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Yes, today is Friday the 13th. And yes, this is the "All-Jason" team. It's pure coincidence. No further movie references will be made herein.

Back when I was a wee lad (okay, actually, I was a fat kid, so probably just "back when I was a young boy" is more accurate), my best friend in the world was a little league teammate named Jason. We were both huge fans of The Great Game, somehow even forming the first and only Ohio-based Ralph Garr fan club; he was a better player than I was, but to be fair, that's a bit like claiming the title of "Slightly Less Likely to Strike Out in a Game Situation."

We're not often in touch any more, but I can't help but think back to our days with the Dorsey's Drugs junior league ball club, especially as I put together this Hall of Names team, next in the list of squads composed entirely of players with the most-common boy's names in the United States, which in this case, as you have surely guessed, brings us to "Jason."

So in a nod not to the old Homestead Grays of the Negro League but rather to my childhood pal's actual name, it is time to meet ...

The Jason Grays
** indicates Hall of Famer (none yet)
* indicates All-Star

C Jason Kendall* (.301 career through 2006)
1B Jason D. Thompson* (208 homers in 11 years)
2B Jason Bates (Played all over IF, .239, 1995-98 COL)
SS Jason Bartlett (.307 in 2006; .278 career)
3B Jason Hardtke (Mostly 2B, .231, 1996-98)
LF Jason Bay* (.292, 97 homers through 2006)
CF Jason Tyner (.312 in 2006; .272 career)
RF Jason "Jay" Payton (.284, 105 homers through 2006)
DH Jason Giambi* (.292, 350 homers through 2006)

C Jason Varitek* (.269, 131 homers through 2006)
UTIL Jason Romano (.204, 2002-05; all but P, C)
SS Jason Smith (.219 through 2006)
OF Jason Lane (26 homers in 2005; just .202 in 2006)
OF Jason Michaels (.282 through 2006)
OF Jason Kubel (.300 with 2004 MIN; .256 career)

RHSP Jason Schmidt* (127-90 through 2006)
RHSP Jason Bere* (71-65 in 11 years)
RHSP Jason Marquis (56-52 through 2006)
RHSP Jason Jennings (58-56 through 2006)
RHSP Jason Johnson (55-98 through 2006)

CL-RH Jason Isringhasen* (249 saves through 2006)
LHRP Jason Christiansen (27-26, 16 saves through 2005)
LHRP Jason Jacome (10-18, 1994-98)
RHRP Jason Davis (18-22 through 2006)
LHRP Jason Kershner (3-5, 2002-04)

Jason and the Argh! Oh -- Notes! ... For those interested, some time back we did assemble a "non-colorful" Hall of Names team of players with the surnames Black, Gray and White ... Among the 20 or so additional Jasons who were considered, at least in passing, for roster spots, was RHRP Jason Green, an Ontario native who was 1-1 with the 2000 Astros, and other pitchers with names you might recognize, like Grilli, Standridge, Simontacchi, Frasor, Grimsley and another Ontario native in one-time All-Star Angel hurler Jason Dickson ... Position players who might one day crack the roster include young Pirate middle infielder Jason "J.J." Furmaniak and Texas OF Jason Botts ...

As always, those with the middle name "Jason" -- there have been eight big leaguers with such an appellation -- are not eligible ... but then, neither are those with the first or middle name "Jay" for that matter (there have been 22 and 23, respectively), to say nothing of the 15 big leaugers nicknamed "Jay" who had an entirely different given name, such as Clarence Joseph Difani and John Paul Loviglio ... And sorry Jaysons Werth, Durocher and Fraatz, but no alternate spellings on this team ... And though he'd be a fine addition to this team's rotation, no dice for Joey Jay, either -- both because it's his last/family name and because it's not "Jason" anyway! ...

We are particularly saddened by the disqualification of Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean who would have been this team's premiere pitcher and a Hall of Famer for the roster, to boot ... Jay Buhner and Jay Bell would have been nice additions to the lineup as well ... The catching position is quite strong with Varitek and Kendall both around, but it'd have been nice to at least be able to consider other All-Stars like Brian Jay Downing, Jay Justin "Nig" Clarke and Alan Jason Ashby ... Jason LaRue and Jason Phillips don't even get a sniff ... The bullpen would benefit from the addition of Jay Howell, Jay Powell and Terry Jay Forster, of course, but none qualify, and in Forster's case, that's again on two counts ...

Even without Dean, we are forced to use an all-RHSP rotation, with nary a qualified lefty in all of MLB's annals to take a turn every fifth day ... That said, we will force three of the bullpen roles into the more capable left hands of some southpaw relievers, and though none are quite of Forster's caliber, they'll do all right -- er, left ... Jason Roach is one RHSP who didn't make this team -- after all, he made just two starts for the 2003 Mets and lost them both -- but how about that 1.000 career batting average? Roach had two singles in two big league plate appearances ...

"The Other Jason Thompson," that is, Jason M. Thompson, was also a 1B, and hit ..224/2/6 in 49 AB with the 1996 Padres ... The Rangers had a little run of Jason prospects in the late 1990s and early part of the new century, including the aforementioned Botts -- but he'd be the first to truly "make it," as Jones, Hart and McDonald all fizzled fairly quickly ... Kubel hit .300 as a 2004 rookie, then missed the entire '05 season after knee surgery, but has returned, albeit to hit in the .240's, this season ... Lane hit the last homer and caught the last out at Old Busch Stadium ...

All-Jason: This Ain't No Horror Show | 9 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#156909) #
Kendall over Varitek?  My first reaction was..."I smell a Yankees fan at 10 paces".  After a closer look, it seemed to me that 'Tek has been noticeably better, but the difference is not huge. I imagine that if this club was actually playing,  Varitek, Kendall, Thompson and Giambi would all get 550 PAs or so.  You'd probably have both Varitek and Kendall in the lineup against lefties with Giambi at first base (Thompson couldn't hit lefties a lick, and wasn't much of a fielder anyways). Between that and injuries, they'd all get their playing time.
AWeb - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#156911) #

Jason Frasor over Jason Kershner, unless you really need that third lefty in the pen. Demoted to the minors, and now left of the Jason team, the guy gets no respect...

Bruce Wrigley - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#156913) #

After a closer look, it seemed to me that 'Tek has been noticeably better, but the difference is not huge.

That's weird; I don't know how you can see that.  Varitek hits for more power and makes a few less errors and Kendall does everything else better.  He hits for a considerably higher average, gets on base considerably more, runs much better, steals more bases, avoids the double play better (this is increasingly less so, however), calls a better game, throws better, and is much better at blocking pitches. Varitek has been better recently, because Kendall's power has eroded completely following his wrist injury.  But Kendall's made more All-Star teams, beats Varitek 26-2 in "grey ink" (which shows he was closer to being an elite offensive player for a while than Tek ever was).

It's Tek's effectiveness as a manager of pitchers that I think he's on unsure ground.  Has any pitcher ever had a career year with Varitek and the Red Sox?  I guess Derek Lowe?

Anyway, their #1 most-comparable-at-age says it all about Varitek and Kendall.  Kendall's most-similar the last few years has been Thurman Munson.  Varitek's most-similar is Darrin Fletcher.  There is irony there, because Tek has some superficial similarities with Munson in his role (though not his play),

ayjackson - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#156914) #

My apologies, there will never be a good place to post this, but - John Gizzi needs to amend one of his "unshakable baseball beliefs."  In fact, someone might want to check on him to make sure he isn't in a catatonic state of shock.

Bruce Wrigley - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#156915) #
Also, no coincidentally given their respective ages, Kendall was a better player than Varitek again this season.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#156917) #
I see them both as average defensive catchers, and I give no particular credit to Varitek for anything that one cannot find in his superficial statistics.  Kendall through age 26 was obviously the better player, but for the last 6 years, he's been a below average offensive player.  He's slow and this diminishes his one strength (the ability to get on base).  He has grounded into 49 double plays the last 2 years out of the leadoff slot. 

I suppose if Varitek continues next year to hit the way he did in 2006, you could say that Kendall's peak prior to age 27 was better than Varitek's peak from age 31-33, and that Kendall is going to end up with the better career.  I don't think that it is going to happen that way, but let's call it an incomplete.

As for listing of Darrin Fletcher as the most similar player to Varitek at age 34, that's just a fluke in relation to the counting stats.  The best comparable on their list is Terry Steinbach.  So, Gitz, is it Steinbach or Kendall for your nickel?

Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#156920) #
Actually BBRef has Kendall grounding into 43 DPs over the last 2 years, rather than the 49 in BP's player card.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2006 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#156923) #
Check out the birthday list for October 13.

Rube Waddell
Pickles Dillhoefer
Swede Risberg, the Black Sox heavy
Bob Bailey
The famously named Dick Pole
Trevor Hoffman

Hell's bells indeed.  Actually there's not a bad club here, with Mathews, Waddell, Hoffman and Yost leading the way.

purplemouse - Sunday, October 15 2006 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#156961) #
Ummmm... Varitek catching career years? Pedro Martinez 1999 23-4 Cy Young Award, Pedro Martinez 2000 18-6 1.74 ERA, Cy Young Award, Derek Lowe 2002 21-8, Pedro Martinez 2002 20-4, Curt Schilling 2004 21-6, Jonathan Papelbon 2006 35 saves 0.92 ERA. Varitek is regularly prised by his pitchers, rookies and veterans alike, for his game management.  As for Kendall's more AS games, chalk 1996 up to being the lone Pirates representaitve--Charles Johnson and Mike Piazza were the best catchers, but Johnson was not an All-Star.
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