hey? And no better reason to change up than to notice the adoration and adulation bestowed upon the greatness of a former Blue Jay second baseman in the recent Top Seasons In Jays History thread.

So now, all-Alomar ... no, wait, that wouldn't really work. There have only been three Alomars to play big league ball, all part of the same family (two generations), Roberto and the two Sandys ... so we'd cover the middle infield and behind the plate, often the toughest positions to fill on the field, but the rest of the diamond would be bare.  So let's honor Robbie Alomar instead with an All-Roberto Hall of Names team.  There have been two Hall of Famers (including Alomar himself, of course) and five additional All-Stars, so talent should be pretty ample.  Let's see ....

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So. it's been a while since we built a new Hall of Names team. Will it have been worth the wait? That's your call, but guaranteed for sure, this team is a Good one.

See, this is not a team for someone like Florida RHRP Burke Badenhop, though that name alone might be legendary enough to spur a team or three of its own.  But still, this is not a team for King Bader or Red Badgro, who each reached the major leagues prior to the Great Depression. Nay, this isn't even a squad for Hank (Bad Henry) Aaron.

To be clear, this is also not a team for Ron Fairly, Jim Fairey, Rags Faircloth (yes, he really existed), Jim Fairbank or even the simply-named (fairly-named? No, that would be the aforementioned Ron) George Fair. And there’s certainly no room on this roster for 1947-50 Red Sox/Browns RHP Tommy Fine or former 1980s Seattle reliever Karl Jon Best, for that matter.

And even if it weren't for the homonym spelling error, this wouldn't be a squad appropriate to Don Grate, Mark Grater or Beiker Graterol (although, there's another "great" name!). It's not even for the unfortunately -named and self-proclaimed "ugliest man in baseball,” Johnny "Ugly" Dickshot (nope, I am not making that one up) .... although he would allow us to make a lame remark about "the good, the bad and the ugly."

No, this team is all about being Good. Maybe it's true that only the good die young, or that certain beverages are good to the last drop (call that "last drop" an error, scorekeep!), or that round-headed cartoon characters opine "Good Grief!" (even, or especially on the ball field) or that certain extremely pretentious television hostesses can send an item's sales skyrocketing simply by calling it a "Good Thing" .... But given all that, be a good egg, wish us good luck (or good karma) or if not, good riddance to you and yours, there's a good chance that a good time will be had by all as we meet ....

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Is today the greatest and most important shared birthday in major league history? No, we're not going to build an all-1/31 team here, though we certainly could, but rather, just take a look at this ....

Today's birthday produced two absolutely no-doubt-about-it slam-dumk Hall of famers in Nolan Ryan (alll-time leader in strikeouts pitched and no-hitters among other categroies, not to mention one of the most improbably successful front-office figures in recent memory) and Ernie Banks (arguably the greatest power-hitting shortstop of all time and the iconic "Mr. Cub" of one of the sport's flagship franchises) -- and oh by the way, a third Hall of Famer who might be the most important player in the sport's history, Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

That's not to mention ...

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A full list of who hit the market as free agents (Class of '11-'12) is now available (all names shown in a list at the bottom of the page after the jump) .... Every year, we take a look at what kind of roster we might be able to build from the talent on the open market. Let's see how that works out THIS year.

So here's the thought experiment. Let's say you own a major league franchise that has NO players. You can select any 25 of the current free agents (no budget limitations -- they are literaly "free" agents) to fill out your team's roster. Who do you place on your roster from the list of possible candidates? And more importantly, how does that team do when they are dropped into the middle of the 2012 American League East?

One such roster follows. Your criticisms, corrections, and "Hey-Doherty-why-aren't-you-doing-this-for-a-living?" adulation is welcome and invited, of course.

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Long-time Bauxites may recall that the very first, debut, edition of Baseball's Hall of Names (back on March 15, 2003) was spurred by the creation of an "All-Food" team ... you know, Bob Lemon, Darryl Stawberry and the like.

What prompts this trip down memory lane?

Only this ... the Texas Rangers have today purchased the contract of RHP Mark Hamburger from Triple-A Round Rock... PLEASE, Rangers, hurry out and acquire Pittsburgh catcher Eric Fryer to form the greatest fast-food battery in the history of the sport! And get a side of Jeff Frye with that, won'tcha?

That is all. I am SO happy.

Thanks to Bauxite Jeremy Kennedy for crafting this outstanding "positional" Hall of Names feature.

NOTE: THIS STORY HAS BEEN FIXED. SORRY FOR THE BLANK PUBLICATION PAGE PREVIOUSLY POSTED! - md

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Over at the Straight Dope message board, there's a thread trying to create an "All-First Baseman" all-star team. The challenge is to find players who played at least 600 games at first base, and 600 games at another position (with the outfield counting as one position) and see if a roster, or at least a starting lineup, can be completed.

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    So for almost a week now, Batter’s Box has proudly displayed a feature thread entitled, The Messiah Is Coming.

    That got me thinking, though “Jesus” (pronounced, “gee, zuss”) is probably not an appropriate nickname for the lad, there have been an awful lot of major leaguers in the past and present who bore the given first or middle name “Jesus” (pronounced, ironically, “Hey, Zeus”) – in fact, more than 40 such men have played the Great Game, and that’s more than enough to cobble (er, carpenter?) together a viable Hall of Names squad.

    It’s a pretty good team, though the pitching is weak and there is, sadly, no bona fide closer (so no opportunity for a genuine “Jesus Saves” pun).  We do have a manager and All-Stars (almost) all the way around the infield, as you’ll see when you meet ....

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    We haven't done a new Hall of Names team in quite some time; today, for no particular reason -- I think maybe I hearrd a passing mention of Yankee hurler Ivan Nova -- I wondered, could we actuallly build a Hall of Names team built entirely of playes named, with a nod to the old communist USSR, "Ivan"?

    Let's find out ...

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    Here's an odd Hall-of-Names thought bubble ...
    There are, of course, currently thirty major league baseball managers. Could we build a competitive full roster of players from that list of 30 names? (And who would manage the team?)

    Well, quick answer -- no, we can't build a full roster as no less than EIGHT current MLB skippers never played in the show themselves -- quick, how many of those eight can you name without looking it up? (Answer appears below.) And a full seven of the remaining 22 roster candidates were primarily catchers, so that limits our options almost as much as the fact that there are only two pitchers available.

    Anyway, let's see what we can come up with ...

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    Near the end of the last decade of the 20th century, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, under the calming influence of head coach  (wait, strike “calming, leave it as “under the … influence of”) Mike Ditka, traded their entire  collection of1999 draft picks to the Washington Redskins for the rights to draft  University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.

    Big trade, but ultimately … big deal! It’s not like Ricky Facemask was ever traded for/with an entire roster of players. It’s not like Ricky has anything on … Bert Blyleven. That’s right, Rik Aalbert Blyleven, who this summer will at long last (and very deservedly) be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, changed teams via trade five times in his long career, in a series of deals that included, literally, an entire roster – and a pretty good one! – of players, more than two dozen MLB veterans who are now forevermore also to be known as part of a team called (thank you, Chris Berman) ...

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    Let's start a friendly, clean, conversational "Bar" fight -- literally.

    What players whose last name begins with the alphabetic string "Bar-" would make up the best possible All-Bar (All-Star) baseball squad?

    Well, of course, in right field you have the cannon-armed former Jay Jesse Barfield. His son Josh Barfield might make the roster as an extra -- though he might not. Who else? ...

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    It's been awhile since we built an all-birthday team here on Da Box, but if we were ever going to get back into it, today would be tthe day. You see, perhaps the most influential shared birthday in MLB history is today, Jan. 31.

    How so? Well ...

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    Several times through the past few years, dating back to Batter’s Box Year 1 (!) we have played around with the idea of anagramatics … word-play using people's names to find full anagrams that describe them (or, more commonly, don't describe them, but in a funny way). For example, my personal anagramatic is Michael Doherty = Hey, I'm a Tech Lord. (Not!) You can see from that example that we can add in punctuation – apostrophes, whatever – wherever necessary.

    Given all that, let’s meet some of the newest Blue Jays … several have many options!

    For example, Octavio Dotel splits nicely into the unfortunate anagramatic …

     

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    So I was skimming Bert Blyleven's Baseball-Reference.com page the other day, contemplating his upcoming Hall of Fame induction (conclusion: borderline "belongs" but I'm glad he's in -- I'm a "Big Hall" guy) when my eyes began to scan the "Transactions" list near the bottom of that page. By quick count, Bert was involved in five trades involving more than 30 other players (a few of whom never did make it to the big leagues) ... with that realization, my Hall of Names brain immediately leapt to "could we possibly build a full roster from that list?"

    Not only CAN we, but it's really an outstanding team overall ...

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