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Gonna need some help on this one ... so let's throw it open to everyone.

On a team where Toby Harrah is almost certainly the shortstop, Dick Nen is the first baseman, his son Rob (oh, if he only went by Bob to be a double palindrome!) is the closer, 1980s lefty Dave Otto is quite likely to be a regular part of the rotation. You can see we need some help.

But wait, you ask, what IS a palindrome?

A palindrome is simply a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward; the most famous is what Napoleon supposedly said when arriving on his isle of exile (ex-isle?) ... "Able was I, ere I saw Elba." (Go ahead, read it backwards -- you'll see.) My dad, who hooked me on palindromes a long time ago, once came up with "Top speed at a deep spot," around the era Evel Knievel was threatening to jump the Grand Canyon on a jet-powered tricycle or somesuch.

We're looking for a team captain, who regardless of his position or skills, is a true palindrome -- that is, his whole name (first and last) is a palindrome, like Stanley Yelnats in the movie Holes.

Now let's be clear ... we're looking ONLY for last names or full names, or else every single player ever named "Bob" or nicknamed "Pop" or whatever would qualify. (Thus the Rob Nen comment earlier.) Harrah spelled backward is ... Harrah. Otto spelled backward is .. Otto, but sorry, Otto Velez, according to our rules, while the southpaw Dave is eligible, you are not.

I'm really flummoxed here (actually, I just really like the word "flummoxed"). So I beseech thee, loyal Bauxites, what palindromic ballplayers are out there now, or throughout the history of the great game? Minor League and Negro League players are perfectly acceptable as long as you can document them with a link.

I told you, this is HARD ... you can get frustratingly close with a Wally Pipp and glance longingly at a Pep Young, but no dice. What have you got, setixuaB?

Contest: The All-Palindrome Team | 24 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike D - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#122625) #
Don't forget "Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog."
Magpie - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#122626) #
This isn't going to help you much, but the best baseball palindrome I know of was the title of Roger Angell's essay on the 1986 World Series:

Not So, Boston

Mike Green - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#122629) #
I guess "Sit on a potato pan, Otis" doesn't get Amos in, does it?

Back to the drawing board.
GreenMonster - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#122642) #
Mark Salas: 385 games at catcher (and a few games elsewhere) in the 1980s and 1990s.

Johnny Reder: 37 AB for the 1932 Red Sox, with 10 games at 1B and 1 at 3B.

Eddie Kazak: started the 1949 All-Star game at 3B, but quickly lost that form.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#122651) #
GreenMonster, that's awesome! We actually have a lineup starting, barely, to take shape (as long as nothing is hit to the outfield, so far anyway):

1B Dick NEN
2B Eddie KAZAK (I looked it up -- he played 5 games there)
3B Johnny REDER

What else??
Rob - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#122656) #
Since everyone seems to be going with the multi-word palindromes, I'll go with "Wo, Nemo! Toss a lasso to me now!" and suggest Nemo Leibold.

There's an easy way to do this if anyone has the Lahman database or something that lists every player in MLB history. Just use Excel to reverse the last name and place it in a new cell, then add a formula to check if X equals Y.

Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#122658) #
Rob, I don't have that available to me or else (a) I woulda done it already and (b) I wouldn't have bitched about how HARD this is.

However, five hundred million points (and those are US points, not CDN!) to the first person to do so. I just know there's an entire outfield and a deeper pitching staff out there for us.
Rob - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#122661) #
I just downloaded the database and performed the query. Here's who showed up:

Truck Hannah (can play 1B, moving Dick Nen to LF)
both Nens

Yeah, that's it. At least there's an outfielder now.

Rob - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#122662) #
Clarification: to save time, I excluded players with names longer than 10 letters. But I doubt there are any palindrome names longer than six, anyway.
seeyou - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#122675) #
Interesting side note: Nomar Garciaparra was named "Nomar" because it was a palindrome of his father's name, Ramon.
Anonymous - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#122678) #
Just so that all loose ends are tied up (and to see if I could do it), I ran the same thing Rob did in Excel, but for all players (including the Grudzielaneks and Van Landinghams) and still the same results.

Nice suggestion Rob.
Anonymous - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#122683) #
Ok, I"m sorry to post again.... but while playing with this wonderful new Spreadsheet that will occupy me for HOURS, I came across a guy named "Peek-A-Boo Veach"?? What the heck? "Phenomenal Smith"? "Vinegar Bend Mizell"? "Cannonball Titcomb"?

Suddenly Apple Paltrow doesn't look so bad...

Are those just nicknames, perhaps, where they couldn't find their real name?
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#122686) #
VB Mizell went by that name for his hometown in Alabama. Actually, lots of players went by hometowns as nicknames.

Incidentally, he was later elected to the US Congress, I believe from Texas.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#122691) #
With Nen in LF, we can designate Otis to play CF and Leibold to play RF thanks to the torturous logic of the extended palindromes above. And that would give us a complete team, unless someone wants to come up with a palindrome for Mays or Bonds?
Rob - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#122697) #
The best I could come up with was:
"Guy, rabbit! I"

I think that translates as
"My male platonic friend, look at that rabbit! My name is Barry Bonds. Yeah, that sucks."

I am very sorry for inflicting this on all of you.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#122698) #
Not only did you inflict that on us, but it wouldn't have counted anyway! (See the rules on first names not applying.)
HippyGilmore - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#122704) #
Plus, it's not even a palindrome, as it reads: Guy, Rrabit! I," backwards.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#122709) #
How about:

"Nora, a node peeped on Aaron." for Hammerin' Hank?

The team needs help, or they'll win zero games, backwards or forwards.
Matthew E - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#122730) #
There's a palindrome about Nikola Tesla: "I, madam! I made radio! So I dared! Am I mad? Am I?"

And of course, the old favourite, "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!"
Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#122751) #
I'd never seen that Tesla 'drome before. That's GREAT. And now, he can be our Radio pbp guy!
Rob - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:02 AM EDT (#122755) #
Okay, how about adding Darryl Strawberry:
"Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts."

Jose Roman as a pitcher:
"A new order began, a more Roman age bred Rowena."

More pitchers: The Mississippi Mudcat or Toronto's David:
"Bush saw I wash sub" or "Bush saw Sununu swash sub."

Les Cain:
"Cain: a maniac"

One last pitcher, Don Dennis:
"Dennis, I sinned!"
GreenMonster - Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#123209) #
What about palindromic first names (full first names, so OTTO and HANNAH would work but not BOB)? Would that help fill out the team?
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#123239) #
That's a good rule, GM.

There's never been anyone with the first name Hannah in MLB history, but it looks like we have about 15 Ottos ... I'd hate to overload the team with one name, it'd almost be like Bob; can you think of other names we might use?

If we limit ourselves to one player per full first name, I guess that make Otto Velez an OF ... who else?

No nicknames, so no Dad Clarkson or Pep Young!
GreenMonster - Wednesday, July 20 2005 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#123287) #

Here are two some legitimate candidates:

  • OF/2B/P/Umpire(!) ASA Brainerd from the National Association
  • SS ASA Stratton who played 1 game at SS for the 1881 Worcester squad. So what if he had 2 errors in 3 chances!

And here are some honorable mentions:

  • SS/2B/3B BOOB Fowler who played 78 games in the 1920s
  • 1B BUB McAtee played 51 games inthe National Association
  • P BUB Kuhn pitched one ineffective inning for the 1924 Indians
  • 1B DUD Branom who played for the 1927 Athletics
  • SS/2B/3B DUD Lee who played 2B, SS, and SS in the 1920s
  • P/2B LIL Stoner, 229 games at P, mostly for Detroit, but 1 game at 2B
  • PH MEM Lovett, who pulled the inverse-Moonlight Graham by pinch-hitting for the 1933 White Sox: he never made it to the field
  • C/SS/CF NIN Alexander, played for Kansas City of the Union Association and St, Louis of the American Association (he must have had a decent arm--he hit 130/143/130)
  • LF/RF PIP Koehler, 3 games in the field plus some pinch-hitting for the 1925 Giants
  • P TOT Pressnell, 154 games for the Dodgers and Cubs from 1938-1942
  • There are a bunch of BOBs, six different DADs, 11 different POPs, and 6 PEPs--the best PEP is porobably PEP Young, who was a decent 2B, but special mention goes to PEP Deininger because his real first name was Otto. Deininger got knocked around in 2 games a s P in 1902, then came back 6 years laters as an OF.
Contest: The All-Palindrome Team | 24 comments | Create New Account
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