Ron, Don (Deserve a Break Today)

Tuesday, November 14 2006 @ 08:01 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Yep, we're back with another rendition of Baseball's Hall of Names here on Batter's Box, and today's special features a twinbill of fast-food-type pleasure; take your narrator's name (that'd be me) and surround it with the 15th and 21st most common North American boys' names, and you have ...

Wait for it ...

A trip to ...

Ronald-Mick-Donald's place! Woohoo!

Sadly, there has never been a big league ballplayer named Ronald McDonald, though the Mets had a minor league infielder by that name (seriously) around the time Howard Johnson was playing 3B at Shea. Ah, but enough of the digressions ...

There have been 226 men with the given first or middle name "Donald" (#15 on your "most common" list) in big league history, including 28 All-Stars and/or Hall of Famers; the numbers for "Ronald" (checking in at #21) are also impressive, at 97 and 13 -- but no Hall of Famers. (Though Ron Santo should be enshrined. Ah, again, a digression ...) Let's delay our Happy Meal Adventure -- with the usual caveat that we are only considering first names here -- no further and dive in to meet, first of all ...

The Reagan Administration (All-Ronald)
** indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

MGR Ron Gardenhire (455-354 through 2006)
The only Ron to manage in MLB history has four division titles in first five seasons.

C Ron Hassey (.266, 71 homers in 14 years)
1B Ron Fairly* (.266, 215 homers in 21 years)
2B Ron Hunt* (.273 in 12 years, HBP king)
SS Ron Hansen* (.234, 106 homers in 15 years)
3B Ron Santo* (.277, 342 HR in 15 years)
LF Ron Gant* (.256, 321 homers in 16 years)
CF Ron LeFlore* (.288, 455 SB in nine years)
RF Ron Kittle* (.239, 176 homers in 10 years)
DH Ron Blomberg (.293, 58 homers in eight years)

C Ron Karkovice (.221, 96 homers in 12 seasons)
MID IF Ron Oester (.265 in 13 years)
COR IF Ron Cey* (.261, 316 HR in 17 years)
OF Ron Northey (.276, 108 homers in 12 years)
OF Ron Swoboda (.242, 73 homers in nine years)
1B/OF Ron Coomer (.274, 92 homers in nine years)

LHSP Ron Guidry* (170-91 in 14 years)
RHSP Ron Darling* (136-113 in 13 years)
RHSP Ron Robinson (48-39 in nine years)
LHSP Ron Bryant (57-56 in eight years; 24-12 in '73)
RHSP Ron Reed* (146-140 in 19 years; also 103 saves)

CL-LH Ron Perranoski (79-74, 179 saves in 13 years)
RH-SET Ron G. Davis* (130 saves in 11 years)
RH-SET Ron Kline (114-144 in 17 years; 108 saves)
LHRP Ron Mahay (16-10, 3 svaes; 10 years through '06)
RHRP Ron Taylor (45-43, 72 saves, 11 years)

Staying with the '80s theme for our team names, let's now quickly move on to meet ...

The Trump Towers (All-Donald)
Their AAA team will be called "The Apprentices," presumably.
** indicates Hall of Fame
* indicates All-Star

Player/MGR Don Zimmer (885-858)
Coach: Don Gutteridge (109-172)
Player/Coach: Don Heffner (37-46)
Player/Coach: Don Kessinger (46-60)

C Donald G. Leppert* (.229, parts of 1961-64)
1B Don Mattingly* (.307, 222 homers, nine Gold Gloves)
2B Don Heffner (.241, 11 years, 1934-44)
SS Don Kessinger* (.252, 100 SB in 16 years)
3B Don Money* (.261, 176 homers, 16 years)
LF Don Mueller* (.296, 12 years; led '54 NL in hits)
CF Don Buford* (.264, 200 SB in 10 years)
RF Don Demeter (.265, 163 homers in 11 years)
DH Don Mincher* (.249, 200 homers in 13 years)

C Don Slaught (.283, in 16 seasons)
IF Don Hoak* (.265, 89 HR in 11 years)
2B/1B/3B Don Kolloway (.271, 12 years, 1940-53)
OF/C Don Padgett (.288, eight years, 1937-48)
OF Don Hahn (.236, in seven years)
UTIL Don Zimmer* (.235, 12 years; played all but 1B, P)

RHSP Don Sutton** (324-256 in 23 years)
RHSP Don Drystdale** (209-166 in 14 years)
RHSP Don Wilson* (104-92 in nine years)
RHSP Don Newcombe* (149-90 in 10 years; '56 Cy Young)
LHSP Don Gullett (109-50 in nine years)

CL-LH Don McMahon (90-68, 153 saves in 18 years)
RH-SET Don Stanhouse* (38-54, 64 saves in 10 years)
RH-SET Don Aase* (66-60, 82 saves, 13 years)
LHRP Don Mossi* (101-80, 50 saves in 12 years)
RHRP Don Elston* (49-54, 63 svaes; nine years)

The RonDon RunDown ... More than a dozen players known as "Don" aren't eligible for the team, and it has nothing to do with first/middle name placement -- the fact is, we are only looking for players named "Donald," and 12 major league ballplayers have born the simplified given name of just "Don," including Hall of Fame outfielder Don Richard Ashburn and All-Stars like OF Baylor and 2B Blasingame -- not to mention Donnie Moore, the All-Star RP whose given name was in fact "Donnie" ...

If you're wondering about a certain World Series hero who threw a perfect game, well, Mr. Larsen was just "Don" both to his friends and on his birth certificate. So no go for this team! Oddly, though the diminutive form of "Donald" is a not uncommon given name, no major league player has ever "just" been named "Ron" -- they're all Ronalds ...

It hardly even bears mentioning, but of course, RHSP Atley Donald, who was 65-33 with the 1938-45 NYY, does not qualify for this team, although he is in fact the only MLB alumnus to ever bear the surname of either Donald or Ronald. There have been 16 McDonalds (and not surprisingly, zero McRonalds), but as mentioned previously, that merely represents unhealthy fast food on our menu of options ...

There have probably been other instances or Ron-for-Don trades, but on March 31, 1971, Don Hahn was traded by the Montreal Expos to the New York Mets for Ron Swoboda (and Rich Hacker) ... Hahn and Swoboda each made their all-name roster as a backup OF ... In a nice little historical twist, the Ron squad's DH, Blomberg, was actually the first MLB player to ever serve as a designated hitter in a game that counted, back in 1973 ...