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It's that time again ... introducing the Batter's Box All-August team, a squad made up entirely of players born in the month named for good ol' Augustus Caeser.

You might remember that last month, we named our All-July team the July Franks, in honor of the best player in major league history named for the month of July, the ageless Julio Franco. The 62-year-old Braves first baseman, incidentally, has an August birthdate.

And you might think the best of major leaguers named for the month of August would be (drumroll please) ...

... Don August, who won a total of 25 games in his first two years with the Brewers in the late 1980's; ironically, given Franco's birthdate, Don was born in July. Another Milwaukee hurler, Jerry Augustine, won more than 50 games in the 1970's and 1980's, and even made 20 appearances for the 1982 World Series club, but he also arrived in July. Early 1970's Pirate OF Dave Augustine was a November baby.

Turn-of-the-century infielder Augustus "Gus" Alberts came along in May. August "Gus" Brittain, who caught one game for the '37 Reds, was born in November. In fact, of the 33 players who made it to the majors bearing the name "Gus," only 24 actually had a form of the name "August" or "Augustine" or something reasonably close to that on the birth certificate, and only two were actually born in August. And would you believe it? They were teammates.

Augustus "Gus" Dorner, an August arrival, was 36-69 from 1902-1909 for three teams, ending his career with the Boston Braves in '09, just as rookie utilityman Gustave "Gus" Getz -- another August arrival -- joined the team. Getz played all over the diamond until 1918, getting into 339 games for five teams. That nice bit of symmetry wherein during Dorner's final season he was teammates with the rookie Getz, helped lead the hapless Braves to a 45-108 finish.

Now, for the rest of the team, tentatively named the August Presence, we'll start by using a precedent established with the February team and look at the Hall of Famers born in August.

No less than 25 Hall of Famers entered this mortal coil in the month of August -- well, that's making allowance for at least one who is a lock to get there, though still active. And you can piece together a pretty fair team from those Hall of Famers alone.

August Hall Lineup
C Ray Schalk
1B Jake Beckley
2B Paul Molitor (he did play 400 games there)
SS Cal Ripken Jr.
3B Ray Dandridge (Negro Leagues)
LF Ted Williams
CF Kiki Cuyler
RF Roberto Clemente
DH Frank Robinson

August Hall Bench
OF Harry Heilmann, Carl Yastrzemski, Harry Hooper
IF George Davis, George Kell, Willie Wells (Negro Leagues)

August Hall Pitching Staff
SP Christy Mathewson R
SP Eddie Plank L
SP Roger Clemens R
SP Burleigh Grimes R
RP Rollie Fingers R

Running the August Show
Speaking of Hall of Famers, who's going to manage this motley crew of August ballplayers? Earl Weaver? Al Lopez? Ned Hanlon? Bill McKechnie? All have managerial plaques in Cooperstown, as does another manager better known for his front office demeanor (with the stress on "mean"), Charlie Comiskey.

And if these managers getting their heads together doesn't cut it, consider adding a college of coaches including former World Series skippers Dallas Green, Ralph Houk, Fred Hutchinson, Charlie Grimm and Darrell Johnson, with the skipper of the all-time winningest regular season team, Lou Piniella, and Sweet Lou's predecessor as a Seattle-based manager, Ball Four's own Joe Schultz.

Quirks and Oddities in August
Speaking of Ball Four, fans of the book will remember the legendary name Dooley Womack, just one of many short trips down memomry's dead end lane regarding August birthdays in major league history.

For instance, did you know that both Carl East and Buck West were born in August? Alas, former A's speedster Billy North wasn't fast enough in this case, arriving a few days late -- September 3, to be precise -- to join the squad.

Some of the great "names" of August include Adonis Terry, Rufus Meadows, Ducky Swan, Fatty Briody, Cupid Childs, Cannonball Titcomb (nope, not making these up, really), De Witt Wiley "Bevo" LeBourveau, Shorty Desjardien, Arquimedez Pozo, Les Rock, Rags Faircloth Elmer Klumpp, Pea Ridge Day, Peanuts Lowrey, Dizzy Nutter and Bun Troy.

That's just to name a few. Looking for famous names? Randy Johnson -- no not that one, a Twins utility man of the 1980's -- arrived in August, as did Fred Sanford (presumably as played by Redd Foxx) and none other than Phil Collins; there's Something in the Air in August, apparently.

Other August arrivals included the legendary Bird, Mark Fidrych; Chris Berman favorite Oddibe "Young Again" McDowell, Dodger rookie phenom-flop Clint Hartung, Wilmer "Vinegar" Bend Mizell and a 19th century manager named Jewel Ens. George Zuverink, was, until the arrival of that bastard November baby Dutch Zwilling, the final player listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia. August also brought us the greatness of catcher Choo Choo Coleman, an original Met, about whom Casey Stengel once opined, "You have to have a catcher or you'll have all passed balls."

The advent of World War II allowed a couple of August babies a second lease on baseball life; outfielder Estel Crabtree played 249 games for the 1929-33 Reds, then disappeared until a 240-game stint with the 1941-44 Reds and Cardinals. Hurler Wally Hebert was 11-25 for the 1931-33 Browns, then 10-11 for the '43 Pirates. Neither appeared in a game after the war concluded.

On a purely selfish note, August apparently was the breeding ground for a surprising number of my personal favorite players, including Joe Lis and Frank Pastore, who are both listed in my Roster entry; John Doherty (the Angels' DH, not the Tigers' pitcher), for what should be pretty obvious reasons; Doug Bair, one of the few players who made the majors out of my alma mater, Bowling Green State University; and former Toledo Mud Hen catcher Bill Nahorodny.

Family Ties
Family ties run deep in August, as two dads -- Jerry (father of Jeff) Davanon and Diego (father of David) Segui are joined on the August arrival list by Tim (son of Tim) Raines, Gary (son of Gary) Matthews, Brian (son of Hal) McRae, Raul (son of Paul) Casanova and Dusty (son of John) Wathan. Even Jayson (nephew of Leo) Durocher is around if anyone gives this team some Lip.

But where families are concerned, August is apparently the Month of the Slightly Less Famous Brother. With the exception of August Andy Benes, who ended up with 155 career wins, just a smidge ahead of his January brother Alan's 29 victories, virtually every August-born MLB player with a brother in The Show spent his career in the shadow of that brother.

For instance, Gary Roenicke wasn't a great player, but his career batting average of .241 nudged out his August brother Ron's career mark of .238. And oh by the way, Gary out-homered Ron, 121-17.

Speaking of out-homering, you might be familiar with the older brother of Tommie Aaron; Hank sent 755 baseballs into the next world, while Tommie fell four short -- of Ron Roenicke, managing just 13 career bombs. Still, they hold the brother career home run record with 768.

Once upon a time, fans in Boston believed a young slugger named Tony Conigliaro would eclipse Hank's record; Tony C. hit his 100th career homer before turning 22. After the elder Conigliaro's career-ending eye injury, little brother Billy -- an August arrival -- came along to tease Bostonians with a few monster shots over the Monster. But Billy ended up with just 40 career homers, well short of even older brother Tony's truncated career total of 166.

Want more brotherly where's-the-love? Well, Charles "Chick" Hafey may be one of the least deserving players in the Hall of Fame, but he is in Cooperstown, and August brother Daniel "Bud" Hafey isn't. The further indignity is that the .213 career hitter Bud isn't even the best Less Famous Brother in the family, as Tom "I didn't get a cheesey nickname" Hafey managed a career mark of .248.

You think Indian (and former Twin) outfielder Matt Lawton, once an All-Star, is pretty good? Sure, he's been around .300 a few times and shown 20-homer power. But did you know that his August big brother Marcus Lawton got 14 at-bats (and three singles) for the 1989 Yankees?

Then there's the older brother born in August who hung around to pitch in the big leagues for 15 years, 472 games, amassing just 39 wins and 20 saves in spot duty. And his little brother Greg came along to crack the 300-win barrier. Oh well, they say Mike Maddux may be a Hall of Fame pitching coach one day.

Around the Horn
Who else deserves consideration for the All-August roster?

Catcher: In addition to HOFer Schalk, many people believe Ted Simmons deserves enshrinement; another switch-hitting backstop currently in play is Jorge Posada, like Simmons a consistent All-Star. Other August All-Stars behind the plate are Rudy York, former Met John Stearns, and Indian Johnny Romano, a close BaseballReference "Most Similar" comp to Posada. Around the turn of the last century, Wally Schang hung around to catch for 19 years, mostly as a backup.

The verdict: Simmons starts. Posada makes the team in a shameless pro-present-day bias; Schalk is on the squad as a third catcher.

First Base: Jake Beckley was known much more for his glove than his bat, but this team will likely have plenty of offense. In a pinch, Molitor or Yaztrzemski could always play first base. The other first basemen worth mentioning, with the exception of Coors-aided Todd Helton, all share one thing in common -- oddly, they all made their names at first (literally) with the Indians: Luke Easter, Andy Thornton, the aforementioned Julio Franco and Jim Thome.

The verdict: Beckley gets the Hall of Fame nod. Thome makes the team. Yaz and Mollie can bring their first sacker gloves to camp.

Second Base: Eliminated at first base, can Franco make the Presence at his original All-Star position, second base? Molitor is hardly a natural there, while none of the Hall of Fame backup infielders were primarily second basemen, either. The other All-Star caliber candidates are Franco, ex-Met Felix Millan, ex-Reds Johnny Temple and Lonny Frey, ex-Yank Bobby Richardson and Ex-po Jose Vidro. Tough choices.

The verdict: Molitor hangs on to his starting role, the defensive shortcomings buffered by Beckley's presence at first. On the BaseballReference Hall of Fame monnitor, Vidro more than doubles up Temple and outpoints Franco -- but somewhat surprisingly falls well short of Richardson, best known for catching Willie McCovey's wicked line drive to end the 1962 World Series. So Richardson lays claim to a bench spot.

Shortstop: At shortstop, Cardinal Edgar Renteria is the best of the active lot, while Cecil Travis of the mid-century Senators, has had some misguided support for the Hall of Fame. Apologies to George Davis, who would need to learn to play with a glove before making the team as a glove man.

The verdict: Willie Wells makes the team as a backup, but better hope he can pinch-hit and pinch-run to stay active; the man at short never takes a break. That's Cal Ripken Jr.

Third base: Dandridge and Kell are a nice starting point. Buddy Bell, both the son and the father of additional major league third basemen, has the right gene pool. Billy Cox was great with the leather. Troy Glaus never really became Troy Glaus, Superduperstar, as many expected. Bob Horner never really became Bob Horner, Superduper ... well, you get the idea. Greg Jefferies was a nice bat off the bench who never found a position, even as a DH. Eric Hinske? Thanks for stopping by the booth. Graig Nettles was almost certainly a better third baseman, offensively and defensively, than Kell, but will never see Cooperstown without buying a ticket.

The verdict: With Molitor and Ripken both able to comfortably slide over to third, maybe Dandridge doesn't need a backup. That said, Nettles would be a nice bat and a nice glove off the bench.

Outfield: The HOF outfield depth in August is awesome, though there isn't really a true centerfielder in the mix. Other candidates don't prove much better in the middle, though; are you going to drop Cuyler for active speedster Juan Pierre or turn-of-the-last-century Brett Butler clone Fielder Jones? Some near Hall-of-Fame careers crop up in August, as Vada Pinson, Albert Belle, Rocky Colavito and Frank Howard are all around; way over in the corner, packing their bags to leave, that's Jose Cruz Sr., Tim Salmon and Tom Brunansky.

The verdict: Our Hall of Fame outfield stays intact. Jones is in as a defensive replacement named "Fielder." Yup.

Designated Hitter: Ron Blomberg deserves mention just because he was the first. But we'll stick with F-Robby, who pulled off a nice first at DH himself, hitting a homer in his first at-bat, as a DH, as the first black (player-)manager.

Rotation: It's unlikely that any right-hander will unseat Mathewson, Clemens or Grimes from the rotation; you want to bump one for the Jays' first-ever All-Star, righty DaveLemanczyk? Dolf Luque, with 194 career wins, and Urban Shocker at 187-117, may be the best of the bunch, though Bobo Newsom, at 211-222 is the leading remaining winner.

No, Mark Gubicza, Mike Torrez, Hideo Nomo, Tom Candiotti, Guy Bush, Mike Boddicker, Murry Dickson, Jeff Weaver, Joey Jay, Tiny Bonham, Ron Darling, Nellie Briles, Andy Messersmith, Jarrod Washburn, Alex Fernandez, Matt Morris, Bob Buhl, Mudcat Grant ... wonderful front-of-the-rotation guys, all of 'em, but not a one makes this team. Although, if you needed a pitcher who can hit or one guy to pitch one big World Series game, you could do worse than Tony Cloninger and Don Larsen.

The rotation could use a second lefty, but the pickings are decidedly slimmer on that side of the rubber, where two serious candidates are actually Matt Young (55-95) and Ken Raffensberger (119-154), both of whom inexplicably made All-Star teams, as did current Phillie Randy Wolf. Little Freddie Norman bounced around for 16 years and won between 11 and 14 games for seven of those seasons. Legitimately, the choice comes down to two guys: Mark Langston, who had the longer career, and Ron Guidry, who shone more brightly for a shorter time.

The verdict: It's Mathewson-Plank-Clemens-Grimes-Langston. Guidry makes the team, though; the bullpen could use some balance.

Bullpen: Fingers is the Hall of Fame closer, though he could get some help from John Wetteland, Troy Percival or Rod Beck. Clem Labine had a nice 77-win, 96-save career, and probably wouldn't complain about "save opportunities." Current guys like Danny Graves and Jeff Zimmerman may earn a place down the road, but aren't there yet. Bill Campbell was one of the first big free agent signings ever -- hard to believe, looking back, isn't it?

What better long man than a knuckleballer? No, we're not optioning Candiotti back to the team; this spot belongs to Tim Wakefield. From the left side, your long relief comes from Guidry. The LOOGY can double as the team mascot -- welcome aboard, Tugger.

So here's the All-August Roster; in the interest of, well, not really being able to decide, we have an "All-Star-Game-like" 29 players on the team.

All-August Lineup
1. Paul Molitor, 2B
2. Ted Simmons, C
3. Ted Williams, LF
4. Frank Robinson, DH
5. Roberto Clemente, RF
6. Cal Ripken Jr., SS
7. Jake Beckley, 1B
8. Ray Dandridge, 3B
9. Kiki Cuyler, CF

August Hall Bench
C: Jorge Posada, Ray Schalk
IF: Jim Thome, Bobby Richardson, Willie Wells, Graig Nettles
OF: Harry Heilmann, Carl Yastrzemski, Harry Hooper, Fielder Jones

August Hall Rotation
RHP Christy Mathewson
LHP Eddie Plank
RHP Roger Clemens
RHP Burleigh Grimes
LHP Mark Langston

August Hall Bullpen
CL Rollie Fingers
SET Troy Percival
LOOGY Tug McGraw
LONG-L Ron Guidry
LONG-R Tim Wakefield

Fire away!

All-August: Meet the August Presence | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Lucas - Monday, August 16 2004 @ 01:40 AM EDT (#32057) #
In honor of my upcoming birthday, an abbreviated All-August 28th team:

SP Ron Guidry
SP Mike Torrez
RP Jay Witasick
RP Ryan Madsen

C Tom Satriano
1B Kit Pellow
2B Joel Youngblood
3B Shane Andrews
SS Aaron Ward
OF Darren Lewis
OF Lou Pinella
OF Tony Gonzalez

Manager Charlie Grimm

Sadly, no pro ballplayer was born on my exact day of birth. Given how long ago it was, I don't see it happening.
Mike Green - Monday, August 16 2004 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#32058) #
Posada over Simmons. Guidry over Langston. Wetteland over Percival. Helton or Thome over Beckley. Franco or Vidro at second, with Molitor at third. Pinson over Cuyler.

Having a good defensive first baseman, with weak gloves at catcher, second base and centerfield is not a great idea. And the absence of Yankees from the starting lineup? Shocking, if you ask me!
_Mick - Monday, August 16 2004 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#32059) #
And the absence of Yankees from the starting lineup? Shocking, if you ask me!

I may have been over-correcting in that regard, actually. I wondered if opting for Bobby Richardson would fall under j'accuse of pinstriped favoritism.

If we do want a lefty long man in the bullpen, you ahve to leave Guidry there becaust Langston never really worke din relief, whereast that's what Guidry originally wa brougt to the Bronx to do.
Craig B - Tuesday, August 17 2004 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#32060) #
that's what Guidry originally wa brougt to the Bronx to do

Were it not for Peter Bavasi, he'd have been doing it in Exhibition Stadium. Oh well!
All-August: Meet the August Presence | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.