The Youngs and the Rest List

Sunday, April 17 2005 @ 12:01 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Sunday's ballgame between the Rangers and Blue Jays pits Team Canada against a very young squad -- in several ways. First, Texas does play quite a few chronologically-deprived players; but more to the point, they have an All-Star quality shortstop in former Jay farmhand Michael Young, and Sunday's starting pitcher is the former Princeton hoopster Chris Young, a 6'10" 25-year-old righty.

Baseball management types are always talking about a "youth movement" and playing "the young guys" but here the Rangers seem to actually be doing it. If only they hadn't let go of versatile veteran utilityman Eric Young, lost to the Padres, in the recent offseason.

Actually, 35 men named "Young" -- including a certain Cyclone you may have heard about -- have donned major league duds, and we could probably struggle along and build a whole Hall of Names team out of that list, but in the spirit of our youth -- er, at least Young -- movement, we'll think outside the box here inside Da Box and get creative ...

... allowing for a Little Boy Child latitude, and maybe sneak in some Babes, Babies and Kids. To stay at least moderately close to the spirit of the "last names, not nicknames" Hall of Names directive, we will only allow nicknames ony if the player in question was better known by that name than by their given name.

What's that mean? Well, Babe Ruth and Babe Dahlgren are in; Ted "the Kid" Williams and Gary "the Kid" Carter are out. However, Kid Nichols is in; but Danny "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Graves is out. Spelling matters, so Grady Little is eligible; Mark Littell is not (and Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner is right out); spelling must be correct, but eligibility is retained if the word is only a part of the name, so Ken Boyer is in, but Charlton, Dibble and Myers -- the Nasty Boys -- are out. We won't stretch the limits of young-alike words to include either of the Roy Smalleys or Andy Pettitte, for that matter. Pettitte isn't even the correct spelling of "petite" anyway.

Only one man named "Young" is enshrined in Cooperstown -- the aforementiond Denton True "Cy" Young, he of the 511 career wins and the annual award named for him. However, another Hall of Famer could get into the outfield -- that's Ross Youngs, who was called "the greatest outfielder I ever saw" by his manager, the legendary John McGraw. Youngs compiled a career average of .322, but kidney trouble ended his career at the age of 29 led to in his premature death in 1927 at the age of 30.

Four other Youngs have been All-Stars at one time or another, including the current Texas shortstop, but not counting 1980s super-utility guy Joel Youngblood, who played every position except pitcher in the majors.

Youngblood is best remembered for the quirky fact that in 1982 he was the first man to play for two different major league teams in two different cities on the same day, when as a Mets outfielder he began the day by going 1-for-2 off Fergie Jenkins at Wrigley Field, was traded to the Expos after the game, and made it Philadelphia that night to get into the sixth inning of a game at the Vet. After getting a hit off the Hall of Fame righty Jenkins that afternoon, Youngblood singled off Hall of Fame lefty Steve Carlton that night, to cap off a pretty good day, as he also picked up what would be 21 games in the standings by the end of the season.

The remaining Young All-Stars are Detroit's Slim-Fast poster boy Dmitri; the Ranger-turned-Padre Eric; and LHSP Matt who was just 55-95 in 10 years for five teams.

Another Hall of Famer who should make this squad include Charles "Kid" Nichols, a 361-game winner who had no less than seven 30-win seasons for the old Boston Braves; among those who probably would have been in an All-Star Game or three had there been such a thing at the time are 2B Clarence "Cupid" Childs, who hit .306 over 12 years starting in 1888, mostly with the old Cleveland Spiders; OF Babe Herman of "Dem Bums" fame, who hit .381 and .393 in 1929-30; RHSP Babe Adams, who won no games for the Cardinals, then 194 after the Cardinals gave up on him; and Baby Doll Jacobson, who averaged about 100 RBI for the 1920-24 Browns.

This team is currently holding open auditions for a closer. Be creative!

The Young Ones
**Indicates Hall of Famer
* Indicates All-Star

C Babe Phelps* (.310 in 11 years; All-Star 1938-40, despite averaging 94 games)
1B Babe Dahlgren* (Followed Gerhig as NYY 1B -- after purchase from BOS!)
2B Cupid Childs (.306, 1888-1901 mostly for Cleveland Spiders)
SS Michael Young* (A-Rod who?)
3B Ken Boyer* ('64 NL MVP's bat beats out brother Clete)
LF Ross Youngs** (mostly a RF but no way Young or Heman can play CF)
CF Baby Doll Jacobson (.311, 1714 hits in 11 seasons)
RF Babe Herman (.324 in 13 seasons)
DH Babe Ruth** (Ruth will DH so as to hold his spot in the rotation)

Footnote: Phelps and Dahlgren were actually traded for each other in 1943.

C/OF Babe Martin (.214 in parts of six seasons)
2B/SS/3B Babe Pinelli (.276 in eight years; later a MLB umpire)
1B/3B/OF Dmitri Young* (And we're waiting on Delmon)
OF Tike Redman (.286 for PIT through '04)
UTIL Joel Youngblood*
2B/SS SS Omar Infante (Current Tiger 2B/SS, beats out Eric Young)

Footnote 2: Ruth's double-duty allows us to carry a sixth bench player.

RHSP Cy Young **
LHSP Babe Ruth** (94-46, 2.28)
RHSP Kid Nichols**
LHSP Matt Young*
RHSP Babe Adams (194 wins for PIT, 1907-26)

RHRP Al Nipper (mostly a starter, but started and ended career in 'pen)
LHRP Irv "Cy the Second" Young (also mostly a starter, 63-95 in six years)
LOOGY Dick Littlefield (33-54, nine years with record 10 teams)
LONG Kip Young (former "future Tiger ace" had one good half-year)
LONG Curt Young (69-53 in 11 years)

Okay, we need a closer and if we find one, will need to cut someone -- probably Kip or Irv Young. And we'd sure like to have a front-line LHSP (remember, Pettitte is out) to allow Ruth to focus full-time on a lineup spot.