Just three men in major league baseball history have gone by the
initials "J.R." as their "first name." Just one of those, former
Houston ace J.R. Richard was truly a star of Ewing Oil magnitude, so
it's only appropriate that he played on a Texas-based ballclub. The
others were J.R. House, a career .105-hitting catcher with the 2003-04
Pirates and the '06 Astros and J.R. Phillips, a .188 career hitter from
1993-99 with the Giants, Phillies, Rockies, and yes, the Astros.
So all three men named "J.R." played in Houston, where presumably plenty of Astrodome and Minute Maid photographers -- maybe even our own Named For Hank -- photographed them at work, leading to the obvious question ...
... (wait for it) ...
.... Who shot J.R.?
Okay, enough of that. Actually, if you enter a query for "J R" into the greatness of BaseballReference.com, you'll get hundreds of returns. But according to our extremely strict, if occasionally entirely random, Hall of Names rules, most of these players will not be considered eligible for this Hall of Names squad, which will consist entirely of players with a first (given) name initial "J" and a last (family) name initial "R" -- so James Rodney Richard is still elgible, though House and Phillips are not.
Also not eligible are players with the given first and middle (or given middle and last family) names initials J.R. -- and that eliminates quality candidates like James Reynold Lonborg, Jonathan R. Papelbon, Jorge Rafael Posada, and from the other side, Francisco Jose Rodriguez and Victor John Angelo Raschi; that's the start of a heck of a pitching staff (and an All-Star catcher) we just eliminated!
Annd ... also not eligible are those players who had the given first/last name initials "J.R." but who chose to go by some other name, like James Edward "Pete" Runnels (who for the same reason didn't make our PR squad either) and even a fella who was a Texas Ranger during the time J.R. Ewing ruled Dallas, John Milton "Mickey" Rivers. Others who didn't make the cut for these reasons include former Expo great Jean Claude Raymond, the exquisitely nicknamed Leon Joseph "Bip" Roberts and Jerry Remy, whose given first name was "Gerald."
We must also eliminate a Hall of Fame Oriole left side of the infield, as our BBRef search included among its returns both Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson Jr. -- the "J" in "J R" there is from "Junior," presumably. So there is just one Hall of Famer on the actual roster, but he is arguably the most important Hall of Famer in the history of the Great Game, and, like J.R. Richard, has both the middle and last name initial to make him a "J.R." -- Jack Roosevelt Robinson was primarily a 2B and played more at 3B than across the diamond, but he actually debuted as a 1B and that's where he plays for (inspiration for the name from the great Bill Simmons) ...
THE J.R. EWING THEORIES
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Player/Manager Jerry Royster (53-94, 2002 MIL)
Coach Jim F. Rogers (17-24, 1897 Louisville Colonels)
C Johnny Romano* (.255, 129 homers, 1958-67)
1B Jackie Robinson** (.311, 1947-56, 1949 NL MVP)
2B Johnny Ray* (.290, 1981-90)
SS Jose B. Reyes* (.290, 51 triples, midway through 2007)
3B Joe Randa (.284, 123 homers, 1995-2006)
LF Joe Rudi* (.264, 179 homers, 1967-82)
CF Juan Rivera (.310/23/85 with 2006 LAA)
RF Jim Rivera (.256, 83 homers, 1952-61)
DH Jim Rice* (.298, 382 homers, 1974-89; '78 AL MVP)
C Johnny Roseboro* (.249, 104 homers, 1959-70)
IF Jimmy Rollins* (.276, 105 homers, 228 SB midway through 2007)
IF/UTIL Jeff Reboulet (.240, 1992-2003; all but C)
UTIL Jerry Royster (.249, 1973-88; all but P, C)
UTIL Jack Rowe (SS/C/OF/3B; .286, 1879-90)
OF/IF/LHRP Jimmy Ryan (.306, 118 HR, 418 SB, 1885-1903; 6-1, 2 saves)
RHSP J.R. Richard* (107-71, 1971-80)
LHSP Jerry Reuss* (220-191, 1969-90)
RHSP Jose Rijo* (116-91, 1984-2002)
LHSP Jose Rosado* (37-45, 1996-2000; two-time All-Star)
RHSP Jack Russell* (85-141, 1926-40, just two seasons .500+)
CL-RH Jeff Reardon* (367 saves, 1979-94)
RH-SET Jeff Russell* (186 saves, 1983-96)
LH-SET John Rocker (88 saves, 1998-2003)
RHRP Jeff D. Robinson (46-57, 39 saves, 1984-92)
RHRP Jim Ray (43-30, 25 saves, 1965-74)
J.R. STANDS FOR "JUST RELEASED"
Among those also considered, but not surviving final cuts: