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When Magpie pointed out that today is Greg Maddux's 40th birthday, Rob Pettapiece quickly retorted, "As for birthdays, Maddux shares today (though not the same year) with two other Greg(g)s -- Myers and Zaun. How's that for a coincidence?"

Well, it's "coincidental" enough to spur the following (C'mon, you saw this coming, or at least noticed the graphic, right?) Hall of Names exercise. There have, in fact, been 44 MLB players born on this date, though no Hall of Famers yet. Mr. Maddux will be the first, though a certain Charles Hustle, had he not hustled quite so much OFF the field, would already be there.

Today's date, as noted, produced quite a few long-term more-than-serviceable catchers, three of whom have even compiled ...

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According to the good folks over at Baseball-Reference.com, no less than 93 men bearing the first or middle name "Ralph" have played in the major leagues.

Quick, name an active player named "Ralph." Can't do it? That's because there are none! In fact, less than a dozen men with that name have appeared in the big leagues since Barry Bonds was a wisp of a rookie in Pittsburgh back in 1986, while none at all have been in The Show this millenium -- not since 2B Ralph Milliard had several cups of coffee with the Marlins and Mets from 1996-98.

Still ...

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(Yep, Even Judas)

In a nod to the current Lenten season, we're about to get all apostolic here on Da Box. But does that mean we're looking at Matthews, Markle, Luke and John ... or at Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

Let's find out.

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I get my thing in action (Verb!)
To be, to see, to feel, to live (Verb!)
That's what's happenin'
I put my heart in action (Verb!)
To run, to go, to get, to give (Verb!) You're what's happenin'
That's where I find satisfaction, yeah! (Yeah!)
Verb: That's What's Happening
From "Schoolhouse Rock/Grammar Rock"

Now that we've worked our way through the 25 most common North American surnames, it's time to return to the "Themes" concept for Hall of Names inspiration ... and this theme is definitely action (word) packed!

Here on Batter's Box, our roster of contributors is filled with names that are also other parts of speech; Price and Furlong are nouns, Green and Burley are adjectives (the latter misspelled, alas), while Drew and Till are, respectively, past-tense and present-tense verbs.

It is the latter category that interests the Hall of Names induction committee right about now. That's right, we'll be constructing a Hall of Names team made up entirely of players whose last/family/surnames double as verbs ... and as always, there are a few rules ...

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Welcome to the newest member of the Batter's Box roster, Matthew Elmslie. As one member of the editorial staff opined in an e-mail recently, "In addition to being an author on Blue Jay Way, Matthew has been one of our favourite contributing readers on Batter's Box for as far back as we can remember."

Of course, any time we add a new name to the lineup, I start thinking in terms of the Batter's Box standard "Hall of Names." And Matthew Elmslie, well, that gives us two or, uh, tree good possibilities. That's right, it's time to meet ...

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Today is not February 29, though I suspect many of you will write that date at the top of a check or the outside of a bluebook before turning it in at some point.

Who knew -- or frankly, even suspected -- that date would also provide an interesting, if not quite complete, lineup of players born as "leap babies" and who leapt all the way to The Show? There are even a couple of All-Stars, which is more than many dates that show up more than once every four years can claim.

Let's meet this short but interesting list of February 29th's Hall of Names roster, which we will of course dub ...

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Here at the Hall of Names, we take all challenges seriously, such as this one, posted during our little downtime period and reproduced here in case you missed it:
    Mike Green - Wednesday, February 22 2006 @ 11:07 AM EST (#141427)
    [Feb. 22] is also J.J. Putz's birthday. In honour of bureacratic delays, I thought that we might work on an all-insult Hall of Names. Lefty (Goofy) Gomez and Phil Paine would be all right, although Putz gets the gold so far in insult value...
William "Dummy" Hoy seems obvious, and though he was a fine Brett Butler/Willie Wilson-type OF for 14 years, believe it or not ...
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If today happens to be your birthday, well, then, happy birthday! If you've been a reader of this site for any length or time, you know that one of the offshoots of the "Hall of Names" features is All-Birthday; we've done a number of holidays and every month of the year; last autumn, we introduced the first All-Birthday (October 20) team in honour of my dear ol' dad's annual celebration.

Now, it's mom's turn. Yep, that's right, happy birthday, mom, and here's your own All-Birthday (February 17) squad ...

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While it's still Valentine's Day (barely, but we have three hours or so of it left here in Texas), it seems only right to do the whole Candy and Flowers thing, maybe a Hart-shaped box of the former and some Roses as the latter?

That's right, it's a very special reader's challenge edition of Baseball's Hall of Names as we assemble ...

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Unusual first initials are in vogue, apparently. When we created the Y or Y Not? Hall of Names team earlier, we noted that fully half (six) of the 12 players in major league history who have borne a first/given name starting with the letter "Y" were active in 2005.

Taking the next step (alphabetically, anyway), we can also note that of the just 14 players in major league history who have borne a first/given name starting with the letter "Z," more than 20 percent (okay, that's just three) were active in 2005. And for the record, that doesn't include the fine young Colorado hurler, Stephen Zachary Day.

And eight of the fourteen are pitchers already, so it's not like we're going to get a full roster, or even a full lineup, from this group anyway. Maybe we could if ...

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This was intended to be a Hall of Names roster made up of players whose first/given name started with the letter "Y." (See Y is for Yount, Yastrzemski and ... Yan? for the last/family name All-Y team).

However, once we eliminate nicknames (sorry, Yogi) and middle names, it appears that only only 12 players in the history of the Great Game have made the major leagues with such a first/given name; and since five are pitchers and four are catchers, while we might form a fine battery or two, a roster just isn't going to happen.

Perhaps most interestingly ...

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By Alex Godard, Alex Obal and Anders Whist

This Hall of (Place) Names challenge, as Craig Burley has coined it, has already led to one accidental collaboration, between Matthew Elmslie and Greg Williams, who independently submitted rosters for what became a combined St. Peter's Ballmouth (San Pedro de Macoris) squad.

Now Alex Godard, then just a few hours later the team of Alex Obal and Anders Whist (I guess only GMs whose names start with "A" need apply) traveled the same path, quite literally, as each independently submitted a Santo Domingo (capital city of the Dominican Republic) squad that leads us now to this team, which we dub ...

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Derrick Turnbow, the fine RHRP for the Milwaukee Brewers turns 28 today. This is not so terribly notable for readers of Batter's Box -- though perhaps for the readers of BrewCrewBall, Derrick's little holiday might mean a bit more.

Did you know that Turnbow currently sports a career winning percentage of .900? That's no typo -- the sturdy 6'3" waiver wire reclamation was 2-0 for the 2004 Angels and 7-1 last season in the city of sausages. And you can make a pretty good argument that he's the greatest Derrick ever to pull on a big league uniform; of course, only four men with that given name have ever appeared in The Show, so the pickings are a bit slim.

However ...

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Sure, Detroit, West Pennsylvania and San Pedro de Macorís are nice places, but can they boast the first man on the moon, Opie Taylor, the host of Reading Rainbow, and the director of Howard the Duck? Or, if you prefer some sort of baseball connection, who could be more related to the pastime than Tom Selleck himself?

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Another Hall of Names submission from erstwhile Bauxite Anders Whist, who today wakes up the echoes of old Tiger Stadium with this All-Detroit squad.

No, Mike "Thriller" Jackson didn't make the team (he's from Houston) but these Detroit Dandies would give many other squads a decent run for their money. The lineup's not much to look at –- Ernie Witt is DHing, so that might give you some indication. But when John Smoltz isn't good enough to crack the rotation -- he's the closer -- then you're cooking. Pat Hengten wasn't about to beat out Smoltz as closer, but he is one of three ex-Jays on ...

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