- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
In celebration of Labor Day, I bring you a 25-man roster composed of the best players in MLB history with occupational surnames–in other words, names derived from a type of labor.
I used Baseball-Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a guide for choosing the best players. I’ve listed each player’s WAR along with where that figure ranks at his position.
To determine if a surname is occupational in origin, I did a search on either Behind the NameThe Internet Surname Database
Some of the surnames are easy to understand, but others are more obscure, so I’ve added explanations of each surname’s origin to the list. I’ve also listed some honorable mentions at each position. Overall, it’s a pretty darn impressive team, even if it does have some relative weak spots–at second base and in the starting rotation, especially.
I picked two players from each infield position, five outfielders, five starting pitchers, and five relievers.
Starter: Gary CARTER
Backup: Darrell PORTER
A nice duo, featuring the late Expos & Mets star Carter and the underrated Porter.
Starter: Rafael PALMEIRO
Backup: Will CLARK
It’s interesting that these two guys came up, as they are inextricably linked in my mind. The reason I always associate them is that they engaged in a weird switcheroo as the main first basemen for the Rangers and the Orioles in the 1990s and early 2000s. After the 1993 season, Palmeiro went from the Rangers to the Orioles; Clark took his place with the Rangers. When Palmeiro left the Orioles after the 1998 season, heading back to the Rangers, Clark went the opposite direction, signing with the Orioles.
Starter: Max BISHOP
Backup: Ron HUNT
This is a weak pair, relatively speaking. Both these guys had very good on-base skills but almost no power.
Starter: Honus WAGNER
Backup: Ozzie SMITH
Two shortstops, two all-time greats. Having Ozzie Smith as a defensive replacement is pretty sweet.
Starter: Mike SCHMIDT
Backup: Home Run BAKER
You can’t do any better than Mike Schmidt at third base. Baker just barely edged out the best Boyer brother for the backup spot; you could easily go the other way.
Left Field Starter: Barry BONDS
Center Field Starter: Duke SNIDER
Right Field Starter: Larry WALKER
4th Outfielder: Reggie SMITH
5th Outfielder: Vladimir GUERRERO
Any outfield anchored by Barry Bonds is going to be pretty good, but all 4 of the other guys were excellent players for a very long time. If you’re not as critical of Vlad’s defense as B-Ref is (-10.8 defensive WAR in his career!), you could make a case for him to start over Walker in right field.
1st Starter: Jim PALMER
2nd Starter: Red FABER
3rd Starter: Tommy BOND
4th Starter: Bob FELLER
5th Starter: Satchel PAIGE
This is a relatively weak rotation. While all of these guys were excellent pitchers, none of them (aside from possibly Paige) were upper-echelon greats. At least the back end of the rotation is solid, since the WAR figures of the 1st four starters all virtually equal. The starting-pitching pool was so shallow that I went with my gut and put Bob Feller on the list even though I couldn’t find any official derivation of his last name. I also added Satchel Paige, figuring that if he had been allowed in MLB from an earlier age, he would have easily accrued enough WAR to make the team.
Closer: Lee SMITH
Righty Setup 1: Trevor HOFFMAN
Righty Setup 2: Bruce SUTTER
Lefty Setup: Billy WAGNER
Long Man: Stu MILLER
That is one hell of a bullpen, featuring four of the best closers of all time and a guy in Miller who had some excellent relief seasons for the Orioles and Giants in the 1950s and ’60s.
That’s the 25-man roster. I didn’t put any Designated Hitters on the team, but if you need one, you could use Travis HAFNERBilly BUTLER
As for managers, I’d go with Earl WEAVERDusty BAKER Chuck TANNER Harry WRIGHT
Finally, I’d like to name former Tigers farmhand Edward LABORIO
Tagged with: Art Fletcher Barry Bonds Billy Butler Billy Wagner Bob Feller Bob Miller Bobby Bonds Brett Butler Bruce Sutter Cecil Cooper Chris Carpenter Chuck Tanner Darrell Porter David Wright Duke Snider Dusty Baker Earl Weaver Edward Laborio etymology Gary Carter Gene Garber Harry Hooper Harry Wright holiday holidays Home Run Baker Honus Wagner Jack Clark Jim Brewer Jim Palmer jobs Joe Tinker Ken Boyer Labor Day Larry Gardner Larry Walker Lee Smith Max Bishop Miguel Cabrera Mike Marshall Mike Schmidt names occupations Ozzie Smith Phil Garner Rafael Palmeiro Red Faber Reggie Smith Ron Hunt Satchel Paige Stu Miller surnames Terry Forster Theme Teams Tommy Bond Travis Hafner Trevor Hoffman Vladimir Guerrero Walker Cooper Wally Joyner Wilbur Cooper Will Clark work
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
For more about the site or the author, read the About page
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