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
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 ...