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With all the news about Cliff Lee recently -- he was involved in a series of trades that Blue Jay fans paid some attention to, as I recall -- I found myself wondering if we could build a full roster of MLB "Cliffs."

The short answer is "yes." The longer answer is "wow, this team is a lot better than I expected it to be." The disorientingly long final roster-driven answer follows if you just click through ...

 

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A recent essay by Batter's Box's own #2JBrumfield examined arbitration-eligibility news in the world of Major Leage Baseball. That called to mind recent efforts to build teams for our ongoing Baseball's Hall of Names based on player initials ... we've done dozens of such rosters of all types, ranging from G.M. to M.D. and P.R. to B.S. (that latter pairing, some wags would argue, is repetitive). But we've never done one for "R.B."

To do so, as always, we first need to set some ground rules ...

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Gosh, it's been a while since we brewed up a Baseball's Hall of Names squad, but recent debate in our newest '10 Picture of the Day stirs up an idea centered around Jay uber-prospect Brett Cecil -- and it has nothing to do with Prince Fielder's daddy or old BoSox 1B Cecil Cooper or early All-Star shortstop Cecil Travis. (Or any of them guys!)

In fact, we're going the other direction, away from the young hurler's family name to his given name, Brett; so let's set some ground rules.

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Congratulations to Andrew Bailey, winner of the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year award -- he probably shouldn't have won it, frankly, but the voters seem inclined to live by the mantra "when in doubt, give it to an Oakland Athletic" --he's the seventh Oaklander to win it since 1986. (The Jays have one in that time, the immortal Eric Hinske, and just one-and-a-half all-time total, to include 1979 co-winner Alfredo Griffin.)

That niffiness aside, I found myself thinking, "Bailey is a pretty common surname. I bet we could build a pretty good historical Hall of Names team of Baileys -- you know, call them the Irish Creams, the whole deal."

Boy, was I wrong ...

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Another Halloween has passed, and we are more than halfway through the Nov. 1 anniversary that is known widely in many Christian denominations as "All Saints Day." I thought we might build a Hall of Names team around men with "Saint" or at least "St." in their names, but these sainted ballplayers are few and far enough between that, certainly moreso than the five dozen or so major leaguers with "Angel"-based names, they could gather to dance on the head of a pin.

Though we might assemble a full active roster if we counted the 75 or so historical minor league Saint/St. ballplayers -- including infdividuals like 1953 Drummondville Royals backstop Marcel St. Pierre (who frankly sounds more like a goaltender than a catcher) -- our major league "archive" of saints includes just three men ...

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If you've been reading Da Box over the past four or five years, you know one of the sidelight features in Baseball's Hall of Names deals with players who share(d) certain initials. We've assembled teams for every possible double-initial, as well as many other obvious ones like MD, PR, BS and others.

Recently I got to thinking about baseball initials ... you know, the kind you scratch on your scorecard during a game, abbreviations like HR, RBI and HBP. Forget building a roster of these guys -- it'll be hard enough to find representatives for all the obvious baseball abbreviations we can think of. So go ahead, play along ... what initials are missing? And who would be better to fill a role in the existing All-Baseball-Initials roll-call that follows? ...

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I thought this would be an easier team to build, but no such luck. Did you know that only 22 men named Bret or Brett have even played big league ball? So there will be no full roster, for sure. And three of those 22 had the last/family name Brett, including our only Hall of Famer and one of just five All-Stars. Actually, only one man with the first/given name "Brett" has even made an All-Star team (yes, yes ... the Butler did it!) -- the rest were all of the single-t "Bret" variety.

Well, the GM/owner of this team is another former All-Star -- of the NHL variety, anyway -- as Mr. Hull takes up residence in the front office overseeing the development of ...

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Veteran Bauxite and original roster expansion choice Mike Green wrote it recently ...  "the RC team ... would be very competitive in the all-initial league (Campanella, Connor, Carew, Chapman, Cey, Colavito, Cullenbine, Clemente, Clemens).  Robinson Cano is a good recent addition to the  bench."

Hm. I could have sworn we did an All-RC club at one point, but apparently not ... we're "limited" in Hall of Names annals, to every single double-initial, from AA to ZZ, as well as G.M., P.R., J.R., M.D., T.O., B.S., M.O., J.V., P.M., K.B., G.B. and M.B. -- and a few others we may have missed -- but never an all R.C. team. So let's see if Mike has it right as we attempt to royally crown a new HoN roster we can only rightfully dub ...

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In our recent Perry-themed return to the fun and games of the Hall of Names (after an absence of more than four months), the first reader comment, from long-time Bauxite lexomatic, opined, "I was thinking we needed a hall of names team to break things up. I tried coming up with a the Hill's themed one ... but that's a pretty bad team."

Gauntlet thrown! Challenge accepted! A hill to, if you'll pardon the pun, climb! And lex, far be it from me to say you're wrong, but this isn't a pretty bad team. It's a really bad team. Oh well, at least we built a full roster (with some leftovers, even) ...

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Not sure what got me thinking about the name "Perry" recently, but it's one of those names that has been a first, middle and last -- all of the above! -- in major league lore. You've already thought of the brothers, Gaylord and Jim, right? And if you were paying attention in the 1990s, maybe Gerald and Herb have crossed your mind.

But the truth is, we have to violate Hall of Names tradition to build a full roster -- and even then, we can't quite do so without ignoring a long-standing HoN rule and accepting roster applications from more than just the last-named amongst our Perry-atric crew.

The name "Perry" has appeared in big league ledgers more than 30 times, including 12 times as a last/family name (apologies to RHRP Parson Perryman, 2-4 with the 1915 SLB, who is not eligible), twice (just twice?) as a given/first name and 15 more times as a given/middle name. Three managers, including two who were also players, bore the name "Perry," including one of our two Hall of Famer pitchers. So we'll struggle along, employing our best fencing moves, in building a roster for (sorry about this) ...

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Let's start with our shocking statistic of the day, the one that will make you think "who?"

Since rookie Tommy Hunter joined the Texas Rangers rotation on a regular basis back on June 28, he leads the American League with a 1.97 ERA, over eight starts.

That has led the Rangers TV crew, Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve, to tag the young righty with a wonderful nickname that works on about six levels: Tommy "Big Game" Hunter. Genius!

In honor of that, let's dole out some other "those really should be" nicknames to players around the game, Toronto and otherwise. The do not need to be -- and in fact, shouldn't be! -- "real" nicknames, but rather just plays on words using player names.

A few rules (and examples) ...

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Yesterday, my dear ol' dad -- from whom, as I have openly admitted previously, I stole the whole "Hall of Names" concept -- sent me this one-line e-mail:

At the moment, the Athletics' pitcher, Outman, is pitching to the Yankees' Swisher.

Now, from a Hall of Names perspective, that's clearly Advantage: Defense. The batter is a swish-waiting-to-happen while the hurler is named "out, man!" Yikes!

What hitter/pitcher matchups can you imagine that might trump even that one? Note: they don't have to be contemporaries who actually faced each other. In fact there are no rules -- first names, last names, nicknames -- go to it! Spelling is an optional luxury; it's all about the pronunciation. For instance, you could have '90s pitcher Reynoso facing old-time infielder Granny for a fierce Armando/Hamner (Arm & Hammer) matchup. Or possibly the greatest matchup ever in the history of the universe ...

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After seeing the Dustin Pedroia commercial that's running for an MLB video game for the seventy thousandth time this week, I decided to see if we could build a Hall of Names team built entirely of players named "Dustin." And though there are nine men who have had that given first or middle name who've reached the big leagues to date -- and nine is a nice baseball number -- the simple answer is "no, we can't."

Just at a glance, we can see at least three -- McGowan, Hermanson and Nippert -- are pitchers, so there would not be a full eight on defense to fill out the lineup card.

Ah, but what if we include all those guys nicknamed "Dusty" or named "Dustan," etc.? Yes, if we expand our parameters a little ...

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So the Toronto-biased talk has started already, albeit quietly -- Travis Snider, 2009 AL Rookie of the Year? Well, we'll see. But you know what? He may already be one of the three or four best players in MLB history with the given first name "Travis."

Actually ...
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Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9
Industrial output ... Financial imbalance
Thrusting it between his shoulder blades

  • from Revolution Number Nine by the Beatles

Ted Williams. Reggie Jackson. Minnie Minoso. Enos Slaughter. Bill Mazeroski. Roger Maris. What do these men all have in common? (No, this isn't a trivia thread, sorry.) Simply -- they are the only men in baseball history to have had the uniform #9 retired by a big league ballclub.

Now, "9" is a magic number in baseball. Nine innings in a game. Nine players on the field defensively -- and nine in the lineup, pre-DH. You get the idea. So in a reverse twist on Dan McIlroy's excellent "Lobby of Numbers" series, let's see what kind of roster we can build strictly of players who wore the uniform #9. (I'm going to need some help here!) ...

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