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Okay, let's get the team name out of the way right now. Do we dub these guys, a roster full of major leaguers whose last or family name starts with the letter "F," in honour of a passable mid-1960s comedy western starring Ken Berry and Forrest Tucker, the "F Troop"? Should we be worried about the inevitable F-U matchup? Well, probably, as we'll just give in and name these guys, inevitably, "The F-Bombs."

It's a surprisingly strong team, with a starting rotation entirely made up of Hall of Famers and a bullpen that any of the other 24 all-letter teams will have a hard time matching; a very Fox(x)y infield -- abetted by a shortstop Canadian baseball fans know well -- and no less than three 50-homer guys in the starting lineup.

It will be hard to F this one up, kids ...

... so let's start by looking at some of the all-time statistical leaders among our F-Bombs:

SIDEBAR: All-Time "F" Career Stats Leaders
Major Statistical Categories (Entering 2005)

Maybe you start to get a little concerned scanning the list of F-leaders if the names Bob Fothergill, Russ Ford and Dave Foutz jump off the page first and don't ring any bells. But you should start to calm down as the more familiar names -- Franco, Feller, Whitey Ford, Foxx, Frisch, etc. scroll past. And thanks to the little lefty from St. John's, Rollie Fingers doesn't even make the list!

All-Time "F" Career Leaders
Major Statistical Categories (Entering 2005)


  • Games: John Franco, 1088 entering 2005
  • ERA: Russ Ford, 2.59
  • Starts: Bob Friend, 497
  • Wins: Red Faber, 254
  • Losses: Friend, 230
  • Win%: White Ford and Dave Foutz, .6901 (tied)
  • Shutouts: Bob Feller, 44
  • Saves: Franco, 424 entering 2005
  • Strikeouts: Chuck Finley, 2610
  • adjusted ERA+: Franco, 139 entering 2005
  • Batting Average: Bob Fothergill, .326
  • OBP: Jimmie Foxx, .428
  • SLG: Foxx, .609
  • Hits: Frank Frisch, 2880
  • Homers: Foxx, 534
  • RBI: Foxx, 1922
  • Steals: Frisch, 419 (T-58th)
  • Adjusted OPS+: Foxx, 163

F-Stops ... Elmer Flick is starting in CF -- that's Hall of Famer Elmer Flick, one of the "Ghosts of Cooperstown" you've never heard of; a career .313 hitter, Flick had just 1752 career hits, and his most similar player according to BBRef, is Earle Combs, who didn't even make the all-C team since, as noted then, he was a borderline Hall of Famers at best ... Yes, that's the Fordham Flash manning the hot corner, and though Frank Frisch is best remembered primarily as a 2B, he came the big leagues with the Giants at a time he was blocked by Laughing Larry Doyle and thus was originally a 3B ...

RHSP Red Faber is another one of those "He's in the Hall of Fame?" names, but he probably deserves to be there, amassing a career mark of 254-213 and matching up with most similars like Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton, both Hall of Famers of more recent (though perhaps in both cases, scuffed) vintage ... Two other Hall of Famers in the rotation, joining the more familiar Bob Feller and Whitey Ford, along with Faber, are half brothers and Negro League stars Rube Foster, a righty, and Bill Foster, a lefty. The former, a stalwart on the recent All-Rube Hall of Names squad, was also a successful manager (like Frisch) and founder of the Negro National League.

The aforementioned Fothergill, nicknamed "Fats," only played more than 115 games in a season once in his 12-year career, but retired with a career batting average of .325 in just shy of 3300 at-bats, and edges out Foxx for the all-time F lead in that area by less than half a percentage point ... On the hill, Chuck Finley won exactly 200 games (and lost 173), while Bob Friend won 197 (and lost 230!) while Foutz palyed almost 1000 games in the field and had a couple of 100-RBI seasons while posting a 147-66 pitching mark that matched Whitey Ford's 236-106 percentage point for percentage point as the all-time F-leader ...

The only reason Foutz doesn't make the team as a RP/UTIL guy is the need for a second lefty in the bullpen, so that roster spot goes to Woodie Fryman, who was good enough to make two All-Star teams, win 141 and save 58, and was once traded for Tony Perez ... Fryman didn't quite hang around Detroit long enough in the mid-1970s to be teammates with the most Flamboyant F-hurler, in Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, and but for chronic arm problems, who knows if Fidrych could have cracked this team's rotation? ...

It's not due to Fryman's presence, of course, but the F-Bombs have one of the great bullpens possible, with Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers closing, set up by the all-time leader in saves by a lefty, Johnny Franco, and former Pirate righty All-Star Roy Face, who as recently as 1963 was the all-time leader in saves, period ... Along with Fryman from the left side, the long man is righty Eddie Fisher, he of the 85 wins and 81 saves, including an inspiring 15-win, 24-save All-Star season for the Angels in 1965 ...

Because of the relative preponderance of Hall of Fame hurlers to fill out the F-rotation, a number of Fine pitchers were not considered, including Jeff Fassero (who very nearly beat out Fryman for the long lefty position), Alex Fernandez, Sid Fernandez, Wes Ferrell (possibly a better player than brother Rick, though only Rick is in Cooperstown), Jack Fisher (you have to be good to stick around long enough to be 86-139), Freddie Fitzsimmons (217 wins), Mike Flanagan, the Forsch brothers (the only siblings each to have tossed a no-hitter), George "The Other Rube" Foster (58-34), Chick Fraser (175-212), and LHSP Larry French, who was 197-171 and second only to Feller among F-players with 40 career shutouts ...

With the ageless Julio Franco on the bench, we have a guy with more than 400 games each played at 1B, 2B and SS (not to mention DH), so there's plenty of versatility ... Some people have made the argument that George Foster in 1977 with Cincinnati and Cecil Fielder in 1991 with Detroit are each league's last "legitimate" 50-homer hitter, and whether or not that's true, they join Jimmie Foxx in a fearsome middle of the lineup -- Nellie Fox and Frisch should score a lot of runs at the top of the lineup ... A propos of nothing, both lefties in the bullpen have namesakes on the F-bench, in unrelated pairs John and Julio Franco and Woodie and Travis Fryman ...

It starts to get a little weak as we dive deeper into the F scrolls, though it's Feasible to wonder if Bill Freehan should make the team as the backup catcher ahead of Hall of Famer Rick Ferrell, and 1B Jack Fournier was a .313 hitter over 15 seasons ... Outfielders Steve Finley, Cliff Floyd and Dee Fondy and infielders Tim Foli and Gene Freese aren't making the team ... An outfield of Curt Flood flanked by Carl Furillo and Flick moving to LF would be one of the better defensive outfields ever to set foot on a ballfield ...

So who manages? Frisch? Rube Foster? The all-time leader in managerial wins by an F-skipper is Jim Fregosi with 1028, and he's on the bench already in a utility infielder role. If we're going to avoid a player/manager situation, should we move to Herman Franks (second on the F-list with 605 wins) or maybe Jim Frey (323 wins, and like Fregosi, two divisional wins, one pennant, but no titles)? ... Actually, Frey and Franks can serve as coaches under the man who led Red Sox nation out of their eight-decade nightmare in 2005, Terry Francona, whose tombstone might read "He wasn't Grady Little and Boston loved him for it" ...

That's enough for now. Let's meet ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

MGR: Terry Francona*
Bench Coaches: Jim Frey, Herman Franks
C Carlton Fisk**
1B Jimmie Foxx**
2B Nellie Fox**
SS Tony Fernandez*
3B Frank Frisch**
LF George Foster*
CF Elmer Flick**
RF Carl Furillo*
DH Cecil Fielder**

C Rick Ferrell**
IF Jim Fregosi*
IF Travis Fryman*
OF Bob Fothergill
OF Curt Flood*
DH/UTIL Julio Franco*

RHSP Bob Feller**
LHSP Whitey Ford**
RHSP Red Faber**
LHSP Bill Foster**
5SP-R Rube Foster**

CL-R Rollie Fingers**
LHRP John Franco*
RHRP Elroy Face*
RHRP Eddie Fisher*
LONG-L Woodie Fryman*

Okay, Bauxites, over to you ... can you F-ect this team with positive changes?

F is for Feller, Franco and Fingers | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
smcs - Monday, August 08 2005 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#124978) #
just so you know, Rick Ferrell is a HOFer
Joe - Monday, August 08 2005 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#124981) #
Yes, Mick mentions that in the body of the article; I assume the lack of stars on Rick's name is simply an oversight.
Mick Doherty - Monday, August 08 2005 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#124984) #
Thanks, guys. I have **'d Ferrell. You'd think there'd be plenty of ****s in a team called the F-bombs, but I missed a couple.
Shrike - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 01:02 AM EDT (#124999) #
That deserves a few F-bombs, for sure.

Hard to leave Fournier off the team!
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#125010) #
I know it's hard to believe, but Fournier was a significantly better hitter than Cecil Fielder.

The F-Bombs would be good in a short series, relying heavily on Ford, Feller, Fingers and Foxx, but over a long season...Now let's see, the S-s have Schmidt and Santo, but could use a second baseman, the F-s have Fox and Frisch and could use a third baseman. Frisch for Santo?
Jordan - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#125031) #
That's one f-ine bullpen. Does any other letter-team have that good a relief corps?
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#125032) #
The Gs have Gagne/Gossage/Gordon at the top, and that'd be pretty good. While looking that up, I noticed that there was a ballplayer named "Boob Fowler". How did I not know that before?
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#125048) #
The G's are next, but Jordan, to this point, no other team has come close to Fingers/Franco/Face, Gagne/Gossage/Gordon will be more dominant, but not necessarily more effective.

Trust a guy named Green to raise that specter, though!

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#125051) #
Mike, if you bump Fielder for Fournier, you severely cut back the power in the lineup, and there really isn't any to speak of on the bench. I think if Fourner were to DH, you'd have to have Big Cec on the bench, probably move Franco to the reserve middle infield slot and lose Fregosi. How often will you need the defensive replacement with Fox and Fernandez up the middle anyway?

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#125055) #
If you look at the doubles and triples, as well as homers, Fournier had about as much power as Fielder did. Fournier's top 3 seasonal slugging percentages, with park-adjusted league averages in brackets: .588(.403), .569 (.399), .531(.423). Fielder's were: .592(.389), .513(.387), .504(.434). The difference in the ability of each to get on base was large (Fournier being much, much better).

What's funny is that both Fournier and Fielder essentially missed the prime of their career due to poor management decisions. Fournier was better at his peak than Hall of Famers Kelly, Bottomley or Terry, and his peak occurred at age 33-35. Had he been given a job during his prime years (1917-19) that he had earned in 1914-15 when he was young , he would have ended up with substantially better career numbers than any of them.

Anyways, I'd keep Fielder and move Fryman off the club. Fregosi was a better hitter than Fryman (what a disappointing story that was!), and played a fair bit of third base. With Fox, Frisch, Fernandez and Fregosi, you're well covered, I think. Speaking of Fryman and Fielder reminds one of Tony "Fillips", who'd be the perfect addition to this infield...
F is for Feller, Franco and Fingers | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.