“P”ing on the Shoulders of Giants

The San Francisco Giants have been occasionally starting five different players whose last names begin with the letter P.  One such instance occurred Thursday night at Milwaukee, when their starting nine went as follows: Batting Angel Pagan CF Hunter Pence RF Buster Posey 1B Pablo Sandoval 3B Mike Morse LF Joe Panik 2B Brandon Crawford … Read more

Lotta (Last Name) Letters in the Lineup

(Corrected from an earlier version) Last week, we listed the lineups with the most letters in them (considering last AND first names).  Now we’ll consider only last names. The starting lineup containing the most letters in the last names was achieved by the Chicago Cubs on August 23, 1946, as they hosted the Boston Braves.  … Read more

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 … Read more

Its the End of Your Name As We Know It

Friend of the VORG (and good personal friend) Jeremy Frank recently asked me: “Cubs tonight have lineup with Castro, Navarro, Soriano and Rizzo. How many lineups have had more ending with O, or what’s the most number of players ending with the same letter?” So we went to our chronological list of lineups from 1871-2012, … Read more

Your Last Name is My First Name!

Friend of the VORG Keith DeCandido alerted me to the following Wednesday afternoon:

Keith R.A. DeCandido @KRADeC

Ben Francisco batting before Francisco Cervelli, and I’m wondering how often that’s happened. (Paging @dianagram….)

Well, after poring over the nearly 160,000 Retrosheet gamelogs of NL/AL games through 2012, it appears that there have been approximately 130 instances of one player’s last name being the same as the first name in the next batter in the lineup.

The first occurrence came on September 13, 1916 in the second game of a doubleheader between the Cardinals and Phillies.  The Cardinals third hitter, SS Dot Miller, was immediately followed in the batting order by 2B Miller Huggins.  The most recent occasion (prior to 2013) was April 12, 2011 when the Mariners SS Brendan Ryan was followed by CF Ryan Langerhans in their game against the Blue Jays.  There has never been a “trio” in a single lineup, though on May 30, 1958 the Dodgers had C Sammy Taylor, 2B Tony Taylor and P Taylor Phillips as the bottom third of the order.

The most frequent “name duo” in history is Casey Blake and Blake DeWitt, who were in the same lineup in the same order 41 times for the Dodgers between 2008 and 2010.  Here is the list of lineup pairings for all 130 occurrences through 2012:

Pairing Count
Casey Blake, Blake DeWitt 41
Jake Early, Early Wynn 20
Felix Jose, Jose Lind 13
Greek George, George Kell 9
Dan Wilson, Wilson Valdez 6
Roberto Kelly, Kelly Dransfeldt 6
Sammy Taylor, Taylor Phillips 6
Brendan Ryan, Ryan Ludwick 5
Vance Wilson, Wilson Delgado 5
Chad Curtis, Curtis Pride 4
Cliff Lee, Lee King 3
Cody Ross, Ross Gload 3
Brendan Ryan, Ryan Langerhans 2
Tony Taylor, Taylor Phillips 2
Desi Wilson, Wilson Delgado 1
Donnie Scott, Scott Scudder 1
Dots Miller, Miller Huggins 1
Josh Paul, Paul Byrd 1
Rodney Scott, Scott Sanderson 1

And here is the list of each occurrence by date:

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The Gauntlet of 26-Letter Lineups

Its nice to be gaining a reputation for certain kinds of analyses.  Twitter followers, Facebook friends and the like point out to you that “this would be right up your alley” or “has this ever happened in a game?” Such was the case last Friday morning, when ESPN’s Mark Simon DM’ed me the following: Threw … Read more

Historical Opening Day Lineup Turnover Rates

You can tell a bit about the health of a franchise by looking at the rate of change in their Opening Day lineups.  If you see the same names over and over, that generally means a stable (good) ballclub with a productive one through nine.  If you see names changing from year to year, that … Read more

Games People Don’t Play

Jose Reyes had a great year for the Mets.  He led the National League in batting, tied for the overall lead in triples and played his usual average (but flashy!) defense.  He also tied for the team lead in games played, with Lenny Harris of all people . . . with 126! Read that again … Read more