So we’ve been through the guys whose names are acceptable in Scrabble. But what about the guys whose names are worth the most points in Scrabble?
We’re not going to concern ourselves with those names that can’t be formed with the standard English distribution of tiles. So, nobody with two Zs in their name are going to make the list (though we’ll give them an Honorable Mention at the end of our ceremonies). Also, we’re counting up the Scrabble score based on their playing name (not necessarily their birth name). So we’d consider the score of Chipper Jones, not his given name Larry.
First up, let’s tackle first names. Our bronze medalist, with a score of 27 points, played for the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League way back in 1884. He appeared in one game at catcher, going 2-3, and that was the entirety of his career. From Westport, Connecticut, say hello to Hezekiah Allen!
Our silver medalist, also with 27 points (but fewer letters in his name), was actually born with the first name of Claude, but he prefers to go by his middle name. He played catcher for the pre-humidor Colorado Rockies from 1993-96, and exemplified the team’s home/road splits better than anyone (.868 career OPS at home, .512 OPS on the road). His “defense” included 17 errors and 11 passed balls and he couldn’t prevent 48 wild pitches, all in only 823 innings (approximately 92 total games worth). He did throw out 39% of opposing base stealers. He is . . . Jayhawk Owens.
Our first name gold medalist, with a total score of 31 points, was once traded for Jeff Manto. He compiled a career .189/.215/.311 line in 26 games over three seasons (1995-97). As a reserve 2B/3B, he made 5 errors in 180 innings of play (.942 fielding percentage). So, his most remarkable major league attribute would have to be his first name (though his last name is just as fun) . . . Arquimedez Pozo.
Moving on to the last names, our bronze medal is a tie at 34 points, going to a father and son combo. The father’s career lasted all of two games for the 1971 White Sox, pitching two innings. He was traded three times over two years, and was released by the Reds after spending the 1972 season in the minors. He turns 64 this coming Saturday. Give it up for Pat Jacquez.
Our other bronze medalist is Thomas Jacquez, whose major league career was nearly as short as his father’s. Thomas spent three years in the minors before he got into nine games with the Phillies in 2000, then lasted another four years back in the minors.
Second place goes to another cup of coffee pitcher. This fellow appeared in three games for the 114-48 juggernaut that was the 1998 Yankees. He actually started two games for the Bombers in September (when they had a 20-game lead on the rest of the division), but couldn’t get past the 3rd inning in either appearance. So much for the career of 36-pointer Mike Jerzembeck.
Our most “point-y” name (37) hails from Blue Island, Illinois, and pitched for the A’s from 1995-97. He is one of only four players from Saint Xavier University to make it to the majors (current Padre Luke Gregerson is another). A career K/BB ratio of 0.84 sealed his fate. But he still carries the Scrabble high-point name banner: Steve Wojciechowski.