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We started this a few months ago with the All-February Team -- and now it's time for the All-June team. Hey, we'll catch up with March, April and May some other year. For now, let's work up a squad made up entirely of players born in the month named for the Roman goddess of marriage (I didn't know that either), Juno.

And apologies to former Philadelphia A's reliever June Greene, but even with a June 25 birthdate, that 18.38 career ERA probably isn't going to earn a spot on this team.

Now, for the rest of the team, tentatively named (for the awesome logo possibilities, somebody feel free to take a shot at it) the "June Cleavers" ...

... we'll start, using a precedent established on the February team, by looking at the 12 Hall of Famers born in June. Actually, only nine were major league players, but we have a President/GM for the squad in former Yankee and Met architect -- and four-time MLB Executive of the Year -- George Weiss, as well as a manager in Wilbert Robinson, he of the career 1,399-1,398 won/loss mark. Couple of old-school baseball guys should get along pretty well; no "Moneyball" approach for the Cleavers.

Speaking of "old school," you've gotta love a starting rotation fronted by Jack Chesbro and Carl Hubbell -- but even moreso, one that includes one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in Negro League history, Bill Foster.

There's an embarrassment of riches behind the plate with Roger Bresnahan available to back up Bill Dickey, while skipper "Uncle Robbie" caught more than 1,300 games before embarking on his managerial career.

The corner infield features Harmon Killebrew bumped to the bench by a first-sacker they called the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. Sure, Killebrew could start over at the hot corner, but Wade Boggs could hit a little, or so the story goes.

June must've been a good year for Lou-babies, as the outfield features the pre-Rickey (Henderson, not Branch) steals king Lou Brock, as well as the Cubs' Mr. Consistency, Billy Williams.

And that covers the Hall of Famers, who command slots at every position except the middle of the diamond (2B, SS, CF); the old "strength up the middle" saw stops at catcher for this team. We're also looking for depth in the outfield and in the rotation, a complete bullpen ... okay, we're looking for a lot.

First though, as was the case in February, researching -- okay, make that "researching" -- this team provided many grand diversions.

For instance, both current Jay Chris-stops, Gomez and Woodward, were June babies. Both Pete O'Briens who played in the majors were Joonies. In fact, so were both Mike Graces, along with former Cubbieback Mark Grace.

It was an "almost month" all the way around, as June also saw the world premieres of Billy "Not the Cub Hall of Famer" Williams, The Other Frank Thomas and players named Bill Doran, Jason Thompson and Randy Johnson -- none of whom are the players you're thinking of right now. Oh, and Jo-Jo White was an outfielder for the Tigers, not the point guard for the Celtics.

There were plenty of family connections in June, as Roy Smalley (the dad, not the son) and Mack Wheat (Zack's brother) both came along in June, as did -- hey, how about the productivity of those catchers? -- Randy Hundley (Todd's dad), Jason Kendall (Fred's son), Sandy Alomar Jr. (Sandy's son and Robbie's brother) and Terry Kennedy (Bob's son). What, no protective gear?

Want some great names from the June birthday list? How about Peek-A-Boo Veach, Pop Joy, Tony Suck, Scarborough Green and Esix Snead? Oh, and Chan Ho Park was born in June -- write your own punchline. Two of my personal favorite players of all time, former All-Star OF Ken Henderson and former Tiger hurler John Doherty (figure that one out on your own) had pearl birthstones.

Finally, two June guys who were believed to have Hall of Fame talent -- though that may well be overstatement in nostalgic hindsight -- lost their blossoming careers to injury, hard-throwing Dodger Karl Spooner and Astro shortstop Dickie Thon.

Now, back to the business at hand. Already stacked with three Hall of Famers (albeit one got in as a manager) behind the plate, this team doesn't have room for a whole boatload of quality backstops. Let's just briefly acknowledge, then, in no particular order: Kendall, Alomar, Kennedy, Hundley, Lance Parrish, Johnny Edwards, Mike Stanley and Tony Pena. And how about a Toronto shout-out to Ernie Whitt?

First base is covered with Gehrig, and Killebrew could always slide over there in a pinch, so Mark Grace, Doug Mientkiewicz, Andres Galarraga, Wally Joyner, Ryan Klesko -- all fine major leaguers -- watch from the stands. But it'd be hard to leave Carlos Delgado off this team, and he might even battle for some at-bats in the DH slot.

Second base is the weakest position on the roster, and it's not even close. The two best candidates are -- and no kidding, this is a coincidence -- Dave Cash and Don Money. A Cash/Money platoon sounds like the evil genius work of Earl Weaver, but for now ... Cash had the better glove, Money had the better bat, but played far more at third base. So it's Cash, with Money battling for a backup slot. That sentence was fun to write.

Unfortunately for Money, he has no chance to unseat Boggs at third base, and would be in line behind Killebrew, Corey Koskie, Aramis Ramirez and maybe Ken Reitz for the backup slot.

The shortstop position offers two brilliant glovemen in Mark Belanger and Buddy Harrelson, but neither stands a chance with three not-quite-Cooperstown guys battling for time in Tony Fernandez, Derek Jeter and Dave Concepcion. Much to my own personal regret, the heart and soul of the Big Red Machine stays home this time.

The outfield already has Brock in left and Williams playing slightly out of position in right, so a natural CF and additional depth for the bench is on the docket. The names of Garret Anderson, Carl Everett, Bobby (no relation to Peek-A-Boo) Veach, Jim Edmonds, Babe Herman, Carlos Lee, Ron LeFlore, Hideki Matsui, Ken Singleton, Dave Parker and Darin Erstad are on June birth certificates, so there are some options.

The best of those options in the middle are probably, in order, Edmonds, LeFlore, Erstad and Everett. But if they ain't startin', they're departin' the roster entirely as Parker and Matsui -- in part for his versatility and ability to move to CF if necessary -- make the team. Apologies to Garrett Anderson fans.

There are a couple of interesting utility options as 1B/3B/OF Pedro Guerrero and SS/3B Rico Petrocelli are available. But even more interesting is the opportunity to add Brooks Kieschnick as an extra reliever and pinch-hitter ... that extreme versatility frees up a roster spot for the most efficient hitter in the history of the game. C'mon, you know who I mean.

There are a number of good, solid, middle-of-the-rotation (relatively speaking) choices, to complement Hubbell, Chesbro and Foster. The best are probably Dizzy Trout, Rick Sutcliffe, Eddie Lopat and Andy Pettitte. We'll take Pettitte over Lopat in the matchup of former Yankee lefties and Sutcliffe edges out Trout for the fifth starter's slot.

And who says we shouldn't consider Dean Chance, Jim Maloney, Larry Jackson. Al Downing, Jim Slaton, Don Newcombe or Freddy Garcia? All of them fronted rotations at one time or another, and all of them reached or toyed with reaching 20-win seasons. Eddie Cicotte, by rule of the commissioner's office, is not eligible for this team despite his June birthdate.

For a five-man bullpen to back these guys up -- should they ever need it -- there's a nice mix available, including a couple of clear-cut Proven Closers in Doug Jones and Bryan Harvey, with solid setup guys like Mike Stanton, Ramiro Mendoza and Elias Sosa also available. Don Robinson -- who might be a better RP/PH option than Kieschnick -- could handle long relief and spot start, while Derek Lowe, who was never going to make this team as a starter, could go that route as well.

So here's the All-June Roster (Take 1):

GM: George Weiss
MGR: Wilbert Robinson

SP Carl Hubbell (L)
SP Jack Chesbro (R)
SP Bill Foster (L)
SP Andy Pettitte (L)
SP Rick Sutcliffe (R)

CL Doug Jones
RP Derek Lowe
RP Elias Sosa
RP Don Robinson
RP/PH Brooks Kieschnick (R/L)

LF Lou Brock
3B Wade Boggs
1B Lou Gehrig
DH Harmon Killebrew
RF Billy Williams
CF Jim Edmonds
C Bill Dickey
2B Dave Cash
SS Tony Fernandez

C Roger Bresnahan
IF Derek Jeter
IF Carlos Delgado
OF Dave Parker
OF Hideki Matsui
PH Eddie Gaedel

C Lance Parrish
1B Mark Grace
2B Don Money
SS Dave Concepcion
3B Rico Petrocelli
LF Ken Singleton
CF Ron LeFlore
RF Garrett Anderson
DH Pedro Guerrero
SP Dizzy Trout
SP Eddie Lopat
RP Bryan Harvey
RP Mike Stanton

Okay, fire away. What's wrong with this roster?
Do Cleavers Cut it? Meet the All-June Team | 2 comments | Create New Account
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_My Names not Ry - Friday, June 11 2004 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#32425) #
Jays all time June>>>

1: Delgado
2: Liriano
3: Gomez
OF:Perez, Bowling, A Johnson
Bullpen:Kucek, Heredia,Jordan, Musselman
Starters:Munro, Huffman, Hendrickson, Black
Bench: Coles, Parker,Allenson,Parrish, Lee,Stanley, Bordick, Moore, Woodward
Front Office: Beeston
Mike Green - Friday, June 11 2004 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#32426) #
Chesbro was not as good as all that. In the deadball era, his numbers were above-average but not great. Yes, he holds the "modern" record for wins in a season, but that's just a reflection of the times that allowed pitchers to save their stuff and hence pitch more innings. Sutcliffe was about as good as Chesbro.

Here are some other pitching options: Mel Parnell, Jerry Reuss, and the two young Cubs (of course they're young, they're cubs) Zambrano and Kerry Wood. I'd also have Concepcion over Fernandez, Dave Parker over Billy Williams in right, and Brett Butler on my team somewhere.

More June "twins": Terry Kennedy and Doug Gwosdz (memories of 84), Horace Clarke and Gene Michael (I'm shocked, Mick, that such a cosmic coincidence went unnoticed).
Do Cleavers Cut it? Meet the All-June Team | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.