What is the Frequency, Kenneth?

Tuesday, October 03 2006 @ 02:45 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Special No-Prize to the first person to explain the significance of the headline!

Let's be clear about how much rules can suck sometimes. There have been about 100 major league ballplayers in the game's history to bear the given first name "Kenneth."

Unfortunately, that does NOT include what would be two-thirds of a mighty fine starting outfield in father/son duo George Kenneth Griffey(s) Sr. and Jr. But even without their combined 700+ homers and two All-Star MVP trophies (one each), this could be a pretty good ballclub, as we meet ...

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

MGR: Ken Macha (366-280 through 2006)
Coach: Ken Aspromonte (220-260)
Coach: Ken Silvestri (0-3) -- also the emergency catcher

C Ken Suarez (.227, 1966-73)
1B Ken Harrelson* (also OF; .239, 131 homers in nine years)
2B Ken Hubbs ('62 NL ROY, died at age 22 in early '64)
SS Kenneth Jerry Adair (mostly 2B; .254 in 13 years)
3B Ken Keltner* (.276, 163 homers in 13 years)
LF Ken Williams (.319, 196 HR, 154 SB, 1915-29)
CF Kenny Lofton* (.299, 599 SB through 2006)
RF Ken Singleton* (.282, 246 homers in 15 years)
DH Ken Caminiti* (239 homers in 15 years, 1996 NL MVP)

C Ken Rudolph (.213, 1969-77)
2B/3B Ken Oberkfell (.278, 1977-92)
2B/IF Ken Aspromonte (.249 in seven years)
OF Kenneth Lance Johnson* (.291, 327 SB in 14 years)
OF Ken Landreaux* (.268, 91 homers, 145 SB in 11 years)
PH/DH Ken Phelps (123 homers in 11 years)

LHSP Kenny Rogers* (17-8 in '06; 207 wins through '06)
RHSP Ken Forsch* (114-113 in 16 years)
LHSP Ken Holtzman* (174-150 in 15 years)
RHSP Ken Hill* (117-109 in 14 years)
LHSP Ken Brett* (83-85 in 14 years)

CL-RH Ken Sanders (86 saves, 1964-76 ... led '71 AL with 31)
LH-SET Ken Dayley (33-45, 39 saves in 11 years)
RH-SET Ken Tatum (52 saves, 1969-74)
LHRP Ken Patterson (14-8, 5 saves, 1988-94)
LHSRP Ken Heintzelman (77-98, 1937-52)

Oh Say, Ken, You See? ... Oh well, Junior Griffey would probably go straight to the DL anyway. Still, if we were to allow middle names just the once, we'd be able to fill out that outfield with Canda's own Larry Kenneth Robert Walker, while Edward Kenneth Taubensee could catch, or at least split duties with WWII All-Star James Kenneth O'Dea, who like the Griffeys even went by "Ken" ... But it is not to be ...

James Kenneth Lefebvre doesn't make it, either as a former All-Star 2B or as a manager, while speaking of former All-Star 2B, Ronald Kenneth Hunt will have to be hit by pitches elsewhere ... However, if we need a 2B down the line, then ironically, Kenneth Jerry Adair will do just fine, as he has the right given name, though he chose to go through life as "Jerry." And to fill an OF spot the same way, we have Kenneth Lance Johnson ... Actually, Adair played a lot of shortstop for the "Miracle Sox" of 1967 and again in '68. so while primarily a 2B in his career, may be this team's best option at SS ... Say, can we make an exception for a shortstop named Cal Rip-Ken? ...

There must be a story behind the career of RHRP Ken Penner; he pitched 12.2 innings at the age of 20 for the 1916 Indians (1-0, ERA+ of 70), then made his next and last big league appearance at the age of 33, pitching another 12.2 innings with the 1929 Cubs (0-1, ERA+ of 162) ... Ken Williams -- no, not "Kenny," the former Jay OF and current ChiSox GM -- led the AL in homers in 1922 with 39, four more than some guy named Ruth, who trailed not only Williams but also the immortal Tilly Walker, who hit 37 ...

That OF is so deep that Ken Henderson (who surprisingly never made an All-Star team), one of the early "next Willie Mays" candidates for the Giants, doesn't even get a bench spot ... Good thing third base is so well-covered too, or we might be tempted to stretch the rules to include Kenton Lloyd Boyer ... As it is, Keltner starts and Caminiti is the DH, with Reitz, McMullen and Oberkfell among the bench options; someone has to be cut, and it's both McMullen (.248, 156 homers in 16 years) and Reitz (.260 in 11 years) as Oberkfell's versatility does him a favor in the roster shuffle ... The only two Kens to ever manage a big league team to a victory were also denizens of the hot corner in their playing days, Aspromonte and Macha ...

There have been two men in MLB history named "Heintzelman" -- Thomas Kenneth Heintzelman (a .243-hitting IF with the 1973-74 STL and 1977-78 SFG) and Tom's daddy, Kenneth Alphonse Heintzelman (77-92 as a LHS/RP with the 1937-47 PIT, 1947-52 PHI) ... Only Pops is eligible to make this team, which in fact, he does ... Wait, you say! Where's the immortal Ken Huckaby to strengthen (seriously!) the backstop position with his career .222 mark through 2006? Well, according to the insanely reliable BaseballReference.com, Huckaby's full name is "Ken," not "Kenneth" ...

That's five, count 'em five All-Stars in the starting rotation, including three lefties ... The Star power in the rotation should come in handy as the bullpen is a bit iffier, with Sanders and Tatum each having one great year and the rest of the cast delivering at a lower, though more consistent rate ... the last three hurlers cut from the team were all RHSP, including three-time All-Star (for the expansion LAA) Ken McBride, who was 40-50 in seven years ... Ken Schrom, an '86 All-Star with the bad old Tribe, who was 51-51 in seven years ... and Ken Raffensberger, who compiled a career mark of 119-154 in 15 years but was a WWII All-Star ...

Ken Brett was a .262 career hitter and hit 10 career homers, but there's no real argument that he wasn't the top hitter in his family, by George ... speaking of brothers, Ken Forsch's little brother Bob won 168 big league games, or 54 more than big bro, who nevertheless is the top RHSP for the Dolls ...

So ... Ken this team be any better?