You know those “brainy” questions regarding the English language, like “what are the only words you can type with your left hand” (tesseradecades, aftercataracts, sweaterdresses), or “what are the words with all the vowels“? Well, I’m here to provide you baseball brains with the list of players with no repeated letters in their first and last names combined. Why? Because then you can stump (or alienate) your friends!
It turns out we have four players tied, at 14 distinct letters, with three of the guys having the same name:
- John (J.) Fitzgerald: John J. Fitzgerald was a starting pitcher for the 1890 Rochester Broncos of the American Association. His career lasted the 11 games he started that year, and he died in 1892 at the age of 27.
- John (H.) Fitzgerald: John H. Fitzgerald was a starting pitcher for the 1891 Boston Reds of the American Association. His career lasted a mere six games, but at least he lived till age 49.
- John (F.) Fitzgerald: John F. Fitzgerald was a (you guessed it) starting pitcher for the 1958 San Francisco Giants. His major league career consisted of one start, on the final day on the regular season.
and in the “not John Fitzgerald” category, we have . . .
- Fred Buckingham: Buckingham was a (of course) starting pitcher for the 1895 National League’s Washington Senators. Like John F. Fitzgerald, his career totaled one start, at the tender age of 19. It also appears that he may have just graduated Yale University that Spring, having started there around the age of 16!
In terms of active players, we have a bunch of them tied at 12 (in reverse order of debut):
- Dustin Ackley: having a very nice debut season this year as one of the few bright spots in the Mariners lineup, while playing a credible 2B.
- Brent Dlugach: had a very brief cup of joe with the Tigers in 2009, now back in the minors
- Daniel Murphy: Mets 1B/LF, and in post-Luis Castillo desperation, 2B. Murphy debuted in 2008 at age 23, but has seen his early career upset by serious leg injuries.
- Josh Barfield: had a wonderful rookie season with the Padres in 2006, both at the bat and at 2B, then traded to the Indians and has regressed in both attributes to the point of likely being a 4A guy going forward.
- Michael Bourn: the recently-traded Bourn debuted with the Phillies in 2006, then moved to the Astros after the 2007 season as part of a package for Brad Lidge. Now doing his thing for the Braves, for which he must be extremely grateful. Some guys are “5-tool” players . . . Michael Bourn is a “5-vowel” player.
- Michael Young: speaking of “5-vowel players”, Young has been a fixture with the Rangers since his late 2000 debut. He’s started in over 300 games for them at SS, 2B and 3B, and now serves as their primary DH.
We do have a current manager (who also played in the minors) that tallies an impressive 13 unique letters, Buck Showalter.