Nativity Nine

Merry Christmas everyone. For some holiday frivolity, here’s the best starting lineup among players born on Christmas Day.

P C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF
Pud Galvin Gene Lamont Walter Holke Nellie Fox Gene Robertson Bill Akers Rickey Henderson Ben Chapman Jo-Jo Moore

Strength on the mound, at second and in the outfield. The rest of the team is after the jump.

The rest of the pitching staff looks something like this.

The starters look solid, but the bullpen is a bit suspect. Brown and Hamilton were swingmen, and the rest were the only relief specialists with at least one season of regular use.

The reserves look like this:

Overall, not a bad bench, but our starting catcher is really a reserve, and his backup … well, let’s just hope our starter is durable.

This team may not win the championship, but, with length from the starters, they should be competitive. And, just for the record, three members of our team were on a real team – the 1983 Expos had Charlie Lea, Manny Trillo and Wallace Johnson on the roster (though Trillo and Johnson were ships passing in the night and were not with the Expos at the same point in time that season). But, Lea and Johnson were teammates on six Expos teams, Barnes and Brown were on three Senators clubs, and Brown and George appeared with a pair of Cleveland teams.

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Richard Chester
Richard Chester
1 year ago

I’m not sure if Rickey Henderson would feel comfortable playing alongside Ben Chapman.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
1 year ago

Not to worry: Chapman as he was would never take the field.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
1 year ago

Doug, Any team with three Hall of Famers ought to be competitive, especially when two are Inner Circle. But I have a question: where are we placing the mound? Depending, it might be wise to swap out Garver for Galvin.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug

April 4 has Tris Speaker, Scott Rolen, JIm Fregosi, Gil Hodges, Tommy Herr and Joe Vosmik. Their combined WAR of 341.8 is the highest for the top 6 position players on a given date of birth. The pitching is weak with the WAR leader being Frank Smith with 8.0 WAR.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
1 year ago

Yeah, my birthday is April 4th.
We’re pretty much badass.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug

Teddy Higuera, through four seasons, was already thirty years old, which is probably why he was so productive. But those first four years produced a 69-38 record with a 132 ERA+ in 949.2 innings (for those who remember the posts I did earlier this year about estimating pitcher record, Higuera’s 949 innings at a 132 ERA+ comes in right at 67-38). He also could’ve won two Cy Youngs. In 1986, Clemens had a great season – better than Higuera, I think, but that’s another conversation – which included a Cy Young and MVP. But Higuera posted the better WAR (baseball-reference):… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago

In regard to the championship, they wouldn’t win against regular teams. But this is a pretty good birthday team, I would think. Considerably above- average, anyway. The would be few birthdays, I think, with three players in the Galvin-Fox-Henderson range.

Paul E
Paul E
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

June 15th gave us WadeBoggs, Brett Butler, Billy Williams, Lance Parrish, and a few other decent major leaguers

Doug
Doug
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

This group has the added advantage of having Lamont as the manager. In fact, let’s do that and add Chris Krug (equally unappealing as Lamont or George) as our catcher. Then, Lamont can activate himself if anyone goes on the IR.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

1. I just learned that December 25 is the least common birthday in the US (2/29 excepted). To me, that makes the quality of this particular team all the more impressive. 2. A couple of teams that would challenge this one: 1. 5/18 – Brooks Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Babe Adams, Jim Sundberg, Dennis Leonard 2. 9/16 (the most common US birthday) – Robin Yount, Tim Raines, Orel Hershiser, Mickey Tettleton 3. 11/21 – Stan Musial, Ken Griffey, Jr., Bobby Mathews, Charlie Bennett, the immortal Freddie Lindstrom 4. 4/6 – Bert Blyleven, Mickey Cochrane, Ernie Lombardi, Red Smith, Bret Boone 5.… Read more »

Doug
Doug
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I knew Griffey and Musial hailed from the same town. Didn’t realize they also shared a birthday.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug

“Ken Griffey, Jr. is the 2nd best outfielder born on November 21 in Donora, PA” is probably my all-time favorite piece of trivia.

no statistician but
no statistician but
1 year ago

Re The Christmas Day lineup. I’m not sure it’s as strong as it seems. Henderson averages 16 HR/162 games, but no one else is in double figures but Moore, who is at 10. I don’t see the team hitting more than 60, which means that they might be competitive in the 1920s, but now? Henderson would lead off, of course, with Nellie batting behind and Moore and Chapman 3rd and 4th, but after that where would you hide Lamont, Holke, Robertson, and Akers? Chapman was actually a lot like Henderson as a player . . . . Those starters would… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago

True, but again… you’re talking about, not a regular league with 15-29 other teams, but with a MASSIVE league with 364 other teams,* so they ALL have massive holes like that. Take my birthday, November 7. The top five players, by WAR are: Jim Kaat (50.7) Joe Niekro (29.8) Sonny Gray (12.9, active) Kris Benson (12.9, not quite as famous as his ex-wife) Joe Hatten (8.2) All five are pitchers. The top position player? Dick Stuart, 7.8 WAR in a 12-year career. Stuart hit 228 HR in his career, true, but the second leading HR-hitter on the 11/7 roster is… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Re-reading my comment, I didn’t notice my alliteration, but now wish I had written “peculiar paucity of particularly prominent people.” C’est la vie.

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
1 year ago

A random day that gives you a near full roster, lacking any real superstars, is September 22:

SP: Urban Shocker, Bob Lemon, Hooks Dauss, Larry Dierker
Bullpen: Mark Guthrie, Hal Dues
Infield: Carlos Correa, Bill Joyce, Wally Backman, Alexei Ramirez
IF Bench: Ken Aspromonte, Harry Bright
Outfield: Harry The Hat Walker, Austin McHenry, Ira Flagstead
OF Bench: Vince Coleman, Lou Johnson, Jeff Leonard
Catchers: Mike Matheny, Bob Geren, Doc Powers

Obvious weak point at C and no real standouts. But that’s most of a functional 25 man roster.

And the bonus? Manager and emergency relief pitcher: Tommy Lasorda

no statistician but
no statistician but
1 year ago

This lineup would be very competitive, CC, except at catcher and in the bull pen. But that’s about as good a starting rotation as you could want. Shocker ought to be a HOFer, Lemon is, and the other two had fine careers. Vince Coleman on the bench? Now that’s a strong outfield.

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
1 year ago

Another pretty strong one comes just three days earlier, September 19th. Again, you get a full starting rotation, though not as good as the one from the 22nd – Chris Short, Gio Gonzalez, Sadie McMahon, Jim Abbott, and Bullet Bob Turley or Scott Baker. Your get a better relief ace than Mark Guthrie in Randy Myers. You actually have a relative strength in catching – Joe Ferguson, John Jaso and Javier Valentin. Your 1B are Stuffy McInnis and Nick Johnson. Your OF is Duke Snider, George Springer and Hersh Martin. Best of all? 2B – Joe Morgan. And a nice… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
1 year ago

I’d take Etten over Johnson at first base, and put McInnis at short, his original position. He was moved to first base because Jack Barry had a lock on shortstop and the Athletics’ old first sacker, Harry Davis, was in a death spiral, career-wise. At third Ryan Roberts by default over Valencia.

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
1 year ago

So I think I may have found the worst day, outside of Leap Day, and heck even Leap Day gets you Al Rosen even though you can’t field a full team. But take a gander at December 10th. Bullpen is actually okay – Paul Assenmacher, Mel Rojas, Doug Henry, and Dan Wheeler. Better than a lot of days I’ve seen so far. And that’s where the good news ends. Your starting rotation is Joe Mays, Carlos Rodon and Steve Renko. Maybe not the worst I’ve seen yet, but certainly nothing to write home about. And the lineup. Oy. Your best… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
1 year ago

Oh my. Oh my. That is… wow. Yikes.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
1 year ago

While I respect CursedClevelander and will be in his cheering section in late January, as he represents our community on national television, I feel he is sorely neglecting a day for which I hold a certain attachment, March 26. I have used WAR to tally the total value of the optimal 15-member team he assembled, with three starters, four relievers, and a full array of position players (wherever he has alternatives, I have assessed which contributes the higher WAR). The December 10 team boasts a total of 122.1 WAR, or 8.14 per player. Here is my March 26 line-up, with… Read more »

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

Impressively awful, Bob. I’ll concede – I think March 26th offers a better lineup (I’ll take Seitzer and Ryan over Myers and Polonia), but that is a fiercely terrible pitching staff, and at least December 10th has relatively strong relief pitching. Though I will say, even though it was only one season, Mel Queen’s 1967 offers a much better starter than Hogg or Lavender. But it may be a bit cheap to use him as a starter since his career consists mostly of relief appearances. And losing Queen makes the bullpen almost unusable.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
1 year ago

I appreciate your concession, CC. Your team wins.

Bob Eno (epm)
Bob Eno (epm)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Eno (epm)

And Happy New Year!

Doug
Doug
1 year ago

The Christmas crew has the edge over the New Year’s nine, which looks like this: – Starters: Tim Keefe, Dallas Keuchel, Ned Garvin, LaMarr Hoyt, Carl Scheib (not bad) – Bullpen: Bob Owchinko, Nick Hagadone, Charlie Bishop, Rafael Roque, Neil Wagner, Kevin Beirne (ouch!) – Catcher: Al Stokes, Dave Zearfoss (ouch again, but I like Zearfoss for the All-Name team) – Infield: Earl Torgeson, Sherry Robertson, Tom Downey, Fernando Tatis (weak up the middle, better on the corners) – Outfield: Hank Greenberg, Ethan Allen, Hugh Nicol (best part of team, after starting pitching) – Bench: Hack Miller, Tom Mansell, Lynn… Read more »

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[…] frivolity to lighten the mid-winter blues. As there seemed to be some interest in my Christmas post on teams of players sharing a common birthday, I’ll add this little study to the […]

Brent
Brent
1 year ago

My birthday (2/20) does really well in the battery department, but not so good everywhere else (actually our outfield is OK too). Our ace is Justin Verlander (I would also note that we definitely will be inviting his And One to Team BBQs), followed by Livian Hernandez, Bill Gullickson, Clyde Wright and Luis Severino. Our bullpen will feature Roy Face and Derek Lilliquist. Catching will Brian McCann backed up by Muddy Ruel. And my corner outfielders are Sam Rice and Tommy Heinrich. But those are my top 10 players in WAR (plus Lilliquist at 16), which means my next best… Read more »