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Each year around this time, we take a musical tour through Baseball's Hall of Names to ring in the new year -- and in fact, these tours have more commonly been New Year-themed (see Auld Lang Syne and Just Another New Year's Eve from years past). But before we completely run out of New Year's songs -- or have we already? -- let's back up a week and try our lyrical hand at Christmas. (We sort of did this a few years ago, but this is the first real attempt at a carol).

So with a nod to Gus, Buddy, David, Cool Papa and George (among others) -- or had you figured that out for the headline already? -- let's join together in a chorus of ...

Carol of the Bells
Carol of the Bells is an adaptation of an ancient Ukrainian folk song called a "shchedrivka." An arrangement by Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) was popularized in the 1930's by Oleksander Koshyts (1875-1944), a Ukrainian choir director who worked in the United States and Canada. It has since become a North American Christmas classic.

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away
Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold,
ding dong ding
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling

one seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air
Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
o'er hill and dale,
telling their tale,
Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here,
merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
on on they send ,
on without end,
their joyful tone to every home
dong ding dong ding, dong bong

Hitting (or missing) a few high notes ... Thanks as always to the holiday miracle that is, without which the entire concept of the Hall of Names -- and certainly these song stylings -- would not be possible ...

The word "bring" links to 1958-61 RHRP Al Schroll because his middle name was "Bringhurst" and thus it's the only return on a BBRef search for "bring" ... Maybe this is a reach, but with nobody in baseball history named "Throw," we had to either go with Bill Singer, "The Singer Throwing Machine," (one of the greatest nicknames ever), leave it blank, or -- as you see we chose to do, give the link to the greatest baseball arm (non-pitching division) ever, Bob Clemente ...

Since there's been nobody named "Cheer" (that actually surprised me), the link goes to Charlie Hickman, who was nicknamed "Piano Legs," which doesn't help us, but also "Cheerful Charlie," which definitely does ...

While the various references to "ding" in the song led us to Craig Dingman, the equally various references to "dong" led us only to Bill Bell -- hey, another Bell! -- whose nickname was "Ding Dong" ... He might have covered both those words, but oddly enough, they never appear in that order in the song itself ... I suppose we also could have reached for Don Cullett (Don G. = "dong," get it?) ...

Is it too much of a reach to use "Thatcher" for "that" or 'Gaillard' FOR "Gaily"? ... Every link in the song above leads to a page on BBRef except one -- how could we not link to Sadaharu Oh for the word "Oh"? And that left us with his Wikipdedia entry ...

Homonyms are okay here, so "Eyre" for "air" works just fine ... We are also largely ignoring the standard "no first or middle name" rule -- you should have gleaned that from the aforementioned link to Schroll -- but there are other examples like Ona Dodd (who beat out Onix Concepcion for link-to "On"ors) and Homer Bailey, who gets the "home" link over Tom House -- for as anyone can tell you, not every House is a Home ... There is nobody in baseball history named "Sound" or even "Noise," so we are left with Baldy Louden -- got any other suggestions? Make them quietly ...

Wasn't sure what to do with the word "One" since the search returned mostly a bunch of O'Neill's which is really off by an apostrophe ... Who's the greatest player to ever wear the uniform #1? (Mags, you out there?) ... Couldn't come up with anything clever or punny to link to from "everywhere" ... any ideas, anyone?

We did limit ourselves to MLB players only (with the exception of Oh), which led us to use Don Songer over the wonderfully-named Seung Song

Art Merewether gets multiple links because he was actually nicknamed "Merry" ... Yes, that's ex-Jay Robert Person taking up the "people" link -- what's a pluralization among friends at the holidays? ... As for the word "tale," again to my surprise, there has never been a player named "Tale" or "Tail" or even "Story," except in the minor leagues ... Speaking of a reach, the word "raising" can be shortened to "rais" as in Tampa Bay's Rays ... no?

How else can we creatively fill in some of the blanks here, Bauxites. And one last thing ... Happy Halladays!

Carol of the Bells | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
zeppelinkm - Wednesday, December 24 2008 @ 08:29 PM EST (#195177) #
I too was surprised by the no Tail, Tale, or Story. There is also nobody with the last name Fable or Verse.

It's a stretch, but we could link to Charlie Prosek Williams for tale.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 25 2008 @ 11:29 AM EST (#195186) #
Blaise Ils-ley works for "they", at least in the land of snow. 
Mike Green - Friday, December 26 2008 @ 07:18 PM EST (#195212) #
In honour of my son's 20th birthday, here are the Boxing Weekend (Dec. 26th, 27th and 28th birthdays) All-Stars:

C-         Carlton Fisk
1B-       Chris Chambliss
2B-       Jeff King
SS-      Ozzie Smith
3B-       Dean Palmer
LF-       Roy White
CF-       Bill Hall
RF-      John Milner
DH-      Jim Leyritz

Bench- George Tebeau (OF), Aurelio Rodriguez (3B), Craig Reynolds (MI), Ernie Krueger (C), Norm Larker (1B-OF)

SP-      Cole Hamels
SP-      Tommy Bridges
SP-      Bill Lee
SP-      Ted Lyons
SP-      Zane Smith

RP-     B.J. Ryan
RP-     Stu Miller
RP-     Carl Willis
RP-     Ray Sadecki
RP-     Ray Lamb

It's a good lineup 1-9, but without as much shape as would be ideal.  White and Milner at the top of the order get on base enough,  and you've got a bunch of hitters after that with medium range pop until Ozzie who hits ninth.  The pitching is excellent, top-to-bottom- 5 good starters and Sadecki ready in case one gets hurt, and an excellent 1-2 R-L punch in the bullpen.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 04 2009 @ 09:06 PM EST (#195387) #
The January 5 birthday team would be right up there despite the absence of any Hall of Famers:

C-    Luke Sewell
1B-  Ron Kittle
2B-  Jim Gantner
SS-  Art Fletcher
3B-  Bill Dahlen
LF-  Joe Grace
CF-  Benny Kauff
RF-  Riggs Stephenson
DH- Earl Battey

Bench- Bob Dernier (OF), Milt Thompson (OF), Fred Marsh (UI), John Russell (C), Bill Hunnefield (UI)

SP- Bob Caruthers
SP- Charlie Hough
SP- Jeff Fassero
SP- Danny Jackson
SP- Rube Foster

RP- Jack Kramer
RP- Chris Nabholz
RP- Tom Kelley
RP- Jack Salveson
RP- John Davis

Very good defence in the infield, except for Kittle, very good starting pitching (you know when Danny Jackson is #4, you're in pretty good shape), and a batting order that works (Kauff, Dahlen, Kittle, Stephenson, Grace, Battey, Fletcher, Gantner, Sewell). Against lefties, Dernier comes in for Grace and Battey moves up to #5.  The bullpen and bench are the weakest links, but Kramer and Nabholz can make starts if required.  You'd probably break up the lefties in the rotation. When Caruthers pitches, you'd let him hit for himself and move Battey behind the plate, and you might have Caruthers DH from time to time. 

So, how many wins for the 501s in the AL East of 2008?

Mick Doherty - Sunday, January 04 2009 @ 11:22 PM EST (#195389) #
So, how many wins for the 501s in the AL East of 2008?

Hm. somewhere between 64-70, in a battle with BAL for fifth place. A distant fifth place.

Hitting Kittle -- a .230 hitter with 150 strikeouts -- in the three-hole says a lot about the lineup.
Mike Green - Monday, January 05 2009 @ 10:15 AM EST (#195399) #
Ouch, Mick.

Kittle wasn't that bad- although the career 110 OPS+ certainly overstates his ability.  Here's the rundown on the batting order:

Kauff- career OBP .389 (park-adjusted league average in the teens .323), although that overstates the case due to his time in the Federal League
Dahlen- career OBP .358 (park-adjusted league average .342)
Kittle- pop
Stephenson- career OPS+ of 130
Grace/Dernier- above league OBP; below league slug
Battey- career OPS+ of 106 evenly distributed
Fletcher- average hitter (slightly weighted to slugging)
Gantner- slightly above average hitter for a second baseman
Sewell- very good defensive catcher; poor hitter.

I'd guess that this team scores 750-800 runs in the AL East of 2008.  The starting pitching is very good and effectively goes seven deep.  The bullpen is strictly there for mop-up.  I'd guess that they would give up 730-770 runs, and win 82 games. 

Carol of the Bells | 6 comments | Create New Account
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