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Episode I: Food For Thought
Monday, a new feature will launch on Da Box ... call it Baseball's Hall of Names. Or maybe Name That Team. It's always so tough to come up with a good name for something. In the meantime, here's some background, part essay, part history, part word game.

[Obligatory Confusing Gammonsian Quoted Lyric Lead]:
Like the singing bird and the croaking toad
I've got a name; I've got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did ...

-- Jim Croce

Like most baseball fans, I grew up talking about the great game with my dad -- yes, per the lyrics above, we have the same name -- who saw DiMaggio at The Stadium and turned 16 the year Mantle debuted. The two Micks (the centerfielder and the psychologist) even share a birthday, though dad is four years younger than the Commerce Comet.

In our conversations -- and they still pop up from time to time -- we would speculate about life's great mysteries. For instance, what current players would eventually be enshrined in Cooperstown? Rose? Obviously. This kid Schmidt? Let's see how he turns out ...

And often, we would spend time trying to create "All-Star" lineups based on arbitrary rules involving names of players throughout the sport's history.

The All-Food Team was a favorite.

As I recall we had a very specific yet arbitrary rule in filling the roster for the All-Food Team that barred players who "only" had food nicknames; you could build a real All-Star team with a pantry full of Pie Traynor, Turkey Stearnes and the like.

So Pepper Martin was out; Cardinals OF Ray Pepper (we had a lot of old Who's Who in Baseball editions about the house) was in; Rabbit Maranville, out; Ruth-era Indians cup of coffee Joe Rabbitt, in. Yeah, so we made allowances for spelling; how else were we going to get Mark Lemongello on the team? This was before Darryl Strawberry's debut, so we had to stretch the rules -- hey, we made 'em up -- at times to decide to admit "food brands" and suddenly Red Sox closer Bill Campbell was eligible, though his teammate Bill Lee (no relation to Sara) was not.

Throughout the ensuing years, I've often come back to this pastime within The Pastime, speculating on whether or not a team of "Regular Joes" (start with Morgan and DiMaggio, and "Bullet" Joe Rogan on the mound) beat a team of Steady Eddies (Murray, Matthews, Collins ... and Plank on the mound)?

Could a team made up entirely of New York natives knock off a team of Californians? The Koufax vs. Seaver matchup alone is delicious ... with, ironically, Dodger Sandy going for the Empire State and the original Mr. Met toeing the rubber for the Granolans.

Much of my speculation has been mere wordplay -- witness the recent sojourns into anagramatics here on Da Box -- while a couple of years ago, I penned (okay, keyboarded) a piece for The Sporting News' Fan Speaks guest section which explored, among many other possibilities, the intricacies of an Abbott & Castillo matchup, a Clark/Kent brawl and of course, the long-awaited AL Central Milton/Buehrle pitching duel.

So while we ponder the literary question "Is it true that a Rose by any other name would still be Pete?," let me explain how this will work.

When a new nominee for Baseball's Hall of Names is ready to go, I'll post it to Da Box, including the aforementioned randomly-decided-upon rules which are to be strictly followed except when they are not.

Then, you can chime in with objections, complaints, obvious errors or omissions ... you know the drill. Someday when these columns are collected into a book, you will all be mentioned in the introduction and subsequently put on the plaintiff's witness list when Kent takes me to copyright court.

So, we'll start Monday. Why Monday? Simple. Monday is March 17, which means my favorite baseball name of all time, former Tiger pitcher John Doherty (no relation) has a decent shot of making the initial team. Not sure what that team might be? One more hint ... Dale Murphy, Paul O'Neill and Nolan Ryan are other names that might just be lucky enough to be makin' a wee appearance.

Anything else you want to know? Just (sorry about this) name it.

Meanwhile, help us fill the Batter's Box pantry -- who else should be on the All Food Team? I'm thinking Bob Lemon will take the mound. Who's in the field behind him?
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gitz - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 03:14 AM EST (#33627) #
Mick, I see that your father has a degree in "expirimental psychology." I guess that explains you, then.
Gitz - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 03:16 AM EST (#33628) #
He even has a degree in "expErimental psychology."
Craig B - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 12:28 PM EST (#33629) #
Well, let's be strict and say *no brand names*. We can do better than that.

Anyway, you mentioned RF Darryl Strawberry which surely is a go.

At catcher, Berra and Piazza are both *so* close to being the perfect candidate. I think the obvious choice... assuming we are allowed *drink* as well as food... is Darrell Porter.

Can we get a ruling on this? Otherwise, I think it's fifties defensive whiz Del Rice.

First base is really tough, as is second, so is short. Someone else can get to those.

At third, we have Jim Ray Hart, if you can take "Hart" for venison as it often is in the UK.

In left, we have the battle of the cereals as Zack Wheat and Jim Rice face off for the starting honor. I guess tyhe thing to do is to put Wheat in left and put Rice at DH.

In center, Chet Lemon is the clear favourite to me.

As a second starter, is David Cone going to be admissible?
_Mick - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 12:38 PM EST (#33630) #
Random Rules Ruling ...

Berra and Piazza are out. If we're going to accept alternate spellings, they need to be exact homonyms. Good effort, though. The "Hart" nomination is OK as long as that's what the British you mention actually call the food ... we don't want to open the door for Doug Bird, I think.

But that does call to mind one of my all-time favorite players, Rob Deer. But I think he might be better for an All-Animal Team, since I've never heard anyone claim to be serving "deer."

Before anyone asks, former Mets infielder Ronald McDonald (seriously) and former 30/30 guy Howard Johnson are NOT considered food brands.

Beverages are welcome. Darrell Porter ... that's genius.
_Mick - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 12:45 PM EST (#33631) #
Hmm, I guess that means our shortstop is Bobby Wine?

And the first reliever out of the bullpen obviously would be Jose Paniagua ("pan y agua" = "bread and water").

The GM, clearly ... Billy Beane.

Looking for a manager to go with more player nominations ...
_Steve Z - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 12:53 PM EST (#33632) #
How 'bout "The Tuna Man" -- Dickie Thon (SS). Can we apply a littlle latitude with the franšais, or will there be another (French) boycott?
Gitz - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 01:01 PM EST (#33633) #
You mentioned him above, Mick, but Bob Lemon could be a player-manager.

That's all I have (to steal) for now. Are we allowed to include players who obviously LIKE food? If so, Rich Garces and Sid Fernandez make fine choices on the menu.
_Marshall Mannin - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 01:27 PM EST (#33634) #
Finally, something I'm good at ;-). How about:

Sauteed Leek (Gene-Utility IF) and Root (Charlie-Pitcher) vegetables, in a garlic Mayo (Eddie-2B) sauce.

Sturgeon (Bobby-Utility IF) Roe (Preacher-Pitcher)

Rolls (Damian-Utility IF/OF) and Butters (Tom-Relief Pitcher)

First Course:

Medallions of Veal (Coot-Utility IF) sauteed in a red Wine (Bobby-SS) marinara sauce, with a light dusting of Romano (Johnny-C) cheese. Served over carnaroli Rice (Sam-OF).


A stunning seafood buffet, featuring Haddock (George-Pitcher), Trout (Dizzy-Pitcher), Eells (Harry "Slippery"-Pitcher), Bream (Sid-1B), Herring (Art-Relief Pitcher), Whiting (Jesse-Relief Pitcher), and culminating with our "All-Seafood" outfield of Bass (Kevin), Salmon(Tim) and Garr (Ralph).

Damn, that made me hungry!
_Jonny German - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 04:30 PM EST (#33635) #
I'm pretty sure nobody's interested in some Pasqual Coco at this point, but I like nothing better than Coco Crisp as part of a well-rounded breakfast.

If the infield is on the bland side, Chuck Knoblauch could add a little zip - 'Knoblauch' means 'garlic' in German.

How about Brian Butterfield for third base coach?
Craig B - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 07:48 PM EST (#33636) #
Knoblauch! Perfect... forgot all about him.

I think Bobby Wine makes a great shortstop.

As far as Hart goes, it wouldn't be unusual to see "standing roast of hart" as a menu item... but in times past. Apparently the use is extinct... so we still need a third baseman.... I say Milt Stock is our man.

So we have...

C Darrell Porter
1B Sid Bream
2B Chuck Knoblauch (or Eddie Mayo if we are going English-only)
SS Bobby Wine
3B Milt Stock
LF Zack Wheat
CF Chet Lemon
RF Darrell Strawberry
DH Jim Rice

SP Bob Lemon
SP Dizzy Trout
SP Charlie Root (I think this one is too generic though)

This is an excellent all-star team...
_Mick - Sunday, March 16 2003 @ 09:08 PM EST (#33637) #
Let's not forget our "closer" -- both in the relief pitcher sense and in the "what's for dessert" sense -- Mark Lemongello. Paniagua is another bullpen guy.

I'd feel a lot better about Cone if I didn't think geometric shape or Saturday Night Live skit before "ice cream" -- or if his first name was Sidney or something so we could at least stretch to "SCone."

Just so we don't have Bob Lemon forced to visit himself on the mound to bring in Lemongello, let's give the manager's position of the All-Food team to ... Harry Stovey?

It turns out that Thon and Wine both played some 3B in their careers. We've also located a fine defensive CF, former All Star Ken Berry (not the one from The Andy Griffith Show) and his uncle (I think) a career backup C, Charlie Berry and a few other additions. We're headed toward a complete roster. Let's see what we've got now:

GM Billy Beane
MGR Harry Stovey (who'll cook up a pennant winner)

C Darrell Porter
1B Jim Lemon (All-Star)
2B Chuck Knoblauch (All-Star)
SS Bobby Wine
3B Dickie Thon (All-Star; "Tuna" in French)
LF Zack Wheat (Hall of Fame)
CF Chet Lemon (All-Star)
RF Darrell Strawberry (All-Star)
DH Jim Rice (All-Star)

SP Bob Lemon (Hall of Fame)
SP Dizzy Trout (All-Star)
SP Steve Trout (a father/son combo!)
SP George Haddock (63 wins over two seasons!)
RP Mark Lemongello
RP Jose Paniagua
RP Art Herring
RP Jesse Whiting
RP Tom Butters
RP Harry Eells

C Charlie Berry
C Mack Wheat (Zack's brother)
C Robbie Wine (Bobby's son)
IF Damian Rolls
IF Gene Leek
IF Eddie Mayo
IF Milt Stock
1B Sid Bream
OF Sam Rice (Hall of Fame)
OF Ralph Garr (All-Star)
OF Ken Berry (All-Star)
OF Tim Salmon (All-Star)

Generic backups:
OF Rob Deer
3B Jim Ray Hart
SP Charlie Root

The pitching staff needs some work!
_Wayne H. - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 01:03 AM EST (#33638) #
Lefty Bob Veale of the Pirates threw hard, and could really help the rotation. He had a career ERA+ of 113 over 13 seasons.

Righthander Bob Moose may be too generic, either of the animal or chocolate variety, for inclusion. He had an ERA+ of 98 over 10 seasons with the Pirates, who had a liking for players with "meaty" names.

Pete Hamm, a righthander in 23 games with the 1970-71 Twins, had a career ERA+ of 56. He would not make the staff.
_Mick - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:09 AM EST (#33639) #
Veale, Moose and Hamm got me thinking ... we've been looking for a 3B and there's one active right now. Mike Lamb.
Craig B - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:17 AM EST (#33640) #
I still think Milt Stock is our best choice at third.
_steve - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 12:04 PM EST (#33641) #
Cookie Rojas was a five-time all-star, but could make the team as a manager or bench coach perhaps!
_Jordan - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 01:20 PM EST (#33642) #
Need another pitcher? Bob Kipper's your man.
_David B - Sunday, November 09 2003 @ 08:39 PM EST (#33643) #
Here is an alternative All Food Team, based on nicknames:
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 11 2007 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#165556) #
I ran into Pat Caraway in my travels, and that naturally brought me back to the beginning of the Hall of Names.  Caraway, of course, is also a key ingredient in the cabbage borscht recipe that accompanies an early Hall Watch entry.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 07 2011 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#238149) #

Prospect of sorts to keep an eye on:

AAA Round Rock (Texas Rangers) features a relief pitcher named Mark Hamburger. PLEASE make it to the Show, Mark!

Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 07 2011 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#238151) #
P.S. is four years betweem comments on a thread a Batter's Box record of some sort?
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