You better believe it, Buster

Saturday, October 09 2010 @ 08:26 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

So the other day I was watching the Braves and Giants and listening to the announcers wax poetic about wonderful Rookie of the Year co-favorites Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. And suddenly, in a Hall of Names dither, I found myself wondering, "Is Posey the first 'Buster' in major league history?" I couldn't think of any others, but (continuing and perpetual) thanks to our friends at, I discovered I was quite wrong about that.

In fact, there have been no less than 19 major league Busters in the history of the great game, one of whom even managed for a brief spell. (It's true, there hasn't been even one before Posey since 1958, and most were far earlier in the game's canon.) Now, 19 ain't near enough to fill a full roster, but let's see if we can't at least work through a full lineup card and sort out some pitching options; let's meet the team that will bear the name (sorry about this) ...

** No Hall of Famers
* No All-Stars

Player/Manager Colonel Buster Mills (4-4, 1953 Reds)
PR Director: Buster Olney?

C Frank "Buster" Burrell (.246, parts of 1891-97, NYG, BRK)
1B Gerald "Buster" Posey (.305/18/67 as 2010 SFG rookie)
2B William "Buster" Hoover (.288, fiour teans, parts of 1884-92, OF/SS/1B/IF)
SS Phil "Buster" Tomney (.232, 100 RBI, 64 SB, 1888-90 LOU)
3B Charles "Buster" Chatham (.263, 1930-31 BSN)
LF Colonel Buster Mills (.287, five teans, parts of 1934-46)
CF Elvin "Buster" Adams (.266, 50 HR, 1939, '43-47, STL, PHI)
RF James "Buster" Maynard (.221, parts of 1940-46 NYG)
DH James "Buster" Caton (SS, .226, 1917-20 PIT)

CF Clarence "Buster" Bray (1-for-11, 1 RBI with 1941 Braves)
SS/3B James Buster Clarkson (.200, 5-for-25, 1952 Braves)
1B Bill "Buster" Keen (0-for-7, 1911 PIT; did walk once)
OF Johnny "Buster" Lucas (0-for-3, 1931-32 BOS)

RHSP Charles "Buster" Brown (51-103, 3.21, 1905-13, three teams)
LHSP Les "Buster" McCrabb (10-15, 1939-42, '50 PHA)
RHSP Leslie "Buster" Narum (14-27, 1963 BAL, 1964-67 WAS)

CL-RH Hershell "Buster" Freeman (30-16, 27 saves, 1952058, BOS, CIN, CHI)
RHRP Rudy "Buster" Minarcin (6-9, 3 saves, 1955 CIN, '56-57 BOS)
LHRP Chester "Buster" Ross (7-12, 1 save, 1924-26 BOS) 

BUSTER POSINGS ... Adams had a remarkable 1945, a season he received a smattering of MVP votes, hitting .287/22/109, mostly with STL after starting out at .232/2/8 in a couple of weeks with PHI.. He was traded in a five-player deal in which the Blue Jays -- that's what the PHI team was known as then -- acquired 3B John Antonelli, no relation to (and not nearly as successful as) the later pitcher of the same name ... Buster Brown -- yes, that was what he went by! -- had double-digit losses six times, with a career "high" of 23 in 1910, but only won in double digits once, with exactly 10 in 1907. His major league career ended with the Braves sold him to the International League's Toronto club early in the 1913 season ...

You'll note there are no quotation marks around "Buster" in Clarkson's name -- turns out that was actually his given middle name; his nickname was "Buzz." Clarkson debuted as a 37-year-old rookie in 1952 for his only big league cuppajoe ... Caton also had the alternate nickname "Howdy," presumably because he bore the given middle name "Howard" ... wonder if Caton's "Buster" moniker came due to old-time actor Buster Keaton? ... One of the unlikeliest given names in MLB history also had a middle-moniker of Buster -- Colonel Buster Mills. That's right, his given first name was a military rank --at least his parrents made him an officer, perhaps foreseeing his managerial future ... Freeman had a wonderful year with the Reds in 1956, winning 14 and saving 18; he finished seventh in NL MVP balloting that year ... McCrabb was 9-13, 5.49 with the 1941 A's, but a career ERA of 5.96 limited him to token appearances in four other seasons ...

You might not be familiar with Narum, but it's possible -- I don't even know how to look this up -- that he's the only player in MLB history to be traded (twice, separately) for two different Rookies of the Year -- Lou Piniella and Ron Hansen ... Hoover was an all-around-the-diamond utilityman who slipped six appeearances at 2B into his career resume -- he's really the only "reach" in filling out this lineup ...

So the roster is a bit short and there are no real stars -- except perhaps the young Posey -- but honestly, I think this team would not be the worst in MLB history, or anything .... maybe 52-110 in the 2011 AL East ...?