We now take the final step through the process of building a Hall of
Names roster for each of the 25 most-common male names in North America
-- though one additional step in this process will be taken
For now, though, let's look at name #22, one of those rare names that has done significant triple duty as a given first name and middle name as well as a family/last name in the big leagues ... Anthony.
Sure, it's true that ...
... Eric Anthony is no danger of making this team; he started young and
succesfully, but his career comparables quickly arced downward from
Dave "Swish" Nicholson to Charlie Spikes to "the guy who was out of
baseball before he turned 30." He was once traded for a package of players that included Mike Hampton, but you know what? He isn't eligible for this team anyway.
For that matter, neither are the middle-named Anthonys, including 20 of the 40 All-Stars and/or Hall of Famers who bore that name; however, by that same logic, we do deem eligible an All-Star SS/1B in Anthony Nomar Garciaparra.
However, Hall of Famers like Wade Anthony Boggs and Stanley Anthony Coveleski are not eligible; nor are a few Blue Jay heroes whose names should ring a bell with Batter's Box readers -- Thomas Anthony Henke, Mark Anthony Eichhorn and Lloyd Anthony Moseby.
Of course, we must also recognize the fact that virtually every given-first-name Anthony to reach the majors actually went by "Tony" -- including Hall of Famers like Gwynn and Lazzeri; in fact, only seven men in the entire history of the game through 2006 were both named Anthony and actually went by "Anthony" ... and oddly enough, all seven were or are pitchers of the last 15 or 20 years.
Speaking of pitchers, oddly enough, no pitcher named "Anthony" has ever been named to a major league All-Star team. Anyway, enough of these pre-game notes; let's get right to the list of nominees. It's not necessarily a team loaded with MVP or Cy Young hardware, but it is time to present ...
The Tony Awards
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR Tony LaRussa (2297 wins, five flags, two titles through '06)
Bench Coach Tony Muser (317-471)
C Anthony John "A.J." Pierzynski* (.288, 71 homers through 2006)
1B Tony Clark* (227 homers through 2006)
2B Tony Lazzeri** (.292, 178 homers in 14 years)
SS Anthony Nomar Garciaparra* (.318, 211 homers through 2006)
3B Tony Piet (.277, 1931-38; played more at 2B)
RF Tony Conigliaro* (160 homers by 25; just six after that)
CF Tony Womack* (.273, 363 SB through 2006; mostly a UTIL guy)
LF Tony Gwynn** (.338, 3141 hits, 1982-2001)
DH Tony Horton (.278, 76 homers in 7 years; retired at 25)
C Tony Suck (.151, three teams, 1883-84)
2B/IF Tony Cuccinello* (.280, 1930-45)
SS/OF Tony Kubek (.266, nine years; retired at 28)
IF Tony Graffanino (.269 in 11 years through 2006)
OF Tony Scott (.249, 125 SB, 1973-84)
UTIL Tony Phillips (.266, 2023 hits, 1982-99)
RHSP Tony Mullane (284-220, five 30-win years in 1880s)
RHSP Tony Kaufmann (64-62, 1921-35)
LHSP Tony Saunders (13-24, 1997-99)
RHSP Anthony Reyes (6-9 for 2005-06 STL)
LHSP Anthony Shumaker (0-3, 1999 PHI)
CL-RHRP Anthony Telford (22-25, eight saves, parts of 1990-2002)
RH-SET Anthony "A.J." Sager (12-15, 5 saves, 1994-98)
LH-SET Tony Mounce (1-5, 7.11 in 11 games with 2003 TEX)
RH-LONG Anthony Young (3-30, 1992-93; 15-48 career)
LH-LONG Anthony Ferrari (6.75 ERA in four games for 2003 MON)
Tony or Not Tony ... Among the final cuts from the roster were OF Tony Tarasco, who hit .240 with 34 homers in parts of 1993-2002; utilityman Anthony Michael Brumley, who like Garciaparra had the right given name even if he chose to go by his middle name, but who definitely didn't hit like Nomar, at .206 from 1987-95; and a guy who might battle his way onto the team in a few years if bloodlines are any predictor of success -- OF Tony Gwynn Jr. hit just .260 as a23-year-old '06 rookie with the Brewers, or more than 100 points off the old man's best efforts; hey, pops even hit .289 as a 22-year-old rookie, the lowest level of his Hall of Fame career ... Maybe Uncle Chris, a .261 career hitter, is a better comp for the youngster? ...
The pickings were slim for the pitching staff, but we did manage to cobble together five starters who comhined to win four more games than Warren Spahn did, or to look at it another way, just 50 fewer than Walter Johnson ... The bullpen is lacking an obvious closer, but maybe that last guy in the 'pen has family connections that could conjure up a way cool bullpen car ... The last two pitchers cut had fine career ERAs, in RHRPs Anthony Chavez (0.93 ERA in seven games with 1997 Anaheim) and Tony Faeth (2.70 ERA in 19 games for the 1919-20 Indians), but neither stuck around The Show long enough to earn a roster spot ...
Not to dwell on middle names, but there have been three men with the given name Michael Smith in major league history, and all three had the given middle name "Anthony" ... At least one more Hall of Famer seems likely for this collection of Tony winners, as the skipper LaRussa is already third all-time in MLB wins as a manager and could well be second by the time he decides to finally retire ... The coaching staff is limited to the less-than-successful Muser, as Tony Pena was an Antonio while Tony Perez was an Atanasio ... Come to think of it, both of those guys would probably be in the starting lineup if they were eligible .. LaRussa was a career .199 hitter in parts of six seasons over 11 years, so never was in any danger of making the roster as a player/manager ... Muser, a .259-hitting 1B/DH who was homerless in five of his nine MLB seasons, was equally unworthy of a roster spot ...
OF Tony Johnson had a brief major league career with two teams, the 1981 Expos and 1982 Blue Jays, so is an honorary "Baseball from a Canadian Perspective" expert ... Every team needs a backup catcher, and our choices appear limited to the .000 career hitter Tony Hellman (0-for-3 with 1886 BAL), the .100 career hitter Tony DePhillips (2-for-20 with 1943 CIN), and the robust .151-career hitter Tony Suck, who played for three teams from 1883-84 ... Well, this is the Hall of Names, so how can we pass on a guy named "Suck"? ...
The toughest cut from the team, just from a name perspective, may have been utilityman Anthony Razor Shines, who made brief appearances at the corner infield spots and in the outfield, and even one perfect inning on the mound, for the 1980s Expos ... That's right, "Razor" wasn't a nickname, it was his given middle name -- and hey, wouldn't you go by "Razor" too, if it was on your birth certificate somewhere?
So how can this team be better?