Thursday, July 2, 2020

July 2: New and Improved! Buy One Now!

Whether playing first, behind the plate on in
the outfield, Fred Carroll looked the part.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
Advertising and baseball have a long and intertwined history. From the earliest days of the sport, an outstanding performer that rose above the crowd and drew attention became a magnet for advertisers. The first baseball cards - later associated with gum and kids - were tobacco cards, printed by companies hedging the bet that association with popular athletes would bring increased sales. And so the marriage went. As America's celebrity culture arose, so did opportunities for individual athletes to cash in on their success on the field with products off the field, and to garner paychecks from sources other than their contracts.

Baseball franchises soon learned they could do the same, from ads placed on walls within stadiums to, eventually, naming the stadiums themselves. Major League Baseball, as an entity, gathered sponsors and advertisers of its own. The advent of radio and television brought on a whole new realm of possibilities.

Changing social mores have driven advertising partnerships. Players who behave badly lose ad deals. Advertisers pushing products that fall out of favor with the American public lose their deals. There's a precise balance that must be found for the marriage to work.

By 1957, for instance, the propensity of beer ads had driven one organization to a re-characterization of what it felt the sport of baseball should be, a true reflection of the American ideal.

"Baseball has become beerball," said Mrs. Glenn G. Hays, president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in the papers of July 3, 1957. She fired the shot as a "broadside blast aimed at radio and television sponsors and major league club owners," said the San Francisco Examiner.

"What was once the national pastime now appears to have become the star salesman of the beer barons, while club owners, hungry for revenue, wonder why public interest and patronage have declined," she said. "Baseball is being taken from a wholesome spectator and sandlot sport into the realm of a national problem that includes alcoholism and drink-caused juvenile delinquency.

"Beercasts of the game try to convince any one who hears or sees them, that it's the right thing to do to sit in front of the set and get drunk while viewing or listening. Children who love baseball are obviously not excluded from the wheedling commercials that urge listeners to rush to the liquor store or icebox for the sponsor's beer between every inning or half inning."

As if to make her point, directly below the column the Examiner ran an ad for Cutty Sark Blended Scots Whisky.

The Stars
Say what you will, but Jose Canseco was a standout in his time.

The Team
We have three starters, without a winning record among them, but, as we know, that can be deceptive, Chuck Stobbs (107-130, 4.29) wouldn't have pitched for 15 years if he had no talent. Steve Sparks (59-76, 4.88) was one of only nine true knuckleballers in the twentieth century, and thank goodness the world has gone digital, as he once separated his shoulder trying to rip a phone book in half. We have no idea who he was trying to call. Joe Magrane (57-67, 3.81) is our third starter. Former Yankee and Met Hal Reniff (45 SV) us our closer, supported by Brett Cecil (12 SV), Pete Burnside, Caleb Ferguson, Jerad Eickhoff and Pat McGehee, the first Tulane University graduate to ever put on a major league uniform.

Canseco (.266, 462 HR, 1407 RBI, 200 SB) won't make the Hall of Fame, but he certainly had his share, and then some. Betcha he could have ripped a phone book in half. He's joined in the outfield by Tony Armas (.252, 251, 815) and Angel Pagan (.280, 64, 414, 176 SB), giving us an all Latino outfield simply based on statistics of players born on this day. Very cool. It means, unfortunately, that some other good players, like Nyjer Morgan and So Taguchi, take backup spots. "The Mayor" Sean Casey (.302, 130, 735) ably holds down first base, with an infield that includes Greg Dobbs (.261, 46, 274) at third, Gil English (.245, 8, 90) at short and Frank Thompson (.170, 0, 5) at second. Fred Carroll (.284, 27, 366, 137 SB) will catch, with support from Hal Wagner.

This blog was brought to you by...

The Round Numbers
Stolen Bases: Jose Canseco, 200.

July 1: Z + Z = L for O's

With Roger Connor at third we're assured
of at least one smoking bat in the lineup.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
There have been 96 players through the history of the major leagues who have had surnames starting with the letter Z, from Adrian Zabala to Tony Zych. The four Zimmers and nine Zimmermans make up 14% of the total, and after that it's a real mixed bag. Zip Zabel, so far, is the only double-Z on the books, and George Zettlein seems to have been the first member of the tribe onto the field, in 1871. There has been at least one player with a surname starting with the letter Z playing in the majors in an unbroken streak all the way back to 1884, which is impressive when we consider how many were one-year wonders, from Elmer Zacher to Carl Zamloch to Mauro Zarate to Bart Zeller and on.

There are no "Z" Hall of Famers, though there were players we thought might get them there some day. Barry Zito went 47-17 his first three years in the majors with the A's from 2000-2002, winning the Cy Young Award at 23-5 in 2002. Richie Zisk played in two All-Star games and garnered Rookie of the Year and MVP votes. And who could forget Don Zimmer's long legacy with the game? He spent 57 years in pro ball, linking the 1940s to the 2010s.

Only nine players with names starting with "Zu" made the pros. Two of them ended up on the 1957 Baltimore Orioles. In one game, they came together as the first ever Z-Z battery in major league history.

It didn't go well.

By 1957, George Zuverink was nearing the end of his career. He had been with Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit, landing with the O's in 1955, where he stayed through 1959, albeit in ever-diminising roles. He was strictly a reliever with the Orioles in '57, finishing 37 of the 56 games he got into, with a very respectable 2.48 ERA. Noodles Zupo, on the other hand, was a seventeen-year-old rookie in 1957, and only appeared in 10 games, making a total of 13 plate appearances.

On July 1, 1957, Joe Ginsberg started at catcher in place of Gus Triandos for the Orioles against the Yankees, and made the most of it, going 2-for-3. Down 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles tied the game on a Bob Nieman double that followed a Billy Goodman single, but Triandos, as a pinch hitter for right fielder Al Pilarcik, couldn't drive Nieman home to win the game. Neither could Joe Durham, who pinch hit for Ginsberg.

Triandos did not stay in the game, though. Zupo entered the game behind the plate for Ginsberg and Zuverink took the mound for the tenth. Mickey Mantle then hit his 22nd home run of the year, the O's could not answer in the bottom of the inning and the game was over.

The great experiment was over and everyone went home to catch some z's.

The Stars
You know what's nice? Having a 247-game winner on your staff, like Jack Quinn. You know what's even better? Having a 328-game winner like Hall of Famer John Clarkson. Especially when you have a guy like Hall of Famer Roger Connor at third base and a guy like Nelson Cruz in the outfield. This is all very nice.

The Team
Clarkson (328-178, 2.81 ERA) was the first man to throw an immaculate inning and, despite his gaudy win total, played for only 12 years, retiring at 33. Who knows how many games he could have won? Quinn (247-218, 3.29), on the other hand, played in 23 seasons, from 1909 to 1933. They will definitely be able to share some tips with Michael Wacha (59-39, 3.91) and Aaron Sanchez (34-33, 3.98), and probably Dick Drott (27-46, 4.78) as well, a charter member of the Houston Colt .45's. Their relief corps will be led by Chris Perez (133 SV), Hersh Freeman (36 SV), Frank Baumann (14 SV), Boots Poffenberger, Brett Oberholtzer, Foghorn Bradley, Lefty James, Wedo Martini and Billy Rohr, who gave Red Sox fans an early season thrill they never forgot during the 1967 "Impossible Dream" season.

Roger Connor (.316, 138 HR, 1323 RBI, 244 SB) was dubbed a "demon batsman"of the nineteenth century by sportswriters of the day, and retired as the all-time home run champion to that point, though he didn't know it. Cruz (.277, 401, 1119) is a beast at the plate himself, and will take the outfield with Charlie Blackmon (.304, 172, 511, 129 SB) and Babe Young (.273, 79, 415). Paul Lehner (.257, 22, 197), who was known as both "Peanuts" and "Gulliver," will play first, with Jake Atz (.218, 0, 49) at second and Louis Brower (.161, 0, 7) at short. Jim Duncan (.230, 2, 14) is our first qualified catcher.

No players with surnames staring with the letter Z were born on this day, nor were any harmed in the making of this blogpost.

The Round Numbers
Walks Allowed: Frank Baumann, 300.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30: Maybe Next Year

Kangaroo Jones had something most of
his contemporaries didn't in the first decade
of the twentieth century: a college degree.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
"The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues was organized at a meeting of minor league presidents at the Leland, Chicago, last night," read the Rock Island Argus on September 6, 1901. "The minor baseball organizations of the country were represented at the meeting either by a delegate or by proxy, and from present indications they will be banded into a firm union, and respect each other's contracts in such a way that they will be as formidable as under the former protection of the National league."

League presidents from the Western League, the Western Association, the Northwestern and New England, and more were there. They discussed important steps like creating a system whereby players would not be free to "jump" their contracts to join major league teams without compensation, and fair and equitable relations with both the American and National circuits.

And so Minor League Baseball was born.

In the spring of 1902, 14 leagues populated by 96 teams proudly stood as members. By 1909, 35 leagues and 246 teams stood together. The numbers would fluctuate through time, but Minor League Baseball played in hundreds of cities across America through the years, through the Depression, through World War II, the turbulent sixties and into the modern day.

Almost every star baseball player in the history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries played at some stop in the minors. The rare college stud stepped from schools to the pros, and for every player that made the majors, hundreds more played their entire careers in the minors.

They played for the 1904 Jersey City Skeeters, and the 1917 Shreveport Gassers, the 1938 Macon Peaches and the 1950 Miami Beach Flamingos. They ran the basepaths for the 1962 Reno Silver Sox and smacked home runs for the 1984 Appleton Foxes. They rode the buses and followed dreams, and they entertained millions.

In 2008, Minor League Baseball set its all-time record with 43,263,740 fans at their games. In 2020, there were 160 revenue-generating minor league teams affiliated with Major League Baseball, and 80 non-revenue-generating rookie teams set to play.

But on June 30, 2020, the dream - thousands of individuals dreams - paused. Minor League Baseball cancelled its season in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stars
All hail the king of shortstops, the Blue Jays' Tony Fernandez.

The Team
How's this for a one-two punch? Out of the gates we have Chan Ho Park (124-98, 4.36 ERA) and Bud Black (121-116, 3.84). There are no other starters, of course, but the two that we have will do just fine. So, who's in the bullpen? Well, Blake Treinen (71 SV), will be our closer, and will be supported by Ryan Cook (17 SV), Don Gross (10 SV), Johnny Miljus, Manny Salvo and Jocko Flynn.

Fernandez (.288, 94 HR, 844 RBI, 246 SB) was a product of the shortstop-producing city of San Pedro de Marcoris, and was a standout for his time. Mark Grudzielanek (.289, 90, 640, 133 SB) is his perfect complement at second base. Our standout outfield consists of steady Garret Anderson (.293, 287, 1365), everyman Ron Swoboda (.242, 73, 344) and "Kangaroo" Davy Jones (.270, 9, 288, 207 SB), who we will keep our eye on. He got his nickname by jumping contracts. Al Newman (.226, 1, 156) will play third, with Jesus Aguilar (.256, 63, 215) at first and Tug Arundel (.173, 0, 16) behind the plate. Trea Turner is our backup middle infielder, and we'll take "Mr. Chips" Johnny Hudson and, of course, Yo-Yo Davalillo.

The Round Numbers
Innings Pitched: Blake Treinen, 400.
Hits Allowed: Don Gross, 400.


Monday, June 29, 2020

June 29: Two-for-One

Wilbert Robinson certainly had a catcher's build.
Whatever. He's in the Hall of Fame and on our team.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
"The Red Sox made it four straight in two days when they duplicated their performance of yesterday and took both ends of a double-header from Harry Wolverton's Yankees here to-day," read the Brooklyn Standard Union, reporting on the games of June 29, 1912.

The games weren't even close. The Sox - Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, Jake Stahl, Bill Carrigan, etc. - pounded out 20 hits in the first game, roughing up Highlanders' starter Jack Quinn. As if rubbing salt into the wound, Sox starter Buck O'Brien hit Highlanders outfielder Birdie Cree with a pitch that knocked him out of both games, forcing Wolverton to send pitcher Russ Ford into the outfield in his place.

In the second game, the Red Sox sent Smoky Joe Wood to the mound.

The Highlanders managed only one hit. The Sox banged out 10 more, three by rookie backup catcher Hick Cady, though he was only credited with two. With Jake Stahl on third during one of his at-bats, Cady stroked a single to the outfield, but umpire Silk O'Loughlin motioned him back to the plate. The pitcher had balked, he ruled, scoring Stahl and making the pitch Cady hit invalid. Cady stepped back into the box and hit a double, for his second hit of the same at-bat, if minus the RBI.

The game was called on account of darkness after seven innings, but one might claim, after four straight losses in 48 hours, the Highlanders wouldn't have minded if it was called for mercy.

The Stars
Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew at first? Are you kidding me? We could stop right there. Let's not. Dizzy Trout on the mound and Bobby Veach in the outfield. And who could forget our other Hall of Famer, Uncle Robby?

The Team
We have a very solid starting rotation. Trout (170-161, 3.23 ERA) went to two World Series with the Tigers, and though he was one of the most dominant pitchers of the diluted World War II years, he continued to mow down hitters when the stars returned as well. We have Bob Shaw (108-98, 3.52) as our number two, and Ed Seward (89-72, 3.40), Patsy Flaherty (67-84, 3.10) and Tom Koehler (36-55, 4.39) at 3, 4 and 5. We could have used Rick Honeycutt (38 SV), who had 268 starts, but he had more than 500 relief appearances. We'll also take Jack Sutthoff, Gray Adkins, Tony McKnight, Bill Connelly and Trey Hodges.

We'll let Killebrew (.256, 573 HR, 1584 RBI) swing for the fences whenever he wants. Veach (.310, 64, 1174, 195 SB) will join Pedro Guerrero (.300, 215, 898) in the outfield with Larry Stahl (.232, 36, 163). Wilbert Robinson (.273, 17, 722, 196) was so good at catcher that the Brooklyn Robins were named for him. Burgess Whitehead (.266, 17, 245) will play shortstop with Yolmer Sanchez (.244, 31, 214) at second. Heinie Reitz (.292, 11, 463, 122 SB) will take third, and our bench will consist of Nippy Jones, who once convinced an umpire he had been hit by a pitch by showing him the shoe polish that came off his cleat, She Donahue, who was once claimed by three teams at once, and Farmer Steelman, who, besides being from one of my favorite American towns, Millville, NJ, had just one of the most macho baseball names of all time.

The Round Numbers
Runs Scored: Joe Inglett, 100.
Hits: Larry Stahl, 400; John Wehner, 200.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 28: Out of Nowhere

Ken Williams once got to 105 RBIs in 102 games,
still a major league record.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C. 
Six-foot, three-inches is pretty tall for a second baseman, and was especially so for 1941. But that's where Don "Cab" Kolloway played.

And you'd think that at 6'3", 200 lbs., you could generate a lot of power and yet, with twelve years of major league experience, he hit on 29 home runs. He also wasn't quite adept at stealing bases, swiping 76 in his career, while being caught 54 times.

Which is why his actions on June 28, 1941 were so surprising.

Kolloway, a rookie, played for the White Sox and manager Jimmy Dykes, sharing time for the year at second with Bill Knickerbocker. On the 28th, Ladies Day at Comiskey Park, Kolloway, hitting an "anemic" (according to the Asbury Park Press the next day) .168 led off against Cleveland and pitcher Al Smith. He singled to start the game, then stole second. Then third. And then home. He would steal 16 in all in 1941, caught 14 times, but backup Indians catcher Gene Desautels couldn't catch him this day.

In the fifth, Kolloway caught one and drove his first career "circuit drive" over the fence, bringing the Sox to a 4-3 deficit, as pitcher Thornton Lee did his best to hold back the Tribe. Three innings later, he did it again, hitting his second career homer to tie the game. Dario Lodigiani walked and Luke Appling then hit his second triple of the game, giving the Sox the lead.

Kolloway's line for the day was 5 at bats, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBI, 2 home runs, 4 stolen bases.

Every dog has his day, and Kolloway had his.

The Stars
Mark Grace graces us at first, and Ken Williams will anchor our outfield. And we have lots more top notch talent in the lineup.

The Team
Al Downing (123-107, 3.22 ERA), our ace by a long stretch, will appreciate the support, as will his second, Fred Talbot (38-56, 4.12). After that, we're built for openers, not starters. Fred Gladding (109 SV) and Joe Sambito (84 SV) will lead the charge, with Matt Karchner (27 SV),  Gary Wagner (22 SV), Mike Lynch and Ron Mahay.

"Little Hurt" Mar Grace (.303, 173 HR, 1146 RBI) anchors first, while Don "Groove" Baylor (.275, 338, 1276, 285 SB) will start out in left field. "Dat Dude" Brandon Phillips (.275, 211, 951, 209 SB) brings us more all-around skills at second than most teams can hope for, while Chris Speier (.246, 112, 720) plays a steady, reliable shortstop. Ken Williams (.319, 196, 916, 154 SB) was baseball's first 30-30 man, in 1922, and still holds the record for being the fastest hitter to 100 RBI. Corey Koskie (.275, 124, 506) will cover the hot corner while Richard Hidalgo (.269, 171, 560) rounds out our outfield and Kevan Smith (.272, 12, 71) squats behind the plate. For coincidence's sake, we'll also take Mox McQuery and Mart McQuaid.

That Ken Williams owned a billiard parlor, by the way. Just sayin'. Something to do if we ever find ourselves in Grants Pass, Oregon, after the game.

The Round Numbers
Strikeouts: Michael Feliz, 300.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June 27: The Pride of Lynn

Its a good thing Rube Benton could pitch, otherwise we might not be able
to field a team, and definitely not a starting rotation (if two is a rotation).
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.
Harry Agganis was living a dream.

He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, and went to Lynn Classical High School, just outside of Boston, When the time for college came around, he went to Boston University. As quarterback for the football team, he was chosen as the top at his position in his senior year, and was later welcomed to the College Football Hall of Fame.

He did a tour with the Marine Corps in the middle of his studies, and came back to finish his degree. But football sucked up so much time that he fell a few credits short.

Paul Brown, the legendary coach of the Cleveland Browns, told him at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, that he had a spot for him at QB. "Even with Otto Graham?" Agganis asked.

"Yes."

He signed with the Red Sox as a first baseman, wanting to remain close to his mother, who had never lived anywhere but Lynn. He cranked out 70 extra base hits in his only minor league season with the Louisville Colonels. He joined the Red Sox in 1954, playing in 132 games, hitting .251 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI. That year, he finished his college degree, earning his Bachelors of Science in physical education.

In 1955, he got off to a hot start, hitting .313 through the first 25 games. Then, on May 16, he was hospitalized with chest pains. On June 5, he was sent home from Kansas City to Boston. Norm Zauchin, his roommate, said Agganis never complained about anything being wrong with him. "But I do remember something about his being weak. We played in Chicago and Harry hit a double to right field. As he reached second base, Harry knelt on the bag. I wondered why. But he didn't say anything about it." Zauchin tried to get news about him from Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, but was unsuccessful.

One June 27, traveling secretary Tom Dowd was called to the phone in Pittsburgh, where the Red Sox were set to play the Pirates in an exhibition game. He stepped out of the booth, "ashen white," according to the Boston Globe. "Gentleman, I have to give out the worst news I have heard since I became road secretary of the Red Sox. Harry Agganis is dead."

The "Golden Greek," the pride of Lynn, Massachusetts, was gone.

The Stars
Jim Edmonds will be in center field, Rico Petrocelli at shortstop. We're on the path to "strong up the middle."

The Team
Rube Benton (150-144, 3.09 ERA) was no rube when it came to balls and strikes. He'll be our ace, with Lou Kretlow (27-47, 4.87) as number two. That's it. Off to the pen! Jim Johnson (178 SV) is our closer, with Hank Behrman (19 SV), Bill Daley, Bob Trowbridge, Dick Marlowe, and Bull Durham. We'll also take Dick Terwilliger. You'll see why.

Edmonds (.284, 393 HR, 1199 RBI) gets us off to a running start, with Petrocelli (.251, 210, 773) as advertised at short. Throw in Jeff Conine (.285, 214, 1071) at first and Gus Zernial (.265, 237, 776) in the outfield and we've got a great 3-4-5-6 portion of the lineup. Eddie Kasko (.264, 22, 261) will start at third, with Daryle Ward (.263, 90, 379) completing the outfield. Johnny Estrada (.277, 42, 285) will catch with - you guessed it - Wayne Terwilliger (.240, 22, 162) at second. There are only two unrelated Terwilligers who played major league baseball, in different eras, and they shared a birthday. We're also gong to take all other players with "z's" in their names, since this team seems to have many: Yordan Alvarez, Luis Rodriguez, Jackie Gutierrez, Oscar Salazar, Joe Zdeb, and Fuzz White.

And we'll dedicate our first game to The Golden Greek.

The Round Numbers
Games Played: Jackie Hayes, 300; Lou Kretlow, 200; Nelson Simmons, 100.
Runs: Luis Rodriguez, 100.
Hits: Oscar Salazar, 100.

Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26: BOS and BAL and WAS and PHI

Topsy Hartsel held the all-time record for walks in a single season, until
a guy named Babe Ruth started playing regularly in the field.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.,
where the A's played the Senators on June 26, 190
1
The Baltimore Sun called it "A Lovely Mixup." In the fun, rambling way headlines made way for sub-headlines and sub-sub-headlines in the Progressive Era, the story continued.


Why the Orioles Had No Game 
at American League Park. 

----------
BOSTONS GO TO PHILADELPHIA
----------

While They Kick Their Heels In
Idleness There The Athletics Jump
To Washington and Play Ball.
----------


BALTIMORE SHOULD GET IT
----------

Team On The Ground Ready To Decide Contest On Its Merits.

On Jun 26, 1901, the Boston Americans featured player-manager Jimmy Collins and an ace pitcher in Cy Young. Twenty-one hundred Baltimore fans turned out to Oriole Park to see their nine, led by third baseman-manager John McGraw and catcher "Uncle Robby" Wilbert Robinson play a game that day. But the Boston team never showed up, nor did any other. "The crowd amused itself watching the Orioles do stunts with the ball in practice," said the Sun the next day, "making fancy stops and good and bad throws, and guying one another like a lot of 'kids.'"

The whole mess occurred in the league scheduling office, where changes had been made to the original plan. President Ban Johnson wasn't even immune. He sent Umpire Alfred Manassau to Philadelphia for a game between the Red Sox and A's. Half of the teams showed up, but it was not the home squad. The A's had left that morning for Washington, D.C. Strangely, the Orioles had advertised a home game against the Senators, who, of course, never made the trip to Baltimore. After an hour and a half in the 90-degree heat, Baltimore's fans dispersed.

Philly, though, did make it to Washington. "Fortunately," the Sun quipped, "the Senators did not jump to some other place, and as the two teams managed to get into the same city, they had a game." Problem: they had no umpire. Two players stood in for him.

Baltimore could have claimed a forfeit, but did not, and the record today shows a "day off" for each squad. They would see each other again on the Fourth of July in Boston...if all went according to plan.

The Stars
We have two Hall of Famers: Derek Jeter and Willard Brown. We've also got a strong supporting cast in Jason Kendall and Babe Herman.

The Team
Did you notice there were no pitchers on that list? We only have one starter, in Howie Pollet (131-116, 3.51 ERA), who, really, isn't that bad, with a WAR of 34.3. Nobody else born on this day has more than 42 career starts. So we'll load the bullpen with Mike Myers, Rodney Myers, Elmer Ponder, Elmer Singleton, Ren Deagle and Jean-Pierre Roy.

Our bats should carry us. Jeter (.310, 260 HR, 1311 RBI, 358 SB) is our obvious choice at shortstop, with Jason Kendall (.288, 75, 744, 189 SB) a speedy choice for a catcher. Babe Herman (.324, 181, 997) is a shoo-in for an outfield spot, alongside Topsy Hartsel (.276, 31, 341, 247 SB) and Willard Brown (.179, 1, 6). Brown, a Negro Leagues superstar, was the third to break the color line, briefly playing for the St. Louis Browns in 1947. Bill Robinson (.258, 166, 641) will play first, with Debs Garms (.293, 17, 328) at third and Luis Gonzalez (.283, 23, 98) at second. We'll also take Gene Green, because he rhymes.

Has anybody seen the schedule?

The Round Numbers
Runs: Luis Gonzalez, 100.