'77 ... That's a C+, Right?

Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 05:13 PM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

You might recall that a while back -- actually, way back in June of '06 -- we introduced a new Hall of Names category focused on players born in a particular year. We met The Bicentennial Men, players born in 1976, and readers chipped in by adding teams for players born in 1957, 1980, 1982 and 1983.

It's a new year and a new group of MLB players is turning 30 this year, so let's take a gander at players born in 1977 (there have been more than 200, at least so far) as we meet ...

The '77 Percent Solution
* indicates All-Star
** indicates All-Star and potential Hall of Famer

Okay, that team name sucks. Better suggestions? Please make them in the thread below!

So let's ask, as we did for the Bicentennial Men, who are the active leaders in major counting categories among the '77 babies? Here's a "Top 10" sample (totals in parentheses are through the close of the 2006 season):

Other guys worth mentioning: Bronson Arroyo, Ben Davis, Adam Eaton, Justin Duchscherer, Jody Gerut, Orlando Hudson, Mike Maroth, Eric Munson, Lyle Overbay, Josh Towers, Ty Wigginton ... who's missing?

Now, let's see if we can't build a decent roster from the players named above ...

C Brandon Inge (29 homers in 2006)
1B Lyle Overbay (.312/22/92 in 2006)
2B Orlando Hudson (.287/15/67, GG in 2006)
SS Rafael Furcal* (.300/15/63, 37 SB in 2006)
3B Eric Chavez (.271, 212 homers through 2006)
LF Carlos Beltran** (.276/41/116, GG in 2006)
CF Andruw Jones** (nine GG at age 29)
RF Brad Wilkerson (.252, 98 homers, 46 SB through 2006)
DH Travis Hafner (.308, 42 homers in 2006)

C Ben Davis (.237, 1998-2004)
3B/C/1B Eric Munson (.211 through 2006)
IF Alex Gonzalez* (.246, 90 homers through 2006)
OF Craig Monroe (averaging 22 homers, 2003-06 DET)
OF Juan Pierre (.303, 325 SB through 2006)
UTIL Willie Bloomquist (.257 career utilityman)

RHSP Roy Oswalt** (98-47)
LHSP Mark Mulder** (103-57)
RHSP Roy Halladay** (95-48)
LHSP Odalis Perez* (58-59)
RHSP Kerry Wood* (71-56)

CL-RH Danys Baez* (31-37, 111 saves)
SET-RH Jason Frasor (10-13, 18 saves)
SET-LH Dennys Reyes (27-31, 2 saves)
RHRP Ryan Dempster* (29 wins in '01-'02; 33 saves in '05)
RHRP Shawn Chacon* (22 wins in '01-'03; 35 saves in '04)

Notes ... The fifth starter's slot could have gone to any one of about 10 guys, but Wood, even with all the injury issues, just noses out Westbrook, Burnett and Padilla, in that order ... There are no star-quality lefty relievers with a '77 pedigree, so we end up with Dennys setting up Danys as the only lefty in the 'pen ... Actually, the bullpen is a weak spot on the roster, regardless of the availability of lefties; each of the three All-Stars in that unit are one-time Midsummer Classic selections so far, while the other two guys, both solid enough, are in no danger of having to make July travel plans any time soon ...

Because neither Munson nor Inge were certifiable full-time catchers, we'll also carry Ben Davis, who fell off the map after a couple of nice campaigns but might see some serious playing time behind the dish for this team ... Actually, with the exception of Inge starting behind the plate -- he's now the Tigers everyday 3B -- this would be one of the best defensive teams ever to take a major league field of play ...

With three guys who have played CF in the majors all in the starting OF (including two who will get at least some Cooperstown attention down the road), Pierre and Monroe might collect quite a bit of dust on the bench ... Bloomquist is the quintessential 25th man for this team; he's never pitched or caught a game in the big leagues, but has played everywhere else -- in fact, he's played between 13 and 86 games at every other big league position, including DH ...

Yes, Halladay is legitimately the #3 starter on this team, but really that means there are three #1 guys fronting the rotation ... Speaking of Halladay, that's quite a Blue Jay influence coming out of the '77 crop -- in addition to Doc, there's Lyle Overbay, Orlando Hudson, Alex Gonzalez and Eric Hinske (hey, that could be somebody's starting infield right now) along with Jason Frasor, AJ Burnett and Josh Towers, among others, also available ... No, wait, that's the other Alex Gonzalez born in '77, not the one who once played short in TO ...

Shortened career/steep cliff-dive coming for Andruw Jones? His most comparables at BBRef include Darryl Stawberry, Ron Gant, Eric Davis and Juan Gonzalez ... Brad Wilkerson was the last man ever to wear a Montreal Expos jersey in game competition, in a post-season Japan tour by MLB just after the 'Spo's final season in Canada ... To date, Overbay, Hudson, Chavez and Hafner have combined to appear in exactly ZERO All-Star Games, or two less than Mark Fidrych has all by himself ... Juan Pierre's .303 career average and 325 steals don't reflect the fuller picture -- a .727 career OPS (OPS+ of 86) and 116 times caught stealing ...

So, again ... who's missing?