The May 2005 Royal Panes Hall of Names entry bemoaned the fact that top Pirates pitching prospect Zach Duke had not yet reached the majors (nor had Prince Fielder) and thus was not eligible for the squad.
The best young Pirate-developed lefty since John Candelaria has changed all that with a 1.23 ERA and 21:4 K:BB ratio in his first three big league starts this month. (Incidentally, has anyone nicknamed this guy "Duke of Hurl" yet?) And that makes him eligible for today's team -- what, we just finished up All-Willie and All-Mickey teams, and you couldn't see the All-Duke team coming a mile away?
Of course, Zach is only the third player in big league history to bear the surname "Duke," so we'll need a little leeway ...
... provided by the two dozen or so men who bore that nickname, though only if we count the two guys nicknamed "Iron Duke" and double our allotment of Hall of Famers -- surely you've thought up Snider by now? -- by including Roger "The Duke of Tralee" Bresnahan.
So let's see where this goes ...
Bresnahan is the only Duke to have ever managed in the big leagues, too, so he skippers this squad, which we can only nickname, in honor of Snider ...
The Dukes of Flatbush
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Roger Bresnahan (328-432 in five seasons)
C Roger "The Duke of Tralee" Bresnahan** (.279 in 17 seasons)
1B Duke Sims (mostly a C, .239, 1964-74)
2B Bill "Iron Duke" Kenworthy (.304 mostly for 1914-15 KC of Fed League)
SS Duke Farrell (played 13 games at SS, mostly a C, .275, 1888-1905)
3B Bob Dillinger * (Juan Pierre-type was All-Star 3B for '49 SLB)
LF Vernon Van Duke Duncan (.279 mostly with 1914-15 Fed League BAL)
CF Duke Snider** (.295, 407 homers)
RF Duke Carmel (.211 over four years, 1959-65)
DH Eric "Dukie" Tipton (.270, 1939-45)
RHSP Paul "Duke" Derringer* (223-212, six-time All-Star)
LHSP Fred "Duke" Klobedanz (26-7 for 1897 BSN; 53-25 career)
LHSP Duke Esper (101-100, 1890-98)
RHSP Byron "Duke" Houck (14-6 for 1913 PHI, 26-24 career)
LHSP Martin Duke (0-3 for 1891 WAS)
CL-RH Justin Duchscherer* (think Rangers regret trade yet?)
LHRP Noble Jan Dukes(0-2 for 1969-72 WAS, TEX)
RHRP Herb "Duke" Brett (1-1 in 11 games, 1924-25 CHC)
RHRP Tom Dukes (5-16, four teams, 1967-72)
LONG-RH Duke Maas (45-44, 1955-61, four teams)
These guys didn't make the team, and we don't have the right mix for any kind of bench, so they are left ...
Duking it Out
C Norm "Duke" Schlueter (.186, 1938-44)
C Duke Kelleher (one game, no AB, 1916 NYG; "Moonlight"?)
OF Duke Reilley (.210 for 1909 CLE)
RHRP Duke Gillespie (3-3 for 1921 CIN)
RHRP Herb "Iron Duke" Hall (0-0 in three games, 1918 DET)
RHRP Duke Markell (1-1 for 1951 SLB)
RHRP Duke Simpson (1-2 for 1953 CHC)
RHRP Duke Shirey (0-1 for 1920 WSH)
RHRP Duke Sedgwick (1-4, 1921 PHI, 1923 WSH)
Eric Tipton, starting in our regular team's outfield, got his nickname "Dukie" (they also called him "Blue Devil," natch) from his alma mater. The best Duke ballplayer is almost certainly five-time All-Star and 1960 NL MVP Dick Groat, who would surely start at shortstop -- and might hit third in front of Snider -- for the All-Duke HoN squad. Tipton, Billy Werber and Quinton McCracken are the other leading candidates for the honor, so the Pirate shortstop, who also was a two-time All-American guard for the Duke basketball team, is an easy choice.
Groat is the all-time Duke alumni leader in homers (39) and RBI (707) while his 2138 hits outpace runner-up Werber by nearly 800. Werber owns the Blue Devil steals crown with 215, while McCracken "runs" a distant second with 83 heading into 2004.
The real "Crash" Davis (actually a 2B/SS, not a C) came out of Duke, as did current Brewer lefty Chris Capuano. The all-time leader in wins by a Duke alumnus is none other than Scott Schoeneweis, who with his most recent victory, passed Mike Trombley to take the title, 38-37. Capuano's 11 wins so far this year vault him into third already, with 19, while only one other Duke grad -- Bill McCahan with the 1946-49 Philadelphia A's -- has even cracked double digits at 16-14.
The only two men named John Wayne Something are relief pitchers, and we've got plenty of those, so no help from The Duke of the silver screen. And there has bever been an Ellington to play major league ball, so that didn't help ... but sure, we're missing something? Speak up Bauxites, and help put up your Dukes!