Come Fourth and Sign Here, Please

Monday, July 04 2005 @ 12:01 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

I know, it's not really fair -- Rob went and put together that awfully nice effort of an All-Canada Day team by using the names of the delegates at the Québec Conference of 1864, and thusly found himself stuck with source names like Chapais, Tache and Haviland -- not exactly the kinds of names you find littered throughout major league baseball history.

So it's not really a fair fight against a July 4th U.S. Independence Day squad where we find signers of the Declaration of Independence named Morris, Johnson, Clark, Lee and Williams. One suspects the American July holiday team may be a bit deeper than those "Canada Day Trippers" Rob came up with.

But before we skip to the inevitable shellacking, let's find out for sure ...

... and tell you what, we're not even going to do any miserable rat cheating like Rob did to get the All-Time Home Run King on his team. Meh, we don't need no stinking cheating. We're gonna be fine -- in fact, in the spirit of all the rules and regs hashed out at the various Continental Congress meetings in Philly and Boston, here are a few rules restricting membership on this team.

First and foremost, we will ONLY consider players who have the exact last or family name of one of the signers of the Declaration. That means, of course:

A few declarative notes ...
Of the 40 Clarks to play in the major leagues, the only three to make an All-Star appearance -- Jack, Will and Tony -- are all pretty much the same guy, a power-hitting 1B ...

It's also reasonable to suggest that the best "Chase" was former New York 1B Hal, but that logjam at the 3 had us leaning toward a moderately successful LHSP in Ken Chase, though in the end neither made the team ...

You've no doubt already guessed that the special exception mentioned above gets us the all-time saves leader in Lee Arthur Smith, along with the Wizard of Oz at shorstop representing Pennsylvania signer James Smith and the 140 men bearing that name who have made the big leagues. Not making the cut is Hall of Fame Negro League hot corner star Hilton Smith ...

Hmph, we've eliminated two HOF third sackers already in Mathews and H. Smith, so Jim Ray Hart has to be feeling really fortunate to even be on this team, much less the starting third baseman ...

Roric Harrison was a serviceable RHRP for quite some time, and might have even made the team as co-closer with Nelson if not for Big Lee Arthur. But the interesting thing about Harrison is that his grandkids can brag "Grampa was part of two separate trades for Jim Bouton and for Blue Moon Odom."


Parenthetical number notes how many big league players have shared that last/family name.
John Hancock (5)
Samuel Adams (28)
John Adams (28)
Robert Treat Paine (1)
Elbridge Gerry (0)

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett (1)
William Whipple (0)
Matthew Thornton (6)

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins (6)
William Ellery (0)

Roger Sherman (3)
Samuel Huntington (0)
William Williams (90)
Oliver Wolcott (1)

Button Gwinnett (0)
Lyman Hall (26)
George Walton (4)
New York
William Floyd (4)
Philip Livingston (2)
Francis Lewis (18)
Lewis Morris (16)

New Jersey
Richard Stockton (0)
John Witherspoon (0)
Francis Hopkinson (0)
John Hart (14)
Abraham Clark (40)

Robert Morris (16)
Benjamin Rush (2)
Benjamin Franklin (6)
John Morton (7)
George Clymer (2)
James Smith (141)
George Taylor (47)
James Wilson (66)
George Ross (12)

Caesar Rodney (1)
George Read (0)
Thomas M'Kean (0)
Samuel Chase (2)
William Paca (0)
Thomas Stone (5)
Charles Carrol (0)

George Wythe (0)
Richard Henry Lee (26)
Thomas Jefferson (3)
Benjamin Harrison (6)
Thomas Nelson, Jr. (23)
Francis Lightfoot Lee (26)
Carter Braxton (1)

North Carolina
William Hooper (3)
Joseph Hewes (0)
John Penn (1)

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge (0)
Thomas Heyward (0)
Thomas Lynch (11)
Arthur Middleton (2)

The manager of this squad -- well, nobody named Washington or Jefferson or even Adams has ever managed in the big leagues, so we'll go with a man who has "signed" his own name to more MLB equipment than anyone who has ever lived -- Al Spalding. A fine RHSP who compiled a mind-blowing 253-65 record (a winning percentage of .796!) in little more than six full seasons in the 1870s, Spalding was equally successful in his debut season as a manager, posting a 52-14 mark in leading the Cubs (the Cubs!) to a pre-World Series NL title. After falling to 26-33 the next season, Spalding left managing -- and pitching -- for good at the age of 26, toting a .624 winning percentage as a skipper into retirement with him.

So, meet the ...

MGR Al Spalding** (78-47-1 career mark)

C Mickey Livingston (.238, 1938-51)
1B Andy Thornton* (253 homers)
2B Tony Taylor* (.261, 234 SB) over 19 seasons)
SS Ozzie Smith** (2460 hits, 14 consecutive Gold Gloves)
3B Jim Ray Hart* (.278, 170 homers)
LF Ted Williams** (.344, 521 homers)
CF Harry Hooper** (.281, 2466 hits, 1909-25 BOS, CHW)
RF Jack Clark* (.267, 340 homers)
DH Hack Wilson** (191 RBI in 1930)

C Toby Hall (.260 with TBD through 2004)
SS/2B Jason Bartlett (1-for-12 with 2004 Padres)
3B/OF Buddy Lewis* (.297, 1935-49 WSH)
OF Cliff Floyd* (.283, 166 homers through 2004)
OF/2B Otis Clymer (.267, 1905-13)
UTIL Don Ross (.262, 1938-46, did all but P, C)

RHSP Jack Morris* (254-186)
LHSP Bill "Spaceman" Lee* (119-90)
RHSP Babe Adams (194-140, 1906-26; all but 1 STL game with PIT)
LHSP Thornton Lee* (74-57 for 1937-41 CHW; 117-124 career)
5SP-R Matt Morris* (87-52, two All-Star appearances through 2004)

CL Lee Smith* (All-time saves leader with 478)
RHRP Jeff Nelson* (47-41, 32 saves through 2004)
LHRP Garland Braxton (50-53, 32 saves, 1921-33, five teams)
LHRP Wayne Franklin (10-13 for 2003 MIL; 14-15 career through 2004)
LONG-R Steve Stone* (25-7, 1980 AL Cy Young; 107-93 career)

Declarative Namesakes Not Making the Cut

So what do you say, Bauxites? Does Baseball from a Canadian Perspective give an early-July holiday "John Hancock" to this little piece of Americana?