A grand total of 67 major league ballplayers have been born on Dec. 25, the date traditionally designated as Christmas Day around the world. And what do you know -- one of them was even named "Jesus," though he went by his middle name professionally, All-Star 2B Jesus Manuel "Manny" Trillo.
But alas for this (brace yourselves) "Christmas Trillo," he won't even get the starting nod at the keystone for the All-Born-on-Christmas-Day Hall of Names roster ...
... as one of the three Hall of Fame talents born that day, Nellie Fox, will trot out to that spot to begin the game. The other two HOFers are RHSP and 364-game winner James "Pud" Galvin and, to be fair, the not-yet-elected-but-mortal-lock Rickey "Today I Am The Greatest" Henderson, who may still be playing in an Independent League somewhere.
So, how does this team look? It's time to meet a bunch of guys wrapped in swaddling uniforms (scriptural joke, don't worry about it) who are all here -- well, yes, that's right, they're here -- and that makes them ...
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENCE
**indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Gene Lamont (553-562, two AL West flags with CHW)
C Quincy Trouppe (Negro League star 1-for-10 with '52 CLE at 39)
1B Walter Holke (.287, 1914-25)
2B Nellie Fox** (12-time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 1959 AL MVP)
SS Julio Gonzalez (.235, 1977-83)
3B Gene Robertson (.280, 1919-30)
LF Rickey Henderson** (297 homers, 1406 SB)
CF Jo-Jo Moore* (.298 in 12 NYG seasons; six-time All-Star)
RF Ben Chapman* (.302 in 15 years; four-time All-Star)
DH Willy Taveras (.291, 34 SB in 2005)
C Charles "Greek" George (.177 part of 5 seasons, 1935-45)
2B/SS/1B/OF Joe Quinn (.261, 268 SB, 1884-1901)
3B/2B/SS Barry McCormick (.237, 1895-1904)
IF Manny Trillo (.263, 3 Gold Gloves, four-time All-Star in 17 years)
OF Scott Bullett (switch-hitter .233, parts of 1991-96)
OF Jerry Davis (.301/.370/.397 for 1983, '85 SDP)
RHSP Pud Galvin** (364-310)
LHSP Lloyd "Gimpy" Brown (91-105; 46-38 for 1930-32 WSH)
RHSP Ted Lewis (94-64, 1896-1901)
LHSP Al Jackson (40-73 with '62-'65 NYM, 67-99 career)
5SP-RH George Haddock (63-24, 1891-92; 95-87 career)
CL-RH Jack Hamilton (32-40, 20 saves)
LH-SET Luis Quintana (2-3, 1974-75 CAL)
RHRP Steve Montgomery (1-5, 3 saves for 1999 PHI; 2-8 career)
LHRP Jeff Little (3-1, 1980 STL, 1982 MIN)
LONG-RH Charlie Lea (62-48, 1980-88)
The first man born on December 25 to appear in the major leagues was a backup catcher named Nat Jewett, who was 1-for-8 in spare time with the 1872 Brooklyn Eckfords; he set a standard as the list of Christmas baseball babies is thick with part-time catchers who had several cups of coffee, hit about .175, and then laid down under the tree to wait for the new year; evidence is in the fact that the two catchers on our team's roster held career averages of .177 and .100, er, respectively ...
Starting RF Ben Chapman tried to resurrect his career during the lean MLB era of the WWII years and was 8-6 as a late career RHSP ...Among some of the others not quite making the list (and yes, we've checked it twice) are RHSP Erik Hiljus, who was a fine 8-3 in his career, including 5-0 for the 2001 A's; RHRPs Bruce Walton (2-0 in 27 games, 1991-94) and Charlie Beamon (3-3, 1956-58 BAL); current Royals infielder Ruben Gotay (.242 through 2005) and former Marlins 2B/3B/SS Rich "Not Edgar" Renteria (.237, 1986-88, '93-94) ...
This team will have to play a lot of small ball; having Rickey is a good start, but Chapman may be the cleanup hitter, with 90 career homers and only 53 after the age of 23 ... Actually, Henderson and his 297 career dingers (the rest of the starting lineup combined for 255) is probably the best choice to hit cleanup, but he seems likely to be leading off ...
Making an All-Star team or two isn't a free pass onto a Hall of Names team; sure, it's a nice start, but All-Star Ned Garver and his 129 career wins (and admittedly, 157 losses) is bumped by Lewis and Haddock, the turn-of-the-20th-century righties who were a combined 189-151.
So, Bauxites, does this holiday lineup cheer you? Or how can it be better?