Taking a Leap of Faith

Wednesday, March 01 2006 @ 12:01 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Today is not February 29, though I suspect many of you will write that date at the top of a check or the outside of a bluebook before turning it in at some point.

Who knew -- or frankly, even suspected -- that date would also provide an interesting, if not quite complete, lineup of players born as "leap babies" and who leapt all the way to The Show? There are even a couple of All-Stars, which is more than many dates that show up more than once every four years can claim.

Let's meet this short but interesting list of February 29th's Hall of Names roster, which we will of course dub ...

The Leap Yearlings
** indicates Hall of Famer (none yet)
* indicates all-Star

C Jerry Fry (0-for-9 with 1978 Expos)
1B Al Rosen* (mostly a 3B; 1953 AL MVP)
2B Ralph Miller (mostly 3B/SS, three games at 2B; .248, 1920-24)
SS Dickey Pearce (.252, 1871-77)
3B Pepper Martin* (mostly an OF; .298, 146 SB in 13 years)
OF Terrence Long (.270, 69 homers through 2005)

Pitching Staff
RHSP Al Autry (won only start for 1976 Braves)
RHSP Bill Long (27-27, nine saves)
RHSP Ed "Whitey" Appleton (5-12 for 1915-16 BRK)
LHRP Steve Mingori (18-33, 42 saves)
RHRP Paul Giel (11-9, 1954-61)
RHRP Roy Parker (31.50 ERA in 2 IP for 1919 STL)

Autry, who retired with the enviable career MLB winning percentage of 1.000, is the default ace ... Mingori is the only lefty and probably the closer ... Terrence Long will have to cover the entire outfield ... Speaking of Long, he and (presumably unrelated) Bill Long are the two youngest players on our list, at 30 and 46 this year, respectively ... We went from 1836 (Pearce) to 1892 (Appleton) without having a single leap baby born who'd make the big leagues, then in 1896, for the only time, we had two -- Parker and Miller ... After T. Long, the next rounds of leap babies are 26 and 22 this year, so maybe more are on the way?