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Okay, I'll start this Super Bowl Sunday Hall of Names exercise with a confession -- even though I now live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I am a New York Giants fan. And yes, I fully expect to see them completely torched by New England's Perfect Patriots today. (I hope I'm wrong, of course.)

And as much as I'd love to do a Hall of Names piece honoring XVII MVP QB Eli Manning, there have been just four MLB vets who went by "Eli," and just eight named Manning. Okay, if the Giants pull off the monumental upset, we'll see about piecing one together; but for now, as the title of this article should have already suggested, we'll focus that "honor" (jinx?) on the real probable XVII MVP QB ...
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This isn't really "Hall of Names" territory -- at least not yet. It's more of a Reader Challenge to help pass time this February Friday ...

So here's the challenge for you all -- we've played with Anagramatics here on Da Box previously, but for newcomers, "anagramatics" means ...

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From the Other End of the Spectrum
So we recently introduced our All-Age-39 team, following earlier looks at All-Age-40 and All-Age-41 squads. Let's look now to the opposite end of the age spectrum at a roster made up of players less than half the age of the geriatrics who made up the 39ers.

Stop for a moment and realize that in 2007, the only player in the major leagues under the age of 20 was Justin Upton, and he turned 20 in August. That should give you some perspective on how hard it is to earn a spot on this roster. So who does?

You've already thought of Doc Gooden, right? And maybe Robin Yount? But who else can fill out the ranks of a not-even-legally-allowed-to-drink (in the U.S. anyway) team like this one? Let's see ...
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Not many members of the MLB fraternity play into their fourth decade; in fact, generally speaking, only the elite play as long as the Jack Benny Milestone age of 39.

Here on Da Box, we have previously constructed an All-Age-40 team and later an All-Age-41 team ... yes, there was a fair amount of overlap from one to the other, but less than you might think.

As we meet an All-Age-39 team, there are a lot of familiar names; in fact, we can assemble a pretty decent squad just using the "Top 10 Leader" lists for the Age 39 Players on BasaballReference.com ... okay, not "pretty fair," make that "geriatrically unstoppable" ...

Let's meet them; they're called ...

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Today is Arlie Pond's birthday. Er, well, rather, it would have been his (record-smashing) 135th birthday, but he passed on back in 1930. You don't remember Pond, in fact, have never heard of him? Well ...
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In the annals of North American popular culture, two of the greatest heroes of the 20th century -- one fictional, one who played fictional characters -- bore the last/family name "Wayne." (We refer here, of course, to Bruce "The Batman" Wayne and to John "The Duke"Wayne.)

There have also been two major league players with that family appellation,neither particularly "heroic," LHRP Gary Wayne (14 wins and four saves mostly with MIN in the early 1990s) and RHRP Justin Wayne (eight starts and 18 relief appearances for FLA in the early part of the current decade). Fortunately, there are more than a hundred other ballplayers with "Wayne" as a first or middle name, so we shouldn't have too much trouble building a legitimate team for, no, not "The Batmen" (though that'd be a nice basebally name), but rather ...


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We've "honored" a number of legendary television series here on Da Box with cast-and-character Hall of Names teams for, among others, Star Trek, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Gilligan's Island, The Simpsons, Stargate and even Sesame Street. So let's launch the first Hall of Names volley of 2008 with an homage to the greatest prime-time cartoon ever developed, South Park.
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You may recall that a couple of years ago, we introduced a little New Year's Eve "singalong" here at Batter's Box, with help from our indispensible friends at BaseballReference.com. In doing so, Hall of Names style, we linked each viable word in the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne to the name of a past or present major league baseball player.

Now, as we change the calendar year into 2008, rather than simply revisiting that particular linkfest ode to New Year's, let's try "Another" one (literally) and dip into the lyrics of Just Another New Year's Eve by the great, the incomparable, the truly magnificant Mr. Barry Manilow. He Writes the Songs, you know.

No, really ... here we go ...


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You can make a pretty good argument that current Tiger ace Justin Verlander is the greatest player in major league history with the initials "J.V." -- you might get some protests from Joe Vosmik, Johnny VanderMeer, Jose Vidro, and in a few years, maybe Joey Votto. But for now, it appears that the not-yet-25-year-old RHSP either holds or will soon hold that title all to hissownself.

Which begs the question -- while everyone is focused on the varsity winning titles, what kind of "All-JV" team can we build from the annals of MLB history? Let's find out as we meet ...

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When you search for "Gene" at the greatness of BaseballReference.com, you receive no less than 121 returns on that search. And though I've never been into genetic modeling or even gene therapy, that seems a likely good pool of talent to build our latest entry in Baseball's Hall of Names.

So step back and put your hands together for ...

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Painful as this is to write, it looks like the Red Sox are likely to be World Series champs -- maybe as early as tonight -- for the second in four years. So much for the idea of a "curse" ... though to be fair, if any team knows the frailty of a 3-0 post-season series lead, it's the Sox (and Yankees, of course).

Still, with all due respect to Josh Beckett and even Daisuke Matsuzaka, the guy the Sox have ridden this far (emotionally anyway) is the old war horse himself, Curt Schilling. A likely future Hall of Famer, Schill is also probably the greatest "Curt" (or even "Kurt") to play in the major leagues ... or is he? Let's find out in this latest installment of Baseball's Hall of Names ...
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With the surprising Colorado Rockies looking to take a 3-0 advantage in the NLCS today, I found myself wondering what an All-Rocky team would look like; no, not a Helton-Holliday squad, but rather a Colavito-Bridges sort of Hall of Names collection.

Unfortunately ...
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Two teams this time, one of which is composed of players sharing surnames with DC Comics' stable of superheroes, and the second is similar but with Marvel heroes. I made the arbitrary rule to restrict each team to a single player/hero with a given last name, but I'm not above fudging the spelling a little bit if it gives us a cooler team.

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I have always been fascinated by teams which are able to piece together unlike talents into a coherent whole better than the sum of its parts. The October 10 birthday boys have the potential to be one such team.
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For Batter's Box readers Of A Certain Age, it's time to feel old ... today is Alfredo Griffin's 50th birthday. AG is one of 61 men born on Oct.6 who have played in the major leagues -- and while none have yet made the Hall of Fame -- oh, who am I kidding, none are ever getting there; the best of the lot is Ruben Sierra, a Hall of Fame talent who never quite sustained a Cooperstown career. But there is a "yet" worth mentioning -- or at least, that is ...
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