Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

Yes, it's Opening Day -- or, to be more precise, tonight is Opening Night for the Cardinals and Mets -- so it's time to cue the music (not just anthems) for a Hall of Names team that reminds us, for all the court room battles, for all the medical drama, for all the behind-the-scenes clubhouse headlines that drive the sport during the off-season (and sometimes, during the season itself, unfortunately), baseball is all about fun.

That's right, it's an all-Muppet team. Now, to be sure ...

... there have been hundreds, even thousands of Muppet characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and related syndicated puppetry ... so for our purposes, let's just pull out the names of some of the most popular Muppets on each and see what kind of 25-man roster we can build from that list.

Now, to be fair, many popular Muppets have had "labels" rather than names -- consider the Swedish Chef and the Newsman, for instance.

We're pulling our source list of Muppet names from the incredibly detailed list made by Craig Silverstein, a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Stanford, whose mascot (The Cardinal) is, of course, a Big Bird.

According to Silverstein's list, here are some starting points for us:
  • SESAME STREET: Bert, Ernie, Kermit, Aloysius Snuffleupagus (what, you didn't know he had a first name?), Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Grover, Guy Smiley, Lulu, Count von Count.
  • MUPPET SHOW: Kermit (again), Miss Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Robin (that's Kermit's dorky little nephew), Rowlf, Statler & Waldorf, Beaker and Nigel (the conductor). Oh, and lest we forget, there's Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, including Dr. Teeth (keyboards), Sgt. Floyd Pepper (guitar), Zoot (saxophone), Janice (guitar, vocals), Lips (trumpet) and Animal (drums).
There have been many Sesame Street-alikes in many countries, but staying in North America, according to Silverstein, additional "Canadian Muppets" included: Basil, Chaos, Dodi, Katie, Louis and Barbara Plum.

If we end up with holes on the roster, perhaps we can fill them with a variety of the humans who worked on camera with the Muppets, including Alan, Bob, Gina, Gordon and Mr. Hooper.

Speaking of humans, let's start with the president/general manager/head honcho of this whole deal, the wise and glorious Jim Henson, creator of the Muppet clan. His only name-alike in major league history is former Yankee prospect-turned-flameout (turned-journeyman-NFL-quarterback) Drew Henson, but that's enough. He gets the gig. Now, as for the roster of this team, which in the spirit of the recent inaugural "Civil Rights Game" in Memphis, we can only dub ...

The Rainbow Connection
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

C Elmo Plaskett (7-for-35, 1962-63 PIT)
1B Ernie Banks** (512 homers, 19 years)
2B Louis "Lou" Whitaker* (.276, 244 homers, 19 years)
SS Robin Yount** (3142 hits in 20 years)
3B Pepper Martin* (.298, 13 seasons, more in OF)
LF Luis Gonzalez* (.284, 331 homers through 2006)
CF Oscar Charleston** (Negro League Hall of Famer)
RF Aloysius "Al" Simmons** (.334, 304 homers, 20 years)
DH David "Cookie Monster" Ortiz* (101 homers, 2004-06)

C Bob Lipski (0-for-2, 1963 CLE)
3B/SS/2B Kermit Wahl (.226, parts of 1944-51)
1B/OF George Basil Theodore (.219, 1973-74 NYM)
OF Count Campau (.322, 1890 SLB; .267 career)
OF Piggy French (.303, 1923-29)
OF Nigel Wilson (.086, parts of 1993-96)

RHSP Grover Cleveland Alexander** (373-208, 20 years)
RHSP Bert Blyleven* (287-250, 22 years)
LHSP John Smiley* (126-103, 1986-97)
RHSP Mark "The Bird" Fidrych* (29-19, parts of 1976-80)

CL-RH Tom Gordon (130 wins, 150 saves through 2006)
RHRP Brad "The Animal" Lesley (6 saves, 1982-85)
RHRP Bob Hooper (40-41, 1950-55, mostly in relief)

Brought to you by the letters H-A-L-L ... Fidrych supposedly got his nickname, "The Bird," because at 6'3", lanky and with gold locks in his hair, he resembled the character Big Bird ... Speaking of birds, there are a number of qualified "Robins" for this team, including Hall of Fame hurler Roberts, but going with Yount at short allows us to move another HOFer, Ernie Banks over to his more common position of 1B ... Sure, you can make an argument that Cookie Rojas or Cookie Lavagetto should be the "monster" rep on this team, but David Ortiz has borne that full "Cookie Monster" nickname awfully well over the past few seasons ... Theodore is the only Basil to ever appear in the major league (through 2006 anyway) and it was his middle name, no less ... Okay, Lipski is a stretch, but we need catching and do you really think it's so unlikely that teammates occasionally called him "Lips" -- especially in the 1960s? ... A number of Muppets listed (Lulu, Fozzy, others) simply did not have any name-alikes anywhere in big league annals ...

Sure, we could probably have a "better" Louis on the squad -- think Brock, Boudreau, Gehrig -- but we have a hole at 2B to fill and a should-be-Hall-of-Famer in Sweet Lou Whitaker ready to go, so we'll opt for that direction ... We have more holes to fill in the fifth spot of the rotation and most of the bullpen, so let's see if our list of humans offers us any Muppet name-alikes; in the spirit of the game, though we generally have only first names for these non-Muppets, we will look for family names to match, and that at least nets us a prety good closer ... Sure, Mr. Hooper could mean still another Hall of Famer OF (Harry Hooper) but we're pretty well-stocked in the OF and need the bullpen help that Bob Hooper provides ... But even aftert all that, we are still a bit short in the pitching staff ...

Lefty Muppets Wanted! ... We need a fifth starter and two relievers, preferably all left-handed, though at this point, anything will do to fill out the roster.

Whatchagot, Bauxites?
Time to Light the Lights ... | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Matthew E - Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#165056) #
How about John 'The Count' Montefusco?
Mick Doherty - Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#165065) #
Yeah, good idea -- I thought of him, but we'd need another bench guy if we went with Montefusco rather than Campau as our "Count."  Maybe talent-wise the thing to do is put Montefusco in the bullpen and replace Campau with Harry Hooper, the HOFer, but that means we'd be right where we started, pitching-wise, since we'd lose that Hooper in the process.

Ryan C - Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#165071) #
Other Muppets with names that may be of use....

Don Music
Harry Monster
Crazy Harry
Lew Zealand
Dr. Julius Strangepork
Sam the Bald Eagle
Wayne and Wanda

robertdudek - Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#165074) #
Alex "Gonzo" Gonzalez.
Dave Rutt - Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#165084) #
As (partially) suggested above, Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto
Mike Green - Monday, April 02 2007 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#165089) #
Saxophonist Zoot in the band is pretty clearly taken from great jazz saxophonist Zoot Sims.  Will you permit Duane Sims, as a backup catcher?  Good hitter for a few years there.
Mike Green - Monday, April 02 2007 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#165090) #
Hell, you could even use him at first base, move Ernie Banks back to shortstop, and then use your Robin on Robin Roberts for a much needed boost to the rotation.
Mick Doherty - Monday, April 02 2007 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#165092) #

much needed boost to the rotation.

Damn, Mike, that's harsh! The pitching staff needs troops, mostly in the bullpen, but the rotation, even while lacking a fifth starter at this point, has a career combined mark of 805-580 ... Roberts wouldn't just "boost" them (none needed), he'd ratchet it up over 1000 wins!

Mike Green - Monday, April 02 2007 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#165094) #
I wasn't referring to the quality, Mick.  It's just that with 4 starters, and one of them being Mark Fidrych whose wing fell off when he was young, the durable Robin Roberts might be just what the doctor ordered.  Heck, with Alexander, Roberts and Blyleven throwing 280-320 innings a year at the top of the rotation, the back end of the bullpen might be superfluous.  Get out your bell bottoms, it's a 1960's club...
Time to Light the Lights ... | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.