In the comments to a recent Batter's Box poll about Hall of Fame nicknames, Box reader Jefftown observed, "I think 'Rube' could be the best common nickname in baseball," then asked, "Have you ever done an All-Rube Team? It'd have a few stars, with Waddell, Marquard, and Foster."
Well, no, we haven't ... until now. Sort of.
We're going to expand the parameters just a little bit, because although there have been 36 men named or nicknamed Rube in major league history, there are another dozen or so named Ruben or Reuben, most (but not all) or whom picked up the one-syllable nickname.
We're not going to count those few players who had "Rube" as part of their last name (unless it also was their nickname) -- so, sorry 3B/2B Al Rubeling, take a hike C Sonny Ruberto. And no middle names, as much as we'd like to have SS/3B Todd Ruben Cruz or especially 15-year vet and All-Star Julio Ruben "Jerry" Morales as options.
Still, there are three Rubes in the Hall of Fame and a Ruben with Hall of Fame talent squandered; this may be the only name in the history of the game with more Hall of Famers than All-Stars; and since the midsummer classic didn't exist during their HOF playing days, ironically enough, no "Rube" has ever played in an All-Star Game, so the tally is 3-0, Hall of Famers.
So pass the corned beef and sauerkraut, and let's see if we can't make us a team of ...
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: No "Rube(n)" has ever managed in the major leagues.
(Hold the Jimy Williams jokes, please.)
C Rube Walker (.227 over 11 seasons)
1B Rube Bressler (OF/1B/RHP hit .301 over 19 years; 26-32)
2B Ruben Gotay (.270 with '04 KCR)
SS Ruben Amaro Sr. (.234 over 11 seasons; '64 Gold Glove)
3B Rube Lutzke (.249 over 5 seasons)
LF Rube Ellis (.260 over 4 seasons)
CF Rube Oldring (.270 over 13 seasons)
RF Ruben Sierra* (300+ homers; 140+ SB)
LHSP Rube Marquard** (201-177)
RHSP Rube (Andrew) Foster** (Negro League great)
LHSP Rube Waddell** (193-143)
RHSP Rube (George) Foster (47-23, 1914-16 BOS; 58-34 career)
5SP-LH Rube Benton (150-144)
CL-RH Rube Adams (4-9, three saves for '14 KC Packers)
RHRP Rube Caldwell (133-120, nine saves)
LHRP Rube Walberg (155-141, 32 saves)
RHRP Ruben Gomez (76-86, 5 saves)
LONG-RH Ruben Quevedo (14-30 through 2003)
Former phenoms Ruben Rivera and Ruben Mateo don't make this team, nor do many of the other Rubes -- a wide majority were pitchers, oddly enough -- and Rubens. and not a single one of the five Reubens. There's not really enough to work up a bench, but I am open to suggestions!