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Yesterday, we challenged the readers of Batter's Box to "brainstorm up a few uniquely-named ballplayers ... Maybe even put together a roster of such men."

The response was creative and inventive, and thanks in large part to the Lahman Database machinations of Bauxite John Northey, we do in fact have a full roster of such men, a result I predicted might be "well nigh impossible" to achieve. So, as I often am in baseball projections, that was way wrong -- but as Baseball's Hall of Names often is, this roster is at least quite entertaining. See for yourselves, and take time to meet (and yes, to critique) ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

  1. A player must be the ONLY player in baseball history with the particular given first name.
  2. The player must actually GO by that given first name.
  3. An exception to Rule #2 is if a player is the only one in MLB history to have a particular first name, but goes by a nickname AND is the only player in MLB history to go by that nickname, then that player is considered eligible. Examples: Lindall "Lindy" McDaniel is in, as are Ferguson "Fergie" Jenkins and Tristram "Tris" Speaker. However, Greggory "Gregg" Olsen is not, thanks to Gregory "Gregg" Jefferies.
  4. We are only considering names of Western origin, so Daisuke Matsuzaka and those of Japanese and other non-Anglo origins can wait their turns for a different Hall of Names squad to form ... There have already been multiple Hidekis in the big leagues, can others named "Daisuke" and "Hideo" and the like be far behind?
C Elston Howard* (.274, 14 years; two GOld Gloves, 1963 AL MVP)
1B Harmon Killebrew** (573 homers; 1969 AL MVP)
2B Ryne Sandberg** (.285, 16 years; nine Gold Gloves; 1984 NL MVP)
SS Shawon Dunston* (.269, 150 homers, 212 SB, 18 years)
3B Graig Nettles* (22 years, 390 homers, two Gold Gloves)
LF Vada Pinson* (2757 hits, 256 homers, 305 SB, 18 years)
CF Tristram "Tris" Speaker** (.305, 3514 hits, 1912 AL MVP)
RF Magglio Ordonez* (219 homers through 2006)
DH Edd Roush** (.323, 268 SB in 18 years)

C Yorvit Torrealba (solid backup for three teams through 2006)
IF/OF Delino DeShields (.268, 463 SB in 13 years)
IF Jewel Winklemeyer Ens (.290, 1922-25 PIT)
OF Torii Hunter* (164 homers, 108 SB, six Gold Gloves through 2006)
OF Claudell Washington* (164 homers, 312 SB in 17 years)
OF Devon White* (.263, 346 SB, 17 years, seven Gold Gloves)

RHSP Gaylord Perry**(314-265)
RHSP Early Wynn** (300-244)
LHSP Vida Blue* (209-161)
RHSP Mordecai Brown** (239-130)
RHSP Ferguson Jenkins** (284-226)

RHRP Ugueth Urbina* (44-49, 237 saves)
LHRP Darold Knowles* (66-74, 143 saaves)
RHRP Huston Street (2005 AL ROY; 9-5, 60 saves through '06)
RHRP Lindy McDaniel* (141-119, 172 saves)
RH-LONG Waite Hoyt** (237-182)

UNIQUE NOTES ... The last cuts from the pitching staff were RHSP Burleigh Grimes, who was certainly better than Vida Blue from a career perspective, and RHSP Orel Hershiser, who may have been -- but we want a lefty in the rotation, so Vida is it ... We'd love to make RHRP Hoyt Wilhelm the closer on this team, and there has not been another player first-named "Hoyt," but unfortunately, his full name was James Hoyt Wilhelm ... Oh well, at least we have a (different sort of) Hoyt on the team in Hall of Fame righty Waite Hoyt ...

Among the many players disqualified because they "went by" a more common name than the one they were given (and it has been shared by at least one other MLB player) are some names you are bound to, ironically enough, recognize: Atanasio (Tony) Perez, Lucius (Luke) Appling, Rhoderick (Bobby) Wallace, Wilver (Willie) Stargell, Sherwood (Sherry) Magee, Bernabe (Bernie) Williams, Fredric (Fred) Lynn, Ralston (Rollie) Hemsley, Fury (Gene) Tenace, Denton (Cy) Young, Rik (Bert) Blyleven, Elroy (Roy) Face and Melquiades (Mel) Rojas ... you could start up a pretty decent roster just from that list!

The last cut among the position players was OF Garret Anderson and his 227 homers through 2006; he barely qualified anyway, as there have been several Garretts to play big league ball, so he would have made it by the "skim" of his "t" ... We'd love to include RHRP Darwin Harrikson (Salom) Cubillan, just because the overall name is SO cool, but he really doesn't make it on merit ... In a few years, RHSP Anibal Sanchez might be on this team for merit ...

ctually, you could build a pretty good overall pitching staff from guys who didn't make the above roster, but who do have qualifying names -- RHSPs Carsten Charles Sabathia (who is also MLB's only "C.C.") could front a rotation including Sanchez and ex-Jays Tanyon Sturtze and Kelvim Escobar, with RHSP Yusmeiro Petit waiting his turn as well ... The bullpen could include guys like righties Ambiorix Burgos and Aquilino Lopez and LHRP Gowell Sylvester Claset ...

Among others suggested in yesterday's brainstorming thread, Anselm Winn Moore qualifies -- there wass another "Anselm," but it was a middle name, and Moore doesn't make the squad on merit ... Cupid and Candy were nicknames of the players (in "Candy's" case, multiple players) who bore them -- and though Candy Maldonado had a unique first name, "Candido," he shared his nickname with half a dozen others, including HOF pitcher Cummings ...

Others who "qualify" for this team but did not make the final roster cuts are OF Sixto Lezcano, C Yadier Molina, 3B Aramis Ramirez and OF Lastings Milledge ... I could easily see the last three of those, at least, making the team's bench (at least) in a few years ...

And where's Rance Mulliniks? Well, Rance Pless keeps the front half of Mulliniorg off this team ... Anthony Nomar Garciaparra doesn't get to start at shortstop because "Nomar" is his middle name ... There have been four Gradys, including All-Star 1B Grady Hatton, so young Mr. Sizemore is not unique in that regard ... Trot Nixon stands alone, but his first name is "Christopher" and "Trot" is a nickname for his middle name, Trotman ...

If not Mulliniks, then what about his modern-day equivalent, Chone Figgins? Well, that's Desmond DeChone Figgins, and there have been three MLB players named "Desmond" ... Bengie Molina's brother is mentioned above, but the ex-Jay backstop's given name is "Benjamin," so he's out ... Outfielders Hosken Powell and Drungo Hazewood don't make the team on merit, though those names sure would be great if they decided to open a bar together ... Welcome to Drungo Hosken House! ...

Apologies to 3B Urbane Pickering and OF Glenallen Hill, who also didn't make the cut, and especially to HOF talent Hazen "Kiki" Cuyler, who was the only first-named Hazen (one other player actually had that as his middle name) but shares the nickname Kiki with two others ... Now, don't get started on the different pronunciations of "Kye-Kye" and "Kee-Kee" ...

So, Bauxites ... anyone missing? Our 25-man/25-name roster already includes eight Hall of Famers and a dozen more All-Stars and has earned more than two dozen Gold Gloves. Can it actually be better?
The All-Uniquely Named | 11 comments | Create New Account
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King Rat - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 01:37 AM EDT (#169900) #
I take it Jimy Williams won't be managing because his first name is James?
SNB - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 05:03 AM EDT (#169902) #
Can we have a in Bonser?
Mick Doherty - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#169906) #

Boof, alas, would not make the team based on merit (he's 12-8 career so far, but maybe someday) ... although he's certainly worth mentioning! And fear not, he had his very own Hall of Names challenge a while back.

Right about Jimy. I think we have at least two candidates on the team to be player-manager in Speaker and Brown, though,  so we should be okay.

Wait, maybe there's a place for Bonser -- there has been another Mordecai in MLB, although he only made the Show as a manager.

Mike Green - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#169915) #
Sixto Lezcano

How could I have forgotten a mainstay of one of my APBA clubs of the early 80s?  Great arm.  Good range.  Medium range power.  Hit .290.  Excellent plate discipline. 

It was a short career, but a good one.
TimberLee - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#169923) #

I haven't looked this up, but wasn't Sandberg named for the pitcher Ryne Duren? Perhaps Duren went by his middle name.

  Also, it's interesting that we can use the names of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in this game, but not Japanese and Koreans. Is that because the first latin player arrived before the first from the Orient? Just asking.

Barry Bonnell - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#169927) #

Though he doesn't qualify I would be remissed not to mention the most unfortunate named player in MLB history.

Mick Doherty - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#169930) #

Is that because the first latin player arrived before the first from the Orient?

A fair question and deserves an answer. The short answer is yeah, kinda. Hey, Chile Gomez from Mexico was in the bigs in 1935, and Lefty Gomez (from California, natch) five years before that. So there is historical precedent.

I tried to draw the Eastern/Western divide in the story, in part because naming conventions are different and in part because of the historical embedding of the non-Anglo, still-Western names of the Latin American and other Hispanic cultures. Granted, naming conventions are different there, too.

Honestly, I was more or less looking for a way to not have a team full of Tomo, Daisuke, Tadahito, Ichiro, Kenji and Akinori. All unique names in MLB so far (unlike Hideki) but I don't know enough to even know if they are Bill, Steve and Bob for the eastern set, or rather are Bil, Estevan and Robb.

Dave Rutt - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#169931) #
He wouldn't make the team, but it's worth mentioning that Reed Johnson is a member of the unique names club.
Mick Doherty - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#169932) #

I haven't looked this up, but wasn't Sandberg named for the pitcher Ryne Duren? Perhaps Duren went by his middle name.

According to Wikipedia, Sandberg was indeed named for Duren. However, that's "Ryne Dee Sandberg" (The "Dee" for "Duren"?) named for "Rinold George (Ryne) Duren Jr."

And while "Rinold" is unique, and as fearsome as Duren was for a short time, his 27-44 mark with 57 career saves doesn't really qualify him for the team on merit -- who would he bump? Street? Knowles is a lefty and Duren wasn't and even for that, I think Knowles was better!


Mick Doherty - Saturday, June 16 2007 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#169984) #
Just noticed a note from skippy23 in the original thread that gives us another option at backup catcher -- Biff Benedift Pocoraba. I never knew "Biff" was actually his given first name!

And hey, he was even an All-Star in 1978, represting a Braves team that also included Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Gary Matthews Sr., Jeff Burroughs, Phil Niekro and Gene Garber (not to mention Jim Bouton!) .... so Biff may send Senor Torrealba packing to the minors and take his spot on the bench!

Craig B - Saturday, June 16 2007 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#169986) #
Technically, I think his first name was B1FF.
The All-Uniquely Named | 11 comments | Create New Account
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