Reader's Challenge: Who Loves Ya, Baby?

Tuesday, February 14 2006 @ 10:09 PM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

While it's still Valentine's Day (barely, but we have three hours or so of it left here in Texas), it seems only right to do the whole Candy and Flowers thing, maybe a Hart-shaped box of the former and some Roses as the latter?

That's right, it's a very special reader's challenge edition of Baseball's Hall of Names as we assemble ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

As a matter of course, because it's never a good idea to repeat yourself on Valentine's Day, we will limit this team to using a surname just once. However, we will open the floor, in the spirit of good relationships, to first names and nicknames -- after all, what holiday is more about nicknames than Valentine's Day?

Player/Manager: Bobby Wine (16-25 with '85 ATL)

2B Cupid Childs (.306, 1888-1901)
SS Leo Cardenas (.2657 in 16 years)
3B Jim Ray Hart* (.278, 170 homers in 12 years)
LF Ellis Valentine* (.278, 123 homers in 11 years)
RF Darryl Strawberry* (335 homers, exactly 1000 RBI)
DH Ruben Angel Sierra* (four-time All-Star, 306 homers)

IF Bobby Wine (.215 career; '63 Gold Glove SS)
IF Jim Brideweser (2B/SS/3B hit .252, 1951-57)
UTIL Pete Rose* (4256 hits; 600+ games at five positions)

RHSP Candy Cummings** (145-94 in just six years)
LHSP Slim Love (28-21, 1913-20)
RHSP Bob Groom (119-150 in 10 years)

LH-SET Wes Flowers (2-2 with 1940, '44 BRK)
LH-LONG Royce Ring (0-2 with 2005 NYM)

Love Notes ... Seven men with the surname "Valentine" have played in the major leagues, but only Ellis ever made an All-Star team (or deserved to, for that matter) ... Twice as many Harts, 14, have reached the big leagues, but just one, Jim Ray, made an All-Star team ... Jim Ray Hart and Ellis Valentine retired with identical .278 career batting averages ... Nobody named "Heart," or even nicknamed that, has ever reached the major leagues ... It seems most of the guys named "Angel" have been middle infielders and lefty relievers, and we already have our fill of those, so let's go with a natural DH with the middle name "Angel," though that does perhaps belie its owner's actual personality ... Maybe Miguel Angel "Mike" Cuellar would be better?

Soeaking of pitching, want some holiday Candy? Well, of the seven men nicknamed that who played big league ball, Mr. Cummings not only won 145 games and is credited with inventing the curveball, but he's also in the Hall of Fame ... It's almost anti-Valentine's Day to go with a guy named "Slim Love," but believe it or not he's the only player to ever bear that surname into the majors ... Nobody named "Wedding" has ever rreached the major leagues, but we can comfortably pair Bob Groom with Jim Brideweser and get the point across ...

And the Challenge: Okay, that's more than half the roster, 14 of 25 spots, filled. How can we finish up this team? Be sure the name ties in obviously to the holiday, or else provide an explanation of it ... tortured logic and far-reaching puns welcome and invited!