The VORG’s “Beige Whale”: Longest Name Chain

“The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung” Moby Dick, chapter 41

I don’t think that any particular data research project has left me missing body parts, but there HAVE been some things I’ve wanted to compile and write about but could not because I lacked programming skill or necessary data.  So let’s call them my “beige whales.”

One such project has been to find the longest baseball player “name chain”.  I’m speaking of names such that one player’s last name is the next player’s first name, and so on.  For example, “Jon Jay Bruce Bochy” would be the chaining of Jon Jay, Jay Bruce and Bruce Bochy.

I have all the raw “name” data from the Lahman Baseball Database.  I used Excel to find all the first names that also show up as other player’s last names, and vice-versa.  But I didn’t have the expertise to develop a way to systematically go through every possible “string” of names in an expeditious fashion.

So, I put the challenge/request out to my Twitter and Facebook followers.  Friends of the VORG Richard Bergstrom, Jr., Gerard Sunga, Mike Billmire and Joel Luckhaupt all expressed interest.  Billmire compiled (and Luckhaupt concurred) on these three lists of 29 (!) names (full names listed for linking purposes):

Fred Carl, Carl Everett, Everett Scott, Scott Terry, Terry Lee, Lee Graham, Graham Taylor, Taylor Jordan, Jordan Norberto, Norberto Martin, Martin Duke, Duke Brett, Brett Cecil, Cecil Travis, Travis Lee, Lee Howard, Howard Farmer, Farmer Ray, Ray Thomas, Thomas Gorman, Gorman Thomas, Thomas Howard, Howard Earl, Earl Henry, Henry Austin, Austin Jackson, Jackson Todd, Todd Walker, Walker Cooper

Lew Carl, Carl Everett, Everett Scott, Scott Terry, Terry Lee, Lee Graham, Graham TaylorTaylor Jordan, Jordan Norberto, Norberto Martin, Martin Duke, Duke Brett, Brett Cecil, Cecil Travis, Travis Lee, Lee Howard, Howard Farmer, Farmer Ray, Ray Thomas, Thomas Gorman, Gorman Thomas, Thomas Howard, Howard Earl, Earl Henry, Henry Austin, Austin Jackson, Jackson Todd, Todd Walker, Walker Cooper

Mike Chris, Chris George, George Scott, Scott Terry, Terry Lee, Lee Graham, Graham Taylor, Taylor Jordan, Jordan Norberto, Norberto Martin, Martin Duke, Duke Brett, Brett Cecil, Cecil Travis, Travis Lee, Lee Howard, Howard Farmer, Farmer Ray, Ray Thomas, Thomas Gorman, Gorman Thomas, Thomas Howard, Howard Earl, Earl Henry, Henry Austin, Austin Jackson, Jackson Todd, Todd Walker, Walker Cooper

My thanks to all the bright people who helped do the heavy lifting on this!

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