Last week, when we ran a computer-pun-centric "All-MB" Hall of Names all-initials team,
veteran Bauxite Rob Pettapiece posted the leading statement, "I don't
think the All-GB team is 1024 times better, though." The further
question, of course, is whether an All-KB team would be demonstrably lesser than their MB brethren.
We know that such teams will give us the Brett boys, George to the former and Ken to the latter, so that's a nice start, but let's see how "driven" these teams are as we meet, first ...
Don't Gig Me, Just Byte Me
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Young Pettapiece has us off to a nice start, actually, pointing out, "Gus Bell, George Bell, George Brett, Geoff Blum, Gary 'Ding Dong' Bell, uh...Gregor Blanco?" Don't worry, Rob, there are plenty more options!
MGR George Bamberger (459-478, parts of 1978-86)
C Gary Bennett (~.190 so far with '08 LAD; .241 career since 1995)
1B George H. Burns (.307, 1914-29)
2B Glenn Beckert* (.281, one Gold Glove 1965-75)
SS Gene Baker* (.265, 1953-58, '60-61, mostly 2B, some 3B)
3B George Brett** (.305, 217 homers, one Gold Glove 1973-93)
LF George A. Bell* (.316, 265 homers, 1981-93; '87 AL MVP)
CF George J. Burns (.287, 383 SB, 1911-25; twice led NL in SB)
RF Gus Bell* (.281, 206 homers, 1950-64)
DH Gates Brown (.257, 84 homers, 1963-75)
C Glenn Borgmann (.229, 1972-80)
IF German Barranca (.290, 1979-82, 2B/3B)
IF/OF Geoff Blum (.249, 75+ homers since 1999, currently with HOU)
OF Geronimo Berroa (.276, 101 homers, 1989-2001)
OF Glenn Braggs (.257, 70 homers, 1986-92)
UTIL Greg Briley (.253, 1988-93; OF/3B/2B)
Giganotes I ... Among the final cuts from this squad (the GIGO of GB?) were OF Gregor Blanco, who is hitting .250+ and near double digits in SB as an '08 ATL rookie and 1B Greg Brock, who hit .248 with 110 homers, mostly for the Dodgers, from 1982-91. Others given consideration were OF/1B George "Jar Jar" Binks (.253, 1944-48 -- just kidding about the nickname!), OF George Browne (.273, 190 SB, 1901-12) and OF Glenn Burke (.237, 1976-79).
Now, as for the pitching staff ...
RHSP Guy Bush (176-136, also 34 saves, 1923-38, '45)
LHSP Gene Bearden (20-7 and one WS win as '48 CLE rookie; 45-38 career)
RHSP George "Grin" Bradley (171-151, 1875-77, '79-84)
LHSP George Brunet (69-93, 1956-71)
RHSP George Blaeholder (104-125, also 12 saves, 1925-36)
CL-RH Gary Bell* (121-117, 51 saves, 1958-69)
RHRP Grant Balfour (8-4, 4 saves since '01; currently closing for TBR)
LHRP Garland Braxton (50-53, 32 saves, 1921-33)
RHRP George Boehler (6-12, 1912-16, '20-21, '23, '26)
RHRP Greg Booker (5-7, 1 save, 1983-90 -- 161 appearances)
Giganotes II ... The final cuts from the pitching staff included RHSP George G. Bell, who was 43-79 with Brooklyn from 1907-11 and who lost 27 games in 1910; RHSP Gene Brabender, who was 35-43 from 1966-70 and was 13-14 as the putative ace of the Ball Four '69 Seattle Pilots; and LHS/RP Garland Buckeye (30-39, 1918, '25-28)... George Brunet was also in that Pilots rotation part of the year. If only "Gym" Bouton were eligible for our squad ... It's true that our designated "closer," Gary Bell, is best known for his work as a starting pitcher -- that's where he earned his All-Star stripes -- but he does lead the Gigabytes in saves as the only GB to even clear 40 career (and he had more than 50) ... Bell actually started only 233 of his 519 big league appearances ... Bush, who is second on the team in career saves with 34, started 308 of his 542 career games, and he holds down the #1 spot in the rotation per his 176 career wins, but he and Bell could easily swap roles ...
Clearing the hard drive ... Obviously, we're relying on the "went by" rule for initials, or Genes Baker and Bearden, both born "Eugene," would not make the squad ... But we do not permit nicknames to formulate the "initials," or we'd certainly have found a roster spot for OF Clarence Howeth "Ginger" Beaumont, who hit .311 from 1899-1910 ... On the other hand, that "went by" rule does open the door for our lefty 20-game winner, the otherwise ineligible Henry Eugene "Gene" Bearden ... Manager Bamberger was also a big league RHRP sporadically in the 1950s, but his career mark -- 14.1 IP over three seasons and a 9.42 ERA -- did not earn him a player/manager roster spot ...
Barranca was once traded even up from KC to Cincy for veteran CF Cesar Geronimo -- that's right, German Barranca for Cesar Geronimo, one of the great all-name trades in the history of the sport. Can you think of a better one? ... Blaeholder had seven sonsecutive double-digit win seasons for the Browns, from 1928-34 ... Why recognize George "Grin" Bradley's nickname? Well, there was another George Bradley, same middle name (Washington) who was a cuppajoe (2-for-12) OF for the 1946 Browns ... "Grin" won 33 as a rookie, then 45 the next year -- and 25 in his final season, 1884, accounting for 103 of his 171 career wins in those "bookends" ... He also pitched the first National League no-hitter in his sophomore season of 1876 ... And yes, there was still a third George Bradley, middle initial H, nickname "Foghorn," who was 9-10 in his only (1876) season with the Boston Red Caps, a team managed by Harry Wright and featuring George Wright at shortstop ...
Braxton saved 13 games for the 1927 Senators, which three seasons earlier would have tied the all-time single-season record; by then, though, Hall of Names legend Firpo Marberry was establishing a new mark of 22, one that would last until 1949 ... For a time, Gates Brown was the all-time leader in pinch-hits ... "Garland Buckeye" -- there's a new candidate for "favorite baseball name ever" ... I would love to think a guy with that name was born in Garland, Texas and went to Ohio State, but he was born in Minnesota and attended Wabash College ... George Burpo was a cuppajoe LHRP (15.43 ERA in 2.1 IP) for the '46 Reds, but what a great name! ... Blum has never pitched or caught in a big league game, but -- though primarily an IF -- he has played everywhere else, including DH, and has logged at least 50 games everwhere except RF and DH ...
Coming up next ... a team that, compared to these guys, almost has to play "small" ball ... that's right, start looking forward to logging on for the all-KB squad!