OK, this post -- unlike the last one that got a bizarre amount of comments -- is months in the making. So be nice and humor me.
Many times, we have all come across a player with a familiar name, realized they share it with someone famous, or maybe just some random person we know, and took off to tell someone. The blogs are full of posts about a guy who has the SAME NAME as someone else.
When you think about it, the chances of that happening are pretty good, especially back in the day before people started spelling their kids' names "Brytenae." But still we are amused every time it happens.
So, I decided to do some research. I tried to go through all of the names in major league history and come up with an all-time team of baseball players who shared names with famous people.
I came across a lot of good ones. Jack Daniels. Matt Broderick. Fred Sanford. Ted Turner. Terry Bradshaw. Jackie Brown. Paul Mitchell. Gary Cooper.
There were so many names that matched other famous people that I knew I would have to come up with some rules. The first rule was I had to have a baseball card of the player whose name matched someone famous. That ruled out a whole bunch of names from the first half of the 20th century. The second rule, and I guess this is an obvious one, was that I had to have heard of the famous person that shared the player's name. I'm sure there is some scientist or silent film star of the 1920s who is famous to every other person on the planet. But I live a sheltered life in which I know only ballplayers and rock stars, so you're just going to have to deal with my limited knowledge.
I came up with a good 30-35 guys, and then I had to whittle it down some more. There are some names, like Mike Ramsey up there, who didn't make the cut.
As a Sabres fan, it hurts to know that Mike Ramsey, the Cardinals second baseman, and Mike Ramsey, the Miracle on Ice/ex-Sabre/ex-Penguin, won't be on this team.
But these are the sacrifices that need to be made in coming up with the all-time:
SAME NAME, DIFFERENT PERSON TEAM
Here we go. With minimum commentary, because good golly this took a long time to put together:
FIRST BASE: EDDIE MURRAY
(Different person guy: Former longtime Lions kicker. This might have been the first case in which I realized there was a person from another sport who had the same name as a baseball player that I knew).
SECOND BASE: MIKE TYSON
(Different person guy: Scary, crazy boxer. This was probably too obvious).
SHORTSTOP: BILL RUSSELL
THIRD BASE: HOWARD JOHNSON
(Different person guy: I would practically BEG my parents to take us to his restaurants. They were second only to McDonald's on the kids' scale of Eating Out Greatness. Now, I couldn't tell you where the nearest Howard Johnson's restaurant/hotel is).
LEFT FIELD: BOBBY BROWN
(Different person guy: "Everybody's talkin' all this stuff about me. Why don't they just let me live?" This lyric pops up in my head about every week. Yeah, I don't have a complex or anything).
CENTER FIELD: BRETT BUTLER
(Different person guy: Well, it's actually a gal. The only one on this team. "Grace Under Fire" was not my kind of sitcom, but I don't think I was the target audience).
RIGHT FIELD: MILTON BRADLEY
(Different person guy: I'm willing to bet the pioneer of American board games never threw game pieces at his fans. Then again, board game inventors probably never got heckled).
CATCHER: CARLOS SANTANA
(Different person guy: I think I'm going to change my name to Carlos Santana just so I can be compared to the best guitarist of all-time).
DESIGNATED HITTER: GEORGE SCOTT
(Different person guy: OK, the different person has a "C" in the middle of "George" and "Scott." But I'm not going to turn down Patton for a lousy "C".)
CATCHER 2: JOE FERGUSON
(Different person guy: In Buffalo, "Joe Ferguson" never, ever, EVER means a former Dodgers/Cardinals/Astros catcher).
CATCHER 3: JOHNNY OATES
(Different person guy: My sources say, Daryl DID call him "Johnny.")
BACK UP INFIELDER: JOHN KENNEDY
(Different person guy: The baseball player's middle name was "I" as in "Irvin." But that didn't stop the constant comparisons).
BACKUP INFIELDER: JIM MORRISON
(Different person guy: Break on through to the other side.)
BACKUP INFIELDER: RANDY JACKSON
(Different person guy: Yo, yo, yo, dog. I've often wondered if American Idol's Jackson has any idea that a former Brooklyn Dodger has his name).
BACKUP INFIELDER: CHRIS BROWN
(Different person guy: I couldn't tell you a single song from the singing Chris Brown. But the kids seem to like him. Maybe Rihanna not so much).
BACKUP OUTFIELDER: RICKY NELSON
(Different person guy: The lyrics to "Garden Party" are always traveling through my head, too. Life can be difficult, you know).
STARTING PITCHER 1: DAVE STEWART
(Different person guy: He's the person on the left. Just in case you're confused).
STARTING PITCHER 2: KENNY ROGERS
(Different person guy: Do you think Kenny Rogers went ballistic that one time because someone sang him the lyrics to "The Gambler" once too often?)
STARTING PITCHER 3: JACK ARMSTRONG
(Different person guy: OK, Jack Armstrong wasn't a real person. He was a radio show character. But it was difficult coming up with starting pitchers. So this will do).
STARTING PITCHER 4: BRIAN WILLIAMS
(Different person guy: I know about as much about one as I do the other).
STARTING PITCHER 5: RUSS MEYER
(Different person guy: That's quite a combination. The Mad Monk and the film maker known for pictures with busty broads).
RELIEF PITCHER 1: BRIAN WILSON
(Different person guy: Hey, I can be objective and put tool boy on my team -- especially since he's out for the year. Besides, they're both kind of loopy).
RELIEF PITCHER 2: MIKE JACKSON
(Different person guy: Mike, Michael. Doesn't matter. The card is too awesome not to be included).
RELIEF PITCHER 3: EDDIE FISHER
(Different person guy: One for the Crooning Crowd. There was a time when I thought each of these guys was the same person).
RELIEF PITCHER 4: CHUCK TAYLOR
(Different person guy: Chuck Taylor was a basketball player and an evangelist. I was also tempted to just put a picture of his sneakers on here. But that wouldn't be right).
RELIEF PITCHER 5: MIKE WALLACE
(Different person guy: I always thought it was Andy Rooney who closed the show. But it's too late to turn back now).
And one more ...
MANAGER: ROGER CRAIG
(Different person guy: I even kept it in the same city!)
And there you are.
There were a lot of people I left out: Billy Smith, Jim/Jimmy Stewart, Jerry Brown(e), Chris Carter, Dave Clark, Joe Frazier, Keith Lockhart, John Mitchell, Dave Anderson, Dan "Ozzy" Osborn, Craig Robinson, Danny Thomas. And probably many many more of which I'm not aware of in the slightest.
But I think I went over the limit on my team anyway. So maybe I can start a minor league team.
That'll take me about five more months.