Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust(in)

Saturday, March 07 2009 @ 06:20 PM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

After seeing the Dustin Pedroia commercial that's running for an MLB video game for the seventy thousandth time this week, I decided to see if we could build a Hall of Names team built entirely of players named "Dustin." And though there are nine men who have had that given first or middle name who've reached the big leagues to date -- and nine is a nice baseball number -- the simple answer is "no, we can't."

Just at a glance, we can see at least three -- McGowan, Hermanson and Nippert -- are pitchers, so there would not be a full eight on defense to fill out the lineup card.

Ah, but what if we include all those guys nicknamed "Dusty" or named "Dustan," etc.? Yes, if we expand our parameters a little ...

... and simply search the greatness of for the character string "Dust," we get a total of 25 returns (hey, another good baseball number) and might be able to fill out a lineup card, a semblance of a bench and something of a pitching staff. Let's see as we try to assemble ...

Dustin, The Wind
** indicates Hall of Famer (none yet)
* indicates All-Star

Player/Manager: Dusty Baker (1236-1129, one pennant, no rings, through 2008)
Player/Coach: Dusty Cooke (6-6, 1948 PHI that finished 66-88)

C Dusty Ryan (.318 as 2008 DET rookie)
1B Dusty Allen (7-for-28, two solo homers, 2000 SDP, DET)
2B Dustin Pedroia* (.313 through 2008)
SS Charles "Dusty" Miller (mostly OF; .301, parts of 1889-99, mostly CIN)
3B Jeffrey Dustin Frye (2B/UTIL, .279, eight seasons, parts of 1992-2001)
LF Johnnie "Dusty" Baker* (.278, 242 homers, 19 years, mostly ATL and LAD)
CF Allen "Dusty" Cooke (.280, 1930-36 NYY, BOS, 1938 CIN)
RF Dustan Mohr (.249, 49 homers, 2001-07)
DH James "Dusty" Rhodes (.253, 1952-57 NYG, '59 SFG)

C Daniel "Dusty" Kravitz (.236, 1956-60, mostly with PIT)
C Dustin "Dusty" Wathan (3-for-5 with 2002 KCR)
C Dustin Eli Whiteside (3-for-12, 2005 BAL)
OF Dakin "Dusty" Miller (.246, 1902 CHC)

LHSP Mel "Dusty" Parnell* (123-75, 1947-56 BOS)
RHSP Bob "Dusty" Rhoads (97-82, 1902-09, mostly CLE)
LHSP John "Duster" Mails (32-25, 1915-16, '20-22, '25-26)
RHSP Dustin McGowan (20-22 with TOR through 2008)
RHS/RP Gordon "Dusty" Rhodes (43-74, 1929-36 NYY, BOS)

CL-RH Dustin Hermanson (73-78, 56 saves, 1995-2006)
LHRP Dustin "Dusty" Bergman (1 game, 13.50 ERA, 2004 ANA)
RHRP Bob Dustal (0-1, 9.00 in 7 relief outings for 1963 DET)
RHRP Dustin Nippert (5-8, 2005-08, ARI, TEX)
RH-LONG Dustin Moseley (7-7 for LAA since 2006)
RH-LONG Charlie "Dusty" Rhodes (7-11, 1906, '08-09 STL, CIN)

Clouds of dust ... Baker and Cooke are the only two "Dust" players to manage in the big leagues ... Dustal is the only player in the history of the game to date with that character string leading his last/family name ... Frye, who concluded his career with the Blue Jays in 2001, played everywhere on the big league diamond except pitcher and catcher, but was primarily a 2B; even given that, his 57 career games at the hot corner earn him a starting position on this team ... Similarly, Charles Miller was almost exclusively an OF, but did play 11 big league games at short, which is even one more than Frye did, so he starts at the six-hole ... So yeah, the left side of the infield might be a little erratic ...

Briefly, Mails looked like a rising star; in 1920, at the age of 25 with the Indians, he made eight starts, went 7-0, 1.85 with six complete games -- then threw 15.2 scoreless innings in two World Seris starts, winning one as the Tribe took the title ... But then after a 14-8 1921 season, Mails faded quickly and was out of baseball completely by the age of 31 ... Parnell -- I never knew his nickname was "Dusty" -- twice won 20+ for the Red Sox, including 25 in 1949 (he started the All-Star Game for the AL that year) and had two other 18-win seasons as well ... Rhoads was 22-10 for the 1906 Indians ...

Pedroia, the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL MVP, is just the third major league player to win those awards in back-to-back seasons ... I remember thinking that Mohr would be a second-level star for a really long time, sort of a Tom Brunansky type, to compare him to another OF who got his start in the Twin Cities ... Yeah, that didn't happen ...

There have been three MLB Dusty Rhodes(es) and the aforementioned Dusty Rhoads -- baseball nicknames aren't long on originality -- but the best-known is certainly the Giants OF/PH James, who cemented his place in history with a 4-for-6 showing (with two dingers and seven RBI) in the 1954 World Series ... Dusty Ryan's given first name actually is "Dusty," at least according to BBRef ... Dusty Wathan retired with a tidy career batting average of .600, collecting three hits in five at-bats in his one brief callup to the Royals ... His daddy, John, played for the Royals for a decade and managed them for another five years, but was gone from KC by the time Dusty got the call ...

Dustin Eli Whiteside makes the team because we need roster filler, though we have an abundance of catchers -- and he didn't even have the good sense to go by his given first name; in his brief appearance in Charm City; he went by "Eli" ... Hermanson had a nice run as a starting pitcher from 1997-2001, compiling a 57-60 mark including 14 wins for the '98 Expos, but is this team's closer thanks to his 17-save 2004 with the Giants, followed by a 34-save 2005 with the World Champion White Sox ...

So how does this team do in the 2009 AL East? That bench "depth" is worrisome and the bullpen leans heavily to the right, but that rotation is okay and the offense, while lacking power, could be okay, too ...