Not sure if you noticed, but this week, His Aruban Largeness Sidney Ponson reappeared in the big leagues, throwing eight excellent innings in a win (actually his second start) for the Rangers over the Royals.
There have been 26 men to have played in the major leagues to this point with the given first or middle name "Sidney," and though Ponson may well be the biggest, that doesn't mean he's the best. Actually, if you search BaseballReference.com, you'll find ...
... 31 returns on the name "Sid," but two of those are nicknames, while two more are our only Hall of Famer, a manager who never actually played in the majors, and one of our few potential All-Stars, LHRP Isidro Pedroza "Sid" Monge, who had 12 wins and 19 saves as an All-Star for the 1979 Indians.
However, due to the irregular first name, alas, Monge, won't make this All-Sidney (and All-Sydney) team ... although, because those who are named "Sidney" don't quite fill out the positions needed to fill a standard big league roster, we will also step briskly past our usual alternate spelling rule, and consider including the half-dozen men named Sydney who played at the big league level.
So it's time to Sid up and meet this team, which of course we can only term ...
THE SIR SIDNEY POITIERS
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Unless noted otherwise, players listed as "Sid" or "Syd" had the given first name "Sidney" or "Sydney."
MGR Earl Sidney Weaver**
C Sidney "Pudge" Gautreaux (.247, 1936-37 BRK)
1B Sid Farrar (.253, 1883-90, Philadelphia Phillies, Quakers)
2B Sid Gordon* (primarily 3B; .283, 202 HR, 1941-55)
SS Syd O'Brien (.230, 4 teams, 1969-72; mostly 3B, played all IF)
3B Lewis Sidney "Lew" Riggs (.262, 1934-42, '46)
LF Robert Sidney "Hurricane Bob" Hazle (.310, parts of 1955-58)
CF Alonzo Sidney Powell (.211, 1987 MON, 1991 SEA)
RF Robert Sidney "Tex" Nelson (.205, parts of 1955-57)
DH Sid Bream (.264, 90 HR, 1983-94)
C Sidney Kirk "Tex" Womack (0-for-3 with 1926 BSN)
C Syd Smith (.247, 1908-15; also dabbled at 1B, 3B, OF)
1B Lawrence Sidney "Bobo" Osborne (.206, 1957-63)
OF Samuel Sidney "Whitey" Graves (5-for-20, 1927 BSN)
OF Allan Sydney Lewis (.207, 1967-73 KC & OAK A's)
RHSP Philip Sydney "Red" Ehret (139-167, 1888-98)
LHSP Charles Sidney "Sid" Fernandez* (114-96, 1983-97)
RHSP Sid Hudson* (104-152, 1940-42, '46-54)
RHSP Sidney Ponson (82-101 through 2007)
RHSP/UTIL Walter Sydney "Walt" Woods (18-26; .164 as IF/OF, 1898-1900)
LHRP Syd Cohen (3-7, 5 saves, parts of 1934-37 WAS)
RHRP Sid Schacht (0-2, 1 save, 1950-51)
RHRP Sid Peterson (2-0, 3 games, 1943 SLB)
RHRP George Sidney Ross (1 G, 2.1 IP - 2 H, 3 BB but no runs, 1918 NYG)
RHS/RP Sidney Dean Roberson (6-4, 5.76, 1995 MIL)
RHRP Sid Benton (one game, 1922 STL)
"SID"DING THIS ONE OUT? ... Before anyone asks or requests it, no -- Siddhartha "Sidd" Finch does not make this roster, though that seemingly-fictional 167-MPH fastball sure does tempt a guy to add him ... he's not a "Sidney" or even a "Sydney," after all ...
Just for the record, nobody from Sidney, British Columbia has ever made it to The Show, nor has anyone from Sidney, New York -- but there were two cuppajoe Sidney-born appearances, ironically both in 1997, as OF Ken Ramos, of Sidney, Nebraska went 0-for-12 with the Astros while Sidney, Ohio's Joey Long posted an 8.18 ERA (and no decisions) in 10 games as a LHRP with the Padres.
Given the presence of the alternately-spelled Sydneys on this team, let's take a moment to nod at another half-dozen players, also not eligible for this squad, but who found their way to tbe big leagues after being born in faraway Sydney, Australia.
These blokes include four pitchers, including two righties in Grant Balfour (6-3, 2001-07 MIN, TBD) and John Stephens (R-5, 2002 BAL) and two lefties in Brad Thomas (0-3, 2001, '03-04 MIN) and the still-active Ryan Rowland-Smith (1-0, 2007 SEA, 0-1 so far with 2008 SEA), as well as a couple of utility guys -- the turn-of-the-21st century 2B/3B Trent Durrington (.196, 1999-2005 ANA, MIL) and the turn-of-the-20th-century IF/OF Joe Quinn (who played mostly 2B from 1884-1901, amassing 1797 hits and a .261 batting average) ...
Quinn also managed, sort of, racking up an inglorious career record of 23-132 by going 11-28 with the 1895 St. Louis Browns and amassing a 12-104 mark (yes, you read that correctly) with the legendary 1899 Cleveland Spiders. He also led that Spider team in batting average (.286), slugging percentage (.345) and RBI (72).
Benton, nestled at the back of the Poitier bullpen, might have had the least satisfying career in the history of the sport -- in one appearance as a 27-year-old rookie with the Cardinals in 1922, he officially pitched no innings, facing two batters and walking both of them. At least neither one scored ... Woods was an active utilityman who did everything but catch and play 1B for three years around the turn of the 20th century; he was a regular starting pitcher for the 1898 Cubs and the 1899 Louisville Cardinals, sporting identical 9-13 records each year ...
We have to scramble a bit to fill out a starting infield, with players who were predmoninantly third basemen taking the starting reins at both 2B and shortstop -- and they'd better stay healthy and productive as there's nothing resembling a middle infielder on that bench ... The Poitiers are quite a roster for nicknames, including Pudge, Tex, Hurricane, another Tex, Bobo, Whitey and Red ... must be something about having that name Sidney/Sydney ...