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Some time back, we finished a series of Hall of Names teams for each of the 25 Most Common North American Male First Names; this is the 25th "other" male first name team to grace Batter's Box pages since early in 2003 ...

It won't feature celebrity softballers like Affleck or Stiller, or require a quarterback like Roethlisberger, but as you have surely guessed from the headline, we'll be gauging the Ben-efits of this team's quality as we meet ...
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Young Blue Jay OF (and future AL MVP) Alex Rios is 26 today, Feb. 18. He is one of no less than 49 big league ballplayers born on this day.

Not a single one of those four-dozen-plus-one is enshrined in Baseball's Hall of Fame (though there is at least one MVP already and a number of other All-Stars), but it is indeed possible that this is one of the most prolific Hall of Names birthdays in the entire calendar year.

What follows is a roster made up entirely of players born on Feb. 18. Let's see if this team would be any good as we we greet ...
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Not too long ago, Batter's Box ran a poll regarding the "best science fiction television series/franchise." There were nine candidates listed (all received votes), and the varied tastes of Bauxites everywhere led to no less than eighteen additional shows receiving what amounted to "write-in" votes.

In one of the least surprising poll results of all time, the Star Trek franchise ran away with the poll, picking up more than 40 percent of the total votes, nearly three times the total accumulated by the second-place finisher, Battlestar Galactica.

As mentioned in the poll, this is all in the interest of an ongoing Hall of Names series ... and as such, each of the leading vote-getters will get a turn. Heck, Star Trek has already had its own Hall of Names day in the sun (or under the stars), one of just a few television shows -- along with stalwarts like Happy Days and M*A*S*H, as well as less conventional favorites like The Simpsons and Sesame Street -- to be so honored.

But for all that, since I am doing the series, I get to decide who goes next, and with all due respect to BSG and other vote-getters, the greatest syndicated science fiction series/franchise in the history of English-language television is ...

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It's practically a religious holiday in the United States; as you certainly know, today is that once-a-year spectacle known as "Super Bowl Sunday." And what better way to acknowledge this important event than with not one but two teams built for Baseball's Hall of Names.

Now, fortunately for us, the numbers work -- a standard baseball roster has 25 spots and a standard NFL starting lineup, when you include the specialists, also has 25 spots. So the challenge to you is to build the best possible baseball team with Football Hall of Fame names AND the best possible football team with Baseball Hall of Fame names. Actually, don't feel constrained by the HOFer list(s) -- anyone who played the one sport at the major league level is eligible for the other roster.

Confused? Don't be ... it's this simple:

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The idea behind these was to have some fun wandering through history. Having started with the AL East, I figured I would then switch leagues and coasts and go to the NL West.

I didn't really think that through, did I? It put Tampa, Arizona, and Colorado directly in my path. In succession. Three teams created in the 1990s. There's no history to wander through here. It's like doing homework.
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You might recall that a while back -- actually, way back in June of '06 -- we introduced a new Hall of Names category focused on players born in a particular year. We met The Bicentennial Men, players born in 1976, and readers chipped in by adding teams for players born in 1957, 1980, 1982 and 1983.

It's a new year and a new group of MLB players is turning 30 this year, so let's take a gander at players born in 1977 (there have been more than 200, at least so far) as we meet ...

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Almost lost in the hulabaloo of last week's execution of Saddam Hussein was the death of 93-year-old Gerald Ford, the only man to serve as President of the United States without being elected to a position in the U.S. government's executive branch.

And though Ford wasn't the baseball fan his predecessor Richard Nixon or his Republican successor Ronald Reagan were, the fact that he was an outstanding college football player while at the University of Michigan landed the story of his passing some time on ESPN and Fox Sports News. And now, Baseball's Hall of Names nods respectfully to the man who was the White House's ultimate relief pitcher -- he replaced both Spiro Agnew AND Nixon, after all -- by introducing not one but two all-name teams. To start, let's meet ...

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Last year -- okay, yesterday, but that's still last year -- we built a Hall of Names team of players born on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31. Today, New Year's Day, has been more prolific in producing big league talent, with 48 players to the previous day's 28. That, of course, means ... uh, something.

And actually, it's 47 players and one manager who never played big league ball in Bill McGunnigle, who led the 1889-90 Brooklyn Bridegrooms to back-to-back league titles in two different leagues, the 1889 American Association and the 1890 National League. Could he lead this New (Year's) Age team to such success? Let's find out as we meet ...
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When you search the greatness of BaseballReference.com for MLB figures born on Dec. 31 -- New Year's Eve babies, as it were -- there are 30 names returned. However, two of them -- one a manager (Jim Tracy), the other a Hall of Fame umpire (Tom Connolly) -- were never actually players, so we are looking at a list of 28 options to build a team.

All that means, of course, is that we must be steadfast and, uh, resolute, in our team-building of ... (wait for it) ...
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It's the Patron Saint feast day of your favourite interactive magazine, as the day after Christmas is traditionally known as Boxing Day -- the day, of course, that we all give thanks for the important Boxes in our lives. In the sports world, that usually comes down to the penalty box, the coach's box and of course, the batter's box. Or in our case, the Batter's Box.

There have actually been 43 men (to date) who were delivered on Boxing Day (born on Dec. 26) and gone on to play in the major leagues, along with another Hall of Fame executive in Morgan Bulkeley, the first (admittedly figurehead) president of the National League when it was founded in 1876.

Two Boxing Day players, a Pudge and a Wizard, went on to Cooperstown induction, and while that's a fine start to any team (catcher and shortstop are arguably the two most important positions to fill on a team, at least defensively), how would an entire roster built from these Boxing Day Babies take shape?

Glad you asked ...
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Regular readers of Da Box may recall that we have introduced Hall of Names holiday themes before -- not just Christmas, either, as one of the very first Hall of Names entries was dedicated to (and published on) St. Patrick's Day. Other odes to Thanksgiving, the U.S. Independence Day, Canada Day, and several others, have also appeared.

And yes, we've tried Christmas -- like this less-than-successful group effort in 2003 and a rather better "ode" to Christmas Carols just last year, in '05. Earlier that same holiday season, we built a team called The Chrismas Presence made up of players born on Dec. 25 -- yes, including one guy born that day actually named "Jesus."

For this year, let's think a bit about those colourfully decorated boxes under the tree that get dismantled while the holiday turkey is in the oven. Yes, that's right, last year we met The Christmas Presence, and this year we're going for ...

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Ex-Jay Derek Bell turned 38 earlier this week. On the same day, not an "ex-Jay" but really a Jay, that is, Jay Bell turned 41. Neither is the best major league player to have been born on Dec. 11 (okay, okay, this should have been posted earlier!), but they are two of the 36 MLB alumni to bear the last/family name "Bell" (or at least to have that as part of their last/family name -- hello Albert Belle, Mark Bellhorn and others); another three have had the middle name "Bell," and per Hall of Names standards, they will be referenced only if necessary.

That said, let's "ring in" a new Hall of Names team that may a-peal to many of you as we meet ...
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We now take the final step through the process of building a Hall of Names roster for each of the 25 most-common male names in North America -- though one additional step in this process will be taken later.

For now, though, let's look at name #22, one of those rare names that has done significant triple duty as a given first name and middle name as well as a family/last name in the big leagues ... Anthony.

Sure, it's true that ...
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We're almost done working our way through the process of building a Hall of Names roster for each of the 25 most-common male names in North America; in fact, just two remain -- #22 Anthony and #23 Kevin. In honor of the man who's made more baseball-themed movies than anyone not working as a big league advance scout, let's go with the latter for now -- though for the record, no, no Costner character (Billy Chapel, Crash Davis, even Ray Kinsella) will be considered eligible.

There are, however ...
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With the final hours of the Thanksgiving holiday winding down here in the U.S., let's see what kind of feast we can build filling a Hall of Names table with traditional Thanksgiving-named players ...

In this quick-and-dirty Hall of Names entry, we find just enough for a starting lineup and only a few folks who can take the ball to the hill and get it over the plate, so your suggested edits are welcome and invited!

But for now, it's time to meet ...
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