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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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Pinch-Hit submitted by Craig Burley

Pennsylvania's rural Washington county, near the Ohio border, can put together a very thin but overall solid team. Washington County boasts the largest number of covered bridges of any county in the U.S., and two (soon to be three) Hall of Fame ballplayers. Thanks to the former, we're proud to introduce ...

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Pinch-Hit by Colin Jaffray (username: 5hoursahead)

I couldn't resist finding out if we could put up a team from over the pond here [Editor's Note: That'd be the British Isles, kids] and I'm surprised, but delighted to say that we can. I had to take advantage of a few multi-skilled players and it shouldn't surprise anyone that the majority racked up most of their playing time in the late 19th century.

That said, this team ain't too shabby considering their home nations ...

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When Batter's Box first issued what Craig Burley has taken to calling the "Hall of Place Names" challenge, to be honest, I expected a bunch of U.S. states (some are upcoming, incidentally) and some major cities (we've already seen Brooklyn, Mobile and San Francisco, with more on the way) to dominate the submissions. Barring that, perhaps a series of foreign countries similar to the All-Canadian team that started it all.

Wouldn't you know, the very first two teams received (from Bauxites Matthew Elmslie and Greg Williams, in that order, respectively) were for the same non-North American city? And if you think hard enough, you can probably guess that it's ... well, let's turn that description over to Elmslie:

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One of the greatest baseball cities of them all, St. Louis has produced a little bit of playing talent along the way. Does your city need a catcher? How about a broadcaster? Plenty to spare here...
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