Gosh, it's been a while since we brewed up a Baseball's Hall of Names squad, but recent debate in our newest '10 Picture of the Day stirs up an idea centered around Jay uber-prospect Brett Cecil -- and it has nothing to do with Prince Fielder's daddy or old BoSox 1B Cecil Cooper or early All-Star shortstop Cecil Travis. (Or any of them guys!)
In fact, we're going the other direction, away from the young hurler's family name to his given name, Brett; so let's set some ground rules.
First, we are only considering given names, so George Brett -- though he would be this team's best player by a mile -- is not eligible, and neither is older brother Ken, who would be a rotation anchor. Herb "Duke" Brett, the only other MLB vet to bear that family name, won just one game for the 1925 Cubs, so might not make the team even if he were eligible.
Second, though we are normally loathe to allow alternative spellings into the Hall of Names, of the 19 men to bear the aforementioned appelation, a full five of them were actually named Bret -- so that will be designated as "acceptable."
Still, with only 19 options, this could be a tough roster to fill out ... in fact, we can't do it without bending, even flat-out breaking, some long-standing Hall of Names rules, and even then, though we end up with a deep pitching staff, we can only barely (by skirting the rules) fill out a lineup card, much less a full roster -- and only for a National League rules game, at that ...
Regardless, let's see how we do as we meet a Hull of a team (we hope) that can only be tagged ...
THE GOLDEN BRET(T)S
** indicates Hall of Famer (none)
* indicates All-Star
# indicates minor leaguer only
C Bret Hemphill (3-for-27 with 1999 ANA)
1B Brett Hayes (.273, 1 homer in 11 AB as 2009 FLA rookie)
2B Bret Boone* (.266, 252 HR, four Gold Gloves, 1992-2005)
SS Brett King# (.222 in eight minor league seasons in SFG, CHC, LAA systems)
3B Bret Barberie (.271, four teams, 1991-96)
LF Brett Gardner (.256, 39 SB, 2008-09 NYY)
CF Brett Butler* (.280, 558 SB, 1981-97)
RF Brett Carroll (.208 for FLA since 2007)
Not so much!
RHSP Bret Saberhagen* (167-117, `984-99; 1985 and 1989 AL Cy Young Awards)
LHSP Brett Anderson (11-11 as '09 OAK rookie)
RHSP Brett Tomko (100-102 for nine teams since 1997)
LHSP Brett Cecil (7-4 as '09 TOR rookie)
RHSP Brett Jodie (0-1, 2001 SDP; 0-1, 2001 NYY)
CL-RH Brett Myers (73-63, 21 saves since 2002 with PHI)
RHRP Bret Prinz (5-4, 9 saves, 2001-07)
RHRP Brett Campbell (10.38 ERA in 4.1 IP for 2006 WSN)
RHRP Brett Gideon (1-5, 3 saves, 1987 PIT; also cameos with 1989-90 MON)
LHRP Brett Laxton (0-1, 1999 OAK, 0-1 2000 KCR; also a starter)
RHRP Brett Merriman (1-2, 1993-94 MIN)
RHRP Brett Hinchliffe (0-5, three teams, 1999-2001)
You Bret(t)cha! ... No player with the given name "Bret" or "Brett" ever appeared in a big league ball game before 1981, when the Butler did it ... Almost half of the 19 Bret(t)s in MLB history are still active heading into 2010 ... Myers, who has no less than five full seasons as a double-digit winner, might belong in the rotation, but he is also the only Bret(t) with a 20-save season (or even a double-digit save season, for that matter) -- 21 for the '07 Phillies ... After you get past Saberhagen, Tomko and Myers, who have combined for a career 342-282 record, the rest of the staff -- that's eight more guys! -- have to date together posted a 25-33 mark ...
Barberie, who was the sixth overall pick of the 1992-93 expansion draft, was primarily a 2B, but also spent significant time at both 3B and SS, and even made a token appearance at 1B for the '91 Expos ... Hinchliffe was once traded by Anaheim, along with Keith Luuloa to the Cubs for Brett King (an infielder who never made it out of the minors), Chris Hatcher and Mike Heathcott. Though King never reached MLB, this is the only confirmed Brett-for-Brett trade to date, so he is our token non-MLB Bret(t) to fill out the lineup card ... Laxton is the son of former big league starter Bill Laxton, a LHSP who may have had occasion to face George Brett in brief runs through the American League in the mid-1970s ...
We'd love to slot George at 3B and move Barberie to short, making the lineup a full slate of major leaguers, but rules is rules ... For that matter, Ken would be a fine lefty for the rotation and probably the team's #2 starter between Saberhagen and Tomko ...
According to BaseballReference.com, there are at least another 44 Bret(t)s currently active in the minor leagues, so this team's makeup might change as soon as this coming season. So after all that, maybe that's not "As Good as it Bret(t)s" ...