It's the Patron Saint feast day of your favourite interactive magazine, as the day after Christmas is traditionally known as Boxing Day
-- the day, of course, that we all give thanks for the important Boxes
in our lives. In the sports world, that usually comes down to the
penalty box, the coach's box and of course, the batter's box. Or in our
case, the Batter's Box.
There have actually been 43 men (to date) who were delivered on Boxing Day (born on Dec. 26) and gone on to play in the major leagues, along with another Hall of Fame executive in Morgan Bulkeley, the first (admittedly figurehead) president of the National League when it was founded in 1876.
Two Boxing Day players, a Pudge and a Wizard, went on to Cooperstown induction, and while that's a fine start to any team (catcher and shortstop are arguably the two most important positions to fill on a team, at least defensively), how would an entire roster built from these Boxing Day Babies take shape?
Glad you asked ...
Let's meet ...
("Boxing" Day, get it?)
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
C Carlton Fisk** (376 homers, one Gold Glove in 24 years)
1B Chris Chambliss* (.279, 185 homers, 1 Gold Glove in 17 years)
2B Wayne Causey (.252 over 11 years; also SS, 3B)
SS Ozzie Smith* (580 SB, 13 consecutive Gold Gloves, 19 years)
3B Jeff King (.256, 154 homers over 11 years; also 1B)
LF Lee King (.247, 1916-22)
CF George Tebeau (.269, 1887-90, '94-95)
RF Danny Schell (.283/7/33 for 1954 PHI)
DH Jim Traber (.227/27/117 as 1B/OF, 1984-89 BAL)
C Dave Rader (.257, 1971-80)
C John "Bull" Henry (.207, 1910-18)
IF Doc Farrell (.260, nine years, 1925-35)
IF Mario Mendoza (.215, 1974-82)
IF Omar Infante (.252, 2002-06 with DET)
OF Charles Thomas (.288, 2004 ATL; .109, '05 OAK)
LHSP Ray Sadecki* (135-131 in 18 years)
RHSP Storm Davis (113-96 in 13 years)
LHSP Al Milnar (67-58, 1936-43, '46)
RHSP Herman Pillette (33-31, 1922-23; 34-32 career)
5SP-RH/OF Dick Burns (25-27, 1883-85; .267 BA)
CL-RH Stu Miller (105-103, 154 saves in 16 years)
LH-SET Mike Willis (7-21, 15 saves, 1977-81 TOR)
RH-SET Jay Tessmer (1-0, 22 games, 1998-2002 NYY)
LH-LONG Pug Cavet (11-9, 3 saves for 1914-15 DET; also 1 game in '11)
RH-LONG Dustin Moseley (1-0 with 2006 LAA)
A Box-ful of Notes ... Nobody born on Dec. 26 has ever managed in the big leagues -- but don't worry, Pudge Fisk will handle this team in the dugout and clubhouse, no doubt ... For that matter, Chris Chambliss should have been a major league manager a long time ago ... We have Jeff and Lee pencilled into the lineup but are one King short of starting a day-late rendition of "We Three Kings" ...
Pillette holds the Pacific Coast League record for career games pitched (704) and spent 23 years in the PCL, amassing a career minor league mark of 264-264 in 29 years as a pro ... He had two fine years with the 1922-23 Tigers, including 19 wins in '22, but spent just parts of two other seasons in the bigs, and none after the age of 27; his son Duane Pillette actually won more (and lost way more) games in the majors, finishing 38-66 in parts of eight seasons, including two 10-win campaigns with the Browns/Orioles in the 1950s ...
Lee King actually finished in the top 10 in NL homers in 1920, when he belted all of seven ... Another flash in the pan, Dick Burns -- okay, keep the sophomoric jokes to yourselves! -- was 23-15 for the 1884 Cincinnati Outlaw Reds while also hitting .306 with four homers (good for fourth in the league) as an OF, but he did little else in his career ... Danny Schell had the one nice year in Philly as a 1954 rookie OF, then went 0-for-2 as a PH in '55 and that was it for his big league career ... Mario Mendoza retired with a career batting average a full 15 points above the "Mendoza Line" that bears his name ...
At the end of the 1978 season, after two years of the franchise's existence, Mike Willis was the Blue Jays' all-time leader in saves with 12, though he never led the team in any single season ... He picked up just three more career saves, all in 1980, but he didn't surrender the franchise career lead in that category until Joey McLaughlin passed him in 1982, a full year after Willis had left the Jays (and the big leagues) for the final time ...