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In honor of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, who won their first Pacific League pennant in 25 years last night (and now head to the Japan Series), I thought I would usurp Mick's usual gig and name an "All-Ham" Hall of Names team.
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Yes, today is Friday the 13th. And yes, this is the "All-Jason" team. It's pure coincidence. No further movie references will be made herein.

Back when I was a wee lad (okay, actually, I was a fat kid, so probably just "back when I was a young boy" is more accurate), my best friend in the world was a little league teammate named Jason. We were both huge fans of The Great Game, somehow even forming the first and only Ohio-based Ralph Garr fan club; he was a better player than I was, but to be fair, that's a bit like claiming the title of "Slightly Less Likely to Strike Out in a Game Situation."

We're not often in touch any more, but I can't help but think back to our days with the Dorsey's Drugs junior league ball club, especially as I put together this Hall of Names team, next in the list of squads composed entirely of players with the most-common boy's names in the United States, which in this case, as you have surely guessed, brings us to "Jason."

So in a nod not to the old Homestead Grays of the Negro League but rather to my childhood pal's actual name, it is time to meet ...
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In a mournful nod to yesterday's sad events, here's a Hall of Names team featuring the men of Major League Baseball named "Cory" -- or since there have only been six (seven if you count the middle-named Christopher Cory Gomez), also "Corey" or in one case "Kory."

Partially in recognition of Cory Lidle's career bookend teams (Mets and Yankees), we can't help but name this squad ...

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Special No-Prize to the first person to explain the significance of the headline!

Let's be clear about how much rules can suck sometimes. There have been about 100 major league ballplayers in the game's history to bear the given first name "Kenneth."

Unfortunately, that does NOT include what would be two-thirds of a mighty fine starting outfield in father/son duo George Kenneth Griffey(s) Sr. and Jr. But even without their combined 700+ homers and two All-Star MVP trophies (one each), this could be a pretty good ballclub, as we meet ...
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Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the #1 sports story of the past week has been the (repeat after me, Niner and Eagle fans) Terrell Owens controversy. It's bumped politics and warfare off the front page; it's dominated the radio talk shows. The Rangers and Mavericks and Stars (Oh My) are just rumors; the local 24-hour Sports Radio station, KTCK, just about turned its format over to "All T.O, All the Time."

So yes, I have tired head about T.O. But as should surprise absolutely nobody at Batter's Box, in my head, this became a prime Hall of Names opportunity. We've done a few initial teams in the past -- All-G.M., for instance, and All-M.D., among others.

So you can see what's coming, right? It's time to Cowboy up and meet the All-T.O. team, which (with a nod to the wide receiver's acclaimed "hot dog" status), we will dub ...

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As we bounce around the list building Hall of Names teams for each of the 25 most common boys' names in the United States (again, if you know of a free online Canadian equivalent, post a link here!), we'll drop to the anchor position on the list, #25, and take a look at the name Jeff.

To be clear, that means historical big league players with the given first name "Jeffrey" -- not alternate spellings or nicknames or middle names or anything of that sort. If there are to be exceptions to that rule, well, we'll cross that -- what's the word? -- when we get to it. Which, not coincidentally, brings us to our team name, as it's time to meet ...
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Eric Neel over at ESPN.com has this gem today:

Boof Bonser. It doesn't hurt that he has posted a sub-4 ERA and a handful of wins since coming back from Triple-A, but even if he threw grapefruits in batting practice, he'd be worth it. If we had a metric for names -- say, VORN (value over replacement name) -- and that metric took into account how much fun the name is to say (both at home and away), and how the name somehow managed to be worthy of both ridicule and respect at the same time, and how the name used alliteration to good effect -- Boof Bonser would score roughly 82.7 on that metric, putting him head and shoulders above his next nearest competitor, Coco Crisp of the Red Sox at 63.9.

Which leads to this obvious challenge ... What major leaguer, active, retired, whatever ... has had the highest career VORN? (Basically, whose name has been the most fun to say?)

Bonser and Crisp are on the table -- that sounds like a mid-summer's picnic menu -- so who else gets the nod? Nicknames are welcome (like "Boof' obviously) but given names are even better. Alliteration optional (say that three times fast). Bring it on, Bauxites!

 

Now, with a nod to our own grandiloquent Daniel "Magpie" McIlroy, it's time to build up a Hall of Names roster for the twelfth most-common male name in the U.S. -- as you might've guessed, that'd be "Daniel."

Though we were tempted to again go with an avian nickname such as "The J. Danforth Quails," instead we'll name this squad with another nod, to the biggest-selling (so far) English-language novel of the 21st century, The Da Vinci Code ... That's right, it's time to meet ...
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Now that we've finished up Hall of Names teams for each of the 10 most common boys' names in the United States (again, if you know of a free online Canadian equivalent, post a link here!), it's time to move on to #11 -- Christopher.

Compared to the other names we've looked at, there is a shocking dearth of players in MLB history with that designation; once you remove all the players with that middle name, along with the five men with the last/family name Christopher (as well as early '80s DET LHP Mike Chris), there are only just over 100 or so candidates to choose from. And just one Hall of Famer -- Christopher "Christy" Mathewson is a good one to have heading the rotation, though.

He's heading that rotation for a squad that bears an avian nickname like Toronto's hometown Blue Jays; the home ballpark is the Three Acre Wood, and it's time to meet ...
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"Always look on the bright side of life ... "
Monty Python's The Life of Brian


What, you thought we'd start this edition of Baseball's Hall of Names with lyrics from "Brian's Song" -- well, um, it's an instrumental, so that ain't happenin'. And frankly -- wait, wrong name there -- the name "Brian" has not been attached to a long list of big leaguers in general, much less a whole host of baseball greats (Jordan and Giles are probably "Best in Show" for this appellation).

But let's see what we can come up with as, yes, we will give this team the name you'd expect; it's time to meet ...
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As noted here previously, in building the historical Baseball Hall of Names, we've done a peculiarly inconsistent job building teams for North America's most common shared first/given names. We took steps to address that recently with teams dedicated to the names John, Richard and Charles and now we move on to the number four name on that list, which we summarily refuse to nickname the "Camels" and instead proudly introduce ...
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As noted here previously, in building the historical Baseball Hall of Names, we've cobbled together more than 200 teams, including rosters for every initial and many combinations of initials, days and months of birth, popular culture "themes," and one each for the 25 Most Common North American Surnames (family names), as well as 30+ for shared first/given names.

But that last group of teams has been somewhat less than organized until recently, as the vast majority of the 25 most common male names in the birthplace of baseball (the U.S., that is) had not been covered. We have recently covered the #1 and #2 names (John and Richard) and now move on to the third most-common given first name in America, which is "Charles." So right off, you know we have to name this team ...
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Entering the 2006 season, former Jay hero Carlos Delgado had played more than 1,500 career games without a playoff appearance, second most among all active players behind only the ill-fated Jeromy Burnitz, whose current employer in Pittsburgh doesn't appear likely to break that streak. Delgado's streak, however, appears likely to come to a screeching halt as his New York Mets are running away and hiding from the rest of the AAAA National League.

Actually, 13 players in the history of the Great Game have more than 2,000 career appearances without so much as a sniff at the post-season. leading the way, as many would guess, is the indomitable Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks at 2,528. But then -- Luke Appling, Mickey Vernon and Buddy Bell come between Banks and his old teammate, Ron Santo. Others on the 2000+ career games without a playoff appearance list include Joe Torre, who has more than made up for his ring-less playing career as a manager in the Bronx, and Hall of Famers like Harry Heilmann and George Sisler.

In fact, thanks to this new feature at BaseballReference.com ...

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You may recall some time back we introduced a new wing to the Hall of Names, when in late July we looked at a team composed of players who had the greatest Age 40 seasons in MLB history, Making the Top 40.

We now revisit that concept with a Plus-One twist and find that indeed, life just begins at 40 and actually gets better with a team we can only call ...
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As noted in the recent Dear Johns Hall of Names, entry, in building the historical Baseball's Hall of Names, we've put together more than 200 teams, though only 10 (now 11) of the 25 Most Common Male Names in the U.S. (would like to know of a Canadian equivalent free online somewhere?) have been covered. In making up for lost time, we now proceed to the third-most common given/first name in The Birthplace of Baseball, and maybe the greatest bullpen yet put together in Hall of Names lore ... that's right, it's time to meet ...

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