It's time to knock off another alphabetic character and assemble an all-letter team for the Hall of Names; this is the 13th letter we've written (har!) meaning we're exactly halfway through the alphabet -- only we're not doing anything so wacky as, say, going alphabetically, so today let's just say we're sailing the high C's.
Would you be surprised to learn that there are thirty men in the Hall of Fame whose last or family name begins with the letter "C"?
Of course, they're not all players -- but we do have a nice starting point with the purported inventor of the game itself in Alexander Cartwright and the man who invented the box score, Henry Chadwick. Need a commissioner? Don't worry, be Happy Chandler. An umpire? Choose among Nestor Chylak, Jocko Conlon and Tom Connolly. Then, before we get to the 23 C-players, there's Charlie Comiskey ...
... owner, executive, manager and legendary skinflint. And while no less than 10 different "C" HOFers also managed in the big leagues -- some quite successfully -- only Charlie Comiskey (who was 839-542 as a skipper) isn't in the Hall primarily as a player.
But the leader of this club is not in the Hall -- yet, though as one of just nine managers with more than 2000 wins to his credit, and seventy-four consecutive division titles, that honor seems all but inevitable for Bobby Cox. Three of the "C" Hall of Fame Players who were most successful as managers (Mickey Cochrane, Frank Chance and Fred Clarke) make this roster as coaches, which also eases some of the difficult decision-making that lies ahead.
SIDEBAR: All-Time Career Leaders
Major Statistical Categories (Entering 2005)
It's a slate dominated by Steve Carlton on the mound -- though Roger Clemens is starting to erase Lefty from the top of some charts -- and Ty Cobb at the plate. All three of those guys are pretty safe bets to make this team.
Since every single position is covered by the Hall of Famers (and certain-to-be Hall of Famers, like Clemens), this is an incredibly easy roster to build -- only a couple of bench spots and the bullpen require us to go "off-list" our Hall of Famers. And though the cheap Comiskey wouldn't appreciate it, before we list the roster, let's drop a few ...
C-Notes ... The list of "C" players extends from Putsy Caballero to Jim Czajkowski and includes many common -- or should that be Common? -- names ... For instance, the world of major league baseball has seen 15 Cruzes, 17 Colemans, 18 Coxes, 22 Collinses, 22 Campbells and 38 Clarks (not to mention 17 Clarkes and 5 Clarksons) ... Many other surnames, including Carter, Carroll, Cooper and Crawford among several others, cracked double digits in number of major leaguers ...
Several Hall of Fame players actually didn't make the roster (in addition to the three coaches mentioned earlier), as Orlando Cepeda loses his corner infield bench spot to the more versatile Lave Cross, while Roger Connor, Earle Combes (who probably shouldn't be in the Hall anyway) and Candy Cummings, credited with inventing the curveball, are on the outside looking in, as are pitchers Jack Chesbro and Stan Coveleski ... Cross is one of just two players on the roster neither in the Hall of Fame, nor to have ever made an All-Star team; of course, he retired before they started playing the midsummer classic, so he's excused ... The other, Eddie Cicotte, was building a case for the Hall of Fame before he was banned from the game for his involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal ...
Cobb won't like moving to DH so Negro League star Oscar Charleston can play CF, but defensively, the Georgia Peach couldn't carry Oscar's, uh, leather ... The backup middle infielder came down to Dave Concepcion and Bert Campaneris, two All-Star shortstops from the 1970s, but Campy was far more versatile and so nabs the spot ...
The wealth of Hall of Famers on this team meant a great many fine players weren't even considered for spots, including former Blue Jay heroes Joe Carter, Rico Carty and Jose Canseco ... What's that? Jose wasn't a hero in these parts? Oh ... Norm Cash was about as good as Cepeda, but never sniffed the Hall ... Jack Clark gets a roster spot, but Will Clark goes home ... Rocky Colavito in his prime was as feared a hitter as ever strode to the plate ... Come to think of it, so was Canseco, but that's not happening ...
Three guys who seemed destined for the Hall of Fame early but who took wildly diverging (and careening) career paths don't make the squad, including Nate Colbert who started strong and flamed out, Tony Conigliaro who tragically took a fastball to the eye and Cesar Cedeno, who just sort of -- faded out ... Bob Caruthers is the guy in the bullpen you've never heard of, and we're cheating a little to put a guy who started more than 90 percent of his 340 career appearances in the 'pen -- but how do you not find a spot for the only man in major league history with more than 200 wins AND fewer than 100 losses (218-99)? ...
Dolph Camilli was a fine player and in the 1970s, there was nobody in pinstripes a Yankee fan wanted to see at the plate in a key situation more than Chris Chambliss ... Vince Coleman stole a lot of bases, played with fireworks and got run over by a tarpaulin ... Doc Cramer's five most-similar players at BBRef are all Hall of Famers ... Cecil and Walker Cooper (uh, no relation) were both pretty good for a long time ... Eric Chavez could be on a Hall of Fame career arc, though it's still far too early too tell ...
That's enough for now. Let's meet ...
THE C-YA LATERS
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Bobby Cox*
Coaches: Mickey Cochrane**, Frank Chance**, Fred Clarke**
C Roy Campanella**
1B Rod Carew**
2B Eddie Collins**
SS Joe Cronin**
3B Jimmy Collins**
LF Sam Crawford**
CF Oscar Charleston**
RF Roberto Clemente**
DH Ty Cobb**
C Gary Carter**
MIF Bert Campaneris*
CIF Lave Cross
OF Max Carey**
OF Kiki Cuyler**
PH/UTIL Jack Clark*
RHSP Roger Clemens*
LHSP Steve Carlton**
RHSP John Clarkson**
LHSP Mike Cuellar*
5SP-R Eddie Cicotte
CL-R Clay Carroll*
RHRP Bill Campbell*
LHRP Norm Charlton*
RHRP Bob Caruthers
LHRP John Candelaria*
Okay, Bauxites, over to you ... do you, ah, "C" a way to make this team better?