A baker's dozen -- or should that be Dusty Baker's Dozen? -- major leaguers whose last or family names begin with letter "D" have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; just one of them didn't make it primarily as a player, that being the Hall of Names D-team's manager, Leo "the Lip" Durocher.
The relative paucity of Cooperstown residents -- recall our recent "C" team had no less than thirty men, including 23 players, inducted -- makes for a bit a scramble to put together this All-D team; and not even a man nicknamed "The D-Train" will make it, though perhaps Dontrelle Willis will get some consideration when we get to an All-W team. Nor can we make an exception for one of the most recent Hall of Famers, Ryne Dee Sandberg ...
... or even Dee Fondy or Dee Brown. And while the two men whose last names were "Dee" would technically qualify, Jim Dee was 5-for-40 (.125) for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys while Maurice "Shorty" Dee was just 0-for-three for the 1914 St. Louis Browns. And while the D-team looks at first glance as if it will be one of the weakest of the alphabetic squads, much to my own personal dismay, it's not such a D-saster that either of the Dohertys, either of the Daughertys or any of the four Doughertys who have made the major leagues look to be in any danger of making the roster.
SIDEBAR: All-Time "D" Career Stats Leaders
Major Statistical Categories (Entering 2005)
One thing about the all-time stat category leaders for D-players is that, unlike their C predecessors, there aren't just a few names (Cobb, Canseco, Carlton, Clemens) repeated over and over -- 18 categories, 10 different players. Consider we're starting our list with two career sub-.500 pitchers in Danny Darwin (171-182) and Jim Devlin (72-76), and you can see what this team is up against.
All-Time "D" Career Leaders
Major Statistical Categories (Entering 2005)
The D-List ... Of the all-time D-leaders in various pitching categories, none of the top D-men in games (Darwin), ERA (Devlin) and even wins (Paul Derringer, also the leader in losses) -- make the team, and frankly, none of them deserve to ... Martin Dihigo, like Leon Day, earned his Hall of Fame status in the Negro Leagues and thus is somewhat harder to rank historically; but Dihigo was also a fine outfielder and hitter and thus goes to the bullpen where he can also be available as a bench position player if necessary, while Day locks up the fifth starter's role ... The all-time D-leader in saves (130) is Ron Davis, who had one great year with the 1979 Yankees, made the strike-shortened 1981 All-Star team. had four 20-save seasons for the Twins in the 1980s and otherwise was pretty much Ricky Bottalico ...
Legendary prankster Moe Drabowsky is fourth among D-hurlers in saves with just 57, but he doesn't make the team -- after all, how can you not like the setup situation with #3 Rob Dibble (89 saves) and #5 Ryne Duren (56) trotting out of the 'pen with "Wild Thing" by The Troggs blaring through the stadium? ... With Dibble making the D-squad, every single Nasty Boy has earned a varsity "letter" from the Hall of Names as Randy Myers is on the All-M team while Norm Charlton recently squeaked onto the All-C team ...
The number of D-HOFers who were primarily outfielders means no dice for one of the most talented (and least productive, relative to his talent) players ever to don a uniform, Eric Davis, not to mention current caveman Johnny Damon, all-or-nothing Reds OF Adam Dunn and still another of the 61 (no *) Davises to play big league ball, fleet CF Willie ... DH Chili makes the squad as a PH/DH though, as we continue to try to fill the Hall of Name "True DH" requirement that landed both Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez on the All-M team ...
LHRP Dave Danforth led the 1917 AL in appearances with 50 and insaves with nine for the St. Louis Browns and had 23 saves in his career ... The other lefty out of the bullpen is one of the all-time flameout free agent signings -- Mark Davis won the 1989 Cy Young by saving 44 games for the Padres, then signed with the Royals, for whom he saved seven in two and a half years. The Royals paid him close to $10 million for those "results" ... With Dihigo around, we can go with a six-man bullpen and a shorter bench than most of these teams have ...
It's true that the guys over at 1B often aren't there for their "D" but there's a surprising dearth of D-named first sackers over the first 13-plus decades of the game's history -- in fact, the very best, with minimal apologies to former All-Stars like Babe Dahlgren, Glenn Davis, Leon "Bull" Durham and Walt Dropo, is a guy who's still active and still in his prime. That, of course, is the most dangerous Blue Jay ever to wield a bat in anger, Carlos Delgado ...
The backup catcher and infield positions are the only ones still in play; behind the plate -- not that Dickey will need much downtime -- we could go with a big bat in former All-Star Darren Daulton, or more of a true backup in 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. It's Dempsey who will get the nod here, ironically enough for his superior "D" ... For the middle infield, we can look at Bucky Dent, Ray Durham or Billy Doran, but instead, let's give the spot to one of the best players of the 19teens, Laughing Larry Doyle -- and don't be surprised if he wrests the starting position away from borderline HOFer Bobby Doerr ... The final bench spot goes to a guy who did pretty much everything but pitch and catch in his 12-year career, Mariano Duncan ...
If we need more help in the middle infield, we can always activate one of the bench coaches --Jimmie Dykes played 22 years and in the first two All-Star Games, then managed oanother 22 years though he never took a team to a title ... The other bench coach is a guy who went just 1-for-4 in a cuppajoe with the 1935 Dodgers and who never managed or coached professionally, but college baseball fans will have heard of the great Rod Dedeaux ...
The final piece of the puzzle is the required two lefties for the starting rotation. It seems that one spot will go to Al Downing, who is best known for serving up Hank Aaron's 715th homer, but who also won 123 games, including 20 in 1971, made the 1967 All-Star team, and pitched in three World Series (though he was 0-3 and his team lost all three times) ... For the other spot, we could roll the dice with a rookie like the seemingly unhittable Zach Duke, or with another 123-game winner in 1983 NL Cy Young awardee John Denny ... Funnyman Jim Deshaies would also be an interesting choice, but he was just 84-95 career ... Given the choices, we'll roll with the kid and if Duke can't cut it, we have Dihigo around to slide into his rotation spot, though that would tilt the staff to the right.
That's enough for now. Let's meet ...
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Leo Durocher**
C Bill Dickey**
1B Carlos Delgado*
2B Bobby Doerr**
SS George Davis**
3B Ray Dandridge**
LF Ed Delahanty**
CF Joe DiMaggio**
RF Andre Dawson*
DH Larry Doby**
C Rick Dempsey
IF Larry Doyle
IF Mariano Duncan*
OF Hugh Duffy**
OF/RP Martin Dihigo**
PH/UTIL Chili Davis*
RHSP Dizzy Dean**
LHSP Al Downing*
RHSP Don Drysdale**
LHSP Zach Duke
5SP-R Leon Day**
CL-R Ron Davis*
RHRP Ryne Duren*
LHRP Mark Davis*
RHRP Rob Dibble*
LHRP Dave Danforth
Okay, Bauxites, over to you ... can you D-termine any ways to improve this team?