As of this writing, only four men in the history of the Great Game whose last/family name began with the letter "T" have been inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. Quick, a no-prize and fifty million points if you can name all four without looking. (Your hints: one earned mention in our All-Two First Names challenge, while another is nicknamed for a delicius pastry dessert.
|Alan Trammell arguably should be there, of course -- but we do already have a shortstop among our Hall of Famers (albeit Trammell was certainly a better player -- ooh! Another No-Prize hint!). Joe Torre didn't quite make it as a player, though he likely will someday as a manager/overall contributions candidate.|
On the pitching side, Luis Tiant and Frank Tanana, with 229 and 240 career wins, respectively, will likely anchor our rotation, but neither really came close to Cooperstown bronze; no current pitcher is likely to be the first T enshrined, either, as the leading current winner among T-hurlers (Throwers? Tossers?) in 2005 is none other than Toronto's own Josh Towers, with 11 (so far).
Sorry, Josh, you're not going to make this Team. So who is? Well, let's find out -- it's time to meet ...
THE FABULOUS T-BIRDS
When they're playing well, they're the cold-blooded "Iced T's"
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Owner: Ted Turner (0-1 managing '77 ATL)
MGR: Chuck Tanner (1352-1381, one title)
Bench Coach: Tom Trebelhorn (471-461)
Player/Coach: Bill Terry (823-661, three pennants, one title)
Player/Coach: Birdie Tebbets (748-705)
Player/Coach: Pie Traynor (457-406)
C Joe Torre* (.297, 252 homers)
1B Bill Terry** (.341 in 14 seasons)
2B Tony Taylor* (.261 in 19 seasons)
SS Alan Trammell* (.285, four Gold Gloves)
3B Pie Traynor** (.320, 164 3B, 158 SB)
LF Sam Thompson** (.331 in parts of 15 seasons)
CF Gorman Thomas* (268 homers)
RF Bobby Thomson* (.270, 264 homers)
DH Frank E. Thomas* (.308, 436 homers through 2004)
C Birdie Tebbets (.270 over 14 seasons)
COR IF Jim Thome* (.286, 423 homers through 2004)
MID IF Miguel Tejada* (200+ homers before 30)
UTIL Cesar Tovar (.278 in 12 seasons)
OF Mike Tiernan (.311, 428 SB, 1887-99)
RHSP Luis Tiant* (229-172)
LHSP Frank Tanana* (240-236)
RHSP Dizzy Trout* (170-161)
LHSP Jesse Tannehill (197-114, 1894-1911)
RHSP Virgil Trucks* (177-135)
CL-RH Bobby Thigpen (57 saves in '90, 201 career)
RH-SET Billy Ho. Taylor (16-28, 100 saves)
RH-SET Kent Tekulve* (94-90, 184 saves)
RH-MID Mike Timlin (56-59, 117 saves)
LONG-LH Steve Trout 88-92
T-dious De-Tales ... The only "T's" to make it to the 2005 All-Star Game were Tejada and a guy who wears a "T" on his hat every day, Mark Teixeira ... Torre came up as a catcher and actually played more games there than at either corner infield spot ... Frank E. "The Big Hurt" Thomas makes the team, but Frank J. Thomas, though also an All-Star, does not -- Hurt's actual experience as a DH slots him naturally into that role for the T-Birds ...
That Hall of Fame shortstop we mentioned in the intro? Well, Joe Tinker was part of the most famous double-play combo of all time, but even with 336 career steals, the .262 career hitter doesn't deserve a spot ahead of Tejada or Trammell ... Once upon a time, it was hard to imagine SS Garry Templeton not ending up in the Hall of Fame -- oh well, at least he was traded even up for the starting shortstop on our All-S team (Ozzie Smith) ... What kind of career might another All-Star SS, Dickie Thon, have had, if not for the unfortunate beaning he took? ...
Tovar is one of the few players ever to play all nine defensive positions in the same game; combine that with the career batting average of nearly .280, and you can see why he gets a utility spot on this team's bench ... Gorman Thomas' page sponsor at BBRef calls him "the slowest, fattest CF ever" but he did hit 242 homers, and it's not like we're going to put Danny Tartabull in RF and Mickey Tettleton in LF and pray nothing gets hit out of the infield ... Tettleton caught more than a little, of course, but it's Birdie Tebbets just beating out Gene Tenace to back up Torre behind the plate ...
There are several fine 1B available for bench duty, including the aforementioned FJ Thomas (.266, 286 homers), as well as former Indians Hal Trosky (.302 in 13 seasons), Andre Thornton (.254, 253 homers) and Jim Thome (.286, 423 homers through 2004) -- what IS it with the Tribe and T-named first sackers? ... Anyway, Thome came up as a 3B and played nearly 500 games there before moving across the diamond (and on to Philadelphia) more permanently, so he is more of a true corner infield backup at both positions AND a better hitter ...
In a weird way, the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" hurt Bobby Thomson's legacy as The Staten Island Scot is no longer remembered for the long and All-Star quality career he had, but for that single swing of the bat ... Come to think of it, he probably doesn't mind ...
Mike Tiernan, a 19th-century star, grabs the final bench spot as we need a true outfielder there; others who earned consideration include SS/3B Cecil Travis* (.314 in 12 seasons); 2B Manny Trillo (.263 in 17 seasons); OF/SS/3B Tom Tresh (.245, 153 homers in nine seasons); 3B/SS/2B Terry Turner (.253 in 17 seasons); Tinker, of course; and yes, Tartabull (.273, 262 homers, came up as 2B/SS) and Tettleton (.241, 245 homers as DH/OF/C/1B) ... In a few years, Mark Teixeira, who wears a "T" on his cap every day, may just catapult from "not on the team" to "starting lineup" ...
The pitching staff is ... a problem. Remember the mention of Tiant and Tanana? Well, it turns out you can make a pretty good case that those are the two best sTarTing piTchers out there ... Oh, there are some other names you'll recognize, like righties Kevin Tapani (143-125), Ralph Terry* (107-99), Bob Tewksbury* (110-102), Mike Torrez (185-160), Fred Toney (139-102) and Steve Trachsel (118-131 through 2004); and lefties like John Tudor (117-72, never an All-Star, even in 21-8 '85) and the unimaginatively nicknamed Lefty Tyler (127-116), but none would be an appreciable upgrade over the rotation now in place ...
Let's not forget RHSP Adonis Terry (197-196, 1884-97), who should make some other Hall of Names teams, anyway, RHSP Jeff Tesreau (115-72, 1912-18 NYG) and the two RHSPs named Jack Taylor -- Jack W. who was 152-139 and Jack B., who was 120-117 ... From the left side, it was tempting to go with a father/son combo in the rotation for the first time in our Hall of Names compilation, but Steve Trout was just 88-92 in his career.
However, the younger Trout will earn a spot as a long man at the back of the bullpen -- our T-lefty options are quite limited, as the headliners are former Padres Mark Thurmond (40-46, 21 saves) and Dave Tomlin (25-12, 12 saves) ... Neither ever was, or ever deserved to be, named to an All-Star team ... Frankly the right side of the bullpen isn't overwhelmingly impressive either, even with closer Bobby Thigpen, the all-time single-season saves leader, in place ...
There have been FIVE Bill Taylors in major league history, and former Oakland and NYM closer William Howell Taylor was the best, racking up 100 career saves -- even if the most (foot)notable thing about his career was that he was traded from OAK to NYM in a '99 deadline deal for BOTH Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael ... The best reliever among T-guys, even with Thigpen closing, was almost certainly former Pirate legend Kent Tekulve, who pitched in 1,050 games, saved 184 of them, and also had 184 decisions (94-90) ... All that's left is to choose between Tomlin, Dick Tidrow (100-94, 55 saves) and Mike Timlin (56-59, 117 saves) for that last bullpen spot ... With extra credit earned for being on the mound for a World Series clincher, let's go with Timlin ...
So, Bauxites, tee up the comments ... does this team suit you to a "T"?