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Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Leesburg, Virginia for tonight's game.

Currently being driven to the mound in the world-famous 1969 Dodge Charger from "The Dukes of Hazzard" The General Lee, to perform tonight's national anthem is the love-lee star of stage and screen, actress LeeLee Sobieski. She will be accompanied by noted musicians Tommy Lee and David Lee Roth followed by a special rendition of "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood.

Throwing out tonight's ceremonial first pitch is Lee Chaden, executive vice president of the Sara Lee Corporation.

You get the idea?

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As we learned in the most recent All-Davis Hall of Names feature, we've now covered the six most common American surnames in our quest for the best baseball name ... now we move on to #7, and this, with all due respect to Geoffrey Chaucer, is truly "A Miller's Tale."

A total of 81 men named Miller have made it to the bigs as of this writing -- that actually well outpaces the 61 Davises, so I guess statistically you have a better chance of making the bigs if you're a Miller than a Davis, even though the latter is higher up on the most-common American names list -- ah, but no less than nine Davises have made major league All-Star teams, with another pre-All-Star-era player enshrined in Cooperstown, while the Millers have produced no Hall of Famers and just three All-Stars.

Five billion points to the Bauxite who can name all three of those All-Star Millers without clicking through to the full story first; you're on your honor here.

Well, let's clarify ... there's is, sort of anyway, one Miller in Cooperstown ...

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Hall of Names Candidates in Review ...
... and Playing for the Davis Cup

Auld Will the Bard once noted, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Though perhaps in baseball terms, we would simply say "That which we call a Rose by any other name would still be Pete."

Anyway, I recently found myself scanning the list of the most common surnames (family names, last names, whatever you want to call them) in the United States, birthplace not only of shloads of people with these names, but of the Great Game of baseball itself. According to the good folks over at InfoPlease, these are the most commone surnames in the U.S. right now:

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if you've been paying attention to Baseball's Hall of Names since it started up back in March of 2003, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that we have teams entirely made up of players named Willie, Mickey and Duke -- and the latter team would be much stronger now that Pirate lefty Zach Duke [caution: hyperbole alert] has started down the path to Cooperstown to be with those other three guys mentioned earlier.

Of course, Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and Duke (Snider) are inextricably linked by their time together in the 1950s patrolling CF in New York for, respectively, the Giants, Yankees and Dodgers. The trio of Hall-of-Famers were further immortalized in the refrain to the catchiest of bubblegum baseball songs ever written, "Talkin' Baseball (Willie, Mickey and the Duke)" by Terry Cashman.

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Okay, let's get the team name out of the way right now. Do we dub these guys, a roster full of major leaguers whose last or family name starts with the letter "F," in honour of a passable mid-1960s comedy western starring Ken Berry and Forrest Tucker, the "F Troop"? Should we be worried about the inevitable F-U matchup? Well, probably, as we'll just give in and name these guys, inevitably, "The F-Bombs."

It's a surprisingly strong team, with a starting rotation entirely made up of Hall of Famers and a bullpen that any of the other 24 all-letter teams will have a hard time matching; a very Fox(x)y infield -- abetted by a shortstop Canadian baseball fans know well -- and no less than three 50-homer guys in the starting lineup.

It will be hard to F this one up, kids ...

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A baker's dozen -- or should that be Dusty Baker's Dozen? -- major leaguers whose last or family names begin with letter "D" have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; just one of them didn't make it primarily as a player, that being the Hall of Names D-team's manager, Leo "the Lip" Durocher.

The relative paucity of Cooperstown residents -- recall our recent "C" team had no less than thirty men, including 23 players, inducted -- makes for a bit a scramble to put together this All-D team; and not even a man nicknamed "The D-Train" will make it, though perhaps Dontrelle Willis will get some consideration when we get to an All-W team. Nor can we make an exception for one of the most recent Hall of Famers, Ryne Dee Sandberg ...

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It's time to knock off another alphabetic character and assemble an all-letter team for the Hall of Names; this is the 13th letter we've written (har!) meaning we're exactly halfway through the alphabet -- only we're not doing anything so wacky as, say, going alphabetically, so today let's just say we're sailing the high C's.

Would you be surprised to learn that there are thirty men in the Hall of Fame whose last or family name begins with the letter "C"?

Of course, they're not all players -- but we do have a nice starting point with the purported inventor of the game itself in Alexander Cartwright and the man who invented the box score, Henry Chadwick. Need a commissioner? Don't worry, be Happy Chandler. An umpire? Choose among Nestor Chylak, Jocko Conlon and Tom Connolly. Then, before we get to the 23 C-players, there's Charlie Comiskey ...

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In the comments to a recent Batter's Box poll about Hall of Fame nicknames, Box reader Jefftown observed, "I think 'Rube' could be the best common nickname in baseball," then asked, "Have you ever done an All-Rube Team? It'd have a few stars, with Waddell, Marquard, and Foster."

Well, no, we haven't ... until now. Sort of.

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It stands to reason that a fair number of Batter's Box readers are at least nominally familiar with the world of online communications -- after all, this is a Web site and you are reading this, ergo, you know a little something about the online world.

I have to admit, I thought it would be pretty simple to put together a Hall of Names team based on this theme, but once you get past the fine young RHSP Brandon Webb with the D-Backs and stretch to include borderline HOF 3B Graig Nettles, the cupboard is pretty bare. We have a Hacker and a Dell, but the guy who opens the door to filling out a complete roster, believe it or not, is former PIT and CIN All-Star LHSP John Smiley ...

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The May 2005 Royal Panes Hall of Names entry bemoaned the fact that top Pirates pitching prospect Zach Duke had not yet reached the majors (nor had Prince Fielder) and thus was not eligible for the squad.

The best young Pirate-developed lefty since John Candelaria has changed all that with a 1.23 ERA and 21:4 K:BB ratio in his first three big league starts this month. (Incidentally, has anyone nicknamed this guy "Duke of Hurl" yet?) And that makes him eligible for today's team -- what, we just finished up All-Willie and All-Mickey teams, and you couldn't see the All-Duke team coming a mile away?

Of course, Zach is only the third player in big league history to bear the surname "Duke," so we'll need a little leeway ...

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If you're paying attention, you know that one of the Hall of Names stories that ran earlier this week was an All-Mickey team; as we follow it here with what is essentially an all-Willie team, you can guess the next logical step, right? If you know anything about New York City baseball in the 1950s, it should be obvious, especially with the added clue that it's all leading up to a very special musical rendition of Baseball's Hall of Names soon to follow.

But we're not just giving this team the Willies, as it were ...

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As you all learned in your perusal of Batter's Box over the past 24 hours, yesterday was my birthday, and we tried something new in the Hall of Names arena, with a piecemeal all-July 20 team. And as promised, we continue this narcissistic trend with a followup ... the all-Mick(ey) team.

Now, there have only been 45 Mickeys (or Micks) to play major league ball, but three of those have made it to the Hall of Fame, including of course a particular Yankee CF you've all certainly thought up already. What it doesn't include ...

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Well, It's My Birthday, Too

No, seriously, today really is my birthday. And in my best Jack Benny voice, I can tell you that I'm 39 today. (Really. I was celebrating my third birthday at the Toledo Zoo while Neil Armstrong was taking "one small step.")

So I thought I'd build myself a little Narcissism Central Hall of Names team to celebrate -- what,. an All-Mick(ey) team? Well, yes, but that comes tomorrow.

First, here's the start of what may or may not turn out to be 366 short Hall of Names teams ... it's the All-July 20 team. And against all odds, although only 32 men total have made the majors having been born on that date -- none on my actual birthday, alas -- two of them even made the higher-level All-July team, the July Franks, which debuted here more than a year ago.

If you want to build an all-birthday team of your own for Batter's Box Interactive Magazine ...

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Well, we haven't revisited an all-letter team in our Hall of Names stroll through the alphabet since June 21, when we looked at an All-K team. We have generally accepted that the best team so far has been the All-R squad, with perhaps a challange from the various iterations of the All-M team(s).

Now, meet the Killer B's. No, not just Bagwell and Biggio -- though hey, those two just might wind up making this team, what say? -- but an all-time team made up entirely of players whose last or family name begins with the letter "B."

If only every position were as deep as C for the B's ...

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This week, the Boston Red Sox have made or have plans to make two trades, in each acquiring a 6'5" RHRP named Chad -- Bradford from the A's and Qualls from the Astros.

There is no truth to the subsequent rumour that they are hard after Blue Jay Chad Gaudin or that they have any chance at acquiring NL Saves leader Chad Cordero.

The truly remarkable thing about this confluence of Chadness ...

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