G is for Gehrig, Griffey and Gwynn (Gee!)

Tuesday, August 30 2005 @ 10:45 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

It's no exaggeration, and only slightly a groaner of a pun, to say, "Gee, this is a heck of a team." Consider that you could make a more than passably adequate Hall of Names team just with the 25 Gonzalezes and six Gonzaleses who have played in the majors, and you have some idea just how Good (and we're not talking Detroit/Toledo Tiger/Mud Hen Andrew Good here) this team can be.

There are no weak spots on this team made up entirely of players who had last names beginning with the letter "G" (yes, yes, go ahead and snicker -- there are no weak G spots. There, it's overwith) ...

... and I admit, I'm surprised. But I should have been tipped off and suspected something if I'd only realized that two of my favorite players of all time were, uh, "G-Men" -- Ralph Garr and Bill Gullickson. Both All-Star caliber players, neither one comes close to making this team, which can only be called ...

**indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

GM/Exec: Warren Giles**
RHSP/Manager: Clark Griffith**
Front Office Notes: Griffith was not only the owner of the Senators for 35 years, but prior to that was an AL pennant-winning manager and a seven-time 20-game winner as a RHSP.

C Josh Gibson**
1B Lou Gehrig**
2B Charlie Gehringer**
SS Nomar Garciaparra*
3B Troy Glaus*
LF Leon "Goose" Goslin**
CF Ken Griffey Jr.*
RF Tony Gwynn**
DH Hank Greenberg**

C Hank Gowdy
IF Bobby Grich*
IF Joe Gordon*
OF Vladimir Guerrero*
OF Juan Gonazalez*
PH Eddie Gaedel (26th man)

Lineup/Bench Notes: The only two "G" catchers ever to make an All-Star team are Rich Gedman and Jerry Grote; but in looking for the ultimate backup, we were tempted by Good Guy Joe Girardi but ultimately landed on pre-All-Star big name Hank Gowdy ... 1B is a very strong position, but with Gehrig an iron man and Greenberg around to DH, we leave behind stalwarts such as Steve Garvey, Andres Galarraga, Jason Giambi and Mark Grace ... Glaus just edges out Gary Gaetti for the starting hot corner slot ...

Grich and Gordon are the backup middle infielders, with Grich one of the great underappreciated talents of all time ... Marcus Giles, the other serious middle infield candidate, stays home as does big brother Brian, who while a fine and deserving All-Star, was never going to make this roster with Guerrero and the various Gonzalezes hanging around; Juan tops Luis for the final spot ... Just as the Giles boys don't make it a family affair, neither does Ken Griffey Sr., though Junior starts in CF, much to nobody's surprise ...

RHSP Bob Gibson**
LHSP Lefty Grove**
RHSP Pud Galvin**
LHSP Tom Glavine*
RHSP Burleigh Grimes**

RHRP-CL Eric Gagne* (150+ saves)
LOOGY Buddy Groom
RHRP Rich Gossage* (300 saves)
RHRP Gene Garber (218 saves)
LH-LONG Don Gullett*

Rotation/Bullpen Notes: Wow, that starting rotation features five Hall of Famers (assuming Glavine gets in, which he will, and if not, just plug in ol' Lefty Gomez who didn't even make the team) who have combined -- so far! -- for more than 1400 career wins ... So we won't need much of a bullpen, huh? Well, Messers. Gagne, Gossage and Garber (not to mention Dave Giusti and Tom Gordon in reserve) might have something to say about that ...

It's tempting to take four of the greatest arms of the post-expansion era, two righties in Dwight Gooden and Juan Guzman and two lefties in Don Gullett and Ron Guidry, and plug them into the 'pen -- but none of them really fit the profile of "reliever" in their actual career ... Gullett did start out in the Big Red Machine bullpen, so he can be this team's long man ... Gullett and Guidry overlapped careers with the 1977-78 Yankees -- they combined to finsh 30-12 in '77 and 29-5 in '78, when Guidry, of course, was 25-3 all by hissownself ... It may set off a chorus of "One of These Things is Not Like the Others," but we at least need a LOOGY to balance the 'pen, so joining Gagne, Gossage, Garber and Gullett in the G-Pen is none other than cantankerous contemporary southpaw Buddy Groom ...

Other Guys
With the Hall of Famer Gomez and uber-talent Gooden already on the sidelines, clearly we could build a heck of a team out of G-Men who didn't make the cut for this squad. Maybe we'd call them the "G Whiz" or the "Gee, Wallies" ...

Girardi, Gedman and Grote are still on the board to catch -- as is another guy named Garagiola (and a current Blue Jay manager who caught a spell for the Mets, name of Gibbons) -- and we surveyed all those great 1B earlier, without even touching on Jim Gentile, Jim Gilliam and prodigal OF Shawn Green ...

Speaking of the OF, Oscar Gamble, Marquis Grissom and Ron Gant would liven up any clubhouse, while there's another Blue Jay manager in Cito Gaston, a 1970 All-Star ... In addition to all the Gonzalezes mentioned earlier, there have been 25 Garcias, 21 Greens and nine Greenes, along with three Goodmans, a Goodfellow and a Goodenough, not to mention eight Goodwins -- but then, is there any other kind?

Cesar Geronimo would be a fine defensive OF replacement if needed, while Kirk Gibson has demonstrated something of an ability to deliver in pressure situations ... Heinie Groh was another All-Star caliber player whose career predated the All-Star Game ... Rusty Greer, shockingly, was never named to an All-Star team in his recently-concluded career ...

Neither was all-purpose Mr. Brewer Jim Gantner ever an All-Star, and that takes us to the infield, where another current manager in Ron Gardenhire also awaits ... Johnny Gee was a LHRP around WWII whose career mark was just 7-12 -- but he literally has the perfect name for an All-G team ... Tom and Ben Grieve turned out to be Griffey Lite, in each case the son better than the father and in each generation, the Griffey significantly outperforming the Grieve ...

You want more pitchinG? We Got plenty of leftover pitchinG. How about Ned Garver (129 wins), Mike Garcia (142 wins), Jon Garland (2005 All-Star), Mudcat Grant (145 wins), Bob Groom (119 wins) and a couple of guys from the '85 Royals AL West division champs, lefty Larry Gura (126 wins) and righty Mark Gubicza (132 wins) ...

There had never been a Guzman in the majors before 1985 when Jose showed up in Texas; now there have been nine, though only RHSP Juan and SS Cris have made All-Star teams ... Rich Garces and Danny Graves each had some successes, but putting those two at the back of a bullpen would cause any manager to reach for the Rolaids, hold his stomach and say "Gee whiz, guys ... "

Please begin all your comments with "Gee, I'd just like to say ..."