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Initially Speaking, That Is  (Part 3: G-J)

Back in August of '05, we started what we then termed "an interesting twist on the Hall of Names (initially speaking) ... who are the best double-initial players for each of the first 23 letters of the English alphabet?"

Unfortunately, after the first two installments, AA through CC and DD through FF, we just sort of ... stopped. But we're back, moving on from Barry Bonds and Frankie Frisch to the likes of Gary Gaetti, Harry Heilmann and Joe Jackson. Yes, we're skipping the vowel, and changing the above declared goal to read ...

... "the best double-initial players for most of the first 23 letters of the English alphabet." Ah, put your mind at ease -- just as the original "23" wasn't a random stopping point, the vague "most" isn't random, either.

It's just a fact that there has never been a major league player whose last name began with "X" and none of the "Y" and "Z" players had alliterative first names. (Jimmie "Double X" Foxx, though a worthy Hall of Famer, here obviously is not a true Hall of Namer.) And there are other initials that simply won't produce enough candidates for a full roster -- there are no I.I.'s, as we have seen, no Q.Q.'s, Ugueth Urbina a one-man show among U.U.'s and just a couple of part-time V.V.'s.

A brief refresher on the rules, then ...

  • Nicknamed players will be recognized only when they are a natural-born double initial; that is, if it is the nickname itself that gives them the double initial, they can just go right on home, they aren't welcome here, y'hear? So Hall of Famer Adrian "Cap" Anson and All-Star Elwood "Woody" English earn mention, but Rich "Goose" Gossage and Leon "Goose" Goslin are summarily dismissed.
  • In the final tally, when the all-double-initial "champion" for each letter is chosen, natural names that were actually used will be given preference. So for instance, Alan Ashby was no Hall of Famer but he outranks Anson, who went by a nickname, in earning that double-letter's "winner" title.
  • And as the Monty Python boys would say, middle names are right out -- so while Ransom Joseph Jackson may have been an All-Star 3B with the '50s Cubs, he does not belong on this particular Hall of Names roster. However, if the player actually went by the double-initial name -- AKA Hall of Fame 3B William Julius "Judy" Johnson -- then they will be considered eligible.
Got all that? All righty then, let's move on!



Yes, yes, George K. "Junior" Griffey was and is a better player than Gaetti, All-Star though he was, could ever have hoped to be. But the former went by "Ken," of course (just like dad) and thus cedes his GG title to the former Twin ... The Gaetti-era Twins were devotees of the GG infielder, stacking the entire left side with Gaetti and shortstop Greg Gagne, who both started for the 1987 World Champs, though Gaetti had departed for the Angels by the time the '91 title season came around ... Gaetti was nicknamed "G-Man" which is a natural for just about everyone on this team ...

The pitching is, well, not exactly a "G Force," as George Dallas Green is the all-time leader in saves with just four, while the only starting pitcher over .500 for his career (so far, anyway) is Gary Glover at 21-18 through 2005 ... Glover, somewhat counter-intuitively, is the only "Gary" on the team (matching the number of "Gustavos" no less) while there are five Gregs (six if you count Grover Gregory) and eight Georges ...
All-GG All-Stars The G-Men
Starring Leslie Caron as Gigi
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Gerald "Jerry" Grote* (.252 in 16 years)
1B George "Boots"Grantham (.302, 1922-34; also 2B)
2B Grant Gillis (.245, 1927-29; also SS)
SS Greg Gagne (.254 in 15 years)
3B Gary Gaetti* (360 homers, four Gold Gloves)
LF George "Piano Legs" Gore (.301, 1879-92)
CF George K. Griffey Jr.* (headed to 600 homers)
RF George K. Griffey Sr.* (.296, 2143 hits in 19 years)
DH Gustavo Karim Garcia (66 homers in 10 years)

C George "Peaches" Graham (.265, 1902-12)
IF Gil Garrido (.237, 1964-72)
OF Greg Gross (.287 in 17 years)
1B/C Greg Goossen (.241, 1965-70)
OF/C Gene Green (.267, 1957-63)
UTIL Gus Getz (.238, 1909-18, all but P, C)

RHSP Gary Gentry (46-49, 1969-75)
RHSP Greg Gohr (8-11, 1993-96)
RHSP Gary Glover (21-18 through 2005)
LHSP Greg Garrett (5-7, 1970-71)
RHSP George Gill (24-26, 1937-39)

CL-RH George Dallas Green (20-22, 4 SV, 1960-67)
RH-SET German Gonzalez (3-2, 1 save,1988-89 MIN)
LH-SET Grover Lee Gregory (11 games with '64 CHC)
RHRP George Grant (15-20, 1923-31)
LHRP Guido Grilli (0-2, 1 save for '66 BOS, KCA)


Yes, Toronto baseball fans, that's Harry L. Halladay, you know him as "Roy," anchoring the rotation of this HH team ... HLH probably won't pass Howell, then Haddix, for the all-time HH lead in pitching wins until some time in 2008 or 2009, presuming he stays that other "H" (healthy), but he's already the best HH to ever take to the hill in a big league game ... Like their GG brethren, this HH squad is weak in the pen, although the three guys at the back of the bullpen, including the wonderfully named Homer Hiller Henry Hillebrand (never, for some reason, nicknamed "4H"), were a combined 27-13 in their big league careers ...

HH players are apparently a magnet for acquiring nicknames, as the presence of Gomer Hodge, Pig House, Dixie Howell, Buddy Hunter, Bunny High and Pep Harris could attest ... If only Herb Hash had pitched in the 1960s and '70s rather than at the outset of WWII, he likely would have picked up a nickname like "Stoney" or "Weeds" ... Harry Heilmann certainly deserves his plaque in Cooperstown, though what Harry Hooper -- as fine a player as he was! -- is doing there is another question entirely ... Halladay is probably the second "best" player on the roster, though his nom de game of Roy would bump him behind Heilmann in this derby even if he gets to 300 wins ...
All-HH All-Stars The Heavy Hitters
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Henry Frank "Pig" House (.248, 1950-61)
1B Harvey Hendrick (.308, 1923-34, also 3B/OF)
2B Harry Hinchman (11-for-51 for 1906 CLE)
SS Heinie Heltzel (William hit .157, 1943-44; also SS)
3B Hunter Hill (.216, 1903-05)
LF Harry Heilmann** (.342 in 17 seasons)
CF Harry Hooper** (.281, 375 SB in 17 seasons)
RF Hugh High ("Bunny," .250, 1913-18)
DH Harold Hodge (started career 4-for-4; .205)

C Homer "Dixie" Howell (.246, 1947-56)
2B/3B/OF Harry Hanebrink (.224 in four seasons)
IF Harold "Buddy" Hunter (5-for-17, 1971, '73, '75 BOS)
OF Heinie Heitmuller (.271, 1909-10)
OF/IF/RHP Hardie Henderson (81-121, .204, 1883-88)
3B/OF/UTIL Herb Hunter (8-for-49, 1916-17, '20-21)

RHSP Harry Leroy Halladay* (79-43 through 2005)
LHSP Harvey Haddix* (136-113; 12IP perfect game)
RHSP Harry Howell (131-146, 1898-1910)
LHSP Harry Harper (57-76, 1913-23, mostly WASH)
LHSP Hilly Hathaway (4-3, 1992-93 CAL)

CL-RH Hal Haid (14-15, 12 saves, 1919, '28-31, '33)
RHRP Herb Hash (8-7, 4 saves, 1940-41 BOS)
RHRP Hernando "Pep" Harris (10-5, 1996-98 Angels)
RHRP Howard (Larry) Hardy (9-4,'74 SDP; 0-0,'75-76)
LH-LONG Homer H. H. Hillebrand (8-4, 1905-08)


This will probably end up being the letter of the alphabet with the most candidates for double, double roster spaces; not only are there lots of "J" family names, but the Joes, Jims and Johns out there are numerous ... In fact, there are also plenty of players who carried nicknames of Jake or Jack whose "real" names were non-J in nature, like Lamar "Jake" Jacobs, Warren "Jack" Jenkins and Gerard "Jerry" Janeski ... The latter case, of course, is a fairly common change from G to J as we move from given name to nickname, but it will not be accepted in this case, nor will any of the aforementioned nicknamed JJs ...

Among those "not making the cut" are former Jay J.J.s like Jesse Jefferson (39-81 in 9 years) and Joe Johnson (13-9 for TOR, ATL in '86 while traded for Jim Acker) ... John Paul Jones and Jesse James are two other famous-named hurlers who won't make this roster, while Jimmy Journell could still someday put it all together and grab a spot away from someone ... The current JJ rotation isn't exactly a powerhouse for Journell to fear; being Colorado's all-time leader in wins is nice for Jennings, for example (he passed Pedro Astacio on June 16), but he's at 55 career wins, so Young, Johnson and Mathewson aren't exactly looking over their shoulders ... Jason Johnson is also still active, while two of the other three in the rotation saw action in the 1990s, so wins from JJ SPs are primarily a relatively recent phenomenon ... None has ever reached 100 career wins, with staff ace Joey Jay stalling at 99 at the age of 30 in 1966 ...

No major leaguer initialed JJ has yet been inducted into Cooperstown, as only Judy Johnson, the great Negro League hot corner man has a plaque there at present; Joe Jackson, of course, would be there if not for the pesky lifetime ban by the sport, while Jackie Jensen and Joe Judge might deserve consideration for The Hall of Really Really Good, but are not of the pantheon.
JJ: Good Times!
**indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

C Joe Jenkins (8-for-60, 1914, '17, '19)
1B Joe Judge (.298, 2352 hits, 1915-34)
2B Manuel Julian Javier* (.257 in 13 years)
SS Jimmy Jordan (.257, 1933-36 BRK; more 2B)
3B William Julius "Judy" Johnson** (Negro League star)
LF Joe Jackson ("Shoeless" hit .356 in 13 years)
CF Jacque Jones (.279, 132 homers through 2005)
RF Jackie Jensen (.279, 199 homers in 11 years)
DH John Jaha* (141 homers in 10 years)

C Joe Just (.156 for 1944-45 CIN)
IF John "Red" Juelich (.239 for 1939 PIT)
DH/PH Jay Johnstone (.267, 1966-85)
OF/3B John "Spud" Johnson (.302, 1889-91)
3B/OF John "Spider" Jorgensen (.266, 1947-51)
UTIL Jimmy Johnston (all but C; .294, 1911-26)

RHSP Joey Jay* (99-91 in 13 years)
RHSP Jason Jennings (COL all-time wins leader)
LHSP Jeff Johnson (8-16 for 1991-93 NYY)
RHSP Jimmy Jones (43-39, 1986-93)
RHSP Jason Johnson (52-86 through 2005)

CL-RH Jose Jimenez (no-hitter; 110 saves)
RH-SET Jerry Johnson (48-51, 41 saves)
LH-SET John Henry Johnson (26-33, 9 saves, 8 years)
RH-LONG Jeff Juden (27-32, 1991-99)
LH-LONG Jason Jacome (10-18, 1994-98)
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble | 3 comments | Create New Account
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Geoff - Sunday, July 09 2006 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#150443) #
Any consideration for Josh Johnson, who has a line this season of
8-4       2.21 ERA     74 K     42 BB      1.27 WHIP

Although it still baffles me how he gave up eight hits and six walks to the Jays in 5.2 innings while yielding only one run to beat Harry Leroy. And there was only one double play. He threw 120 pitches (71 strikes) in that span and even balked in the second inning to put runners at second and third with nobody out.

Batting line on Harry:      3 AB     0 H    2 K     7 LOB
Next-worst culprit, Troy:      5 AB     1 H    2 K     5 LOB

Mick Doherty - Sunday, July 09 2006 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#150449) #
Good thought, Geoff. The only problems I have using as the primary source for these stories are (a) the inability to include players who have debuted this season; and (b) the inabililty to include Negro Leaguers unless they are in the Hall of Fame.

I am sure Johnson will work his way into what is a pretty weak rotation in no time.

Mike Green - Sunday, July 09 2006 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#150454) #
In the same vein, Gabe Gross might win a GG some day.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble | 3 comments | Create New Account
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