Zoilo Almonte has gotten off to an unexpectedly hot start for the Yankees. After being summoned to spell a slumping Vernon Wells in left field, the 24-year-old outfielder has compiled a line of .583/.643/1.000 in the first five games of his Major League career.
As you might know, Almonte is not the first Zoilo to appear in the Majors. That distinction goes to Zoilo Versalles, a shortstop for the AL pennant-winning Twins in 1965. Versalles won the AL MVP that season, along with a Gold Glove, and led the league in runs (126), doubles (45, tied with Carl Yastrzemski) and triples (12, tied with Bert Campaneris).
So even though Almonte is only the second Zoilo (a name of Spanish and Greek origin, meaning “life”), he IS the first player with the initials Z.A. to ever play in the Majors. Here are the counts, from 1871-2012, of players by their first and last initials: