Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Recently, after we toured a Hall of Names gallery for each of the 25 most common North American surnames, we also took a dive into the It Makes Census pool, which had a 25-man roster composed of one player each from the candidates with those 25 surnames.

Well, first things ... uh, second, as it turns out ... as we now undertake the same process with the 25 most common first/given names. But there is a bit of a twist ...

... as there are a couple of ways to determine what those 25 most common first names actually are. As such, we will have two teams here, one made up of the 25 most common first names according to the 1990 U.S. Census -- or, more or less, guys who could conceiveably have already reached the major leagues; and the second made up of the 25 most common current male infant names (according to a popular neonatal Web site, anyway), or not only guys who couldn't conceiveably have reached the majors yet, but only very recently were conceived at all.

The usual rules are in play -- for instance, though Nellie Fox's "real" given first name was "Jacob," he is not eligible for the team because he didn't actually go by that moniker ... This also applies to players who went by nicknames like Daniel "Rusty" Staub -- no dice, Rusty ... Commonly-accepted diminutives of a name such as "Tony" for "Anthony" and "Josh" for "Joshua" are just fine ... however, we are not considering "close enough" names like, unfortunately, Willie Howard Mays, a pretty good CF who was not named "William" ... Another pretty good CF, Andruw Jones, also gets cut on the spelling rule, as does Hall of Fame 2B Ryne Sandberg and All-Star SS Cristian Guzman ...

And of course, we are only looking at first/given names, not last/family names, though oddly enough (if you count plurals such as Matthews and Daniels), more than 20 of the 25 most common first/given names in this survey have also been the last/family name of a big league ballplayer (see: Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Pete Alexander -- there's a nice front three to any rotation! -- Gene Michael, Juan Samuel, Von Joshua and many others mentioned in the Two First Names Hall of Names discussion waybackwhen).

  1. Jacob
  2. Michael
  3. Joshua
  4. Matthew
  5. Ethan
  6. Andrew
  7. Daniel
  8. William
  9. Joseph
  10. Christopher
  11. Anthony
  12. Ryan
  13. Nicholas
  14. David
  15. Alexander
  16. Tyler
  17. James
  18. John
  19. Dylan
  20. Nathan
  21. Jonathan
  22. Brandon
  23. Samuel
  24. Christian
  25. Benjamin
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

Player/Manager Joe Cronin (1236-1055)
Player/Coach Jimmy Collins (455-376)

C Josh Gibson** (HOF plaque: "greatest power hitter in black baseball")
1B Jake Beckley** (.308, 1888-1907)
2B Bill Mazeroski** (.260, 138 homers, eight Gold Gloves)
SS Alex Rodriguez* (.307, 429 homers through 2005)
3B Mike Schmidt** (548 homers, 3 MVPs, 10 Gold Gloves)
LF Sammy Sosa* (588 homers through 2005)
CF Dave Winfield**(.283, 465 homers, seven Gold Gloves)
RF Tony Gwynn* (.338, 3141 hits, will be **)
DH Held Open for a Dylan

C/UTIL Tyler Houston (.265, 1996-2003, played all but CF)
MID IF Joe Cronin** (.301, 170 homers, 1926-45)
COR/UTIL Jimmy Collins** (.294, 1895-1908)
OF Ethan Allen (.300, 1926-38)
OF Ben Oglivie* (.273/235/901)
PH/DH Nick Etten (last NYY 1B to lead AL in HR; 22 in '44)

RHSP Christopher "Christy" Mathewson (373-188)
LHSP Andy Pettitte* (172-91 through 2005)
RHSP Matt Morris* (101-62 through 2005)
LHSP Jon(athan) Matlack* (125-126, 1971-83)
5SP-RH Brandon Webb (31-37 through 2005)

CL-RH Dan Quisenberry* (244 saves, five Top-5 CYA finishes)
LHRP John Franco* (424 saves through 2005)
RHRP Ryan Dempster* (33 starts in 2002; 33 saves in 2005)
LONG-LH Chris(tian) Van Cuyk (7-11, 1 save for 1950-52 BRK)
LONG-RH Nate Andrews* (30-35, 1943-44 BSN, 41-54 career)

A few notes before we moved onto the similar, yet slightly different, most common (not baby) given/first names according to the 1990 U.S. Census ... For instance, #3 starter Matt Morris -- that's Matthew Christian Morris -- managed to have two of the top 25 names on his birth certificate ... The selection of Sammy Sosa to the squad might raise some eyebrows among older fans, but the admittedly one-dimensional Cub-cum-Oriole already has a higher career HOF monitor number (according to anywway) than Sams Crawford, Rice and Thompson, all of whom are already enshrined in Cooperstown ... All four of them, of course, are in the starting lineup of the long-ago Sams They Am Hall of Names team ...

Yes, there are separate entries for both "Christopher" and "Christian" and for "John" and "Jonathan" as all four made the Top 25 list independently of their similar-sounding namesakes ... Joe Cronin beats out Joe Torre as the team's Player/Manager, as he was slightly better than the current Yankee skipper in both areas ... Profoundest apologies to "Joltin" Joe himself, as DiMaggio is the best eligible player not to make the squad ... Another ex-Yankee, "Poosh 'Em Up" Tony Lazzeri is also in the "best eligible not to make it" discussion, but Gwynn Sr. grabs the Anthony slot ... Brandon Webb makes the team almost by default; 15 of the 17 Brandons in major league history were still active in 2005, and none appeared in the big leagues before the year 2000 ...

There have been just two Ethans in big league history, and we are still waiting on our first Dylan (Frank "Pop" Dillon misses on three counts -- spelling, it's his surname, AND he went by a nickname), so the DH slot stays empty for now in anticipation of that first Dylan "blowin' in the wind" ... Two of the guys with the surname "Daniels" are "Charlie" and "Jack" which seems a natural match ... All that said, and attempting not to use any repeats, it's time to move on to ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

Player/Manager Dick Howser (507-425, five flags, two titles)
Player/Coach Davey Johnson (1148-888, four flags, one title)

C Johnny Bench** (389 homers, 10 Gold Gloves)
1B Jimmie Foxx** (.325, 534 homers)
2B Eddie Collins* (.333, 3315 hits)
SS Tony Kubek* (.266 in nine years; 1957 AL ROY)
3B George Brett** (.305, 3154 hits, 1980 AL MVP)
LF Chuck Klein** (.320, 300 homers)
CF Joe DiMaggio** (.325, 361 homers)
RF Jason Bay* (.295, 62 homers through age 26; 2004 NL ROY)
DH Paul Molitor** (.306, 3319 hits)

C/OF Brian Downing* (.267, 275 homers)
2B/1B/SS/3B Davey Johnson* (.261/136 homers in 13 years; 43 HR in 1973)
SS/2B/3B Dick Howser* (1961 All-Star never matched rookie success)
OF Ron LeFlore* (.288, 455 SB in just nine seasons)
OF Kenny Lofton* (.299, 567 SB through 2005)
1B/3B/OF Mark Teixeira* (.282, 107 homers through age 25 in 2005)

RHSP Bob Feller** (266-162)
LHSP Steve Carlton** (329-244, four CYAs)
RHSP Don Drysdale** (209-166, 1962 CYA)
LHSP Tom Glavine* (275-184 through 2005; 1991, '98 CYAs)
5SP-RH Chris Carpenter* (85-60 through 2005)

CL-LH Billy Wagner (284 saves through 2005)
LHRP Dan Plesac (158 saves, 120 of them., 1987-90)
RHRP Matt Clement* (82-81 through 2005)
LONG-LH Mike Cuellar* (185-130, 1969 CYA)
LONG-RH Kevin Brown* (211-144 through 2005)

  1. James
  2. John
  3. Robert
  4. Michael
  5. William
  6. David
  7. Richard
  8. Charles
  9. Joseph
  10. Thomas
  11. Christopher
  12. Daniel
  13. Paul
  14. Mark
  15. Donald
  16. George
  17. Kenneth
  18. Steven
  19. Edward
  20. Brian
  21. Ronald
  22. Anthony
  23. Kevin
  24. Jason
  25. Matthew

And more than a few more notes ... Johnny Bench, the greatest catcher ever, gets the nod over Johnny Mize, who was "only" a Hall of Famer as 1B ... The Roberts are all about pitching, and we don't mean Robin Roberts ... Gibson and Lemon were both great in their own right, but we'll go with "Rapid Robert" himself, Mr. Feller ... Because we already have Bench on hand, there's no reason to spend our "Michael" on Mr. Piazza, and instead of trying to re-assemble the circa-1950 Indians by picking up Mike Garcia behind Feller, let's grab the All-Star lefty Cuellar over another former Oriole in Mussina ... Michael "Mickey" Welch, the Hall of Fame 307-game winner, technically qualifies but it doesn't seem fair to add him to the roster when Mickey Mantle and Mickey Cochrane, among others, are not eligible ...

Sorry, William Roger Clemens and William "Candy" Cummings, neither of you are eligible, but a sturdy little Wagnerian lefty closer will do just fine ... James "Cool Papa" Bell loses his roster spot on the nickname rule, but we're okay with the aforementioned Joltin' Joe in CF ... And George Brett is surely more than a consolation prize for losing out on George "Babe" Ruth, though the juxtaposition of "George" and "Kenneth" on the list above right tempted us to bump DiMaggio yet again for George Kenneth "Junior" Griffey ... Davey Johnson is about as fine a player/coach as a team could hope for; that's four All-Star appearances as a player and four appearances in the post-season as a manager ... And Dick Howser is about as fine a manager, period, as a team could hope for -- the fact that he was an All-Star shortstop, albeit quite briefly, is just a bonus ...

It seems that most of the Charles-es in the Hall of Fame -- Casey Stengel, Red Ruffing, Kid Nichols, Chick Hafey -- fall prey to the nickname rule, but if not for the presence of Mr. Collins at the keystone already, we might've ended up with a really fine 2B in Gehringer (.320/184/1427 in 19 seasons) ... So we're left with borderline Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (a Moises Alou/Ellis Burks/Fred Lynn type according to his BBRef Most Similar list) taking an OF spot ...

George Thomas Seaver loses his spot for the same reason Clemens does, and don't even think about Frank Thomas as the DH ... The Toms in the Hall of Fame are mostly there for non-playing exploits (manager LaSorda, umpire Connolly, owner Yawkey) while 19th century OF Tommy McCarthy's place there is, frankly, a bit of a mystery ... Ex-Yankees like Tommy Henrich and Tom Tresh are tempting utility options, but let's go with a lefty for the rotation -- but should it be 288-game winner Tommy John or 275-game winner (so far) Tom Glavine? The latter may still get enshrined in Cooperstown, so the ex-Brave gets the nod ...

Paul Molitor easily beats out Paul Waner for the All-Paul slot on the roster (If Waner plays guitar, he can take solace in being the team's "Less Paul") ... Though Waner's career batting average (.333) was 27 points better, Molitor had 167 more hits and played every defensive position except catcher, even though he spent more time at DH than anywhere else ... Nobody named "Mark" has ever been inducted into Cooperstown, and the recent McGwire follies mean that streak may stay intact for some time, though current young lefties Buehrle and Mulder could come into play eventually ... Retired All-Stars like Langston and Belanger would be fine additions, but we'll take the bat of Texas' Teixeira based on early production and BBRef "Most Similars" like Willie McCovey, Fred McGriff, Rocky Colavito and, yes, Mark McGwire ...

Which ex-Dodger righty is The Donald for this team? We'll take the greatness of Drysdale over the extended very-goodness of Sutton ... Brian Downing caught 675 games, and played even more as both an OF and DH, but that's enough time behind the plate, in the unlikely case Bench needs some time off, to land him the backup catching slot ... The numbers game catches big-time talents like Santo and Guidry and makes speedy OF LeFlore our Ron-presentative ... He'll sit on the bench next to Kenny Lofton and the primary job for both will likely be pinch-running, if ever needed ...

So with four names -- Anthony (Tony), Kevin, Jason and Matthew (Matt) -- left on the board, we are looking for a starting shortstop, a starting right fielder, and two righties (one short and one long) for the bullpen ... We could do a lot worse than Tony Kubek at short, youngster Jason Bay in right, with Kevin Brown and Matt Clement joining the bullpen ... Both Kubek and Bay won Rookie of the Year awards ...

So, Bauxites, after all that, first things last ... how could either of these teams be better?

First Things ... Uh, Second? | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 30 2005 @ 10:45 AM EST (#130767) #
Davey Johnson and Dick Howser might be one too many 2B/Manager. How 'bout Dick Allen, Dave Concepcion, David Ortiz, Dave Parker or Dave Winfield?
Mick Doherty - Sunday, October 30 2005 @ 11:23 AM EST (#130769) #
Since we would need a middle infielder of some sort to replace Howser on the bench, I suppose it'd have to be Concepcion ... but you think Johnson and Howser would be more problematic than Cronin and Collins?

P.S. I did notice the preponderance of Davids and am working up a "Daves of Our Lives" (working title only) HON edition for later in the week.
Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 12:17 PM EST (#130815) #
Cronin and Collins are solid (in Collins' case great) defensive substitutes at short and third respectively. Johnson and Howser were second basemen, and actually had very similar skill sets.
First Things ... Uh, Second? | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.