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Initially Speaking, That Is

An interesting twist on the Hall of Names (initially speaking) ... who are the best double-initial players for each of the first 23 letters of the English alphabet?

Put your mind at ease -- that's not a random stopping point; there has never been a major league player whose last name began with "X" and none of the "Y" and "Z" players had alliterative first names. (Jimmie "Double X" Foxx, though a worthy Hall of Famer, here obviously is not a true Hall of Namer.) Well, unless you count RHRP George Washington "Zip" Zabel, who was 12-14 for the 1913-15 Cubbies -- that's your alliterative double-initial Chicago CCubs. (Come to think of it, some of the others -- I.I. and Q.Q. won't exactly be a walk in the park either.)

The Cubs, of course, are the only non-Pennsylvania-based team to have an alliterative name; that is, unless you cheat just a little and count the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim along with your Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies.

But we're not interested in teams here. We're looking for the very best alliterative, double-initialed players from AA to ... uh, WW. And as always, a few rules ...

Nicknamed players will be recognized only when they are a natural-born double initial; that is, if it is the nickname itself that gives them the double initial, they can just go right on home, they aren't welcome here, y'hear? So Hall of Famer Adrian "Cap" Anson and All-Star Elwood "Woody" English will earn mention, but Rich "Goose" Gossage and Leon "Goose" Goslin are summarily dismissed.

In the final tally, when the all-double-initial "champion" for each letter is chosen, natural names that were actually used will be given preference. So for instance, Andy Allanson was no Hall of Famer, and he probably won't end up being the AA rep on this list, but he outranks Anson, who went by a nickname,

And as the Python boys would say, middle names are right out -- so while Richard Anthony "Dick" Allen may arguably belong on the Hall of Fame roll call (though he's not there yet), he does not belong in this particular Hall of Names roster.



So who's the AA "top gun"? Well, we've already mentioned Anson (who won't win because of the nickname) and Allanson. We might as well recognize Andy Abad, the current journeyman LHRP who is, alpahabetically, the very first double-initial player in major league annals -- er, AAnnals. Al "Lefty" Aber was a 24-game winner in the 1950s, but it took him eight years and six big league seasons to get there. Ace Adams -- and before anyone complains, that was his real name! -- had two 11-win seasons for the Giants during World War II but stalled at 43 career wins. Antonio Alfonseca has 121 big league saves, but hasn't recorded a single one since the 2002 season. Armando Almanza has carved out a nice LOOGYish career. You have to do something right to stick around 11 years as a .268-hitting middle infielder with no power, and Alex Arias did just that.

Wait, what should we do with Antonio "Tony" Armas (both Sr. and Jr.)? Well, let's see if there's anyone better, shall we? Andy Ashby remains two frustrating wins from 100 career victories, while Alan Ashby (no relation) caught in the bigs for 17 years. And there's our winner. With all due respect to the Armases, Adams, Alfonseca and the Cap-limited Anson, the elder Ashby, whose BBRef most-similars will ring some memory bells in Toronto (Cerone, Whitt), may have hit just .245 in his career, and just .125 in post-season play; he may never have played in an All-Star Game or a World Series, but raise a glass in toast to the man who caught three no-hitters in his career ... he is our #1 AA.

All-AA All-Stars ALL-AA (Call them "the 777s")
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Alan Ashby
1B Adrian "Cap" Anson**
2B Andy Anderson (also SS)
SS Angel "Pete" Aragon (also 3B/OF)
3B Alfredo Amezaga (also 2B/SS)
RF Andy Abad (Mostly a 1B)
CF Antonio R. "Tony" Armas
LF Andy Allison (Mostly a 1B)
DH Andy Allanson (also backup C)

RHSP Al Atkinson (25-17 in 1886)
LHSP Allan Anderson (33-19, 1988-89)
RHSP Ace Adams (41-33 career)
RHSP Andy Ashby* (98-110)
RHSP Antonio J. "Tony" Armas Jr. (32-41 through 2004)

RHRP Antonio Alfonseca (121 saves)
LHSP Abe Alvarez
LHRP Armando Almanza
RHRP Arnold "Red" Anderson
LHRP Al Aber

SS Alf Anderson
UTIL Alex Arias

Winner: BARRY BONDS (Duh!)

We started the first double-initial team with the question "So who's the AA 'top gun'?" That more or less requires that question #2 be "So who's the top BB gun?," doesn't it? Okay, we'll cut right to the chase; there have been a ton of BB-initialed players in big league history; far more than the AA guys. But if you think Bert Blyleven (who should be in the Hall of Fame), Brett Butler, original Jay hero Bob Bailor, father/son combo Bob or Bret Boone or even legendary goat Bill Buckner is going to be named the top BB in baseball bistory, you haven't been paying very close attention over the past few years. Our winner? Bonds. Barry Bonds. And yes, we have to be specific because dad Bobby Bonds is very likely the #2 BB guy.

We should note for the record that we are considering common diminutives of first names as being the player's first name, as long as he actually went by that appelation -- so yes, for BB purposes, William Buckner is "Bill," Robert Bailor is "Bob" -- we're even going to let Rik Aalbert Blyleven slide. And though we have a natural to GM this team in Moneyball hero Billy Beane, the no-nickname rule here hurts as it costs a guy who would probably start at 3B in Buddy Bell, a David Letterman punchline in Buddy Biancalana and a guy who probably would have been a regular on Letterman's show, LHSP Bo Belinsky. A special nod to OF Bill "Big Bull" Bagwell, who while no match for namesake Jeff, appears to be the only "BB" in major league history whose nickname was an additional BB. Apologies to former All-Star Braves Backstop Bruce Benedict and to 3B Bill (no not the Knick PF and US Senator) Bradley, who misfired and did not make the All-BB team.

All-BB All-Stars The BB GUNS
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Bob Boone*
1B Bill Buckner*
2B Bret Boone*
SS Bobby Bragan
3B Bobby Bonilla*
RF Bobby Bonds*
CF Brett Butler*
LF Barry Bonds*
DH Bob Bailey (also 3B/1B/OF)

RHSP Bert Blyleven*
LHSP Britt Burns*
RHSP Bob Buhl*
RHSP Bertram Ray Burris
RHSP Bill Bonham

CL-R Bobby Bolin (88-75, 50 saves)
RHRP Brian Boehringer
LHRP Billy Brewer
RHRP Bob J. Bowman
LHRP Bill F. Bailey

C Bob Brenly*
1B/OF Bruce Bochte*
OF/SS/2B/3B Bob Bailor
IF Bret Barberie
3B/2B Bobby Byrne


If you're a pop music maven (Moffatt, we're looking at you), you know that the 1970s pop group 10cc had two contradictory hit singles in their appropriately brief career -- "I'm Not in Love" and "The Things We Do For Love." (This calls to mind the late 1980s Wilson Phillips concurrent hits, "Hold On" and "Release Me." Sure, daddy was a wacko, but make up your minds, ladies!) Anyway, here we have a very different 10 CC -- a lineup card (including a DH, natch) filled with players whose initials were CC.

Clint Courtney was never an All-Star, but pretty good for a long time and will start over one-time obligatory bad early-70s Padre All-Star Chris Cannizzaro ... The middle infield is tough here, with a bunch of guys who, appropriately enough, had Cups of Coffee in the big leagues, like Chuck Corgan and Chris Colon, not to mention Charles "Chub" Collins, one of many CC players whose nickname added still a third C. Among the others were Clarence "Cupid" Childs, Clement "Count" Clemens (seriously, if your last name is Clemens, why do you name your kid "Clement"??) and the double whammy of legendary original Met Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman.

We might have the fastest outfield in big league history with Cesar Cedeno and Coco Crisp flanking Carl Crawford, and two more speedsters in Chuck Carr and Chad Curtis available to fill in; Clifford C. "Gavvy" Cravath may not even make the team. There are plenty of talented multi-position utility guys vying for bench spots, including Casey Candaele and Craig Counsell. The two best big bats on what will be a slap-and=run lineup both, unfortunately, play the same position -- Cecil Cooper may have to take some time at DH with Chris Chambliss around to flash the leather.

The starting rotation would have looked a lot worse before this year, when R/L combo Chris Carpenter and Chris Capuano were 64-55 and 8-12 in their respective careers; this year, they've so far combined to go 30-12. That darn nickname rule eliminates our only Hall of Fame pitcher, as Candy Cummings' real first name was Richard; the only other HOF CC is the old skinflint, Charlie Comiskey, who is in the Hall as an owner/executive, not for his 13-year .264 career as a 1B primarily for the Browns and Reds. Comiseky did once steal 117 bases in a season, though the SB rules were somewhat less stringent in 1887. The back of the bullpen belongs to The Hawk, Clay Carroll, for now -- he once held the all-time single season saves record with 37 in 1972; Chad Cordero already is cracking 40 this season, but let's wait a year or three before promoting him into the closer's role.

The best CC (with obvious apologies to Mr. Sabathia) in big league history? Well, a lot of people thought he never lived up to his potential. But Cesar Cedeno finished just one homer shy of joining the 200 homer/500 steals club founded by Joe Morgan in 1978.

All-CC All-Stars 10 CCs
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Clint Courtney
1B Chris Chambliss*
2B Clarence "Cupid" Childs (.306, 1888-1901)
SS Craig Counsell
3B Chuck Cottier (mostly a 2B)
LF Cesar Cedeno*
CF Carl Crawford*
RF Coco Crisp
DH Cecil Cooper*

RHSP Chris Carpenter* (64-55 through 0-4; 17-4 so far in '05)
LHSP Chris Capuano (8-12 through '04; 13-8 so far in '05)
RHSP Chris Codiroli (38-47)
LHSP Cliff "Lefty" Chambers (48-53)
RHSP Clydell "Slick" Castleman (36-26)

CL-RH Clay Carroll* (143 saves)
LHRP Chuck Cary
RHRP Chad Cordero*
RHRP Chuck Crim
RHRP Clarence "Chuck" Churn

C Chris Cannizzaro*
2B/SS Charles "Chub" Collins
OF Chad Curtis
OF Chuck Carr
UTIL Casey Candaele (did all but catch)

C Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman
C Clement "Count" Clemens
C Cam Carreon
1B Charlie Carr
SS Chuck Corgan
SS Cris Colon
2B/3B/SS/OF Chris Clapinski
3B/OF/1B Cliff Cook
OF Clifford C. "Gavvy" Cravath
RHSP Cecil "Red" Causey
RHSP Charlie Chech
LONG-RH Casey Cox
RHRP Carlos Castillo
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (Part 1: A-C) | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, August 22 2005 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#126259) #
Bobby Bonilla at second and short? Mick, I read this on only one cup of coffee on Monday morning and it was too much. Imagining Bobby Bonilla on the pivot of a double play requires serious non-prescription medication!
smcs - Monday, August 22 2005 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#126272) #
I don't know what stats you were looking at, but Bobby Bonilla never played 2B or SS. He did play in the outfield, 1B and even pitched in one game.
Mick Doherty - Monday, August 22 2005 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#126278) #
That was a cut and paste error, as I imagine you've guessed. I will fix it.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (Part 1: A-C) | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.