Rundown for the Roses?

Sunday, May 06 2007 @ 12:28 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

In honor of yesterday's 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby, let's see if we can have the "Sweet Sense" to piece together a Hall of (Place) Names team made up entirely of MLB alumni who were born in the Bluegrass State.

There have been 260 such men so far -- frankly, more than I thought there would be ...

... and once you get past a tough start in finding a manger and a catcher, this squad is actually pretty good! Though you do have to wonder -- will our backup shortstop and righty long reliever be able to co-exist as teammates?

Only three Kentucky-born men have managed in the big leagues, and two of those actually made the active roster; given that their combined mark as MLB skippers was just 106-178, a .373 winning percentage, we'll just appoint all three to a "college of coaches" staff and see what happens ...

The starting catcher is a name that will be familiar to Blue Jay fans of The Early Years, but his career .215 batting average over nearly two decades in the big leagues means he will hit ninth, certainly ... And our backup backstop if a guy who mostly played the OF but who moved around enough to earn super-utility status on this team ...

Make your own joke about Kentucky's close families, I guess, but nearly half of the players on the roster had close relatives who were also big league ballplayers -- including the patriarch of one of the great game's three-generation families in this team's starting LF ...

The Hall of Famers on this team are all of the "Maybe they weren't the best selection on statistical merit" category, in Reese, Combs and Bunning ... The pitching, even though the bullpen lacks a true closer, is really this team's strength ... Hey, a group of five guys who didn't even make the roster includes the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and four others who each posted at least one 25-win season ...

Anyway, enough of the four-corners offense -- let's drive to the hoop, Kentucky-style, aiming for the ballpark affectionately nicknamed "My Old Kentucky Home" and meet ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

Eddie Haas (50-71)
Fred Pfeffer (42-56)
Jimmy Wolf (14-51)

C Phil Roof (.215, 43 homers, 1961-77)
1B Dan McGann (.284, 1896-1908)
2B Dan Uggla* (.282 as 2006 rookie All-Star)
SS Pee Wee Reese** (2170 hits, 10-time All-Star)
3B Travis Fryman* (.274, 223 homers, 1990-2002)
LF Gus Bell* (.281, 206 homers)
CF Earle Combs** (.325, 1924-35)
RF Jay Buhner* (310 homers in 15 years)
DH Pete Browning (OF hit .341, 1882-94; .402 in 1887)

OF/IF/C Jimmy Wolf (.290, 1882-92)
SS Ray Chapman (.278, 1912-20)
IF/UTIL Fred Pfeffer (.255, 1882-97; 25 homers in 1884)
OF Mike Greenwell* (.303, 130 homers, 1985-96)
OF George Harper (.303, 1916-29)
OF Bobby Veach (.310, 2063 hits, 1912-25)

RHSP Jim Bunning** (224-184)
LHSP Jesse Tannehill (197-116; six-time 20-game winner)
RHSP Gus Weyhing (264-232, 1887-1901)
LHSP Don Gullett (109-50, 1970-78)
RHSP Paul Derringer* (223-212)


CL-RH Joe Heving (76-48, 63 saves, 1930-45)
LH-SET Steve Hamilton (40-31, 42 saves in 12 years)
RH-SET Don Robinson (109-106, 57 saves)
LH-LONG Woodie Fryman* (141-155, 58 saves)
RH-LONG Carl Mays (207-126)

RHSP Howie Camnitz (133-106; 25-6 in 1909)
RHSP Red Ehret (139-167, 1888-98, 25-14 in 1890)
RHSP Brandon Webb* (2006 NL Cy Young)
RHSP Johnny Morrison (103-80, 23 saves; 25-13 in 1923)
RHSP Scott Stratton (97-114; 34-14 in 1890)
1B/OF Todd Benzinger (.257 in 9 years)
2B Denny Doyle (.250, 1970-77)
OF Austin Kearns (.265, 79 homers through 2006)
IF Doug Flynn (.238, 1975-85)

So, Bauxites, who's missing? Any way we can make this team even more of a, well, "Wildcat" squad? ...