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With the final hours of the Thanksgiving holiday winding down here in the U.S., let's see what kind of feast we can build filling a Hall of Names table with traditional Thanksgiving-named players ...

In this quick-and-dirty Hall of Names entry, we find just enough for a starting lineup and only a few folks who can take the ball to the hill and get it over the plate, so your suggested edits are welcome and invited!

But for now, it's time to meet ...

The Tryptophan Club
(Go ahead, say it out loud -- it makes more sense that way)
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

MGR Dusty Cooke (6-6 in 13 games with 1948 PHI)

Lineup/Batting Order ...
1B "Turkey" Mike Donlin (.333, six teams, 1899-1914)
3B Harold "Pie" Traynor** (.320, 1920-37)
C Clarence "Yam" Yaryan (.260, 1921-22 CHW)
CF Turkey Stearnes** (HOF Negro Leaguer)
LF "Indian" Bob Johnson* (.296, 288 homers, 1933-45)
2B Manuel "Potato" Cueto (.227, 1914 Fed League, '17-19 CIN)
SS Turkey Gross (3-for-32 with 1925 BOS)
RF Ralph Ham (utilityman hit .248, 1871 Rockford Forest Citys)
DH Turkey Tyson (0-for-1 with 1944 PHI)

On the Mound ...
LHSP Albert "Cowboy" Jones (25-34, 1898-1901)
RHSP Pete Hamm (2-6, 1979-71 MIN)
RHRP Garland "Duck" Shifflett (0-2, 1957 WSH, 1964 MIN)
RHRP Terry Cornutt (1-2, 1977-78 SFG)

Leftovers ... We'll veer from Hall of Names standard protocol and allow double use of some (nick)names on this squad, because it's always been true that you can never get enough turkey (or in this case, Turkeys) on Thanksgiving Day ... In fact, all four men nicknamed that are in the lineup somewhere ...

The manager of a team like this obviously has to be quite a cook, juggling all the ingredients correctly, Unfortunately, there has only been one cook -- actually, Cooke -- to manage in the big leagues, so he gets the job by default ...

For those who aren't big (trypto)fans of turkey for the holiday meal, fear not -- a while back, Craig Burley whipped up an entire Hall of Names roster dedicated to The Taste of Ham which introduced several All-Stars (Hampton, Hammaker, Hamner, Hammonds) and one Hall of Famer in OF "Sliding Billy" Hamilton -- actually one of 10 Hamiltons to play in the bigs so far. And there have been several first-named Hams, though all werenicknames for given monikers like Hamilton, Hampton and Abraham. So for our purposes, we are left with a choice between OF Ralph Ham and the mildly misspelled RHSP Pete Hamm -- and though we love turkey here at Batter's Box, both make the squad this Thanksgiving.

Regarding other meat/main course options, what about duck? And surely you are thinking, hey, where's that Hall of Fame OF Joe "Ducky" Medwick? Actually, he's just one of many men nicknamed Ducky to play in the big leagues -- but you don't eat a ducky, you eat a duck, so we're duck-stuck with Shifflett, who didn't do much in two brief AL cuppajoes, but gets a bullpen spot here anyway.

Sure, it'd be nice and workable if Claude Berry's nickname were "Cran" rather than "Admiral," but we already have a carbohydrate-friendly backstop in Yam Yaryan anyway, so no berries for this year's feast ... If we're being picky about duck/ducky, what's with Terry Cornutt? Well, of all the various major leaguers who had "Corn" somewhere in their given or family name, he's the only one who is actually a food -- though true enough, it's misspelled, and corn nuts aren't exactly a Thanksgiving tradition ...

Thanksgiving tradition around the USA almost always include an NFL game, and for decades, the day's two games have always included the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, respectively. Surprisingly, there has never been anyone in historical MLB annals with the word "Lion" as a nickname or as part of their given name, except a light-hitting 1890 Rochester shortstop named Lionel Smith, who went by the name of -- no kidding now -- "Leo" ...

However, there have been four major leaguers who bore the nickname "Cowboy" -- all four were pitchers prior to World War II; the best of them was a lefty named Albert "Cowboy" Jones, who was 13-19 for the 1900 St. Louis Cardinals and just 25-34 career ... The other three "Cowboys," two righties and a lefty, were a combined 26-45, about on par with the Dallas-variety Cowboys of the early part of this decade ...

Turkey Mike Donlin was primarily an OF, but did play 95 games at 1B in his career ... Potato Cueto also played most of his much shorter career in the OF, but did appear at 2B in 18 of his 136 appearances ... Turkey Tyson, other than the nickname, probably doesn't deserve to make the team, but he slots as the DH anyway. Hey, when your entire career is one at-bat, you make an out (career OPS+ of -100!) and you never play a defensive position, they don't exactly build in a "Moonlight Graham" style reference to you in a Kevin Costner movie, so this will have to do ...

Overall, the pitching staff is more than a little thin (and who can bear "thin" talk amidst all this Thanksgiving food discussion?), but we do have two starters -- one from each side -- and two relievers. There is no bench right now, though we did note a possible backup catcher above in Berry ... How else can this team be "stuffed," Bauxites?
An All-Turkey Day Platter | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jeremy - Friday, November 24 2006 @ 03:34 PM EST (#158716) #
Uh...well if we want to play fast and loose with both pronounciation and spelling, Chuck Dressen (dressing...some of us might call it stuffing) would make a fine addition either as the manager or a third baseman.
JohnL - Friday, November 24 2006 @ 04:08 PM EST (#158722) #

Re: Chuck Dressen: He managed the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs for 1 year (1962, 91 wins), so he could switch-hit. (Handle American or Canadian Thanksgiving). Could be useful if this turkey of a team ever made a "world" series.

Mick Doherty - Friday, November 24 2006 @ 04:38 PM EST (#158731) #
Oh, Dressen is a great idea ... I looked for someone named dressing or stuffing and got the results I expected -- nothin'. But I didn't think to look for alternate spellings, and Dressen not only is clearly a better manager than Cooke (who we can still keep as a bench coach and, uh, menu consultant) but a career .272 hitter. He wouldn't bump the HOF Traynor from 3B of course, but certainly goes to be a key part of that still mostly-empty bench!
An All-Turkey Day Platter | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.