No kidding, I thought this team would be better. But there are a lot of .240 to .260 type hitters in our starting lineup, and except at the hot corner, it's an average-to-awful defense; well, at least we have more than 1200 wins from our five-man starting rotation!
Oh, and we have those knucklehead Niekro boys in the fifth starter/swing and long relief roles, so they can be ready to go a couple of times a week each if necessary.
Now, let's meet ...
THE NTH POWER
An ironic team name at best given the relative lack of pop in the lineup!
MGR Russ Nixon (231-347 in parts of five seasons)
C Matt Nokes* (.254, 136 homers in 11 seasons)
1B Phil Nevin (.274, 177 homers)
2B Dave Nelson (.244 in 10 seasons)
SS Skeeter Newsome (.245 in 12 seasons)
3B Graig Nettles* (.248, 390 homers)
LF Bill "Swish" Nicholson* (.268, 235 homers)
CF Otis Nixon (.270, 620 SB in 17 seasons)
RF Bob Nieman (.295, 125 homers in 12 seasons)
DH Jim Northrup (.267, 153 homers in 12 seasons)
C Joe Nolan (.263 in 11 seasons)
UTIL Greg Norton (.245 in nine seasons)
OF/2B/SS Hugh Nicol (.235 in 10 seasons)
OF Fred Nicholson (.311 in five seasons)
OF Billy North (.261, 395 SB in 11 seasons)
RHSP Kid Nichols** (361-208)
LHSP Hal Newhouser** (207-150)
RHSP Don Newcombe* (149-90)
LHSP Art Nehf (184-120)
RHSP Phil Niekro** (318-274)
CL-R Robb Nen* (314 saves)
RHRP Jeff Nelson* (47-41, 32 saves)
RHRP Tom Niedenfuer (97 saves)
LHRP C.J. Nitkowski (18-32, 3 saves)
LONG-RH Joe Niekro (221-204)
NNNotes... There have been several decade-plus-service-time backup catchers like Joe Nolan (.263 in 11 seasons), Hal Naragon (.266 in 10 seasons) and Len Nunamaker (.268 in 11 seasons); we'll go with Nolan, who survived the mental anguish of being the guy who replaced Johnny Bench in Cincinnati ...
Primarily a corner infielder, Greg Norton did everything but pitch and catch in his big league career, so he earns the UTIL spot initially earmarked for Nevin, who did a lot of catching, but never played the middle infield and regardless is now starting at 1B ... There actually haven't been many N-Men to play the middle infield, which N-evitably earned Nicol a spot on the team despite that .235 career average ...
There were a number of N-abled outfielders, but Billy North and Fred Nicholson provide the most talent at the speed and bat-off-the-bench positions, with MIA cards handed out to Ron Northey (.276, 108 homers in 12 seasons), current Red Sox OF Trot Nixon (has anyone ever called this guy "TroN" and tried to get a poster with him and Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner? Can somebody make this happen, please?) Irv Noren, also a part-time 1B, who hit .275 in 11 seasons ...
The only "N" RP with 100+ saves is Rob Nen, whose 314 heading into 2005 far outpaced Tom Niednefuer's 97 ... Rob Nen is also the son of a big league ballplayer, 1B Dick Nen, while the best brother pair, with quick apologies to Graig and Jim Nettles, was clearly the Niekros, with more than 500 combined victories ... No big league manager on the top 100 career wins list had a last/family name beginning with N; sorry, Steve O'Neill, missed it by an apostrophe ... In fact, only eight N-Men overall have managed in the big leagues, with the longest tenured being the less than immortal Russ Nixon, who might've otherwise made the team as a backup backstop (.268 in 12 seasons).
A few appreciative Nods to some hurlers who didn't quite make the cut: RHSP Bobo Newsom was 211-222, one of the few sub-.500 pitchers in MLB history to reach 200 wins ... RHSP Gary Nolan was 110-70 and headed to the Hall of Fame before blowing out his arm ... Hideo Nomo is a shell of what he once was these days -- but he once was a shell game of a pitcher, marking up a 118-101 record through 2004 ... Denny Neagle's 124-92 career almost beat out Joe Nuxhall's 135-117 for the second lefty's spot in the rotation, but then Art Nehf showed up with his 184-120 mark and both Nux and Neagle were dismissed ... The bullpen is hurting from the left side, with only solid citizen Nitkowski around, but there is a lot of talent from the right side ... And all hail the greatest of all "N"ames in the Great Game's history, Dizzy Nutter, an OF who hit .212 in 18 games with '19 Boston Braves.
So, Bauxites, aNy obvious ways to improve this team?