Lotta Letters in the Lineup

I’m often asked which lineup has had the most letters in it, and I’m going to partially answer that question now.

Using the gamelogs from Retrosheet, I have complete batting orders/lineups for roughly 168,000 games from 1911-2013.  I’ve stripped out dashes, spaces, periods, hyphens and other extraneous marks, and present to you the most (and fewest) total letters in a team lineup.  This time out, we are considering first AND last names, as listed in Retrosheet.  (We’ll consider only last names in a future post)

The starting lineup containing the most letters was achieved by the Montreal Expos (rest in peace) on September 12, 1999 in a game at San Diego.  Their one-through-nine tallied a whopping 127 letters, an average of 14 per man.  Behold the beauty, and imagine Vin Scully or the late Bob Sheppard reading this list to the crowd before the game:

The record for the fewest letters in a starting lineup is 73, achieved twice by the same team.  The 1954 Cleveland Indians trotted out the same group of nine “short-named” players twice within five days.  On August 8 of that year, they hosted Philadelphia and sent out this “ennead” in the second game of a twin-bill:

The same nine took the field on August 12 at Detroit, with a minor change in the order:


The record for most letters in starting lineups by both teams in a game is 241, achieved twice:

August 1, 2011: Cleveland at Boston

July 21, 2013: Chicago at Colorado

The record for the fewest letters in a starting lineup by both teams is 159, achieved by the Senators and Indians in a game at Cleveland on June 23, 1950:

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