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So as Mike Green ("Eggs and Ham") examines a Sosa candidacy for what seems inevitable enshrinement in the halls of Cooperstown, here we run a simple sidebar, Sam I am.

Will this team be more than So-so?
Is Juan Samuel a last-name no-no?
Will you all even give a damn?
For this Hall of Names is new ... All-Sam.

Okay, let's set the rules. Dozens of men named Sam, Sammy and Samuel have played in the major leagues; only those who had that as their given name, rather than surname or family name, are eligible for this team. So, sayonara, Juan Sameul, it would've been nice, Joe Sambito, no dice you three guys named "Samuels." In that last case, let's be honest, none of you three were in any danger of making the team anyway.

We'll give a free pass to the three guys named Sam already in the Hall of Fame -- all outfielders, so that could be bad for Corky Sosa -- and primo consideration to the other five Sams who have been All-Stars. Other than that, tie-breakers in making this team will be the random cool nickname -- the Sudden, Toothpick and Sad Sams of the world need a little love from Batter's Box.

So Let's Start With the Enshrined
Yup, three outfielders ... alphabetically, they were Sam Crawford (2,961 hits mostly for the Tigers around the turn of the last century, and briefly one of the all-time single season home run leaders after blasting 16 in 1901); Sam Rice (2,987 hits, mostly for Washington from 1915-33); and Sam Thompson (1,979 hits and 127 homers, all before 1900). All three of these guys stole several hundred bases (946 combined) so we should have plenty of speed in the outfield, no matter who plays where.

For the sake of argument, let's play Rice in LF and Thompson in RF, flanking Crawford. Mr. Sosa better pick up the art of designated hitting right quick!

As For Those "Other" All-Stars
There's Sosa, of course, who will likely move up a paragraph five years after he retires. The others, again alphabetically, are:

  • Sam Chapman. Oh boy, another outfielder! This one hit 180 homers, mostly for the Philadelphia A's from 1938-51.
  • Sammy Ellis. This lanky RHSP was 32-13 for the 1964-65 Reds (including 22 wins in 1965) but just 31-45 in parts of five other seasons with the Reds, Angels and White Sox.
  • "Toothpick Sam" Jones was another tall, lanky RHSP; he was a 20-game loser in his first full esason starting for the '55 Cubs, but by '59 and '60 was racking up 38 wins for the Giants.
  • "Sudden Sam" McDowell was a big-name lefty in who won in double digits eight times -- but reached 20 only once -- nostly for the Indians of the 1960s. His 325 strikeouts in 1965 would have established a new mark for lefties, except some kid named Koufax out in LA punched out 382 with his own left arm that same year.
  • Sam West, still another outfielder, bounced between the Senators and Browns for 15 years in the late '20s through the early '40s. Poor guy. Nothing about him really screams "All-Star" other than the fact that he scratched out eight .300 seasons -- four of which were between .300 and .305.
  • Sammy White. No, not the old Minnesota Vikings receiver; this guy was a catcher of another sort -- one who managed to put up respectable .280-ish seasons with a dozen or so homers each over a four-year period with the Red Sox of the early '50s.
Amd Two Guys Who Might've Been All-Stars if the Game Had Existed Then
  • "Sad Sam" Jones chalked up a dozen double-digit victory seasons, and had seven more seasons of eight or nine wins; that's a career mark of 229-217 for those of you scoring at home.
  • At 1B, we have to go with Sam Leslie, who started at 1B for the Dodgers for a few years back in 1930s Brooklyn. He hit .332 with 103 RBI in '34 and .308 with 93 RBI the next season. A career .304 hitter -- who knew?
And These Guys, Cuz We Gotta Fill Out the Roster, Now Don't We?
  • Sam Calderone was a backup catcher for the Giants and Braves in the 1950s
  • Sam Covington hit just .178 for his career, so it's a good thing we have Leslie to play 1B.
  • Sam Ewing isn't much of an improvement over Covington as a 1B (.255 in four years), but he was an Original Jay, before heading off to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
  • Sam "Blackie" Dente was a shortstop for four AL teams over nine years after WWII.
  • Sammy Esposito was mostly a backup 3B, hitting .207 in 10 seasons with the White Sox.
  • RHSP Sam Gibson won 23 games for the 1926-27 Tigers.
  • Sammy Hairston caught two games and PH in two games for the '51 White Sox, probably the worst, "relatively" speaking (har!), player in the Hairston clan.
  • Sam Horn. Ah, of course, the Lord and Master of SOSH. We'll need to find him a roster spot somewhere, just for the online fan support.
  • Not that we need another OF, but what's with Sam Jethroe? He had three fine seasons with the 1950-52 Braves after a stellar Negro League career, then was traded to the Pirates as the Braves left Boston for Milwaukee -- and managed only one at-bat for the Pirates in 1954, then disappeared.
  • Samny Khalifa -- c'mon, you hear this guy's name, you think "Mario Mendoza of the 1980s," right? The quintessential backup middle infielder.
  • Sam Mejias was a really fine defensive replacement for the Expos, Reds, Cardinals and Cubs in '80s, but even his career ERA of 0.00 (one scoreless inning, one hit batsman, two wild pitches, in 1978) won't earn him a spot on this team.
  • "Sandow" Sam Mertes played 10 seasons and all nine positions -- including one game as a pitcher in which he actually earned the victory -- while stealing 396 bases as a 2B and OF primarily for the White Sox and Giants.
  • "Subway Sam" Nahem was a RHRP once part of a trade for Joe Medwick, who earned 10 wins and one save in parts of four big league seasons.
  • Sam Moffett was 3-19 as a RHSP for the 1886 Cleveland Blues. After finishing his career at 6-29, he changed the spelling of the family name and started a clan of economists.
  • RHRP Sammy Stewart earned 59 wins and 45 saves over 10 seasons, mostly for Earl Weaver's Orioles. He led the AL in ERA in strike-shortened 1981, despite finishing just 4-8.
  • RHSP Sam Weaver had two 26-win seasons in the 1880s -- after posting a 12-31 mark for the 1878 Milwaukee Grays. His final career mark was 70-80 as he completed 143 of his 152 career starts.
  • Sammy "The Dixie Thrush" Strang was a solid 2B/3B type for the 1900-era Chicago (both of 'em) and New York (Giants and Dodgers) teams.
  • We need a lefty in the bullpen, so let's go with Sam Narron, Jerry's nephew and a B-level prospect trying to catch on with the current Rangers.
There. We might could do something with that list! So here's one whack at a 25-man roster:

* Indicates All-Star
** Indicates Hall of Famer

Sam Mele (524-436, led Twins to '65 AL crown)

C: Sammy White*
1B Sam Leslie
2B Sammy Strang
SS Sam Dente
3B Sammy Esposito
LF Sam Rice**
CF Sam Crawford**
RF Sam Thompson**
DH Sammy Sosa*

RHSP "Toothpick Sam" Jones*
LHSP "Sudden Sam" McDowell*
RHSP "Sad Sam" Jones
RHSP Sammy Ellis
RHSP Sam Weaver

CL Sammy Stewart
LHRP Sam Narron
RHRP Sam Nahem
LONG Sam Gibson

C Sammy Hairston
IF Sammy Khalifa
OF Sam Chapman*
OF Sam West*
PH Sam Horn
UTIL Sam Mertes

I am quite certain this team can be better. After all ...

Would you fear them on the mound?
Can they keep it on the ground?
Would you fear them at the plate?
Or will they have a bad K rate?

What else?

Sams They Am | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, March 04 2005 @ 09:17 AM EST (#104341) #
Couldn't Sam Dente's first name have been Al? What fun Dr. Seuss would have had with that!
Mike Green - Friday, March 04 2005 @ 09:49 AM EST (#104346) #
This doesn't really help the club either, but in the "what could have been" category, I nominate Sam Militello. Painful though that might be for a Yankee fan.
Mick Doherty - Friday, March 04 2005 @ 10:00 AM EST (#104348) #
Mike, yer breakin' my heart ... both reflect comments I had in the draft originally! I cut a refernce to Militello because I don't ALWAYS want to be a Yankee homer, and I originally wrote Sam "Al" Dente, but thought people might actually think that was his nickname. And it's not really up there with "Toothpick," now is it?
Sams They Am | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.