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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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So we worked up the All-John squad recently (and did so without making a single bathroom joke -- yay Batter's Box!) only to be reminded that there is an alternate way to spell that name, depending on your country of origin.

In fact, it's quite likely that more countries on this planet spell the name "J-U-A-N" than "J-O-H-N" anyway, so let's see about all the Juan Gones and the many Juanderful pitchers we've had in major league history as we meet ...

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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 latter group has been put together rather haphazardly (see First Things ... Uh, Second? for an earlier trek along this path); in fact only nine 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 with a Hall of Names squad, indeed just six of the top 10. So our next targets, in order are John, Richard, Charles and Joseph ... as first/given names, of course -- Tommy John, J.R. Richard, Ed Charles and Rick Joseph, among others, thanks for stopping by the booth, but your last/family name does not qualify.

All that said, let's start with the second most-common male name (we've already covered #1 with a long-ago look at The James Gang) as we compile a team that can only be called ...

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In the most recent Advance Scout, Da Box's own Alex Obal pegged Minnesota's Jason Kubel "already one of the ten greatest position players to ever come out of South Dakota, and may even be in the top five after a full season." Is that so? Sounds like a Hall of (Place) Names challenge, the first we've undertaken since the All-Mexico squad back in mid-June.

But let's not limit ourselves to South Dakota, hmmm? After all ...

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You might have noticed in yesterday's Meet the S.S. All-Stars, that we tabbed the final roster with the team name "The S.S. Minnows." This was not to disparage the team's talent level or to strip it of potential "big fish" status; instead, it was simply an homage to the name of the vessel ("The tiny ship was tossed") that stranded seven famous "castaways" on a tropical island in the 1960s.

Well, we've done it for shows like Star Trek and The Simpsons so let's go Hall of Names on one of the iconographic TV sitcoms of all time, as we build ...

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It's actually hard to settle on a final total of the number of big league ballplayers in MLB history with the initials S.S. -- do we count Sam "Pony" Sager, for instance? (Yes, we do -- and he even actually makes the team!) Okay, then what about Harry "Slim" Sallee? (No, we don't.) How about All-Star John Stanley "Jack" Sanford? (Nope, not him either.)

But that's okay. We still have plenty of options to form a full roster of players whose given first name (regardless of what other name or nickname they actually went by) and last/family name both started with the letter "S," the 19th such double-initial combination we have examined here on Batter's Box. Given all that, it's time to meet ...
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Again ... that's initially speaking ...

We'll go off the beaten path for a moment in this double-ititial odyssey for the Hall of Names (See the first four double-initial teams, "AA" Through "CC", "DD" Through "FF", "GG" Through "JJ" and "KK" Through "MM," here), and see if we can't put together a full team, or even a full roster, of players by combining the nine (there's a good baseball number omen) letters which did not have at least nine players reach the bigs with double initials.

Those letters, unfortunately, include II, QQ, UU and XX, each of which contributed exactly zero double-initial players; UU and YY, each of which produced just one; and NN (five), OO (eight), VV (two) and ZZ (three). So that's a total of just 20 players, eleven of whom were pitchers, but let's see what we can do anyway ...
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Today is Larry Sherry's 71st birthday. So hat's off to the former Dodger World Series MVP and here's a question -- really don't know the answer here -- but could we possibly put together an entire team of players whose names internally rhymed, like "Larry Sherry" did? (You can see that spelling similarity is optional.)

Sherry (53-44, 82 saves career) is joined by another former Dodger RHP in Ed Head (27-23, 11 saves), and still another righty in the more recent Mark Clark (74-71, 10 years, five teams). Paul Schaal was a solid 3B for 11 years with the Angels and Royals. That's Harry Carey in the announcer's booth.

Who else?

Today, I am 40. Last year at this time, I "celebrated" my Jeck Benny birthday Hall of Names style with a look at both an All-July 20 team and an All-Mick(ey) team.

This year, let's focus on the number. No, I'm not (quite) having a midlife freakout, and thanks to guys like Darrell Evans, Ty Cobb, Rickey Henderson, Warren Spahn and Roger Clemens, this day instead is all about celebrating the greatest Age-40 Seasons (for both hitters and pitchers) in the history of the Great Game. Yes, it's time to meet ...

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Initially Speaking, That Is (Part 4: KLM)

If you've been reading recently, you know that we've taken up the yoke again that we started back in August of '05, what we then termed "an interesting twist on the Hall of Names (initially speaking) ... who are the best double-initial players for [...] letters of the English alphabet?"

The first two installments were done back then, and after a short (10 months, call it short of a year, anyway) recess, the third came online last week. So we now have, AA through CC, DD through FF and GG through JJ and here take a swing at KK, LL and MM. I feel confident we will see a couple of guys named Lajoie and Mantle in this story, but let's see how it plays out ...

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We did something like this once before, but honestly, I can't find the thread, so let's start from scratch. Here's your challenge:

Using last (family) name-to-first (given) name overlaps, what is the longest string of players you can build? For instance, there's Mark Corey Thurman Munson, tying together the former Pittsburgh RHRP Mark Corey, recent Jay RHRP Corey Thurman and Yankee captain and catcher Thurman Munson. But that's just three guys ... surely someone can do better?

The only rules are these:
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With the All-Star Game now in our rearview mirror, perhaps we should salute the 2006 ASG MVP with a look back at an old Hall of Names classic, The Youngs and the Rest List.

But instead, let's look to build a team of players who are literally All-Star names -- though it turns out this might be harder than we originally planned, so be prepared to help ...

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