The headline and the subject matter of this story gives away the answer to a pretty good trivia question -- what is the only surname to be represented by four Hall of Famers? It's Robinson, of course, which is only the 20th-most-common North American surname, but which has graced the great game with Brooks, Frank, Jackie and Wilbert.
So here's the trivia question: there are 10 other surnames that are in Cooperstown twice (though only two of those pairs are brothers), and two more with three Hall of Famers each. How many can you name?
Trivia Answers: The brothers are the Waners and the Wrights; the other unrelated pairs are the Collinses, Fosters, Gibsons, Jacksons, Kellys, MacPhails (that's the tough one, as neither was a player), McCarthys and Smiths. It is possible, but looking unlikely, that Big Lee Smith will bump the most common of all American surnames into the triple-inductee category someday.
The surnames with three Hall of Famers are the Johnsons (with a fourth surely on the way five years after Randy retires) and the Williamses (with a far less sure thing of a Hall call for Bernie five years after he retires).
Sorry, no points can be awarded if you guessed Fox/Foxx, Young/Youngs in the pairs category or thought "Kelley" would bring the current Kelly duo up to three.
So for now, we have but one name giving up four Hall of Famers; the question is, with just 29 Robinsons overall to have played big league ball, can we fill out an entire 25-man roster? Of course, that total of 29 does not include the Robinson Checos or Robinson Cancels of the world, nor the four men who had "Robinson" as a middle name.
The only active Robinson in MLB at this writing is STL OF Kerry Robinson, who seems a safe bet to not increase the Robinson Hall of Fame total; whether he cracks the Robinson Hall of Names roster is another matter entirely and remains to be seen. So let's see ... and let's meet a team we will likely call "The Castaways" by way of headline-writer's shorthand ...
THE ROBINSON CRUSOES
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Player/Manager: Wilbert Robinson** (1399-1398)
Player/Bench Coach: Frank Robinson** (913-1004 through 2004)
Coach: Stanley Robinson (19-31 with 1905 STL)
C Aaron Robinson* (.260 in eight seasons)
1B Eddie Robinson* (.268, 172 homers in 13 seasons)
2B Jackie Robinson** (.311, 137 homers, 197 SB)
SS Craig Robinson (.219, 1972-77)
3B Brooks Robinson** (268 homers, 16 Gold Gloves)
LF Bill H. Robinson (.258, 166 homers, 1966-83)
CF Kerry Robinson (.267 through 2004)
RF Frank Robinson** (.294, 586 homers)
DH Floyd Robinson (OF hit .283, 67 homers, 1960-68)
C/MGR Wilbert Robinson** (HOFer as MGR; .273 in 17 seasons as player)
C/SS/OF Charlie Robinson (.242 in two seasons, 1884-85)
2B/SS/3B/OF Rabbit Robinson (.223 with 1903 WSH, '04 DET and '10 CIN)
2B Fred Robinson (3-for-13 with 1884 Cincinnati Outlaw Reds)
OF/3B Earl Robinson (.268, 1958-64)
OF Dave Robinson (.316 with 1970 SDP; 0-for-7 in '71)
RHSP Don Robinson (109-106, 57 saves)
LHSP Hank Robinson (42-37, 1911-18)
RHSP Ron Robinson (48-39, also 19 saves)
RHSP Jeff M. Robinson (47-40, 1988-92)
5SP-RH Jeff D. Robinson (46-57, also 39 saves, 1984-92)
CL-RH Humberto Robinson (8-13, four saves, 1955-60)
RHRP Dewey Robinson (2-2 with 1979-81 CHW)
RHRP Kenny Robinson (5'7" hurler was 2-2, 1995-97)
RHRP Jack E. Robinson (three games, four IP for 1949 BOS)
Notes: This team will have to ride its superstars and Hall of Famers as far as it can go; there's just a nine-man pitching staff, as only nine Robinsons -- and just one lefty, at that -- have toed the rubber in a big league uniform ... That would allow us to expand the bench a bit, but the last man on the bench wouldn't be a difference-maker, coming from among OF Val (6-for-30 with 1872 Washington Olympics), C Jack "Bridgeport" (0-for-9 with 1902 NYG), joining current "last man on the bench" 2B Fred (3-for-13 with 1884 Cincinnati Outlaw Reds) ... So we'll leave a pitching spot vacant in hopes that someone comes along to fill it in 2006 ...
Okay Bauxites, laugh about it, shout about it -- when you've got to choose ... every way you look at this you lose?