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Near the end of the last decade of the 20th century, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, under the calming influence of head coach  (wait, strike “calming, leave it as “under the … influence of”) Mike Ditka, traded their entire  collection of1999 draft picks to the Washington Redskins for the rights to draft  University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.

Big trade, but ultimately … big deal! It’s not like Ricky Facemask was ever traded for/with an entire roster of players. It’s not like Ricky has anything on … Bert Blyleven. That’s right, Rik Aalbert Blyleven, who this summer will at long last (and very deservedly) be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, changed teams via trade five times in his long career, in a series of deals that included, literally, an entire roster – and a pretty good one! – of players, more than two dozen MLB veterans who are now forevermore also to be known as part of a team called (thank you, Chris Berman) ...

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Let's start a friendly, clean, conversational "Bar" fight -- literally.

What players whose last name begins with the alphabetic string "Bar-" would make up the best possible All-Bar (All-Star) baseball squad?

Well, of course, in right field you have the cannon-armed former Jay Jesse Barfield. His son Josh Barfield might make the roster as an extra -- though he might not. Who else? ...

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It's been awhile since we built an all-birthday team here on Da Box, but if we were ever going to get back into it, today would be tthe day. You see, perhaps the most influential shared birthday in MLB history is today, Jan. 31.

How so? Well ...

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Several times through the past few years, dating back to Batter’s Box Year 1 (!) we have played around with the idea of anagramatics … word-play using people's names to find full anagrams that describe them (or, more commonly, don't describe them, but in a funny way). For example, my personal anagramatic is Michael Doherty = Hey, I'm a Tech Lord. (Not!) You can see from that example that we can add in punctuation – apostrophes, whatever – wherever necessary.

Given all that, let’s meet some of the newest Blue Jays … several have many options!

For example, Octavio Dotel splits nicely into the unfortunate anagramatic …

 

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So I was skimming Bert Blyleven's Baseball-Reference.com page the other day, contemplating his upcoming Hall of Fame induction (conclusion: borderline "belongs" but I'm glad he's in -- I'm a "Big Hall" guy) when my eyes began to scan the "Transactions" list near the bottom of that page. By quick count, Bert was involved in five trades involving more than 30 other players (a few of whom never did make it to the big leagues) ... with that realization, my Hall of Names brain immediately leapt to "could we possibly build a full roster from that list?"

Not only CAN we, but it's really an outstanding team overall ...

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Know someone who was borrn yesterday, Jan. 1, 2011 (1-1-11)? Well, don't start projecting that youngster into a Blue Jays uniform just yet -- it's pretty unlikely! Here's what I mean ...

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Originally published Dec. 31, 2004. This story has been slightly modified and re-edited for today's encore presentation here.

It's New Year's Eve, from Toronto to here in D/FW, out toward Cali, and by the time most of you read this, it will be the new year in places like Seattle, Vancouver and Honolulu.  In that spirit, see if you can't find a minute or two today to offer New Year's wishes to your fellow Bauxites, using the below format (yes, that's still the challenge!), made possible by the miracle workers at Baseball-Reference.com:

First, some advice ... if you need a little pick-me-up in order to find your bliss on New Year's day ...

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Long-time (and original) Bauxite Mike Green recently posted thus,
Jimmy McMath passed away recently.  Short career, but great name, and what town would have a high school named "Druid"?

Putting aside the second part of his post (for now, anyway), I was of course struck by the phrase "but great name" -- and indeed it was. It made me wonder, from a Hall of Names perspective -- and I got nothin' here, really -- have there been enough players with names that sound like high school core courses to fill out a whole schedule, or even a whole roster?

I'll be thinking that over in Kelly Shoppach class. Surely you can be more creative than that, Bauxites ... whatchagot?

So the other day I was watching the Braves and Giants and listening to the announcers wax poetic about wonderful Rookie of the Year co-favorites Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. And suddenly, in a Hall of Names dither, I found myself wondering, "Is Posey the first 'Buster' in major league history?" I couldn't think of any others, but (continuing and perpetual) thanks to our friends at BaseballReference.com, I discovered I was quite wrong about that.

In fact, there have been no less than 19 major league Busters in the history of the great game, one of whom even managed for a brief spell. (It's true, there hasn't been even one before Posey since 1958, and most were far earlier in the game's canon.) Now, 19 ain't near enough to fill a full roster, but let's see if we can't at least work through a full lineup card and sort out some pitching options; let's meet the team that will bear the name (sorry about this) ...

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Let's play that Hall of Names favorite, Match Name '10! The topic this time around is "questions posed by batter/pitcher, battery and teammate combinations" -- all you have to do is come up with a pair of MLB player names that combine to create a famous non-baseball pairing of words, then ask whatever question that pairing causes to occur.

Last names are preferred, given first names are okay, middle names are acceptable if necessary, nicknames, as always, are right out. Spelling matters, but you are welcome to work your way around that if you can.

Here are a few examples to get you started ..

  • When Jim Gott faced Tim Teufel, did every baseball fan in Germany tremble in fear? (To explain, just offer a parenthetocial like this one, wherein you provide the information that "gott" and "teufel" are the German words for "God" and "devil.")
  • If Buddy Black faced Steve Decker, which way would the advantage cut? (See, "Black & Decker" ... get the idea?)
  • Would there be ...
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The official city motto of the great metropolis of Orlando, Florida, is "The City Beautiful." Anyone who's ever seen Orlando Hudson play second base might quickly convert that to "The Glove Beautiful," while older fans might counter with Orlando Cepeda as "The Big Bat Beautiful." Yankee fans of the past 10 or 12 years might insist on "El Duque Bonito." Hey, this might be a pretty good team! Although ...
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As I write this, the Marlins and Mets are scheduled (it's raining) to play a regular season game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico. Watch your late local news -- or SportsCenter -- for updates, I guess. In the meantime, who would have guessed that no less than eleven (11!) men with the first or middle name "Hiram" have played big league baseball?

The real oddity is ...

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They are peas in a pod.
Don't you think that it's odd.
- Part of the lyrics (that nobody knows) to the theme from TV's The Odd Couple

From 1970-75, U.S. broadcasting giant ABC-TV broadcast a wonderful little half-hour situation comedy called The Odd Couple, based on the popular stage play of the same name, written by Neil Simon.

The show starred the inimitable Tony Randall as neat freak Felix Unger and irascible Jack Klugman as sloppy, casual Oscar Madison, two divorced men who shared an apartment and a variety of personality and housekeeping conflicts.

So if current Seattle ace Felix Hernandez ever gets to stare down current Padre utilityman Oscar Salazar -- well, that might actually be a mismatch. But, then, was there ever more of a mismatched pair of roommates than Felix Unger and Oscar Madison? So maybe there's some serendipity to that.

Ah, whatever. Let's go to the rosters and see which squad comes out on top in the matchup between ... (sorry about this) ...

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The legendary greatness of Lou Brock (who truly was "great," much to the chagrin of Ernie Broglio and Chicago Cub fans everywhere) turned the ripe old age of 71 last week.

Brock, who led the National League in stolen bases eight times (and in caught stealings a full seven times, as well!) hereby inspires another edition of Baseball's Hall of Names. No, we're not celebrating the seven Major League vets named "Brock" (two first names, five last/family names), but rather correcting the oversight that has been our error in ignoring the many great players in baseball history named "Lou" or "Lew."

First, as always, a few rules ...

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Bauxite Anders' most recent Minor League Update (Groundouts, Groundouts, Everywhere) leads off with the exploits of Baby Jay hurlers Lance Broadway and Kyle Drabek. Those are two given first names you didn't hear a lot in Major League Baseball's earlier days, a time stuffed with guys named George and Joe and Honus and monikers of that ilk.

Now quick, though, consider that MLB of more recent vintage has featured 20 players with the given first or middle name "Kyle" and another 16 named "Lance" and that's decently even odds, so make your guess ... sure, we can't fill out a full 25-man roster for either, but which name, Lance or Kyle, will fill out a lineup card better?

Let's find out ...

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