Just Some Guys Named Jeff

Sunday, September 24 2006 @ 07:25 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

As we bounce around the list building Hall of Names teams for each of the 25 most common boys' names in the United States (again, if you know of a free online Canadian equivalent, post a link here!), we'll drop to the anchor position on the list, #25, and take a look at the name Jeff.

To be clear, that means historical big league players with the given first name "Jeffrey" -- not alternate spellings or nicknames or middle names or anything of that sort. If there are to be exceptions to that rule, well, we'll cross that -- what's the word? -- when we get to it. Which, not coincidentally, brings us to our team name, as it's time to meet ...

The Jeff Bridges
** indicates Hall of Famer (none yet)
* indicates All-Star

MGR Jeff Torborg (634-718; 2003 title with FLA)

C Jeff Newman* (.224, 63 homers, nine years)
1B Jeff Bagwell* (Future HOF, 449 homers through 2005)
2B Jeff Kent* (.289, 331 homers through 2005)
SS Jeff Blauser* (.262, 1987-99)
3B Jeff Cirillo* (.297, 107 homers through 2005)
LF Jeff Burroughs* (.261, 240 homers, 1974 AL MVP)
CF Jeffrey Hammonds* (.272, 110 homers in 13 years)
RF Jeffrey Leonard* (.266, 144 homers in 14 years)
DH Jeff Conine* (.288/198/968 through 2005)

C Jeff Reed (.250, 1984-2000)
3B/1B/2B Jeff King (.256, 154 homers, 1989-99)
UTIL Jeff Frye (.290, 1992-2001)
IF Jeff Treadway (.281, 1987-95)
IF Jeff Branson (.246, 1992-2001)
OF Jeff Davanon (.256 through 2005)

RHSP Jeff Suppan (106-101 to date)
LHSP Jeff Ballard (18-8 in '89; 41-53 career)
RHSP Jeff Weaver (85-101 to date)
LHSP Jeff Francis (30-25 to date)
RHSP Jeff M. Robinson (47-40, 1987-92)

RHRP Jeff Reardon* (73-77, 367 saves)
RHRP Jeff Montgomery* (46-52, 304 saves)
LHRP Jeff Fassero (121-124, 25 saves, 1991 to date)
RHRP Jeff Nelson* (48-44, 33 saves)
RHRP Jeff Zimmerman* (17-12, 32 saves)

Jeff Notes ... Exactly nine postion players in major league history have been given the first name "Jeff" and gone on to make an All-Star roster; remarkably, they map precisely to fill the nine available slots in the starting lineup ... An additional seven Jeffs who were pitchers have made All-Star teams -- unfortunately, and again quite remarkably, all seven have been right-handed short relievers ...

There have also been a fair number of Jeffs who manned middle infield/utility roles in the majors, and while our bench has room for three of them, Frey, Treadway and Branson beat out the similarly-careered Manto and Reboulet on the sole basis of career batting average ... Though Davanaon is the only "natural" OF on the bench, Frye had at least a taste of experience at all three OF spots while in the major leagues, and Conine, who is the starting DH, also started out as an OF ... Jeff Francoeur, who is at .260/26/99 with the Braves in 2006 at this writing, may be on the verge of bumping Davanon from the bench or joining him there in place of, say, Branson ...

The rotation won't excite anyone, with a couple of members of the current beleaguered 2006 STL five-man anchoring the staff along with lefties Ballard, a one-season wonder, and Francis, still developing in Colorado ... The #5 spot goes to one of the two Jeff Robinsons who helped make baseball in the 1980s all that it was ... Neither of the two Jeff D'Amicos -- that's right, there have been two -- make the roster, though Jeff C. D'Amico, who won 45 games from 1996-2004 with the Brewers, Mets and Pirates, was much closer to making the cut than his no-middle-initial namesake was in compiling an 0-1 mark in relief with the 2000 Royals ...

As for the bullpen ... Well, Fassero was tagged "The Ancient Mariner" with Seattle's 1998 team and he's still pitching, so he gets the lefty spot in the 'pen ahead of former Jay Jeff Musselman, who was 12-5 in '87, then just 11-10 over the rest of his MLB career ... Two of the former All-Star Jeffs were NOT closers, so both Nelson and Zimmerman should be comfortable setting up Reardon and Montgomery, who combined for a nifty 671 career saves ... Sincerest apologies then to Shaw (203 saves), Russell (186) and Brantley (172), who it should be noted, as a trio didn't match the aforementioned duo's career mark in saves, totaling "just" 561 ... We couldn't even consider adding otherwise fine candidates like Jeff Parrett (56 wins and 22 saves in 11 years) and Jeff D. Robinson, contemporary to his namesake in the rotation (46 wins, 39 saves in nine seasons) ...

There aren't a lot of options to manage and Torborg is the obvious pick, with only his fellow catcher (and this team's starting backstop) Newman even on the radar -- and the latter was just 2-8 with the 1986 A's ...

So who didn't make the team -- or, more, specifically, who didn't qualify for the team? Well, Joffre James "Jeff" Cross is one, but the IF hit just .162 in parts of four seasons during the 1940s so probably wouldn't have anyway ... Brian Jeffrey Giles isn't the guy you're thinking of; he was mostly a 2B and hit .228 in parts of six years from 1981-90 (the current All-Star OF is Brian Stephen Giles)...

There are no Hall of Famers on this Hall of Names team, with the closest candidate being Herbert Jefferis Pennock, a LHSP who compiled a career mark of 240-162 ... Actually, the best of the non-qualifiers isn't in the Hall because he's not eligible; that'd be Joseph Jefferson "Shoeless Joe" Jackson ... We'd love to add former All-Star OF Jeff Heath to the roster, but John Geoffrey Heath is disqualified on two counts ... All-Star OF Geoff Jenkins and 111-game winner Geoff Zahn are also not eligible ... That's to say nothing, of course, of obvvious non-qualifiers like Gregg Jefferies, Mike Jeffcoat, Reggie Jefferson and RHSP Edward Joseph "Jeff" Pfeffe, who racked up 67 wins with the 1914-16 Dodgers and 158 in his career ...