Tuesday night saw another instance of a Dillon GEE – Cliff LEE pitching matchup, the brevity of their last names having been written about before. In the midst of (re)publicizing that post to the Twitterverse, one of my followers noted:
Now, of course, you need to go through all those games and find the lowest letter total of the four battery mates.
He was right. It is/was the next logical step in the “short names” field of research. I went back to my Retrosheet files for all the gamelogs that had complete lineups, and through 2012, this is what it shows.
As with the pitcher matchups, the “shortest” batteries in terms of last names is six letters long. There have been only four pitcher-catcher tandems of six letters total, and they’ve teamed up for 11 starts. The participants are Joey Jay, Charlie Lau, Vern Law, Jerry May, Ed Ott and Doug Rau. Here is the chronology of the games, with the tandem’s team bolded.
|19600629||MLN||CHN||Joey Jay||Charlie Lau|
|19660613||CIN||PIT||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19660819||PIT||CHN||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19660823||PHI||PIT||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19670502||LAN||PIT||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19670716||PIT||ATL||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19670820||NYN||PIT||Vern Law||Jerry May|
|19780904||MON||CHN||Rudy May||Jerry Fry|
|19810516||CAL||DET||Doug Rau||Ed Ott|
|19810521||CAL||BAL||Doug Rau||Ed Ott|
|19810526||TOR||CAL||Doug Rau||Ed Ott|
So while the Lee/Kratz and Gee/Buck batteries from last night don’t quite join those pairings, they DO join the list for the fewest letters in a combined battery for both teams in the same game (15). Prior to last night, there had been six games that featured a total last name length of 15 between the opposing batteries. Garrett Mock and Josh Bard are the only battery to appear in more than one of these games:
|Date||VIS||HOME||Vis P+C||Home P+C|
And in case you were wondering (and you were), the battery with the longest combined last name? It appears to be 23. On September 27, 1940, the Chicago Cubs had Ken Raffensberger pitching to Clyde McCullough. In terms of the most letters of both batteries in one game, it appears to be 41, occurring on August 1, 1953. In that game, Raffensberger, now pitching for the Reds, teamed up with Andy Seminick against the Giants’ Al Worthington and Sam Calderone.