The headline, of course, is a reference to Hall of Famers Chick Hafey and the incomparable Babe Ruth, with (one supposes) a shout-out to one or the other of the two Dolly Grays, neither of whom posted Hall-of-Fame numbers. But the Hall of Names ... as you know by now, that is a very different story, indeed.
That's right, this installment of Baseball's Hall of Names takes its cue from the old Johnny (no relation to Norm or Dave) Cash song, "A Boy Named Sue" and focuses on major league ballplayers who, well, there's really no other way to say this, had girly names. Specifically, traditionally female first (given) names. You know, Chase Utley. Blondie Purcell. Jamie Moyer. You get the idea.
So who qualifies for this team? Okay, here's the rules ....
... First, as you will have gathered from the Moyer example, gender-neutral names are just fine -- think "Terry" and "Tracy," among others. However, to avoid an All-Terry team (and not even counting Hall of Fame 1B Bill Terry or All-Star RHSP Ralph Terry, there are still eight first-named Terrys who have been All-Stars), we will limit ourselves to using each name just once.
We will, however, endeavour to avoid those gender-neutral names that are most commonly identified with males -- think Maury, Sam, Alex, Lou and Sal (though Wills, McDowell, Rodriguez, Brock and Bando or Maglie would certainly add to this team's talent base.)
And in a departure from Hall of Names norms, we WILL allow nicknames on the thinking that if there are guys out there like Bill "Mary" Calhoun -- no kidding! -- they should get some sort of credit for surviving.
Milady's apologies to otherwise fine players like Andres Galarraga, Don Lasseter, Jimmy Sheckard and John Misse, but we are not considering "generic" references to women, nor names embedded in longer names, so all of the preceding lose out on not just one, but both of those two counts.
We could build a pretty fine team here, too. How would it stack up against the main story's team, anyway?
C Bruce Kimm
Again, using each name just once and apologies to Chase, Grace, Tracy and Marion, among other ladies who didn't quite make the cut!
The former rule also eliminates, unfortunately, a fine OF/1B candidate in Baby Doll Jacobson, who hit .311 over 11 early-20th century seasons; however, it cannot reasonably eliminate the aforementioned "Chick", "Dolly" or "Babe," as it seemingly otherwise would, for these actually have been common nicknames in the annals of MLB.
And of course, the latter "embedded" rule draws a line through names like Jean-Pierre Roy and Denny Galehouse; actually, Galehouse wouldn't qualify even if we did give partial credit, since that's his last/family name, and as mentioned regarding Bill Terry above, we will NOT make room for players with feminine or gender-neutral family names (see sidebar at left); sorry, to among many others, Art Doll, Domingo Jean, Rich Gale, Andy Tracy, Joe Morgan, Fred Lynn, Hal Chase, Mark Grace, Billy Ashley, Jeff Holly, Marty Marion, Pee Wee Reese, Pete Rose, Paul Blair, Roger Maris, George Brett, Mike Cameron, Lee May, Satchel Paige, Scott Cassidy, Larry Sherry, Byung-Hyun Kim (or Bruce Kimm for that matter) Loren Babe and Babe Ruth -- no, wait a minute.
Though the Sultan of Swat's family name "Ruth" does not qualify here, his first/nickname seems likely to get him a roster spot. As for the former Babe mentioned, Loren, that's a good example of alternate spellings (for "Lauren") that we will try to avoid like Carroll (not "Carol") Hardy.
Actually, there have been 28 major leaguers who went by "Babe" (all nicknames), while another 28 have gone by "Chick" -- and as with the former, in the latter case, one of the 28 is a Hall of Fame outfielder. That seems as good a place as any to start our team, so please welcome ...
** Indicates Hall of Famer
* Indicates All-Star
GM/Team President: Morgan Bulkeley**
MGR: Connie Mack** (3731-3948)
Coach: Birdie Tebbets (748-705)
Coach: Patsy Tebeau (726-583)
Coach: Holly Hollingshead (16-66)
C Terry Steinbach* (.271, 162 homers)
1B Jackie Robinson** (.311; '47 ROY, '49 MVP)
2B Nellie Fox** (2663 hits, .288 in 19 years)
SS Robin Yount** (3142 hits, .285 in 20 years)
3B Wade Boggs** (3010 hits, .328 in 18 years)
LF Chick Hafey** (.317, 164 homers in 13 years)
CF Torii Hunter* (119 homers, four Gold Gloves through 2004)
RF Babe Ruth** (.342, 71 homers; 94-46, 2.28)
DH Jesse Burkett** (.338, 2850 hits in 16 seasons)
C Chris Cannizzaro* (.235 in 13 seasons)
COR IF Kelly Gruber* (.259, 117 homers)
MID IF/UTIL Pat Kelly* (.264, 250 SB in 15 seasons)
OF Ginger Beaumont; (.311, 254 SB in 12 seasons)
OF Brett Butler (.290, 558 SB in 17 years)
UTIL Blondie Purcell (OF/RHSP/3B hit .267 in 12 years; 15-43, 3.73)
RHSP Christy Mathewson** (373-188)
LHSP Sandy Koufax** (165-87)
RHSP Candy Cummings** (145-94)
LHSP Jamie Moyer* (204-162 to date)
5SP-RH Allie Reynolds* (182-107)
CL-R Lee Smith* (478 saves)
RHRP Bonnie Hollingsworth (4-9)
LHRP Shane Rawley* (111-118, 40 saves)
RH-LONG Kerry Wood* (70-54 to date)
LH-LONG Shawn Estes* (99-89 to date)
Gals Gossiping ... While we're tempted by the big bat of 2005 first-time All-Star third sacker Morgan Ensberg, we're pretty confident in our talent at the hot corner (a certain Kelly that Toronto fans will remember will have to beat out a Boston Wade and a ChiSox Robin, not to mention a Brave new Terry and a Chief Wahoo-borne Brook) ... so we'll use up our "Morgan" chip on a team executive, Hall of Famer and the first president of the National League, Morgan Bulkeley ...
Wait, wasn't Jackie Robinson a second baseman? Well, primarily over the course of his career, yes, but he played his rookie -- and toughest -- season of 1947 solely at 1B, appearing there 151 times, and putting him there makes room for another Hall of Famer in 2B "Whoa!" Nellie Fox ... Jackie beats out another part-time first-sacker with a much less illustrious career in Dodger blue, Shawn Green ... With all due respect to Ms. Young, we will not consider "Sean" a female name; sorry Mr. Casey ...
The pitching staff, particularly the bullpen, might lean a little to the right, but Babe, have we got a heck of a lefty hurler elsewhere on the roster, as of course Mr. Ruth was one of the finest southpaws of the early 20th century ... Anticipating his likely 2006 move to the Wrigley bullpen, hard-throwing Cub righty Kerry Wood lands in this team's 'pen, too ... Hall of Fame hurler and curveball inventor Candy Cummings eliminates former Jay OF Maldonado from contention ... Come to think of it, the Jays could just about fill a lineup card themselves, with Maldonado, Shannon Stewart, Shawn Green, Pat Hentgen and Kelly Gruber among those eligible to play ...
As much as we love Robin Roberts, we love having a Hall-of-Famer at shortstop more; welcome aboard, Mr. Yount ... The erstwhile professional golfer from Milwaukee could also play CF for this team, but we have other options there including current Twin Gold Glover Torii Hunter (who easily outpaced Torey Lovullo for that name's roster spot) and Brett Butler, like Hunter an All-Star and slick fielder, but not quite there with the bat (except when bunting, of course) ...
The back end options for the pitching staff are less inspiring; our utility guy won't get to the mound much, especially with Ruth around, as Blondie Purcell was just 15-43 career; William "Dolly" Gray un-bettered that at 15-51, though with a puzzlingly good 2.63 career ERA ... And neither Dolly Gray is going to make the squad, as Sam "Dolly" Gray, while a more respectable 111-115 with 22 saves (and 20-12 in 1928), is more than nudged out by the aforementioned 20-K boy, Kerry Wood ...
The starting catcher is clearly going to be Terry ... but which one? Steinbach noses past Kennedy in an All-Star battle for the starting slot, and our one-name, one-use rule precludes the other from making the roster as a backup, so we go with 1969 Padre All-Star Chris Cannizzaro to take the role, eliminating another gender-neutral name from our options ...
Okay, sure we have Christy Mathewson in the rotation, but for our purposes -- unless someone can come up with another catcher, natch -- we will count our Christy/Chris battery as having two separate names ...
Alas, the Terry-catchers eliminate one of the few quality (All-Star) left-handed arms we could have gone to in the bullpen, as Terry Mulholland won't tarry for this roster ... 3B Pendleton, while a former NL MVP, wasn't going to beat out Wade Boggs for the starting spot anyway, and with Robin Ventura off the board (thanks to the presence of Mr. Yount), our backup corner gal ... er, guy ... looks to be none other than former Toronto All-Star Kelly Gruber ...
We'd love to have the backup middle infielder be Sandy Alomar Sr. (sorry, Junior, the catching gear has been doled out already) but he's not about to beat out that Koufax fella ... This may be the ONLY time they are compared to Babe Ruth, but among the "two-fer" names where both the first and last names are common female first names, we find multiple Pat Kellys and a Gale Wade to note ...
In fact, of the three MLB Pat Kellys, H. Pat Kelly is not only another former Blue Jay, but also a former All-Star (with the 1973 CHW) and he grabs that middle infield utility role, much to the chagrin of other former All-Stars standing Pat, like Dobson, Hentgen, Tabler and Zachry ...
Among those not making the squad (are you ready for this?) were QB/IF Drew Henson, 1B Drew Denson and RHSP Kris Benson ... The alternate-spelling rule eliminates Brooks Robinson as a hot corner candidate, but we still have Brook, in Mr. Jacoby (once traded with Brett Butler for Len Barker as the Indians apparently tried to corral the 1980's "Hey Ladies" title) ...
Sure, Hall of Famer Jesse Haines would probably be a better fifth starter than Allie Reynolds -- for that matter, so would Roberts -- but we want another Hall of Famer, OF Jesse Burkett (the best Jesse B in the game's history, sorry, Barfield fans) as our DH ... And sure, there are certainly better RHRP candidates than Hollingsworth, but how do you leave "Bonnie" off this team? ... Sherry Magee also deserved consideration for a bench OF/UTIL spot...
There are others, of course -- as I'm sure many readers will point out! -- but for now, Bauxites, does this team engender good feelings in everyone?