Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Believe it or not, this is the 200th installment of Batter's Box Interactive Magazine's Hall of Names. The complete archive is shown on one page here. Admittedly, I can't take full credit for the list of 200; 23 have been written by guest contributors while four more I have co-authored with someone. Anyway ...

How to celebrate such a milestone, if indeed we can label it as such? Well, anyone in or near the U.S. reading this who can remember the year 1976 will remember the utter overload and preponderance of the number 200, especially in lists.

That year was the birthplace of baseball's 200th birthday as a nation, or "bicentennial." (Subject of a previous Hall of Names entry, here.) It was the second of back-to-back titles for the Big Red Machine. It was the year of Mark "The Bird" Fidrych in Detroit. It was an MVP year for Joe Morgan and Thurman Munson and meant Cy Young Awards for Jim Palmer and Randy Jones. It was the year before big league baseball landed in Toronto.

It was also the year of the birth of a 104 major league ballplayers -- so far, anyway ...



... as it is at least possible someone else born in 1976 could still debut as a 30-something rookie in the bigs.

But we are left with several obvious questions. First, is 104 a lot? Well, there were 97 born in 1966, and Felix Hernandez is the first from the Class of '86 newborns to make an appearance; 1975 saw 113 while 1977 produced 120. So the first answer is "no, it's not a LOT, but it's more or less what one would expect."

Second, who are the active leaders in major counting categories among those bicentennial babies? Here's a "Top 10" sample (totals in parentheses are through the close of the 2005 season):

  • Wins: Javier Vazquez (89); Jeff Weaver (78); Sidney Ponson (76); Kelvim Escobar (72); Randy Wolf (65); Wade Miller (62); Carl Pavano (61); Scott Elarton (50); Brian Lawrence (49); Ted Lilly and Tomo Ohka (T-49).
  • Saves: Eric Gagne (160); Brad Lidge (72); Kelvim Escobar (59); Scott Williamson (55); Rocky Biddle (46); Tyler Walker (24); Matt Anderson (26); Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Strickland (T-20).
  • Homers: Vladimir Guerrero (305); Troy Glaus (219); Miguel Tejada (216) Paul Konerko (210); Carlos Lee (184); Lance Berkman (180); Alfonso Soriano (162); Pat Burrell (159); Jose Guillen (134); Juan Encarnacion (128).
  • Steals: Scott Podsednik (172); Alfonso Soriano (169); Vladimir Guerrero (151); Alex Sanchez (122); Juan Encarnacion (119); Adam Kennedy (107); Jerry Hairston Jr. (102); Ryan Freel (84); Carlos Lee (77); Carlos Febles (68).

Now obviously, counting stats like those listed above are not always the best judge of a player's value; and in fact, though we can and will build a fine roster primarily relying on the names above, there are several players not listed who at least bear consideration.

Consider, for instance, Aubrey Huff, he of the 120 career homers coming into 2006, not to mention 118-homer guy and former Rookie of the Year Ben Grieve (118) ... Okay, maybe just Huff ... Lew Ford has had a fine career as a journeyman OF ... Ramon Hernandez has made an All-Star team and can keep Freel from having to catch ... Actually, another All-Star in A.J. Pierzynski, probably pushes Hernandez to the bench ... Expos/Nationals backstop Brian Schneider hasn't made an All-Star appearance as yet, so doesn't push Hernandez off the roster entirely ...

Toronto fans certainly appreciate the grit of one Reed Johnson, not to mention recalling the contributions of Chris Woodward ... Dustan Mohr hit a bunch of home runs -- relative to his career stats, anyway -- in Colorado in 2005 ... OF/1B Craig Wilson nearly had a 30-dinger campaign for PIT in 2004 ... Apologies to Derek Jeter, born in 1974, but the two best shortstops in the AL right now are both bicentennial babies in Tejada, named above, and Texas' Michael Young ...

Scott Downs and Ryan Drese would make a fine lefty-righty combo at the back of many teams' rotations ... Other pitching names that might ring a (Liberty?) bell for you include Brandon Duckworth, Josh Fogg, Gary Glover, Chad Harville, Damian Moss, Jim Parque and David Riske ... None are terribly likely to make the final roster, though Moss does at least have his left-handedness going for him.

Now, about that roster ... let's see ...

The Spirits of '76
* indicates All-Star
** indicates projected Hall of Famer

LINEUP
C A.J. Pierzynski*
1B Paul Konerko*
2B Alfonso Soriano*
SS Miguel Tejada**
3B Troy Glaus*
LF Carlos Lee*
CF Lance Berkman*
RF Vladimir Guerrero**
DH Pat Burrell*

BENCH
C Ramon Hernandez*
IF Adam Kennedy
IF Michael Young*
OF Scott Podsednik*
OF Juan Encarnacion
UTIL Ryan Freel

ROTATION
RHSP Javier Vazquez*
LHSP Randy Wolf*
RHSP Jeff Weaver
LHSP Ted Lilly*
RHSP Sidney Ponson

BULLPEN
CL-RH Eric Gagne**
SET-RH Kyle Farnsworth
SET-RH Brad Lidge*
LONG-RH Kelvim Escobar
LONG-LH Damian Moss

Want to take a crack at a different year? Feel free to cobble together a Pinch-Hit Hall of Names guest spot for here on Da Box as we get working on the next hundred. Send queries my way and we'll work "your" year into a future feature here on Batter's Box Interactive Magazine.

Bicentennial Men | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Geoff - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#150002) #
... as it is at least possible someone else born in 1976 could still debut as a 30-something rookie in the bigs.

There is a 30-year-old rookie born in 1976 this year. And he's currently sporting a nice OPS over .800 too with 249 AB.
Craig B - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#150006) #
A certain catcher for the Mariners, I suspect?  The one I called the AL's best new face earlier this year over at THT? From the place where the fellers chew tobaccy and the women do the wiggy waggy woo?  (God bless you, Harry Warren).
Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#150022) #
Johjima -- interesting. He definitely bumps Hernandez, but who starts, Kenji (.297/10/41/.833 OPS) or Pierzynski (.317/4/23/.796 OPS)?
Mike Green - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#150024) #
My birth year boasts a solid lineup headed by Raines, Sandberg and Barfield, but the starting pitching could not be worse.  A rotation of Gullickson, Dotson, Mike Moore, Mike Morgan and Oil Can Boyd would keep me in the second division even if Jesse threw out 25 runners at the plate.
Nolan - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#150029) #

Great HoN as usual.

I have a quick question: Is Gagne really projected to be a Hall of Fame player?  I would think his chances are low enough now to be ignored at this point.

Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#150030) #

Good question. And I admit, I was completely guessing, not using any kind of metric, in assigning ** ratings. I tried to be conservative and only tagged three guys on the team as projected Cooperstown inductees, but clearly Gagne is iffy. You can make a good case that, for instance, that Glaus and Berkman both will have better cases when they are done.

I think I was projecting Gagne on the shaky assumption that he will return to the form he had pre-surgery and pitch for several years at that level.

Geoff - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#150033) #
I wonder how Team 1976 would match up this year with the '06 Jays. Team 1976 would see an obvious advantage of power from the middle infielders and more power from the outfield, 1B and DH, but I'd expect the Jays pitching would beat out this team in a 7-game series. The performance at 3B would be about even but the Jays' defence would be superior I believe. (Berkman in CF? or as DH with Pods or Encarnacion -ugh- in CF?)

The bullpen for 1976 does not look to be having a good year, and other relievers to toss in include Scott Linebrink and Pedro Feliciano. Strange to think that the Jays' pitching would be their advantage against any team, but Lidge hasn't performed all that much better than Jason Frasor. Then there's always Rocky Biddle... or Tyler Walker.

What is Matt Anderson doing these days? My understanding is he's in Fresno, the Giants' AAA team.

But would Halladay and Burnett, with Wells and Rios and Zaun et al, be enough to beat these guys in a 7-game series?



Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#150035) #

I dunno, Mike -- you'd only need Gullickson & Co. to go six, and get to the bullpen featuring Alejandro Pena, Tim Burke and Todd Worrell. You might be okay.

And sure, it'd be nice if you could go back a year and grab Orel Hershiser or up a year and add Fernando Valenzuela and Mark Langston, but none of those guys are headed to Cooperstown. Was it just a bad era for pitchers to be born?

Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#150043) #
Here is Nolan's post without the code .... also, since he didn't tell us, I looked up the year, and it  is, depressingly, 1982. Damn kids these days!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is kind of fun; here is my birth year team:

c-

1b- Adrian Gonzalez/Justin Huber

2b- Robinson Cano/Jorge Cantu/Richie Weeks

3b- David Wright

ss- Aaron Hill/Jhonny Peralta

of- Jason Kubel. Conor Jackson, Wily Mo Pena, Grady Sizemore

Rotation: Jeremy Bonderman, Dustin McGowan, Dontrelle Willis

Bullpen: Chad Cordero, Chris Ray, Ryan Wagner, Paul Maholm, Fransisco Rodriguez

They would be better than the Roayls right now, but are built for the future moreso....Maybe I'll move Aaron to catcher, heh.

 

Mike Green - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#150045) #
1957 has a fine pitching staff:

Dave Stewart, Dave Stieb, Tom Candiotti, Mike Boddicker, Bud Black (or Bob Ojeda) as your starters.
Lee Smith, Tom Henke, Jesse Orosco, Steve Bedrosian and Doug Jones as your pen.  If the starters give you 6, you're golden.

 Wallach/Lansford/Horner, Alfredo Griffin, Lou Whitaker and Bull Durham/Willie Upshaw form the infield, with Tony Pena catching.  Kirk Gibson and Brett Butler gives two-thirds of a fine outfield, but the leftfielder will have to be Dan Gladden or Pat Sheridan or some such player.


Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#150046) #
Nolan, I just skimmed the '82 list to see if there was someone you missed who could fill that vacant backstop slot, and don't tell the Too Many Molinas fans around here, but you skipped over youngest brother Yadier, now starting for St. Loo! So I think you could get a complete lineup together. Now, you'd have to hope Yadier stayed healthy ...
Mick Doherty - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#150047) #
Mike, '57 has some really good lefty options in the bullpen, too, with Craig Lefferts and Tony Fossas. And I think you're underselling Gladden, who wasn't an All-Star, but at .270 career with 222 steals, probably shouldn't be relegated to Pat Sheridan status.
Geoff - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#150048) #
Team 1980

LINEUP

C John Buck
1B Albert Pujols**
2B Felipe Lopez*
SS Bobby Crosby
3B Hank Blalock*
LF Matt Holliday
CF Nick Swisher
RF Jonny Gomes
DH Mark Teixeira*

BENCH
C J.D. Closser
IF/OF Chad Tracy
1B/DH Mike Jacobs
IF Cesar Izturis*
OF Shane Victorino
OF Austin Kearns
UTIL Hector Luna

ROTATION
RHSP Josh Beckett*
LHSP C.C. Sabathia*
RHSP Danny Haren
LHSP Noah Lowry
RHSP Brett Myers

BULLPEN
CL-RH Jonathan Papelbon**
SET-RH Yhency Brazoban
SET-RH Todd Coffey
SET-RH Gary Majewski
LONG-RH Joe Blanton
LONG-LH Gustavo Chacin

DISABLED LIST
RHSP Mark Prior

There's a balanced team that I'd root for.

And whatever happened to Drew Henson, the man traded for the man who was traded for Bronson Arroyo?

Some other good 1980 prospects include Brad Hennessey, Wilson Betemit, Josť Bautista, Chris Shelton, Chris Burke, Ryan Madson, Mike O'Connor, Neal Cotts, Kurt Birkins, Sendy Rleal and of course, Russ Adams.

And I learned that Cesar and Maicer Izturis, separated by seven months, are only half brothers. I can guess which half.
Geoff - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#150049) #
Ah, I left too many guys on the 25-man roster. Gone are Victorino, Luna and Majewski. Sorry fellas, you're cut from the team.
Mudie - Friday, June 30 2006 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#150051) #

The last time I saw Drew Henson he Was the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboy's in a Thanksgiving day game 2 years ago

Geoff - Saturday, July 01 2006 @ 12:20 AM EDT (#150053) #
Team 1983

LINEUP

C Joe Mauer**
1B Casey Kotchman
2B Hanley Ramirez
SS Josť Reyes
3B Edwin Encarnacion
LF Miguel Cabrera**
CF Chad Gaudin
RF Nick Markakis
DH Kendry Morales

BENCH
C Russell Martin
IF Willy Aybar
MI Jose Lopez
IF Andy Marte

ROTATION
LHSP Franciso Liriano
RHSP Justin Verlander
RHSP Ervin Santana
LHSP Zach Duke
RHSP Brandon McCarthy

BULLPEN
CL-RH Huston Street
SET-LH Taylor Tankersley
SET-RH Joey Devine
LONG-RH Craig Hansen
LONG-LH Cole Hamels
LONG-LH Zach Jackson

If a bona fide CF doesn't come along, Reyes or Ramirez will need to convert their speed out there to save Gaudin from embarassment. Rather shallow in the outfield, this team is. However, young they are, and much time and opportunity awaits. And this is the last one I'm posting.
ken_warren - Saturday, July 01 2006 @ 12:52 AM EDT (#150056) #
Apologies to Derek Jeter, born in 1974, but the two best shortstops in the AL right now are both bicentennial babies in Tejada, named above, and Texas' Michael Young ...

Michael Young is a fine shortstop, right Gord, but I don't see how he can be rated above Jeter.  And I'm not a big Jeter fan, but the guy can play.  His defense is his only weakness, but then the same goes for Young.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 01 2006 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#150063) #
Of course, Gladden was a better player than Sheridan.  It's just that a leftfielder who doesn't get on base well, doesn't have much power and runs well but not exceptionally so, just doesn't excite me.  Gladden played centerfield in his prime, and there he was a valuable contributor, but with Butler in center, the 57s don't need that. 
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