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I'm not sure how one would look this up, or even if it's worth looking up at all. But as the Yankees finally erased the "0" in the team's 2012 win column today, I started thinking about an oddity regarding the team's pitching staff.

Nobody has noticed -- again, perhpas because it's not worth noticing? -- that four of the five pitchers in the '12 Yankee starting rotation have last/family names that end in vowels -- Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova and Garcia. (Thanks a lot, Phil Hughes.) And that doesn't even count recent off-season acquisition Joel Pineda (yet!) ...

When you also consider the Bronxpen is anchored by a guy named Rivera and includes stalwarts named Rapada and Soriano (but we're not counting the silent-lettered Cory Wade here), there could be an awful lot of Yankee games pitched entirely by pitchers with Italian/Latin/Far Eastern vowel-ending names. And when Pineda returns from injury, if he bumps Hughes back to the 'pen (though he seems more likely to bump Garcia), the Yankees could get upwards of 140 starts from the ends-with-a-vowel Name Club For Men. Would this be a record?

I have no idea. Do you?

The following wholly unscientific observational data is pulled from's list of the Top 200 winningest pichers of all time, From Cy Young's 511 at #1 down to Sandy Koufax's T200 total of 165 ...

First, as we did with Wade in the current Yankee 'pen, we're not going to count those whose names end in a silent vowel -- so, sayonara, Tim Keefe, Tom Glavine, Lefty Grove, Tony Mullane (actually. was that "e" silent or pronounced??), Andy Pettitte, Billy Pierce and Lew Burdette.

The only vowel-ender in the 300 win club is #16 Phil Niekro, while the only other two voweled hurlers in the Top 50 are #33 Mike Mussina and T49 Amos Rusie. Rounding out the Top 100 are T55 Frak Tanana, #74 Joe "Yes, Another" Niekro, #85 Stan Coveleski and T95 Vida Blue.

So that's just three of the Top 50 and seven of the Top 100. The next 100 brings to bear just eight more, including a few names you might not clearly recognize (and some that you will) -- #112 Jack Chesbro, T160 John Candelaria, T164 CC Sabatha, T164 Frank Viola, T170 Slim Sallee, T174 Fernando Valenzuela, T185 Bill Lee (not the one you're thinking of, The Spaceman only won 119 games) and T195 Howard Ehmke.

Well, the Yankees have always been a haven for Italian players, and more recently for both Latin and Japanese imports -- maybe the Bronx vowel-enders starting 140 or so games in 2012 shouldn't be much of a surprise?

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Super Bluto - Tuesday, April 10 2012 @ 07:09 AM EDT (#254204) #
don't you sometimes have to include Halladay?

Gerry - Tuesday, April 10 2012 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#254215) #
Mick, you should send that question in to Mark Simon from ESPN's baseball today podcast.  It could be their ridiculous question of the day.
China fan - Tuesday, April 10 2012 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#254232) #
One explanation for the vowels is the increasing number of Latinos in the majors (compared to decades ago, I mean). The Jays are a good example of this. At the moment, 7 of the 12 pitchers are Latino (if you include Carreno rather than Laffey). It's a good thing that their battery mate, Arencibia, speaks Spanish! Okay, I'm kidding, since almost all of the Latinos can speak English, although I think Alvarez is still learning, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the mound conversations are in Spanish, since JPA is fluent. Among the hitters, another 6 are Latino (if you include JPA), including the top hitter.

I wonder if this is the largest number of Latinos on the Jays roster in history? Of course there were the Alomars and Fernandezes and Gonzalezes in the past, but statistically today's roster might have the largest percentage of Latinos.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 10 2012 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#254233) #
Probably.  The old Epy Guerrero connection brought many middle infielders, a few outfielders, but hardly any pitchers.
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