|What's the ultimate goal in baseball? To get a whole bunch of W's strung together, of course. And that's what we've done here -- that is, strung together an entire team of players whose last/family name begins with the letter "W".|
(You probably have to be a U.S. taxpayer to get that team name joke)
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
GM George Weiss** (won 7 titles as NYY GM, 1947-60)
MGR Earl Weaver** (1480-1060, four flags, one title)
Coach: Dick Williams
Coach: George Wright** (59-25, pre-WS title in only season managing)
Coach: Harry Wright** (1225-885, six pre-WS titles)
C Deacon White (3B/C played all nine; .312 over 20 years)
1B Bob Watson (.295, 184 homers)
2B Lou Whitaker* (.276, 244 homers, 143 SB)
SS Honus Wagner** (.327, 722 SB)
3B Matt Williams* (.268, 378 homers)
LF Ted Williams** (.344, 521 homers)
CF Willie Wilson* (.285, 668 SB)
RF Dave Winfield** (3110 hits, 465 homers)
DH Billy Williams** (2711 hits, 426 homers)
C Ernie Whitt* (.249, 136 homers)
UTIL John Montgomery Ward** (SS/3B/RHP/OF, .275 in 17 years; 164-122)
IF Maury Wills* (200+ homers before 30)
IF Willie Wells**(Negro League great)
OF Paul Waner** (.333, 3152 hits)
OF Hack Wilson** (.307, 244 homers; 56 came in 1930)
RHSP Ed Walsh** (195-126)
LHSP Rube Waddell** (193-143)
RHSP Mickey Welch** (307-210)
RHSP Early Wynn** (300-244)
5SP-LH Earl Whitehill (218-195)
CL-RH Hoyt Wilhelm** (143-122, 227 saves)
RH-SET John Wetteland* (330 saves)
LH-SET Billy Wagner* (246 saves through 2004)
RH-LONG Tim Wakefield (128-111, 22 saves through 2004)
LH-LONG Wilbur Wood* (164-156, 57 saves)
What Else is Written? ... There are 22 Hall of Famers whose last/family name begins with "W" ... Oddly enough, only one debuted after 1970 (Dave Winfield) whle only two others (Billy Williams and Hoyt Wilhelm) even played as late as 1970, so "W" certainly appears to heave been an "early century" letter ... Props of course to Earl Weaver, who managed into the 1980s, but who never played in the big leagues ... Speaking of managers, how about the not-so-endearingly nicknamed Irvin "Kaiser" Wilhelm who compiled a career managerial mark of just 83-137 -- but that still well outpaced his 56-105 mark as a RHSP ... Another RHSP, Stump Wiedman, has one of the worst career winning percentages of any pitcher with at least 100 career wins at .393, from his 101-156 record ... Clyde (100-111) and Jaret Wright (57-49) could join the Joe Colemans as one of few father/son 100-game winner combos ...
What is it with W-pitchers and the knuckleball? ... Three of the best-known flutterboys have been this team's right-handed closer, Hoyt Wilhelm (143-122, 227 saves), lefty Wilbur Wood (164-156, 57 saves) and current Bosox righty Tim Wakefield (128-111, 22 saves through 2004) ... Even though the latter has never made an All-Star team (yet), we'll stuff the bullpen with those three and the right-left flamethrowers Wetteland and Wagner, and never need to worry about getting a complete game ...
Among the other leading W-relievers nudged out by the knuckleballing trio are RHRPs Todd and Tim Worrell (256 and 64 saves, the latter through 2004, respectively), Bob Wickman (214 saves and counting) and Duane Ward (121) and lefty Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams (192) ... The only other W-guys to crack the century mark in saves have all been righties, in Mike Williams (144 through 2004), Mark Wohlers (119), Red Worthington (110) and John Wyatt (103) ... Not that we'll ever need them, but there's another fine right-handed pitcher on the bench in utilityman John Montgomery Ward, who just beats out another Hall of Famer, Bobby Wallace (SS/3B/RHP, .268 in 25 years; 24-22) for the team's acclaimed UTIL spot ...
While Mickey Welch (307) and Early Wynn are the only W-hurlers (whirlers?) to crack 300 career Wins, only four others, RHSPs Gus Weyhing (264-232) and Will White (229-166) and lefties Earl Whitehill (218-195) and David Wells (212-136 through 2004) have even surpassed 200 ... However, a shocking number of Whirlers have edged right up to the precipice of that 200-win barrier only to fall just short; these include the Hall of Famers Walsh (195) and Waddell (193) as well as Bucky Walters (198), Lon Warneke (192), Jim Whitney (191), Doc White (189) and Rick Wise (188) ... White, a lefty, is just nudged out by Whitehill for the final rotation spot ... Maybe it should have gone to Wells, but frankly, visions of him sharing a clubhouse (and a number of barrooms) with Hack Wilson were just too frightening ...
Some Hall of Famers were squeezed to the point that they didn't even make the team ... These include OF Zack Wheat (.317, 2884 hits), RHSP Vic Willis (249-205), OF and Little Poison/little brother Lloyd Waner (.316, 2459 hits) and Negro League RHSP Smokey Joe Williams, who is said to have pitched "dozens" of no-hiters, but is not to be confused with RHSP Smokey Joe Wood, who compiled a career MLB mark of 117-57, but blew out his arm and came back as a fine OF whose best offensive season was his final one, 1922 ... An even more tragic story is that of RHSP Don Wilson, who had amassed a 104-92 mark for some pretty bad Astros teams when he died in the 1974-75 offseason five weeks shy of his 30th birthday ...
Who's gonna catch for this team? John Wockenfuss? Butch Wynegar? Ivey Wingo (he hit .260 in 17 seasons, mostly as a backup)? ... Believe it or not, you can make a pretty good case that the best W-catcher in big league history is former All-Star and Toronto's own Ernie Whitt, who compiled a career batting average of just .249 over 15 seasons ... That said, Whitt will be a nice backup option for the W-bench, as we'll opt for offense and start Deacon White, a .312 hitter over 20 seasons, behind the plate ... Sure, White played primarily at 3B, and actually apppeared defensively at all nine positions, but he did catch in 458 of his 1560 career games, so he joins the squad ...
You can also make an argument for the Deacon as the starter at the hot corner, but both ex-Po Tim Wallach and Matt Williams, who likely would have broken the Maris record four yers before Mark McGwire did if not for the 1994 strike, are probably more deserving ... Also deserving mention is the first man to hit more than 14 homers in a single season, Ned Williamson, who slammed a then-record 27 in 1884 ... Matt Williams, who had more homers than that at the '94 All-Star break, gets the nod ...
That makes three guys named "Williams" in the All-W starting lineup, but none of them ever earned a "W" as a pitcher ... Actually, former Jay Woody Williams, though just 8-12 so far in 2005, is now 111-96 in his career, and as such has passed fellow righty Stan Williams (109-94) as the all-time leader in Williams wins at the MLB level ... The future of W pitching seems to be in good hands, er, arms, with righty Kerry Wood and lefty Dontrelle Willis around ... imagine if the Cubs had kept Willis around instead of dealing him essentially for three years of Matt Clement ...
Back to the infield, the All-W team appears surprisingly weak at both corner positions, at least relatively speaking ... Unless we were to move Larry Walker to 1B, and he has played fewer than 100 games there in his career to date, our best options are all former All-Stars, but none in any danger of Cooperstown induction -- Eddie Waitkus (.285 in 11 years), Bob Watson (.295, 184 homers) and Bill White (.286, 202 homers) ... Watson gets the nod in appreciation not only of his scoring baseball's millionth run (May 4, 1975) but also that Oscar-worthy cameo in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training ... At second base, you'd have to be happy with eight-time Gold Glover Frank White, or maybe even World Series unassisted triple play hero Bill Wambsganss, but why settle when you have a should-be-Hall-of-Famer available in Lou Whitaker? ...
Shortstop is in the more-than-capable hands of Hans Wagner, backed up -- as if he'll ever need it -- by Maury Wills and Hall of Famer Willie Wells; the former was of course the first man to break the 100-steal barrier for a single season, while the latter briefly held Negro League home run record and reportedly invented the batting helmet ... Speaking of pioneers, the first great shortstop, George Wright, is on the coaching staff, sitting there with his .302 career average just waiting for something to happen to all the talent in front of him ...
As for the outfield, if we want a true CF, it's going to have to be Devon White (.263, 208 homers, 346 SB over 17 years), Willie Wilson, Jimmy Wynn (.250, 291 homers in 15 years) or Bernie Williams (.301, 263 homers through 2004) ... We'll go with Wilson, who swiped nearly 700 bases and will be the ideal #9 hitter in this lineup ... In a few years, the spot may belong to Toronto's own Vernon Wells, but he's not even ahead of ex-Jay White yet at this poing ...
Among other outfield candidates were five Walkers (Curt, Dixie, Gee, Harry and Larry), two Whites (Roy and Rondell), three Williamses (Bernie, Cy and Ken), as well as Claudell Washington, Vic Wertz, Sam West and Gene Woodling ... It's at least tempting to find a spot for PH Allie West, who was 1-for-1 with a double in his only appearance with the 1920 Washington Senators ...
With Dick Williams and the non-aeronautical Wright brothers on the bench to help out the Earl of Baltimore, there's no room on the coaching staff for current Tribe miracle worker Eric Wedge, Harry "The Hat" Walker or even the immortal Jimy Williams ...
So Bauxites, what do you think? This team certainly HAS enough W's ... but will it GET enough W's? ...