If at first (base) you don't succeed ...

Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 04:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Thanks to Bauxite Jeremy Kennedy for crafting this outstanding "positional" Hall of Names feature.



Over at the Straight Dope message board, there's a thread trying to create an "All-First Baseman" all-star team. The challenge is to find players who played at least 600 games at first base, and 600 games at another position (with the outfield counting as one position) and see if a roster, or at least a starting lineup, can be completed.

It's actually fairly easy to come up with a starting lineup.  Starting at catcher, and going from first to third, with the numbers in parentheses equaling (games at 1B/games at other position), we have:

C Joe Torre (787/903)
1B Lou Gehrig (2137) -- any 1200 game 1B is eligible to start at first.
2B Rod Carew (1184/1130)
SS Ernie Banks (1259/1125)
3B Harmon Killebrew (969/791)
OF Carl Yastrzemski (765/2076)
OF Stan Musial (1016/1890)
OF Willie Stargell (848/1296)
DH Frank Thomas (971/1308) -- that's The Big Hurt, not the 50s/60s OF.

We even have a bit of a bench, led by Pete Rose (939/1327).  Charlie Hustle also qualifies at second base, where he started his career and played 628 games, as well as third base, which he played when the Big Red Machine was at its zenith.  Rose played 634 games at the hot corner.

For backup outfielders, we have Bill Buckner (1555/644) and Lance Berkman, (755/955)

Our backup catcher is Gene Tenace, (625/892)  And we'll finish off the bench with 3B Darrell Evans (856/1442) and Tony Perez (1778/760 at 3B).

With the 600 game non-first base criterion, we don't have a backup for Banks at SS.  We also don't really have a pure centerfielder.

Of course, you can't have a team without pitching.  We'll set aside the 600 game non-1B rule, and nominate Jimmie Foxx (1919 G at 1B) as our ace, who actually posted a rather tidy 1.52 ERA spread over 1 IP with the '39 Red Sox and 22.2 IP with the '45 Phillies, where he was actually credited with a win.  Next is George Sisler (1971 G at 1B), who actually came up as a pitcher with the Browns in 1915.  He posted a 5-6 record with a 2.32 ERA with the '15 and '16 Browns, and also earned three saves between 1918 and 1926.  After that is Frank Isbell (619 G at 1B), who posted a 4-7 record with the 1898 Chicago Orphans, and also pitched 4.1 innings with the White Sox, spread over four seasons from '01 to '07.  Rounding out the rotation, we have 1880s player John Morrill (916 G at 1B), who went 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA between 1880 and '89, mostly for the Boston Red Stockings/Beaneaters; and Big Ed Konetchy (2073 G at 1B), 1-1, 4.32 ERA in pitching stints with the '10 and '13 Cardinals and the '18 Braves.