The other day, for no particular reason, I noticed that two-thirds of
the Texas Rangers starting outfield consisted of All-Star starter
(admittedly at DH) Milton Bradley and fine utilityman Marlon Byrd,
That got me to thinking, Hall-of-Names style, about the "megabytes"
(yes, that's abbreviated "MB") of talent in big league history. Current
hurler Mark Buehrle, of course, and recent All-Star shortstops Mark Belanger and Mike Bordick came to mind, and then, uh ...
... well, let's see then. What kind of Hall of Names team can we build
from players who bore the initials "M.B."? The usual caveats apply; it
had to be the name they actually went by, so sorry Jeffrey
Michael Blauser -- we have All-Star shortstops to choose from already,
anyway. And no nicknames, so Ernie "Mr. Cub" Banks need not apply --
and what's with all the shortstops, anyway?
Of course, "went by" works both ways, so '90s catcher John Mark Bailey, who went by his middle moniker while with the Astros and Giants, is at least eligible. We'll see if his .220 career average nets him a roster spot ... Meanwhile, Michael Scott Bankhead may have won 57 big league games, but his decision to "take off his Mike" makes him ineligible for this squad ...
Even without Banks, we do have one Hall of Famer on our squad, in Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, and a number of All-Stars (as already noted, the battle to start at short will be something!) but what kind of full roster will we end up with as we meet ...
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Front office: Morgan Bulkeley** (first president of National League)
Radio broadcaster: Marty Brennamen** (2000 Ford Frick winner)
C Michael Barrett (.265, 95 homers through 2007)
1B Marv Blaylock (.254/10/50 with '56 PHI; .235/15/78 career)
2B Marty G. Barrett (.278, 1982-91)
SS Mark Belanger* (.228, eight Gold Gloves, 1965-82)
3B Mike Blowers (.257/78/365, 1989-99; .257/23/96, 1995 SEA)
LF Marvin Benard (.271, 54 homers, 1995-2003)
CF Michael Bourn (.277, 18 SB with '07 PHI; .218, 32 SB so far at '08 HOU)
RF Milton Bradley* (next homer will be career #100; leading '08 AL in OPS)
DH Mickey Brantley (.259, 32 homers, 1986-89 SEA)
C Matt Batts (.269, 26 homers, 1947-56)
IF Mike Benjamin (.229, 1989-2002)
IF Mike Bordick* (.260, 1990-2003)
2B Max Bishop (.271, 1924-35)
IF Mark Bellhorn (.230 through '07)
OF Marlon Byrd (.270+ since 2002)
RHSP Mordecai Brown** (239-130, 1903-16)
LHSP Mark Buehrle* (107-75 throguh 2007)
RHSP Mike Boddicker* (134-117, 1980-93; won 20 in '84)
RHSP Max Butcher (95-106, 1936-45)
RHSP Mike Bielecki (70-73, 1984-97, five teams)
RHRP Mace Brown* (76-57, 48 saves, 1935-43, '46)
LHRP Marshall Bridges (23-15, 25 saves, 1959-65)
RHS/RP Miguel Batista (84-90 through 2007; 4-10 so far in '08)
LHRP Mike Beard (4-2, one save, 1974-77 ATL)
RHRP Mike Butcher (11-4, nine saves, 1992-95 CAL)
Mere Kilobytes of additional information ... Beard doesn't really necessarily deserve a spot on the pitching staff over guys like Matt Belisle (15-18 through '07 with CIN; 1-4 so far in '08), Mike Birkbeck (12-19, parts of 1986-95; 10-8, '88 MIL), Marty Bystrom (29-26, 1980-85) and Micah Bowie (8-12 parts of 1999-2007; 0-1 in '08 so far with COL), but with only one lefty in the rotation, we wanted a second one in the bullpen and Beard beat out Matt Blank (2-3, 2000-01 MON), Mike Bertotti (3-1, 1995-97 CHW), Mel Behney (0-2, 1970 CIN) and starter-only Matt Beech (8-22, 1996-98 PHI) ... Otherwise, RHRP Mike Barlow (10-6, six saves, 1975-81 STL, HOU, CAL, TOR) would almost certainly be on the squad ...
Despits his third-generation backdrop, Mike Bell doesn't make the team; son of Buddygrandson of Gus lasted just part of one season with in the uniform his forebeard also wore ...We also have a father/son combo available to us in the Mike Bacsiks, but neither makes this team ... Mark Baldwin, who actually doesn't make this team, won between 26 and 34 games each season from 1889-92, but it was a different era; his overall mark in that four-year stretch was just 109-113 ...
I was a little surprised to discover that Barrett never made an All-Star appearance-- and why the middle initial? Well, turns out there was another Marty (F.) Barrett who played big league ball, a catcher who went 1-for-19 for Boston and Indianapolis in 1884 ... Mordecai Brown is the all-time saves leader among M.B. pitchers with 49 -- unless I missed someone? -- but obviously belongs at the front of the rotation rather than anchoring the bullpen ...
Bellhorn hit 27 homers for the '02 Cubs and 17 more for the curse-busting '04 Red Sox (he also led the AL in strikeouts that year with 177), but never hit more than eight dingers in a season before or after that ... Moe (The Catcher Was a Spy) Berg actually came up as a middle infielder, but spent the bulk of his long baseball career glued to the bench as a third catcher -- his second career as a U.S. secret agent was a bit more active. He doesn't find a third-catcher's roster spot here, but supposing we need an advance scout? He'd do just fine ... Bishop walked 97 or more times in eight straight seasons for PHA ...
If we ever do an all-Hollywood Hall of Names team, let's not forget that Ferris Bueller himself, Matthew Broderick, was 0-for-2 in a brief stint as a 2B for the 1903 Brooklyn Superbas ...
So, MegaBauxites, does this team crash the hard drive?