Double, Double ... Trouble, Trouble

Wednesday, July 26 2006 @ 09:33 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Again ... that's initially speaking ...

We'll go off the beaten path for a moment in this double-ititial odyssey for the Hall of Names (See the first four double-initial teams, "AA" Through "CC", "DD" Through "FF", "GG" Through "JJ" and "KK" Through "MM," here), and see if we can't put together a full team, or even a full roster, of players by combining the nine (there's a good baseball number omen) letters which did not have at least nine players reach the bigs with double initials.

Those letters, unfortunately, include II, QQ, UU and XX, each of which contributed exactly zero double-initial players; UU and YY, each of which produced just one; and NN (five), OO (eight), VV (two) and ZZ (three). So that's a total of just 20 players, eleven of whom were pitchers, but let's see what we can do anyway ...

... and what do you know, even with just nine position players available, with a little creative movement by position, we can actually get a full lineup on the field, along with a decent (if not overwhleming) five-man rotation and a six-man bullpen fronted by the team's best player.

Now, admittedly, we have to stretch the eligibility rules just a tiny bit, allowing for common nicknames such as "Ozzie" Osborn to make the lineup. We also have to start three shortstops, though Nelson Norman and Ollie O'Mara actually did play at 2B and 3B, respectively -- Norman only played the other side of the keystone twice in his 198 big league games, but O'Mara manned the hot corner in 123 of his 387 big league lineup appearances.

And yes, that's right, our starting 1B is also the second lefty out of the bullpen; Orwall actually made slightly more appearances on the mound (39) than he did at 1B (34), although his career OPS+ of 90 was a hair better than his career ERA+ of 87. More notes follow, but first, let's take time to meet ...

C Clarence "Yam" Yaryan (.260, 1921-22 CHW)
1B/LHRP Ossie Orwoll (.294; 6-7, 4.05, 1928-29 PHA)
2B Nelson Norman (.221 in 198 games, 1978-87)
SS Norberto "Tito" Navarro (1-for-17 for '93 NYM)
3B Ollie O'Mara (.231, 1912-19)
LF Vince Ventura (.207, 1945 WSH)
CF Nyls Nyman (.238, 1974-77 CHW)
RF Al "Zeke" Zarilla* (.276, 1943-53)
DH Norihiro Nakamura (3B "hit" .128 for 2005 LAD)

RHSP Orval Overall (108-71, 2.23 1905-13)
RHSP Omar Olivares (77-86, 1990-2001)
RHSP George Washington "Zip" Zabel (12-14, 1913-15 CHC)
RHSP Nick Neugebauer (2-8, 2001-02 MIL)
RHSP Oliverio "Baby" Ortiz (0-2, 1942 WSH)

CL-RH Ugueth Urbina* (237 saves through 2005)
RHRP Danny "Ozzie" Osborn (3-0, 1975 CHW)
RHRP Vito Valentinetti (13-14, 1954-59)
RHRP Ole Olsen (8-7, 1922-23 DET)
LHRP George "Zeke" Zackert (0-2, 1911-12 STL)
RHRP Oran "Skinny" O'Neal (13 games, 0-0, 1925, '27 PHI)

Double the Notes ... Osborn, who as far as we know never bit the head off a bat (winged or wooden) while on the mound, was considered a key part of the Decemeber 1975 trade of All-Star outfielders that sent Ken Henderson to the Braves and Ralph Garr to the White Sox ... Garr hit exactly .300 twice for the ChiSox, but Henderson lasted just one year in Atlanta before being packaged with a number of other to Texas for Jeff Burroughs ...

It's true that Ole Oleson's given first name was "Arthur," but believ it or not, "Ole" was NOT a nickname, but his given middle name ... After Overall and Olivares, the starting rotation compiled a career W-L of just 14-24, so it's probably best that, even with literally NO bench players, there are at least seven relievers around the call on when Zabel, Neugebauer or Ortiz run a little short ... Seriously, the rotation is all right. No, literally -- not a lefty to be found to take the ball in the first inning ...

Speaking of "a little short," the designated "hitter" for this team is Norihiro Nakamura, he of the .128 career batting average ... There are two All-Stars, in Ugueth Urbina and Al "Zeke" Zarilla ... Did we miss anyone?