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You can make a pretty good argument that current Tiger ace Justin Verlander is the greatest player in major league history with the initials "J.V." -- you might get some protests from Joe Vosmik, Johnny VanderMeer, Jose Vidro, and in a few years, maybe Joey Votto. But for now, it appears that the not-yet-25-year-old RHSP either holds or will soon hold that title all to hissownself.

Which begs the question -- while everyone is focused on the varsity winning titles, what kind of "All-JV" team can we build from the annals of MLB history? Let's find out as we meet ...

** indicates Hall of Famer (none yet)
* indicates All-Star

MGR: John Vukovich (6-5, interim '86 CHC, '88 PHI)

C Jason Varitek* (.267, 148 homers, 1997-2007)
1B John Vander Wal (.261, 97 homers, 1991-2004)
2B Jose Vidro* (.302, 121 HR, 1997-2007 so far)
SS John Valentin (.279, 124 HR, 1992-2002)
3B Jose Vizcaino (.270, 1989-2006)
LF Joey Votto (mostly 1B; .321, 4 homers in 2007 debut)
CF Jim Vatcher (.248, 1990-92)
RF Joe Vosmik* (.307, 65 homers, 1930-41, '44)
DH Joe Vitiello (.248, parts of 1995-2003)

C/OF Joe Visner (.261, parts of 1885-91)
IF Jim Viox (mostly 2B; .273, 1912-16)
IF Jorge Velandia (.188, parts of 1997-2007)
OF/1B Jack Voigt (.235, 1992-98)
OF Jose Vidal (.164, 1966-69; played with '69 Ball Four SEP)
1B Jake Virtue (.274, 1890-94)

RHSP Justin Verlander (35-15 since 2006)
LHSP Johnny Vander Meer* (119-121, 1937-43, '46-51)
RHSP Javier Vazquez* (115-113, 1998-2007)
LHSP Jason Vargas (6-8, parts of 2005-07)
RHSP John Van Benschoten (1-10, 2004, '07 PIT)

CL-RH Jose Valverde* (47 saves in 2007; 98 career)
RHRP Joe Valentine (2-4, 4 saves, 2003-05 CIN)
RHRP Julio Valera (15-20, 5 saves, parts of 1990-96)
RHRP Joe Verbanic (12-11, six saves, parts of 1966-70)
RHRP Jose Veras (three saves for 2006-07 NYY)

J.V. NOTES ... Vukovich is the only J.V. who has managed in the major leagues to date, unless you count middle-name exceptions like Robert John "Bobby" Valentine or didn't-go-by-that panderers like John "Mickey" Vernon ... And as per our usual HoN approach, we will not allow that, though admittedly, Vernon sure would look nice in the middle of the lineup ... Granted, Van Benschoten is on the team based on potential; he almost certainly won't be as good as Verlander, but the Bucs are counting on more than his less-than-pedestrian 1-10 mark to date ...

James "Hippo" Vaughn won more than 175 big league games, but that pesky nickname keeps him off the squad ... For the same reason, SS Joseph "Arky" Vaughan, who would be this team's sole Hall of Famer, is right out ... What is it with guys who have a form of that last name picking up nicknames? Well, Vaughn -- who was a lefty, no less! -- was 6'4" and 215#, so "Hippo," while Vaughan was born in Arkansas, and so, "Arky" ...

It's true that Vizcaino played more at the middle infield positions, but he did man the hot corner in the big leagues more than 200 times, so he gets the starter's slot there ... Vitiello gets the DH job because he actually played there more than anywhere else in his career (125 times as opposed to 92 games in the field -- he also pinch-hit more than 50 times) ...

There are no lefties for the bullpen, though at least we do have two in the rotation -- including one who screams "potential no-hitter" every start ... The last two cuts from the bullpen, and frankly these could be interchanged with anyone but Valverde, were RHRP John Verhoeven (3-8, four saves, parts of 1976-81) and Toronto's own young RHRP Jamie Vermilyea, who debuted with six scoreless innings in 2007 and will always have that first-year "0.00" to point to under the ERA column ... John Vann struck out in his sole pinch-hit appearance with the 1913 Cardinals, so doesn't make this team, but I sure would like to pair him with former NYY OF Mick the Quick so we can (cue Chris Farley) have the announcers introduce a Vann down by the Rivers ...

It's the Hall of Names JV Squad | 3 comments | Create New Account
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AWeb - Wednesday, November 14 2007 @ 06:05 PM EST (#176143) #
Verlander isn't anywhere near the best JV yet. Vidro was a deseving three time all star who managed 5 years of high level performance at second base, and may have rediscovered his bat last year in Seattle. Vander Meer had two years with a better ERA+ than Verlander has yet managed, and was a generally solid above average pitcher on some generally not so good teams. Varitek has put together several excellent hitting years, near the top at his position, caught a lot of games, and been a leader on two WS teams. Javier Vazquez had two similarly good years to Verlander at ages 23 and 24, and followed up with several more good years, went through a downswing, and possibly returned to top starter status in 2007, performing almost exactly as well as Verlander. Verlander might be the best someday, but for now, he's several good years from the discussion. He hasn't been that good yet.

FanfromTheIsland - Thursday, November 15 2007 @ 07:28 PM EST (#176160) #
An R.J. team ain't bad.  Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, and Reed Johnson is pretty good to start with.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, November 15 2007 @ 11:28 PM EST (#176165) #
Good idea, FFTI. I thought we had done that, but checked my archive and it appears the closest we've come is the All-JR squad a while back.

I just searched for RJ HOFers and it looks like Reggie is the only one so far, though certainly  Unit will join him in a few years. Lots of mid-level All-Stars (though very few pantheon guys) of the Randy Jones sort ... and we have to be careful of the Bobby Jenks-types of the world ... a Robert by birth, but not an RJ in the everyday sense!

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