The Book of Daniel

Sunday, September 17 2006 @ 01:05 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Now, with a nod to our own grandiloquent Daniel "Magpie" McIlroy, it's time to build up a Hall of Names roster for the twelfth most-common male name in the U.S. -- as you might've guessed, that'd be "Daniel."

Though we were tempted to again go with an avian nickname such as "The J. Danforth Quails," instead we'll name this squad with another nod, to the biggest-selling (so far) English-language novel of the 21st century, The Da Vinci Code ... That's right, it's time to meet ...

The Dan Brown Sox
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

Player/MGR Danny Murtaugh (1115-950, two rings)
Coach Dan Howley (397-524, 1977-29 SLB; '30-32 CIN)
Coach Dan Shannon (25-80, 1889 LOU, 1891 WASH)
Coach Danny Richardson (12-31, 1892 WASH)
Coach Dan O'Leary (20-15, 1884 Cincinnati Outlaw Reds)

C Dan Wilson* (.262, 88 homers, retired after 2005)
1B Dan Brouthers** (.342, 1879-96, 1904)
2B Danny Murtaugh (.254 in nine years)
SS Danny Thompson (.248, 1970-76)
3B Dan Driessen (.267, 153 homers in 15 years)
LF Daniel "Rusty" Staub* (.279, 292 homers in 23 years)
CF Danny Litwhiler* (.281 in 11 years; WWII All-Star)
RF Dan Pasqua (.244, 117 homers in 10 years)
DH Dan T. Meyer (1B/OF hit .253, 86 homers, 1974-85)

C Danny Ardoin (.202, 2000, '04-'06; recently DFA'd by BAL)
IF/OF/RHP Danny Richardson (.254, 225 SB, 7-3, 1884-94)
IF Danny Klassen (.226, 1998-2003)
OF Danny Taylor (.297, 1926-36)
OF Danny Bautista (.272, 62 homers, 1993-2004)
PH Danny Heep (.257, 1979-91)

RHSP Dan Petry* (125-104 in 13 years)
LHSP Dan Schatzeder (69-68 over 15 years)
RHSP Danny Darwin (171-182; 1990 NL ERA champ)
RHSP Danny Haren (14-11 in '06 so far; 34-33 career)
LHSP Danny Friend (32-29, 1895-98)

CL-RH Dan Quisenberry* (56 wins, 244 saves in 12 years)
RH-SET Danny Graves (41 wins, 182 saves through 2005)
LH-SET Dan Plesac* (65 wins, 158 saves in 18 years)
RHRP Dan Spillner (75-89, 50 saves in 12 years)
RHRP Danny Frisella (34-40, 57 saves, 1967-76)

The "I Can't Think of Another Dan Pun" Notes Section ... The bullpen is extrtemely solid, with Quisenberry at the back end and a whole bunch of really good (but not great) setup types; righty Dan Miceli (42 wins, 35 saves through 2005) doesn't even make the squad, nosed out by Graves, Plesac, Spillner and Frisella ... Speaking of Frisella, perhaps it's morbid (and definitely wrong-headed) to speculate that the dearth of Daniels in the big leagues traces back to a three-week period in late 1976 and early 1977 when Frisella and Thompson both passed away, at the ages of just 30 and 29, respectively ...

Starting Driessen at 3B is a stretch, but he did play more than 200 games there early in his career as the Reds tried to get both he and Tony Perez in the lineup at the same time, before they moved Rose to the hot corner to squeeze a young George Foster in ... Murtaugh starts at 2B and manages the club; what, you want Danny Ainge at 2B? ... Richardson makes the club as a super-utilityman, having played not only 2B and SS, but also in the OF and, not that the bullpen will need any help, spent a decent amount of time on the mound as a pretty good RHP ...

We mentioned Ainge a moment ago, amd "Daniel" appears to be the name of choice for the two-sport stars as Ainge (.220, 1979-81) carved out an All-Star NBA career while the middle-named Drew Daniel Henson (1-for-9, 2002-03) can help this team out at, uh, quarterback, should the need arise ... The best Daniel not to make the squad, and this decision may look silly in a few years, is current OAK 1B Dan Johnson, who hit .275/15/58 in 2005 but has fallen off somewhat precipitously in 2006 ... RHSP Daniel Cabrera, who is 7-10 in '06 so far and 29-31 career, might also look like an oversight in a few years ... 2B/3B Danny O'Connell hit .260 over a decade-plus career from 1950-62 while the best of the four Danny Murphys (and the best of the two Daniel Francis Murphys to boot) was a 2B/OF who hit.289 and stole 193 bases from 1900-15 ...

Among those not eligible for this team are the eight MLB players who bore "Daniels" as a last/family name (best of the lot was 1980s OF Kal, who hit .285 in seven years before his knees gave out) or even the two men with the last/family name "Daniel" (Chuck had 2.1 IP as a RHP for '57 DET; Bennie was a 5-for-27 1B for '37 BRK) ...

Among those not making the squad were OF Daniel "Bud" Hafey (.213, 1933-36, '39), OF/UTIL Daniel "Ecky" Stearns (.242, 1880-89), RHSP D.J. Carrasco (14-15; in Japan now) and RHSP Daniel James "Jim" Sullivan (26-28, 1891, '95-98) ... None of them were going to make the team anyway, but it's worth pointing out that none had the good sense to actually go by their given first name of "Daniel," either ...

Before you ask, there has been a Charlie Daniels -- a P/OF with the 1884 Boston Reds, though no word if he played the fiddle; and Jack Daniels (actually Harold Jack Daniels, though he went by his middle name) was a .187-hitting OF for the 1952 Boston Braves ... And yes, there have been a couple of relievers, one from each side, named "Daniel Boone" -- actually, the righty was named James Albert Boone but went by "Dan" in compiling an 8-13 mark from 1919-23, while the more recent lefty, Danny Boone, was 2-1 with four saves in 1981-82 and 1990 ...

Now that we've mentioned several Dans who didn't make the team and several others who weren't deemed eligible, it seems worth the effort to mention that "Dan" is an extremely popular name amongst big leaguers who didn't have the first/given name "Daniel" ... In fact, you can build a pretty decent team of players with the middle name "Daniel" and/or the first/given name "Dan" or "Danny" (and other variations on "Daniel") ... Like this:

MGR Robert Daniel Kennedy (264-278)
C Jason Daniel Kendall*
1B George Daniel Crowe*
2B Sebastian Daniel "Sibby" Sisti
SS George Daniel "Buck" Weaver
3B Danny Anderson Cater
LF Danilo Tartabull*
CF Rocco Dan Baldelli
RF Darnell Glenn Ford

RHSP Carl Daniel Erskine*
LHSP Danny Lynn Jackson*
RHSP Danny Bradford Cox
LHSP Nathan Daniel Robertson
RHSP Brett Daniel Tomko
CL-RH Danny Kolb
RHRP Danny Shane Patterson
RHRP Jeffrey Daniel Robinson

That's certainly a nice start to a pitching staff; this team's starting rotation is at least arguably better than the All-Daniel rotation above ... The bench could include SS Kevin Daniel Elster, C Mack Daniel Sasser and 1B/DH Danny Kay Goodwin among others ...

So, how can these teams be better?