Carol of the Bells

Wednesday, December 24 2008 @ 07:00 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

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!