Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yorvit's already an all-time Met great

Should the Mets and catcher Yorvit Torrealba complete that deal they nearly signed this weekend, he move up on an all-time Mets list even before setting foot behind Shea’s plate.

Naturally, I’m talking about his name. The Mets have had 26 Mikes, 17 Bills and Bobs and 13 Johns. But we’ve never had a Yorvit before. Heck, we’ve only had one other player whose first name began with a Y, and that would be Yorkis Perez.

Using the amazing Web site that is the Ultimate Mets Database, I waded through all our players to find the ones with the strangest names.

And these had to be real names. No parent wrote filled out a birth certificate with a Yogi, Mookie, Duffy, Choo Choo or Tug.

And I eliminated the Asian players. I shamefully don’t know enough abut Asian culture to understand if Hideo, Takashi and Dae Sung are the Japanese and Korean versions of John and Phil and Rick.

So here they are, the most outlandish, tongue-twisting and head-scratching Mets names of all time.

1) Guerrand McCurdy Scarce. There’s a reason this 1975 pitcher was better known as “Mac.” And that’s good, because I can only imagine what might have happened to Ralph Kiner if he attempted pronouncing Guerrand. He came in the trade for Tug McGraw and left in a deal for Tom Hall -- better known as "The Blade." Lots of colorful names in those transactions.

2) Cleotha Walker. Here’s another guy who was better known by his nickname, “Chico.” He was with us in 1992 and 1993. I suspect many members of the dreadful 1993 team changed their names as they went into hiding.

3) McKay Christensen. He had a stint on the 2002 team, and I believe is our only player ever to have a capital letter in the middle of his first name. How many times as he been called Chris McKay by someone in a doctors office who assumed he filled out his form with the names reversed?

4) Bubba Trammell. We all know of people who have “Bubba” as a nickname, even presidents. But it’s right there on Mr. Trammell’s birth certificate. Technically it’s his middle name. But if he went by his given first name, Thomas, would anybody remember him? Bubba played for the 2000 team, and is known for going AWOL on the Yankees, as if anyone could blame him.

5) Elijah Jerry Green. Elijah is certainly becoming kind of trendy, but this was in the 1960s. One more guy better known by his nickname – “Pumpsie.” And his behavior off the field was as unusual as his name. His biggest claim to fame is that he is the first black player on the Boston Red Sox -- and shameful 12 years after Jackie Robinson made history.

6) Xavier Nady. I liked the X-man, and was sad to see him dealt to the Pirates in the middle of the 2006 season. He is the lone Met to have a first name start with X. Heck, we haven’t even had too many guys with an x in their first names at all. So Mr. Nady can share this spot with Esix Sneed, Ambiorix Burgos, Felix Heredia, Felix Millan, and a trio of guys named Alex -- Escobar, Ochoa and Trevino.

7) Herman Son Winningham. Let’s start with activity in the middle. I need to know if he has a sister who has “Daughter” as her middle name. As for the rest of it, Herman Winningham sounds more like a bank president than an outfielder. Come to think of it, this member of the 1984 team played more like a bank president than an outfielder.

8) Mauro Gozzo. This pitcher, also known as “Goose,” was another member of the dreadful 1993 team. They were terrible, but they sure were colorful.

9) Reid Cornelius. That sounds like a Hollywood name for a brawny, blonde and brainless action hero. And amazingly, he’s not our only Cornelius. That’s Cliff Floyd’s real name.

10) Timoniel Perez. A lot of people call him “Timo.” I call him “The Guy Who Cost Us Game One of the 2000 World Series.”

Honorable mentions: Roger Royce Ring, Orel Hershiser, Cleon Jones, Duaner Sanchez, Bartolome Fortunato, Blas Minor, Octavio Dotel, Lute Barnes, Ober Moreno and Blaine Beatty.

Now here's why I'm worried about our new friend -- or not -- Yorvit. With the exception of Cleon Jones, none of these guys was around too long. Sure, some of that was because of age, like Orel, or a trade, like Octavio and Xavier. But most of these guys pretty much sucked. So we're pulling for Torreabla to break that cycle of shame.

Here’s some other fun Mets name information. We’ve had five sets of guys with the same names: Mike Marshall, Bobby Jones, Bob Johnson and Bob Miller – who were on the 1962 team at the same time. As if Casey didn’t have enough problems. Fellow Crane Pool Forum poster Steve Rogers reminded me that we also had two versions of Pedro Martinez. The lesser-known Pedro pitched in five games in 1996.

Happy birthday, Tom Seaver!

Why this isn't a national holiday, I don't know. But a happy 63rd to "The Franchise." Celebrate by enjoying the final out of Tom's glorious 300th win.


Anonymous said...

Thank God, your safe. I'll call off the Salvation Army and hopefully Canada will come off high alert.
(see last blog entry to make sense of this)

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

OK, so I was working in the baseball room organizing the jerseys and wondering if there will be room for the inflatable Bullpen Buddy life-sized inflatable Met when the doorbell rang.
There was a guy dressed in red one a horse, and he said, “So, you gonna start typing, eh?” then turned and left.
Then I went back down to ponder the fate of Paul LoDuca when the door bell rang again, and there was a guy with a curled mustache and pretend rifle, he said, “Type. Now.”
Very confused, I went back to the baseball room to sort my Mets batting practice caps in order of ugliness — black rough mesh, blue fine mesh, blue stretchy then blue stretchy with the arches on the sides — and the bell rang again and there was lady ringing a bell with a kettle and she said I could either post something new or put something in the kettle because people were starting to get worried.
Then I saw Tim’s comment and it all made sense.

G-Fafif said...

In the time it took to get Mac Scarce's full name straight, he was gone.

Sort of like ex-Mets noncatcher Yorvit Torrealba.

Steve J. Rogers said...

There are 5 pairs now, though I don't blame you for missing the 1996 Pedro A Martinez.